This week on Legion, a metaphoric tank fought a metaphoric cloud. But on this show, we get to see metaphors, so that means a cloud fought a tank onscreen. We’re still getting used to the new status quo with “Chapter 10”, but that sweet Jon Hamm narration is still in place. If he actually appears on the show before the end of the season, you owe me five dollars. It’s in our user agreement.
OK, let’s start with the broad strokes of the plot. David, Syd, Ptonomie and the Vermillions (the mustachioed women) went on a mission to find the Shadow King. All they found was a music box with special meaning for Syd (it’s the one she had as a child). While they’re away Farouk attacked in the form of Oliver and Lenny, turning the guards into blood clouds and screwing up Cary and Kerry’s bonding matrix. David used the tank to talk to Future Syd again and also met with Farouk on the astral plane, seeing him without go-betweens or manifestations for the first time. He learns there’s a monk who may know where the Shadow King’s body is, and then David admits to Syd that he’s been lying and tells her about her future self. And then, in the midst of a gang of chattering frozen people stands a monk, neither frozen nor chattering.
It was great. Now, let’s figure out where we stand.
I’ve been confused about the nature of Lenny’s existence, and this episode didn’t entirely clear it up but it clarified a little bit. The person with whom David used to get high was named Lenny. He was a middle-aged man. Lenny Busker was an actual person who was in the mental health facility with David and she was killed when Syd took over his body. That person was in David’s head in Season One, but she was corrupted by the Shadow King just like all of David’s other headmates. So like Oliver, in the physical world right now, she’s controlled by the Shadow King. Unlike Oliver, she doesn’t have an actual physical body, so when she’s in the real world, she’s a manifestation of Farouk. When we see her on the astral plane, that’s David’s memories of the real Lenny. It’s unclear if she has any identity beyond what David knows of her – like, is she actually in his head or did he create her out of memories. It’s baffling. And this episode, we learn that she’s angling to get Farouk to give her a new body that she can use in the physical world. Which is all very weird because a Lenny physically exists, but there must be nothing of the real (or “real”) Lenny in there. I’m not sure I get it either, so I’m just going to believe what they tell me.
Still, the fact that she’s slinking around, meeting with Farouk in private, means that she may be corruptible. She didn’t bring Oliver along to ask for a body, after all. She knows she shouldn’t ask the Shadow King for a favor, but she’s doing it anyway.
And one last thing for her – there’s a callback to the other Lenny who did drugs with David and the line “It’s blue. It’s always blue.” That’s back to last season’s idea that blue equals safety, because those drugs kept David’s powers in check. But like I said last week, I think the old color theory is out the window – blue means something else know because David is almost exclusively lit with blue light hen he’s at Division III, and that place doesn’t seem super safe. It might take a few episodes to figure out the new color wheel for the season.
Elsewhere, we learn that the Vermillions are (apparently) androids. Definitely synthetic life of some sort. That makes things a little less creepy – it’s weird if the Admiral is plugging his mind into actual people. If they’re androids, well, it’s still weird. But no human beings are harmed. They (he?) remain suspicious of David, which is reasonable considering he’s actively lying to them. But he’s lying about who abducted him and his mission to find Farouk’s body. He is, however, not lying about leading people away from headquarters so the Shadow King could attack. So it’s probably better if he comes clean rather than having everybody think worst case scenario.
Cary and Kerry got a nice story this week. The Shadow King messed up their bond so now when they merge, it’s Kerry who exists in the real world by herself. I’d like to see this developed because the whole thing is that Kerry is afraid of being alone and can’t handle the boring parts of life – eating and sleeping and all that. Which is why she and Cary were once the same age and now he’s much older than her. She doesn’t age when she goes away. Kerry seems to have serious social anxiety while also being an adrenaline junkie. She rarely takes physical form when they’re at home unless there’s a reason. I think that relationship is really fascinating and it’s going to be interesting to see how Kerry deals with other people without having Cary around. I mean, he’s around, but not in the way of actually being there.
David finally meeting the Shadow King on the astral plane was a big moment. On the one hand, Farouk’s been in David’s life for decades. But on the other, he’s manifested through intermediaries or manipulated David’s memories to the extent that David didn’t know there was a Shadow King. Everything that is the Shadow King was just a symptom of mental illness to him. So in a way, everything that’s been wrong in his life congealed into a single person and David got to talk to that person. And it was surprisingly genial. Until they started wrestling in actual wrestling singlets. And then it get weird with Farouk transforming into a swordsman, David transforming into a tank, and Farouk transforming into a storm. And in the eye of the storm? David and Farouk wrestling. It’s as clever a depiction of eternal enemies as I’ve ever seen.
And yet, David is locked into finding Farouk’s body to prevent future disaster. We learned a little more about it from a second trip to see Future Syd. In her timeline, David kills him a week from now and that kicks off the disaster. Presumably they need the Shadow King to prevent something even worse, which is a very X-Men idea. There’s a reason they keep teaming up with Magneto, and it’s because they have to.
Speaking of the X-Men, the first real reference to the comics happened this week when Cary stated that the orb wasn’t Shi’ar technology. They’re an alien race from the comics, and hearing a person say “Shi’ar” on a prestige drama was definitely weird.
Since I’m running late, I’ll have to cut it short this week, so I’ll just go out wondering whether David likes Future Syd better than Present Syd. He seems fascinated with her, while Present Syd keeps switching brains with the cat. I don’t know, man.