Legion is no ordinary comic book show — the series premiere proved that. Even reading Legion and X-Men comic books won’t provide a road map to Noah Hawley’s take on the mutant universe, because the creative mind behind Fargo‘s adaptation to TV didn’t follow the books.
We’re only on the second hour, though, and hopefully each week will unpack a lot more about David Haller (Dan Stevens) and the world of Legion.
Where we left off: David was residing in a psychiatric facility and visited only by his sister. There he met and fell in serious like with Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller), whose mutant abilities allow her to swap bodies — but she can’t seem to control her powers, and so doesn’t like to be touched (a serious drag on their relationship). David’s friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) was accidentally killed, but she still appears in his visions, providing snarky commentary on the various situations he finds himself in. Melanie (Jean Smart) and a team of mutants got David out of the Clockworks institution to give him the treatment — and training — she believes he really needs.
This week’s episode provided many more clues about the scope of David’s powers.
This does come from the comics, but Melanie confirmed suspicions that his Legion powers include telepathy and telekinesis. Telepathy explains the voices he hears. Those are people’s thoughts so it’s understandable they can be overwhelming if they’re all echoing in his head at once. He’s also proven telekinetic with his destructive rages in Clockworks and his explosive kitchen moment.
Could David have the power of teleportation too? He sent the MRI machine outside, leaving himself lying on the floor. There wasn’t a hole in the MRI room, which there would be if he just hurled it through the building.
Melanie’s done this before, so she’s got this down: David will do memory work with Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), the memory artist. Ptonomy can let David tour his own memories like a museum, seeing whatever he wants and feeling it all over again. That can mean David lying in his own childhood bed, though he still didn’t get a clear look at his father’s face.
Then David has to do the talk work with Melanie. She was pretty helpful teaching him to turn down the voices so he can focus on the ones he really wants or needs to hear. Also that giant volume knob was really cool. The PA system also reveals there’s a time-travel class. Wonder if David will enroll there.
Delving back into David’s memory showed the Hallers lived out in the country. His father was an astronomer who died one year before Legion began. David was not allowed to leave the hospital for his funeral.
David may be an unreliable narrator about the storybook he remembers his father reading. The World’s Angriest Boy in the World doesn’t seem like a real book that would ever be published for children, let alone read to one.
It was an accident. When Syd body-swapped with David, she didn’t know how to use his powers. Heck, David doesn’t even know yet. So in the confusion she teleported Lenny into the middle of the wall. Sorry ’bout that.
That’s actually what got Melanie’s attention, and she found Syd first. Unfortunately, Division 3 came looking for her too.
David’s most disturbing vision wasn’t a memory at all. It’s something that happened after he left Clockworks. David’s sister Amy (Katie Aselton) came to visit him and was told he’d never been there, and they treated her like she was confused.
In a memory of their time before Clockworks — because Lenny is still alive — Lenny wheeled a range oven down the street to trade for drugs.
One can hardly blame a mutant who doesn’t even know what mutant powers are for trying to self-medicate, but amping up David’s powers on drugs made him see things, like the being with the yellow eyes showing up where Lenny’s face should be. But, based on the number of times the yellow-eyed demon thing has appeared, that seems to be part of his powers sober.