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Legion Chapter 15: A Perfect Episode That’s Setting Up for a Big Payoff

Legion Chapter 15
Screenshot: FX

By the end of this week’s episode we only have three episodes left, but we finally have a concrete idea of where those episodes are going.

While I won’t say that a lot of questions get answered, we DO at least get to hear the same questions the audience have, being asked by characters on the show. We essentially know exactly as much as we’re supposed to know and not a drop more, which is something I’m comfortable with. This show makes it absolutely impossible to ever be a step ahead of the storytelling; just when you think you’ve found your bearings, the next scene starts sideways (literally, sometimes!) and you realize that much like Oliver (Jemaine Clement), you’re only along for the ride.

One question I raised last week that definitely did get answered is the question of what Amy meant to David, and how fraught their relationship actually was. Farouk (Navid Negahban) tells an upset David (Dan Stevens) that killing Amy (Katie Asleton) is something that he wanted.

As someone who shared a mind with David his entire life, he’s heard the negative thoughts and the terrible things that David had wished on her. David disagrees, but doesn’t put up too much of a fight. It seems that deep down, our David is the same one that would gleefully give Amy a nosebleed if he was stripped of his morals. Luckily he has those, and he misses his sister, regardless of how he has felt about her in the past.

Now that David is incensed, he vows not to help Farouk find his body and instead destroy it. Farouk’s solution to David’s threat? To visit Future-Syd (Rachel Keller) himself and try to parse out the reason she wants Farouk to get his body back. Point blank, he asks the question we’ve all been asking: why is she trying to help him? He revels in the idea that he’s being seen as the good guy, for once, and that him getting his body back would save the world rather than end it.

Future-Syd isn’t upfront, but there’s a very clear implication that what Farouk may need to save the world from is David. Farouk makes a pretty ominous promise to her – that they will rule the world together, without David. I was surprised by how forward the show was being in helping us understand the narrative, but of course before I could be too disappointed the show throws us a third act curveball that completely changed my mind.

One interesting thing about the interaction between Farouk and Future-Syd (that I may be reading too much into) is where in the chronology this meeting takes place. Farouk is acting on information David has already received, but did he visit Future-Syd farther back in her timeline than David did? Is she only telling David to help Farouk because of the alliance that Farouk makes with her in her own personal past? Is that too complicated or just complicated enough for this show?

Questions are also answered by Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), who is attacked by Vermillion androids and sees Fukiyama, who yet again appears to him as some sort of bug monster. Ptonomy goes around to everyones’ rooms and leaves an egg, whispering something inaudible. The next morning, everyone’s egg has hatched and suddenly they’re all acting irrationally.

Earlier in the episode, we’re treated to another Jon Hamm narration about moral panic. When people perceive a threat and take that threat so seriously that it becomes real through the importance and the gravity they’ve placed on it. We know for a fact that society can come together to achieve horrible things when we’re all frightened, and some of the footage shown that looks like it could have been lifted from any pro-Trump rally helps really bring that point home in a way that’s immediately understandable.

In the episode, our Summerland heroes, plus Clark (Hamish Linklater), are worked up into a state of moral panic over what has been happening around Division 3. They quickly decide that Vermilion is the root of their problems, and we’re treated to an admittedly fun montage of Ptonomy and Kerry (Amber Midthunder) destroying some androids before Syd and Clark get to Fukiyama. He takes off his basket, and depending on who you are, you’ll see something different.

If you’re Clark and Syd, you’ll see a bug monster that freaks them out to the point of almost shooting it. If you’re the audience, you’ll see a somewhat elderly man with metal rods holding his head up; a man who has clearly been through a lot, physically and uses his androids kind of like caretakers, and as his eyes and ears, so that he doesn’t have to show his true form. Before Syd and Clark attempt to kill him, David materializes in to save the day.

I couldn’t find a better point in the review to throw this in, so I’ll put it here. Clark is an interesting character, one who hasn’t been explored much at all. What we know of him is that he’s a family man, with a husband and a child, and all he wants is to protect them. He’s sort of a lawful neutral; only Clark’s laws seem a little different than what ours would be. He isn’t necessarily the enemy just because he sides with the shady private militia aimed at suppressing mutants.

He’s just trying to protect humanity from major threats, and Farouk is definitely a major threat. In a way, Clark being burnt on one side of his body – while being a little too reminiscent of Two-Face from Batman – has been a good indicator of how Clark is truly his own agent, just doing what he thinks is best. He’s a character that could go either way as far as being a hero is concerned: he can turn on his boss like he does this episode, albeit under the influence of delusion, or he could turn on David, who is really only a hero in our eyes because he was introduced to us as a protagonist. I look forward to seeing what Clark does under extreme pressure.

The going gets a little tough here, and I do not by any means want to spoil what is essentially one of the biggest, weirdest, hardest to stomach choices the show has made thus far. What I will say is this: I truly cannot believe that I’m on board with it. It’s bolder than anything I thought the show would try to pull off, and it’s far beyond the realm of what I was expecting to see on this show.

At the end of the day, lest we forget, this is a show adapted from Marvel’s X-Men universe, and things WILL get weird. What I can also say is that this is a very literal but well-executed (I think) interpretation of the theme of this episode, which is that delusions, however small, can snowball and ultimately turn you into a monster.

If I could express disappointment about any one aspect of the episode, it’s that the build-up to this big bold moment wasn’t bigger and tighter. The payoff is fantastic, and the idea was quite literally planted in the first episode of the season, but it didn’t really build to a crescendo. David himself comments on what a distraction this is from the task at hand, and it would have felt a lot less like that if we had more of a reason to see it coming. While I know that Jon Hamm’s narration has been spoon-feeding us these ideas from the beginning to acclimate us to what happens this week, I feel that Ptonomy – and Jeremie Harris, specifically – got the short end of the stick when it comes to his own story arc here.

However, don’t let that complaint take away from the fact that this is one of the most structurally tight episodes the show has ever had. We have three clear acts, as well as a beautifully shot post-credits type of scene that really adds some excitement to what’s in store for Ptonomy in the future, as well as what the full extent of Fukiyama’s backstory is. This episode could have been a movie and probably would have only needed minor adjustments to understand without any context. Any issue someone could find with this episode, like my aforementioned critique, is actually an issue with something outside of this episode’s control, if that makes any sense. What I’m saying is that it is essentially perfect.

With only three episodes left and a lot more questions to answer, and some very heavy action that has been promised for too long, I’m learning that what season two can wrap up in one episode is a lot different than what season one could. This season doesn’t just always move faster, but it moves smarter. Loose threads are beginning to tie up, and whether or not the action takes a sidebar again, I’m more confident than ever that we’re going to see a huge payoff.

Chapter 15 Rating: 10 out of 10

Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben is an enthusiastic young writer who can usually be seen performing or enjoying live comedy in New Jersey and New York. She has a very limited range of interests which can be summed up by the following list, in no particular order: comedy, cartoons, toy collecting, wrestling, limited edition varieties of soda, and Billy Joel. She was born and raised in New Jersey and can’t wait to leave so she can brag to all her new neighbors about how great the ocean smells at low tide.


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