WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Legion, “Chapter 11,” which premiered Tuesday on FX.
Late in its first season, FX's Legion confirmed that, just as in the comics, David Haller's father is Charles Xavier, showing a glimpse of his wheelchair and an animated chalkboard rendition of his battle on the astral plane with Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King. Now, in this week's episode, we see how that confrontation played out on the physical realm, albeit without Professor X (well, mostly) in a sequence borrowed from a classic Marvel comic.
Farouk was introduced, in flashback, in 1979's Uncanny X-Men #117, by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, as a crime lord in Cairo whose path crossed by accident with that of Xavier. Sensing another telepath nearby, Farouk fired a psionic warning shot, which only drew Xavier to his location at a nearby tavern. Sitting across the room from each other, they communicated telepathically in an exchange that escalated into a life-and-death fight on the astral plane, with those around the two combatants -- including the two women flanking Farouk -- none the wiser. Xavier emerges victorious; Farouk's body slumps lifeless over the table, while his psyche is banished to the astral plane. The encounter is notable not only as the debut of the Shadow King but as the impetus for Xavier to form the X-Men.
Following a prologue narrated by Jon Hamm, this week's episode introduces a flashback of its own, with a reinterpretation of that same sequence. Navid Negahban's Farouk sits silent and motionless in a tavern or restaurant, flanked by two adoring young women. As the camera closes in, we see the animated chalk rendition of the psychic battle reflected in his dark glasses and hear the Star Wars-style sound effects. When Farouk's astral form is vanquished, he falls over, lifeless, into his couscous.
What follows is a departure from the comics, relating the fate of Farouk's physical form, sealed within an egg-like coffin and buried far beneath the floor a monastery. There, it began to pound, like a noisier version of "The Tell-Tale Heart," slowly driving the monks mad. Yet there it remains, fueling the plot of Legion's second season as the Shadow King seeks to reunite with his body. What's the worst that could happen?
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.