Dan Stevens returns as a freshly confused David Haller.
Legion’s season 2 premiere, Chapter 9, is a thorough refresher course on the series. The episode doesn’t summarize plot or reintroduce characters quite the way the sophomore opener of a less psychedelic series would, but it reiterates, on a conceptual level, the intricately choreographed dance party of the mind that is watching the show. Season 1’s lingering threads — who will David (Dan Stevens) be without Farouk occupying his mind? Why did a weird orb beam David away from Summerland? — are wound up in a net of new questions to re-tangle a narrative knot that had nearly been untied.
It may be disappointing, at first, that David has taken a few steps backward on his journey of self-realization, but Legion is a series that thrives on questions and craves the confusion born of an unreliable mind. The more David can hold himself together, the less the show’s premise can do the same, and Noah Hawley and Nathaniel Halpern, the writers of Chapter 9, seem to know it. Even as they establish new mysteries by destabilizing David, Hawley and Halpern take a few metafictional pokes at the amnesia and time travel hocus pocus they have to use to do it.
Before catching up with David, the episode opens on a shot of Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) and Oliver (Jemaine Clement) floating lazily in the center of a pool. Lenny poses what would normally be a simple question to Oliver: “Is it Tuesday?”
But there are no simple questions on Legion. “This is a conversation about time,” Oliver responds. “I try never to have conversations about time.” That rule could be a reference back to Oliver’s lengthy stint of timelessness in the Astral Plane, or it could be a way to ease the audience into the potential time-travel reveal that comes later in the episode from Syd (Rachel Keller).
Whenever it is for the two of them, Lenny and Oliver are trapped. As the camera zooms out, it’s revealed that the pool is inside the eye of Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban), who is seated in front of the Eiffel Tower. Zooming out more still, the shot reveals the Parisian scene to be inside the eye of yet another Oliver, who is sitting at the bar in a club. Cue an appropriately timed narration on the nature of madness as a mental maze. (Recap continues on next page)