And now David goes on the warpath.
The episode begins with Lenny laying on a bare skin rug- surrounded by bones- in a tent while David, sporting a very comic-accurate hairstyle, sits behind her with a crystal ball as he stares at Future Syd within.
Then we cut to Syd resting at David’s side. As we flash back to her talk with Clark as they discuss David’s potential, she replays her decision to go after David in the first place. While David rests, Syd heads outside and spots what looks like a giant shower plug in the distance. Next to said plug is a massive hole.
Syd peers inside until a white rabbit on a string is flung out on a hook and string. She removes the hook from the rabbit, but as she sets the rabbit down, she’s flung down into the hole with the hook still attached.
And that’s when David finally emerges from the tent. He calls out for Syd, but gets no response. Soon enough, he finds the rabbit and massive hole.
Syd is dragged down into the depths of the labyrinth until she awakens in a room, and she’s not alone. Melanie says that the greatest threat to women has been men- they’re addicted to the delusion of love. Syd figures that Melanie is pissed because Oliver left, but that won’t be what happens to Syd. She’d prefer to leave. And treat her injured hand.
But when Syd goes through the labyrinth, she ends up in the same room. Melanie shows Syd one of the tables, which shows what’s happening above- David is searching for Syd. Melanie tells Syd that David doesn’t love her. Sure, he loves her in the same way a boy loves his mother, but he more loves the feeling of power and knowing that Syd has been chosen by God. No piece of ass can ever compete with that.
Syd figures that this is her personal Hell, but then Melanie shows Syd when she and David promised to find each other again if they were separated. Melanie then tells Syd a story: once upon a time, there was a special little boy with a gift and curse. And what was his curse? Not the monster in his head. The monster was the gift. The curse, though, is David’s insanity. It wasn’t just the devil on his shoulder.
As we see glimpses of David’s rampage from the first season, Melanie tells Syd that there’s no force on Earth that makes you enjoy doing the terrible things that people do. She shows Syd what is his true face.
Back above ground, David pushes his way through the sandstorm until he finds a rickshaw. He makes his way to a mansion and finds Oliver. He rushes in, knocks Oliver down, and forces him into a chair. He’s done listening and just wants to find Syd, but Oliver knows he can’t die because he’s part of David. To prove this, David punches Oliver and indeed sees himself.
David presses his hand to Oliver’s head and we then find ourselves in a plane with David circling a chained Oliver like a shark. He tells Oliver about what Syd said about love. David remembers what was done to him- every nightmare, the lies he told, and the drugs he was forced to tell- David is the lunatic that Farouk made him. And now David is ready for his revenge.
He pulls out a power drill and demands that Oliver tell him about Syd’s location, but Oliver won’t give it up. Okay, so Oliver gets a drill in the thigh. And then we’re in a busy intersection as David drills Oliver’s other thigh. Then we end up in the desert, but still, David won’t talk, so he goes for Oliver’s pelvis.
Melanie and Syd watch this play out, and Syd is horrified, calling this a trick. Melanie again tells Syd to look at David’s true face and asks who the true monster really is.
Then we revisit Lenny arriving in the desert as she retrieves the case from the car before it goes up in flames. She happens upon some people sitting around the hole with safes on their heads. She decides to join in and starts meditating, but then she opens the case- inside is a sniper rifle. She asks one of the meditating folks where to find a monastery, and they all point her in the right direction.
Melanie and Syd continue to watch David torture Oliver for information. Syd goes off because she can’t stand to watch, and she asks why Melanie isn’t bothered. In Melanie’s mind, this isn’t Oliver- it’s just a mask. Syd notes that Melanie doesn’t seem like herself, but Melanie’s eyes have been opened. She has something to show Syd.
It’s Future Syd, and Present Syd knows all about her. Melanie asks if Syd knows about what David does with Future Syd, and then Syd is shown the moment when David and Future Syd kissed. Syd doesn’t see it as a big deal. It is her, after all, so she shouldn’t let it bother her, though Melanie knows that it does. Syd knows that Future Syd wanted David to help Farouk find his body, but she doesn’t know why, as per what David said.
So Melanie asks if Syd wants to know the truth, and she does, so she shows her Future Syd’s conversation with Farouk, as they discuss stopping the impending end of the world, due to David’s actions. Melanie realizes that Syd won’t accept the possibility that David is a great monster who could destroy the world. How this happens, Melanie doesn’t know, but she knows he’ll become something magnificent.
He’ll become Legion: the World Killer. Melanie reminds Syd that David has seen horrible things throughout his life- things that no child should ever see. He lied, stole, and ruined things, wearing madness like a coat. He hanged himself because he saw what he became. When his life was truly over, he spent five years in Clockworks. Syd maintains that David is a good person, but she’s finding this harder to push away.
Melanie knows that David is a psychopath because the same David who promised no more secrets to Syd also tortured Oliver and kissed Lenny.
Back in the desert, Cary and Kerry lead a group of sliders through the desert, where they soon find the burned out car. Based on nearby burned clothing, Kerry senses that Lenny is close. The tracking dog follows the various safes from the folks around the hole in the ground.
But then all of those folks start crawling out of the hole. They swing their rope and balls, emitting a powerful sound that brings everyone to their knees. Kerry eventually breaks through it and starts kicking major ass just as Ocean Size by Jane’s Addiction kicks in. Nice selection. Even when she’s done, though, more crawl out.
David has still gotten nothing from Oliver, now sporting a bleeding eye. After collapsing, Oliver confesses to David that Farouk is with Syd, not here. He apologizes to David for what Farouk made him do, but David just wants to know if Syd is alive.
Melanie cradles Syd, telling her that this is the power of mind-readers: they read your mind and show what you want to see, so you can’t trust them, only yourself. The person who Syd becomes in the future, Syd has seen who David becomes. Melanie scoffs at the notion of Syd changing David, saying that killers and abusers never change. It’s not a choice- it’s just who David is. And they have to stop him.
And then the minotaur arrives. Melanie approaches the creature and tells it that she’s ready, so the two head off, leaving Syd by her lonesome.
David heads outside the monastery just as a helicopter approaches. At the same time, Clark and the Vermillion arrive in the desert and retrieve a giant tuning fork that they need to place in the highest point facing east.
Melanie orders the minotaur to kill the weak, as they’ll be leaving soon. The minotaur breaks free of its restraints. As the creature leaves, Melanie opens the nearby pod, which contains the body of Amahl Farouk. She goes in for a kiss as the sun rises. As Melanie collapses, Farouk rises from his rest.
Before Kerry can take on the last two of her opponents, they’re suddenly shot and killed from someone far off. As Cary is captured and dragged into the hole, Lenny approaches with her fancy sniper rifle. She can’t go in the hole, though. She’s been ordered to wait. Kerry, though, goes right for the jump because that’s how Kerry rolls.
Underground, Cary comes face to face with the minotaur, which devours the monk. So, Cary does the sensible thing and starts running away, going past the Vermillion in the process. They, in turn, start scaling the walls.
Cary eventually finds himself upstairs in the monastery, where he finds Oliver. David, sitting in a throne nearby, tells Cary that Oliver isn’t dead. Farouk is in another body now, maybe even his own. Cary tells David that he got his message and Lenny has the rifle, and Clark is coming with the dampener- it dampens their powers due to the frequency. When that bell rings, they just become regular people for a few minutes.
David is focused on what the Shadow King did to him and he’s still thinking about how he’s going to kill Farouk. What worries him is how good it feels.
Kerry continues searching for Cary, but finds the Vermillion shredded and malfunctioning. She eventually finds Syd, who is concerned about stopping David, saying that he’s the monster now. Perhaps he always was. The minotaur arrives, and while Kerry could do it, Syd needs to hit something. The two put up…some sort of fight, but Syd is overpowered in no time.
Outside, Clark and other Vermillion set up the dampener when Farouk himself approaches. The Vermillion realize that their chances of victory are zero percent, so they retreat…well, at least they know when they’re beaten. After dispatching of Clark and Division Three, Farouk flings the dampener far away.
The sun rises as David finds himself also above ground and ready to face Farouk.
This show certainly saved its big guns for the final few weeks. First off, it’s worth celebrating that, at the time of publishing this, Legion was, in fact, renewed by FX for a third season on last Friday. Congratulations. It’s well-deserved, especially in light of those who thought the ratings might have been a detriment. But hey, FX is a network that’s about more than ratings.
It’s how The Americans ran as long as it did. It’s how Baskets got renewed. It’s how a lot of FX programs kept going because it’s based more on critical acclaim and originality in storytelling, not just sheer numbers. So good on FX for renewing Legion. Granted, Noah Hawley will be an even busier man with Pale Blue Dot, his Doctor Doom film, and Fargo in 2020. But I imagine this show’s third season will come sooner than I think.
But let’s not dwell on the future. Let’s focus on the present. This season has gotten its share of flack for storylines that many see as filler or plot points that come off as irrelevant, but I see them as necessary because, especially now, they’re coming together towards the end as the show builds towards the confrontation between Farouk and David.
Whether it’s been Farouk getting inside Melanie’s mind, him visiting Future Syd, Clark’s warning to present Syd about David’s potential, the promise about no more secrets, David’s deception, planting the idea in Cary and Kerry’s minds, freeing Lenny, using Amy as a vessel to bring Lenny back, everything with the minotaur and monastery, it’s all been leading to this.
Before getting into the meat of the episode, it’s important again to draw attention to the person behind the camera. Dana Gonzales has normally been the director of photography for both Legion and Hawley’s other FX series, Fargo, but now he’s directing an episode and he brought his A-game to the table.
Whether it was the minotaur facing off against Syd and Kerry, the visual of the sun rising as Farouk rose, or especially the room with the glowing viewing panels, this episode had some great direction and equally fantastic cinematography.
That shot of David with his comic accurate hair and Lenny on the ground may end up being my favorite shot of this season, but I’ll need a rewatch. Plus, for such a show that feels so unlike any other comic adaptation, there are definitely cues to the source material, such as the Shi’ar reference, but I didn’t think we’d actually get David with the crazy hair. And then Hawley goes and delivers. It’s a satisfying payoff.
For most of the series, David is, for all intents and purposes, the show’s ‘hero’ by virtue of him being the protagonist that we follow, someone who is trying to do the right thing, and a mutant trying to rid himself and the world of the Shadow King. But like most mutants, that power is as much a curse as it is a blessing, and David, as has been noted, has the potential to be the most powerful mutant.
And if steered down the wrong path, such as the knowledge that the woman he loves is in danger or that his biggest threat has now reclaimed his body, could push him over the edge and turn him into the show’s villain, thus turning this into the origin story of a supervillain, not a superhero.
Now that’s not Noah Hawley suddenly doing a 180 because David has never really been presented as your traditional hero. Hell, he’s not even your traditional mutant. There’s always something to hide from others, more so this season with him learning that he has to help Farouk. People have had their suspicions, but until this point, David hasn’t give any vibe that he’ll turn into this future world killer.
As far as we’ve known. Remember the cave allegory? Consider, everyone around David knows that he’s dangerous, but not a threat. That’s how he’s presented himself to them. But when presented with the alternative- David torturing Oliver, lying and keeping secrets from Syd, his power sprees from the first season, the intense anger shown towards Farouk- it’s understandable why someone like Syd would reject that at first.
But it becomes harder to ignore when the information presented paints a less than flattering picture of your reality. Granted, much of this has to do with how deep Farouk has infiltrated Melanie and using her to sow seeds of division between Syd and David. True, there’s nothing false about what Melanie shows Syd, but in Syd’s mind, there’s no reason for her to initially accept that David is a cruel, vengeful person.
All that’s needed is the seed to be planted and from there, Farouk can present a reality where David is this world killer. And, by the way, nice to actually get the name drop of Legion when Melanie spoke about David. She did call him a world breaker last season, so this is also at least consistent with that.
So when Syd accepts that David needs to be stopped, she’s at the point where there’s no turning back from the man she loved. And I say loved instead of loves because, between all of the secrets and deception, I gather that Syd is, more than ever, questioning her love for David.
There’s a definite sadness in Rachel Keller’s performance as Syd becomes increasingly horrified at David’s actions when he tortures Oliver. Surely, this could not be the same man who tried over and over to rescue her when she had been infected. And it’s not like David is being irrational. He is very much in control, and that’s the scary thing about this. How this isn’t the Shadow King’s influence, it’s all David.
However, I do still believe that part of the Shadow King is in David. That’s a bond that, in my opinion, you can’t just sever. More than David and Farouk being so similar in power, but when David strikes Oliver and sees himself, that seems to represent that even the tiniest bit of the Shadow King will always be with David. He can fight it off and be in control, but I don’t think he’ll ever truly be rid of his demon.
And now Farouk is back in his original body, so he has no need of Oliver or Melanie, who were just pawns in his game. It is unfortunate that they were abused in this way due to Farouk’s power, and terrifying to watch David go to the extremes that he did when torturing Oliver, who Farouk had already been done with at that time. At the very least, he survived. I hope that Melanie pulls through as well.
It was nice to see Kerry getting a chance to kick ass again and equally great to see that Lenny will indeed factor into David’s plan. Even though Farouk may have his body back and seems all but unstoppable, David is on the warpath. No doubt he has a plan up his sleeve, and it remains to be seen how this will all be resolved in the season finale.
You know, Legion loves to play around with time. I’m going to make a prediction: that opening shot we got of Lenny on the bareskin rug and David on that throne with his comic accurate will be one of the final shots of Season Two, if not the final shot. I could see David standing over the dead world around him, Lenny at his side, and Syd no longer a factor in his life.
That’s a grim outlook, but nothing I wouldn’t expect from this show. Will David end up being the villain Farouk and Future Syd see him to be? We’ll find out next time for the Season Two finale of Legion. See you then.
In the meantime, here’s the preview for the season finale: