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Legion - Chapter 22 - Review - The X-Men Tribute!

This week's episode of Legion takes us into the past to begin to learn the history of how David's parents met and how Amahl Farouk seemed to infiltrate the entire 'Xavier' family in this wonderfully nuanced X-Men tribute!

The episode itself is mixed bag of earlier times, going back an fourth from the time Charles Xavier left to find the other telekinetic mutant, Amahl Farouk, who lives in Morocco, leaving his wife Gabrielle and infant son David alone for some undisclosed period of time to other times, where Gabrielle and Charles first met in the mental institution, after being victims of some unspecified war that no doubt harbors similar imagery of our real-world, World War II.

It's a tale that almost echoes David's own with Sydney's, but differs in that they both weren't  directly effected by war, (that's what they are creating now), and both never really had the chance to just be together since Melanie needed David's help defending mutants against the likes of Division 3, which in turn Division 3 later needed their help fighting against the The Shadow King: Amahl Farouk, whose ruined David's life from almost the start.

Although it isn't clear at first, David and Switch have time traveled to this era, but strangely they can't be seen, can't seem to stay in a specific time, and almost can't be heard either. Gabrielle does however occasionally hear David along with sounds of music and David's followers coming from the future, but because "the shadows" are present in the Xavier household shortly after Charles had left, it all gets wrapped up in the haunted house Farouk has been able to make for Gabrielle.

But a more curious aspect of the episode is how David's father never seemed to pry too deeply into the mind of his beloved.

At one point, as the non-responsive Gabrielle just sits there staring afar, holding onto a box, Charles decides to take a look inside the box only to discover 'The Angriest Boy in the World" doll that viewers know Amahl used as a mask to further terrorize David as a child. But what does this mean and how did she acquire such a doll?

We briefly learn from Charles trying to listen' to Gabrielle's mind, and info coming from the one of the orderly's, that Gabrielle came from some kind of prison camp and has no known family; this makes the prospect of the doll even more mysterious.

In another scene, Charles worries for his son and is afraid that David will be like him. Gabrielle in turn says, "Would you rather him be like me?".

It's an odd response almost hinting at the idea that what ever went on at the camp may have in part been her fault, and unlike a lot of the traditional X-Men stories, it pegs her as villain or anti-hero reminiscent to that of "Magneto's" with a similar past or being influenced by something "other" like Jean Grey and The Phoenix Force, whereas Charles comes off more naive and innocent than how he is often portrayed, despite that his decision to leave has some very serious consequences.

But is that Gabrielle is dangerous and mentally ill or is it all the doll? And is the doll something Amahl put in the path of Gabrielle or do we have a third party at play?

I would like to think that Amahl somehow used the doll to influence Gabrielle early on and somehow knew that she would be in Charles' path and ultimately used her has bait or a conduit to Charles, but so far we don't have proof of that since it seems that it's Charles' make-shift version of Cerebro that finds Farouk. But at the very least the doll seems to harbor the notion of all bad feelings and quite appropriate for expressions pertaining to those experiencing war and since the doll seems to exist in one shot in scene, but not the following shot apart of the same scene, the doll seems to have supernatural temporal qualities OR something (*cough Farouk) is tampering with the memory of time line...

It's also worth noting that in the comics, Gabrielle's story is similar, being a catatonic holocaust survivor when Charles finds her and awakens her from a disorder, but that story included help from Magnus (a future-version of Magneto named Max Eisenhart). Other stories include a character named Bishop creating a time line where David never comes to exist and one where Gabrielle is shot, but David eventually resurrects her. How to apply this information to the TV series is anyone's best guess, especially since we don't understand what exactly is happening with the time traveling aspect.

Did Gabrielle always hear David? Is it something new, and if so, did it change anything in the time line at all, or does David actually need to break through and materialize for that to happen? Is Farouk there manipulating the time stream making it harder for David and Switch to change things?

It's true that this episode didn't move the current story further ahead, but it was a much needed X-Men tributed back story to help give the final season a sense of generational meaning and purpose, while also reconfirming that The Shadow King bares a lot of responsibility for David's current situation, as David doesn't come across so much a villain, as he's just very desperate to find a way to make things better.

Stray Observations/Musings:

Although the series has yet to actually call Charles, Charles "Xavier", probably having to do with Disney's FOX merger and/or some other rights issues, make no mistake that is who this character is suppose to be.

Harry Lloyd did a wonderful job here, especially for those viewers who remember his Game of Thrones stint as Daenarys Targeryen's self-absorbed and petty brother Viserys. You couldn't have more opposing dispositions showcasing the actors' wide range. It might be true that he doesn't have the commanding presence or the ambitious youthfulness of his onscreen counterparts in Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy (respectively), but those paths were clearly not the vision that Noah Hawley was going for (at least not in this episode), but rather a character whose tragedy lies in a quite well-mannered naivety and perhaps living in a land of make believe, even more so than David does. However, once Gabrielle is unable to care to for David, Charles does, but we still don't know what causes him to finally give David up for adoption, but we could maybe speculate it could have to with Farouk (That baby with "no face" scene was super creepy BTW).

Not as familiar with Stephanie Corneliussen, but her performance as Gabrielle stole the episode. As mentioned above there are a lot subtle overtures that tend to point to the iconic ant-hero and sometimes emphatic villain, "Magneto" and a dash of Jean Grey for good measure. Also mentioned above it's not entirely clear what her experience was while in the camp, how she acquired 'the angriest boy in the world' doll, what happened to her family, or of she has any powers of her own?

What's curious about Gabrielle is that even though her romance with Charles is quite similar to the way Syd and David first fell in love, she feels nothing like Syd, at least not yet, but perhaps something closer to Amy, as there is again this kind of quiet and quaint idyllic aspect to the way both she and Charles conduct themselves, but perhaps, much like Syd's past had revealed, there's a bombshell just waiting to go off...

And quickly speaking of Syd, it was rather curious that Gabrielle would say the same thing to David, as  Gabrielle had to Charles, "When the time comes, prove me wrong." ---This important line makes me think that the day can be saved, because perhaps the time just hasn't come yet for David to really prove himself and it wouldn't surprise me given one of the Legion comics stories being about David not coming to exist that would factor into Legion's ending with David willing to self-sacrifice.

Switch and David getting pushed out and back into the time hallway was curious. It's completely unclear what their temporal limitations exactly mean and I don't think there's enough evidence to prove if Legion exists in a predetermined universe or not yet, but if the X-Men comics are any indicator, then I would think that maybe David reaching out to his mother could be "new", despite not being able to have a profound effect and perhaps the reason this occurs is because Farouk is attached to the time stream after meeting with Switch at the end of the first episode of the season. Maybe that is why the doll appears also --maybe this version of events isn't the real version. If so, what is it that Farouk would want to hide from David??? Another thought also occurs to me in that perhaps this how Cary ends up creating the "sphere" devise Future-Syd used to kidnap David last season??

The other possibility of a third party might seem a little ludicrous to throw into everything this late in the game, but perhaps it's a party we've already met. We haven't yet learned the origins of Division 3 and a story about a disillusioned soldier and women put into an internment camp sounds pretty "divisive" to me. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if somehow this war and/or the doll didn't have to with The Eye (the guy working at Division 3 in season 1)...

Although I hope we get more backstory in the next episode couple of episodes, I do think David has failed to ask, 'where are his parents are now?', and that could prove even more significant in David trying to get underneath, not only his parents' responsibility to him, but his own to himself and others...

So what did you think of the episode? Any theories or ideas you would like to share? Sound off in the comments below!


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