Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Legion season 2, episode 7: "Chapter 15"
For the second time this season, Legion has killed a main character: Ptonomy's body was ripped open Alien-style by the Delusion that had crawled into his brain earlier this season. In Legion, however, death is less of an ending and more of a transformation. Because of the show's approaches to time, memory, and delusion, characters appear and re-appear in different ways long after they are dead. Ptonomy's death actually signals a new story arc for his character - one that could have major impacts on the show.
This isn't the first time that characters have lived on after their deaths in Legion. Aubrey Plaza's Lenny spent almost the entirety of season 1 dead, living in David's mind as his friend-turned-surprise-nemesis. In season two, Lenny also proved that characters could be resurrected from the dead when the Shadow King returned her consciousness to physical form. Lenny's new body, however, was taken from David's sister Amy.
Amy, too, illustrates how Legion can create roles for characters after death. Amy did not appear in season 2 of Legion until Farouk murdered her, but she has appeared in both episodes that have aired since her death. Last week, her character appeared in a number of alternative timelines, which given season 2's experiments with time travel open up new worlds of possibilities. This week, she appeared as a manically laughing delusion, haunting David in the wake of her death. Amy's role in season one wrapped up neatly, and as a result, death has revitalized her character by giving her something new to do.
Ptonomy has appeared throughout season 2, but his role has been largely static. In season 1, his ability to remember everything and navigate the memories of others played an integral function in the exploration of David's mind and memories, but in season 2, Ptonomy's presence has been inconsistent. Death, then, marks a new life for Ptonomy's character.
Admiral Fukuyama saves Ptonomy's consciousness by attaching him to the mainframe computer of Fukuyama's hybrid machine. The Vermillion speak to each other about Ptonomy saying: "He's dying." Another responds: "We can save his mind." And a third: "Take him to the mainframe." They drag Ptonomy's body to a tree, whose vines attach to his neck, making him a part of Fukuyama's living machine. David is able to quickly kill the Delusion that burst from within Ptonomy, but the damage is done. Ptonomy's body is destroyed, and he is now bound to the confines of Fukuyama's computer... along with an elderly woman, knitting in a rocking chair.
Ptonomy's death could be the ending of the narrative segments about delusions. Jon Hamm's narrator gives what sounds like a conclusion at the end of the episode, asking the viewer, "So what have we learned?" before summarizing the major ideas of each of the season's previous segments. As the camera zooms in on Ptonomy's slumped body, Hamm concludes: "One delusion leading to another and another as the human mind struggles to maintain its identity. And when this occurs, what starts as an egg can become a monster." Of course, the Delusion was a fully-formed monster, but Hamm's narration could also foreshadow Ptonomy's fusion with the computer as being monstrous, even a new danger.
It seems interesting that Syd's futuristic counterpart did not warn David about Ptonomy's death; however, she did not seem concerned about warning David about Amy's death either, even though Amy's death would appear to be a clear catalyst for David's erratic behavior. When Farouk and Future Syd spoke this week, Syd all-but-confirmed Farouk's realization that David is the villain in her timeline; when Farouk mocks Syd about the irony that she needs Farouk to stop David, she remains silent and does not correct him. Interestingly, while Ptonomy would seem to be another powerful ally against David, Syd did not try to stop his death. Perhaps Ptonomy's death and fusion with Fukuyama's mainframe plays an important role in her future that Syd felt that she could not jeopardize, or perhaps Future Syd simply deemed Ptonomy's death irrelevant to the future in which she finds herself.
Ptonomy's death opens up a myriad of possibilities for his future role within the show. How will his powers interact with the machine that he was forcefully integrated with? How will the new confines and abilities of being a consciousness within a machine affect Ptonomy mentally and emotionally? Will he become a villain, a pawn and unwilling tool of Fukuyama, or the key to stopping the end of the world? Ptonomy has died, and the possibilities for his character seem greater than ever before.
Legion airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX.