Is David Bad On ‘Legion’? The Season Finale Was A Huge Blow, But There’s Still Hope
Major spoilers for the Legion Season 2 finale ahead! Well, that was dark. Although superhero stories usually end with the bad guy defeated, that's not what happened with the Legion Season 2 finale. Not only does the "bad guy" survive, but the character that's supposed to be the hero turns out to be the real bad guy. Yes, David finally becomes Legion on Legion, and it's just as tragic and hard to watch as future-Syd warned everyone it would be.
In the Marvel comic books on which the FX series is based, David Haller is not a great guy; he vacillates occasionally between antihero and villain, leaning towards the latter. Most fans probably knew this going into Legion — but the genius of what showrunner Noah Hawley did was that he painted David first as a sympathetic figure, so watching his descent into madness and villainy would be all the harder to watch. It took two whole seasons to get there, but the payoff is… well, rewarding is probably the wrong word, but definitely worth the wait.
Viewers got their first glimpse of a fully Legion-ized David at the beginning of the penultimate episode, with his trademark spiked hair and a vest identical to the one his comic book counterpart sports. Although that version of David isn't seen again in the finale, his specter lingers over the hour, whether you went in hoping that future could be avoided — or knowing that it's inevitable.
Convinced by a Farouk-possessed Melanie of David's potential for villainy in last week's episode, Syd goes to confront her "man," interrupting his brawl with the Shadow King just before he can bash Farouk's head in with a rock. (Their psychic battle turns into a physical one when Lenny sets off the power-dampening tuning fork.) But when Syd tries to avert the apocalypse by shooting David, Lenny knocks Syd's bullet out of the air with a miraculous shot. Granted a reprieve, David wipes Syd's memory to return their relationship to its loving "normalcy."
Back at Division III, while awaiting Farouk's trial, a triumphant David astral projects himself into Syd's room and the couple make love. But when Cary fashions a device to surveil the events of the battle between David and Farouk, he realizes what David has done to Syd. And so the trial of Amahl Farouk turns into the trial of David Haller: the team at Division III gang up on their former ally, trapping him in a containment field. Syd lays bare the romanticized lie of what David has done to her. "You drugged me and had sex with me," she says bluntly, betrayed.
She also tells him the truth of his condition: David thought he was insane, then he found out he had superpowers… but the reality is, both things are true. He can't excuse away his enjoyment of torturing Oliver, his gleeful attempted killing of Farouk, his gaslighting of Syd, or the ongoing voices in his head by blaming them on his former possession by the Shadow King. David has powers and he's insane.
The voices in David's head reveal the delusional thought that lies at the core of his being. It comes in two parts: "I'm a good person" and "I deserve love." Faced with the reality that both of these statements might actually be untrue — and unwilling to subject himself to numbing psychiatric treatment — David flexes his powers, manages to escape his containment, grabbs Lenny, and vanishes. When Syd wonders what they do now, all Clark can offer in response is, "We pray."
Is David now officially the Big Bad of Legion? If so, will fans stick with it when the show returns for Season 3? Or will they feel as betrayed as Syd by David's descent into villainy? Perhaps they'll be comforted by one thought: although David's transformation may have been inevitable, the future isn't written in stone. Remember, David killed Farouk in future-Syd's timeline — but Farouk survived the events of Season 2. Perhaps the apocalypse can still be averted; and perhaps David Haller can still be saved.