Nothing about Legion so far would suggest that the end of the first season would be anything less than super satisfying, but watching the penultimate chapter of the arc was an utter delight. As is usually the case with seasons of a TV show, the second-to-last episode is the one to wrap up the action and answer a few questions, before volleying to a season finale that sets the table for the conflicts ahead.
The closure we got out of “Chapter 7” included a lot of clarity on the identity of the Devil with the Yellow Eyes and some unsubtle nods at the identity of David’s biological father. The answers were not necessarily shocking — not that they should have been — but each felt earned and natural, making the episode as a whole a great watch and a fitting beginning-of-the-end for the season.
(And everyone who has been screaming for weeks about the Shadow King, good for you. You’re so much smarter than everyone else.)
We begin by backtracking a bit, back to before Cary shows up back in the hospital in Oliver’s diving suit. Lenny/The Devil has Amy, and she/he is asking some very important questions. Namely, the Devil wants to know about the day that David first came home what “he” did with “it.” What we can piece together from context clues and clear shots of wheelchairs with X-shaped spokes is that Charles Xavier, around the time that he dropped his son off with David’s adoptive parents, hid something that the Amahl Farouk desperately wants.
Also, the Devil with the Yellow Eyes is Amahl Farouk, also known as the Shadow King.
The hints were there all along. The one that Cary kicks himself over is the name of David’s childhood (and very imaginary) dog, King. Farouk has been with David for a very, very long time. A lot of this is pieced together later in the episode by David — guided by his rational and British mind — during his visually stunning lecture on self-awareness in an empty classroom. The conflict he reasons out, in which his bald father (who could that be?) dukes it out with Farouk in the astral plane.
NEXT: A legendary fight
The fight has a pretty large history in the comic books and happened pretty much as described by David. It’s something of X-Men legend, often cited as one of the reasons a young Charles Xavier founded the team of mutants. With this backstory being established as an element of David’s story in Legion, it’s difficult to argue against Professor X being his father. This all could be one elaborate red herring, meant to set up a twist later, but we can assume for now that it’s true: Professor X is David’s dad. How he’ll be incorporated into the show moving forward remains to be seen. For all of Legion‘s retro style, it does take place in a modern setting. That put the show’s Xavier firmly into Stewart territory, as opposed to McAvoy, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing him any time soon either way.
While David was off finding a way to get himself out of the mental coffin Farouk put him in, the rest of the Summerland crew is organizing an escape from the hospital. Cary tells Syd everything he knows about the situation, all of which she’s already figured out. What he is able to provide, however, are glasses that will allow her to see what’s real, as opposed to illusions created by Farouk, and make everything look like a silent movie, including dialogue cards.
Here’s where I need to call out Aubrey Plaza. As the role has evolved, her performance has just gotten better and better, peaking with these last two episodes and her villain turn. She has been so deliciously maniacal that I hate to imagine a future for the show without her. It’s a testament not only to her range, but surprising casting. Here’s someone who would never be considered for a villain role in a traditional comic book adaptation, but Evil Lenny is by far one of the most memorable Marvel villains ever put on screen.
It’s during another lengthy musical sequence — during which Oliver also conducts a flurry of letters to form the word “shield” around the frozen Syd and David — that we see Farouk at his darkest and everything comes to a head. Walter gets crumpled into a ball, which results in blood raining down the forehead of the real-world Walter. (One of the more horrifyingly great images from TV this year.) We also see poor Rudy, or his mind at least, make a last minute save, despite having been stabbed by Walter before the Tommy gun attack. The momentary distraction allows Cary to slip his gadget onto David’s head and trap Farouk inside the mental coffin.
Everything seems to be relatively peachy — except for Rudy, but that dude was always going to die. Oliver is back and still looks like Jemaine Clement, but he doesn’t remember Melanie. Kerry is pissed at Cary for leaving her. Oh, and the Interrogator from Division Three is back, this time with burn scars. As implausible as that may be, I’m thrilled to see Hamish Linklater back in action.
But that cliffhanger doesn’t seem like much of a threat. David, newly freed from Farouk, has untapped a lot of his powers, so he should be able to handle Division Three. I’m a little more concerned about Farouk breaking through the coffin. That seems like trouble to me.