WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of Legion, "Chapter 9," which aired Tuesday on FX.
Finding the Shadow King is the top priority in Legion Season 2 for the Summerland mutants and their new allies at Division 3, and they'll use every tool at their disposal to do it. That includes the powerful telepath David Haller (Dan Stevens), who spent much of his life as host to the parasitic mutant, and a certain machine the bears a striking resemblance to some well-known X-Men technology.
David, who's resurfaced nearly a year after his bizarre disappearance in the Season 1 cliffhanger, still has a connection to Amahl Farouk, aka the Shadow King, but he also professes to have little memory of the past 362 days. While not everyone believes him, David is key to locating Farouk before he can reunite with his body. The problem is, Farouk is psychically hiding himself. That's where Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) and his new invention come in.
The quirky scientist, who frequently shares a body with Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), has created an Amplification Chamber intended to help David recover his memories and telepathically locate Farouk. X-Men fans will no doubt see similarities in function, and maybe (a little) in design, to Cerebro, the device used by Charles Xavier and other telepaths to amplify brainwaves and allow the users to find other mutants across the globe.
Introduced in 1964 in Marvel Comics' The X-Men #7, Cerebro was originally a machine built into Xavier's desk at his School for Gifted Youngsters. However, with a later upgrade that integrated alien Shi'ar technology, the larger Cerebro was moved to one of the mansion's subbasements.
In Fox's original X-Men movie trilogy, Cerebro is depicted as an enormous subterranean globe into which Xavier enters by a bridge to a console, where he dons a helmet that magnifies his telepathic abilities. However, in 2011's X-Men: First Class, which takes place in 1962, decades before the previous films, Cerebro is invented by a young Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and housed within a small geodesic dome near the mansion. That period technology is what we see throughout Legion, and in Cary's Amplification Chamber.
It's essentially a retractable metal dome covering a sunken tank, filled with fluid. What kind of fluid, you ask?
"The fluid is 80 percent glucose, 15 percent bicarbonate and it’s 5 percent strawberry extract – it’s for conductivity," Cary explains to David. "Also, to give it a pleasant aroma and taste in case you should swallow any, which, do not swallow any."
OK, that much is different from Cerebro, unless in the earliest designs Xavier stripped naked -- "full exothermal contact" -- and immersed himself in a giant strawberry daquiri. Which, honestly, could've happened; it was the '60s, after all.
While David opens his mind in artificially flavored fluid, Cary busies himself with the Resonator, something between an old-fashioned telephone switchboard and an early-1970s Moog synthesizer, to try different frequencies (brainwave, presumably). Although the experiment fails to pinpoint Farouk's location, it does unlock David's memories of the nightclub where he was found. What follows is an epic psychic dance-off between David and Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) and Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza), which presumably took place -- mostly, at least -- on the astral plane.
And, in all honesty, that beats the hell out of anything Charles Xavier has done, with or without Cerebro.
Airing Tuesdays 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 and Navid Negahban.