Legion – “Chapter 11”, Season 2, Episode 03
Airdate: April 17th, 2018
Writer: Noah Hawley (creator)
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by: Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz
What You Should Know:
Amahl Farouk, The Shadow King, had his astral self-severed from his physical self by David’s father, a powerful and as yet unnamed psychic. The body was hidden by the Mi-Go sect of monks, and now David and Farouk are attempting to rejoin Farouk with his body by seeking out possibly the only surviving Mi-Go monk, who has infiltrated Division 3, in order to hopefully prevent a cataclysmic or apocalyptic event in the near future.
What You’ll Find Out:
This episode opens on a John Hamm narrated cold open regard the nature of illness and disorder, discussing the notion of psychosomatic communicability of disorders, culminating in the question: “If the idea of illness can become illness, what else about our reality is actually a disorder?” And that question, dear readers, lies at the heart of Season 2. Or to quote another wise philosopher, “is this the real life, or is this fantasy?” What is real, what is accepted, what is exceptional, what is illness, what is normal, what is, what is, what is what it is what it is, or is it? … the downward spiral into questioning the very nature of reality is exactly what this show is about, with the characters but players on a metaphysical stage.
In terms of merely examining the plot, the episode can be read as fairly straight-forward. Through a few flashback sequences, we see Farouk at the moment of his defeat, and the subsequent entombment of his body by the Mi-Go monks, including our mysterious interloper. It would seem, however, that the internment was not without some complication, although the nature of those complications has yet to be fully revealed. What we do know is that a form of “madness” infected the Order and seems to have been at least a part in eliminating the monks, save but one. The remaining monk has been hiding among the “sick” in Division 3, but as discovered by Clark, the monk has escaped
David, in his search for the monk, begins having visions of future Syd writing him a message. Eventually, it is revealed the message is “hurry.” In his search for answers, David enters the isolation chamber again seeking a meeting with Farouk. Before he gets the chance to talk to Farouk, however, David first encounters a… let us say, distraught… Lenny. On one hand, the conversation with Lenny, who is having a slow breakdown, yearning for freedom, drugs, companionship—in short, life, seems like a vehicle for getting Aubrey Plaza on screen so we can check in on her. On the other hand, though, the very nature of Lenny plays into the constructed nature of reality the show is pushing. We never really get to see who Lenny is separated from Benny, the friend of David’s whose life Lenny subsumed. Lenny’s body is irrevocably dead, so there is no place for Lenny’s psyche to escape from her hellish, pet/plant existence in Farouk’s plane. And even if there were, Lenny is an entirely fabricated persona. Yet the desperation Lenny feels inside the astral plane is very much real. Or as real as it can be, perhaps. Or maybe it’s a further constructed narrative. Or maybe none of the above.
The conversation with Lenny leads into a conversation with Farouk that is, for lack of a better word, dense. I’m not going to try and pretend to unpack all of the clever linguistic turns that occur throughout this conversation, but here a few highlights:
– Farouk’s intent with his body is, of course, to live in it. When asked about any future villainous pursuits by David, Farouk responds with a linguistic breakdown of the etymology of the word “villain”, reminding David that there is power in words.
– Farouk evokes an image of cultural relativity and colonialism, painting David’s father, a white man with no knowledge of the mores of Farouk’s country, as the real villain for his callous disregard for things he does not understand.
– David’s insistence on referring to future Syd and present Syd as two different entities is explored a bit here. If people change, then even though both are Syd, they can’t be the same Syd. David seems intent on noting that he loves both Syds, but Farouk points out that, to change the timeline is to kill future Syd. This recurring notion seems to be coming up too frequently to be a mere stray thought, so look for that to be developed over the next few episodes. I’m not sure what to do with that notion right now.
– In the end, Farouk also states that the monk, not Farouk, is the source of the psychic malady plaguing the “teeth chatterers.”
This final revelation startles David awake, only for him to find that with the monk loose Division 3 has been plunged into chaos and “sickness”. David first finds Cary, who managed to escape the initial assault, and the two set about finding their colleagues and friends. Cary explains that, although the child soldiers of Division 3 are immune to the “sickness”, the monk has managed to Pied Piper them onto his side, likely resulting in the various bodies strewn about the complex that are clearly dead, not afflicted. Upon finding Ptonomy chattering away, the two infiltrate his mind to discover that the afflicted become trapped in a personal psychic maze within their own mind, constructed around what Cary calls a “core desire.” In Ptonomy’s case, a mutant who remembers every minute of every day, that core desire is to forget the past and live in the moment. Ptonomy is freed by David, and subsequently, Melanie is also found and freed. The team splits up in order to find Kerry, Syd, and Fukyama, which, for the record, is always, always, always a horrible idea, and this instance is no different.
David is ambushed and taken captive by the monk, and the monk apparently creates some sort of mind-meld for the two, granted David access to the fall of the Mi-Go Order memories while combing through David’s memories enough to determine that David is trying to help Farouk find his body. Eventually, Melanie and Ptonomy find Fukyama, but they find him in a compromised state. The Vermillions are being used both as a voice for Fukyama and the monk, who is in the room tapping into Fukyama. The conversation is about a theoretical weapon that was supposed to be developed to destroy Farouk’s body, but Fukyama states that the weapon was never built, only theorized. For some reason, Melanie comes to the conclusion that the weapon is David, although that seems like a stretch to me given the ways Fukyama spoke about the weapon. In addition, nobody seems to want David’s help, probably because he’s working with Farouk. In fact, rather than help David find the body, even with David promising to destroy it, the monk chooses to jump off the roof rather than assist. The final scene has David finally finding Syd on the rooftop, and he enters her maze to find what appears to be a blizzard.
What Just Happened?
Just a few parting thoughts:
- Thanks to the mind-meld, David should be able to find Farouk’s body. How many valleys in the world have recently turned into deserts, right?
- In the scene where we see the Shadow King defeated by David’s father, the reflection in his glasses show a cartoon figure that is much more akin to the comics version of the character in one lens, and a bald psychic in the other. For the sake of those of you who are strictly show fans, I’ll refrain from naming said psychic, as I have been thus far, but I’ll continue to track the trail of breadcrumbs.
- Near the beginning of the episode, we see a dark creature hatch from an egg, similar to the “idea” that hatched last episode. The creature then embeds itself in Ptonomy. This occurs prior to the outbreak, so it remains unclear what the nature of the idea is but keep an eye on our eidetic friend.
- Let’s talk about the cow in the lab. Last week I posited the very out-there theory of potential Phoenix involvement. This time around, I’d like to posit another outlandish theory. Perhaps the cow is linked to the handful of Skrulls that were tricked into living as cows in the Fantastic Four Google skrull cows for more information. This scenario is highly unlikely, but with the offhand mention of the Shi’ar last week, my conspiracy radar is fully activated.
Final Thought: I am loving every second of this season. If you have crazy conspiracies to share, or any philosophical observations, or really anything at all, please share in the comments! This series is simply too complex to not be sparking deep conversations among fans.
Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)