Legion is bonkers.
The loose X-Men spin-off revolves around David (Dan Stevens), a man (read: mutant) whose struggle with powerful psychic abilities has been misdiagnosed throughout his life as a form of schizophrenia – and it’s rife with hallucinations, metaphors, visits to the astral plane and characters that take multiple forms.
So, don’t feel too overwhelmed if you’re a little bit lost heading into the second season – and definitely don’t let confusion deter you from hopping back into this visually stunning, mind-bending show.
A lot of the action in season 1 takes place in alternate versions of reality – either in shared hallucinations (like the mental hospital nightmare that was conjured up by the Shadow King to keep the gang busy) or in an individual’s memory (much of episodes 2 and 3 see the gang trawl through David’s childhood traumas) – and it can be a bit hard to keep track of what is actually going on. But don’t worry – we’re here to help you separate the real events from the imaginary.
Check out everything you need to remember from Legion season 1 below.
What happened to David? Who is Amahl Farouk AKA The Shadow King?
Towards the end of the series, it was revealed that David’s schizophrenic symptoms were actually caused by a parasite that embedded itself in his mind when he was a baby.
This parasite is a mutant known as Amahl Farouk, or, more terrifyingly, The Shadow King, who, after losing a battle with David’s father, decided to use David as a host body. Over the course of David’s life, The Shadow King has been feeding off his anxieties and controlling his memories. He appears in various forms throughout the series: as David’s dog, King, the character from the grim children’s book “The Angriest Boy in the World”, his junkie friend Benny.
Towards the end of the season, he predominantly appears as a nightmarish version of Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), a friend of David’s from the mental asylum. He was transferred from David’s body to Oliver Bird’s at the end of the finale, meaning that, while David is free for now, The Shadow King is still at large.
Who is Oliver Bird?
Oliver (played brilliantly by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement) is Melanie’s husband – a mutant with the same abilities as David (psychic powers, telekinesis) who became imprisoned on the astral plane 20 years ago, and whose physical body remains in cryogenic stasis.
David ran into Oliver on the astral plane in episode 4, and discovered that he had forgotten all about his wife and their endeavours at home (he was a founding member of mutant refuge Summerland).
Later on, Oliver helped to pull Syd (Rachel Keller) and Cary (Bill Irwin) out of the mental asylum illusion that was conjured up by the Shadow King, and escaped to the real world with them after helping David capture the Shadow King.
What is going on with Cary and Kerry (Amber Midthunder)?
Cary (male) and Kerry (female) Loudermilk share a single body. Cary takes care of the day-to-day stuff, while Kerry comes out to play when the situation calls for braun above brains. Kerry looks significantly younger than Cary because she only ages when she is outside of his body.
Their brief domestic at the end of the season – after Cary left Kerry in the asylum hallucination to help Oliver devise a plan to get them all back to the real world – seemed to have been resolved after their final battle with The Shadow King.
Is the war between Division III and the Summerland residents over?
The battle between the mutants and a group of government agents – known as Division III – working to stem the spread of mutant DNA formed a major plot point in season 1, though it often took a backseat to the more immediately pressing battle with the Shadow King.
In episode 4, David, under the control of Amahl Faroukh, killed more or less every single soldier at the Division III base.
However, they re-emerged later on after Clark (the agent injured by the mutants in episode 1) recovered, and he assured David that the base was only the tip of the iceberg – they are working with several international agencies to bring down Summerland.
While Clark agreed to help the mutants curb the threat of the Shadow King, there is no definitive truce in place, and there will likely be further clashes between the two groups in season 2.
Who is The Eye AKA Walter? What happened to him at the end of season 1?
The curly-haired antagonist known as the Eye (Mackenzie Gray) is a mutant working with Division III in a war against his own kind.
Back before he got his cool nickname, he was called Walter (less cool), and was a founding member of Summerland, the mutant base now run by Melanie.
At the end of the penultimate episode of season 1, The Shadow King (in the form of Lenny) squished The Eye up into a little package in the mental asylum illusion, which also appears to have killed him in real-life. But we’re taking nothing for granted with this series…
Is Lenny alive?
Lenny is dead. Lenny died in the first episode, remember? She was amalgamated with a wall by Syd, who was momentarily in control of David’s body, and, by proxy, his psychic powers.
The being masquerading as Lenny is Amahl Farouk/The Shadow King – the parasite controlling David’s mind.
Who is David’s father?
It was revealed in episode 7 – with the appearance of a wheelchair in a flashback – that X-Men’s Charles Xavier is David’s father. There is no word on whether he will make an appearance in season 2, but it solidifies the show’s links to the X-Men universe as we know it.
What happened to David at the end of season 1?
A post-credit scene at the end of the season saw David getting kidnapped by a metal orb that shrank him and carried him away. It is unclear who is responsible for this. The smart money is on Division III (though Clark had agreed to help the mutants to stop The Shadow King), but we won’t know the truth until season 2 arrives.
Legion season 2 airs on FOX on Tuesdays at 9pm. Season 1 is currently streaming on NOW TV, and new episodes from season 2 will drop on the streaming service every Tuesday