Legion: 2.08 Chapter 16
This episode had a lot of elements coming together getting everyone heading in the right direction for the final showdown. In some cases literally. Ptonomy was indeed still alive, in a sense, inside the machine mind of Fukuyama. Wandering the digital corridors we caught glimpses of the admiral's somewhat tragic backstory, making it even more unfortunate that they all suspected him a monster last episode.
In a interesting turn, it seems the head of the mutant-hunting Division 3 is in fact a mutant himself. As a young man he was recruited out of college specifically because his ability to heal meant he was the only man who could survive the surgical procedures needed to create the perfect machine mind, one that couldn't be read by psychics. Fukuyama was used as a tool against his own kind with promises that he was doing his bit against the “bad” mutants. Now I feel really sorry for the poor basket case.
Crucially though, inside the network Ptonomy also found a remnant of the mad monk, being as he was connected to Fukuyama and his Vermillion briefly before he killed himself. It's through this that Ptonomy found the true location of Farouk's body. If only he could find a way to communicate this info to his friends.
Taking control of one of the Vermillion, Ptonomy was able to do just that and managed to tell David exactly where Farouk's body lay whilst simultaneously letting him know he was still alive in the system somewhere.
Unfortunately no time was really dedicated to trying to understand Ptonomy's new situation as about the same time all this was happening, Farouk was learning the location of his body too from someone involved in hiding it away all those years ago. A neat little reference to “The Professor” didn't go unnoticed as Farouk offered the old dear the gift of an unending dream state, presumably a peaceful form of death where her conscience was elevated by his astral powers, all in exchange for the location. Once he had it, the race was on. But of course in typical Legion style, it wasn't that simple.
David needed a plan to defeat Farouk, but how do you concoct a plan to defeat someone that can read minds? Legion's answer? Well when is a plan not a plan? When it's subliminal of course. David, who presumably is the only one who can shield his mind from Farouk right now, came up with his plan and inserted into the minds of the Division 3 team as if he was Leonardo DiCaprio incepting these ideas into their deepest subconscious. So they knew his plan, were compelled to carry it out, even if they didn't consciously know it.
The first step seemed to involve freeing Lenny, who made her escape on motorcycle from the Division 3 facility. Exactly to what end we're yet to find out. Besides the brief flashes of David's plans we got to see this episode we don't know exactly what he had in mind. But it seems that Lenny may just be the catalyst to Farouk's demise, which would be beautifully poetic.
As Oliver and Farouk made their way across the desert to the location of the latter's body, David set off alone to try find it first only for Syd to parachute in and join him, not wanting her man to leave her behind. The fact that earlier Clark had mentioned an incident with a chute not opening, ending to the death of someone he cared for, made me wonder if David's subliminal planning went even deeper than I had initially thought. Did David plant that story in Clark's head so he would tell Syd to give her the idea to drop in on David? Perhaps I'm overthinking it. Or perhaps David himself miscalculated, as he was soon to discover the desert, “Le Desole” was had more to it than met the eye.
Whilst Oliver and Farouk crossed it via rickshaw, being pulled I can only presume by some poor schmuck Farouk had mentally enslaved, Farouk hinted that there was something about this place that needed special knowledge to traverse, something David lacked. And sure enough David and Syd found themselves trapped in what I can only describe as some kind of time loop, finding a pair of huddled skeletons that seem to be their own, an omen that they'd never make it out of this place.
Perhaps the clue lay in the place's name. Le Desole in French, Farouk's preferred tongue after English, literally means The Desolation, an apt name for a desert. But “I'm sorry” in French is Juis suis désolé, literally I am desolated. Perhaps to escape, one must overcome their fears or regrets? It seems in keeping with Legion 's themes of psychological exploration. With the revelation that Farouk may have thrown one last wrench into David's plan by taking over Melanie through Oliver's latent connection to her, it seems as though its the end of the line for David and Syd, unless of course his ace in the hole Lenny somehow manages to trigger some kind of chain of events that saves them. We'll have to see how deep David's plan actually goes I guess.
With only three episodes to go and with all the main characters seemingly heading towards the a single location and crucially, a single moment that is so important to the future, Legion seems to be lining up all the pieces for its finale like an elaborate domino chain. I just can't see the pattern yet. It can get frustrating but thankfully Legion is still entertaining and twisty enough to keep me hooked.
With it's little psychological aside this episode getting all Black Mirror on us, warning the misuse of technology can create caves – a more philosophical term for what we now might term an echo chamber – that convinces us of the most dangerous illusion of us all, that other people don't matter, I'm left wondering exactly what Noah Hawley wants us to take from Legion thematically. Perhaps that we shouldn't succumb to delusions of our own importance and realise we're all part of this great story together? That people should remember there's always a human on the other end of any exchange,despite what you might feel? That perhaps we should look out for one another? It's a beautiful idea.
If only Legion wasn't quite so perplexing in this, as a message such as that doesn't necessarily need 15 layers for it to be appreciated. If indeed that is what the message was at all.