In the final moments of Legion chapter 19, after the final scene, as the credits come to an end, the vocals in the song playing us out eerily proclaim, “this is not real.” A fitting statement to top off the more relevant than ever theme of the show, and this particular episode; sanity, right and wrong, good and evil are all a matter of perspective. As this episode so eloquently puts it, maybe we’re all the “fools on an endless sea, pretending to be normal.”
Gone are the simple days of season one where a more black and white narrative gave us a straight forward ride; guy falls for girl, evil thing inside guy keeps guy from being with girl, guy overcomes evil thing, guy and girl live happily ever after. Now, one season later, the morality of our main players is muddled in complete grey.
The best example of these blurred lines are in the former lovers, now turned enemies, David and Syd. “David, you drugged me and had sex with me.” These are some hard hitting words that really display the sadistic move David pulled. It’s more than reasonable that Syd and the rest of Division 3 would immediately react by attempting to jail David. Not to mention that they all now know David’s destiny to become ‘Legion: The World Breaker.’ Combine that with Syd getting lectured by Farouk disguised as Melanie about David’s lies last episode and it’s easy to see David as the monster he may actually be.
From David’s perspective, however, he’s a victim of circumstance. The episode starts with the woman he loves pulling a gun on him and attempting to murder him. David’s reaction to “love drugging” her, as wrong as it may be, was a desperate response to try and maintain quite possibly the last thing holding his sanity together; his relationship with Syd. Shooting David was the ultimate betrayal in his mind, just as his mental manipulation was the ultimate betrayal in Syd’s. The final nail in the coffin for David comes when Syd and friends suggest a return to “David the zombie,” to tranquilize and suppress him, just as he was in the mental hospital. It’s more than understandable that this would be the last straw for David, and his final words for his new captors couldn’t be more equally fitting and cryptic, “Alright, I’m done. You had your chance.”
It’s also worth noting Division 3’s all encompassing supervision that seems to have no limit in site. The surrounding world of Legion has always been shrouded in alluring mystery. What year is it? What’s going on socially and politically in this world? Admiral Fukyama as the eye in the sky seems to have all kinds of power with no check. He is able to snoop in on Syd as she’s being taken advantage of, while Cary is able to ‘science’ his way into literally recreating events on a screen. And this is enough evidence to cage David within one day, no trial to speak of. The lack of authority that allows Division 3 to become judge, jury and executioner adds even more to the moral haze of this weird reality.
The start of the episode sees yet another fantastic and strange portrayal of a battle between Farouk and David. Later, we are given an unexpectedly tender moment between the two rivals. In a way, Farouk, in his most defeated and vulnerable state, manages to gain an upper hand on David by relating with him like a father would. He tells David he’s known him since he was a baby and tried to make David love him, but never could. But this isn’t more mental manipulation on Farouk’s part, he sheds an actual tear in the final shot of the scene.
The ending leaves us with a great setup for a third season. The narrative has now been completely flipped on its head, David is the ‘monster’ that needs to be stopped, while Farouk and Division 3 will work together to bring him down. Are we in for a Breaking Bad-esque overarching narrative for this series, where we watch the ‘hero’ descends into a full fledged ‘villain’ by the end of the show? Vince Gilligan was famously vocal about his plans for Walter White in his show, but Noah Hawley has kept decidedly mum on his long term narrative plans. Whatever the case, a rouge David, along with his twisted new mind friends and Lenny by his side should have us all salivating to see where this bizarre show takes us next.