Major, major spoilers for the season finale of Legion abound! You have been warned.
Some TV shows are fairly straightforward to keep up with even if you aren’t giving them your full attention while watching. Legion is not one of those shows. Since the very first episode, it’s demanded a lot from its viewers, and tonight’s stunning season finale was certainly no exception.
But if you just finished watching and need to know what the heck just happened, no worries—Nerdist got the chance to speak with showrunner Noah Hawley himself during a recent press conference call, and he shared with us what went into all the most shocking moments from the season finale. Let’s break it down, question by question:
Why start the episode with the Interrogator?
We haven’t seen the Interrogator since the very first episode, and we certainly haven’t seen so much of him as we did at the start of the finale. But of course, humanizing complicated villains is right in Hawley’s wheelhouse after a few seasons of Fargo, so it’s no wonder he tried it again here for Legion.
“I knew I wanted to bring Hamish [Linklater] back because he’s so great in the role and such a great element to the show, so I ended episode seven with him appearing. Then as I sat down to write episode eight, I thought it would be interesting to see his world and start this episode from his point of view so he’s not just a horribly burned villain walking on screen,” said Hawley.
“He’s a person who has lost something and is struggling to hold on to his humanity and his sense of identity. So I started to write that sequence at the beginning, and then, of course, you bring him into the show, and now he has a much more sympathetic energy to him even though he’s justified that in his movie, David is the villain and Melanie is the villain. Once we see his movie, even for a moment, it changes the way we look at the people we thought we knew, which I think is interesting.”
Is Melanie Bird about to go full Magneto?
When the Interrogator is himself interrogated by the Summerland gang, Melanie is blunt with him—humans are going the way of the dinosaurs, and they’d better stop trying to get a leg up on mutants if they want to survive. If that rhetoric sounds familiar, it’s because we usually hear that sort of thing from Magneto in the X-Men movies, who despite his sympathetic backstory is still seen as a villain these days.
But Melanie’s not in full-on bad guy mode, Hawley says—at least, for now. In the movies, “There’s this idea that homo superior would mean that what we know as humanity will disappear eventually,” he clarified. “I don’t think that was her intention to say that, other than to say, ‘You need a sense of perspective here about the way that the universe works. You think you’re at the top of the food chain, but now there’s something even higher than you, so you should be a little less arrogant about how you deal with us, because if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we’re the future and you’re the past.'”
I don’t know, dude, still seems pretty Magneto to me. But as X-perts more knowledgable than me have pointed out, that guy did make some valid points.
What’s up with Oliver and the Shadow King?
It’s rare you see a supervillain get a chance to fight another day like The Shadow King did during the season finale. But letting him escape was always part of the plan, according to Hawley. “I like this idea of having to face our demons and the idea that in the first season, that was an internal struggle for David,” he said. “Now we’re taking something that has so much power over him emotionally and psychologically and making it an exterior agent.”
Of course, as of the end of the last episode, it’s now a part of somebody else. After its showdown with David, the Shadow King sought out refuge in Oliver Bird’s body, and the two drove off into the sunset together. An odd couple, to be sure, but Hawley told us he’s eager to see what kind of dynamic will come out of pairing Aubrey Plaza and Jermaine Clement together, for the same reason that he had Clement and Bill Irwin in a scene together earlier this season.
“The energy of those two characters together creates such exciting possibilities in terms of storytelling,” he said, comparing their shared capacity for humor to Anton Chigurh’s haircut in No Country For Old Men—funny on its own, but deeply uncomfortable in context. “You take them and you like them and they have a great energy, and then dark things happen and it creates an entirely different experience of the story. In an uncanny way, comedians aren’t supposed to be like that. They aren’t supposed to act like that, and when they do it’s very unsettling. I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see what happens with them.”
Why an end-credit sequence, and what did it mean?
Remember when the leader of D3 told his crew to get the “Equinox” ready? Well, that’s what we might have caught a glimpse in those final moments of the finale. “If you stuck around for the end scene after the credits, maybe you have a sense of it,” Hawley told us coyly.
If what he says is true, then David’s already in for a whole heap of trouble once season two starts—and yeah, not letting him get a break after finally expelling the Shadow King from his body was extremely intentional.
“I think out of the frying pan and into the fire is a pretty good approach to storytelling, on some level,” Hawley revealed. “What he should do is do a retreat for a year and kind kinda be one with nature and eat three meals a day and take walks in the woods and learn how to be a person the way other people are persons, but he’s not gonna have that luxury because he’s on to the next crisis. I think that’s gonna continue to keep the pressure on him in a way—that stress on someone who is disjointed can be very disruptive.”
But why a post-credit scene in a TV show? “I think there’s a crowd condition of that, [since] Marvel uses it on the features side,” he said. But there was another reason other than fan-satisfaction, of course: “It’s the beginning of another thought, so I wanted to give people the end song and the feeling of watching the credits in order to let them to absorb the complete story they just watched, and then tease them as to what Chapter Two is going to be.”
Guess we’ll have to tune in next season to find out. Will you be watching along with us? Let us know in the comments!
Images: FX Networks