Down the rabbit hole we go.
Legion returned this week to find David beginning his uneasy alliance with the Shadow King, choosing to trust the enigmatic Syd from the future.
Luring Division 3 away from their headquarters, David gives the Shadow King an opportunity to infiltrate the base and wreak havoc. Unfortunately, despite David’s insistence that “no one gets hurt,” a lot of people get hurt.
Even without his original body, the Shadow King demonstrates once again that he is still unbelievably powerful. Unlike his comic book counterpart, whose abilities were limited to telepathy (albeit very, very strong telepathy), this Shadow King is not confined to the Astral Plane. He’s seemingly immune to bullets, and turns Division 3 soldiers into dust or animals with just a thought.
In addition to demonstrating just how scary the Shadow King is, the sequence also sets up two big ideas that will likely be focal points as the season progresses.
In one of the show’s strangest moments to date, Cary and Kerry get caught up in the crossfire, and something very… odd is done to their symbiotic relationship. Cary finds himself drawn into Kerry, rather than the other way around, and gets trapped, his arm sticking out of his partner’s chest. They’ve effectively been flipped inside-out, and while the complete ramifications of this are not quite clear yet, it’s probably not a good thing.
Perhaps more importantly though, we find out why the Shadow King wanted to get into Division 3 in the first place. He’s searching for a member of the Migo Order, a group of monks who once helped to seal away the Shadow King’s physical body. When the Shadow King was first defeated, his mind was separated from his physical form, and the body was apparently hidden away with the monks of that order.
While it doesn’t seem to be based on anything from the X-Men comics, the name of the order might be a nod towards the Mi-Go from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft’s stories often deal heavily with the concept of madness and insanity, something that Legion is all too familiar with.
Admiral Fukyama is under the impression that all of the monks were wiped out by something or someone called “Miser Sunday,” but whatever that might be is left unexplained for now. The Shadow King believes that one monk still exists, though, and is seeking out information on where he is hiding.
Interestingly, this episode actually isn’t the first time that this monk has appeared. He can be briefly seen in the club where David and the Shadow King had their dance off, making his way through the crowd. Whatever role he’s playing in this story, he seems somehow linked to either David, the Shadow King, or, more likely, both of them.
All of this begins to fracture the already tenuous partnerships that were formed in the last episode. Admiral Fukyama and Clark begin growing increasingly suspicious of David, while David himself is frustrated by the Shadow King’s violent methods.
David decides to dangerously boost his psychic powers in order to reach Future Syd again, in the hopes of learning why exactly he needs to help the Shadow King. Here we get our most important reveal of the season so far.
Now able to speak, Future Syd reveals that eventually, some kind of plague will sweep across the planet, wiping out practically all life. To prevent this apocalyptic future, Syd says that the Shadow King will be needed in some way. In her timeline, the Shadow King is dead, having already been killed by David.
Just like with everything in Legion, however, there may be a lot more going on below the surface. The scene’s heavy use of a particular color may be an indication that the show is once again playing with the color palette in some very interesting ways.
If you’ll recall in Season 1, scenes involving the Shadow King would often have a heavy red overlay, while Division 3, particularly in this season so far, is often lit with bluish tints. Likewise, in the last episode, Future Syd communicated with David using drawings made from blue light.
However, after David boosts his psychic powers to reach her again, she’s able to speak from within a room lit by purple lights. It could just be a stylistic choice of course, but the fact that we’re now seeing such a prominent use of purple, in a show that’s already played around a lot with red and blue color schemes, is interesting to say the least. Could it be hinting that Syd’s agenda lies somewhere in between the Shadow King and Division 3’s?
While we’re on the subject, it’s maybe worth noting that the Admiral’s robotic assistants are named Vermillion (a shade of red), and wear blue lights around their necks.
This isn’t the only way that the show’s already messing with our heads. In this episode, we also get a dreamlike reflection, once again narrated by Jon Hamm, on the nature of perception. We see a young boy being taught from a young age that red is actually green and vice versa (here we go with colors again!). This altered perception of reality eventually kills him, when he walks into traffic during a green light.
I can’t help but feel like the show is hinting that we’re possibly also being misled. Can David actually trust Future Syd? Can we as viewers even trust David at this point? There are a lot of questions being raised about allegiances and the very nature of reality itself, and we’re only on episode 2.
While not too much happens in terms of moving the hunt for the Shadow King’s body forward, the episode is still impressively dense. We’ve learned a little bit more about the world of Legion, and the circumstances behind the Shadow King’s first defeat. As the race continues, David and the Shadow King (now seen in his original form as Amahl Farouk, although we already had a glimpse of him in that form in the season premiere) continue to tussle for dominance. This time it’s in the form of a wrestling match. I was halfway hoping that every psychic throwdown would be a dance battle from here on out, but this is pretty good too.
Unbeknownst to both of them though, the monk is far closer than any of them realize. We’ll likely find out much more about this new player as the season progresses.