Legion: 2.10 Chapter 18
Originally season 2 of Legion was to be 10 episodes, before FX announced the season would be getting one more episode, one more chapter before it was done for the year. There was some initial confusion, as questions were asked, mostly by me, as to how could they add one more episode onto the end of a season that was already airing. But it turned out to be much simpler. The original plan was to have a feature length finale, before FX changed their mind and split it into two episodes. As such, Chapter 18 would have been the final chapter, in this season at least. Instead it is the penultimate outing into Noah Hawley's weird little world and though I haven't yet seen what will now obviously be titled Chapter 19, I feel that may have been a mistake?
See, just when I think I have a handle on Legion, they go and do... this! Ages spent wondering exactly what the Minotaur and the labyrinth might symbolise. What that giant plug hole in the desert really means. All the time I should have realised that it doesn't matter. Not to Noah Hawley. That Minotaur? It might as well be real. That hole? Of course it's an actual hole. After a year and 18 Chapter's you'd think I'd have got that by now. Not that it spoiled my enjoyment of course. It's just equal parts frustration on top of that. Not of course that there's any guarantee there will be any answers forthcoming in the finale. That might be a fool's hope.
Syd found herself getting tricked down a rabbit hole, hook, line and sinker. Literally as a rabbit on a hook was used to lure her in. But down in the depths instead of finding Amahl Farouk or the looming threat of that skull-faced Minotaur, she instead encountered an increasingly bitter and cynical Melanie, bent on convincing Syd that David was the real villain here, not Farouk. The fact that last episode showed how Farouk had managed to take control of Melanie somewhat undermined the supposed reveal that Farouk was now entirely in Melanie's head. I think it was just assumed he was in her head in some form anyway. After all, he is The Shadow King.
When David found Oliver, he took his sweet time psychically torturing him trying to get him to reveal where Syd had gone. All this was a set up by Farouk though it seems as “Melanie” used the imagery of what David was doing to Oliver to further convince Syd that David was truly lost. When it was revealed that Farouk was no longer in Oliver's head at all, Oliver simply being set up as a patsy David to find and take his anger out on, much like the previous big “reveal”, it wasn't really unexpected unfortunately. After everything Oliver has been through though, the freezing, his body being hi-jacked, the despicable acts he's been made to commit and now torture, I'm amazed he was left alive by the end of the episode. What exactly does Noah Hawley have left in store for the poor man? For now, I take solace in the fact that Oliver's plan to defeat Farouk, his hint from episode 6 may just come into play I the midst of David's crazy plan. Right?
The other characters, the one's left standing, played their role in the first part of this finale too, even if it did seem somewhat perfunctory. Lenny's weapon was just a gun, kept in a box way too small for a rifle of that size but then what did I already say about not worrying about things like that in a show like Legion. Real, metaphorical, symbolically, she was armed and ready to get her revenge of Farouk, but not before saving Kerry from a gang of... minions. (I literally have no idea what was going on with the monks that defended the hole into the underground labyrinth. That scene seemed, off. Cary was dragged down the hole but escaped long enough to find David and Oliver, confirm Oliver was still alive and bare witness to David confession of his desire to murder Farouk. It was when Kerry united with Syd at what I can only think was the heart of the labyrinth and were faced with the Minotaur that I felt we might see them carry out some act of significance. Instead their confrontation ended with an beautiful yet ambiguous shot that was likely to have been resolved within 15 minutes but will now instead have to wait until next week.
Farouk finding and re-entering his body was easily the most anticlimactic thing of this episode however. A kiss from “Melanie” to Farouk's inexplicably perfectly preserved body simply dumping his mind back in his original form, left me wholly unsatisfied in that regard. When Clark and the rest of Division 3 turned up to set up The Choke, a giant tuning forked designed to nullify mutant powers, a huge piece of the final plan to stop Farouk fell into place, only for Farouk to take them out and telekinetically hurl the damn thing over the horizon, seemingly taking it off the board completely, mocking the very idea that anything so tropey could ever be used to stop him. It was then David confronted Farouk, both free to use their full strength, with the promise of a final showdown between the two enemies.
I feel that in splitting this finale in half, relying on a cliffhanger ending and hoping that 45 minutes of set up was enough to carry over into a final episode a week later was a mistake. I'm sure we'll never truly know exactly who had how much say over the decision but I found myself wishing that they'd left the finale intact in it's original form. I guess I can only know for sure next week when season 2 concludes. I will give Legion this though, their nod to a possible future David, looking like something straight out of the comics, well that was pretty sweet.