The penultimate episode of the season brings us as many questions as it does answers. Is David really the season big bad? Abandon all hope, ye who enter!
Legion – “Chapter 18”, Season 2, Episode 10
Airdate: June 5th, 2018
Director: Noah Hawley
Writer: Noah Hawley (creator)
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by: Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz
What You Should Know:
David’s masterplan for defeating Farouk has been set into motion. Lenny has arrived in the desert with a weapon, and Kerry and Cary are tracking her. Clark’s role was delayed by the Oliver/Farouk mind-control of Melanie back at Division 3, however, so the effects on the overall scheme are unknown as of yet.
What You’ll Find Out (and What It Might Mean):
As the season draws to a close, the pieces begin to fall into place and the master narrative woven by Hawley has never been more thought-provoking. We open on a moment comics fans have been dying to see, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Legion, the World Killer, sitting amidst a pile of bones, hair on end, looking like a vision of Bill Sienkiewicz willed into life.
Much of this episode revolves around the manipulation of Syd by Melanie inside the labyrinth. Melanie is eventually revealed to be Farouk’s current host, not much of a shock given what we saw of Melanie in the last episode. Syd’s disappearance, however, pushes David to take the fight to Farouk quickly, leading to the disturbing sequence of David torturing Oliver nearly to the point of death, only to find out later that Oliver is no longer the host. The process of the torture, and the look of pure enjoyment, however, is one of the many sequences played for Syd by Farouk/Melanie in the effort to turn Syd against David. We have already seen hints that Syd is not certain that David’s actions are necessarily enacted for the “good of the world,” but by the time Farouk is done showing Syd everything the viewers have been privy to since season 1, it would seem Syd has officially converted to a similar mindset as her future self—the Syd that needs Farouk to stop David from destroying the world.
While all of David’s players move into position—Lenny with her giant gun, Kerry and Cary and the epic re-spawn battle with the harmonics-wielding monks, and Clark and the Vermillion’s ultimately arriving too late with the power dampener—Melanie/Farouk takes the opportunity to seize his body from within the labyrinth (and powers up and sets loose the crippled minotaur in the process).
The mark of a truly great cultural artifact is the ability to generate questions. If you are still thinking about the artifact after you have consumed it, odds are high that it did its job, for better or for worse. Legion is such an artifact. Hawley has constructed a world and woven a mystery so complex, yet also shockingly simply in many ways, that it demands you to continue to question long after the screen fades to black. Legions of fans hang on every detail, because the details matter. Do all of the details matter? Some? If some, which? Here are a few questions and theories I still have heading into the season finale.
Q: Who is the monster? With all of the talk of villains becoming heroes and heroes becoming villains, the most likely scenario would seem to me that there are no heroes—only varying types of villains.
Q: Did any of this happen, or is David still inside the orb from the end of season 1? A popular theory that I truly hope is proven false next week. I am reminded of Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths.
Q: Is any of Le Desole on an earthly plain? How much, if so? It becomes more and more clear that the rules of physics and time do not apply here, and if that bears out, do the consequences of what takes place in it matter outside of it? To what degree?
Q: Who does the minotaur serve? It would seem in this episode that it serves Farouk, but the guardians of Farouk’s body certainly must have knowledge of the beast roaming the labyrinth. Where did it originally come from and what purpose did it serve?
Q: What, of all these varied events, will be the one that turns David into the World Killer Legion? It would seem like such a transformation would be linked to a specific trauma or event, but what would it take? I’d like to note that in the chalkboard sequence, we once again see David surrounded by flames, so I’m still not willing to abandon my ever-tenuous grasp on a Phoenix theory.
Q: Where is David’s real father? Hawley has mentioned that he is interested in bringing in an actor who has played He-Whom-I-Shall-Not-Name elsewhere in the cinematic universe, so I would presume he lives, but it would seem like a player of his caliber would be interested and aware of what is happening right now.
Q: Has part of David’s plan always been to let Farouk take his body? It would seem, with the assault on Oliver, that obviously David intended on ending the battle as soon as he could, right? Except there is evidence scattered about that would suggest that may not be the case. Remember, Lenny is operating on plans implanted in her mind, which would make the choice of whistling “Happy Birthday” while toting a presumably Farouk-killing gun seem to suggest she is aware that Farouk will be in his body. Clark’s delayed arrival with the dampener would also suggest the need to dampen Farouk’s freshly reacquired strength. Or perhaps I’m overestimating David’s tactical planning.
Q: Oliver, while wearing a Farouk mask, implies that David couldn’t kill Oliver/Farouk because Oliver/Farouk is a part of David. Something about the sequence felt like deflection/misdirection to me. It could be part of Oliver’s programming.
Final Thought: Until a week or so ago, I would have said that it comes down to the next episode, but now the reality of a 3rd season has been confirmed, so there is no telling whether we’ll actually get any answers or resolution next week. Either way, I’m hopeful and excited!
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