Review: ‘Legion S01E08: Chapter 8’

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

“Chapter 8” brings us the season finale of Legion. This show contained a series of weird, confusing, and just outright insane aspects to the story and the characters. Between the story, the cinematography, and the acting throughout, there’s a lot to love about this show. This episode in particular wraps up the season nicely, but still leaves us with something to look forward to.

The season finale is easily the most understood episode of the season. It’s a nice, linear episode, and we largely stay in the same reality. The only time things change is when Syd finds herself in the white room with Lenny. The main question is, do we still call her Lenny? Last episode we saw her interchanging with The Devil With The Yellow Eyes, who Cary seems to be calling Shadow King, as well. Either way, they’re all one and the same and while it makes the naming confusing at times, the character largely is not by the end of this season.

Kerry and Cary are still having their struggles in this episode and it’s nice to see that the show didn’t just fix everything with them for the sake of focusing more on David in the finale. We also see a lot of action with The Interrogator, who is never given an actual name. The episode starts out with a huge focus on a character who we know next to nothing about. We’re given a glimpse into his life and his personality before the episode picks up with him meeting David and company just outside of Summerland. It’s a nice little moment for a character who appeared important in previous episodes, but didn’t have the time spent focusing on him. Melanie is still a bit of a mystery, however. She runs the place and now that her husband’s back, he doesn’t remember her. That’s about all we know with no inkling of whether she’s an actual mutant or just an advocate for one.

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Throughout this episode, we see David struggle with trying to get the parasite out of his head. It’s painful to watch and thankfully, we’re given glimpses of David replaying the memories to avoid the struggle. Lenny appears and he questions what he’d be if she left. Needless to say, that was not the best thing to say because then we see him struggle even more before Syd takes charge and saves him. Once Syd kisses him, that’s when all hell breaks loose and The Devil With The Yellow Eyes makes his way from host to host. Making him present himself as Lenny throughout the season was an interesting choice and one that works out better than you’d think. Aubrey Plaza does an excellent job with the character. And on that note, the entire cast feels really well placed with their respective characters.

Overall, this season strayed from the path of what we’re used to seeing with comic book shows and movies. It was okay that things didn’t make sense to start and played out over a stretch of eight episodes. What the final episode did do, though, is have a post-credits scene that is commonly seen in Marvel movies. It gives a look at what scenario next season will start with. The show also does well on the music front. They’ve had some huge bands and songs play throughout the episodes. This finale ended with “Children of the Revolution” by T. Rex in a fitting scene of Oliver driving off with Lenny as his passenger.

Personally, I can’t wait for a second season of this show. It’s one of my favorite new shows in 2017 and the writing on it was fantastic throughout. If you want to know more about David Haller and Legion, check out X-Men: Legacy. You won’t get the same story, but it’s still interesting to see how they changed the show in comparison to the comics.

Review: Legion S01E07: Chapter 7

Photo Credit: FX

Legion picks up right where the previous episode left off: The Eye is still chasing after Kerry in the hospital. We’re given vital information and “Chapter 7” moves along much faster than last week’s episode. Sometimes you need to slow things down a bit to prepare for what’s next. That’s exactly what happens here. Rationality prevails (in the form of a British version of David) and we learn so much more about David and what he’s going through. The episode is highly entertaining and gives much to look forward to in the season finale.

While the audience was piecing things together about what was going on, so was Syd. She makes that much known when she’s talking to Cary and states that the hospital was a mental projection created by the parasite. She also knows that everyone is in David’s childhood bedroom. It’s refreshing to see that the characters were essentially going through the same thing as the audience. It’s a nice way to present the situation and the solution for it.

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

David gives a fantastic performance this episode, not only being himself, but his rational mind, too. The scene where he’s talking himself through how to overcome the parasite and figure out the facts is a joy to watch and the chalk animations are a nice touch. The animations really felt like what David would be visualizing in his head. It might not be the most exciting moment in the show, but it’s absolutely necessary and gives us a lot of the information we need.

Now onto the silent film portion of the episode. We get a crazed looking Lenny, who has also been The Devil with the Yellow Eyes, and it’s insanely great. The way it is shot in black and white and any dialogue is shown on a card is a great nod to some old movies, but horror ones in particular. We see the creepy, the brutal, and the power in Lenny’s character. It’s a great moment that really gives this episode a boost. The dialogue was fairly minimal, too, which allows you to focus on the characters in a new light.

Oliver is another huge focus in the episode. He’s out of his ice box and the dive suit. However, he has no memory of being married to Melanie. Jean Smart does an excellent job with staying composed, but allowing the pain to come through in her facial expressions. She’s pained that he doesn’t remember her, but thrilled that he’s back at the same time. That push and pull of emotions makes their scenes together much more interesting.

Overall, this is a fantastic penultimate episode. From the previous, it looks like we’ll get to see some more great things in the season finale, especially with this episode ending with D3 surrounding Summerland. Legion has been one of the best shows in 2017 and I’m sad that the first season is only eight episodes.

Review: Legion S01E06: Chapter 6

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

“Chapter 6” of Legion takes viewers back to the hospital where the season began. With the episode mostly taking place in the hospital, this episode felt a little slower than the previous ones, but they still make it work. Things aren’t as they’ve seemed up until this point, but those events are still lingering around. While the characters are largely the same, there are some differences. Melanie is not the head of anything, Lenny is a therapist, and David’s sister is a nurse.

This series keeps the audience wondering if we’re in David’s head or if what’s actually happening is real. We’re never given an indication one way or another, which is one aspect that makes this show so entertaining. In this episode, we also see special effects in a different light. None of them involve David and his powers, so they never feel as intense, but they’re still great. Lenny’s dance scene is absolutely bizarre, but well done.

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Seeing the characters in therapy allowed the audience to see how similar the characters are in comparison to the previous episodes. Cary and Kerry are still attached, but not in the same way. David, however, feels drastically different in this episode. He’s in control and is not using his powers. He and Syd are still together, but it doesn’t feel quite like the same relationship. The dive suit that Oliver was seen in makes a few appearances this episode, but we never get the confirmation that it’s him in it.

The way this show intertwines the current state of the characters at the hospital and the previous events that we aren’t certain even happened at this point works well. There are key moments where the previous events come into play and it feels like the characters are starting to put two and two together that things aren’t what they seem. It’s giving the show yet another interesting twist to it.

There’s still plenty to wonder about and only two episodes left in this season. The show is already renewed for a second season, but so much can be done in two episodes of this show. Legion is one of the best shows on TV right now and waiting week to week to see what happens is quite an impatient task to ask of the fans. “Chapter 6” might be a slower episode with not as much action, but it feels like it will be crucial to whatever comes next, especially with Lenny saying she and David could rival God with their powers.

Review: Legion S01E05: Chapter 5

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Legion takes us through destruction, chaos, and mystery this week. The episode heavily involves D3 and David getting his sister out of there. The show continues to progress while giving us no real inking of where it will end up. Since the show first started, I’ve been going back and digging into Legion some more. X-Men: Legacy relaunched in 2012 and focused on David Haller. The comic is written by Simon Spurrier and it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to learn more about the character. However, the two don’t seem to be directly related, at least not right now.

Melanie is aware that David met her husband and naturally, she’s curious about him. Wanting her husband back could end up being the main reason she wants David to stick around, even though she’s been saying it’s so that they can win the war. During the conversation with Melanie, David is well aware of his powers and uses them to read her mind. It’s brief, but he’s showing more confidence at it’s looking like it’s not for the best reasons. He’s almost mocking her as he talks about Oliver.

A lot happens with David in this episode, so the next part to talk about is saving his sister. He’s already stated that he’ll be doing it no matter what and his true powers come out at D3. He merely moves his hands and snaps his fingers to destroy everyone. Dr. Kissinger is the only man left in tact and Ptonomy and Syd choose to leave him locked up. Melanie is accompanied by Rudy, who takes her to the security room. This is where David is seen in action. He knows he’s being watched and puts on a show for the cameras. His ego gets the best of him in the first half of the episode and the worst comes out in him.

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

The effects and cinematography used just for the D3 portion of the episode is outstanding. There’s so much detail put into every move made on this show. Following the characters around the place is something that seems so simple, but still calls for attention to detail. Without words, the cinematography allows us to know what the characters are feeling by using just the right angles so that we see what they see.

The devil with the yellow eyes and the angry boy make appearances in disturbing fashion. The group is starting to put it together that the devil with the yellow eyes is the one doing the damage. The Eye also does his fair share of damage, or tries to anyway. Once the episode goes away from D3, it takes a couple of twists and turns to get us to the end. There’s a scene where no one can hear each other and it increases the suspense. Lenny scares Syd, The Eye tries to kill David, and in the end, we have no clue what is actually happening.

This episode is worth watching simply for the ending. It gives us further knowledge of what David is capable of and to what extent he’s willing to go. The show brings the unexpected each episode and keeps you on the edge of your seat. All that’s left to say for this episode is that it’s David’s world and we’re all just living in it.

Review: Legion S01E04: Chapter 4

Photo Credit: FX

“Chapter 4” of Legion opens with a speech from a man we have not seen up until this point. This episode continues to keep the same vibe as the previous three episodes, but it offers up some crucial information. David remains under sedation for the majority of the episode, so it was nice to see a lot more of the supporting characters for this episode.

Cary and Kerry get some more screen time than usual and there’s a good story there. Kerry lives inside of Cary and she only ages when she is outside of his body, which makes sense considering the visible age gap. When Kerry begins fighting a ton of men with guns, we see Cary’s movement mimicking what is happening to her. It’s an interesting segment to take a look at because this is the only time we see it. Is it something that only happens when one of them is in danger? It’s hard to believe that Cary was just wandering around Summerland in the same motions as Kerry while she’s out with Ptonomy and Syd.

Photo Credit: FX

One of the other important things we learn this episode is that David’s power allows him to hide his memories. Kissinger and Amy are both held prisoner by The Eye and Kissinger tells Amy that David constantly talked about the dog they owned as kids. Amy tells him they never had a dog and this allows the audience insight into what portions of his memories he’s changing. Syd, Ptonomy, and Kerry search for what it is he’s hiding and start to piece it together that he’s hiding quite a bit. It turns out Lenny is really a man named Benny in real life and that seems to just be the tip of it. What else is David hiding?

To backtrack a bit, Oliver is a new character who starts off the episode with a speech and appears again in a dive suit. He coaxed David into his fictional ice box for an awkward encounter. Oliver is Melanie’s late husband who is kept in a freezer on site. There’s clearly a lot more to this character and it will be interesting to see if they decide to move forward with it. Melanie talked about him in the previous episode so there’s definitely potential there.

Towards the end of the episode is when we see the big twist for the episode. The Eye disguises himself as Doctor Poole and tricks Ptonomy, Syd, and Kerry into the trap. To his surprise, however, he underestimates Syd and she does a body swap with him. This is the motivation that David needs to snap out of it and go help. It’s not a pleasant ending with Kerry being shot by The Eye, but it’s an effective one. It shows just how much David cares about Syd and how that is also potentially detrimental to everyone around him.

There’s a ton of good information that comes from this episode. Legion gives itself a lot of different directions it can go in. It’s also brave of them to have an episode that focuses much less on David this soon into the season. Overall, this was an enjoyable episode and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Review: Legion S01E03: Chapter 3

Legion starts this week’s episode off with David in a calm state that quickly goes awry. A lot of time is spent in David’s memories since Melanie still wants to know where his powers originated. The episode is filled with trippy memories that invoke different images and emotions for both David and Syd as they walk through them.

This episode is the first time we really get a glimpse of Melanie Bird alone as she’s waiting for her coffee to be made. It turns out the voice in the machine that tells a story is the voice of her late husband. She’s standing there alone and has the machine repeat the story just so she can hear his voice. It’s nice to see that even at the helm of Summerland, Melanie still has some stuff of her own to work through. She seems to have everything all figured out, but in reality she still struggles with the same things anyone else would.

Ptonomy deals with a lot of memory work in this episode. In the first memory, he’s unable to get them out and says it’s due to David resisting. The effects during these memories are simply outstanding. Due to budgets, some shows don’t seem to be able to pull off a good amount of special effects super well. Thankfully, that is not the case with this show. There’s no doubt that the special effects add substance to the show. It allows us to see the extent of David’s powers and see just how bizarre things can get when he’s out of control.

Throughout the episode Syd and David have some nice little moments to themselves. Spreading these moments out really helps to make it feel like they aren’t forcing this relationship. It’s something that both looks and feels natural. There are awkward moments and endearing ones, which is what makes it work so well. We also see a lot of David’s friendship with Lenny come to fruition during the memory work. They’ve stuck with each other for quite some time now so she’s bound to play an important role in this.

When Syd, Ptonomy, Melanie, and David all dive into his memories after sedation, things get even weirder. David is a child guiding them through the memories because of the sedation and Syd is finally able to touch him. After a long hug, they get a move on and Syd starts seeing the same yellow-eyed person that David did in the first memory this episode. This leaves room for speculation on what it means that Syd and David can see this person but Melanie and Ptonomy can’t. It will be interesting to see down the line how David’s memories affect various people.

Each episode of this show so far has brought us more and more to dive into. Legion isn’t a largely popular character in the Marvel universe. I didn’t even know who he was going into this show and it’s still enjoyable. This just goes to show what can be accomplished with the characters that aren’t already insanely popular. This show keeps you on your toes and it’s one of those shows that you really need to pay attention to because you won’t want to miss any of it. Another excellent episode is in the books.

Review: Legion S01E02: Chapter 2

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

This week’s episode of Legion starts with a montage of men looking for David Haller as he gets away. Melanie Bird takes him back to a place called Summerland, which is a pro-mutant facility. When they get there, she walks him through turning down the voices inside his head. It’s clear that she wants to put his powers to use and she believes he is the one who can end the war.

Memory work is a main focus in this episode. Ptonomy is the resident memory artist who can take you and walk you through your memories. The first time him and Melanie walk him through, he experiences a spectrum of emotions. Dan Stevens does an excellent job acting out these various emotions. He gets excited when he sees his sister and his mom, but when his dad is reading to him, that’s when he starts to freak out.

The main people in David’s life are the women we see throughout this episode. Syd, being his girlfriend, is the reason he wants to be a better person. From the moment he saw her, he spent his time trying to be just that. With Lenny, he’s able to simply be himself with his delusions and all. There’s a moment in this episode where he sees her after his therapy session and they end up getting high together. He’s able to let loose for better or worse. His sister is the one who has known him the longest and spends a lot of time visiting him when he’s in the various hospitals. She’s the one that really keeps him grounded and makes him want to act like he doesn’t have his powers. He sees her and is brought back to a sense of normalcy. Then, we have Melanie Bird who most recently enters his life and is almost like a mother figure to him. She knows what he has inside him and she wants him to embrace it.

Photo Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

Sad and David have a few conversations this episode that focus on their relationship. When they meet out on the swings, Syd apologizes for killing Lenny and explains to David what it was like to be him. He goes on to say that they have a “romance of the mind” and it’s fitting. You can see in David’s face just how much he cares for her. He wants to hug her, but she tells him he can’t and that allows for this relationship to keep things intriguing between them.

The final focus of this episode is when David is in the MRI machine and he sees his sister going to the hospital to visit him. She gets the run around of there being no records of David or his doctor. The Eye, who was looking for David to start the episode, finds her. There’s panic on David’s face as he sees this all unfolding. This episode pulls David in various directions and he handles it about as well as you’d expect.

Like the first episode, the cinematography is great. The shots and cuts allow you to get more insight into what it’s like being inside David’s head. Even the special effects help with this. When you put them all together, it’s really what brings the whole show together. Legion has impressed in both episodes. This one slowed things down just enough to get a better grasp on David’s situation and what he means to the mutant world. “Chapter 2” is satisfying and still keeps us wondering what will happen next. There’s a lot of depth to these character, especially David, and it seems there are endless possibilities for where this show can go.

Review: Legion S01E01: Chapter 1

Legion centers around David Haller (Dan Stevens), a schizophrenic who hops from one psychiatric hospital to another. This show requires your undivided attention because there’s so much happening that you can easily miss something by multitasking. You’ll be questioning what’s real and what isn’t just as often as David is. Legion is a mutant, but the show won’t mingle with the other ongoing X-Men projects. With that in mind, there’s isn’t really any prior knowledge you need to dive right into the show.

Chaotic is one way to describe this show. David lives in a constant state of trying to stay calm and Noah Hawley captures that so well throughout this episode. The cinematography plays well to the storyline and adds to each chaotic moment. The editing throughout also mimics the mood. When things get chaotic, you get faster cuts and hectic shots.

A lot happens in this extended episode. We’re introduced to Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) and Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) in addition to David as the main characters in the hospital. While the show throws a lot at the audience, little of it is explained. Lenny is a drug addict, but we have no sense of her powers. We just know that she really loves her headphones. Plus, she ends up in a wall, which is a whole other issue in itself. Syd clearly knows all about her powers because she makes it known that no one can touch her skin. Despite this, David does and they have some sort of Freaky Friday body swap.

Destruction, awkward moments, clumsiness, and all around weirdness find their way into this show. Each of these moments get paired with a fitting music choice, whether it be a song or a score. One standout moment is when David essentially destroys the interrogation room he’s being held in by flipping up the table and tossing everyone around like rag dolls. While it’s subtle, the music adds that little something extra to the scenes.

Noah Hawley is known for his work on Fargo and while this doesn’t have quite the same type of humor, it’s still there. Hawley tailors his skills to this story and it results in a show that looks stunning and every word seems purposeful. This show is off to a great start and I’m eager for how it will all play out.