This feature contains spoilers for the Legion finale.
Legion season one has come to an end, and as you probably could’ve predicted, the finale was a bit of a bamboozling experience. Since season two has already been confirmed, there was no need here for anything to be properly wrapped up.
Instead, in keeping with the show’s mind-bending M.O., we were left with a lot of questions and not many answers when the credits rolled on episode eight of Noah Hawley’s Dan Stevens-starring X-Men TV series. And then the credits stopped rolling and gave us an extra scene, which simply created more confusion.
Here are all our questions, and some possibly useless attempts to answer them…
How did Clark from the pilot survive?
Hamish Linklater’s interrogator showed up at the end of episode seven, continuing the season’s trend of linking back to the pilot episode at every opportunity. But didn’t everyone at the swimming pool, except for David, get electrocuted and reduced to smouldering skeletons? Apparently not.
The finale took the time to show events from the pilot again, but this time, instead of some skeletal remains sliding into the water beside David, we see a fully clothed and very much alive man falling in and then swimming away.
This was interrogator character, later revealed to be a chap named Clark, who has a husband and a son. He spent ages recovering from third degree burns after the swimming pool incident. Maybe David’s big victory from the pilot episode wasn’t such a great thing after all.
Of course, we already know not to trust anything we see on screen in this show, what with all the mind parasites and mangled memories at play. The reveal that Clark survived is just another example of David remembering things wrong.
How much control does David have now, and what are the limits of his powers?
When he had the halo on that the start of the episode, David displayed some truly impressive abilities. The cliffhanger of episode 7, with all those Division 3 soldiers pointing guns at our heroes, was child’s play for him. David mushed them all together into a writhing tower of uniformed goons, with the cries of horror to match.
The limits of David’s power, and how much control he has over them now that The Shadow King has been banished, remains to be seen. Also, we don’t really know what his natural mental state is yet either. Would removing The Shadow King really give David a clean bill of mental health, or would it just create more issues and difficulties for him? We’ll have to wait and see.
Why was David wanging on about not having to be afraid?
While sitting down with Clark and the gang for a chat, David began repeating a litany: “You don’t have to be afraid.” Every time he said the words, they sounded more sinister, which didn’t really make their content seem genuine. What was that all about?
As with most things in this show, it wasn’t explained. Was David just trying to torment the man that interrogated him back in the pilot? Or was he actually trying to be nice, but failing to nail the tone? Or was this The Shadow King trying to break through, making David behave oddly? We’ve no idea… sorry!
Is Melanie on a villainous path?
Jean Smart’s Melanie Bird was talking a big talk in the aforementioned sit-down-and-chat scene, reciting the familiar (to the viewers at home at least) belief that mutants are the next stage of evolution. Humans will have to learn to “fly like a bird, because the age of the dinosaur is over”, she teased.
She started to sound a lot like Magneto, there. So is Melanie on a villainous path? Will her beliefs about mutants turn her against the human race? We have an actual answer to this one, because Nerdist asked showrunner Noah Hawley about it.
“There’s this idea that homo superior would mean that what we know as humanity will disappear eventually,” he said, before playing down the idea that Melanie actively wants to make that happen.
“I don’t think that was her intention to say that, other than to say, ‘You need a sense of perspective here about the way that the universe works. You think you’re at the top of the food chain, but now there’s something even higher than you, so you should be a little less arrogant about how you deal with us, because if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we’re the future and you’re the past.’”
How did The Shadow King escape?
What we actually know about this TV version of the comic book nasty The Shadow King doesn’t add up to much. All we really know for sure is that it’s a mutant parasite, and that it’s been living inside David for years. It was compared this week to a computer virus, one that infiltrates and takes over a system.
The Shadow King managed to survive this finale by moving from one person to another until it found a route out of the building. It jumped from David into Rachel Keller’s Syd, then from Syd into Amber Midthunder’s Kerry, and then – after the big corridor showdown with David – it leapt, in some sort of gaseous form (or something like that), into Jemaine Clement’s Oliver. Then it got in a car and drove off.
The exact nature of The Shadow King’s powers is yet to be explained. There’s a possibility that most of abilities it has are ones it has leeched from other people. It’s just a theory, but maybe it got the telekinesis from David and the ability to move between bodies from Syd. Whether that idea is right or wrong, we’re bound to find out more about this big bad in season two.
Where is The Shadow King going? And what is it looking for?
“Where should we look first?” Oliver asked The Shadow King. Now fully restored in its Aubrey Plaza form, it told him to travel towards “some place warm.” Then T-Rex’s Children Of The Revolution started to play and the credits began to roll.
When the mid-credits scene interrupted, David was out on the balcony with Syd. He stated that they’re heading south, the implication being that he’s been trying to sense Oliver and The Shadow King using his mind powers.
On a purely logistical note, we know that Legion’s production is moving from Vancouver to Los Angeles for season 2, suggesting that less secluded forests and more sunny city streets is what we’ll be witnessing.
Hawley told Deadline: “I think part of the fun of the show as is made obvious at the end of the first season is that they’re going on the road. So, the location is changing and I think that is another way that we helped the show not settle into a sort of familiar routine of standing sets and that sort of overly familiar sense of it’s the same thing, week in and week out.”
Exactly what The Shadow King is looking for is yet to be revealed. Could it be seeking out David’s father, for a rematch of that battle from years ago? That would depend on the answer to this next question…
Will Professor X show up in season 2?
“I don’t know about Season 2 but I know that there’s that story will need to be addressed at some point in the future,” Hawley told Deadline in that same post-finale interview linked above. “It’s not something that I want to shy away from, but I also want to make sure that when it’s time to tell that story, we can really tell it and not dance around it.”
Deadline then asked the question from the Deadpool movie: McAvoy or Stewart?
Hawley explained that casting decisions and permissions from Fox have not yet been firmed up, saying, “Well, some of that is a little more logistically complicated just in terms of would we try to use either Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy. Would they be interested in doing the show? Would 20th Century Fox?
I have to consult with them about the X-Men characters and which characters they want to protect for the future franchise and which ones are available to me. So, there’s a lot of conversations I haven’t had yet but we’re willing to be had. I’m not stressed out about it. I think we all get along quite well and it’s just going to be a question of how and when.”
As of right now, then, it’s unclear if Professor X will show up in season 2, and who will be playing him if he does.
What does The World’s Angriest Boy In The World have to do with anything?
One little mystery was solved this week: the identity of The World’s Angriest Boy In The World, the book character who keeps turning up, replete with a papier-mâché head, in David’s memories.
“I have other faces,” The Shadow King explained to Syd, when its Aubrey Plaza disguise was starting to fall apart. Then a flash of The World’s Angriest Boy appeared on the screen, seeming to confirm that this creepy fella is just another visual representation of The Shadow King. It’s not a different entity.
One assumes that The Shadow King latched onto this image, because it creeped David out when he was younger. Either that, or it came up with the look itself and implanted it into David’s memories.
What would strangling someone on the Astral Plane actually do?
Aubrey-Shadow-King-Plaza strangles David when they’re battling on the Astral Plane, which might make you wonder, what would that actually do? Indeed, in all the excitement and false memories and flashbacks on Legion season one, the exact rules of this mental space have not been fully explained.
But one thing we do know is that astral death seems to equal regular death, lest we forget that Mackenzie Gray’s perm-loving villain The Eye was crushed to death inside the Astral Plane last week. And when everyone returned to real life, The Eye had bled to death.
Legion’s Astral Plane isn’t a Sherlock mind palace where nothing that happens has physical repercussions, then. It’s a place with stakes. So when The Shadow King was strangling David, it was trying to do some real damage.
What’s that orb thing during the post-credits scene?
A flying orb floats up to David in the post-credits scene (okay, it’s actually a mid-credits scene if you want to get technical about it). It scans him, and then absorbs him with a blue ray thingy. He’s then trapped inside it, screaming as it flies away. What on Earth was that all about?
The clue was there earlier on in the episode, when the off-site Division 3 people decided to get ‘The Equinox’ ready and move it close to the main gang’s location.
Nerdist asked Hawley what the Equinox is, and he said this in response: “If you stuck around for the end scene after the credits, maybe you have a sense of it,” confirming that the orb that zaps David into its rusty innards is a piece of Division 3 tech.
So David is right back where he started when season one began: in the hands of shady government agency Division 3, who we now know to be part of a global coalition.
“I think out of the frying pan and into the fire is a pretty good approach to storytelling, on some level,” Hawley told Nerdist, on the topic of this ending.
“What [David] should do is do a retreat for a year and kinda be one with nature and eat three meals a day and take walks in the woods and learn how to be a person the way other people are persons, but he’s not gonna have that luxury because he’s on to the next crisis. I think that’s gonna continue to keep the pressure on him in a way—that stress on someone who is disjointed can be very disruptive.”
What does Oliver remember?
As we’ve touched upon already, the other big tease of how season 1 will begin is that Oliver – now free from the Astral Plane – drove off with Shadowdrey PlazaKing at the end of the episode. But how much of Oliver is left, and what will being with this mutant parasite do to him?
Just before he joined with The Shadow King, Oliver remembered Melanie’s name, the implication being that he’s worked it all out. He’s remembered that the woman he’s been flirting with is actually his wife of many years. Again, though, he won’t have time to dwell on this because he has leapt out of the frying pan only to land firmly in the flames.
“The energy of those two characters together creates such exciting possibilities in terms of storytelling,” Hawley told Nerdist of the Plaza and Clement team-up.
“You take them and you like them and they have a great energy, and then dark things happen and it creates an entirely different experience of the story. In an uncanny way, comedians aren’t supposed to be like that. They aren’t supposed to act like that, and when they do it’s very unsettling. I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see what happens with them.”
When will season 2 be on?
During an interview with Hawley, Collider found out that season two of Legion will be on our screens at the same time next year. Unlike Game Of Thrones, Westworld and Atlanta, we won’t be getting a longer-than-a-year gap between Legion seasons. Since season one started in early February, we’re expecting season two at around the same time in 2018.
Fun fact: Legion season two will be longer, with ten episodes instead of eight. That, along with production moving to LA and The Shadow King shifting to new host, should ensure that Legion’s second run is very different to its first.
Since it’s still not been explained: what does the title mean?
That cool title card with the ‘x’ over the ‘o’ pops up every week and reminds us that this show is named Legion. But, one full season into the series, we still haven’t had an on-screen explanation of what the title means.
In the comics, David’s head plays host to numerous personalities, many of which have their own distinct powers. Some of these personalities spontaneously manifested within David, and some of them were completely separate people that David absorbed. This is why David gets given the mutant codename Legion, because of the legion living inside him.
So far, though, the TV version of David doesn’t seem to have this collection of mutants in his head. As far as we’ve been told so far, it was just David and The Shadow King battling for mental supremacy, with The Shadow King being a parasite that forced its way in.
Perhaps, in season two, we’ll get an explanation for the title. Given the wacky and unpredictable journey Noah Hawley and Dan Stevens have taken us on so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if what they show us bears little relation to the comics.
Either way, season two should be one hell of a ride, and we’ll meet you back here to scratch our heads over all the new questions it throws at us…