Directed by John Cameron
Written by Nathaniel Halpern
* For a recap & review of Chapter 21, click here.
* For a recap & review of Chapter 23, click here.
We see a baby, who’ll grow up to be David Haller (Dan Stevens). His mother, Gabrielle (Stephanie Corenliussen) would hold him at night. Then she spent her time writing to someone— that someone was Charles Xavier (Harry Lloyd), the man who’d become Professor X. She’d remember better, simpler times before her husband found someone like him in Morocco— as the Marvel mythology goes, it would’ve been Amahl Farouk a.k.a the Shadow King (Navid Negahban).
One day, Gabrielle came downstairs to see double doors standing in the middle of their mansion’s walkway. Her husband was busy perfecting the technology for his device, Cerebro. This is how he was able to reach out across space and time to find Farouk.
But, like all these psychological superpowers, it came with a toll.
We see Charles was in a hospital some time ago, as well. This is where he first met Gabrielle— she was previously in “the camps,” and he could hear the air raid sirens, the screams and gunshots that filled her past life.
“How did we find this place?”
On the astral plane, Charles walked through a dreamy field. He descended into a trench, suddenly dressed in a soldier’s uniform and wielding a gun. He looked through a dark tunnel, eventually confronted by a German soldier who attacked him. They wrestled until Xavier commanded him mentally: “Kill yourself.”
At another point in time, Charles and Gabrielle sat at home. Continually a nightclub scene would reoccur (Soundtrack note: the song playing is “Wot!” by Captain Sensible). He heard and saw it vaguely. She heard it, too— she heard her grown son through the fabric of time, whisper to her, calling out. Yet her husband denied hearing a thing.
Gabrielle, like any mother, wondered who her son would become. She knew the world was “an ugly place.” She kept hearing a grown up David call to her— “Mommy“— from the shadows. David and Switch (Lauren Tsai) are in the corridors of time, watching his mother. He wants to warn her about the Shadow King, but isn’t able to, even though she hears him faintly from the future.
The two time travellers go back to look at David’s parents in the psychiatric ward. Charles insisted on getting deeper into Gabrielle’s mind. Soon, she was up from her wheelchair and speaking to him. He started to explain his powers to her. He wanted to help people with his telepathic abilities. These two wounded souls leaned on one another, in hopes of repairing themselves.
Soundtrack note: Sweet use of “True Love Will Find You in the End” by Daniel Johnston. Particularly great usage, as Johnston notably has battled serious mental illness over the years (check out the documentary about him— one of Father Gore’s favourites), and Legion is a series about mental health beneath all the superhero stuff.
This was all heading for the inevitable, to the point where Charles would take himself and Gabrielle away from the psychiatric ward and into a new life. It would all be a lie, a mental trick of telepathy by which Charles could whisk them away and out of the custody of that institution. They were free to go somewhere they could have a child together, start a real family, and they wouldn’t be trapped in that sad place.
That World’s Angriest Boy in the World doll is like an omen of things to come. Effectively, Xavier ignored both his and Gabrielle’s mental health so they could be together. Two ill people made a child, clearly passing on the things that plagued them. They became more susceptible to dark influences, just as their son would, too.
Soundtrack note: Leaving the ward we hear “She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones
Farouk showed up to begin plaguing little David with nightmares, and future David appeared to Gabrielle, frightening her, looking like a half-formed man. Charles arrived home to banish the vision, sending his son through the corridors of time with Switch. He wants to go back, but Switch is drained. It nearly sends him into a Legion rage. Meanwhile, Charles was unable to wake his wife again after Gabrielle fell unconscious. The Shadow King’s presence had already taken hold of their baby, deep within David’s infant psyche.
“A dream you made true?”
“Or did you,
in my head?”
What an emotional episode. Devastating, and gives some great backstory / insight into David’s life, as well as his parents. Truly amazing stuff. The way this series tackles mental illness is beautiful, innovative, and intelligent. And the visuals, like every episode, are an absolute spectacle to behold.
Chapter 23 is next time.