Legion is back and weirder than ever in its season two premiere as we catch up with the X-Men universe TV show…
Legion isn’t a show for everybody, and I imagine that anyone on the fence about the show will be running for the hills after watching this surreal, extremely dense season premiere. For those of us who were swept up by its intoxicating weirdness in season one, however, “Chapter 9” was a real treat and a promise that season two is going to be just as good as its debut run.
Immediately, the show revamps itself, shaking up the format (if it even has one) by introducing new problems – the “chattering” madness that is spreading like a plague – and even a fresh setting – Division 3 HQ in place of Summerland. The idea of a psychological virus is a fascinating one that I look forward to seeing explored. Division 3, meanwhile, looks to be a much more eccentric and engaging location than Summerland – it’s much closer to the quirky prison-like ethos of the Clockworks mental hospital.
Another innovation is the addition of a narrator – none other than Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm. The narrator’s lectures on aspects of mental health add an intriguing other layer onto the drama – and a whole bunch more questions to be answered. Plus, you can never go wrong by adding in a bit of Jon Hamm. His role especially interesting considering the recent news that he was cast in the X-Men universe movie The New Mutants.
The standout sequence of the episode has to be the latest in a long line of Legion musical moments – David, Lenny and Oliver having a dance-off (bro) in a nightclub. God knows what it all means, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. It’s one of those scenes that demonstrates just how high-quality every aspect of the series is. The direction, the cinematography, the commitment of the actors, the ingenuity of the scripts, the exception music from Jeff Russo. I can only assume that the snobbery over superhero TV is what’s stopped Legion from winning all the awards.
Amongst all the craziness, writer Noah Hawley finds time for some character-driven moments, too. Rooting the show in the sweet, touching romance of David and Syd was a strength of season one and that looks to be continuing, thankfully. The little detail that Syd has grown to love cherry pie (David’s favourite food, but something she once hated) is a lovely hint at how much she missed him while he was away for a year. Though it seems that might have been due to Syd herself (more on that below)…
It’s hard to judge “Chapter 9” fully on its own terms as every episode of Legion is just one part of a much larger puzzle, but this was certainly an exciting, eccentric and engaging beginning to season two. Let’s hope the quality continues as the rest of the pieces fall into place.
- The first scene was not only a stylish reintroduction to the show’s wacky world but it also gave us our first hint that Lenny isn’t just a face the Shadow King wears but has herself been taken over by Farouk. Both her and Oliver appear trapped in the Shadow King’s mind (who is currently wearing Oliver’s body). So does this mean the real Lenny can be saved?
- The fact that Admiral Fukyama’s face is covered with a basket can’t just be Legion being weird for the sake of it, can it? Well, OK, it can, but I’ve a feeling there’s going to be a big reveal about the head of Division 3’s real identity. I found it interesting that Jon Hamm’s narrator discussed the Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou, suggesting he has an interest in Asian culture? Could he be Fukyama?
- So Syd from the future is the one who put David in that orb – and now she wants him to help the Shadow King?! I really want this to be real, as time travelling from the future to avert the past is as about as X-Men-y a plot as you can get. However, Lenny’s gloopy Delusion chick was seen crawling under David’s bed in the astral plane just before this scene so this could all be a ploy by Farouk to get David to help him.
- Oh, and let’s not even start on that terrifying thing seen with Melanie when she was high. Do we have a new Devil With Yellow Eyes on our hands?