Legion: Chapter 19


When cartoons clash…

My usual warnings, this is a season finale, so there will be spoilers. Read at your own risk, you are warned, etc, etc.

Legion finishes its second, surreal season with “Chapter 19,” except when it’s called something else. I didn’t see most of what happened coming, and it went to some odd places. They also seemed to introduce a few random things and then forget about them. As far as I can work out, the writers revel in vagueness and oddity for the sake of being odd. I think I read once that someone described this as the superhero show for people who don’t like superhero shows. That works, since I do like superhero shows and this one is making me tired.

Last episode, the giant tuning fork that supposedly negates mutant powers was hurled away by the newly re-powered Farouk. For reasons never explained, it kept getting referred to as “The Joke.” Now, it spins out of the sky and lands, perfectly upright. That’s not likely, but then, what is in this show? David and Farouk… well, I can’t say they charge towards each other, but they kind of levitate along, each singing, David singing The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes, and Farouk singing something in French, possibly the same song. Colorful cartoon avatars, that kind of reminded me of Disney’s Fantasia, appear above each of them. The avatars do battle, changing weapons, forms, shapes constantly. When Farouk appears to be winning, Lennie turns up again, using her sniper rifle to ring the tuning fork. As promised, David and Farouk lose their powers, somewhat dramatically, and fall over. David grabs a large rock and crawls toward Farouk. Lennie produces a dragon’s head shaped bong and gets high, rolling around on the ground.

Things get a bit more unclear when the next title card reads “Chapter 10.” The is the nineteenth episode of the series, and the eleventh of the season. Then again, not a lot else about the show makes sense, so why should that? This little segment is some kind of interview of Melanie Bird and Oliver. Who is interviewing them for what is never made clear, but it seems to be sometime in the future and they are having trouble remembering the events we’ve seen on the show. Or that could just be from Farouk screwing with both of their minds. It’s the only appearance of either character for the episode, and they hint strongly they’ve left their bodies behind.

Back in the real world, David is beating on Farouk, first with a rock, then with his fists. I’m guessing he’s not trying to kill the villain anymore, since it’s actually really, really hard to beat someone to death bare-handed, and David doesn’t seem at all like he has the strength. Syd shows up and utters the most feared phrase in a relationship: We need to talk. David isn’t experienced enough with having a girlfriend to know that fear, and keeps beating on Farouk for a while. Syd is, as best I can tell, under the influence of the head-games Farouk-as-Melanie played on her, and is convinced David is the bad guy. Because why doubt the word of someone who has been on serious drugs for quite a while and is showing you visions in weird tables, even if you don’t know about the supervillain telepathic influence? Syd is parroting back the arguments fed to her by Melanie, and even going against some of what she herself said earlier, which David points out. She pulls a gun on David, and they’re still in the powerless aftermath of the big tuning fork. Syd is really cold in this scene, and then pulls the trigger.

David suddenly wakes up in a strange little room, and ends up talking to himself. Literally. Two other versions of David show up, and they debate what they should be doing, what David is, and what they/he should do next. As this goes on, a tv is playing one of the earlier lectures, this one about the idea/delusion/egg riff they like so much on the show. Even for this show, it’s an odd little scene. I say that a lot, and it’s always true about this series.

In the desert, the drugged-up Lennie rolls around on the ground and then just happens to look through her scope in time to see Syd about to shoot David. Somehow, considering no one has powers at this point, Lennie manages to shoot Syd’s bullet out of the air, and the impact knocks both David and Syd over. These must be very unique bullets. Lennie then gets surrounded by Division 3 troops after a brief foot chase. The Davids argue some more and tell the “real” one that he knows what he has to do.

When David wakes up first, he crawls over to Syd and does something with his powers. Does he make her love him again? Make her forget her doubt? Undo what Melanie/Farouk (MF seems a great abbreviation for them at the moment) did? We have no way of knowing. The Admiral, more of his Vermillions, and Cary surround Farouk and put some kind of techno-crown on his head which looks amazingly painful and seems to make it so he can’t use his powers. David is told Farouk will go on trial and that David will be expected to testify. David stops by the chained up Lennie and offers encouragement, apparently over the death of his sister now. That was fast.

Back at the Division, the prisoners are secured, and Syd turns down both more tests from Cary and David’s company for the night. After several shots of both David and Syd alone in their rooms, David reaches out mentally to Syd and they enjoy each other’s company, although he does seem a lot more into it than she does. David talks about them running away together, and Syd comments David seems different, or maybe she is. It’s unclear (as so many things are) if this is the same time or not, but David also sends a projection to Farouk’s cell to gloat. David also tells the Shadow King that either he’ll be executed after trial or David will take care of him personally. Farouk tells David he saw what David did to Syd on the hill, presumably referring back to the scene after she tried to shoot him.

Kerry jumps rope in the lab and enthuses about her fight with a minotaur, and makes a few disconcerting statements about after, even for her. Cary plays with some gadgets and somehow both sees what happened back on that hill and decides it’s treachery. Must be a hell of a gadget. Farouk starts shorting out the damper on his head and takes control of a mouse, which he sends to chitter in Syd’s ear. Great, now she’s taking advice from small rodents. When did this become a Disney cartoon?

Then we see a card for Chapter 12 (I don’t know what happened to Chapter 11): The Trial of the Shadow King. This has a few odd black and white screen cards with odd sayings and hypotheticals. Then there’s yet another voiceover/lecture, this one about the origins of the “ship of fools” saying and how it applies here, done over scenes of Syd staring at the mirror, Lennie chained up in a cell, and David on his bed.

David, now wearing all white for some unknown reason, shows up to testify against Farouk, and is neatly betrayed and trapped by pretty much everyone in the room, a team effort between Clark, Syd, and Cary. He’s in a small force field cage that is supposed to contain his powers. David is told that now he’s on trial for whatever he did to Syd and for things they are pretty sure he’s going to do in the future. There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start. Syd at least seems to still care about him, but they’ve taken the stance that David is both immensely powerful and mentally ill, and they can’t allow him to roam free. Bear in mind, some of this information came from what is supposed to be Syd in the future, who no one ever saw but David, some from Farouk the big villain for the last two seasons, and some from a mouse. Seriously.

David argues with his other selves and the people in the room. Finally, he decides he’s had enough. He frees himself from the force field, escapes the Admiral’s attempt to gas him, and teleports away. Freeing Lennie, the two of them vanish, leaving behind a conflicted Division Three and what looks to be Farouk without his damper on anymore, because THAT’S a brilliant idea. The season ends with Syd asking now what and Clark answering, “We pray.”

What I liked: Farouk was finally captured. The tuning fork, which they seem to have forgotten about afterwards, was finally used and actually did what it was supposed to. The show is, as a rule, visually impressive.

What I didn’t: Most of it, to be honest. So our hero is now a bad guy, based on very unreliable sources of information, and they not only turn on him but try and kill him? They listen to Farouk at all? David got over Amy’s death suddenly and quickly. I don’t buy the shooting bullets out of the air bit, or why that knocked over both David and Syd. Everyone seems to have forgotten about Ptonomy being sort of alive and trapped in the computers. No one thinks it’s weird that Melanie disappeared from inside Division Three during a lockdown? Syd doesn’t remember Melanie working on her head?

When a show takes a superhero concept and gets ‘arty’ with it, one of the first things they go after is the idea of good and evil. They make everything really murky and cast doubt on the idea of heroes. That’s what they did here, and it’s helped me make a decision. I’m done. This is too surreal and unclear for my tastes. Maybe I’m just too simple. The show is coming back for season three. I am not. I think that makes this the first comic book based show I’ve ever given up on.

I’ll give the episode a low 2 out of 5, the season a 2.5 out of 5, and the series the same. Enjoy, those who like this one. I’m out.