In which David fights the future. Here we go with the Season Two finale of Legion.
The episode begins with Farouk sending the tuning fork to some random location in the desert. Then, in a climactic showdown, David and Farouk face off, singing the lyrics to “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. They meet and battle on the astral plane in the sky while conjuring up great creatures and beasts that battle in the sky.
As this takes place, Lenny takes her spot wither rifle at the ready. She takes the shot, which bounces against the tuning fork. It reverberates, rendering them both David and Farouk powerless. Lenny tokes up again while David grabs a rock and stands above Farouk.
Time for Chapter 10. We cut to three years later. Melanie and Oliver reside in the ice cube and record a video, stating that they’ve been here for quite some time. As for what happened, the world ended. Well, it’s still out there, good versus evil, but Melanie and Oliver don’t do that anymore. They were losing too much time. Their bodies are at least safe. But they can’t reveal the location, and they’re better without them.
And living in the cube is much more romantic. Each meal is a fest. And Oliver can finally share his beat poetry with someone. They do miss their friends and coworkers. What happened to Syd in particular was very sad. She was betrayed after the big fight with Farouk. Oliver then remembers helping Farouk. As does Melanie. David turned, they say, because Future Syd showed the future.
Back in the present, David beats the ever living hell out of Farouk when Syd arrives to talk…and she’s got a gun. She talks about women who married serial killers, have many kids, but the husbands keep on doing terrible things. Deep down, the women know that something’s wrong, and Syd knows it. David calls himself the good guy and Farouk the monster, but Syd disagrees. David is no hero. She thought so for awhile.
But she saw the things that David hides. And then it hit her: what if David isn’t the hero? What if he’s just another villain? The real villain? David asks if it’s because he didn’t tell the whole truth or because he left. Sure, Farouk kills people, as does David, such as at Division Three last year. She brings up how Son of Sam’s dog gave him commands, but he still pulled the trigger every time, and she’s finally seen David’s true face.
David admits again that he loves Syd, but she’s more focused on him leaving her and keeping secrets. He’s even doing it now. Maybe it’s not his fault, she says, since the Shadow King was in his head for so long. She saw what David did to Oliver and, judging from his face, saw that he liked torturing him. And that’s no ghost story. David reminds her that he’s doing what Future Syd said. How far will he go?
After all, God lives the sinners best, right? Syd tells David that this won’t work, but he still wants her to stop. He lays his cards on the table. She kidnapped him from the future, but he never asked why. It was the end of the world, but then, why would Future Syd tell him to save Farouk? Syd tells David that he’s the one who destroys the world. Did it ever occur to David that he’s the problem, not the solution?
In Future Syd’s timeline, David killed Farouk, so Future Syd tricked David into helping his enemy. Yes, it’s cold to do that to someone who you used to love. David asks Syd if she trusts him, and maybe she just trusts herself more. David believes that Syd is being tricked and pleads with Syd to stop, saying that he knows her. Still, Syd tells David that he’s not the hero. She is. With that, she fires.
Then David awakens in his childhood bedroom. On television, Jon Hamm’s lessons play as another David- Divad- appears and tells his counterpart that a delusion starts like any other idea- an egg. David says that everyone didn’t know about his true potential, but then Syd came and now he knows that he’s special. An omega level mutant. He’s the one who saves everybody. Farouk is the devil, but Syd can’t see that.
But David isn’t calling himself a saint. He’s trying to help people. Again, Divad reminds David that delusions tart as eggs, and his egg hatches. Then Divad explains David’s delusion as we’re then taken back to the pilot as David and Lenny observe a timid Syd making her way around Clockworks.
That’s how the delusion was born. Then Past David’s in a wheelchair as he calls himself a good person who deserves love. But Divad tells David that Syd didn’t make him good.
Back in the bedroom, Divad asks if God really loves David. And then there’s David 3- DVD- who tells David that he’s the only god. He demands that David stop making everyone else right. The world owes him. He was abandoned by his parents and a demon was planted in his head. People called him disgusting, but they’re afraid David will realize his potential. The people, Syd included, are sick. Syd is a delusion.
David tells DVD that he and Syd are in love. But if their love is real, why did Syd just shoot him? Fair enough.
Back in the desert, Lenny’s off of her high and looks through her scope. She sees Syd pointing her gun at David. Just as Syd fires, Lenny fires her own bullet. The bullets collide and the explosion sends David and Syd in opposite directions, knocking them unconscious.
Now Lenny goes on the run, but she’s quickly cornered by Division Three personnel and the Admiral.
Meanwhile, in the mind, Divad and DVD tell David that they know what must be done, and he must say it.
When David awakens in the desert, he goes over to Syd’s body just as Farouk also awakens. Before he can do anything, he’s surrounded by the Vermillion, the Admiral, and Clark places a device on his head that renders him powerless. David revives Syd, telling her that she had a bad dream, while Farouk is hauled off. The Shadow King will be given a trial and David is expected to testify.
As for Lenny, she tells David that she’s headed to the electric chair. Though David tells her that God has plans for her, Lenny doesn’t believe in God. But David knows that Lenny does.
With Farouk now in Division Three, everyone returns to Division Three, and Clark wants to run a scan on Syd, but she just needs some sleep. Alone. Then, we get a montage of David and Syd in their respective rooms while “Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl” by The Kinks plays. Again, Legion is killing it with the musical selections.
Then Divad and DVD remind David that this isn’t the plan. His trick on Syd can’t last, and David just wants time for Syd to remember what they have. Plus, he still plans to finish off Farouk, so he tells Divad and DVD to leave so he can think. With that, they vanish.
In her room, Syd rests on a rug and David appears to her through a projection. His body is still in his room, and they don’t need the white room to have physical contact anymore. So they kiss and declare their love for one another, and then David asks Syd to run away with him. They should find a cabin by the lake, get a dog, some chickens, and start a farm. All after the business with Farouk is done.
Syd notes how different David seems, but maybe it’s her. After all they’ve endured, but they’re together now. David tells Syd that it’s all over and they won. Things then get hot and heavy…
In his own room, a projection of David leaves while the physical form continues to focus. The projection goes to Farouk’s cell to taunt him about his loss, but Farouk knows he won’t be killed. He’s far too valuable. Instead, he’ll be put deep in a basement, though David is confident that Farouk will die because if Division Three doesn’t, David will. Farouk reminds David that he tried that once, and yet Farouk still stands.
Farouk tells David that he misses coffee after being locked away in that coffin. He asks David to bring him a cup, and it’s just the last request of a dying man. David won’t fall for the sympathetic trap, though Farouk asks if it’s working. David tells Farouk that he’s leaving and he’s here to say goodbye. With that, the projection vanishes.
Farouk then tells David that what he’s doing to Syd is sick. This gets David to reappear as Farouk says that he saw her on the hill, suppressing her memory and tricking David into loving her again. All to control her. Farouk tells David that he can’t make someone love him, as he tried with David since he was a baby.
David tells Farouk that he makes him feel physically sick, and Farouk wants David to remember that feeling, because he’ll soon see that look in Syd’s eyes when she looks at him. And, of course, the Admiral is watching this all play out, including what looks like Syd making love to nobody.
While Cary works on reconstructing what happened on the hill through some sensor data, Kerry tells him that she’s the one who cut off the minotaur’s head. Of course she did. Then Cary stumbles upon when David revived Syd…
Back in his cell, Farouk meditates as a rodent soon makes its way into the room. He whispers some words to the rat and sends it on its way.
The rodent soon makes its way to Syd’s room, just as David’s projection leaves, and whispers into her ear.
Chapter 12: Trial of the Shadow King. We’re treated to some text scenarios, but no Jon Hamm: in the end, what is the sound of truth? Waves on a beach, the laugh of a child, or maybe there are competing truths? The truth of the mind, of the heart? If all the apples are bruised, then it is unbruised apple is bad, the sane man who’s crazy. For what is normal that upon which nine wise men can agree, leaving the tenth to hang?
In the old days, not so long ago, Cary tells us of mad men packed onto boats and shipped off to sea. They were searching for their lost sanity. These boats were called the Ship of Fools. For a long time, we thought that we were the sane ones on dry land, but what if we’re not? What if so much time has passed that we’ve forgotten the truth, that we are, in fact, the fools, afloat on an endless sea, pretending to be normal?
Time for Farouk’s trial. A jovial arrives in the room, where Clark thanks him for saving everybody. However, before Farouk arrives, Clark has a few questions. David looks over and sees Cary and Syd talking among themselves. He senses something is amiss, but before he can do anything, Cary traps him inside of a force field.
Then Farouk arrives as David tries to force himself out of the bubble, but he can’t. Syd tells David that they’re trying to help him, but his treachery has been made known. Everyone knows about his future betrayal, thanks to Future Syd and the Shadow King, but David doesn’t see the need in being put on trial for crimes he might commit.
He calms down and believes this is Farouk’s doing, but Farouk calls David the sweet boy undone by revenge. It fills his heart with sorrow. Syd knows how hard this was for David, what Farouk did, the life that he lived, but the truth is that they’re both ill. Divad and DVD appear outside the bubble and tell David again that the people around him are afraid.
David tries to think. He asks whether these future crimes are even committed by him, calling it a mass psychosis, but everyone wants to help with medicine and therapy. He’ll either receive treatment or be terminated. He wants to hear Syd say that he’ll be killed if he doesn’t comply. She approaches the bubble and tells David that he drugged and had sex with her.
For once, David is at a loss for words with how he used Syd. He again calls himself a good person who deserves love. He repeats this over and over, but then tells everyone that he’s done. He focuses his energy just as the gas is activated inside the force field. The field should hold, but it eventually shatters.
David is suddenly free from his prison. He teleports himself into Lenny’s cell, releases her from her chains, and offers her the opportunity to join him. As for Syd, there ain’t no blondie no more. They vanish just as Division Three soldiers open fire.
As Syd and Clark enter, they realize that their only option left is to pray as the second season of Legion comes to a close.
So much to unpack in this finale. Legion, as you know, isn’t your traditional show or comic adaptation. And David Haller is not your traditional protagonist. In fact, despite him being the main character, one must wonder, given his power set and state of mind, if he’s even a good person.
We’ve watched David’s development from childhood to now- his abandonment, his struggles with his powers, being sent to Clockworks, training at Summerland, all under the impression that he’s the hero of this story. Sure, there’s plenty that’s off about him, but in the traditional sense, he’s never given off the vibe that he’s a ‘bad guy.’ But if Noah Hawley were to spell it all out for us, there’d be no payoff. It would be too easy.
Rather than this being the origin of a hero, Legion has given us the origins of a villain, and despite what we’ve been led to believe, it’s not the Shadow King. That’s the delusion that we created for ourselves: David is the hero, the Shadow King is the big, shadowy villain come to bring destruction to all around him. Makes sense, and we’re meant to root for David, given all that he’s endured in his life.
But what if David Haller wasn’t a good person? At all. What if he didn’t deserve love? What if, as Clark said, someone made David angry enough that he would lose control? Then he’s not the hero of this story. That’s the delusion he’s conjured up in his mind, that everything he’s doing is to save people. Again, David isn’t calling himself a saint, but he’s giving himself far too much credit in his supposed goodness.
Like any other idea, a delusion starts as an egg, and the delusion here all along is that David is who the audience should root for to succeed. He’s had his moments, but as the season has progressed, David has made questionable decisions that have brought his character into question. He left Syd to deal with Farouk himself, he kept secrets from the others, and he seemed to take great joy in beating both Oliver and Farouk.
More than that, he goes as far as manipulating Syd’s memory and trying to convince her that their love is strong. I’m not going to get into further implications beyond that because I’m sure umpteenth people will and have already done that, but it is crossing a boundary because he’s attempting control her will. It’s not just wiping her mind for her own safety, like Charles did to Moira with the memory-wiping kiss in X-Men First Class.
No, David is trying to delude himself into believing that Syd still loves him, even though she’s already giving him the cold shoulder, and for good reason. And she had a point. Why didn’t David question Future Syd about why Farouk needed to be saved? After all, if Farouk is supposedly the one who would destroy the future, why would Future Syd want David to find the body to help him?
It’s all because David believes that he’s the hero at the end of the day, never once giving thought to the possibility that he could bring about the destruction of the world. Why would he do that, after going as far as he’s gone to help vanquish the same Shadow Queen that’s plagued him since he was a child?
More than that, David couldn’t fathom the idea that, while others may be wary of him, people would turn against him altogether. He could try and make things work with Syd, but for her to confront him and say that he drugged and had sex with her, Cary to trap him in that force field, and for him to be put on trial all leads to his unraveling.
For what is a very heavy finale in the first half, things slow down a bit, but they’re to lead us into a false sense of security. Once Farouk is captured, David is drunk with power. He sends a projection over to Syd, gloats to Farouk, and walks into the trial like everyone has already declared Farouk guilty. And though we can see it coming, it’s tragic nonetheless to see David bring about his undoing.
As is often the case in greater X-Men lore, people hate and fear what they don’t understand, but the people here don’t fear David because he’s a mutant. They fear what he could become if pushed too far. If that means doping him up to render him inert, then so be it.
But this is just what Divad and DVD were getting at- everyone fears David’s potential, and for good reason. But David himself needs to accept that he’s a god among men. Hell, when David told Lenny that God had plans for her, I have to wonder if he was talking about himself. And, by the way, it’s great that we got physical representations of David’s multiple personalities- another nod to comic lore.
Or perhaps all of this is Farouk’s doing. After all, he’s allowed to walk free at Division Three and we’ve seen how far his influence can stretch. Maybe he’s doing it right now to turn everyone against Farouk, but that would mean that no one has any actual fears about David’s potential, and I just don’t think that’s possible because they’re all aware of what he can do and has done.
I’m not ruling out that Farouk doesn’t have a greater plan at play here. After all, we see him send a mouse to whisper something to Syd. Who is to say that, as he’s done for most of the season, Farouk isn’t still sowing seeds of division among…well, Division Three? Now, I have no proof that Farouk is turning everyone against David, but I can’t entirely discount the possibility, either.
Syd is torn, but she has every reason to question David. She’s seen through his lies, followed him to a desert just to prove she’s on his side, and now she’s seen his true face when he delights in using his powers for what appear to be malicious purposes. Rachel Keller is fantastic at showing us the many layers of Syd, as she goes from calm and collected to anger in seconds and it’s some impressive acting on her part.
All Syd wants to do is help David because, in her mind, he’s too far gone. She almost sounds like one of Clockworks’ doctors when she and the others suggest therapy to help him. You can’t help an omega level mutant like David and they have to see that therapy didn’t work out last time. This is why I think Farouk still has a plan to carry out because I can’t believe that Syd would suggest medicine or therapy for David.
And then David leaves. I assume David leaves because at this point, he has no more allies left at Division Three. Not anymore, anyway. But he has Lenny, and while she’s a nutcase in her own right, she gets David on a level that no one else can, even though she’s still in Amy’s body. Plus, between Amy, Divad, DVD, both Lenny and David have others in their ears to try and steer them in the right direction.
While David believes that he’s a good person, Amy questions whether Lenny has the capacity to be a good person. We’ve seen what kind of damage David and Lenny can do together and I am on pins and needles to see what kind of mayhem them get into next season. The world will have to do more than pray.
Of course, I’d be a fool to overlook the writing, direction, and musical selections here. First off, the use of “Behind Blue Eyes” was very appropriate not just because it’s a great song, but consider some of the lyrics: ‘No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man…No one knows what its like to feel these feelings like I do, and I blame you! No one bites back as hard’
David doesn’t see himself as the bad man because, in his mind, he’s only doing what he does to protect others. The Shadow King is the villain. But when everyone turns against him, they can’t understand what he’s really feeling, so he lashes out, saying that he wants to hear Syd say that he’s going to be terminated.
Same goes with the use of “Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl.” Again, consider: ‘I found out I was wrong, she was just two timing I found out I was wrong, she just kept on lying. Now she tries to tell the truth, and I just can’t believe ‘Cause there’s nothing in this world to stop me worryin’ ’bout that girl.’
David is being told that by Syd that he’s the villain, that he’s been wrong this entire time, but he just can’t believe that even when, in her mind, she’s trying to help him through what she believes is the truth.
And I’d be out of my mind if I didn’t talk about that opening battle sequence between David and Farouk. It’s colorful, imaginative, out of this world, and very much in like what Legion is all about. And I’ll say this now: this season of Legion and this opening battle had more imagination and creativity than any comic book released so far in 2018 and probably more than the upcoming ones.
Shelve your Black Panther, your Deadpool 2, Infinity War, and you can keep your Ant-Man and the Wasp, your Venom, and your Aquaman. None of those come close to having anywhere near the level of innovation and interest that Legion has, and I attribute a good chunk of that imagination to Noah Hawley. I could’ve done with another mental battle, but I’m happy with what we got.
And that goes for the rest of the season as well. There’s a lot to look forward to in Season Three, including some unanswered questions. After all, what did happen to David when he was in that orb? What about Ptonomy still being in the mainframe? Will we see Oliver and Melanie again in this reality? How long will both Cary and Kerry continue to live in their own bodies? Does Farouk have something else up his sleeve?
What kind of antics will David and Lenny get up to now that they’re together? And where, oh where, is our dear old friend, Charles Xavier? He could be useful now that his son is out there, possibly causing trouble. Whatever happens, this was another fantastic season of Legion.
While the story may be a bit hard to follow at times compared to last season, I for one am happy that this show didn’t attempt to become more straightforward. It doubled down on its weirdness and was unapologetic about being a fantastic show– not just adaptation- that breaks conventions and delivers a satisfying watch and stellar performances from week to week.
And it’s been fun to talk about this show again for another year. We know Legion will be back for Season Three, and here’s hoping we get some news about the future with San Diego Comic Con coming up soon. Until then, thanks for following along with my ramblings, keep it weird, and we’ll meet up next time for the third season of Legion. See you then.