TV Review: Legion – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Chapter 3”

Last Updated on October 5, 2021


SYNOPSIS: David searches for answers while a threat looms.


Every week, I sit down to write these reviews, and I don’t even know where to begin. The fact of the matter is that I’m more or less in awe of what is happening with FX’s LEGION. This show is doing things for comic book-related television that I never would have anticipated. Coming off as more like a Marvel Netflix presentation than your basic cable-access television fair, LEGION has a certain polish, a maturity about it that other shows simply do not. Much of where that comes from stems from the manner in which episodes like “Chapter 3” are shot. Michael Uppendahl was our director for tonight’s introspective nightmare adventure and holy hell, you can really see his AMERICAN HORROR STORY roots digging into this one. 

Tonight, we got to spend a great deal of time wandering around David’s (Dan Stevens) memories in the hope of discovering what makes him tick. The bottom line is that if Melanie (Jean Smart) is going to understand the extent of David’s powers, she needs to know what part of him is resisting her advances. Ptonomy (Jeramie Harris) is supposed to be able to walk freely and manipulate other mutant’s memories, yet he keeps stumbling into literal mental roadblocks as demons from David’s past invade and haunt him. Meanwhile, Syd (Rachel Keller) is forever in David’s corner during all of this, which I love. During the events of this episode in particular, Syd really shines as David’s devoted and inquisitive significant other. Rather than being afraid of his powers, she’s captivated by them, and in her own way, cheers David on in his mission to unearth and discover his true potential. 

Furthermore, things between David and Syd are starting to get way more emotionally intense, as evidenced by two very revealing and intimate conversations shared between the two characters this evening. It’s in these moments that I totally buy their devotion to one another hook, line, and sinker. There’s a crazy amount of sincerity in their words, and fire in their eyes, as they yearn to embrace each another physically. In the past, Syd has described the feeling of anything touching her as a less than pleasant experience, but you can tell that, deep down, she longs for David’s embrace. I think that David, in his own way, brings Syd to a height of cerebral intimacy that, for her, it’s almost as if their souls are entwined. Hell, maybe that’s one of David’s powers. Considering how powerful he’s revealed himself to be, I wouldn’t put it past him.

By far one of my favorite aspects of “Chapter 3” involved how much we got to see of the nightmare characters who’ve been lurking around David’s brain meats – the Angriest Boy in the World and The Man with the Yellow Eyes. First off, I love both of these characters, both thematically as well as visually. Even if The Angriest Boy in the World does remind me of Michael Fassbender‘s Frank, that gigantic-headed demon child sure is creepy. I think I might actually have a theory concerning both of these horrific figments of David’s overactive imagination. What if, when David’s father (Professor Xavier) is reading to him, Xavier is actually using his own mutant power to supplant roadblocks in his son’s memory banks? What if there’s something that David isn’t supposed to remember, an event perhaps that could expose a dark part of the Professor’s past? It’s just a thought, but it would explain why these ghoulish characters arrive the moment David starts poking at the so-far inaccessible parts of his memory.

In addition to learning more about David’s powers, we also got a bit more background into our milky-eyed, curly-haired adversary, The Eye (Mackenzie Gray). It turns out that, not only is he capable of sensing David’s astral projection form (Yeah, that’s totally a thing that David can do, now), it turns out that he was one of the original builders of the Summerland mutant commune. This information actually begs a question though, doesn’t it? If The Eye helped construct Summerland, shouldn’t he know where it is? It could be that one of the many mutants who trains there is capable of keeping the compound a secret, perhaps they mentally shield the place from people like The Eye and his Division 3 goons? Regardless, the moment in which The Eye discovers David has me concerned. That’s some high level stuff going on there, and it makes me wonder what else our near-silent friend is capable of. In my estimation, he’s already proven himself to be a major threat, what with holding David’s sister hostage and all. The Eye knows that if he holds onto Amy, David will eventually come for her, be it in his physical form or otherwise. I don’t trust The Eye, not one bit.

As we meander through David’s memories, we begin to discover just how powerful of a mutant he actually is. Up until recently, it was thought that David was perhaps a telepath of an extreme nature. Though after Melanie and Ptonomy use a powerful sedative, with the hope that it will keep David calm as they manipulate his memories, they discover that he’s capable of much more. This is where both Melanie and Ptonomy realize that they’re way out of their depth when it comes to understanding David and his omega-level abilities.

As a reader of the X-Men Legacy series, I think that I might have a better understanding of his capabilities than they do. At the end of the day, David’s mind is scarier and far more dangerous than the two of them could ever imagine. With just a few days of therapy, David is now tapping into his ability to teleport entire parties of people, he’s been able to use astral projection not just on himself but on Syd as well, and we already know that he’s able to mind/body-swap with other mutants. It’s also to note that David might be capable of shutting other mutant powers down. Otherwise, how was he able to live in Syd’s skin for those few hours without feeling like his skin was crawling right off the bone? 

If I may, I’d like to touch on one more thing before I get out of here. Heh. I don’t know why I’m asking, it’s not like you could stop me. Okay, so I can’t be the only one who’s disturbed by Aubrey Plaza‘s Lenny, and how she’s clearly become the Devil of Self Doubt that’s figuratively perched herself upon David’s shoulder. Is she just a cruel whisper in David’s head, or is she maybe another mental roadblock created by Professor X’s programming? It is possible that Xavier is so powerful that he can create contingency plans in his son’s own skull? Now, I’ll remind myself that the whole “Professor X mental roadblock” thing is just a working theory of mine, but it would certainly go a long way in explaining why Lenny has suddenly become so hostile. Regardless of her motivations, I really dig the way her character is steadily becoming a cause for concern. In truth, I was afraid that Lenny would disappear after a few episodes, though I honestly don’t see how we could drop her from the narrative anytime soon.    

So yeah, tonight’s episode was pretty damn amazing. In my opinion, I would almost describe tonight’s events as leisurely when compared to the last two installments. It felt good to take a breath, and not bounce around realities so much. If nothing else, LEGION has proven tonight that it can execute intimacy and introspection just as well as it does the weird and wonderful. The show continues to be a visual feast for the eyes and an even better meal for our imaginative minds. So far, I’ve exited each episode of LEGION feeling energized, entertained, and left chewing for hours on the themes presented to me, long after the credits finished rolling. For me, that’s the mark of a damn fine program. And honestly, I can’t wait to see what happens next week, when we undoubtedly discover even more about this phenomenal Marvel property.  


STINGER: “Chapter 4” – David’s in trouble, while his friends search for answers.




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About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.