If you're an Aubrey Plaza fan, then you probably pretty delighted to see her pop up in the Legion premiere as David Haller's friend Lenny — and then horrified to see her killed off before the episode was over. Fortunately for us, Lenny still has a major role on Legion, even in death; unfortunately for David, that role seems to be increasingly antagonistic towards the show's mentally unstable hero.
There are plenty of questions about what's real and what's not in the world of Legion, but one of the biggest puzzles that has yet to be solved is the exactly nature of Lenny, what she wants from David, and how she relates to the Devil With The Yellow Eyes, the spectral demon that has been haunting the shadowy corners of David's mind and recently seems to have taken some amount of control over his consciousness.
Where did Lenny come from? What does she have to do with David's stoner friend Benny? Is she a pawn of the Devil… or is she the Devil itself? In the absence of showrunner Noah Hawley (Fargo) providing anything like concrete answers to these questions, viewers have taken it upon themselves to look for clues and speculate about Lenny's true identity. Here are some of the most intriguing (and conflicting) theories about Lenny on Legion that are making the rounds among fans:
1. Lenny & Benny Are The Same Person
Audiences were surprised to learn in "Chapter 4" that the Lenny of David's memories — the one he was scoring drugs and getting high with pre-Clockworks — was actually a man named Benny, according to David's ex-girlfriend. So what's with the discrepancy between memory and reality? First of all, we should be careful whenever we use the term "reality" in conjunction with Legion.
Secondly, just because David remembered Benny as a woman named Lenny doesn't mean the memory is correct. We've also learned that plenty of David's recollections about his past have been tampered with, rewritten, or erased entirely. It's conceivable that Lenny isn't real at all, and David simply reimagined his former friend into a more palatable version, as a sarcastic and likable young woman rather than the drugged-out, middle-aged homeless man he really was.
2. Lenny & Benny Are Different People
But what about the fact that people other than David saw Lenny in her female form? Syd and David's doctor both interacted with Lenny when she and David were locked up in Clockworks, and the person we saw trapped and killed inside the wall was definitely Lenny, not Benny. In the comics, one of David's powers is "reality warping," so it's possible that his revised image of Benny-as-Lenny was projected into the real world and affected how other people saw him/her as well. But it's just as possible that the explanation is even simpler: they were entirely different people.
What are the chances that David and his friend Benny would end up locked up in the same mental institution, anyway? And when you think about it, Benny and Lenny are pretty different. Before her death, the Lenny we met in the first episode was a wisecracking girl who loved music and candy, whereas Benny was a coked-out pusher who didn't love anything more than his drugs. If Lenny and Benny were in fact different people, it's possible that David simply took his memories of Benny and overlaid them with Lenny's image.
3. Lenny Is The Devil With The Yellow Eyes
In the final shot of "Chapter 4," Lenny appeared behind David… and when she placed her hand on his shoulder, it wasn't Lenny's fingers we saw but rather the Devil's pale and bulbous claw. Some viewers took this to mean that Lenny is the Devil With The Yellow Eyes; that David's false memories of his former friend and the demon haunting his consciousness are one and the same. Also, in "Chapter 5," we saw Lenny shift between herself, Benny, and King the beagle while confronting David's sister Amy. Does that mean all those personalities are manifestations of the Devil as well?
Quite possibly. As we learned, the Devil has been lurking within David's psyche for 30 years, biding its time. Over the years, it could have assumed different forms in order to get close to David and manipulate him: an imaginary childhood pet that makes him feel safe; an acquaintance that indulges David's worst instincts; a friend who David is willing to talk to and confide in; and even a terrifying specter (The World's Angriest Boy In The World) to keep David in line through the use of fear.
4. Lenny Is NOT The Devil With The Yellow Eyes
Although the show itself seemed to explicitly connect Lenny and the Devil, it's quite likely that things aren't that simple. Part of what makes David interesting as a character is the many and varied personalities his fractured mind conjures; it would be disappointing to find out that all the personalities we've met so far haven't really been David's but rather many manifestations of a single evil spirit. However, just because Lenny and the Devil might be different beings entirely doesn't mean they aren't connected at all.
The Devil has been referred to as a parasite that is feeding on David's brain. Perhaps the part of David's brain that the Devil has latched onto is Lenny, a split personality that already existed in David's mind before the Devil took it over and started using it for its own purposes. The Devil found an aspect of David's psyche that made him feel companionship and intimacy and took advantage of it, using it to get close to David and whisper in his ear, manipulating him and helping to cement its hold in his mind.
Was Lenny a real person or not? Are she and Benny the same person or not? Is she a manifestation of the Devil or simply a vehicle for its demonic machinations? Hopefully Legion has some answers forthcoming, because it's getting increasingly difficult to keep track of all the mind-bending mysteries the show keeps throwing at us.