The premiere episode of Legion was about driving all of us to the brink of insanity, so getting a chance to rest and refresh in the mutant resistance’s superhero camp seems like it would just what David needs. But something very fishy seems to be going on in Summerland…
All photos courtesy FX
“Chapter 2” of Legion takes us deep into the heart of the mutant resistance, helmed by Dr Melanie Bird (played by Jean Smart, though I swear she looks and acts just like Kim Cattrall). There, he’s encouraged to dive into his memories in order to uncover his abilities. This is thanks to Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), a “Memory Artist” created for the show who almost instantly became one of my favourite side characters. Ptonomy is calm but focused, and knows exactly what to say to David to push him forward. He also has the ability to remember everything from his life, including pre-birth. This would traumatise a normal person, but Ptonomy treats it like it’s no big deal. He’s that cool.
Of course, David is still the centre of the story, and at first it looks like he’s getting exactly what he needs. He’s out in nature, instead of confined to a hospital or interrogation room. His mind is becoming clearer. Dr Bird respects David’s abilities and is helping them grow, to the point where David’s able to telekinetically toss an MRI machine around by the end of the episode. On the surface level, David looks like he’s where he needs to be. But I wasn’t fooled.
I couldn’t help but notice the little signs that the green forest and crystal blue waters were lulling us into a false sense of security, and presumably hiding some real dangers. While Summerland is full of windows and light, it’s still a series of rooms, elevators and bunkers that felt somewhat like a gilded cage. For example, the Memory Room was a literal pen trapping him in his memories. And let’s not forget the museum dioramas and taxidermy animals, clearly the perfect visual metaphor of humanity’s control over nature. At one point, as Cary Loudermilk is setting David up in the MRI machine, the camera centres on a stuffed rodent, hinting that our hero is a rat in a cage. These people might be dedicated to protecting mutant rights, but I’m not convinced they have David’s best interests at heart.
Cages aside, a lot of doors open up in this episode that hint at where David’s journey is headed. David looks into his past and sees some painful memories he’d forgotten, like the fact that he and Lenny were friends before they were patients at Clockworks, the mental institution he escaped from in the premiere. David is clearly blocking some stuff that could point the way to major powers. However, that’s not entirely his fault, as love interest-turned-mutant revolutionary Syd points out there was “something there” when they switched bodies last week. Was it the Yellow-Eyed Demon? Does this mean it’s real, or was Syd seeing it as part of David’s hallucination? And if the YED is real, who or what is it? There are a few options from the comics, namely extra-dimensional alien reality show producer Mojo (comics!) or the Shadow King, a human-hating being of pure psychic energy, but given how much Legion seems to want to separate itself from the X-Men’s baggage, it seems likely ol’ Yellow-Eyes is a new character entirely.
Then there’s David’s mental teleportation. After a memory turns into a vision, David discovers his sister Amy has been kidnapped by Division Three and will likely be tortured by someone they call “The Eye”, that is, that guy with the wolf figurine from last episode. No clue who he is or what he can do, but I did find it interesting that Amy (a character created for the show) was able to hear David during his vision, indicating she might have abilities herself. Unfortunately, David is stopped from rescuing Amy by Syd, who says he needs to “do the work” first. Something definitely fishy is going on, and it’s not just The Eye’s leeches.