Here’s Something for Your M.I.N.D. Welcome back to Legion!
The season begins with a broadcast signal as we’re told to Please Stand By. Don’t you hate when that happens? But the words slowly fade away and morph into “Bedtime is Here.” Yup. Legion is most definitely back.
We begin with a Lesson in Time Travel- Chapter 13. We join a young woman as she exercises. Who is this woman? We’ll get to that later. We’re told that the present is not just a date, but a feeling. Feel no shame about the past or anxiety about the future. Every negative can be changed to positive…one you know how.
The woman sits at a table and a television is wheeled in so she can watch while she dines. She speaks with someone over the television- a relative, I’m guessing?- about her studies- she’s done perfect in all of her classes. After that, small talk is over. With that, the woman puts her headphones back on.
She later leaves and sees a sign asking if she’s indivisible and to not trust the mustache. Also, the basket is watching. Then she spots a blue flower on the ground.
Following this, we join the young woman in class. We’re told that nostalgia is your enemy. Don’t think of the past while listening to music. There is no perfect future, after all. Time is not a river. Rather, it’s a jungle filed with monsters.
As the woman heads home, she then spots a mustache drawn on the ground. Or at least that’s what it looks like to me. She ends up finding another advertisement- this time the poster beckons her to spot the Orange Fish.
Later at home, the woman continues her studies, but she then retrieves a radio from her closet. Turning it onto a certain frequency, she hears some noise and is asked if she’s looking for him. If she has the skill, she can come back and listen again. With that, the woman begins to literally draw in thin air.
She retrieves the radio again to find that frequency, but this time, her powers kick in as time begins to slow. We hear a voice speak of a yellow bus.
Later, the woman goes for a walk in the busy city when a red bus stops by her. It’s littered with signs about the pregnant virgin who will show her the way. If she’s lonely, doesn’t she wish that the world was simple again? However, the words ‘Yellow Bus’ are written on the back.
When the woman finds the bus, though, it’s completely empty because the passengers are all on the move. The woman gives chase, but soon happens upon what appears to be a glowing door.
She enters and finds a woman sitting amidst a sea of moving clothing racks. Each time the woman approaches, the racks move. She follows the sound of voice and soon finds others. The clerk holds up a sign asking if she’s lost, but the woman is searching for the Pregnant Virgin. Still, the clerk needs a name, but the woman doesn’t know. Too bad, as it’s closing time. Before the woman is booted out, she shouts out Salmon!
That’s the key right there. With that, it’s time for a musical number. As Superorganism’s “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” kicks in, the woman travels down a series of tubes, worlds, and pathways as she soon enters a trippy world.
She’s greeted by a woman who has been waiting for her. No idea where she is, but the Queen brought her here. IT is, in fact, Janne: the pregnant woman we saw with Lenny last season. Well, New Janine, anyway. As for where we are, it’s all peace and love made by him. Who is him, exactly?
Well, let’s head deeper down the rabbit hole. Soon, he’ll tell her everything, but the woman’s mind has to open like a flower. The woman is introduced to an alchemist named Squirrel, played by Wally Rudolph. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that Squirrel swiped Quicksilver’s goggles.
Anyway, Squirrel digs the woman’s vibe- it’s very two days from now. The man doesn’t dig her name, so he prefers to call her Switch, played by Lauren Tsai.
Switch asks if New Janine is really a virgin, but she leads Switch to a room where she’ll soon meet the Master of Disaster. Switch tries to exit, but she’s sealed inside, so she rests on the ground and begins to speed up time until there’s practically no time left. Soon enough, the Breakfast Queen arrives. Who is the queen?
In enters Lenny, who apologizes to Switch for the wait. Lenny summons a couch and beckons Switch to have a seat as she guesses who Switch is. Switch correctly guesses that Lenny is in a cult, but she’s not. She’s just Lenny, and she doesn’t like that Switch likes guys. But come on, who wouldn’t swing the other way if it meant having a shot with Aubrey Plaza?
Anyway, Switch knows that Lenny needs her help- specifically that she’s looking for a time traveler. Lenny wants Switch to prove that she can, in fact, travel through time, but Switch won’t prove her abilities to Lenny. No. She’ll only do that for him.
Switch is brought into a lower chamber and is greeted by David Haller himself, who welcomes her in for some tea. He explains that he helps people because he’s the Magic Man. He asks that the people stay and keep him company after, as well as take care of the house and love each other.
He explains to Switch that he made the cave, then tells her to close her eyes and picture her bedroom. He paints a photo for to visualize, and then tells her to open her eyes.
All of a sudden, they’re in Switch’s bedroom in a mental space. Switch imagined it and David made it real by reading her mind. One of David’s rules is no secrets. As for trust? David tried that and it’s better to read people’s minds.
Back in the lower chamber, David explains his troubled childhood with the Shadow King sneaking into his head and haunted him for 33 years. But he’s better now. He then asks how Switch is, and Switch explains that her father collects robots. There’s a room with hundreds of robots. Sometimes, Switch would go in there and stand very still- pretend that she’s a robot.
Switch asks about the forces of Division and why David needs a time traveler.
After David reveals a glimpse of Syd, Switch guesses that David wants to get his girlfriend back. He’s thought about it, making different choices and such, but he admits that it won’t work. You can be sure of the problem, but then you realize the problem is something else. While at the psych ward, people convinced David that his problem was psychological.
David explains that his real father kicked Amahl Farouk out of his body and into the astral plane, but Farouk found David anyway and moved in.
Outside, Squirrel gets a drop from the blue flower and drops it into his tea as he rests outside. A sudden movement gets his attention. As he heads forward, he’s literally hooked away as Division Three approaches the compound…
David tells Switch that he just wants to go back in time. As he asks how far back Switch can go, a spider-drone enters the room and blasts a wave that knocks the two to the ground. Kerry drops in with some Division Three soldiers. She tosses a device at David’s head that should render him powerless, but he’s still able to use his abilities.
Not for long, though, as Kerry slices off David’s arm with her katana before he gets the chance to do anything. In retaliation, David incinerates her and uses his abilities to block all of the bullets fired at him and Switch.
All except one shotgun blast from behind, courtesy of Syd, who cautions Switch to stay down.
But Switch quickly conjures up and rolls into a door as we head to Chapter 14 in Lessons of Time Travel. As we head down the time hallway, we learn that when you choose a moment of return, if you land too close to the event that you want to change, , then you may not be able to produce a different outcome. Some factors can’t be altered within a finite period of time.
At the same time, we don’t want to go too far back. The further we go, the more we risk waking the demon. The rule of thumb is to give yourself a margin of error, as you don’t want to interrupt the time stream too often. Switch approaches a door that will take her one hour back, checks her loose tooth, and enters.
We arrive back at the point in which Switch meets Lenny, but she speeds forward to the point where she wants to prove herself to David. Again, Division Three guards approach the compound and Switch meets David once more.
However, before she enters, she finds David speaking to one of his other personalities- this one with a Scottish accent. As David brings the tea, Switch tells David that the forces of Division are almost here and she tells him that the soldiers kill her. David didn’t hear them last time, but Switch knows this because she’s a time traveler. Per the sign, David now has his time traveler.
David then teleports himself and Switch elsewhere in the compound, where a fight has broken out. From here, we get a one shot hallway fight that would make even Matt Murdock see. Switch is taken, but David calmly makes his way from room to room until he comes face to face with Amahl Farouk, who is tackled into another room.
The madness continues as David holds off and eliminates as many soldiers as he can- Kerry included. Switch creates a doorway for her and David to escape, but David is again gunned down by Syd. Oh, and more growling, by the way.
Switch again enters the time hallway. Deciding against going back further than she’d like, she enters a door that will take her back two hours.
She finds herself in a void and comes face to face with Farouk, who admires a time traveler. He had relations with a time traveler once. He asks if it’s true that they’re always women. Perhaps it has something do with regret or opportunities missed. Switch acknowledges that she shouldn’t be here, but this is the astral plane- a world beyond the world.
Farouk brings up David and his very loud power. He teleports them to a park and explains that he was looking for David, but he found her instead. The realms of time and space are different in the plane. The first time is interesting, but the second time, Switch is helping him. Farouk also wants to help David, saying that he’s a sick man.
So Switch asks why the blonde woman shot him. Farouk then realizes that Switch can go back and time and warn change reality by warning David. Perhaps they can make a different arrangement. He asks why she’s helping him, and Switch says that it’s very simple. David is a man, but Farouk is a robot. With that, Switch uses the table to create an entrance to the time hallway and vanishes.
On a plane in the sky, Cary and Kerry are hard at work building a robotic Ptonomy. Because the Vermillion have a mustache, that’s apparently Cary’s rationale for giving Ptonomy one. He soon comes to life as Cary asks how he feels. There’s no Ptonomy, though. Only the mainframe. To test the mainframe’s reflexes, Kerry punches him in the face…well, I guess that’ll do.
As Farouk joins Clark, he tells him that David has found a time traveler. As for how Farouk knows this, he spoke with her. Yes, she escaped, but as Farouk said, she has abilities. The astral plane is like a rest stop, and Farouk could only intercept her for a moment. Clark asks Farouk how this time traveler helps David, but Farouk doesn’t have an answer. After all, how do you surprise someone who can warn themselves?
Suddenly, the computers spot David Haller’s location. Farouk reminds Clark that whatever they do, the time traveler can undo. So Clark just wants her dead, too. I don’t think Clark gets how time travel works, but sure.
We finally join Syd in another section of the aircraft as she goes through her many, many books. Farouk approaches and tells her that they’ve found David. She’s ready to join in on the assault, even though Farouk suggests that she stay back.
Syd wants to get the job done and claims that it’s not about revenge, but Farouk sees through that. That love doesn’t disappear- it must be transformed into an emotion of equal intensity. That’s the law of the universe.
On the ground, the Division soldiers approach David’s location as they find one person sitting outside. They manage to snag him with a hook, but before the assault can begin, there’s a sudden flash as the entire building is now, all of a sudden, gone.
As the Division soldiers approach the massive crater, Syd finds a tooth in the rubble as the episode comes to a close.
With that, we are effectively reintroduced to the crazy, mad world that is Legion.
Well, here we are. A lot has changed since we last came together to talk about Legion. Disney’s acquisition of a good chunk of Fox’s assets is complete. Dark Phoenix is in theaters. The Gifted has been cancelled. The New Mutants has been rescheduled yet again for a 2020 release. Legion, meanwhile, enters its third and now final season. The landscape is rapidly changing for the X-Men franchise.
But the thing to note about Legion is that Noah Hawley is ending this series on his terms. Could a series like this last for a long time? Sure, and I’m confident that Hawley would find a way to keep things fresh, but like The Leftovers, I’m perfectly fine with something ending its run so long as it’s how the showrunners want it to end. If this premiere is any indication, Legion is going to be as trippy of a ride as it’s ever been.
So while the mainline X-Men series may go through some changes, we can count on Legion to fuck with our minds as it always has. This premiere is no exception to that and before really digging into, I again want to appreciate the execution when jumping back into the series.
Some shows, but not all, would give us a sort of recap or refresher to remind the audience what it may have forgotten in-between seasons. But Legion isn’t like most shows, comic or otherwise. No. We’re thrust right back into the swing of things and spend most of the opening following an entirely new character. Legion takes its audience seriously and expects them to keep up for the journey.
I hesitate to call this premiere a bit more streamlined than what I expect from Legion because it’s still very much a wild ride, but things are a bit more straightforward as far as bringing us back into the world and introducing us to the new mutant who is joining David.
In inexperienced hands, that could be troubling, but director Andrew Stanton, who has quite the extensive career at Pixar and has directed episodes of shows like Stranger Things and Better Call Saul, is up to the task and delivers a strong start to Season Three. The creative decisions here keep things weird and fascinating at the same time.
Whether it’s Switch traveling through many tunnels and pathways to reach David’s sanctuary, David taking her to the mental realm, or the one-shot hallway sequence that would make even Matt Murdock see, this is a well-directed episode with some equally great cinematography and visuals.
I think a lot of that can be credited to us watching this all unfold through Switch’s eyes. Lauren Tsai makes a great first impression as Switch. She might be the outsider compared to David and the rest, but she’s no stranger to her abilities. It only takes one bad incident for her to retrace her steps and convince David- and Lenny- that she’s worth keeping around.
The idea of a hallway representing Switch’s ability to travel through time is a very novel concept. Rather than us just watching scenes rewind or a flash back to the beginning, a hallway is pretty damn clever. We know what it’s like to walk through a hallway- especially in the dark. The further you go, the more dangerous it seems. The same applies to Switch, as going further back could awaken the demon.
Without any basis in fact for this, I’m going to assume that Switch has probably gone further than she’d like to at some point. The fact that she keeps jiggling her tooth makes me wonder whether she loses something every time she goes back in time. It’s an interesting idea that shows the sacrifice she must put her body through in order to use her powers.
Right now it’s just a tooth, but could Switch lose herself altogether if she went further back in time? No idea, but it’s worth thinking about. At the same time, perhaps she sees this as her duty or purpose. She could’ve ignored the signs altogether, but what reason does she have to turn down this proposition? Not Lenny’s proposition, anyway.
What does Switch gain from helping David? Is this her calling? Could David’s abilities help her before she potentially loses more than a tooth? The fact that she warned David after the first time shows that she does care about his mission. She rebukes Farouk after he says that he’s just trying to help David. Maybe we won’t find out what Switch gets out of this, but I’m all for seeing David gain another ally.
He might be the Magic Man, but he’s not invincible. That said, watching him lay waste and use his powers as easily as taking a breath shows how far he’s come since the first season. He’s in total control and doesn’t even need an Infinity Gauntlet. The question still remains if David will ever be the true hero of the story, because right now the script has been flipped and he’s the show’s antagonist.
So far, he hasn’t brought about the end of the world, but him being out there to freelance and drink tea still makes him a threat to Division Three. The Division must really be out of options if they’re still willing to work with Amahl Farouk of all people. He’s an all-powerful mutant, yes, but he’s still the Shadow King. That he can walk freely shows that the Division either trusts him that much or is being a tad foolish.
Either way, Navid Negahban is still terrific as Farouk. He carries so much presence and charm as Farouk. He never shows even the slightest bit of anger or frustration. Every conversation with him is calm and welcoming, as if he’s trying to be your friend. It’s hard to tell whether he’s only in this to stop David or if he has something else in mind.
He at least seems to be able to see through Syd. She wants to stop and put an end to David. But as Farouk points out, that love can’t just go away- it must become an equally intense emotion. It could be rage. After all, Syd twice doesn’t hesitate in killing David. While there might be a tiny part of her still longing for David two seasons ago, she’s resolute in her mission right now to take him down.
With Switch at his side, though, David can pretty much undo any and everything that Division Three throws at him. How do you stop a time traveler? It’s like asking how you stop a super fast mutant? Seems impossible, but now that Syd has Switch’s tooth, perhaps she can learn more about David’s new friend.
I’m very happy that Ptonomy is back in some form. Him ending up in the mainframe last season left me wondering if we’d ever see him again. Luckily, we do get him in a way. Admittedly, he’ll have to adjust to living with a mustache, but if he doesn’t like it, he can just shave it off, right?
Not a lot of Lenny in this premiere, but that’s okay because I’m sure we’ll see more of her in the episodes to come. I have to remind myself that this is still Lenny in Amy’s body, as the blue eyes are hard to ignore, but hey, she’s the Breakfast Queen now, so sounds like she’s got some authority in David’s new quarters. Here’s to more of the Breakfast Queen in the weeks to come.
Legion is back for one last run and we’re off to a great start. Switch’s introduction helps thrusts us back into this trippy world as the battle between David and Division continues to unfold. See you all next week and stay groovy!