TV Recap: Legion: Season 2, Episode 3 - Chapter 11
“If the idea of illness can become illness…what else about our reality is actually a disorder?”
Following our weekly Jon Hamm Anti-Pep Talk, Legion’s “Chapter 11” opens with the physical manifestation (or at least, visual representation) of the Delusion, as it crawls through Division 3 and settles in Ptonomy’s head. The man who was once, probably, the most stable of the Summerland refugees is now unsure and disquieted. Surely this will have no wider implications.
It almost immediately has wider implications. Just as Ptonomy begins his day and wanders the halls of Division 3, an alarm sounds—the monk has escaped his refuge among the infected and is loose within the compound. The chittering follows him throughout the compound, and also ropes up the child soldiers Division 3 uses (can we talk about how messed up that is?) with a “Pied Piper” chant.
David seeks out Farouk to figure out how to track the monk, and first comes across Lenny, literally begging for release from the Shadow King’s hold. First, she begs for drugs. Then she begs for a shot with Ptonomy. Then, while David and Farouk discuss monk tracking and post-bodily reunion plans, she attempts to kill herself in darkly hilarious ways—hanging, then a gun to the head (only bubbles come out).
Farouk also has an interesting view on David’s father, the man we know as Professor Xavier: Farouk ruled his country as literal king, til Xavier came and deposed him. A white man, with no knowledge of another land, dictating what is best for it. This could just as well be another delusion like we’ve heard Jon Hamm narrating about this season, but it’s got an undeniable kernel of fact behind it. Farouk still sees himself as better than everyone on the planet, though, so I’m leaning toward delusion.
Back outside the astral plane, Cary and Kerry go through rudimentary “adult life” lessons, Cary teaching Kerry how food works, and what you do with it when it’s done with you. Kerry has spent a lot of time leaning on Cary, we find out, as Kerry’s newly exposed to things like shumai, cream soda, and toilet paper. Long way to go there.
David and Cary gather their party by venturing into their minds (the “maze” as we’ve now heard David and Jon Hamm call it — I wonder if Jon Hamm’s gonna have another last-minute cameo like he’s had in a few other shows the past few years), where the chattering infection is shown to have its effect: granting the suffering their greatest wish.
In Ptonomy’s case, it’s a life without memory at all, eternally pruning the same flowers time and again (there are traces of the delusion even here, however); quite a feat for the man Cary describes as “the memory machine.” For Melanie, it’s a care-free existence within the old adventure game Zork, even going as far as making interacting with her mind use a vintage keyboard for control inputs. Also, there’s a minotaur (defense mechanism or her own issues nagging, remains to be seen).
Legion has repeatedly managed incredible visuals with very stark imagery, and Melanie’s mind is no exception. David can’t use his abilities to affect her mind, outside of entering it. So, David brings her back to the fore with exactly that of which the Shadow King is trying to relieve him: his relationship to Melanie (and other people), and the knowledge of their character. It’s a rather touching moment, all played out in keyboard strokes in a black void. But the honesty of the moment is what snaps Melanie out of it, and the team is back on the hunt almost immediately.
The monk, finding David first, pulls his “mind maze” trick, in order to explain what happened with the Shadow King’s body at the monastery where he was interred. He also uses the moments David is catching up to figure out where David’s allegiances lie. It doesn’t go well.
The order of monks who hid Farouk’s body began experiencing disturbances ranging from interrupted sleep and inexplicable laughter, to outright suicide on a mass scale. All this, while Farouk’s coffin (an egg-shaped casket, calling back to the birth of the delusion) pounds with struggle beneath their feet. In the monk’s final days at the monastery before going on the run, the monks all start…chattering.
Then we get to the most heartbreaking moment of the episode, for me: Cary finds Kerry, on her own, chittering away. His distraught attempts to merge back are for naught, until he just… fades away while embracing her. It’s a beautiful image, though what it could mean for the pair going forward only worries me.
Ptonomy and Melanie find Fukuyama and the Vermillion dead, puppeted by the monk in a defensive position. The monk explains why he was there (“if there’s a problem, come here”) and asks for “the weapon,” meaning David, but once that’s on the table, the monk believes nothing can stop The Shadow King, as he knows David has allied with him.
David tries to reason with the monk, and the monk throws himself off the roof of the building, instead, while David finds Syd, chattering, and enters her mind to free her. Unless she’s switched with the cat, in which case we’re in for a freaking hilarious next episode.
Check back next week for Chapter 12’s recap of Legion!