'Legion' Just Made You Realize the X-Men Never Treat Women All That Well

If you’ve wondered all season-long of Legion what the hell happened to Melanie Bird and what she’s been up to, apparently for about two weeks she’s just been huffing opiates out of an ornate golden elephant (at least since David got back). In that time, she’s also somehow been incepted by the Shadow King. The whole narrative is ultimately an indictment of how male heroes use and abuse the women in their lives, and nowhere is that more apparent than the literally and figuratively powerless Melanie Bird.

Superpowered men might save the world, but they often destroy their relationships in the process.

Spoilers follow for Legion Season 2’s “Chapter 17.”

Most of “Chapter 17” winds up a flashback — or perhaps flash sideways? — to Melanie’s story since the chronological beginning of this season. We learned at the end of last week’s episode that Oliver Bird had somehow gained psychic control over her, but it seems like she’s been a sleeper agent for the Shadow King for most of this season, actually.

Shortly after David returned from his lengthy hiatus, she had a conversation with Syd that had strong echoes of Amahl Farouk’s indictment of Charles Xavier’s white imperialism earlier this season.

She talks about men and their sense of “destiny” taking priority over everything else. She wonders angrily how they, as “bitches,” could ever stand in the way of the men they love while the men “run off” to save the world. She’s bitter, and rightfully so, because she’s been abandoned by the love of her life twice now. And yet here he comes knocking yet again, trying to manipulate her with his psychic powers because he’s being manipulated by an even more powerful psychic man. Who, in turn, was sort of colonized psychically by a white British man named Charles Xavier. So it goes, an endless chain of male arrogance.

This entire premise upends itself in dramatic fashion when we realize that David needs Lenny perhaps more than anyone else. Of course, after her escape from imprisonment last week, Lenny immediately goes on a drug-fueled bender, but all roads on this show lead to the desert where Farouk’s body is. So Lenny, like the Loudermilks, follows psychic clues implanted in her mind by David. Lenny gets the added bonus of being haunted by the psyche of David’s sister Amy. (You know, the body that Lenny is sort of inhabiting right now.)

Amy essentially chides her into doing what’s “right” and “good” but Lenny isn’t really driven into action until she recognizes her romantic motivations. Of course she’s always been in love with David.

With only two episodes left in Season 2, Legion is gearing up for some kind of final confrontation between all its characters as they converge on the site of Farouk’s body. Remember that Future-Syd revealed two weeks ago that David goes on to snap and basically destroy the world. Will we see the white male “hero” of Legion wind up the villanous madman that destroys the world in the end? We’ll see.

Legion airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.

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