It’s time for David and Amahl Farouk to finally have a face-to-face conversation.
The episode begins with Lenny, Oliver, and David on the psychic plane that’s now a carousel ride. Lenny reminds David of the time they got high, and David asks if this is indeed Lenny. The same one who couldn’t stand the word nipples. To Oliver, bodies and minds don’t matter. Lenny is whoever she needs to be at the moment.
David tells Oliver and Lenny about what Future Syd on helping Farouk finding his body. He’ll help, but no one can get hurt in the process.
Oliver then meets with an associate in an open field and tells them that David agreed, so they will proceed tonight. The associate, who turns out to also be Oliver, stares into the crystal ball.
The hunt for Farouk’s body begins. As night falls, David, Syd, and Ptonomy go for a ride with Division Three and Admiral Fukuyama’s associates. David tells Ptonomy that the Admiral wants Oliver dead when found, so the mutants will have to find him first. Fukuyama’s associates, by the way, go by Vermillion, and aren’t mutants, but synthetic androids.
They made Ptonomy at nervous, but now he finds them soothing. They have data on him, but not memories. No one knows how many there are, though.
David calls the truck to a stop. Everyone heads to a similar fortune teller stand to the one where Oliver was, but this time, they find not a body or even a crystal ball, but a music box with a dancing ballerina inside. As the episode gives us a brief flashback to Syd’s youth, she realizes that the parasite is messing with her head.
Then we enter a jazzy sequence of Lenny and Oliver raining hell upon everyone in Division Three. When three children approach, Oliver tells them to run away.
Cary, meanwhile, examines the orb- which is apparently advanced, but not Shi’ar- when it suddenly short circuits. All while blissfully unaware of what’s happening.
While Melanie sleeps, Oliver happens upon a room housing all of those infected by the parasite. And we get a brief glimpse of the actual Amahl Farouk, more on him later.
Soon enough, Cary stumbles upon Oliver in a hallway. He asks if Cary can hear him, but Oliver soon invades Cary’s mind, forcing Kerry out. But before Kerry can do any damage, Cary is dragged to the floor beneath him. From the darkness, Lenny approaches him and flicks the spoon Cary uses as his weak defense.
While Kerry freezes in place, Oliver grows in size and looms over Kerry, who soon collapses.
The cavalry soon arrives as David, Syd, and Ptonomy return to Division Three. After locating Kerry, they head to Cary and find that the two are suddenly unable to merge. David, meanwhile, can’t sense either Oliver or Lenny.
When Cary and Kerry finally merge, it backfires, with one of Cary’s arms sticking out of Kerry’s chest. Don’t you hate when that happens?
Melanie, blissfully unaware, continues to toke up and drift in her dreams, where Oliver asks about a particular monk of the Migo Order. She finally awakens and, along with David and Syd, speaks with Fukuyama about Oliver’s location and Farouk’s body. She tells them that they’re searching for a monk who is a member of the Migo Order, a member whom Oliver believes is hiding at Division Three.
Many years ago, the monks of the Migo Order were wiped out by the Miser Sunday. When Farouk was defeated, his mind was separated from his body, which was hidden away by the monks. So if Farouk was looking for his body, one of the monks would know the location. However, the Vermillion believe David is lying to them, given that he led them from the building while the Shadow King caused havoc in the building.
Why? Because he’s possibly working in conjunction with Farouk. Syd doesn’t believe this, while Melanie warns the Vermillion against pissing off their only hope of killing the monster.
Later, while David examines the damage at Division Three, he remembers that he told Lenny and Oliver that no one was to be hurt. Funny how that turned out. As David continues to examine, he’s unaware that Fukuyama is keeping a close eye on him…
He soon goes to Kerry and tells her that he needs more help finding Farouk. But Kerry isn’t the scientist. Inside David’s mind, he tells himself that he should talk to Syd. If Kerry modifies the tank, David might be able to find a way outside of space and time to see the future. Multidimensional perception, basically. Cary believes this is too dangerous and David could explode, so let’s at least avoid that.
Back into the chamber David goes. But since Kerry’s no scientist, she fiddles with every single cord, plug, and knob that she can.
It finally works, with Cary guiding Kerry through the process. Space and time begin to blur until David finds himself in a darkened room. He soon finds himself face-to-face with Future Syd, as he realizes that the plan finally worked. He asks if she’s real, and she responds that it’s not possible for him to be here. But then, he had to see her again to understand. He tells her that he helped Lenny and Oliver, which led to disaster.
Syd, though, never thought she would see David again like this. David asks if he’s dead in the future, but it’s complicated. David feels a searing pain when he tries to read her mind, but that won’t work since he’s from the future. He believes that Syd came to him because of love. They trust each other, but what Syd is asking- to help Farouk- David has to know why.
Syd says that it started like any other idea, as an egg. The few left went into hiding, but they don’t have long. It’s coming. But not Farouk. He’s dead, as David killed him in her timeline, in about a week from now by bashing his brains in the desert. But he’s needed when things turn. David notes how different Syd is, but time does that to people. Syd, though, sees that David is just as he was in the past- sweet.
The portal behind Syd opens and it’s time for her to go. David asks if he’ll see her again, but she brought him here. So if that’s the case, he asks if she wants to see him again in this state. For that, she gives no response.
In the present, David awakens in the chamber.
Time for Chapter 4: Umwelt. Jon Hamm speaks of a wise man once said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” For the tick, reality is a product of temperature and butyric acid. Its perception of the world is its reality. The bloodhound has 200 million scent receptors. Its perception of the world is based fundamentally on smell. A dog doesn’t reason.
A tick never thinks about the universe in any way separate from its biological interactions with the universe.
Human beings, though, are different. Imagine a boy who, from a young age, is taught wrong. To visualize this, we see Oliver teaching a young boy that red is green, while green means red. Humans are the only ones who form ideas about their world. We perceive it through our minds instead of our bodies. We must agree on what is real.
And Oliver takes the boy to an intersection, telling him that red means stop, while green means go. But since the boy has been taught that green means red, when the traffic light turns red, he interprets that as walk. So it’s no surprise when he’s suddenly struck by a car…
Because of this, as Jon Hamm continues, humans are the only kind on Earth that go mad.
Back at Division Three, Clark meets up with David and the two reconvene at the diner. Clark wonders if David was lying about Farouk’s location as a distraction, given that 11 soldiers are now dead. To explain that, David would need to explain telepathy. David tells Clark that Farouk hides. Not just in Oliver’s mind, but Lenny, too. And when Farouk realizes that Davis is looking, he hides inside of someone’s mind.
So Clark believes that if this is the case, David is all but useless, but he does ask if he knows about collusion. This angers David, but Clark isn’t worried. He believes that David is lying to him and wants to protect Farouk, but can’t put his finger on the why. After all, David said that he saw Farouk in the desert, but he supposedly doesn’t know what Farouk looks like.
David just wants to do his job, and he assures Clark that this will be over soon. Even if that’s the case, Clark reminds David that they see everything.
When David is alone, he tells himself to be strong and no one else will get hurt. He begins to focus and calls out to Amahl Farouk, as it’s time for them to talk.
He winds up in that same open field when a bell rings. As David approaches and stares into the fortune teller’s crystal ball, he has a seat and rings the bell. And it’s here that he comes face to face with the Amahl Farouk himself, played by Navid Negahban. And he hears everything. Or perhaps he just read David’s mind. He tells David that the mind is a muscle and he has to work on it so it will become stronger.
He also tells David that he decides what is real and what isn’t, as the world is one giant stage and David is the star. David should move from the kiddie table and play with the big boys. It’s all about respect, as Farouk tells David that the two of them are gods. As John Lennon said, bigger than Jesus. Farouk asks why David looks so sad, but David figures that Farouk could just read his mind.
Farouk senses David’s anger, but now is the time to figure out if David is angry at Farouk or himself. So it’s time for the two to dance.
And they do, in a sparring match. Farouk feels David’s strength, but he tells David that he’s playing the wrong game. Suddenly, Farouk is dressed as a samurai, while David arms himself in a tank. David again promises to help Farouk, but no more violence.
Back in the astral plane, Farouk tells David that he doesn’t want his trust, but respect. He is the sun and moon, after all. And if David helps Farouk find his body, Farouk will be in his debt. And debt must be honored. David doesn’t want any more killing. Farouk eventually promises. David will find Farouk’s monk if he is indeed at Division Three. Farouk, meanwhile, is to wait for David’s signal. With that, David leaves.
But we’re not done here yet. Lenny pops up and figures that since Farouk is talking face to face with David, maybe she can go back to her life. Farouk reminds Lenny that she’s dead, but Lenny knows that Farouk could always make her a new one. After all, Farouk got what he wanted out of her. He can keep Oliver and she’ll sneak out the back door.
As for whether Lenny gets to eventually leave, Farouk takes her to an empty void and asks what she would do in her new body. Lenny would live the living shit out of it…but then what? She’d just die again. And then what?
Back to Kerry, who is sweating up a storm as she asks Cary to speak louder. He proposes an idea, though Kerry is hesitant and wants a different way. She wants Cary to be able to get out, yes, so she finally starts singing what turns out to be part of The Tra La La Song, which you might remember from The Banana Splits.
The episode flashes back to a young Cary and Kerry, and then older Cary but just younger Kerry, watching television and hearing that same song.
Soon enough, Cary re-emerges and notes that there’s not much room anymore for them to merge. Kerry wants him to fix it fast, saying she doesn’t like being out and around like this. For the time being, this will have to do. And then Cary sees white streaks in Kerry’s hair.
Melanie tells David- who is focusing more on his talk with Farouk- about Oliver’s dream of building a home for people like them, which eventually became Summerland. She, though, didn’t have a dream. She was so busy trying to keep his dream alive that she never got to have one of her own.
But now she’s older and doesn’t get a second chance. She tells David that she was wrong about his ability being a gift. It’s an obstacle to happiness and intimacy. Her advice is David should leave and take Syd with him so they can live their lives in some semblance of happiness.
As for saving the world, Melanie is adamant that the world will be just fine. Things might get worse for awhile and people may die, but we all die eventually. The real tragedy is forgetting to live. Again, she warns David to save himself while he still can.
David finds Syd on Division Three’s rooftop, but it turns out that she’s swapped places with her cat again. So David goes to the cat…er, Syd, and tells her that he’s questioning himself, as well as that she told him about the future. Well, the future her, who turns out to be the one who took him in the orb. She told him to help Farouk find his body.
Syd, finally back in her own skin, questions whether it was really her, but she’s not calling David crazy.
She asks when in the future she told this to Syd, but David doesn’t know. More than that, she doesn’t know why she would ask him to help Farouk. Could it be because of the plague? David’s still shaky on what he can and can’t say, but Syd brings up the music box, as it was hers as a kid. That was Farouk’s doing, and she sure as hell didn’t like seeing that again.
Syd tells David that if her future self said to help Farouk, then he should do it. Like David said, reality is a choice. And they start by finding the monk.
And the monk turns out to be right under their noses, as he stands among the infected individuals right in Division Three…
Oliver said to David in the first season that nothing is ever real, and that’s a constant with Legion. The race for the Shadow King’s body continues as David engages in a wary alliance with Amahl Farouk, but this deal proves deadly and has many around him wondering if he’s being honest. With David being the show’s unreliable narrator, it’s hard to tell whether he’s being upfront or keeping secrets.
We as an audience know that he’s working with the Shadow King, but taking Clark and other members of Division Three out to an open spot just at the same time as Lenny and Oliver cause mayhem at Division Three is an odd sort of coincidence. And because David isn’t transparent about everything, it’s not impossible that he’d be lying about this, too. This could create even more friction between Division Three and the mutants.
But David has his reasons, as he’s trying to fulfill Future Syd’s request. However, we’re not entirely clear on that, either. We know that David at some point kills the Shadow King, but now Farouk is needed for something else. If David is this all-powerful mutant, surely he would suffice instead of Farouk. Makes me wonder if this Syd has another reason for wanting Farouk alive again.
As for Farouk himself, Navid Negahban made a strong first impression in his interactions with David and Lenny. Like Lenny was last season, Farouk is that devil on your shoulder trying to tempt David into tapping into his full potential. He’s like Satan tempting Christ in the desert. But instead of telling David to turn stones into bread or promising kingdoms in exchange for worship, Farouk wants David to grow.
He tells David that a muscle as powerful as the mind must be trained if David is to leave the kids’ table and be with the adults. As Melanie said last season, David is a world-breaker, and Farouk knows this. The world is merely a canvas for mutants as powerful as Farouk and David. Though Farouk isn’t telling David to use his powers for evil, he does at least want David to grow stronger.
And it helps that they’re both powerful telepaths. Imagine what they could do to the world. As Jon Hamm says in narration, humans perceive the world through their minds instead of their bodies, which is why they go mad. So mutants like David and Farouk could probably form the world into whatever they wanted to and treat it like their playground, like in Lenny’s dance number from last season.
Great as it was to see the two face off, I’m very interested in what kind of debt Farouk would owe David if he’s rejoined with his body. Perhaps he helps David tap into his potential against his will? Not sure, but it’s interesting to contemplate.
It’s also nice to see that, while Lenny is having fun running rampant, she’s just as much of a prisoner as Oliver is. Great as Aubrey Plaza is as this psychotic character, there’s an added layer of tragedy when she laments all that she’s missed by not being alive. But what would her purpose be? Farouk seems to brush her off, knowing that little would come of her being given back her life.
She’d just die again, no matter how she was reborn. So why even entertain the notion of giving Lenny back her life? He can just keep her and Oliver as puppets. Now sure, Farouk could give Lenny another life, but I imagine he still has use of her. Plus, that means more of Aubrey Plaza for us to enjoy. But right now, she’s a servant who may never get another chance at true happiness.
Kind of like Melanie, and Jean Smart is again at showing us how disillusioned and cynical Melanie has become as of recent. She’s not too far gone, but it almost feels like she’s on the verge of giving up. She doubles back on calling David’s powers a gift, saying that they’re an obstacle to happiness. Very similar to Syd’s inability to touch people, David’s powers keep him from real intimacy.
But Melanie wasn’t the one who started the Summerland idea. It wasn’t her dream. In fact, it’s hard to say just what her dream was, and to her, she’s past the point of being able to live it. She’s watched the world pass her by while spending her life trying to help mutants like David. But not because it was her option- she was helping Oliver achieve his dream.
I think one of the most poignant lines Melanie says is that while everyone dies eventually, the real tragedy is forgetting how to live. We become so consumed with goals and obligations that we forget to enjoy life while we’re still on Earth, because none of us knows when our time will end. I’m sure the soldiers killed by Lenny and Oliver didn’t expect to be killed that night, for example.
Mutants spend their lives running, fighting, or in most extreme cases, hiding in the shadows. They often don’t get to have any semblance of a normal life. Or if they do, it’s plagued by suffering and eventual death, as we’ve seen other recent X-Men related adaptations like The Gifted and especially Logan.
Going off on a brief X-Men tangent, by the way, and as a way to transition onto my next topic, it was a nice surprise to hear Cary use the term Shi’ar when discussing the orb. In Marvel Comics lore, the Shi’ar are an advanced alien civilization. Sure, it’s a one-off reference, but it’s a nod that I very much appreciate, even if there’s no follow-up on the name-drop. Here’s hoping we get more of the Shi’ar in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
But onto Cary and Kerry, their symbiotic bond has always fascinated me and seeing them in this perplexing situation after Farouk screwed with their abilities so they could not recombine. For so long, Cary has been the one on the outside, so seeing Kerry in control, but also her expressing her nervousness about being in the open, is an interesting angle that I imagine we’ll get more of that for now since they can’t rejoin.
Side-note, with Kerry having the white streaks in her hair, perhaps she should talk to Rogue for advice. Just a thought.
This was another very impressive looking episode of Legion. Ana Lily Amirpour directed a stellar installment that had one creative sequence after another, the strongest of them, for my money, being Oliver and Lenny having their fun in Division Three.
The cinematography and direction remain as strong as ever, but it’s interesting to note the shift in colors. Season One had a strong use of red, mostly when dealing with the Devil with Yellow Eyes. Coincidentally, Vermillion, the name for the Admiral’s messengers, is also a shade of red. This season, though, there’s been a lot of blue hues.
Lot of purples, too, whether when David ended up in the future or the color of the portal behind Future Syd.
So the race for the Shadow King’s body is escalating, but he’s still stirring division and strong emotions among the mutants and Division Three. Clark is still wary of David, and Syd had a strong response to seeing the music box from her past. What does it represent? And why that memory specifically? And how long until everyone realizes that the monk they’re looking for is right under their noses?
Very strong episode. The wait between now and the next episode of Legion is always agonizing, but worth it. See you all next time for Chapter 11.