Early on in the sophomore season of Legion, we were introduced to the idea that the world had changed. Something happened somewhere down the line that turned the world into a dystopian apocalyptic landscape. The only thing was we weren’t there yet. We lived, within the confines of the show, in a timeline that was building to this future. While there was clearly a race against time we still lived in a world with random cows, dance battles, and the occasional poop joke. Legion was in no rush to tell what exactly happened. Season two was most certainly a bit of a slow burn, not that that’s a bad thing when the payoff is impactful. Even if we should have expected the payoff all along.
Future Syd spent the majority of this season recruiting David to save her future. Aid the Shadow King in finding his body and maybe she gets to keep both of her arms. Maybe she can smile again. Future Syd specifically preyed on this version of David because it was the David she remembered being the most in love. Or, as I still don’t think David understands what love is, believing he was in love. Every move Future Syd made was calculated. I don’t think her conversation with Farouk was an accident either. Sure, it seems that the Shadow King planned that meeting but it was Future Syd who benefited and gave us the mantra for what season two would become. The villain would become the hero and the hero would become the villain.
Make no mistake about it, David is the villain of this story. There is no turning back from that now. His actions last night are unredeemable. Here is a character who has spent a lifetime thinking he was a good person searching for love, and when given the opportunity to prove just that… he fails. It makes him a tragic character for sure, but he’s no hero. David becomes worse than the Shadow King. This in no way is me forgiving Farouk for his years of mental manipulation of David, but I do believe him when he says that he loved David. As perverse and crazy as that sounds, we know Farouk to be a being who understands emotion. David, on the other hand, is so torn mentally that he leans on preconceived ideas of what emotions are supposed to be. Part of that is Farouk’s fault for sure while it also falls on David’s ability to grasp reality.
It’s David’s inability to understand emotions, most importantly love, that causes him to travel down this road. Heartbroken over what he perceives as Syd’s betrayal, David does what he believes his power entitles him too. To act like a god and manipulate someone else’s feelings. We can argue that Syd was manipulated by Melanie and the Shadow King but that doesn’t really matter so much anymore because her conclusion was correct. When push came to shove Syd trusted David but chose to put more trust in herself… her future self. David was the monster they were trying to prevent and having seen all his actions, all his truths, laid out before her, Syd understood this. When Syd pulls the trigger in an attempt to kill David, it’s heartbreaking to watch David not understand why. Here is this woman that he “loves” and she’s pointing a gun at him because he hasn’t been upfront with her. He’s lied and hid things and doesn’t understand why this is wrong. They’re on the same team aiming for the same result, why would she need to know everything? If David understood love or even basic level friendship then he’d be able to see why his actions caused Syd to feel the way she does. Instead, his misconception feeds into the voices in his head and we go from having a David that we hoped could be saved to having a David who cannot be.
We can not mistake David’s actions for love. No. Changing Syd’s mindset into believing she still loved him was wrong and maybe forgivable. Maybe. It could be the action of a man who just needed a minute to collect his thoughts before setting things right. Sleeping with her while she was under this mind manipulation changes that. That’s sexual assault and there’s no one else to blame for this but David. His actions are deplorable and disgusting, and so incredibly selfish. There was no one else living within his mind but his voices. David was in as much control as we’ve seen him, and in the height of his control, he chose to take advantage of the one person he thought he loved because he believed that’s what love is. David ignores all his experiences from living with the Shadow King and willingly transforms into a monster.
Most villains are described as being the heroes of their story, and to the very end of this episode, David goes on thinking that he is still the hero. When the trial of the Shadow King shifts to the trial of David Haller, David registers this as more betrayal. How could these people turn on him? He just defeated Farouk. He saved the future. Not once does he understand that his actions have been less than heroic. Look at his track record. David spent the majority of season two working against Division III, mentally manipulating his friends, torturing people who were being held captive mentally, and finally relishing in the idea of murder. Those are not the actions of a hero. While David can believe he’s a good person the truth of the matter is, he’s not a good person.
Even despite his actions Syd still tries to save him. Despite his actions, there is still some form of love there for her, and we see that in Future Syd too as she finds herself falling for present-day David. It’s a shadow of love and the memory of a brighter past. Division III, Summerland, and the Shadow King who broke Syd’s spell, through the use of a talking mouse, want to see David seek the help he needs. To get a grasp on reality and give up his powers which they believe are corrupting him. Yet, they don’t anticipate just how strong David is as he’s able to free himself and Lenny and make a run for it. Not before he proclaims that there is no more “blondey” shifting the blame of his actions on to Syd. You know, like a true villain.
Now the future that we’ve fought so hard to prevent seems like it’s only a matter of time, but there are some differences. Future Syd essentially gets what she wants. While David isn’t stopped, Farouk isn’t killed either and now they have a team member who can compete with David’s powers. Granted, he can’t be trusted but it could be the wild card Division III and Summerland need to change the future.
What comes next? That’s for season three to tell. David and Lenny are on the run and the future of the world hangs in the balance. Sides are being chosen and a war is coming. I don’t hold out hope that David can be saved anymore, but I do hold out hope that he can be stopped. Maybe it’s time to find dear old dad and see if Charles Xavier can put a stop to Legion before he destroys the world.
There you have it Geeklings, what did you think of this season finale? Were you sad to see David’s full transformation into a villain or do you still believe he can be redeemed? What comes next? Does Division III stand a chance? Sound off in the comments. If you’d like to talk more Legion with me then you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. It has been a blast discussing the show with you this season and I anxiously wait until we can do it again. In the meantime, remember, reality is a choice.
Images from FX