This Legion review contains spoilers.
Legion Season 2 Episode 10
David’s had a taste of evil, and I think he likes it. We’ve been warned all season by Future Syd that, if not handled correctly, David would ultimately become the world-ending threat that wipes out the rest of mankind, and finally in the penultimate episode of the season, we get to see exactly what that could look like. Our episode opens with David sitting on a what appears to be a throne surrounded by bones, with Lenny seductively sprawled out in front of him, hair spiked high like his comics counterpart. That look, that smile and posture of a supervillain, is echoed later in the episode when Cary stumbles upon David surveying the damage he caused to Oliver, contemplating what he’ll do next to the Shadow King and “how good it feels.” It appears that the Shadow King has pushed David too far, and a monster has been created.
“Chapter 18” really doesn’t have much meat on its bones, and that’s probably because this was supposed to be the finale, yet an 11th hour decision had FX order an additional hour to avoid an overstuffed conclusion. Still, the episode is effective in setting the stage for a final showdown between Farouk and David, with all of the principle players standing nearby to watch the outcome. Most significantly, “Chapter 18” uses its runtime to further drive a wedge between David and Syd.
In a canny move that puts the underutilized Jean Smart to work, Farouk takes control of Melanie’s body and tries to align current Syd with Future Syd’s mission, to have David killed before he can transform into Legion, the world killer. The reveal that Farouk had switched bodies to Melanie, and that David was torturing the real Oliver all along while looking for Syd was a little nice twist. Using the unsettling bait of a rabbit on a hook, Melanie lures Syd underground and shows her multiple events throughout the season to prove her point that David is insane and cannot be trusted. Melanie shows Syd events that the two of them shared, this time viewed through a new lens, as well as David’s interactions with Future Syd, Lenny, and his current vicious assault on Oliver. Rachel Keller has been doing a lot of the heavy-lifting all season, and she continues her excellent work here, still trying to maintain that David is a good person despite all of the mounting evidence to the contrary.
Melanie’s main point to Syd is that of course David is going to break bad; he’s been tricked, abused, depressed, and locked up for most of his adult life. His true face, she says, is that one he shows when he’s using his immense power for revenge. Farouk may have forced David to do many evil things, but he didn’t make David enjoy it as much as he did. Farouk very well could have skipped right ahead to retrieving his body, which he eventually does, but he goes out of his way to convince Syd that David is a monster, possibly because he knows that without Syd’s help, retrieving his body won’t be enough to protect him from David’s wrath.
David’s initial plan, that he implanted into the minds of the Division 3 crew, appears to be off the rails. David didn’t account for Kerry having to fight her way through a horde of monks, or for The Choke, the device that Clark brings that will rid all of the mutants of their powers for a short time, to be whisked away by Farouk. That’s not to mention the Minotaur man, now walking upright and at full strength, wreaking havoc on Syd and everyone else. What the Minotaur represents or how he’ll figure into next week’s finale, I still have no clue, but at least he looks scary!
As I said, strip away a lot of Legion’s off-kilter imagery and some transparent attempts to infuse a little action into “Chapter 18” and this episode is mainly used to for Syd and Melanie’s back-and-forth and David’s dark turn, but those moments are genuinely gripping, well-acted stuff. Hopefully the finale, “Chapter 19” can wrap a semblance of a bow on this largely uneven season.