This week, Legion gave us some of its most straightforward exposition ever. We got to see Farouk in the flesh (er, well, psychic flesh), David laid it all out on the dotted line, future Syd came clean about why she wants Farouk to find his body–you get the picture. Of course, it just wouldn’t be Legion if all that direct plot development didn’t also come with a whole new layer of weirdness on top.
Part of the big reveal vis-a-vis Farouk’s whole body situation was about the next step in finding it. We learn that he’s searching Division Three because he believes there to be a “Mi-Go monk” hiding inside. According to legend, the Mi-Go Monks are the ones responsible for hiding the location of Farouk’s body after his defeat by David’s father, so, in theory, finding a monk would be the quickest and best way to giving the Shadow King a real physical form again.
All of that tracks with what we’ve already seen, and we even know he’s right to believe there’s one hiding in Division Three because we’ve actually (probably) seen them walking silently among the room full of teeth-chattering zombies, not to mention in the dance club scene from Episode 1. The real question is: what the hell are Mi-Go monks?
The obvious and natural inclination is to start searching Marvel comics history for potential reference points and candidates, and, unsurprisingly, there are plenty of monks to pick from. Old Man Logan introduced a brotherhood of Silent Monks that are one possibility. There was a mad monk in the ’70s and ’80s named Aelfric, whose lore could be mined for the show. There are plenty of cult-like villain groups to cherry pick ideas from, but none of them quite seem to fit.
As it turns out, there just might be a reason for that. This might actually be one of the rare instances where turning to the comics is actually the wrong direction entirely. For this one, we need to get purely literary.
The name “Mi-Go” is actually a direct, letter for letter, call back to an element of Lovecraftian mythology that was first introduced in famed, controversial horror author H.P. Lovecraft’s novella The Whisperer In Darkness back in 1931. In that text, they’re a described as a race of extraterrestrial crab people who are part fungus and–OK, yeah, definitely not the bald, robe wearing monk we saw on screen this week, but still. It’s far too specific a name to have been an accident, especially since it’s decidedly not one that’s been borrowed from Marvel’s pre-existing canon. On a show like Legion, things like this don’t happen by accident.
It looks like our merry band of mutants might be taking a turn for the eldritch.
In the Cthulhu mythos, the Mi-Go worshipped two of the Elder Gods, Nyarlathotep and Shub-Niggurath, though their unique physiology made it difficult to determine exactly how or what their religious practices actually entailed. They also had the ability to “transport” humans (ie: force them to psychically project by, uh, removing their brains and putting them into special boxes) to Pluto. There was a group of humans known as the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign dedicated to hunting them down and eliminating them to, we can assume, prevent them from sending any more innocent humans on one-way interplanetary trips.
Sure, the context here might be a little off the wall, even for Legion, but it’s all pretty uncanny when you boil it down–especially considering the show’s Mi-Go monks are the keepers of what is literally a body without a brain.
Now, bear with me on this. For as weird as the literary Mi-Go are, their Lovecraftian connotations wouldn’t be out of place this season. We learned this week that Farouk may not be the person causing the teeth-chattering–after all, the people he killed or transformed in his Division Three attack showed absolutely no signs of that symptom manifesting at all. Add that to the fact that Future-Syd gave an ominous warning of something more powerful than Farouk looming just over the horizon and we’re starting to edge into Elder God territory pretty fast. After all, it’s kind of hard to go bigger or stronger in a psychic sense than the Shadow King without crossing over into Lovecraft-style great and unnameable cosmic terrors.
After all, monks are usually worshipers or believers in something, right? More interesting still, while the name Mi-Go might not have a place in Marvel canon, the idea of Elder Gods certainly does. There are five of them, to be specific: Chthon, Gibborim, Gaea, Oshtur, and Set.
Fans of Hulu’s Runaways will recognize Gibborim right away as the otherworldly, cultish villains of the show, proof positive that the live action quadrant of Marvel isn’t afraid of dabbling in this area when it serves their purposes–which also probably means that name won’t be showing up in Legion any time soon. Gaea and Oshtur are also unlikely, as they’re both gods associated with light and life, pretty far departures from whatever might be coming to destroy the world.
Cthon and Set, however, are exactly in Legion’s malevolent wheelhouse. Both are associated with darkness and death and both are considered to be extremely ominous omens. Cthon, specifically, is occasionally called “The Other,” and has a built-in motif of being ancient and unknowable, a being that “woke up” before existence itself even had a name. He’s also got his very own “pocket dimension” that’s separate from the Astral Plane, which could explain why Farouk seems to be totally unaware of the threat. And his name is an undeniable nod to the famous Lovecraft creation Cthulhu.
Introducing Cthon as the Mi-Go monk’s religious idol would certainly up the stakes and be a perfect reason to want Farouk around–and, hey, coming into contact with an unfathomable Ancient One would definitely be enough to turn anyone into a catatonic teeth-chattering vegetable, right?
Author Meg Downey
Original Post by GameSpot