Legion Raises The Apocalyptic Stakes, And Drops A Major X-Men Reference

Legion Raises The Apocalyptic Stakes, And Drops A Major X-Men Reference

The first season of Legion may have been focused on David freeing himself from the Shadow King’s grasp, but now it’s time for him to sit at “the big kid’s table”. Farouk is no longer the biggest threat to his world. In fact, he might be the only thing that can save it.

Farouk (Navid Negahban) has a tempting offer and some sweet style. Image: FX

“Chapter 10” is actually one of the most straightforward episodes of Legion we’ve gotten so far. This isn’t really saying much – I mean, there are moustached androids and lieutenants with baskets on their heads. It’s still Legion. The episode focuses on David (Dan Stevens) struggling to cope with the secret arrangement he made with Future Syd to help Amahl Farouk the Shadow King (eventually portrayed in the episode by Navid Negahban), who is still in the body of Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) with Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) reluctantly tagging along for the ride.

Farouk starts by wilfully taking his team on a wild goose chase so Oliver and Lenny can infiltrate Division 3 in search of a monk who knows the location of Farouk’s body. David made them promise not to kill any of his friends, and technically, the Shadow King doesn’t – though he demolishes a bunch of hapless extras – but that doesn’t mean he won’t scar them mentally and emotionally.

Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) looks over something that’s totally not alien. (Image: FX)

Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) looks over something that’s totally not alien. Image: FX

The main victims of Oliver’s wrath are Cary and Kerry Loudermilk (Bill Irwin and Amber Midthunder, respectively). During Oliver’s rampage, we see Cary dissecting the orb that David was taken away on last season. He gets the strange feeling that he worked on the device. This is likely because his future self created the orb and, since it has the ability to cross time, making contact with it blurred the lines of time for Cary, which could have larger ramifications. In the last episode, narrator Jon Hamm discussed the phantom leg syndrome, how humans can create realities entirely in their minds. Hamm doubled down on it this episode with the “red light/green light” metaphor. Cary’s reality is being challenged, and I’m curious how his mind is going to adapt. Chances are, not well.

Of course, there’s one other thing Cary casually mentions that’s an even bigger deal than phantom legs: The Shi’ar. He tells Kerry, who at the time was still inside his body, that he originally thought the Shi’ar had made the orb, but he later realised it wasn’t true. Even if this is only a name-drop, it’s a huge deal, guys. In the X-Men universe, the Shi’ar are one of the three biggest alien empires, along with the Skrull and Kree (the latter of whom have made major appearances in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the Agents of SHIELD TV series). Yes, it might just be an Easter egg for comics fans, but come on, this is Legion – anyone who’s watching knows that everything means something on this show.

Betcha Kerry (Amber Midthunder) didn’t think this would be happening today. (Image: FX)

Betcha Kerry (Amber Midthunder) didn’t think this would be happening today. Image: FX

Cary and the audience barely have time to reflect on alien life before the possessed Oliver steps in to screw up his world. He Freaky Fridays the wonder twins so that it’s now Cary lodging himself inside Kerry’s body (as seen in the above image, it doesn’t work out well). I’ve felt pretty iffy about Kerry so far, as her character has been pretty one-note (she likes to show up and punch things). But this gave me time to see another side of her, as well as provided Midthunder something to do other than play Mutant Fight Club.

I actually really liked what they did here, as we see her struggling to be the dominant figure in her and Cary’s relationship, which isn’t something she’s comfortable with. It ends with them deciding to stay separate until they can figure out what’s going on – but it’s taking a physical toll on Kerry, as her hair is starting to turn white, a la Anna in Frozen (or X-Men: The Animated Series‘ Rogue, natch).

David is understandably pissed at Farouk. He’s putting his neck out there to help his former tormenter, putting himself on the radar of every single member of Division 3, and Farouk is refusing to keep his demonic death stare in his pants. So David decides to face him and take a stand. He orders a meeting with Farouk, and we get to see Navid Negahban fully embody the role for the first time.

There was a bit of controversy last November when Wonder Woman‘s Saïd Taghmaoui abruptly quit the part as the season was filming, so there were concerns whether how Negahban would do coming in so late in the game. Luckily, he’s a great fit for the role. I love how, well… uncaring he is about everything. Farouk has moved beyond the petty concerns of humanity and sees them as toys, obstacles, or ticks feeding off his superiority. In his own words, he has become “bigger than Jesus”. And of course, he wants David to join him.

David (Dan Stevens) meets with the Shadow King. (Image: FX)

David (Dan Stevens) meets with the Shadow King. Image: FX

You can tell that David is tempted by the offer. His abilities are growing by the day – to the point where he’s able to psychically travel across time to speak with Future Syd – and his interactions with Clark Debussy show how David looks down on those he’s supposed to be working for. But David knows something bigger is happening, and that he needs to care about humanity in order to save it. During his vision quest, Future Syd showed him an impending plague, something far deadlier than the Shadow King, that wipes out nearly everyone and everything. This apocalypse can only be stopped if David doesn’t kill Farouk like he did in her timeline. The date? Seven days from now.

David doesn’t share this revelation with Farouk, presumably because he knows Farouk wouldn’t give a damn, but he does demand Farouk stop killing people until they find his body… which Farouk reluctantly agrees to (after another great battle of minds that takes the form of a wrestling match). It’s a strange alliance, but then again, these are strange times.

We close the episode with David telling Syd – who’s still practising body swapping with a cat – the truth about everything. It’s nice that he’s coming clean with someone, especially the one person who he promised not to lie to. But this is clearly going to have ramifications, even if Syd promised to trust and help him. David crossed a line when he chose to hide the truth from those closest to him, and he can’t just hop back over it. They agree to find the monk from the Mi-Go Order hiding at Division 3 – who’s the same mysterious figure we saw lurking around David’s mind in the last episode. Does that mean he actually exists, or is he more of a state of mind? Well, given how it’s Legion, the answer’s probably going to be a little bit of both.

Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) had fun but would like to get off the swings now. (Image: FX)

Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) had fun but would like to get off the swings now. Image: FX

Assorted Musings:

  • Melanie Bird (Jean Smart), who’s still tripped out of her gourd on vapour, was silently watched by Oliver right before she learned about the Mi-Go Order stuff that was later revealed to David and the basket-headed lieutenant. Does this mean the Farouk planted this information in her head, was Oliver able to break through, or does she have an ability that we haven’t yet explored? It’s hard to say at this point.
  • Melanie also mentioned someone called The Miser Sunday, saying they killed the Mi-Go Order “before David’s time”. This doesn’t look to be a character from the X-Men universe, but I’m sure it’s someone who’s going to be further explored in the future.
  • Syd was really pissed about the jewellery box, showing how Farouk is happy tormenting David’s friends even if he’s agreed not to kill them.
  • Was Future Syd hinting at David being the new, worse Big Bad they’re up against?
  • Ptolomy’s still around, doing stuff I guess.
  • I was fascinated by the scene in the field where Lenny begged Farouk to release her and give her a new body. It’s interesting to see what’s been happening with the people Farouk has been trapping along the way, and it’s clear that she’s suffering more than she’s trying to admit. It feels like the adults in Twilight Zone who have to keep Anthony happy or else they will get sent to the cornfield.
  • Farouk kept switching between languages while talking to David, which I felt was a nice touch. And was it just me, or did it sound like he initially had Oliver’s voice (with an accent) before sliding into his own?