Legion: 2.11 Chapter 19
Well now that I’ve seen the second part of Legion’s finale, I’m not sure seeing them together would have worked as one feature length. The true finale to season two, it felt so firmly structured that I’m not sure having it come after last week’s baffle-fest would have done it any favours. Instead what we got was a shorter, leaner finale that played with expectations. And once again left me wanting more.
David and Farouk opened the episode with an almighty psychic battle, something akin to a psychedelic rock music video with avatars in the sky overhead battling it out, all whilst treating us to a cover of Behind Blue Eyes, sang by David himself no less. In any other show this would have occurred at the end of the finale, the big final battle between good and evil. But Legion has been building up to a very different ending, one that eschewed the tropes of even a mutant powered slug fest of the mind for one about betrayal and moral panic. Those little psychology lessons that intermittently pop up voiced by Jon Hamm? They were all leading towards this.
Knowing all too well that Farouk would try to dispose of The Choke, David had specifically set up Lenny with that rifle with the sole purpose of triggering it. Her role in all this finally revealed Lenny took the shot, a bullet ringing The Choke and nullifying both David and Farouk’s powers, albeit temporarily. That was all David needed as the younger and certainly angrier man took to beating Amahl Farouk into a bloody pulp with his fists. David’s endgame seemed to have been to manoeuvre them into this exact scenario, one where he could take Farouk out on his own terms. Unfortunately for him, Farouk is a master of cosmic 3-dimensional chess and had put into place his own little plan which would play out over the remainder of the episode. David may have won the battle, but Farouk planned to win the war.
Confronting David over his turning to the “dark side” and his (potential) destruction of the world in the future, Syd was this close to shooting her man when Lenny tried to eliminate her, accidentally shooting Syd’s bullet out of the air instead, as you do. Whilst unconscious from the force, or perhaps shock, of what happened David was faced with other versions of himself in his own mind. Versions that sought to make him turn away from his friends, from Syd and away from the very idea of being a good guy. Though he seemed to hold them at bay at first for lack of a better term, David almost immediately set about doing some realyl heinous shit.
It may not have been as bad as what Farouk has done, it may not have been “world ending” but it was still a betrayal of trust, an abuse of power and David’s first real steps to becoming the villain in his own story. Before Syd could wake, David suppressed her memories of finding out about him and his seemingly true nature, turning her back into the woman that loved him. Later, he promised to run away with her once Farouk’s trial was concluded and had sex with her, mentally projecting himself directly into her room instead of taking them both into their usual white room safe sex space.
Make no mistake reader, Syd’s reaction to David’s “truth” may not be based on the hardest of evidence and I would even suggest persecuting a mentally ill man for crimes he hasn’t yet committed on the word of the known criminal, murderer and abuser who lived inside this man's head for the first 30 years of his life to be totally bogus way of handling things. But that doesn’t excuse what David did. He used his powers to change her mind and in doing so, had sex with her. He took away her ability to give informed consent. He raped her.
I’ve seen many people calling Syd a hypocrite over her part in Division 3 turning on David, her own analogous use of her powers with her mother’s boyfriend all those years ago, but in truth, no one was coming out of this well. After Farouk was symbolically but also literally crowned with a device that suppressed his powers, confining him to his own head, Farouk was last seen sauntering into the trial room at Division 3, not as the accused, but as a witness to David’s crimes. Lost the battle, to win the war. Division 3 was now his kingdom.
With Cary having digitally pieced together the scene of David’s betrayal of Syd from sensor data of their encounter with Farouk, to Fukuyama monitoring Syd whilst David made his psychic moves on her, it seemed Division 3 had all the evidence against him they needed. Trapping him in an energy sphere, David was offered the choice of undergoing pharmacological treatment for his psychosis or face death. Backed into a corner David, egged on by his alter egos, simply shrugged off any sense of decorum and firmly reminded everyone that if he really wanted to he could do literally anything and they couldn’t stop him. Teleporting away with only a tiny modicum of effort, he snatched up Lenny from her cell and together they were gone, leaving Division 3 to face what they had done. David after 2 seasons, had finally reached his potential. He had finally become Legion.
The exact future they had been working to prevent, where David killed Farouk and destroyed the world as they knew it was averted but instead they were faced with a world with David freed from all social restraint, a world where they may even have to follow Future Syd’s thread and utilise Farouk of all people to stop him.
In season three it seems David may well be the villain of the story with Farouk on the side of angels, even if they still have good in them and are evil on the inside respectively. Many shows turn their basic premise on its head to keep a show fresh, but seeing as obvious as it it now that this has all been leading to this, I have to applaud Noah Hawley.
Using science fiction to tell the story of the rise and fall of a man with mental health issues, the questions left behind by those who knew him as well as gaslighting, mass hysteria and even the subject of super-powered date rape is the kind of thing that makes Legion not just another comic book TV show for sure. Now comes the agonising wait to season three, during which I will be trying to get anyone I can to watch Legion so I have people to talk to it about.