The search for Farouk’s body is back on in the eighth episode of Legion‘s second season…
“The monk is dead,” Syd tells David at the beginning of this episode – and it’s a good job she does, as most of us had totally forgotten the events of “Chapter 11.” The show has gone off on so many weird and mostly wonderful tangents since then but “Chapter 16” makes it clear from the off that, now we’ve had our fun, the hunt for Farouk’s body is back on.
That is very much to the season’s benefit as I was just starting to worry that Legion was losing its way. This episode turned out to be one of the best this year for blending forward momentum with typical Legion weirdness. The backhalf of the episode mostly takes place in the desert, Le Desole, which is a cinematic setting anyway but was livened up with some wonderful comic book panel-like tricksy shots.
Last week, I singled out the bedroom chat between Syd and David as a highlight and asked for more grounded dialogue scenes like this one. Thankfully, the Legion gods were listening as “Chapter 16” was fuelled by them. The emotional heart of the episode was Syd struggling with David’s changing attitude and her growing mistrust of him. That this comes out in a “girl talk” with Clarke is the icing on the cake. I also enjoyed the sweet moment between David and Lenny.
And Syd is right to not trust David. We learned last week that David is the monster that destroys the world in the future, and we get our first seeds of him using his powers in morally-dubious ways this episode. Sure, his planting thoughts in his friends’ heads for them to act on later is a neat way to avoid Farouk finding out his plan from reading their minds but it’s a shocking affront to their own free will that David doesn’t even seem to consider a problem.
But then when the other team is playing dirty, maybe you have to as well. The episode’s closing moments reveal that Oliver/Farouk has got control of Melanie and is using her to sabotage David’s plans to stop them. Melanie has been terribly underused this season so I’m glad it looks like her role will be increased in a dramatic way for the rest of the season.
In effect, “Chapter 16” was the first half of a two-parter. Much like David and his little diorama of the desert, it put all the pieces on their right places on the board for the final leg of the race to Farouk’s body (which he, brilliantly, affectionately calls “my love”).
- I know some people can’t stand John Hamm’s “lessons” monologues but personally I enjoy them. This week’s was particularly effective, I thought, and the best one so far for demonstrating how we all have a warped view of the world, as our obsession with screens makes us blind to what’s around us. The discussion of narcissism clearly reflects back on both the Shadow King and David, who both use people for their own ends in this episode.
- Thanks to Ptomony now living in Fukuyama’s mainframe, we found out the surprisingly tragic origins story of the basket-head. He was once an ordinary young man who D3 realized was a mutant with a healing factor and so roped him into becoming their stooge. He’s not so much the leader of the organisation as just its living filing system.
- Speaking of that scene, the sinister D3 agent who recruited Fukuyama was Brubaker, a senior member of the organisation who appeared in season one – until he was killed by the Shadow King (possessing David).
- Excuse me, did I hear that lady in the retirement home correctly? She did namecheck “The Professor”, right? That has to be a nod to David’s old pops, doesn’t it?