FX’s Legion returned for Season 2 on Tuesday – and the premiere episode titled “Chapter Nine” was even more of a head-scratcher than all of the previous season. And that was pretty odd on its own.
A small recap of Season 1: We meet David (Dan Stevens) in a mental institution. He’s there because he thinks all the weirdness he sees and the destruction he can make with his mind means he’s plain batshit crazy. Turns out, he’s actually a mutant with unbelievable powers which make him one of the more powerful people on the planet.
The bad government guys, Division III, want to capture him and perhaps put him down, but the Summerland group, run by Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart), want to harness that power. Other mutants live there, too, including Syd (Rachel Keller), who can temporarily switch bodies with others just by touching them. Syd and David fall for each other, but of course, it’s complicated because David also has a connection with fellow mental patient Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). Thing is, Lenny isn’t really Lenny but is actually Farouk aka The Shadow King, a demon of sorts who is hell-bent on mass destruction and has a hold on David’s psyche. Season 1 ends with David freeing himself of Farouk, who enters the body of Dr. Bird’s long-lost husband, Oliver (Jermaine Clement), and he and Lenny take off together.
That’s it in a nutshell (and how do I get out of this crazy nutshell?), but Season 2 opens with Lenny and Oliver floating in a pool, not realizing what day it is and how nothing matters. Lenny then starts to laugh and says, “We’re trapped.” A voice-over tells us to picture a maze in our heads – rocks, desert, walls – and then says that maze is really just a representation of madness.
Welcome back to Legion, folks.
Now, while I’ve never read the comics, it’d be hard to imagine the books being as strange as this show. Through the many moments I said out loud, “What the actual fuck?” the episode did carry on with the narrative as best it could. Here’s what happened… I think:
— At the end of Season 1, David was zapped into an orb, ended up in a forest on top of a building and then a dance club. Apparently, he is finally found by Summerland regular Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) and Division III baddie Clark (Hamish Linklater), and while David thinks he’s only been gone for a day, it’s actually been about a year.
— When David comes to, he finds himself at Division III with Dr. Cary Loudmilk (Bill Irwin), while being watched by some dude with a basket on his head and robotic mustached women translating for him (here’s one time I said WTF?) That’s Admiral Fukuyama, and he’s apparently the boss.
— David and Ptonomy then go to the Div III cafeteria (which has the food floating on plates in a lazy river curving around the room), and Ptonomy gives him the lowdown. Summerland and Div III are working together now. There’s the Investigation team, boots on the ground (with Clark and Ptonomy); Research team, which is lead by Cary; and Tactical, which is Kerry Loudermilk’s (Amber Midthunder) department, who shares a body with Dr. Loudermilk; and Strategy, which includes Syd and Dr. Melanie Bird. Their priority is finding and destroying the Shadow King.
— Syd is a little miffed David disappeared but is happy he’s back. They have sex in that little place they created where they can be together. She explains they’ve been looking for Oliver, but then they got distracted by the “Catalyst” – when normal people freeze like statues, except for chattering their teeth. It’s not a virus but something psychological, and they are being infected by the Shadow King.
— Melanie, meanwhile, is a little messed up by the fact her husband is the Shadow King. Lamenting the fact with Syd, saying they are both love men who are not there for them. “After they come back, things are never the same.”
— Then there are these weird-ass interludes where the voice-over tells again about madness and delusions, while some hideous, black-tarred, slimy creature is born from an egg and crawls around on the ground, only to be picked up by Lenny, who kisses it. Feel that WTF coming on?
— Admiral Fukuyama and the three mustached girls summon David and tell him he must find out where the Shadow King is because the demon is searching for his real body. If he finds it before Division III does, Farouk will be unstoppable. The race is on. David goes into an “amplification chamber” Cary built for him, a water tank filled with a hint of strawberry that will boost David’s abilities. He quips, “I’m supposed to find the Shadow King inside a daiquiri.”
— But does the Shadow King still have a hold on David? When David was “away,” he sometimes met up with Lenny and Oliver. The best part of the episode is the dance-off between David, Oliver and Lenny; it is pretty awesome but I have no idea what it means.
— Then David finally remembers some of what happened to him. He was zapped into the orb by Syd, who tells him on the inside of wherever David was to help Farouk find his body. Oh, boy.
Let’s just hope there will be some more coherent episodes in this season because it might lose me if it keeps just being weird for weird sakes.