The third chapter of Legion season two sees Division 3 go under quarantine as a psychic contagion breaks out…
‘Chapter 11’ brings the previously background details of the mysterious monk hiding at Division 3 and the psychic virus he spreads to the fore. It results in a fascinating first part of what looks to be a duo of linked bottle episodes as we get to explore the minds of the Summerland gang.
Melanie’s “maze” is the most inventive part of these mind-hopping sequences. As her core desire is, as Cary puts it, “to control the uncontrollable world”, her mental prison takes the form of a text-based video game in a black void. It does a good job of building on David and Melanie’s conversations in the past two episodes to give us a glimpse into her psyche: she never wanted to become a mutant leader, but has found this demanding role through her love of Oliver.
Meanwhile, It’s continuing to be impossible not to love Cary and Kerry, from the former tutoring Kerry on how to eat and, uh, other things to Cary’s heartbreaking and totally in-character reaction to discovering Kerry has been infected: “Oh, FUDGE!” I’m also thankful that Ptonomy got a little more to do this week, as he has been sidelined for the last two weeks.
Over in the Shadow King’s corner, Farouk had a fascinating speech in which he attempted to paint himself as the victim – to him, David’s father – Professor X – is guilty of the “White Man’s Burden” and deposed him from ruling his country when it was none of his business. Lenny, it seems, is at her wit’s end and is desperate to stop being Farouk’s “House plant.” Oddly, there was no sign of Oliver anywhere in that mindscape.
The end of the episode saw David’s hunt for Farouk’s body complicated when the Monk threw himself off the Division 3 building in order to keep its location secret. In the short-term, though, David has bigger problems – he needs to save Syd from her psychic prison. We look forward to seeing how this new area for the show to explore – madness as plague – is dealt with in upcoming episodes.
- The opening sequence, which sees Farouk die at a restaurant, is left ambiguous. But notice the animation reflected in his glasses. This is the fabled psychic battle between Farouk and Professor X. This animation was previously used to illustrate the fight back in ‘Chapter 7.’ The enemies also had their big battle in a restaurant in the comics. I wonder if there was ever a version of this sequence which featured Charles Xavier but Fox wouldn’t allow it?
- The Minotaur that appeared in Melanie’s maze was left unexplained. But we have seen him before. He was seen in Melanie’s room back in Chapter 9. What the hell is this thing and why does it have a “doggie wheelchair”? It recalls the Devil with the Yellow Eyes from season one a little. Could it be another form of the Shadow King?
- Once again, Legion finds a novel way to dish out exposition. Instead of telling how the virus originated, we see David relive the Monks’ experiences in a silent sequence which reveals that Farouk’s body, buried below the monastery, infected the Order of the Mi-Go Monks, leaving only one alive to spread the disease to the outer world.
- The announcements that play over Division 3’s intercom continue to be worth listening to. “New symptom: irritability” it warns over a scene which sees Kerry storming off. She is revealed to be infected later in the episode. Also, other messages warn against being unclear and avoiding lines that have double meaning. That’s the height of irony for a show as ambiguous as Legion.
- Final thought: Lenny’s suicide being prevented by the bullets turning into bubbles is bizarrely reminiscent of a very similar scene in Avengers: Infinity War. Whoah, there’s a scary thought: Thanos and the Shadow King teaming up!