The world of the FX series Legion is a puzzle box of intrigue and intertwined realities, and among its many mysteries is the shadowy governmental task force known as Division 3.
According to Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) in episode 2 of Legion, Division 3 is one of several Divisions: government agencies dedicated to tracking, controlling, and – in certain cases – killing mutants. There’s always a possibility that Melanie is lying to David Haller (Dan Stevens) and the other mutants about the exact nature of Division 3, but based on what we’ve actually seen, there’s not much indication that Division 3’s intentions are benevolent. They appear to be singularly focused on capturing David and are willing to do morally repugnant things in order to do so, including kidnapping and torturing David’s sister Amy.
So far, we’ve only gotten a few peeks into the inner workings of Division 3, but they seem to have access to significant resources, including a plenitude of armed soldiers. It’s unclear exactly how the organization is “divided,” but in the first episode, a Division 3 agent mentions that Division 1 believes killing David to be the best course of action, suggesting some sort of hierarchical relationship between the different factions. Whether Division 1 is higher up in the chain of command, or simply represents different interests remains to be seen.
The Divisions appear to be an original invention and not directly adapted from the X-Men comics, though there have been similar government organizations dedicated to the oppression of mutants, particularly in some of the animated adaptations. The “Mutant Control Agency” was featured in the 1992 X-Men series, and the more recent Wolverine and the X-Men had the “Mutant Response Division.” X-Men: First Class also had “Division X,” but that was a much less sinister governmental team of mutants who served as a precursor to the actual X-Men.
Division 3 also seems to employ at least one mutant (Walter, a.k.a. the “Eye,” played by Mackenzie Gray), making it a bit closer to Primatech from Heroes,- willing to collaborate with powered people for the purpose of gaining greater control over them. In last week’s episode of Legion, Melanie mentions that Summerland (the ranch where she rehabilitates and trains mutants) predates the Divisions and that Walter was one of her husband’s first recruits, suggesting that there may be a deeper connection between Summerland and the Divisions.
Of course, the “unreliable narrator” premise of Legion means that Division 3 may not actually exist at all, along with Summerland, Syd, and any of the other places and characters we’ve seen thus far. The delusion that one is being tracked or hunted by the government is, after all, a common symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, and it’s still not totally clear whether or not David is truly schizophrenic. That said, if Legion is to maintain narrative momentum, it’s unlikely that the show’s most tangible antagonist will turn out to be a hallucination anytime soon.
With David determined to rescue his sister from Division 3 as soon as possible, he’ll probably confront the organization directly within the next few episodes, so with any luck we’ll learn more details about this mysterious agency in the near future. Let’s just hope that David and his friends can continue to evade capture.
Legion continues tonight @10PM on FX.