Who doesn’t love a family reunion?
The episode begins with glimpses of Charles Xavier building his contraption as he explains to Gabrielle that he found someone like him. However, we join Charles as he prepares to meet Amahl Farouk.
Indeed, he heads to a stage performance and has a seat as the act unfolds. The man on stage plunges his blades into a raging bull over and over again until the beast is slain. But is the beast slain Charles?
Charles then looks to his left and sees the Devil with Yellow Eyes, who tells him that he should not have come.
But Charles awakens as the flight attendant informs him that he’s arriving in Morocco soon. When he arrives, he’s without a ride…except for one individual who holds up a painting of him. The man considers it an honor, though Charles didn’t expect a welcome wagon. The man merely introduces himself as a subject whose team is most excited to meet Charles.
On the ride, Charles learns that a particular individual has been waiting for Charles…
Let’s jump back to the time hallway as David and Switch go back further and further- years, even. David wants to know why Switch is losing teeth. She explains that can go through time, sure, but her body isn’t strong enough. Time becomes unstable and Switch warns David to go back, but David insists that he find his family.
It doesn’t matter, as the two find themselves separated. While Switch passes out David finds himself trapped within a chamber. Suddenly, we revisit David’s confrontation with Farouk from last season, as Farouk tells David that it’s his will.
Present-day Farouk, meanwhile, is still in the time between time, trapped in a never-ending now. He is doomed to this fate, unless some Time Demons were to hatch from eggs…
But let’s head back to the past. Charles arrives at his destination and is again told that “he” is waiting for him. Charles heads inside and is greeted by Mr. Amahl Farouk, who is accompanied by his daughter who is clinging to his leg. Farouk admits to Charles that he made the painting and spells out everything about Charles’ life, including his family. Farouk knows that Charles has questions, but first, the two must eat.
So Farouk instructs the demons to fetch dinner. All the while, present-day Farouk continues along in the time between time…
More jumping around. We revisit Gabrielle at home as she happens upon the set of doors outside her house. As with before, she approaches them, but time resets. This time, Syd, Kerry, and Cary emerge from the time hallway and find the door. Syd figures that David is here, but instead, the three find Gabrielle, who pays them no mind as she approaches the door.
Gabrielle asks the three if they can see the door, and Syd confirms that no, Gabrielle is not crazy. However, at the sound of David’s crying, Gabrielle heads inside. Syd follows after and sees Gabrielle caring for the baby boy. Gabrielle says that babies are insane based on how their brains work. They have no logic. Syd isn’t worried by crazy babies, but the men they become. It’s like falling in love with fire.
You try to smother them, but they just burn you up. Gabrielle asks Syd if she’s ever seen a mass grave filled with bodies of people that had names, but now just a pile. She then tells Syd that all animals fight to live. And regardless of what Gabrielle faced, she’s alive now. Syd apologizes, realizing that she’s not supposed to be here, and prepares to leave. However, once Gabrielle refers to David by name, Syd stops.
Anyway, dinner time. Charles focuses on all of Farouk’s children and asks how they came here, and Farouk explains that they were adrift orphans. He built a palace and brought them in. It’s not nobility, but decency. Either way, Charles, don’t start getting any ideas about doing something similar. Farouk tells Charles that they have more important issues to discuss.
Farouk then introduces Charles to the astral plane- a vast realm unbound by anything but one’s imagination. Charles has never been to before, even with his powers. Anything you create becomes reality, as evidenced when Charles imagines Gabrielle and David at his side.
Back to reality, Farouk explains that he’s been as lonely as Charles is. He thought himself unwell and walked the streets as a mad man, but he flourished. But then, Charles reached out and saw him. Farouk considers it a privilege to see someone just like him. Charles asks how Farouk came to be who he is now, but Farouk will answer that later. For now, it’s time for entertainment.
So we’re treated to a performance. We see a shadowed best whipping and overtaking his subjects as Farouk narrates the performance. The Shadow King grew stronger and stronger, but then, from the lowliest of stations, a hero arose. The hero fought that beastly ruler and uttered a magic phrase: “You should never have come.” With that, the hero vanquished the tyrant!
He took his riches, his kingdom, and set into motion an age of prosperity praised by all. A quick projection of David flickers and informs Charles that this is all a lie.
But before Charles can even process that, he awakens in a room that includes the painting of him. He approaches the monkey that he saw before and then uses his telepathy to read the creature’s mind. Inside, he sees the a trapped king begging to be freed.
David appears from the time hallway as he tells Charles that he’s here to help and asks if Charles knows who he is. Charles does not, but then David instructs him to open his mind. Before Charles can say it out loud, David stops him. They’re far too exposed. They must go elsewhere first.
David takes them within his mind, as they need someplace private to talk without Farouk’s interference. David instructs Charles to eat a slice of cake, calling it knowledge. Charles takes a bite and instantly sees all of the horrors of his son’s future life. He finally calls his son by name, with David telling his father that Farouk is searching…
With a knock on the door, David is pressed for time. After telling whoever is knocking a the door to pipe down, he tells his father about what Farouk plans to do, saying that Charles is in a trap, but this time he has the advantage of being with his son.
At Charles and Gabrielle’s home, Syd informs Kerry and Carry that David is a child in this time and that Gabrielle is his mother. Kerry can’t believe that they’re not going to just kill David right now, as easy as it would be. Let’s not even get into the moral implications. As far as Syd is concerned, he’s just a baby and this isn’t his fault, despite what David will do later.
They’re still changing time. Syd reminds Kerry about being raised being raised by Oliver and Melanie- which Kerry pretty much thinks is bullshit- and that some people can’t be saved. Adult David is too far gone, but baby David can be saved, even though he’ll be the exact same person. The exact same person. Syd acknowledges that this wasn’t her choice, but here they are.
Kerry points out that they could just walk away, but as far as Syd is concerned, it’s about change. They know about the terrible things that David did, so Syd will stay. However, some Time Demons are making their way out of the furnace…
Let’s return to Farouk’s palace. Charles joins Farouk, but he’s not alone this time. He’s got his son, who Charles introduces as an old friend stationed in Morocco during the war. Farouk is thrown off, but he’s able to glimpse into David’s mind and see his future. Still, he beckons the two to sit.
David explains to Farouk where he was stationed during Operation Torch. The locals like him because of his winning smile. Farouk continues a telepathic battle with David, who warns him that he should never have come.
Farouk suddenly finds himself ill and must excuse himself. David figures that he’s got Farouk on the ropes, but then an exhausted Switch appears as she collapses.
Charles, David, and Switch are teleported to another room. As Charles asks who this woman is, David takes them inside his mind again and explains that Switch is no one but just a means to get here.
This disappoints Charles, who tells his son that everyone is someone, but David is just focused on killing Farouk. Charles insists they can talk to Farouk, but David’s anger intensifies as the increased violent knocks at the door.
One by one, the doors open as David’s many personalities appear- rendering present David motionless- and chastise Charles for abandoning him and leaving him to the horrors that he would face in his life. They’re here for justice- not vengeance. More and more of David’s personalities appear, but Charles then goes on the offensive and uses his powers to escape.
Between Farouk’s children on the loose, Syd rocking baby David, and Gabrielle calling Charles, we revisit Charles waking up.
Enough about that, though. Let’s see Syd chop some wood, instead of rip it in half like Captain America. She asks Gabrielle if David is a good baby, with Gabrielle saying that David cries a lot, as if he knows something. Syd asks what he could know. Syd says that people talk about having a second childhood, but they just mean they feel young again.
Syd actually had two childhoods, as in she grew up twice. At first, she ran and then walked, but then she walked, then crawled. All children want is to feel safe.
Gabrielle explains that her grandmother had the sickness. It runs in the family, after all. Ultimately, Syd tells Gabrielle that she has to love her child like his life depends on it. As in the world could end if the child doesn’t receive love. Because when he’s grown, it may be too late. They all have their role to play in this war, and to Syd, there’s no good stronger than a mother’s love. That much, Gabrielle can hopefully understand.
When Gabrielle asks Syd if she’s actually there, Syd notices something is off. She rushes inside and asks Kerry and Cary if everything is normal. Kerry draws her sword at the ready as the Time Demons slowly approach. Kerry goes to wake up Cary, who asks if they found David. Well, sort of, since David is a baby and must be protected.
After a warning from Cary, Kerry goes to slice at the approaching Time Demon, but the two are instantly frozen in place.
Up in baby David’s room, his room is soon boarded up and removed by a Time Demon, piece by piece, while baby David is blissfully unaware.
Syd and Gabrielle are suddenly in baby David’s room- now fully intact- with Syd telling Gabrielle that they need to leave this house. Meanwhile, the Time Demons finally emerge from the furnace in the basement…
Again, David instructs Charles to try some knowledge cake while Switch continues to rest. David’s other personalities tell him that Charles can’t help him much longer, and they can’t stay.
One of Farouk’s children asks Charles if he can make them stop screaming so she can get to sleep. When Charles gets an idea of what she means, he uses his telepathy to look inside the girl’s mind. He sees many trapped people inside the girl’s mind, screaming out for help.
Charles goes to David and admits that it was his fault. David was just a baby and Charles was meant to have time to learn about being a father. He went to war and saw what people do. Farouk, though, is a monster. David maintains that Farouk must be killed. Charles asks how, and David knows that Farouk is too powerful for just one of them. But together? They can crush him.
Except Farouk himself may not be alone, as Farouk of the present manages to escape the time between time and emerges from one of the paintings in past Farouk’s home. He goes to meet his past self, who finds this encounter very intriguing…
Well, we’ve got two pairs of telepaths going up against each other very soon. That in and of itself already sounds like a hell of a battle, but no doubt we’ll have a lot more to digest in the series finale.
Behind the camera in the penultimate episode of Legion is Dana Gonzalez. The man has given us some incredible visuals each time he’s been involved with an episode. Not to say that Legion didn’t already have great aesthetics already- it most certainly did- but Gonzalez just has this touch that helps an episode pop even more than it already does.
As is often the case, we’re jumping from one time to another, but Legion’s nonlinear approach to storytelling helps fill in the blanks from previous episodes, build on the lessons learned from life on the astral plane with Melanie and Oliver, and at long last give us the meeting between David Haller and Charles Xavier.
You know what? Let’s not beat around the busy and bury the lede. Rather, let’s get right into this long-awaited meeting with father and son. After a tease here or there of David’s father, a wheelchair, and so on, we finally see Charles meet his son. Within the context of live-action X-Men lore, it’s great to see a literal meeting of the minds, but David hasn’t come to just have coffee or tea with his dad.
The context of the meeting matters, as David otherwise may not have come here if he wasn’t busy trying to change the past. Like Switch, David sees Charles as someone he can utilize for his own purposes. While I’m sure that David would love nothing more than to catch up with his father, he’s got a million other things on his mind.
The slow realization on Charles’ face when he learned who David really was, though, gave us some great acting on Harry Lloyd’s part. After seeing everything that David had been through, you see the heartbreak when he learns what David endures.
Plus, with the badgering from all of the alters, Charles realizes how he wasn’t there to see his son grow up, or to protect him. Charles already up and left Gabrielle and David in order to meet Farouk, but realized that he made a huge mistake. Now his son from the future has come to warn him about this man that he just met and we see that the future founder of the X-Men has just as full a plate as his son.
Last season, Farouk described Charles as a man with a white savior complex. We don’t see that play out here because David’s presence throws a wrench into that, but it’s fascinating to see the Shadow King and Professor X come face-to-face. Charles remains wary and cautious of how things seem to line up perfectly for his arrival in Morocco, but he’s still hopeful in meeting someone like him.
Whereas Farouk is much more lively and animated compared to his calmer counterpart, and Navid Negahban is great in making this take on Farouk distinct from the cool, level-headed version that we see in the present. While Charles is guarded, Farouk is expressive and shares the same level of joy that Charles once did at meeting someone just like him. Whether this is an act, though, I can’t be sure.
Despite Farouk’s demeanor, Charles still sees firsthand the power that this mutant possesses. The trip to the astral plane allowed us as viewers to see it displayed in another manner, while still being a wondrous first-time experience for Charles, but the impact remains the same: in this reality, Charles can conjure anything that he desires into reality. Lovely that the first things that come to mind are Gabrielle and David.
But it’s another example of Charles being completely out of his element. The surprise of Farouk waiting for him was one thing, but for this mutant to take him to a realm he’s never been to before throws him off of his game. This is compounded when Charles watches the performance, has glimpses of his son, and looks into the little girl’s mind.
Charles came looking for a companion, but ultimately ended up in a situation where he will battle with someone who will become an enemy of his.
It’s also fascinating to see just how different Charles and David really are. David is fixated on solving his own problems by any means and is charging headfirst over and over into a dangerous situation. It’s like he’s banging his head against a wall repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. Then again, as evidenced with the Time Demons, he’ll charge into something over and over until he forces a change.
His reckless actions push Switch too hard and he sees her as nothing more than a means to an end. A means to his end. Charles knows next to nothing about Switch, but he can already empathize with the pain that she feels, as seen when he says that everyone is someone. He won’t just cast someone aside who has completed their purpose or is of no more use to him, like Erik did to Mystique in X-Men: The Last Stand.
While it would have been great to explore a deeper bond between Charles and David, there’s far too much going on for these two to have an intimate moment. The appearance of David’s other personalities, the rampant knocking on the doors of David’s mind, and Farouk’s looming presence just added to the tension when David was already pressed for time.
I get that David might still be miffed about Charles leaving him, but I’m glad that this wasn’t the prevailing conversation. Also, I just don’t see this version of David as being one to hold a grudge. The other personalities, not so much, but at least David can maintain some semblance of being level-headed to focus on the greater mission of stopping Farouk.
It helps that Charles is no longer focused on a friendship with Farouk. While he’s only interacted with his son for, maybe, a few hours or so, he understands that the Shadow King is a threat that must be dealt with before everything is undone altogether. Then again, given David’s track record, who is to say that he couldn’t still bring about the end of the world?
Side-note, I don’t know why, but I like how David used cake as a way to get Charles to know who he was. Between David’s unreliability and my interest in the Portal games, I wondered out loud if the cake was a lie.
Okay, back on track. Another fated, albeit accidental, meeting that we get is a talk or several between Syd and Gabrielle. Like David, Syd knows what the future holds in store for the young child in Gabrielle’s arms. But while David is looking to achieve his goal through destruction, Syd hopes to save the world- and young David’s future- through love.
At this point, helped through the lesson she learned on the astral plane, she’s accepted that not only is present-day David too far gone, but not everyone can be saved. For awhile, I thought this would all culminate in Syd killing David. While it could still go that route, she’s now focused on creating a better future for young David.
True, like Kerry points out, they could just kill baby David right now in the same way that someone could’ve killed baby Hitler and prevented Gabrielle from losing her family. But that just stirs up a greater moral dilemma.
Now to be clear, I disagree with Kerry wanting to kill baby David, even though I see the practical upshot of it. At the same time, everyone is already traveling through time and altering history, as well as stirring the wrath of the Time Demons. They’re past the point of having an ethical conversation about whether it’s right to kill a baby in order to prevent him from the damage he’ll bring about as an adult.
Plus, this is a series based off of comic books, so multiverse theory has to be in play here, too. This young David here could grow into a different version from the one we’ve followed since the beginning. It’s also possible that this David could grow into the same one if the timeline must adhere to the original sequence of events. There’s never any certainty when dealing with time travel.
But what Syd is certain about now is that this younger version of David can grow into a better person. She believes in the power of a mother’s love, which is why, without pressing hard, she wants Gabrielle to love her son with all of her heart. Like David and Switch, she’s still meddling with the past, but at least her intentions come from a place of being selfless, whereas David is out for himself.
Like the girl in Melanie’s story, Syd has empathy for others, while David might be able to see a person’s pain, but he’ll just force their pain away. The exception being Lenny, who wanted to feel the pain of losing her child. Syd empathizes with Gabrielle and what she’s going through, not just through these strangers that appeared out of nowhere, but what she’s going through with caring for David.
The trip to the astral plane last time ended up benefiting Syd in a great way because now her mind is clearer. While she was fixated on killing David, now she can save another, hopefully better version of him. There’s no telling what, if at all, that might fix, but it’s a step in the right direction.
It’s also nice that we get more of Gabrielle and her family’s history with ‘the sickness,’ as well as the horrors she witnessed in her life. Gabrielle may know next to nothing about this strange woman who seems to know everything about who her son will become, but that doesn’t stop her from realizing that the love she has for David can create a bright future.
Though the Time Demons appearing yet again could jeopardize all of that. Combined with Farouk of the past meeting with Farouk of the present and we’ve got ourselves a hell of a confrontation from the future. How in the hell will Noah Hawley wrap all of this up? I can tell you that I have no fucking idea and am dreading how this ends, but excited at the same time.
See you all next time for the finale of Legion.