Since the start of Legion, comic fans have anxiously awaited to see if the FX series would address David’s parents. More specifically, his father. There have been hints throughout our journey, most importantly the animated short of the man who parted the Shadow King from his body, but until “Chapter 22” there hadn’t been a concrete confirmation. No name had been uttered. No wheelchair had rolled on screen. The whisper of Charles Xavier hung over David’s past and lurked in the shadows of the show. A clear cut connecting force between Legion and the X-Men Universe, and now we know for a fact that Professor X is indeed David’s father. Arguably the world’s strongest mutant is the son of one of the world’s strongest mutants. We now understand that the lack of presence of a true father who understands the powers that David possess has lead our main character down a dark path. A path that could end in the destruction of the world.
It would appear that through the use of scientist Cary that David and Switch have figured out some of the issues with being able to time travel together. “Chapter 21” Switch could only go alone and now it appears that she can bring David with her. Cary is out to save the world after all but this new ability comes with a catch. The inability to interact with the past. David makes Switch send them back to the point where his parents met. To see who they were and why they had given him up. What changed in their lives that made the two not want him any longer. We’ve known all along, as has David, that this story ends in tragedy, and it certainly seems that David is looking to alter that course. Numerous times he shouts at his mother not to fall into the trap of the Shadow King, only to be unheard.
The funny thing about Charles Xavier and David’s mother, Gabrielle, is how closely they mirror the relationship between David and Syd. Nothing in the world of Legion is a coincidence and the fact that Charles and Gabrielle met in a mental institute can’t be ignored. The fact that the two created a false reality from themselves mirrors the world David built in Syd’s head where the two could be intimate. The similarities that the four shares are undeniable as the past and the present converge together, and at the core is the fact that these relationships were doomed to fail. Both David and Charles are extremely selfish people. Charles putting his quest for mutants before the sanity and wellbeing of Gabrielle and pretty much anything David did throughout season two concerning his lying to Syd. Both inadvertently use their obsession with the Shadow King to destroy the relationships they’ve built. The ones they think are the most important but are just facades. Much like David, I didn’t get the sense that Charles Xavier truly understood emotions. He seemingly promised Gabrielle a world where they could be normal, where they could heal their wounds, and be a family, and when push came to shove, Charles creates Cerebro and chased after new and shiny things, while the mother of his children withered away.
David’s story is a tragedy. This isn’t a new development but even I wasn’t prepared for the depths this episode was willing to travel. In his quest to save his mother, to possibly alter his future by creating a past where his parents held on to him, David causes the one thing he’s trying to prevent. All episode long David bleeds through to his mother’s timeline with a bass groove of hypnotic music and glimpses of unclear figures dressed as hippies. But the hindrances of time traveling this far keeps him at bay. A bystander powerless to become a part of his surroundings. Or perhaps it’s Switch’s limits that prevent them from being physically there. In the end, it matters little. David’s frustration with his inability to save his mother causes his power to flare up, and at that moment David appears as an apparition standing menacing over his crib while his mother watches. It’s this shock that does his mother in. She collapses in a heap while Charles comes running into the room pushing David’s apparition away.
David’s fate is a self-created circle and that’s the true tragedy of this story. Time travel is fickle, at best, but one of the biggest tropes of Legion is that David often times is his own worst enemy, and we’ve now learned that he creates the world he so desperately wants to change.
“Chapter 22” is a fragile yet beautiful love letter to the X-Men, to storytelling, to character, and to this universe. I would argue that Legion has handled mutants better than the majority of the X-Men films and this introduction of Charles Xavier punctuates the tragedy that was started in season one. David Heller is a victim of his own circumstance, and even while good intended, he still manages to create something awful and tragic. His power is his greatest curse but possibly his only hope at salvation… if that’s even possible for him now.
There you have it Geeklings, what did you think of this week’s Legion? Were you happy with Charles Xavier’s first appearance? Were you shocked at the ending? Sound off in the comments with any thoughts and theories. If you’d like to talk more Legion with yours truly then feel free to throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. I haven’t done a thorough search but maybe you can tell me the song attached to that hypnotic bass groove. I’ll see you all next week with another episode review. In the meantime, question everything.