Legion: “Chapter 2”


Kyle’s Thoughts

Legion is stunning. FX has done a great job presenting the show. The acting, direction, and writing are good to great and the story gained a modicum of clarity from the show’s pilot last week but it’s by no means clear. The story has gained focus and that matches the main character’s mental state so Legion does a fantastic job of capturing the character’s essence.

Most shows with superpowers give viewers a chief antagonist for the season and/or future, and Legion does have the non-descript District 3, but David is his own antagonist. That’s something I like a lot. It forces the show to be character driven. The audience zeroes in on David’s closest friends and family. I like that a lot, too. Again, we’re given concrete characters, even if we don’t know how they fit in within the larger world. But the first season may be spent finding out how David’s powers work and that could prove problematic.

I like the breath Legion is taking with its title character. Some folks may not like a character-delving first season, but it allows the character to stretch their arms and legs. Legion has also done a great job of changing the mental illness vernacular. Multiple characters have told David that he’s not sick, his voices and visions are who he is. That’s beautiful. I don’t want the show to lose that language. And that’s where David’s power origin might prove problematic. Some of those characters say he’s not schizophrenic and in the comics, David isn’t schizophrenic, he has multiple personalities.

At the very least Legion could be setting up viewers who’ve never read the comics for a gotcha moment. I don’t care for gotcha moments. Reliance on such moments both built and destroyed M. Night Shyamalan’s career. What’s worse is Legion could lose that beautiful language, regarding mental illness. Those characters who say you’re not schizophrenic, your visions and voices are who you are could change their tune if David is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. I hope not. It’s a long shot that the writers of Legion would resort to this but there’s still that danger. I’m okay with a multiple personalities reveal, so long as it’s handled well (no gotcha moment) and David isn’t stigmatized. But that’s looking well into the future. Let’s get back to “Chapter 2.”

I like that the audience got a better idea on what’s real and not real. The episode ended strong, if not a little clichéd, and David has the impetus to fight his inner demons. Hopefully, we’ll discover more about District 3. They need to be more than a nebulous government agency, but I can wait. I’m enjoying the ride on the super, fun, happy, slide that is David’s mind.

Season’s Take

Legion is one of the more interesting Marvel characters. I’m not familiar with the comics so the TV show introduced me to David Haller.

Like Kyle, I too enjoy the aspect of having David as his own antagonist because that’s not something that Marvel Studios uses very often, if at all. David’s inner turmoil and his path to discover himself take center-stage, and the show reveals these things like a puzzle.

I like the image of “The Angriest Boy in the World” children’s book in David’s memory. It may give some insight into the origin of the devil with yellow eyes. He bears a lot of significance to David, especially when he starts to get irritated or confused. I’m excited for “Chapter 3” and I’m looking forward to Legion painting more of David’s picture.

Thanks for reading.

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