Legion: 2.02 Chapter 10
So it seems my assessment of what was going on at the end of last week's episode was wrong. The thing that I assumed was meant to undercut the premise of the message from Future Syd was indeed meant to do that, just in a wholly different way to that which I inferred. And I'm not even mad. Such is the twisty nature of Legion as a show. The Tenth chapter in this saga delved deeper into the implications of that message and its true meaning, all the while finding new ways to explore characters just when you'd thought they've done everything they could with them.
In studying the orb that abducted David, Cary commented how its design felt familiar, something that he might have built even. A cute nod to the fact that it is most certainly one of his designs in the future and that the message from the future was definitely real. References to the Shi'ar alien race from the X-Men comics are casually dropped like it's no big thing before David attempted to further communicate with Future Syd and get some context on her message.
We soon see that David had taken took the message seriously, to the point of agreeing to work with the Shadow King to help him find his body. But after luring the gang away from the Division 3 base to allow Farouk to do whatever he needed , a remorseful David was left dealing with the ramifications of Lenny/Oliver/Farouk's attack which killed several staff, turned others into animals (for real) and left Cary & Kerry totally messed up, causing Cary to get trapped in Kerry's body, the inverse to their usual arrangement. David needed to know if he was justified in his duplicity.
With the help of Kerry, channeling Cary, David was able to reach into the future and speak to Future Syd once again, only for the mystery of exactly what she was trying to warn him of to deepen. The immediate fates of certain characters revealed, Future Syd carefully tiptoed around the fate of David himself, something he seemed eager to leave unanswered for fear of finding out about his own possible end. But with Syd's admission that she hadn't seen David “like this” for some time I was left thinking “what if?”.
What if the growing suspicion from his contemporaries about his – very real – collusion with Farouk was too much for David? What if the ever present symbolism of the black creature hatched from the diseased egg, seemingly this season's Devil with Yellow Eyes, is a sign of David's loosening grip on reality. What if it's David's fate to cause so much death and despair in the future and that Syd's message was designed to prevent that? Maybe I'm reading too much into a line but David does have multiple voices in his head all vying for position in times of stress. And the show is called Legion, in reference to those voices. Perhaps one of them isn't quite to good as David appears to be on the surface.
Galvanised in his resolve to both help the Shadow King whilst preventing any more violence, David finally confronted Ahmal Farouk, played masterfully by Navid Negahban. The two had a brilliant face off, full of all the typical symbolism we've come to expect from Legion's battles on the astral plane. But whilst their little sparring session to feel each other out was fun, it's what came next the really made me sit up.
Just when you thought the astral plane hijinks were done for this week, Lenny, the original Lenny, approached Farouk asking to be released from his mind prison. It's sometimes easy to forget that throughout all the craziness portrayed by Aubrey Plaza, that she was portraying a figurative demon wearing her face. Though reminded by Farouk that her original body is gone, it's pointed out he could easily enough transfer her mind into another body or hell, even create a new one from scratch. Seeming unwilling to listen to her request for now, it was a brilliant stoke from writers Noah Hawley and Nathaniel Halpern to place this splinter in the back of the Shadow King's mind, in the form of new role for Plaza to get her teeth into. I'm intrigued to see how far Lenny is willing to go to be free.
Forgive this wrestling fan a Roddy Piper quote, but Legion is certainly living up to the words “Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions”. With more a little more learnt about Fukuyama and his android proxies, known as The Vermillion, as well as references to the battles past that lead to Farouk being separated from his body and the formal introduction of a mysterious monk who may know where that body lay, I can say easily say I am equally enthralled and beguiled as to where Legion is leading me. With the return of a certain existentially mind-bending HBO show this week, I was left contemplating which of the two I preferred. To think that a comic book show would even be in that conversation is testament to how much Hawley has elevated the genre with this show.