The Shadow King is Still the Bad Guy on Legion

first_img I love Legion, but the show isn’t without its problems. Its amazing visuals and complex, twisting plots disguise the fact that the story moves very slowly, and it never introduced its ensemble cast very well. The only reason I love it so much, is because it’s so good at the other stuff. And the distance kind of fits a story where you’re not even sure which scenes are real to begin with. Even the show knows what it’s done to us at this point. The series recap we got before the episode started opened with the words, “Apparently on Legion.” I respect that kind of honesty. Once the episode picks up proper, we see the vetting Lenny had to go through once she got into Division 3. She gets interrogated by Clark, who appears to be messing with her. Trying to see how she reacts. To be fair, he has the same questions that we do. Is she the real Lenny? The one who died back in the mental hospital? Or is she The Shadow King, still using the Lenny’s body?She goes into some real uncomfortable backstory. A childhood full of abuse, crimes of desperation, addiction. Above all, she just wants to talk to David, and Clark won’t let her. He threatens to lock her in the cells below the building. She tells him the Shadow King knows where his body is. And as we see after another trippy credits sequence, where the camera flips upside down and the setting morphs into a desert road, she’s right. The Shadow King is taking Oliver to exhume his body. Only when they get there, it doesn’t appear to be the Shadow King’s body they dig up. We only see the corpse’s arm, but it looks much whiter and more feminine. Oliver takes a small sample of skin, and puts it in a device he stole from Division 3.Jemaine Clement as Oliver Bird. (CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX)Things get even weirder when Ptonomy starts questioning her. He realizes her eyes are a different color than they once were. Whoever’s body this is, it’s not Lenny’s. When he tries to dive into her memories, it doesn’t go as planned. He’s forced back out, into his own head where the gooey delusion creature crawls into his ear. One of these episodes, we’re going to find out just what that thing means. And who planted the idea that grew into it. For now, Ptonomy comes out of the memory feedback loop to find himself choking Lenny.The late title card and John Hamm’s Philosophy Time (yay, it’s back) give the episode a paranoid undercurrent. This one’s called “conspiracy,” and John Hamm describes the phenomenon of people seeing the face of Jesus in a piece of toast. It goes back to humans’ ability to recognize patterns, something that helped us avoid predators in the wild. We still have that ability, which is why, Hamm tells us, we interpret coincidence as a conspiracy. It doesn’t tie into this episode’s story as well as past segments have, but it adds some more uncertainty to the season’s overall arc. How much of the conspiracies being hinted at are really just coincidences? Most of us watching aren’t entirely trusting of Future-Syd, but are we looking for ulterior motives where there are none?Dan Stevens as David Haller. (CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX)Lenny finally does get to see David. Her smile can still creep me the hell out. She clears a few things up. She may not be The Shadow King, but she’s still being forced to work for him.The Shadow King sent her to let David know that he’s found his body. Why? Where? He didn’t share that information with her. Or with Oliver. What makes this scene extra unsettling are the brief flashes of memory, shot to look like old home video. It’s only at the end that David sees something that triggers a realization. Two kids together. That’s when the two dueling stories come together in a cool, terrifying way.Throughout the episode, it keeps cutting between Lenny’s interrogation and Farouk and Oliver’s journey through the desert. First, we think they’re going to find his body. Then, we think they’re going to find Lenny’s They do find hers, but the big surprise is what they do to resurrect her, and why she has blue eyes now. They spend a lot of time following a donut truck. Near the end, it’s revealed that the truck is delivering supplies to David’s sister, Amy, who’s in some kind of witness protection program. The next scene feels like a horror movie. It’s genuinely scary the way Oliver, acting on behalf of the Shadow King, suddenly appears in Amy’s kitchen. It’s even scarier when she tries to run, and he appears right in front of her. Who knew Jemaine Clement could do horror so well? Like scary horror, not comedy vampire horror.When he catches her, we see what the device was that Oliver stole. As he uses it on Amy, she screams in pain as she’s slowly transformed into Lenny. Only with blue eyes this time. It’s a very sad reveal, but really because of the effect it has on David. It made me wish we’d gotten to know Amy more. She had a decent presence in season one, but this was the first and last time she’s shown up this season. It’s hard to really get attached to a character when you barely see them. The scene still worked as a scare, though. The transformation was horrifying to watch, especially because of how much the scene left to our imaginations.Navid Negahban as Amahl Farouk. (CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX)That’s the nightmare-inducing moment this week’s Legion leaves us on. With these most recent episode’s the show appears to be pushing back on the idea that Future-Syd knows best. Last week, current-Syd encouraged David to toughen up to protect their love, knowing that that love is what put him in an uneasy alignment with the Shadow King. This week reminded us that even if the future needs the Shadow King to survive, he’s still evil. He’ll still need to be dealt with at some point. This episode featured two characters telling Farouk they were going to kill him. The first was Oliver, who appeared to have been moved to rebellion for just one second by an image of Melanie. That moment of consciousness surprised even Farouk. The next was David, at the very end when he realized what happened to Amy. Farouk’s made some powerful enemies. That might seal his fate even if he finds his body.Even if the big reveal didn’t pack the emotional punch it should have, Legion remains some of the most unique and enjoyable superhero shows on TV. The mystery was intriguing enough to mostly make up for the weaker payoff. The show still consistently provides meaty questions to think about and unmatched visual spectacle. I just hope this reveal means the story can take a meaningful step forward now. The last few episodes, great though they’ve been, have pretty much all been David in someone’s head, in a room in Division 3. No matter how different they make them, the story gets old after a while. Don’t Hold Your Breath For Noah Hawley’s ‘Doctor Doom&…How ‘Legion’ Uses Superpowers to Explore Mental Illness Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Stay on targetlast_img

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