X-Men–tied FX series Legion returns for season 2 on April 4, and with it comes a lot of questions about the nature of reality, the real motives of the Shadow King, and as many dance sequences as creator Noah Hawley can sneak into the show. But the series also features a number of characters whose own back stories and motivations weave in and out of the story of David Haller, a mutant whose bloodline may tie him to the most important mutant of all, Professor Charles Xavier. Let’s take a look at the group and where we left them at the end of season 1.
David is a very powerful telepath — with formidable telekinetic abilities as well — who suffered for decades thanks to the presence of another mutant known as the Shadow King within his mind. The pressures of the other consciousness led him to destructive behaviors and, eventually, a suicide attempt. He was committed to Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, where he met Syd, a young woman who feared being touched. After a few months, the two were in a relationship, but Syd was soon declared fit to leave the hospital. Believing he might never see her again, he kissed her (against her wishes) and they switched bodies. Syd was unable to contain the Shadow King and it used David’s powers to tear the place apart. The incident put David and Syd in the cross hairs of a government mutant control agency known as Division 3. Soon, David was in the care of a pro-mutant facility called Summerland where he attempted to uncover repressed memories about himself and the Shadow King. He also discovered a way to be intimate with Syd without ever touching her. After a prolonged and trippy battle with the Shadow King on the Astral Plane, the entity finally left David’s body to a less difficult host. Not that this makes his life any easier.
Last seen: Getting absorbed by a floating orb.
Syd can switch bodies with anyone she touches via skin contact, resulting in a reticence to touch anyone at all and a reliance on gloves when grabbing or holding someone is unavoidable. She met David at the Clockworks, where they began a chaste courtship. After he kissed her and they switched bodies, she found herself taken by two mutants from Summerland, who soon realized they had the wrong mutant. She convinced them to help rescue David from Division 3 and help him learn about his powers. Soon, she was a key part of David’s treatment; helping with memory regression sessions and observing tests of his abilities. She also began to work on her own body-switching abilities.
Last seen: Running to get help after David was spirited away by the orb.
Though not a mutant herself, Melanie Bird helps mutants learn to control their abilities while trying to rescue her husband Oliver from the Astral Plane. Her initial interest in David centers on helping him control an truly explosive telekinetic power. She leads David and the others on guided memory regression sessions, which lead him to learning the man he thought was his father was no such thing and that many of his recollections — from childhood to the present — were edited by an unseen force. Though the situation became more perilous, including being committed to a fake version of Clockworks, she pressed on. Following David and Syd to his childhood home, she also found Oliver there as well. Sadly, though, he could not remember her when they finally met face-to-face. But the determination she displayed in helping David keeps her moving. Hopefully that resolve will serve her well in the season ahead.
Last seen: Asking about Oliver’s whereabouts.
Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban in season 2) is an old, possibly ancient, mutant with a number of telepathic abilities, including astral manipulation and possession. Sometime after David was born, Farouk and David’s biological father — still unidentified on the show even if fans of X-Men comics know him to be Professor Charles Xavier — engaged in a telepathic duel. Farouk lost, but shunted his consciousness into David, appearing to him as his dog, a children’s book character called “The World’s Angriest Boy,” and a being David described as “The Demon with Yellow Eyes.” Farouk tormented David for years, driving him to attempt suicide.
The incident at Clockworks gave Farouk a new form, that of David’s friend Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza), which he used to further his own agenda inside David’s mind. When Melanie’s memory regression therapy threatened to expose him, he used his astral manipulation abilities to create a false version of Clockworks and convinced the Summerland team that they were committed there, while Farouk (as Lenny) was their therapist. The illusion eventually collapsed and Farouk fled David’s body for a safer host: Oliver Bird.
Last seen: Driving “somewhere warm” with Oliver Bird.
Aiding Melanie with David’s memory regression therapy was Ptonomy Wallace. A self-described “memory artist,” his mutant abilities allowed Melanie and Syd to enter David’s memories and notice the editing artifacts left behind by the Shadow King. Besides his memory manipulation abilities, Ptonomy is excellent with firearms; leading him to become one half of Summerland’s ersatz X-Men field team. His weapons became more and more valuable as the season wore on and by the end, he was ready to shoot anyone he suspected of being the Shadow King.
Last scene: Pointing a tommy-gun at David.
A white man born to Native American parents made Cary Loudermilk’s early days quite tough, but at least he had imaginary friend Kerry to keep him company. Eventually, he learned Kerry was a real person — the real daughter of his parents, in fact — and that the pair were mutants sharing one body. He eventually met the Birds and founded Summerland with them, aiding Melanie in running the facility after Oliver’s disappearance. Concerned with the science, Cary assisted in David’s treatment by scanning him with a homemade MRI and building more and more exotic contraptions to test the strength of David’s abilities. Once the group became aware of the Shadow King, Cary designed a means to extract Farouk from David’s body. It almost worked, except the Shadow King transfers his way into Kerry, who immediately kicked Cary into unconsciousness.
Last seen: Recovering from Kerry’s attack.
Kerry is an accomplished fighter and the key member of Summerland’s field team. She also shares a body with Cary and must return to him every so often to recharge and regenerate. They also share a sensory bond, so any pain she feels gets transmitted back to him. Well, physical pain, anyway. Believing that Cary abandoned her in the Shadow Kind’s fake Clockworks Hospital, their bond wavered after returning to the real world. That discord opened up an opportunity for the Shadow King to use her as part of an escape attempt. Luckily, David regained consciousness and was strong enough to push Farouk out of her (and accidentally into Oliver). Kerry quickly recovered.
Last seen: Cradling a semi-conscious Cary.
Oliver is a telepath who, along with Cary and Melanie, founded Summerland as a place where mutants could learn to control their powers. But his abilities led him to the Astral Plane, where he could create a private kingdom. Spending more and more time there, he eventually got lost, leaving Melanie to cryogenically freeze his body. Oliver spent 20 years in a projection of a giant ice cube while the memories of his old life drifted away. Eventually, David appeared outside the cube. The two discussed the nature of David’s condition and Oliver concluded it was a real monster inhabiting David’s brain and not a “simple” psychological condition. When the Shadow King created the fake Clockworks, Oliver was able to contact Cary and bring him to the ice cube. Though he was unable to remember Cary, he does recognize the entity inhabiting David as Amahl Farouk. The realization roused him to action, leading to the entire Summerland group escaping the Shadow King’s mind-prison.
Soon after, Oliver’s memories of Melanie began to surface as he aided Cary with a device to trap Farouk. Unfortunately, though, the Shadow King soon found himself inhabiting Oliver and making a run from Summerland before Oliver could tell Melanie what he remembered.
Last seen: Escaping Summerland with The Shadow King.
As the program’s only other human besides Melanie, Clark first appeared as a Division 3 interrogator after the incident at Clockworks. Though his superiors wanted David eliminated immediately, Clark wanted to test the limits of a potentially powerful telepath. And despite evidence to the contrary in early episodes, Division 3 is not above employing mutants to achieve their goals. The interrogation went badly, with Ptonomy, Kerry, and Syd raiding the facility and incinerating the Division 3 guards. Clark survived the attack, but was burned over 40 percent of his body. He slowly recuperated with the help of his husband and their child, but wanted to get back to active duty just as Division 3 was ready to raid Summerland and retrieve David.
The raid did not go as planned as David, now in better control of his abilities, demonstrated to Clark that conventional weapons and tactics would be of no use. Instead, they talked and Clark began to see that allying with David may further their mutual goals better than staying at war with each other.
Last seen: Embracing that the way forward is together.
Legion returns for season 2 on Tuesday, April 3 at 10 p.m. on FX.