Legion: Public Anxiety

Title: Legion Season 2 Episode 7: “Chapter 15”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero
Platform: TV – FX
Director: Charlie McDowell
Writer: Noah Hawley & Nathaniel Halpern
Rating: TV-MA
Release: May 15, 2018
Cast: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jean Smart, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater, Navid Negahban
Feature image: Source


“Ask yourself, what is more terrifying fear or the frightened.” The Narrator – Legion

Narrator (Jon Hamm): “Moral panic is defined as public anxiety or alarm in response to a perceived threat to the moral standards of society. The road to moral panic has several stops. The first is concern.”  The scene shows the public becoming concerned about comic books. The cover of the comic book has the yellow-eyed devil.  The Narrator says that it starts small, but it amplifies until rational concern becomes irrational fear. The scene switches to the Salem witch trials. Narrator: “Whether or not the threat is real, the response is certainly real and it is often excessive. Ask yourself, what is more terrifying fear or the frightened.”  While the Narrator is talking, Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban) is working on a car.

“Remove your mask. Show them your face. It could be beautiful.” Amahl Farouk – Legion

David Haller (Dan Stevens) calls out Farouk. They meet in an ornamental, stuffy dining room. Farouk [after David starts growling]: “Use your words.” Farouk can’t believe that David would be mad at him for killing Amy. He tries to convince David that he wanted her dead for committing him to Clockworks and keeping him from achieving his true greatness. Farouk says she saw him as, “David the dancing bear.” David denies he wanted her dead, he might have thought of it, but it isn’t what he wanted. Farouk of course knew what David thought. Farouk: “Remove your mask. Show them your face. It could be beautiful.” David: “I’m not like you. I don’t hide behind masks.” David goes on the attack, “I’m gonna find your body and then I’m going to burn it. If you’re lucky that’s all I’m gonna do to it. You feel me?” Farouk: “You’re not ready to sit with the big boys. Back to the kiddies table.” Farouk clinks his glass and David finds himself with a boy and girl at the kiddie table. David sees Amy (Katie Aselton) through a peephole. He is suddenly in the room with her. He hugs her and cries telling her how sorry he is. Farouk’s laughter comes out of her mouth. David angrily tells her to shut up. David is floating in the tank.

David and Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) are in bed. She is talking about Amy. Syd: “He wants you emotional, distracted. Farouk.” David: “I know.” Syd: “You can’t let him.” David: “I know.” It’s obvious David doesn’t want to talk about it. She suggests that if David can’t talk to her about it, he should talk to her future self. David thinks that might make her jealous. Syd thinks it’s stupid that she would be jealous of herself. She thinks about it for a moment and proposes some ground rules. He can talk to her and maybe give her a hug, but nothing intimate.

Farouk is working on his car; the engine is filled with pink goop. He connects a tube to it and places it inside his car. It fills up with smoke and it takes him into the future to meet with Future Syd. The car is his version of the tank David uses. She is surprised to see him. Farouk boasts if David can get there, so can he. He doesn’t see why he needs David. Future Syd: “He kills you. In my time line, the race ends and you lose. So, yes I think you need him.” He asks her if she plays games of chance. He tells her the state regulates the games so no one can cheat. Farouk: “So you see; the game is rigged. And baby, I am the state. Even if I lose, I win.” Farouk understands why he wants to live, what he can’t understand is why Future Syd does. Future Syd: “I need you to stop the world from ending.” Farouk: “And who will end the world?” Future Syd goes silent but Farouk can see a silhouette of David. Laughing he says, “For centuries everyone said Amahl Farouk is the villain. Year after year they came, the heroes with their blue eyes and white skin to kill me. They thought by killing me they would save the world. That the hero is the villain and the hero is the villain? Oxymoron.” Future Syd tells him he can’t hurt her here, he asks why would he, they are partners, to rule the world, he ‘means’ to save the world against David.

“You’re the song they play during hostage crisis to keep the criminals from thinking clearly.” Syd Barrett – Legion

Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) is in her cell. Every time she snaps her fingers, she sees Amy screaming in pain and becoming her. Syd knocks on her cell door. Lenny thinks it’s crazy that both of them have been inside David, so to speak. Syd: “You’re not Lenny. You’re not Amy. You’re the song they play during hostage crisis to keep the criminals from thinking clearly.” She knows that Farouk sent her as a distraction. Lenny tells her that Farouk raped her. Syd doesn’t know how to answer that. Lenny plays it off talking about girl power.

Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) is talking in a tin can phone only hearing distorted voices. He is dreaming. He looks under his sheet and sees a Vermillion. The Vermillion climbs up and grabs him. They hold him as Admiral Fukuyama (Marc Oka) shows him his face. Ptonomy screams for David to help him. Now Ptonomy is wearing dark sunglasses in a dark room whispering to an egg, he places the egg near a sleeping Syd. He whispers into another egg and places it near a sleeping Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder). He does the same to Clark (Hamish Linklater). Clark’s egg cracks. Clark walks down the hall with the three Vermillion following him. Every time he stops the three pose. They grab him; Clark wakes up and sees eggshells on his nightstand. He meets with Ptonomy in the dining hall; both are paranoid and believe they are not safe there. Clark warns Ptonomy to be careful; Fukuyama watches. A Vermillion in the hallway stares at them. Admiral Fukuyama is watching everyone in the facility.

David is back in the tank remembering him and Amy as kids, but this time instead of going to see Farouk, he goes to see Future Syd. He asks her if she knew about Amy. She wants him to stay focus. He can’t help Farouk find his body, after what he did to Amy. Future Syd says she understands, and thinks this might have been too much to ask him. David looks at her, “You’re not my Syd.” Future Syd: “I want to be.” They hold hands as they say goodbye, and kiss.

“Cocky bitches.” Kerry Loudermilk – Legion

Syd is dreaming about Admiral Fukuyama. Ptonomy wakes her up; she is sitting in his office. Clark and Kerry are with him. They get in an elevator where they hear whispering. The four are in a complete paranoid state. They are going to kill the Admiral. Ptonomy: “He eats them.” Kerry: “It’s not going to happen to us.” Ptonomy: “Fear of terrible things.” Clark: “Kill or be killed.” Syd: “Doubt never.” Kerry: “Dominate.” Clark: “Vermillion.” Kerry: “Destroy.”  They walk out of the elevator and split up. Kerry and Ptonomy run into a hallway filled with the Vermillion. The Vermillion know something is up since Kerry has an ax and Ptonomy has his gun. The Vermillion do a quick assessment. Vermillion: “Chances of victory, 68%.” Kerry: “Cocky bitches.” Ptonomy shoots the first wave; Kerry attacks the second group with her ax. David is out of the tank and sees eggshells covering the hallway floor.  He detects where Syd is. She and Clark are in front of Admiral Fukuyama. Clark has his pistol on the Admiral. They order him to take the basket off his head. When he does it just reveals a middle-aged Japanese man. Instead, Syd and Clark see the head of a monster. Syd tells Clark to shoot it. Before he can, David pops up in front of him. He changes the gun to something harmless. The Vermillion accuses them of working with the Shadow King. David looks at Syd’s forehead and can see the delusion creature. Vermillion: “What is it?” David: “Insanity.” He takes the creatures out of both Syd and Clark’s heads. Ptonomy is in the room and he starts vomiting black goo, a giant version of the delusion creature tears out of his body. The creature runs away and David gives chase. The Vermillion check on Ptonomy. Vermillion: “He’s dying. We can save his mind. Take him to the main frame.” The main frame is the forest behind them in the room. David catches up with the creature in the dining hall and transports it into a red room on another plane. David: “Hey, you made my friends sick. Can you understand me? You picked a really shitty time to attack us.” David asks the creature to go away; it tries to attack him. David shrinks it and puts it in a jar. David: “Remember I was going to let you go.” It goes poof in the jar.

“And when this occurs, what starts as an egg can become a monster.” The Narrator – Legion

The Narrator starts talking about all the principles he had been talking about throughout the season. He gets to the final lesson for this episode. While he is talking, we see a montage of Future Syd watching David and then Syd. The gang is in the dining hall recovering from the evening. The Narrator: “We don’t believe what we see. We see what we believe. And when we are stressed, or our beliefs are challenged, when we feel threatened, one delusion leading to another and another as the human mind struggles to maintain its identity. And when this occurs, what starts as an egg can become a monster.” We end with Ptonomy in the main frame with an old woman in a rocking chair; she puts a finger over her mouth for him to be quiet.

David is still struggling with Amy’s death. He tells Farouk that there deal is off, and he is going to burn his body when he finds it. David doesn’t feel like talking to Syd about Amy, especially with her reminding him not to let this distract him. How to be sensitive Syd. She tells him to talk to her future self about it if he can’t talk about it with her. They get into this ridiculous conversation about Syd being jealous of Future Syd. Of course it turns out it isn’t that ridiculous when David and Future Syd kiss. That happens after her and Farouk converse. We find out that David is the cause of the plague that kills the world. Now she and Farouk are partners in stopping him. I don’t see that ending well at all. The delusion creature finally makes its big play. Ptonomy infects Syd, Kerry, and Clark with his delusion. They decide to kill Admiral Fukuyama. It turns out Fukuyama is a regular man. I don’t know why he wears the basket. We get a cool fight scene in the hallway. The calm rational person in all of this is David Haller. You know everything is topsy-turvy when David is the sane one. Ptonomy’s body dies, but the Vermillion hook his consciousness to the main frame. Lenny tells Syd that Farouk raped her; we’ll have to see if that leads to something.

I didn’t really care for this episode. After three great episodes, this one fell flat. It wasn’t bad, but nothing stood out. David and Farouk’s conversations are becoming less interesting. They really need to kick up the search for the body. If they are planning to have a love triangle between Syd, David, and Future Syd, please don’t. The characters know it’s stupid, so do I. Ptonomy is sort of dead, and I sort of don’t care. They haven’t done anything with his character, so there is nothing to mourn. Maybe he’ll actually get a storyline in the main frame. The episode had one good song, Mi Mujer by Nicolas Jaar. It played when Ptonomy was infecting everyone with his delusion. The giant delusion creature was cool. One other thing, they can ease up a bit with the Narrator. If I want a course on psychiatry, I’ll take an extension course.

Grade: B-

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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