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TV Review: Legion - Season 1, Episode 2 - "Chapter 2"

02.16.2017
100%

EPISODE 2: CHAPTER 2

SYNOPSIS: David reflects on his past with the help of new friends. Written by Noah Hawley; directed by Michael Uppendahl.

REVIEW:

Well, it turns out that this show is legit! After a stunning debut episode, the question then became, can LEGION deliver with just as much style and intrigue going forward? In my estimation, hell yes. Tonight's episode found our main character, David (Dan Stevens), escaping with Syd and a group of her friends to a mutant commune called Summerland. While there, David is quickly introduced to several new mutants, each of them with their own unique power set. Heading up the remote facility is Dr. Bird, a Professor Xavier-like character with a lot of compassion for her fellow mutants, and a desire to see them well no matter what it takes. Among other characters I enjoyed meeting in tonight's episode, I have to say that I immediately warmed to Jean Smart's Dr. Bird character. She's patient, and comes across to me as genuine. Those are the kind of qualities you look for in someone who truly wants to help.

Another stand-out character that David spent a significant amount of time with during his inaugural visit to Summerland is Ptonomy Wallace. As a gifted Mind Artist, Ptonomy is able to step into, manipulate, and observe other people's memories. Now, because Dr. Bird believes that the secret to harassing David's abilities lies within his past, it's to be understood that his work with Ptonomy will be crucial to his progress within the Summerland program. I personally really dug the relationship dynamic between David and Ptonomy right away. I think they provide a good balance for one another, and I particularly like that despite how powerful Ptonomy appears, David's memories are like an elaborate Rubik's Cube to him. I think this angle makes both characters more interesting, and thus, it should be fun watching them try to figure one another out as the show continues. 

Before I lose this thought, can we talk about the music of LEGION just for a second? This show has got some serious rock roots, man. One moment, I find myself swaying to Rachel Keller's raspy acapella of The Talking Heads "Road to Nowhere", and then suddenly, a booming rock n roll anthem is soaring through a scene. It's the kind of soundtrack that makes me sit up and pay attention, and really soak in the atmosphere of a scene both visually as well as auditorily. I'll say this now, and you can mark my words if you'd like. If we don't hear Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" at some point this season, we will have all been cheated. You're on notice, Noah Hawley, make it happen!

I must admit that, while I'm enjoying LEGION immensely, I do find the show a bit hard to parse from time to time. There's a lot of time/reality jumping going on here, and every now and again, I feel a little bit crazier than David while trying to figure it all out. I kind of like that, though. I dig that the show makes me question everything that's going on. Even when a character is saying that's something is real, there's a part of me that doesn't truly believe them. It makes me anxious, and I find myself getting closer to David as a result. It's like the whole situation with Lenny. Is she really dead? I mean, she looked pretty dead, but there's a part of me that's still not 100% certain.

Oh, and while I'm at it, let's give it up again for Aubrey Plaza and her super weird way of playing Lenny Busker. Plaza mesmerizes me on this show. Have you checked out the Netflix's DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY yet? No? Well, you should go watch it. Furthermore, there's this wild character on that series named Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), who, reminds me a lot of Plaza's off-kilter, no-filter Lenny. It's like the two characters could be distant cousins or something, if Lenny's cousin just so happened to be a "holistic" assassin, that is. Heh. Check it out, you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, we're getting off topic here. As the show moves forward it will be interesting to see how Division 3 chooses to go about hunting David and his friends down. By the end of "Chapter 2" we know that they've already got a hold of David's sister, Amy. This is bad for business if you ask me. Division 3 must carry their balls around in a wheelbarrow if they think keeping an omega-level mutant's sister hostage is a sound negotiation tactic. So far, we've experienced but a taste of what David is truly capable of, so can you imagine his destructive rage once he's on the move to get Amy back? It's a fun scenario for the mind's eye to play with, isn't it? I suppose it's a good thing then that David has Syd to ground him, and convince him that training with the members of the Summerland group is a wise decision.

The fact of the matter is that as much as I like David, and I really do, he is still a very dangerous individual. For me, that's part of what makes him (and this show, really) so damn compelling. Our main character, our window into the madness, is volatile, unpredictable, and we have no choice but to follow him if we want the whole mystery. As a viewer, I feel trapped with David and his delusions of grandeur. And I'm finding that this perspective is placing me in a very precarious position as a viewer, as I try to make sense of what is and isn't happening at any given moment during the show. Ugh! I love this feeling. I enjoy the unknowing that's wrapped up in the sleek, polished package that is FX's LEGION.

For my money, there's nothing else like this show that's happening on TV, right now. At least not that I'm aware of, and certainly not from the other networks that air comic-book-related entertainment. I mean, we've still got the whole mystery of why can't David remember his father, Professor Xavier's face to suss out. And what is the deal with that book? Oh, and the yellow-eyed demon dude, too! Have you ever seen the artwork of Chet Zar? Well, that portly and terrifying demon dude totally looks like it came from one of his nightmares. You should totally check him out. He's even worked with the band Tool on a few projects. 

So tha'ts what's up with my thoughts and ramblings for LEGION, this week. This process is a little different than reviewing something like SUPERGIRL. Thinking about this show makes me get weird, grow introspective, and feel unhinged. Quality entertainment is suppose to rock you, make you feel things, and have you thinking about the events you'd witnessed long after the credits start rolling. LEGION is doing that for me, it's occupying my mind palace, kicking over relics and turning the volume in my head up to eleven. Here's to hoping that the madness continues, when "Chapter 3" airs next week. Cheers, my friends. Stay strange. 

SCORE:

STINGER: "Chapter 3" - David searches for answers while a threat looms.

Extra Tidbit: The song at the closing credits was called "Hyperactive" by Thomas Dolby.
Source: joblo.com

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4:50AM on 02/16/2017
Great episode again, although, I have a sneaky feeling that the Syd character isn't real, if only because of the way she never interacts with any character other than David, the fact that she doesn't touch him directly, and her "body swapping adventure" that still hasn't been explained.
Great episode again, although, I have a sneaky feeling that the Syd character isn't real, if only because of the way she never interacts with any character other than David, the fact that she doesn't touch him directly, and her "body swapping adventure" that still hasn't been explained.
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