Legion's third and final season is adding an important new character in the guise of Switch, but how does the young mutant factor into David Haller's plans to thwart his former friends in Division 3? Legion season 2 ended with the shocking - and polarizing - revelation that David was in fact the villain of the story. Not only is David destined to destroy the world in the future, but he proved himself capable of monstrosities in the present by mentally and physically violating Syd Barrett, a fellow mutant and his beloved girlfriend since the series began. Believing he was attending Amahl Farouk's trial, David instead found himself accused of heinous crimes by his closest friends and allies, turning the perspective of the show upside down in the process. David escaped with his longtime partner in crime Lenny - currently residing in the body of David's sister - to parts unknown, leaving his former allies the unenviable task of finding him and neutralizing him, at any cost.
Sometime after the events of the season 2 finale, a young Chinese exchange student - seemingly alone and emotionally adrift in America - begins receiving strange messages through radio waves and bulletin boards. This student is Switch, a mutant who gets pulled into David's orbit. Since his falling out with Division 3, David has started a cult - with Lenny as his right-hand woman - where he uses his powers to intoxicate his followers, making them mentally, spiritually, and sexually devoted to him. It looks a bit like an opium den, but with the added feature of a massive, pig-like creature that David's devotees feed off of like newborn puppies. This new, zen David has big plans for Switch, whose mutant abilities could potentially make him unstoppable.
So what is it about Switch that makes her such a game changer? Why does she trust David over Division 3? Can she endure what David has planned for her? Let's take a look at Switch's origins and abilities to find out why she's going to figure heavily into Legion's endgame, and why the show is introducing a character like this so late in its run.
Switch Is A Time Traveller
Switch - played by newcomer Lauren Tsai - has one of the most visually striking, potentially volatile mutant powers in all of Legion; she can travel through time. She can conjure a doorway to another realm, which looks like a long, empty hallway full of more doors. The further Switch travels down the hallway, the further into either the past or future she can travel. But Switch's powers are not without consequences; the hallway is full of dormant time demons, eager to escape to the real world and wreak havoc. And Switch pays a physical price every time she uses her abilities; in a bizarre wrinkle that only Legion could sell, each trip through time results in her teeth aching and loosening.
The Legion season 3 premiere is more or less a showcase for what Switch is capable of. After initially meeting David, Division 3 raids the cult house, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, including David himself. Amidst the chaos, Switch jumped back in time an hour in an effort to warn David of the oncoming threat. When that doesn't work, she jumps back even further, this time proving her worth to David, as the entire house vanishes before Division 3 can close in.
At this point in the story, David is still unable to acknowledge he's done anything wrong, deluding himself into thinking he can still make everything right with Syd and Division 3. But David would rather crack the world open than admit he did anything wrong, so it seems like a safe bet that he's going to harness Switch's abilities - combined with his own - in an effort to somehow "fix" things. For her part, Switch doesn't seem to know what sort of person she's dealing with yet, and by the time she does, it may be too late.
Legion's Switch Is Nothing Like The X-Men Comics Version
There is an existing Marvel mutant called Switch in X-Men comics, but that character has almost nothing in common with Legion's version. The comic book version is a member of the New Hellions, a white male named Devon Alomar with the ability to switch minds with other people, essentially possessing them. Curiously, while that description bears no resemblance to Legion's Switch, it does share similarities with Syd, who switches bodies with anyone she touches.
Switch does in fact resemble another X-Men stalwart - Jubilee. She's seen sporting Jubilee's signature yellow and pink look early on in the episode, and shares both her Chinese ancestry and general attitude. It's possible this is a coincidence, though it's more than likely a conscious choice made by series creator Noah Hawley, who has gleefully thrown iconic X-Men imagery and themes into a blender the last two seasons.
It's unclear if Switch will remain an ally to David; she really has no understanding of the overall conflict David is engaged in or what he's capable of. When she's momentarily cornered by the Shadow King himself, Amahl Farouk - formerly David's lifelong parasite, now working for Division 3 to take him down - in the astral plane, she gives a somewhat vague reason for trusting David, having to do with her relationship with her father and toy robots. It's not an unusual move for Legion to obfuscate through poetic dialogue, but David is also capable of manipulating her mentally, and there remains the possibility she's not doing any of this of her own accord.
Switch Will Be Important To Legion's Endgame
Reframing Legion's world through the perspective of a character we've never met before is a bold opening salvo for the final season. It also signals that, while we're entering the show's final days, it's unafraid to keep innovating and adding important new characters. And while she may be a late addition, Switch is almost certainly going to end up playing a key role in the show's conclusion. There are simply too many possibilities for how David can exploit her, and it seems a given that Division 3 will eventually try to turn her. As Farouk says near the end of the Legion season 3 premiere, it's essentially impossible to stop David if he has a time traveler who can warn him about any oncoming threats.
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Switch still doesn't know exactly what she's dealing with at this point, and may eventually realize she's working with a monster, but the amount of damage David could potentially pull off before that revelation is harrowing.
There has never been a comic book adaptation quite like Legion. From its psychedelic imagery and musical numbers to the subversion of its own protagonist, it's a show that relishes any chance to soak itself in the prickly, stranger corners of the X-Men universe. A straightforward conclusion where good triumphs over evil through a fistfight seems about as far away from Legion as possible. However, introducing an incredibly powerful new character like Switch at the eleventh hour who could radically alter David's ability to see his plans through to the end? That's as Legion as it gets.