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TV Review: Legion - Season 1, Episode 4 - "Chapter 4"

03.02.2017
100%

EPISODE 4: CHAPTER 4

SYNOPSIS: David's in trouble, while his friends search for answers.

REVIEW:

Whoa. Okay everybody, I'm warning you right now, tonight's episode was a real mind-bender, so things are about to get weird. Right off the top, I'd like to sing the praises of FX's LEGION for continuing to be, what I feel, is currently the best comic-book-related show on television. Every damn week, without fail, the story of David Haller (Dan Stevens) and his band of mutant friends becomes more complex, engaging, and fun to watch. This week's episode was no exception, as we witnessed Syd (Rachel Keller), Ptonomy (Jeremine Harris), and Kerry (Amber Midhunter) search for answers by digging into days before David checked in to the Clockworks Phychiatric Center. We also met a new and funky character by the name of Oliver Bird, as we visited a vast astral plane of green stars and nothingness. This encounter only lent to the weirdness and wonderment of this program, with Clement giving an impressively strange performance filled with quick and consequence.

Alright, so right off the bat, I was totally like, "Whoa! Is that Jermaine Clement from FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS?" It was indeed him, and the multi-talented actor was looking mighty snazzy in his canary-colored suit and grown-out-bowl hairstyle. Clement is Oliver Bird, Melanie's "lost" husband, and he has a story to tell us. It's a tale that speaks of a quantum-fun adventure of an adorable bunny named Frizzytop. You see, the saga of Frizzytop is a narrative that teaches us about two things, empathy and fear. David certainly has been a curious little bunny lately, hasn't he? As he tries to work with Melanie and the rest of the core staff of the Summerland retreat, David has begun to dig into the recesses of his memories, with the hope of gaining a better understanding of his powers. Meanwhile, his sister Amy is trapped in a Division 3 holding cell beside an equally-incarcerated Dr. Kissinger. Quite frankly, it's enough to make a person want to tear their own brain out of their skull.

As I eluded to earlier, with David still unconscious after the events of "Chapter 3", Melanie gives the order for Syd, Ptonomy, and Kerry to go in search of answers concerning the mysteries of David's past. This journey for the truth finds Syd and Ptonomy spending time with David's ex-girlfriend, who then points them in the direction of David's former therapist, Dr. Poole. Though for the moment, I want to concentrate on Ptonomy. I like this dude. I like him a lot. Not only does he look razor-sharp in his three-piece-suits, he's also got a  penchant vigilance about him that I take a lot of stock in. It was interesting to hear him talk with Syd about David, particularly in how much trepidation he expressed about letting Haller into their lives.

From what I can gather, Haller's mind is a labyrinth for Ptonomy, and the mind-reading mutant doesn't like that one bit. I can understand this to an extent. After all, David's power set is unlike anything the world has ever seen, and it's not uncommon for people to fear things they don't understand. Though if we're going to take a look at the whole picture, isn't it wrong to hold David accountable for something that has been kept out of his control for the entire duration of his existence? I'll be curious to see if Ptonomy warms to David during the last half of the season - that is if he stays alive long enough to get to know the man behind the omega-level powers.

Thus far, we know that David's mind is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The legitimacy of his reality is forever in question, and as the viewer, one can never be sure of the whole truth when in reagard to the people and places he interacts with. Take the reveal of his childhood dog, King, possibly being a figment of his over-active imagination for example. I mean what the hell was up with that, right? That was total "Whoa!" moment for me, this episode. If what David's sister Amy is saying is true, and her brother has the ability to conquer imaginary friends (like King and Aubrey Plaza's now devilishly evil Lenny Busker) onto a very real plane of existence, who's to say what's real anymore? When Lenny is acting as the devil on David's shoulder, whispering poison into his ears, do her words not influence his actions? For me, this blurring of reality makes for a wickedly good time in trying to decipher my own understanding of LEGION and its many insidious inner-wokings.

In addition to Syd, Ptonomy, and Kerry playing Where is the World is David Haller, we also learned of where our mutant prodigy has been hiding since the last episode. It turns out that David has gotten himself trapped in the astral plane - a timeless paradise somewhere between existence and death. While there, he has an exceedingly cryptic discussion with the the beatnik philosopher Oliver Bird, who urges David to sit down and take a moment to figure things out. Haller's having none of that, though, not with Syd and the rest of his friends being in a constant state of danger. So, the goal becomes for David to escape, and in order to achieve that, he's going to have to do the impossible. This whole situation is perhaps crazier than one would assume after you stop and think about it for a few ticks. Escape from the astral plane is meant to be impossible, or at least it has been for Oliver for ... well, we don't know exactly in his case, do we? So for David to come along, and after just a few short hours, return himself to the physical plane, is positively absurd. Is there nothing that this guy can't do?

Just for a moment I want to skip ahead and talk about my favorite part of tonight's episode, but don't worry, we'll get to that intense cliffhanger finale soon enough. For now, I'd like for you to join me in swaying to the sounds of Feist's hauntingly gorgeous "Undiscovered First" tune, as episode director Larysa Kondracki trerats us to one hell of a montage. How flawless was this sequence? You've got Oliver swaying to the rythm, Kerry leaping into action like some complete and total badass, Amy and Dr. Kissinger seemingly being light-tortured while rotting in their cells, Ptonomy being bested by The Eye (Mackenzie Gray) , and that critical FREAKY FRIDAY body-switchroo between Syd and the milky-eyed villain - all set to a gallows-walk ratta-tat-tat of jazz and psychedelica. These are the moments when LEGION shines, sequences like this one is when the show sets itself apart from all of the others for me personally and I love it.

And now, for the "Oh sh*t!" portion of our review. That ending! Cliffhanger city, man! Do we really have to wait a whole week until we find out if Cary and Kerry (because they share the same body) pull through? That shot looked pretty clean, and I don't mean that in a "it's merely a flesh wound" sort of way. If Cary/Kerry dies, what does that mean for the continued study into David's powers? Did we really only just learn about the origin of Cary/Kerry's abilities just to have them snuffed out by The Eye and his keen marksmanship?

How is David going to handle the fact that people are being hurt as a direct result of trying to help him? Will he lose control? Will he uncover another power, a more vengeful one perhaps? Furthermore, what was with Lenny going all Gollum behind David's back? What is she up to and why? Is she a product of the same fear and empathy that created the Man with the Yellow Eyes and the Angriest Boy in the World? Arrrgghhh, I have so many questions and cannot wait to get some more answers when LEGION returns for "Chapter 5" next week.

I'm going to go take a brain break. See you cats on the flip-flop, later!           

SCORE:

STINGER: David faces a new threat.

Extra Tidbit: I wonder if the Summerland facility has a sensory deprivation chamber? If they do, I'd like to go for a swim after each episode of this brain-bending show.
Source: joblo.com

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9:26PM on 03/02/2017
4 Episodes in and I am in total awe. This show is phenomenal! So much more daring and in the best sense unhinged compared to other comic book shows. While I still enjoy some of them I am especially tired of the old safe my city tropes and the oh so purely good hero beating himself up for not being able to safe everyone everytime. Legion doesn't even bother to touch that kind of material. It's more like Will Graham is a superpowerful mutant trapped inside his mind where Hannibal and Mr. Robot
4 Episodes in and I am in total awe. This show is phenomenal! So much more daring and in the best sense unhinged compared to other comic book shows. While I still enjoy some of them I am especially tired of the old safe my city tropes and the oh so purely good hero beating himself up for not being able to safe everyone everytime. Legion doesn't even bother to touch that kind of material. It's more like Will Graham is a superpowerful mutant trapped inside his mind where Hannibal and Mr. Robot are messing with his sanity while we are dazzled spectators on Ketamin. The visual execution is insanely good, the rich sets and costumes melt decades into a unique colorfully saturated style that feels like a faszinating blend of Pushing Daisies and Hannibal and if I didn't know better my best guess would be that it is a Bryan Fuller show. And all the while it keeps me guessing and collecting pieces how this magnificent puzzle will come together. I don't mind at all that this is a slow burn plot wise. I was prepared for that because considering how powerful David is there just have to be a lot of hurdles keeping him from being a fully realized and in control mutant. This week gave more spotlight to the supporting cast and convinced me that Legion knows how to make them shine too. Haven't been this excited for a new show in quite a while.
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12:11PM on 03/02/2017
Legion is what happens when the people behind the Fox X-Men movies collaborate with the people behind Marvel TV. Separately, they can produce stuff like Deadpool and Logan or Daredevil and the latest season of Agents of SHIELD. Of course, they can also produce Fantastic Four or the first season of Agents of SHIELD. Having so many people working on the same material shouldn't work but it does.
Legion is what happens when the people behind the Fox X-Men movies collaborate with the people behind Marvel TV. Separately, they can produce stuff like Deadpool and Logan or Daredevil and the latest season of Agents of SHIELD. Of course, they can also produce Fantastic Four or the first season of Agents of SHIELD. Having so many people working on the same material shouldn't work but it does.
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7:29AM on 03/02/2017

This show is bonkers

And I'm almost certain "the man with Yellow Eyes" is The Shadow King from the comics. Ancient asshole entity that leaches off powerful psychics...makes sense. Especially when Clement's character called him a 'parasite'
And I'm almost certain "the man with Yellow Eyes" is The Shadow King from the comics. Ancient asshole entity that leaches off powerful psychics...makes sense. Especially when Clement's character called him a 'parasite'
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9:44AM on 03/02/2017
Oh! That's actually a really great theory. I'm going to have to look into that. And yes, the "parasite" reference is an interesting comment for sure. I'm really enjoying the slow-burn of discovering who The Man with the Yellow Eyes is, actually. Funny though, we didn't see him at all this episode, it's almost like Lenny has substituted for him while he's out of the office. Ha ha ha! Thanks for reading!
Oh! That's actually a really great theory. I'm going to have to look into that. And yes, the "parasite" reference is an interesting comment for sure. I'm really enjoying the slow-burn of discovering who The Man with the Yellow Eyes is, actually. Funny though, we didn't see him at all this episode, it's almost like Lenny has substituted for him while he's out of the office. Ha ha ha! Thanks for reading!
11:01AM on 03/02/2017
Shadow King was all but confirmed as the villain from episode 1. Welcome to the fold.
Shadow King was all but confirmed as the villain from episode 1. Welcome to the fold.
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