Our hero, David Haller, has returned to his Summerland friends and his lover, Syd Barrett, after his journey within the mysterious orb. He claims to have no memories of his time away, which he thinks was only a day, but was actually a year. His friends are now working with their bitter enemies, Division 3, to find Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, their even bitterer enemy, who used to live in David’s head, and still might have some kind of hold on him.
Farouk is infecting people, normals and mutants alike, with a strange psychological illness that brings on paralytic catatonia and obsessive teeth chattering. Division 3 is being run by a basket-headed mutant cyborg with mustachioed female clones who speak for it. Welcome to Legion, season 2. You didn’t think things would settle down, did you?
The Division 3 headquarters has the best staff restaurant ever, so they can’t be as evil as they used to be. Everything will definitely be fine.
First let’s briefly refresh ourselves on where we last left off, shall we? David and British David have graciously left us a video to help out.
Chapter 9 begins with Lenny and Oliver floating on mats in a pool. They both look fabulous. Lenny asks if it’s Tuesday. Of course it is, that’s the day that Legion airs. Oliver tells her that he never has conversations about time, and has his drink refilled by a mysterious, not quite visible, butler. They both laugh, because they’re trapped.
The camera rapidly pulls away, until it draws out of Amahl Farouk’s eyeball. He’s somewhere near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The camera keeps pulling out, until we pull out of Oliver’s eye. He’s in a hip dance bar and calls the whole thing groovy.
Now it’s time to break the fourth wall. John Hamm will be acting as our narrator for the season. He does a pretty good Rod Serling impression for the intro:
“There is a maze, in the desert, carved from sand and rock. A vast labyrinth of pathways and corridors, a hundred miles long. a thousand miles wide, full of twists and dead ends. Picture it. A puzzle you walk. And at the end of the maze is a prize, just waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is find your way through. Can you see the maze? Its walls and floors, its twists and turns? Good. Because that maze you’ve created in your mind is, itself, the maze. There is no desert, no rock or sand. There is only the idea of it. But it’s an idea that will come to dominate your every sleeping and waking moment. You are inside the maze now. You cannot escape. Welcome to Madness.”
There is the sound of many clicking teeth in the background, mimicking the rhythm of the Twilight Zone theme’s chimes, as Rod Serling/ John Hamm tells the story.
Ptonomy, the memory artist from Summerland, and Clark, the Division 3 interrogator, find David in a club, sitting in a chair on the stage, not quite catatonic. David asks Ptonomy to help the others, who are trapped in the maze, then he passes out. Ptonomy and Clark follow the snapping sounds to the club’s ballroom, which they find full of the club’s patrons, all of whom are frozen like statues except for their chattering teeth and strange facial expressions.
David is placed in a containment chamber, for his own protection, and brought into the Division 3 headquarters.
Syd is practicing body swapping with her gorgeous blue-eyed cat, when Kerry lets her know that they’ve found “him”. Syd isn’t sure who Kerry means at first. Kerry is confused about Syd’s talking cat at first. The Division 3 com system announces a reminder to beware of ideas that are not your own. The announcement is repeated. Can this idea be trusted, since now it’s not your own?
Part Two: The Madness of Crowds
Cary and another doctor examine David, but can’t figure out why he won’t wake up. Clark, Ptonomy, Admiral Fukuyama (head of Division 3), and the Vermillions (Fukuyama’s multiple identical gender fluid assistants) observe. The doctors are worried that David is infected is with the teeth chattering illness, but his brain scan matches previous scans, so Cary rules that out. He thinks it’s possible that David’s mind is locked in the astral plane again.
Fukuyama wants them to terminate David, just in case he’s infected. Clark, of all people, insists that David’s mind is strong and he’ll be able to resist the disease. Cary takes off his hazmat suit so that he can communicate directly with David. Armed guards suddenly fill the room, and several targeting lasers light up Cary’s torso. He calls out Kerry to protect him while he works. Fukuyama calls off the guards, and Cary talks to David to get him to wake up. David finally rouses, and asks for waffles.
Announcement #4: Any shift in reality may signal an attack. If you feel something, say something.
Does the change from reminders to announcements count as a shift in reality? How do you know who to trust enough to say something to, when anyone could be under attack?
Ptonomy takes David to the Lazy River Café (that’s what I’m calling it), where the food floats by on little entrée sized boats and you take the one that you want. Waffles with fruit and whipped cream sail by, so David grabs them and starts eating. He asks Ptonomy why the voices he can hear telepathically are all so scared, and what this place is.
Ptonomy explains that they are in the Division 3 headquarters and Admiral Fukuyama is their boss. Ptonomy says, “After the Lazarus Affair, the Divisions were created to study and defend against what people saw as a new mutant threat. Division 1 is global command and communications. Division 2 is pure science- genetics, technology. Division 3 is the tip of the spear. We do the day-to-day, boots on the ground, engagement [investigations, research and tactical]. After you left, Syd and Melanie convinced the leadership that mutants themselves aren’t a threat. Most of us are harmless. We just want to live our lives in peace. [Syd and Melanie argue strategy.] So we joined Division 3 and started working together to fight our real enemies. Your friend, the Shadow King, he’s been priority one since the day you left.”
As Ptonomy is talking about fighting their real enemies, Fukuyama and the Vermillions are shown alone on the screen for several seconds. There’s no mistaking the hint.
David is confused about what Ptonomy means, because he thinks he just left yesterday. Ptonomy asks what he remembers, and it turns out that he only has a few flashes of memories of the time since he was taken by the orb. Trees, a rooftop, dancing.
David stops for a moment and asks why the armed guards are children. Ptonomy explains that under a certain age “we” can’t be infected. Why is unknown. Does “we” mean all people, or just mutants?
New Symptom Alert: Unexplained Malaise.
Ptonomy sees Syd approaching and excuses himself. David has a conversation with himself in his head, asking if Ptonomy “knows” or not. Syd whispers, “Are you the Magic Man?” in David’s ear.
They have a conversation that switches between speech and telepathy. Syd noted that David looks the same, even though it’s been 362 days. She’s changed. She found a gray hair and likes cherry pie now. She got through the uncertainty and loneliness by playing superstitious little games with herself, like if she could hold her breath until the kettle whistled, it would prove he was alive.
David asks if he can kiss her, and Syd says he better. They kiss and make love all over their white room in the astral plain, until they’re properly reaquainted with each other.
Followed by a depressing Infinity War commercial in which they remind us that the end of everything and everyone is nigh. Not cool, Marvel. Let me enjoy the afterglow for a minute before you potentially kill Steve and Tony.
Syd tells David that Farouk/Oliver has been sighted all over the world. They think he’s looking for something. Then they got distracted:
“The Catalyst. We thought it was a weapon, at first. Some kind of biological agent. Normal people would freeze, like statues, except for that creepy thing they do with their teeth. Then we realized. Every time it happened, Oliver was there. We think he’s infecting people somehow. It’s not a virus. Not a physical virus. Cary thinks it’s psychological.”
Announcement #2: Know your symptoms. Confusion. Irritability. Obsessive thoughts. Repetitive sounds. Repetitive sounds. Hopelessness. Despair. If you feel any of these symptoms tell your mental monitor at once.
“Repetitive sounds” is repeated twice. It’s not a typo.
As Syd finishes describing the Catalyst, we see the victims, who are stored in a large room at Division 3. The room is lit with blue light. Melanie Bird’s quarters are next door. Announcement 2 is heard over the coms as Syd walks down the corridor outside Melanie’s room.
Melanie calls Syd into her room. Syd sits as far away from Melanie as possible. Melanie is bitter about losing Oliver again. She talks to Syd about how Oliver and David are always leaving to go do something important. The womenfolk can’t complain, because that would be selfish. Syd tries to reassure Melanie that they’ll bring Oliver home, but Melanie says that after the men come home from their important adventures, things are never the same.
Syd leaves, and Melanie gets lost in drug use, inhaling the same drug that David and Lenny used before they were committed. Her dispenser is a bejeweled Asian elephant with vapor coming out of its trunk. The elephant in the room?
Chapter Three: Delusions
The Narrator tells the story of Zhuangzi and the butterfly, who were confused about who was dreaming of who, a simple, innocent delusion. Then the story gets interesting.
“A delusion starts like any other idea: as an egg, identical on the outside, perfectly formed. From the shell, you’d never know anything was wrong. It’s what’s inside that matters. Albert A had an idea. One day as he was walking, he stumbled and for a moment, it seemed that his right leg didn’t belong to him. This is how it begins. The leg was clearly Albert’s. It was attached to his body, and when he pricked it, he felt pain. But, despite that, the idea grew. Such is the power of an idea. With everyday that passed, Albert became more and more certain that this was not his leg. He decided he didn’t want it any more. One day he went to the hardware store. You see an idea alone isn’t enough. We have ideas all the time. Random thoughts and theories. Most die before they can grow. For a delusion to thrive, other, more rational ideas must be rejected, destroyed. Only then can the delusion blossom into full-blown psychosis.”
As the story of how delusions form is being told, a fluffy yellow chick hatches from one egg, and a skeletal, deformed chick that’s drenched in thick black oil hatches from another. The oily chick, which is the delusion, kills the healthy chick/idea. Lenny is watching, and picks up the oily chick. She kisses it, suggesting that it’s being activated so that it can spread.
Reminder: A loss of meaning is not normal. Beware of ideas that are not your own.
While this announcement is being broadcast, a Vermillion, Clark and another staff member consult before Clark joins David in the restaurant booth where he’s drinking tea. David has been going over more flashes of memory from his time in the orb. David has realized that he has no idea what Amahl Farouk actually looks like behind his disguises. Clark explains that they think that Farouk came to be sometime in the early 1800s in Morocco, but they don’t have much to go on, and stories tend to get blown out of proportion. They do know that Farouk is a mutant whose mind has been separated from his body for a long time.
Clark then changes the subject to ask what David’s real story is. Division 3 intends to carbon date David like he’s a fossil to determine if he has amnesia, is an evil twin, or some unknown third option. David is appalled that they don’t believe his story. Clark tells David that his mother had leukemia when he was young and would keep him home from school as company. They’d watch soap operas together, and take a bite of ice cream whenever someone had amnesia or an evil twin. As a result, Clark was chubby as a kid. Clark waits while a bowl of ice cream is handed to him the way Oliver’s drink was delivered. Then he holds his spoon expectantly, waiting for David to tell a lie so he can take a bite.
David clams up, so Clark gets up to leave, but first Clark informs David that he needs to visit Fukuyama.
Most of the scene is shot showing Clark’s left, unscarred side, but certain pointed times show his face straight on, with burn scars and a blind eye on the right. Clark is also carrying a cane. Clark talks about the origin of Lucifer, and we see his scars. There’s no trust, or love, lost between David and Clark, which is understandable, but David didn’t give him his burns. The people Clark’s been working with for a year did.
David meets with Fukuyama while standing in front of an image that looks like what you get when you hold 2 mirrors up to each other- a tunnel of endlessly repeating images. Are David and Fukuyama the mirrors? Could it be another version of David under the basket? Or do David and Fukuyama have something in common, like Farouk or having been held hostage?
David considers reading Fukuyama’s mind, but Fukuyama reads David’s mind first, and claims that his own mind can’t be read:
“Our mind cannot be read. When we were a boy we had a machine put into our head. For days we screamed. The pain was in the volcano, puncturing the molten core. The device buried deep in our cerebral cortex like nails from a bomb in a public place. Hardware inside software. And now we are this. The machine that bleeds. The organizing principle.”
David reassures Fukuyama that though he was gone, he’s here now, and they’re going to find Farouk. David internally wonders what Fukuyama knows, but decides he should be honest, and assume Fukuyama knows everything. Fukuyama asserts that Farouk is part of David. David says that he and Farouk were together a long time, so he can still sense Farouk, but right now Farouk is hiding from him. He asks for help boosting Farouks signal. Fukuyama says that Cary has developed a device that will help David find Farouk and recover his memories.
David asks what Fukuyama will do with Farouk when they find him. Fukuyama intends to terminate Farouk. David is worried that Fukuyama will kill Oliver, and insists that they don’t kill Farouk’s hostage, but Fukuyama doesn’t respond. Fukuyama says that they also need to find Farouk’s physical body and kill it. Farouk’s body was hidden after Professor X defeated him on the astral plane decades ago. Farouk’s mutation is still a physical, genetic mutation, like all of the other mutants. His mind on its own is strong, but if it were to rejoin his body, he’d be unstoppable.
Fukuyama and the Shadow King are both looking for the body. David characterizes the search as a race, which gives Fukuyama pause. They dismiss David, sending him off to Cary’s lab, telling him not to fail. It seems like David’s the first person in a while to give Fukuyama an intellectual challenge.
Just before the Vermillion says that Farouk’s body will be terminated, we get a brief shot of Fukuyama alone on the screen in a side view, in front of an image of an endless tunnel with repeating identical arches. The other walls have images of tall buildings and trees shot from the ground with the camera pointing straight up. With a head framed in the center, they look like spikes going into it. Otherwise, they seem to be pointing at something unseen. All of the giant photos lead to something unseen, like Fukuyama’s head.
Cary checks in with David on his feelings about small, dark places. The amplification chamber, whose function is similar to Charles Xavier’s Cerebro, is a sensory deprivation chamber filled with a strawberry flavored solution. It’s 80% glucose, 15% bicarbonate, & 5% strawberry extract, which has a high alcohol content, for conductivity and flavor, according to Cary.
I don’t know if it’s Cary or the writers who aren’t being truthful, but the extract would reduce conductivity. The glucose is clearly dissolved in water or saline, which would produce the conductivity, unless the water is deionized. The ingredients (minus the extract) are also the basic ingredients for Honeycomb Candy. Weird, or super weird?
Cary: While you’re in the tank, I’ll be using the resonator to bring up specific frequencies. We can communicate, so if you see something, or if you want me to try a different frequency, you just let me know… In order for the connectivity to be at maximum efficiency, we do need full exothermal contact. So get naked.
Kerry pops out to supervise the procedure and is shamed back in, which is a tragedy for her self-esteem and sexual power as a woman. 😉 Once he has sufficient privacy, David disrobes and hops into the daiquiri chamber. The liquid is clear, but strawberries are red, Farouk’s color, while the lights inside the chamber are blue, David’s color. The battle is on. Or the collaboration.
Cary closes David in and tells David to open his mind. Syd leaves them to it, with instructions to ping her if it gets interesting. David asks if Cary has used the chamber before. Cary says yes, in a theoretical sense.
Syd joins Ptonomy in the elevator, which is covered with honeycombs and repeating patterns. They stay on opposite sides of the large elevator as they talk.
Ptonomy asks Syd if she believes David when he says he doesn’t remember the last year. Ptonomy can tell that it’s really David, but he saw memories from the time that David was missing. Syd asks if it was a full year of memories, and Ptonomy says he saw a few images. Last season Ptonomy was able to bring out memories that David couldn’t consciously remember. The memories existing and David knowing they exist are two different things. Why is Ptonomy deliberately misleading Syd?
Ptonomy says that David was in the nightclub, not just when they found him, but also with Oliver. They were dancing. Ptonomy suggests that this might mean that the Shadow King still has a hold of him. Because the Shadow King was known for taking David dancing on all of their dates. 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ Seriously not trusting Ptonomy right now.
Syd refuses to believe that Farouk is controlling David. He’s her man, and she stands by him.
Cary flips through frequencies organized by color and number. The orange frequencies don’t do anything, but Red-15 sends David back to the orb and he starts screaming. Cary dials back the intensity of the resonance and David’s disembodied mind flies through the Division 3. Ptonomy and Clark are eating in the restaurant. Melanie is in her room alone. Syd is walking down a corridor and senses David as he flies overhead. Schoolchildren in a classroom play Duck, Duck, Goose. David leaves the building through an air vent, as one does when one is trapped.
David thinks back to the nightclub, where he followed a bald Asian man through the crowd, until he ran into Lenny and Oliver. Without saying a word, they begin a dance battle, complete with backup dancers. David and Oliver are much more physical than Lenny. She’s more blank-faced and her dancing is more like striking repeated poses and being moved and lifted by her backup dancers. Oliver and David are engaged with each other, while Lenny is separate. At the end, a wind machine blows hard at Oliver and Lenny, so David must have won. Cary was dancing in his lab, too, and was the best of the dancers.
New symptom alert: A strong urge to confess. New symptom alert: A strong urge to confess.
The Catalyst victim storage room must have hundreds of people in it. The lighting is blue. Syd is outside the room when she finds a small trail of black oil, like the delusion chick has been there, leading to where David is huddled naked in the corridor with water flowing down the wall. He tells her he needs to lie down. Did he teleport out of the amplification chamber?
They go back to Syd’s room. David comes out of the shower, which is lit with blue light, in only a towel. Syd directs him to a locker to get fresh clothes. She asks him if he found Farouk, and what it was like in the chamber. He says that nothing significant happened, just random noise.
Syd says that she can tell he’s keeping secrets. She knows him, or at least she used to, and he’s holding back.
David: Syd, I know it’s hard. So much time has passed for you, and for me, I just saw you yesterday. Try to remember. I’m the same. You’re the one who’s… You know what, maybe you’re right. This is…This…This is all…This is a lot to process.
[Nice save. What he said was bad enough. Finishing that sentence might have been relationship suicide.]
Syd reminds him that this is the second time that he’s left her. Last season he left to rescue his sister, Amy, after he promised he wouldn’t. David blames Lenny and Farouk, saying he wasn’t in control. Syd is wondering when he’ll leave again. Melanie’s history with Oliver really got to her.
David asks her to close her eyes. He pulls out a locket that’s a compass. The needle always points to David. She can follow the direction it’s pointing to, and she’ll find him. If they get lost, they get lost together, just like she said to him once.
Syd asks David to promise, no more secrets. He promises, no secrets, as he looks into her eyes. But after a moment, he gets a shifty eyed look to the left.
There are twin beds in the room, pulled up next to each other. As they sleep, a blue lit fantasy of them sleeping together cuddled up in the same bed floats above them. The delusion chick crawls underneath the bed, leaving its oily trail across the floor.
In his sleep, David remembers getting captured by the orb again, and remembers the bald Asian man. This time he can see the man’s face, with 2 smears of blood across the man’s forehead.
The inside of the orb turns into a starry sky. An older Syd with a severed left arm appears out of the darkness. She stays a room’s length away from David, and refuses to speak. She pulls out a wand that writes in white light, then draws an hour-glass to tell David that time is running out. He is in the present (circle, package with bow). She’s in the future (arrow from his circle to circle for her, clock). David says he’s good at this, but he’s not that good. The Shadow King (crown) is trying to find his body (stick figure/question mark). Help him (written in words).
David is shocked and confused that she’s telling him to do this. He realizes that she must have sent the orb, and she gives the smallest of nods, yes. In the background, low roars and thuds that sound like the sounds of battle or a building under siege can be heard. Real battle, with bombs and guns, not a dance battle.
David is nearly in tears at this point, beginning to understand what’s at stake if he gets it wrong. He begs Syd to talk to him. She looks behind her, probably at the progress of the battle, draws a giant heart in front of herself, and walks away, as he tells her he loves her too.
David is back in his bedroom for a moment, then his vision moves to the nightclub. It’s slightly blue for a moment, then very red. David moves as if he’s in a daze. He sees the Asian man again, and this time he can tell that the man is a monk. He also sees Oliver and Lenny. Whereas earlier they’d been glammed up, now they look much more like their season 1, slightly degenerate (or mostly degenerate, in Lenny’s case) selves. They watch David expectantly.
David stands in front of them. Lenny says, “Hey, sexy.” The light shifts again. Lenny slowly moves to kiss David the way she kissed the delusion chick to activate it. After the kiss, David finds himself standing in his bedroom, staring at Syd.
Throughout the final club scene, David’s voiceover is slowly singing White Rabbit, becoming more disjointed as he goes: One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. And the ones that mama gave you don’t do anything at all. Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall. She’s ten feet… ten… one… one… one… ten… one… ten… one… ten… one… pill… one… pill… one… pill… one… pill… one…
Something just happened to his mind. But what? Is he now on the same side or a different side from everyone else in the building?
I love this show so much. So, so much. I’m not sure I can explain the show adequately, but then I’m not sure the creators can explain it adequately either. But I love it to bits. That needs to be said before we go any further, just the way A Christmas Carol can’t really begin until it’s established that Jacob Marley is dead. There will be no unbiased critique here. We’re going to ride the rollercoaster, wherever it takes us. Unless the misogyny becomes unbearable, then we jump ship. That goes without saying.
Is it me, or does the silhouette of David in the top image purposely look like he’s in a wheelchair, next to a tipped over wheelchair, in addition to the obviously monstrous shadow? The combination of the Shadow King attacking David, with the reminders that it’s because Farouk is Professor X’s enemy, and David shares his father’s gifts, make it a striking image. Or is it someone other than the Shadow King?
Lenny and Oliver appear to be trapped in the nicest trap in the Marvel Universe since Iron Man interned the Scarlet Witch at the Avengers Compound in the Hudson Valley. Last season, Lenny seemed like a manifestation of Farouk, but that wasn’t true. Creator and showrunner Noah Hawley says that Farouk captured Lenny’s mind when her body was killed:
“She (Lenny) appeared to be killed physically,” Hawley said, continuing, “but her mind was kind of taken over by the Shadow King to wear the mask. Now that the mask has come off, she’s still somewhat of a puppet with Oliver, just being used by Farouk, and yet she’s hurt, she’s feeling like, ‘Hey man, if you’re done with me, can I go?’ We have this journey for Aubrey as someone who was really used and victimized and put through this traumatic experience. Someone who, really, I think David was her only friend and she had to do these terrible things to him and is now in a position where she has to make a choice. Is she going to help her friend or is she going to be a tool of the Shadow King?”
So Lenny and Oliver are both trapped. Oliver isn’t alone any more, the way he was in his astral plane ice cube for decades, but he’s still fallen right back into the apathy that he felt there, making him the perfect vehicle for Farouk. Lenny doesn’t seem as inclined to be passive, since she’s paying a bit of attention to the outside world, wondering how much time is passing.
But Farouk seems to be trying to keep them both happy in their prison, with its beautiful setting and free drink refills. The prison is likely the astral plane, since Oliver is comfortable and forgetting about time again, and the shot of the sun looked like it had veins of frost forming. The frost suggests that Oliver’s icy kingdom is closing in on their sunny paradise, acting as a reality check to remind them to fight back.
I’m charmed by the restaurant’s retro style and this concept of a lazy river food delivery system. I want to move into a retirement home or cruise ship where all of my meals float by on a little boat (lol, it sounds like I want to be a shark). Bonus points if I can be floating in a person sized lazy river next to the food boat sized lazy river. Triple bonus points if there’s a chocolate lazy river involved somehow. We should probably just move this whole operation to the Wonka Factory.
The Lazarus Affair hasn’t been mentioned on Legion before. It must be the cataclysmic event in this version of earth and the Marvel universe that turns the world anti-mutant. Bustle.com theorizes that Lazarus is a character from the comics who was the result of genetic experimentation. Lazarus’ sister Domino is set to appear in the film Deadpool 2, so there could be a bit of a bit of a tie in there.
This episode includes motifs of repeating geometric shapes and people. There are circles, close ups of eyeballs and repeating arches. Hexagons, which are the honeycomb shape, reminiscent of beehives, repeat throughout the Division 3 building. The people behave like honeybee drones, who are all controlled by a single queen bee. The Vermillions are the most prominent example, though I’m not actually convinced that they’re the telepathically controlled drones they pretend to be. Triangles also appear frequently, like the tip of a spear, though they aren’t as frequent as circles and hexagons. The people affected by the Catalyst become drones who repeat the same behavior as if they have a hive mind. Could they all be thinking the same thoughts inside, working as a hive mind to solve the same problem that was planted by whoever infected them?
Another motif is speech confusion. We often get that with David’s telepathy, but it’s spread. Now we have mouths moving but not saying anything or not saying anything useful or people speaking through another’s mouth: the chattering teeth, the cat who speaks for Syd, the clones who speak for Fukuyama, Syd being unable to speak in the orb, the odd announcements.
The levels of movement that a character took part in were also important. David and Oliver/Farouk took part in the dance battle with the most open movements of anyone in the episode. Lenny and Cary also danced. Their minds are the most free to think their own thoughts. When we saw Syd and Melanie for the first time this season, they were both frozen in place in their rooms. Clark and Ptonomy were still and observing Cary as he worked on David. They quickly came out of their trances and began interacting seemingly normally, but they’re all different from the people we knew, as if someone is trying to recreate them. The teeth chatterers are totally consumed by someone else’s mind, and are statues, other than their teeth. The teeth chattering and speech confusion might be connected.
There is some synergy going on between Agents of SHIELD, The Gifted, and Legion. We have the Stepford Cuckoos on The Gifted and the Vermillions on Legion. On both shows there are missing X-men who’ve left the remaining mutants to fend for themselves, even though they are close relatives. On Agents of SHIELD, Ruby tells Talbot that a HYDRA has tentacles and is a cephalopod. Legion shows a Wanted poster for Cephalopod HR-14C along with Oliver’s Wanted poster. Syd loses an arm just above the elbow, and the same thing happened to an agent of Agents of SHIELD. Agents of SHIELD has also been dealing with a fear dimension and time travel.
David’s blood pressure is 90/120, a flipped reading (the top number should be the higher number and in the 120 range). The doctors say that it’s just like the others infected with The Catalyst. It’s a hint that things are backwards.
The Division 3 headquarters is both a honeycomb/beehive and a maze. My theory is that everyone who was inside before David arrived was lost and their mind is not completely their own any more. They have all become uncertain drones who follow orders given to them continuously over the loudspeaker, at the very least, instead of the wide awake full participants in their lives and work that we met at Summerland. Even Clark is diminished somehow, lacking the vibrancy and initiative he once had.
In season 1 the color blue, especially scenes with blue lighting, meant David was in control of his own mind. Red meant that Farouk was in control. The inside of the orb is blue, as is the club stage where David is found. Ptonomy is wearing a blue and black striped suit, but the pattern looks like prison stripes. When David is rushed into Division 3 after being found in the club, the hallway is very red. The targeting lasers on the Carries are red.
Vermillion is a bright shade of red, which calls into question the loyalty of the voices of Fukuyama. Who are they? Where did they come from, and how did they become attached to Fukuyama?
Green also seems to be an important color this season. The medical suite is green and the restaurant and Cary’s lab are industrial teal.
By the ending scene, David is wearing blue but surrounded by red, by his own choice. I have a feeling that they drove the color scheme home so hard in this episode because it will hardly matter after this. David has voluntarily let Farouk back into his head so that they can work together. Since Farouk and David are together voluntarily, Farouk has no reason to create delusions solely to manipulate David any more.
Though the delusion chick was crawling nearby, Syd has been there each time we’ve seen it, not just David. Whatever is psychically holding Division 3 is creating some kind of delusions that include paranoia.
The Catalyst victims and Lenny and Oliver are often in white light, which is generally neutral, and would suggest that Farouk is neutral this season, just as Syd implied in the orb. Someone else is the big bad this season. An “enemy of my enemy is my friend” alliance may be formed with Farouk. Farouk may not be causing the Catalyst. Something chasing him could be causing it.
Fukuyama is a suspicious character. They wanted to terminate David without letting him regain consciousness. They won’t show their true face. Everyone from season 1 is very different, and not in a good way, now that they’re in charge. They could be Farouk’s original body.
If Farouk’s mind left the body when he was still a boy, someone could have put the machine into the body the way they described it. Time travel and other scifi methods can explain how it was possible in the 1800s. Fukuyama could be trying to kill Farouk’s mind before it can return to the body, and be just as evil as Farouk’s mind. The two of them could be gearing up for all out war with each other.
Children can’t get infected with the Catalyst. Maybe because the virus is coming from Fukuyama and the interface with his tech? His tech was implanted when he was a child. Whatever the tech is doing, maybe it doesn’t work on anyone younger than he was at implantation, or the age at which the mind left the body? David reacted to frequency Red-15. Maybe that’s a clue? They also focussed on the library aisle numbers B13-18 when Syd was describing the Catalyst and how it spreads. Oliver was in aisle B13.
The story about the mind and body rejecting each other suggests that characters whose minds and bodies separate, including Farouk, might have difficulty reuniting the two. Syd leaves her body regularly, and Oliver left his body for decades, returned briefly, then was quickly captured and evicted by Farouk.
Cary and Kerry have a particular mind-body connection that the Catalyst could exploit. Would both automatically become infected at once? Despite separating, they are different people, not repetitive clones. That may be why their lab has triangles, both whole and broken, but only one or two hexagons, and its color scheme is green/blue/amber. Their minds are not as easy to pin down and subjugate as a single mind or clone minds. David also has two red triangles on his t-shirt, suggesting that the divisions that Farouk helped create in his mind make him harder to mentally subjugate.
We’re shown dualities over and over this episode, especially amongst and within the characters. Does that mean that their is a second presence within their minds?
Clark says that Lucifer is probably just a guy who stole some kids’ lunch money, and the story grew over a few hundred years until he became characterized as the devil. That sounds like either Clark has Farouk in him or he’s a sympathizer. Clark was seen as a monster in season 1, and his scarring makes him look like a monster now. He’s carrying a cane that’s very devilish as well, and his shadows distort him into a monster. There’s something going on here. He’s working closely with mutants, but still suspicious. His dual nature is right there on his face now. It’s no longer hidden, other than by the camera, which really likes to hide it.
In Clark’s story about his mother, she was keeping him home instead of letting him do what he was supposed to be doing, controlling him in an unhealthy way and calling him a cruel name. Even though she appeared loving and benign, that was actually a story of low level abuse and neglect. Is that what Fukuyama or someone else is doing to Clark now? Was that story a veiled cry for help? The camera work could have been emphasizing that Clark looks okay, but isn’t.
Clark and Ptonomy are operating as partners, but are also sharing a brain. They are usually in the same places, expressing the same opinions. Both talk to David in the restaurant even though they do it separately. Ptonomy typically stays a little behind Clark, in the shadows. He’s often silent, always speaks slowly and quietly. He stayed behind Syd in the elevator, too, when he undermined her relationship with David. Have Clark and Ptonomy switched bodies, or is one in control of the other? It was Clark who relayed a memory, and Ptonomy who didn’t know how his powers worked.
Though he’s keeping secrets, as people who’ve been institutionalized for telling the truth tend to do, David appears to be the sane one now. Last season, the crazy was all inside his head, and kept bursting out at inopportune moments. In this episode, at least, we see him and his powers being contained while the rest of the cast are out of control. Some are already spiraling, like Melanie, and some seem strangely off, like Ptonomy.
Syd is depicted as a crazy, lonely cat lady in her first scene, but as soon as she hears that David has been found, she lets go of the cat and that identity. She can’t let go of the fear that she’ll end up like Melanie, though. Syd is much more open about her fears than she was before. Syd shows her dual nature through her gloves. When the gloves are off, she could be anyone.
Fear is ruling Division 3. It’s not overt fear of mutants anymore. It’s fear of the Catalyst, which leads to fear of newcomers, even newcomers who are old friends. Fukuyama’s head and motives are hidden, and they have multiple avatars, which is very similar to the David of season 1. A parasite was put into David’s head when he was a child. A machine was put into Fukuyama’s. David’s perception was skewed by his misunderstood powers and the Shadow King. What’s going on with Fukuyama’s perceptions? A basket has tiny slits to see through, but hardly provides clear vision. Fukuyama couldn’t see past David’s current physical state to understand his value in the battle against Farouk. That’s worrisome. Who even is Fukuyama, and how did they end up in charge?
Melanie is an emotional mess, having lost her two main purposes in life, running Summerland and trying to bring Oliver back from the astral plane. Melanie had created a kingdom and family for herself in Summerland that mirrored Oliver’s ice cube in the astral plane. When he lost his, she lost hers. Now his mind is controlled by Farouk, and she’s lost her hope, home and family. It appears that she’s been sidelined at Division 3, despite her strategic abilities.
In the end, this episode hinges on what you believe about the version of Syd that David saw in his orb vision. We were given a lot of evidence about a lot of things throughout the episode, but the thing that David finally, unequivocally acted on was that vision. He hedged and held back and did the minimum, until then. But something about that vision, combined with what he’d been seeing and sensing all day, convinced him to do what she said, while he was still not being totally forthcoming with present day Syd.
Did he get played? Did something invade his mind? We were reminded several times over the course of the episode that he’s one of the strongest mutants/telepaths ever. Now that he knows what he is, and isn’t under Farouk’s sway, it’s hard to psychically play him. He demonstrated psychic control and a comfort with his powers that we’ve never seen from him. But his weak spots are also obvious, which makes them easier to exploit.
David and the writers are still hiding most of his big orb adventure from us, and he may remember more than he’s letting on, or he may be so thoroughly brainwashed that it’s impossible to tell from a cursory scan of his brain/mind. What we saw might have been a triggering of programming that he was brainwashed to follow, or a triggering of the memories from the entire year he was missing, which made him realize that he needs to appear to be Division 3’s enemy for the time being. David looked so sad when he was watching Syd in the last shot of the episode that it’s clear that whatever’s really going on, he’s very worried about her, and has made tough decisions because of her.
Images courtesy of FX Networks.