Aubrey Plaza has always been a woman to watch, whether she is in a comedy or starring in Marvel’s new mutant drama Legion. Coming from a background of improv and theatre, Plaza is no stranger to using her imagination and pushing the boundaries of what has been seen before on television or in film. So, it’s no surprise that the role of Lenny Busker in said mutant drama was changed from that of an older man to a young female because of Plaza’s versatility. This versatility is what fans and critics alike are fixing on now that Legion has been renewed for a second season. (Here’s to hoping that the second season will bring an Emmy nomination for Plaza.)
Entertainment Weekly has recently given us a glimpse of a script page (seen below) from an episode in season 2 and it shows Lenny and Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) trapped by the mysterious Amahl Farouk, the titular Shadow King that has been infecting David’s mind since he was an infant.
The Shadow King uses Lenny’s face, a fact that series creator Noah Hawley uses to the fullest, to unhinge David and make him distrust everything he knows.
Talking about David in season two, Hawley said that “We want to keep the pressure on. Out of the frying pan and into the fire is a pretty good approach to storytelling on some level. If you keep the pressure on someone whose psychology has always been unstable, it’s going to keep [him] from being able to really [heal].”
But, not everything is sunshine and roses for Oliver either—who is also a telepath, like David—and Lenny. It’s this development that fans and critics alike will be salivating over in February when the show returns. How will this “phantom limb”, as Hawley calls Lenny/Farouk, affect David both mentally and physically in the outside world? What does “Freddy Kreuger do during the day”?
This next season’s Farouk is using Oliver as a conduit instead of David and it’ll be all the more interesting to see how Lenny changes with each passing episode seeing as she is now in Oliver’s mind and is not deteriorating as much. It was this deterioration that made Plaza so critically acclaimed and it was a process that Plaza had a lot of fun with.
“The greatest part of it all is that our leader was Noah,” Plaza told Deadline. “Noah has certain things that he’s very particular about, but I felt an overwhelming freedom in the creativity that could happen with coming up with the looks, and all of that.”
Either way the audience looks at it, it seems that Hawley is interested in making Lenny/Farouk a villain that is going to stick around for a long term. “We’ve now created a villain for David that is worthy of building a whole story around,” Hawley teases. “The backstory of this thing, and their relationship and history, is now so nuanced and rich that it makes for a potential showdown that we’re really invested in as an audience, as opposed to doing a ‘villain of the year’ kind of approach. I don’t know how long that story will sustain, or the permutations of it, but I do think it’s a really fascinating setup to follow.”
This is exciting and scary because Plaza is quite the formidable actress but Lenny is quite the destructive force, a force that we all will be looking forward to seeing come February 18 on FX.
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