The finale for the first season of Legion, easily the biggest delight of the TV year so far, turns down the volume to take a breath and nod in the direction of show’s future. Granted, in this case “turning down the volume” means an extended sequence of psyche separation followed by daisy chain body swapping. I mean, it’s still Legion. It’s not going to take the week off for a victory lap, no matter how well it’s earned.
“Chapter 8” did start with some true narrative magic of a form we’re not used to seeing from a superhero movie or TV show, which Legion barely qualifies as. The opening vignette following Clark — the interrogator Hamish Linklater played in the pilot — through his convalescence from third-degree burns is a brilliant turn. Having villain the audience previously thought dead miraculously return covered in scars is such a played-out move that I’m a little disappointed in myself for not expecting the level of subversion we got.
And it was a deep level of subversion — sweet, sweet, sad subversion. It turns out that Clark has a family. His husband (played by Keir O’Donnell, who oozed as Ben Schmidt in Fargo season 2) and son were at his bedside when he woke up after the attack at the swimming pool. The recovery is long and hard and boring. The sequence was an extended moment of touching realism when you separate from the fact that a bunch of mutants were responsible.
The opening, which is basically the Up montage of Marvel comics, also laid the groundwork for this face turn (I’m not sure if the pun was intended). By the end of the episode, Clark has some insight on the respective powers of David and Amahl Farouk, and he knows which side of the fight Division Three should be on. But something about that organization’s history has me doubting that.
While Clark was being held under the (sometimes) watchful eyes of Kerry, the rest of the gang was figuring out what to do with the parasite trapped inside the body of their super powerful friend. Cary has come up with a more permanent solution to the whole Shadow King problem. According to him, the two personalities living inside David’s mind are two putting out two distinct sets of brain waves. The idea is to isolate Farouk’s and then eliminate him from there…
…which is a cool plan and all, except for one minor detail. The Lenny King, now decaying in an excellent fashion, is able to pull Syd into the white room while the gang is talking to Clark and lay her cards out on the table. “Ever try to unmake soup?” she asks, after a brilliant bit of setup. Here’s the rub: Farouk ain’t leaving David unless it’s of his own volition. Syd’s going to have to help with the escape, which is not going to happen. Her idea, instead, is to be open with Clark and Division Three, and that works to a certain extent. After he sees what comes next, the man with the wolf cane and natty suit is all Team Stop the Devil, but that comes at a cost.
Once the operation on David begins go south, with blood pouring out of his nose, Syd steps in. Her plan is to kiss David and hopefully extract Farouk in the process. (At least I think that’s what she meant to do.) Either way, it’s a much better plan than Ptonomy’s, which is super stupid. He grabs that stupid Tommy gun, which nearly killed everyone just an episode ago, and runs into the room firing stupid bullets. I get that there was a great need to stop Farouk in the moment, and that Ptonomy was just trying to help. But he tried to help stupidly.
The kiss sets off a pretty sweet chain of body swaps, which move from Syd to Kerry and eventually to poor Oliver, who just began to remember his wife. Tragic! The good news, however, is that we got a hint at where season 2 is headed, and things are looking great. The closing moments of the finale put both Jemaine Clement and a refreshed Aubrey Plaza heading south to the musical stylings of T. Rex. After Lenny went full villain and tapped Plaza’s full potential on the show, I worried about her future with the series, as well as Clement’s, but my optimistic hope is that we now have two of Legion‘s best performers tag-teaming the villain role for next year.
The scene led directly into the credits, but there was a seemingly very important scene after the names rolled by. If you haven’t seen that yet, go check it out and come back here.
Are we good now?
Yes, David got trapped in a Poké Ball. Sure, it wasn’t exactly that, but you get the idea. The question now is who sent it. Could this be David’s daddy reaching out? Or is this Division Three acting out of step with Clark? The D3 leader made a passing reference to Equinox, a Marvel character with powers controlling fire and ice. Xavier seems unlikely, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
When does Fargo start back up?