Legion season 2’s mind-blowing finale tears up the status quo into itty bitty pieces. Here’s our review…
As crazy as Legion is, there has always been something that keeps it somewhat grounded – the relationship between David and Syd. Throughout the mind-bending narrative, we could rely on the affection the couple share as a linchpin for the story to built around. Like Syd said a few week’s back, “love is what we save.”
The season 2 finale, however, removes this bedrock element of the show in the most dramatic way possible, leaving Legion and its characters at a place where it’s hard to guess where it’ll go next. It’s perhaps the boldest move yet by writer Noah Hawley, as it well and truly rips up the rule book. Not many finales leave you in such a state of confusion that you don’t even know who the protagonist will be next season.
But let’s not got ahead of ourselves. A vestige of how delightfully comic book-y last week was, “Chapter 19” opens with a thrilling mental battle between David and the Shadow King. A fight that’s been two season in the making, this had to live up to Legion‘s high standards and it thankfully didn’t disappoint. The combination of an awesome cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” with some fantastic animated imagery made this one of the standout moments of the season.
Curiously for a finale, the pace then takes a back seat from there as, with Farouk now in chains back at Division 3, we witness David taking his last steps towards villainy, as teased in “Chapter 18.” The slow reveal that the various Davids he is receiving visions of are not part of his powerset but are actually products of his mental illness is well done. Note that none of them is British David from season 1 . That persona represented his rational mind. It seems he’s not listening to that part of himself any more.
This culminates in the scenes where David wipes Syd’s mind of her attempt to kill him, in an attempt to “remind her” how much she loves him, and then proceeds to have sex with her. As Syd points out at the end of the episode, once you take away the psychic angle David is effectively raping her. It’s sickening to watch – as a viewer, it’s a much more unforgivable act than supposing destroying the world in the future.
By the climactic scene, then, our faith in David has been shattered just like that of his loved one’s. And, just when they try to kill him in order to avert the apocalypse, it turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. David decides to become the villain they have told him he is and seems to turn up his powers to a new level. Taking Lenny with him, David flees Division 3, apparently to begin his path to end the world. To paraphase the (also awesome) cover of “Cornflake Girl” that plays over the end credits – is this really happening? You bet your life it is.
- There’s an intriguing reallignment of David and Farouk’s relationship here. He practically admits that he loves David as his “baby boy” and expresses sorrow that David has turned bad. It got me thinking that it’s only due to Marvel comics lore that we believe Professor X is his dad. It would arguably make more sense in Legion‘s world if it was the Shadow King.
- Note that Jon Hamm’s voiceover was replaced by a flashcards and by Bill Irwin in this episode. An eleventh installment was added to the season late in the day so perhaps Hamm proved unavailable to provide his bits for the finale. I wonder if that means he won’t be back next year.
- The reveal that Lenny loves David in “Chapter 17” felt like a retcon, but a romance between them would be fascinating in a repulsive kind of way. She is wearing the body of his sister, after all. What’s really icky is that recent episodes have hinted that Lenny could become pregnant next season.
- Things that were never explained: How Melanie and Oliver ended up back in his astral ice cube. What’s up with Ptomony in the D3 mainframe and who the knitting old lady is. Is there a bigger point to the Delusion creature stuff? And there’s plenty more where that came from…