One of the most terrifying moments in the latest episode of Legion happens when David Haller is lying in an MRI machine.
A large portion of the episode takes place in this anachronistic MRI machine. Haller’s brain activity is being studied, and as he lies there, his mind returns to different memories from his past. It’s never entirely serene, but the image of Haller lying in the examination tube isn’t particularly concerning. The most terrifying moment, however, comes toward the end of the episode when he’s left in the machine by himself and is visited once again by the demon with yellow eyes.
It’s a very tense moment that’s accentuated by the use of flashing lights, blurry objects and Haller’s manic response to seeing the demon. Although the clip isn’t online, we’ve made a GIF of the moment it happens. It can be seen below.
Between the grotesque image of the yellow-eyed demon and the rapid succession of clips, it’s understandable why Legion fans have had such a strong reaction to it. On the show’s subreddit page, viewers were quick to point out that the scene was easily the biggest takeaway of the night, even if it left them feeling uneasy.
“MRI Scene with the Devil With The Yellow Eyes was intense as fuck,” the top comment on a page talking about the episode reads. “Those sounds it made alone was horrifying.”
“Yeah seriously, I couldn't look away and my heart was pounding,” another commenter responded. “Great scene.”
Although Legion is a superhero show, it finds a lot of its appeal in horror. There’s the more traditional horror — like the demon with the yellow eyes, which has quickly become an obsession among Legion fans — as well as more psychological horror. Showrunner Noah Hawley often uses a mixture of cinematography and effects alongside storylines about the oftentimes horrifying experiences those with mental health issues can face to make a scene as scary as possible. Hawley never tries to sensationalize mental health or make it seem more frightening than it is, but he’s very aware of how alienation can play into Haller’s fear.
“That MRI sequence was actually really hard for me to watch, and I am not even claustrophobic,” another Reddit comment reads.
It’s a testament to Hawley’s ability as a showrunner and director Michael Uppendahl (American Horror Story, Fargo) who were able to cultivate a feeling of actual terror using such a cramped space. Uppendahl has worked on countless horror series, including Scream Queens and Fear the Walking Dead, and it can be seen in the way he manages to incorporate traditional and avant-garde styles of horror.
It appears that Legion will continue to stress the importance of Haller’s relationship to the yellow-eyed demon and will keep its horror elements as prominent parts of the story. Based on conversation among fans, it seems most are anxious and excited to see where Hawley brings the series in the next coming weeks.
Legion airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX.