As predicted, the season finale of Legion did not end predictably. You can stuff the evil entity that’s possessing you into a head coffin, you can be surrounded by evil government stormtroopers ready to pump your friends’ guts full of lead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun, take your time, and just let the situation unfold in its own way. Yes, even though our heroes were faced with two remarkable high anxiety situations going on in this week’s Legion, the entire affair unfolded in a very laid back way. This has been a wonderful eight episode ride, which is why it’s a shame that there’s a couple of concerns moving on to season two.
But first we had to know our enemy. The surprising return of Hamish Linklater‘s Interrogator last week required an immediate flashback, how did he survive David’s fiery escape from Division 3 custody? Not easy, is the answer. Apparently six weeks have passed from the first episode of the season to the last, and the Interrogator, or Clark, spent that time convalescing at home with his husband and their adopted son. Anxious to get back into the field though, he threw off any insistence that he perform desk duty and headed all the way to Summerland where he, in his words, was going to wage a war. The war lasted about 10 seconds.
What the Interrogator didn’t count on was that David was in control of his faculties, and in a mood to bargain. Legion has kind of gone out of its way to avoid showing a superhero fight, but now we were almost getting ridiculous. Was that David trying to pull a Good Will Hunting by telling the Interrogator that “You don’t have to be afraid,” over and over again? Did he really think that was going to work? ‘A’ for effort, David, but with the Shadow King pushing against the bars of his psychic prison maybe pop psychology was not the best way to deal with the death squad wanting to kill everyone, especially since they were watching through the Interrogator’s eye piece.
Perhaps it all worked out for the best then that the Shadow King could not be contained. David soon had no choice but to undergo Cary’s emergency procedure, which could best be described as an electromagnetic psychic vacuum, but Syd knew that the Shadow King would not let David go so easily. Enter zombie Lenny who, despite her deteriorating condition, warned Syd that there was only one way she would leave David willingly, and that would mean uploading the Shadow King into a likely unwilling new host. This is where the warning sign went off for me because who else fit the Shadow King’s criteria for another powerful psychic to inhabit?
In so much as I love Jemaine Clement in the part (“What’s happenin’ Space Captain?”), I did wonder what they intended to do with Oliver Bird now that he’s free of his diving suit. Given that this is a superhero drama, and Noah Hawley would never do anything as prosaic as a happy ending, it made sense that the Shadow King would glam on to Oliver as his next victim, doubly so when he started to remember that Melanie was his beloved wife. And boom goes the dynamite, the Shadow King runs a gambit of hosts till it’s finally able to make it to Oliver. The two end up driving south to find someone the King is after, presumably one Charles Xavier.
Here’s where the disappointment came in. First, for Syd to sacrifice herself with a kiss seemed as stupid as it was obvious. I thought she was going to talk David through an inner fight with the Shadow King, or maybe exploit her own psychic connection to the Shadow King, but nope, just a kiss to collect the Shadow King’s essence and take it out of David. Then there was the fight between David and Kerry who the Shadow King ended up possessing next. Last week’s tease about the nature of the psychic showdown between Professor X and the Shadow King suggested something more than what he got which was two people running at each other and bouncing off their energy fields. Dull. Perhaps a proper psychic fight is beyond the constraints of television, but I doubt Hawley and Co. would let a little thing like budget get in the way.
The other thing I found hit a false note was the whole Division 3 storyline. Are we to believe that Division 3 is just going to give it up? That’s that? No more hunting mutants? I appreciate that seeing into the ugly face of the Yellow-Eyed Devil is going to prompt a come to Jesus moment, but for jack-booted thugs like Division 3, isn’t the existence of a powerful malevolent entity like the Shadow King going to make you dig deeper in your opinion that mutants need to be controlled? Perhaps that idea might be picked up on in the next season, but it’s still disappointing though that we didn’t see what releasing “the equinox” entailed. (Or did we?)
It will also be interesting next season if we dig into any further connections to the bigger world of the X-Men. Melanie’s conversation with the Interrogator intrigued me because they talked about what the arrival of a new powerful species means, telling the Division 3 agent that “the age of the dinosaur is over.” Whether by accident through nature, or on purpose though war, Melanie pretty strongly implied that there’s no room for humans in the mutant order, and who does that sound like? Notice that Melanie also mentions “Plan M” as their back-up play. It seems weird that Xavier wouldn’t be involved with a group of well meaning mutant protectors, unless, of course, they were aligned with Magneto.
So what happens from here? We know that Oliver and the Shadow King are on the open road, David’s got pretty good control of his faculties now, but he gets beamed up into the orb from Phantasm though before he’s able to do anything about it. It would be nice if next season the world of Legion opened up a bit and went to more places, and having David’s nemesis on traveling the byways seems like a good way to do that. It will also be interesting to see what Hawley can do telling one story beyond a single season. Either way, the countdown to Legion season 2 starts now, and I can’t wait.