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TV Review: Legion - Season 1, Episode 8 - "Chapter 8"

EPISODE 8: CHAPTER 8

SYNOPSIS: In the season finale, David faces his biggest challenge yet.

REVIEW:

I'm going to be honest with you all. I really don't want to write this review. It's not because I don't have opinions about tonight's season finale, but that every word I type gets us one step closer to the end of LEGION's stellar first season. It's been a wild ride from the very beginning, and rather than take a rest to recoup, all I really want to do is jump the line and strap myself in for another ride aboard Marvel and FX's psychological roller coaster ride. While I am fully aware that LEGION has been confirmed for a second season, there's no other comic book-related show like it on TV, and that counts for a lot given how many of those there are these days.

"Chapter 8" picks up immediately after the events of "Chapter 7", with David and the Summerland mutants surrounded by a swarm of Division 3 agents - lead by Hamish Linklater's Clark, the agent David nearly burnt alive back in the pilot episode. However, before making our way back to the hostage scenario, we're treated to a six-minute origin story of sorts concerning Clark's journey into madness. During that time, we learn that Clark hadn't died as a result of the events leading to David's rescue from the Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, but rather that he'd suffered third-degree burns on 40% of his body and was bed-ridden for most of the season.

As the agent's tragic story plays out, we meet his loving husband and concerned son, who provide us with a clear window into Clark's former humanity. The problem is that now, when Clark looks in the mirror, all he can see are the scars. The man he once was is now crippled with anger, and for Clark, making David pay for what he'd done feels like the only option. I'd say that there's a surprising amount of depth that's conveyed in just these few moments, but I'm far from shocked, this is LEGION after all. 

Here's the thing, though. Clark's plan for revenge isn't exactly a solid one. Honestly, what in the hell was he hoping to accomplish by bringing nothing but a battalion of field agents into David's own Summerland backyard? I'm willing to give him a bit of a pass seeing as he's been out of commission for a while and perhaps doesn't know the extent of David's powers, but yeah. Anyway, after being surrounded by Clark's men, David promptly uses his powers to stack them like teetering human Jenga pieces and then asks that Clark accompany back to Summerland HQ. You see, the Shadow King is loose inside of David's head , once again, and they've got less than 24 hours to get him out for good. So, what's the plan then? I'm so glad you asked. 

The aim is for Cary and the rest of the Summerland mutants to work together in "sucking" the Shadow King out of David's mind while simultaneously leaving the omega-level mutant intact. Unfortunately, the procedure to do just that means strapping David to a table and digging into the farthest recesses of his mind to be sure that every trace of the Shadow King's influence is expelled. As David shakes, rattles and hums in the chair, the psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd's "Breathe", "Speak to Me" and "On the Run" filter in over a montage of his fractured memories. While not nearly as enchanting as the musical interludes featured in previous episodes, I'd found the on-the-nose nod to the legendary rock band that inspired Rachel Keller's Syd Barrett (in name at least) to be a nice touch. 

What you have to consider now is this: if the Shadow King has been with David since his infancy, who and what will David become wihtout him? In truth, that's a question that's better left for the events of Season 2, but one can't help but wonder as the psychic parasite that is Lenny/Farouk/the Shadow King starts to deteriorate, becoming sicker with every passing moment of the ancient mutant's erasure. What I find truly sweet about the conclusion to David's treatment is that, just when things turn sour and it looks like the Shadow King might win the day, it's Syd's persistent love for David that saves him. It's a progressive move that, when you think about it, makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. Not only is the scene emotionally charged, it also confirms that Syd and the rest of her Summerland friends are real people and not just a manifestation of David's unwieldy powers. Trust me, I've seen the theories online, though I'd never believed any of them. Still, many of the hypothesis I'd read were well thought out and rather creative.

By the end of the episode, the Shadow King is exorcised from David's mind and after a bit of invasion of the body snatchers leap frog, settles on the swaggy Oliver Bird as his new host. Whoa, so after all of that fuss, you're telling me that the Shadow King escapes? I am indeed. If I'm being honest, I did not see this coming. I thought for sure that, if nothing else, David would learn to control Farouk's influence and perhaps even go so far as to siphon the demon's abilities. However, that scenario may never come to pass as the Shadow King has now been set loose upon the world and is driving away from the Summerland compound at a leisurely speed. It begs the question of whether we can expect to see more of that character when Season 2 premieres in the early months of 2018. While I'd like to see LEGION move on to new territory, I can't help but wonder about a few things.

One, where are Oliver and the Shadow King going? In the second to final scene of the episode, Lenny suggests that they adjourn to "someplace warm". Was that because Farouk is feeling exhausted and needs a little R&R before moving onto his next scheme? Or, now that the Shadow King has been set free, is finding Professor X at the top of his to-do list? If that's the case, why would they be traveling south? Does the X-Mansion even exist yet (you have to remember that LEGION is a period piece after all)? If so, the address of the building is 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center located in the very northeast corner of Westchester County, New York. As someone who lived in New York for over 36 years, I'd hardly consider that southern territory. 

Second, and this is just me throwing something out there, but I can't believe we didn't get more Professor X talk in this episode. Straight up, I was certain that his arrival would be the finale of tonight's episode. Like, he'd step into frame but we'd only get to see the back of him, in all of his bald and stately glory. I can hear his voice inside of my head right now saying, "Hello, David. I think you and I have much to discuss." Boom, credits! Alas, I think it will be some time (if ever) that we see the good professor make his way into David's life. Which is sort of f*cked up if you really think about it. I thought Xavier's sole desire in life was to help mutants understand their powers. You'd think that he'd like to be of some help to his own offspring, right? Perhaps there's more to come in Season 2 and I should just be patient. 

Before we wrap this sucker up, we should probably talk about the post-credits sequence in which David was scanned and promptly transported into some kind of floating orb thingamajig. Was this a device sent out by the shadowy organization keeping tabs on David? Could it have belonged to Hank McCoy AKA The Beast? Wait, was he even a part of the X-Men universe at the time in which LEGION takes place? Honestly, it's really hard to keep all of that X-Men timeline stuff together. Regardless, the fact that David was able to be captured so easily, and hadn't able to break by loose using his omega-level mutant powers, bothers me. Who would have access to technology like that and what do they want with David? Again, these are questions for Season 2, but I might as well throw them out there while the thoughts are fresh, right?

In conclusion, I think that Noah Hawley has delivered the single best comic book-related show on television in recent memory with LEGION. It's a given that shows like ARROW, THE FLASH, SUPERGIRL, THE LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., PREACHER and THE WALKING DEAD each have their place, but I'm of the opinion that LEGION is in a league of its own. It's a program that forces you to think creatively and critically about the characters and events unfolding in front of your eyes. The show also begs the viewer to remain on their toes at all times and question everything they see alongside everyone they meet. For me, LEGION is the Marvel Universe after its placed two tabs of high-powered blotter acid on its tongue. Throughout the season there were stellar performances given by the entire cast, with Rachel Keller and Aubrey Plaza leading the charge. I might be giving this final episode a score of 9, but overall I'd say that Season 1 of LEGION is an absolute 10.

I'd like to thank you all for joining me on this string of reviews, my hope is that they've served and an entertaining aside for this outrageously bizarre and wonderful show. My goal is to return when LEGION Season 2 premieres early nest year, though we shall have to wait and see if that comes to pass. Be excellent to each other, and remember, the next time you hear a voice in your head that isn't your own, you could very well be a mutant. Don't run from it, embrace it, and may the world open up to you in strange and impossible ways. 

Cheers!

SCORE:

 

Extra Tidbit: The song playing during the end credits was "Children of the Revolution" by the band T. Rex.
Source: joblo.com

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