WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Legion, "Chapter 26," which aired Monday on FX.
The penultimate episode of FX’s Legion is a tangle of converging plotlines, full of even more cryptic symbolism and psychedelic imagery than usual. Charles Xavier (Harry Lloyd) is back, as is his wife Gabrielle (Stephanie Corneliussen), and each has an encounter with time travelers -- the characters from the present day. Because everything takes place in the past, there’s no way of seeing how the future is affected by the changes David (Dan Stevens) and his rivals are making. In other words, the world may have already ended.
The scene is set innocuously enough, covering more of Xavier’s trip to Morocco to investigate the mutant he thinks he’s found. When the two men meet, Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban) is welcoming and generous, and knows far too much about Xavier, who is understandably uneasy but remains composed.
Farouk’s friendliness is clearly a front, but it’s difficult to discern what his objectives are, especially if he doesn’t yet know about David. Rather than seeing Xavier as a rival, Farouk, an older and more experienced telepath, treats him as a protegee and even turns out to be the one who instructs him on how to gain access to the astral realm.
Another unexpected element in Farouk’s kingdom is the numerous children dressed in blue, running helter skelter around his palace, allegedly mute. The only clue to their origin comes from a disconnected dimension -- in the previous episode, Farouk was trapped in the Time Between Time, and everyone was vulnerable to the next attack from the Time Eaters. Now, after finding a clutch of blue eggs in the timeless void, he seems to have escaped, and to have found a way to control the Time Eaters in the bargain.
Meanwhile, Switch (Lauren Tsai) has used the last of her strength to take David back in time for his new plan, which is to speak to his father instead of to his mother. After showing Xavier who he is and why he’s there, David explains he wants to assist him in fighting Farouk, reasoning that both of them together can defeat their enemy when Xavier alone couldn’t.
But David’s fatal flaw is still the selfishness behind his choices, and his empathetic father sees it in him. When Switch passes out in front of them, David impatiently brushes off Xavier’s questions, saying, “She’s no one. She’s a means of getting here, of reaching you.” Xavier won’t accept that: “Everyone is someone, David.”
With Switch incapacitated and David’s self-control breaking down, the fate of this encounter with the Shadow King is left in doubt. A further complication comes in the form of Sydney (Rachel Keller), who has come back in time with Kerry and Cary (Amber Midthunder and Bill Irwin) in pursuit of David.
Rather than bringing them to the David and Switch of the present, the portal they’ve found opens at David’s first home, at the time when his mother discovers the double doors that have appeared in front of her house while her husband is away and her son is attempting to contact her from the future.
Syd, implementing the life lessons she learned from her adoptive parents in the last episode, speaks to Gabrielle and sees an opportunity to save David by changing his early life, rather than eliminating the man he becomes from the world. However, she’s not only up against his nature, but the immediate threat of the Time Eaters.
How time travel works at these lengths is still largely a mystery, so there’s no clear sign of what has changed so far, what may still change, and what the “present” really means. The Time Eaters are concurrently living with Farouk in the forms of his adopted children, and attacking baby David after coming through the same portal that Syd and the Loudermilks used.
If each group of time travelers is affecting the same timestream at different points, what happens first? Is Syd holding baby David after Farouk has been successfully expelled, or is he still infected? There’s just one episode left to answer the questions, and no guarantee that the fabric of reality will survive it.
Airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, Legion stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jeremie Harris, Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater, Navid Negahban, and Lauren Tsai.