FX’s Legion got trippier than ever in its third and final season premiere, with David leading a far-out cult of hippies — but why is he so eager to go back in time?
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Monday’s premiere kicks off, rather boldly, by following a new character for nearly half the episode: a young Asian girl played by Lauren Tsai, who’s listening to “Lessons in Time Travel” instructional tapes. She happens upon a cryptic flyer and sees that they’re searching for a time traveler, so she solves a series of clues like “Find the Orange Fish” — using her time-travel skills to go back in time and catch something she missed at one point — and ends up following a bus full of happy hippie revelers down an alley. She enters a glowing glass door and is faced with racks of clothes and a stern woman behind a counter that keeps moving away every time she approaches. Once she shouts out “Salmon,” though (that’s the orange fish), the hippies start to sing, she’s given a new outfit and led down a transparent tunnel, through offices and canyons and seas, until she reaches a pregnant girl who tells her: “You’re just in time.”
She’s led through a commune filled with hippies smoking hookahs, with the Stones’ “2000 Light Years From Home” playing, while a mysterious blue liquid flows and bubbles in nearby tubes. “He makes it, in here,” the pregnant girl says, pointing towards her head, and introduces the Asian girl to an “alchemist” named Squirrel, who dubs the new girl “Switch.” She’s left in an empty room, where some more hippies bring in “the Breakfast Queen”… it’s Lenny! When Switch asks if this is a cult, Lenny proudly replies, “Yes,” and wants to see proof of Switch’s time-travel abilities. But she’ll only prove it to “him” — so she’s taken to a cave, where a blissed-out David greets her and offers her some tea.
He explains that he built all of this with his mind to help people with their pain: “I’m the Magic Man.” To demonstrate, he has Switch visualize her bedroom in her mind, and then zaps them both there instantly. He shares his backstory — how he was adopted, and a monster lived in his head and haunted him for years — “but I’m better now,” he assures her. She asks why he needs a time traveler, and he shows her a flash of Syd. “So it’s a girl thing?” she replies, but it’s a bit more complicated than that, he says. For one thing, the “monster” he mentioned wasn’t metaphorical… and she gets proof when Division 3 bursts in, guns blazing. Kerry chops David’s arm off with a katana (!), but he’s still able to use his powers to destroy all of the invaders… until a gunshot wound opens in his chest, courtesy of Syd.
Switch uses time travel to get away, though, and walks down a hallway where she considers going back 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour — but her instructional tapes warn against going back too far, or you “risk waking the demon.” She settles on an hour and zips back to her meeting with Lenny, and tries to warn David that bad people are on the way. He thinks he’d sense them, but “you didn’t last time,” she tells him. This time, he zaps them inside the commune, where hippies are battling Division 3 thugs… and Amahl Farouk lurks in the background. David uses his powers to clean house, but he gets shot by Syd again, so Switch heads back in time again, this time two hours back. And that’s when she meets Farouk.
She finds herself in an empty room with Farouk, who assures her she’s safe and wonders why all time travelers tend to be women. Over a nice cup of tea — a lot of tea in this episode! — he tells Switch he knows she’s helping David, but “maybe we can make a different arrangement.” She manages to sneak away, but Farouk reports back to Division 3 that David has a time traveler on his side now. “How do you surprise someone who can go back in time and warn himself?” he muses, but the Division 3 heads press on with their plans to take out David, figuring they’ll just kill Switch in the process. (Oh, and Carey is constructing an android replacement for Ptonomy. Just thought you should know.)
Farouk tells Syd they’ve located David and wants her to stay back, but she insists on coming along. He thinks she still has feelings for David — and that’s a pretty good bet, we’d say. (Then again, she did shoot him dead. Twice.) We see the invasion from their perspective, with Carey fitting the soldiers with brainwave blockers so David won’t see them coming. But this time, as they approach, there’s a flash of light, and suddenly the entire commune has vanished, leaving a gigantic crater in its wake. The opening credits roll at the very end — nice touch, Noah Hawley — as Syd picks up a bloody tooth on the ground. (We did spot Switch wiggling one of her teeth earlier.) Let the final battle… begin.
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