Legion Review: “Chapter 9”
No matter how much praise gets heaped onto Legion, it never quite feels like enough. Season one was not only the best comic book adaptation into a film or TV show since The Dark Knight, but pushed the medium of television to a degree not seen since Twin Peaks. It somehow delivered on being a comic book show, a psychological thriller and mystery, all while told through abstract filmmaking. Fans have eagerly been awaiting Legion’s return and, somehow, the show exceeded expectations.
The series premiere of Legion was notorious for how unusual its pacing and storytelling was. Viewers weren’t quite sure what was happening, yet couldn’t take their eyes off the screen. Season two’s opening somehow ups the ante even though viewers aren’t really being asked to digest too much new information. David Haller awakens after almost a year of being missing, suffering from a spotty case of amnesia. Viewers are given a brief but succinct overview of what’s happened in that time span in the show’s signature and unique style that turns exposition into pure eye-candy. Viewers quickly learn the Summerland gang has joined forces with Division 3 to track down the Shadow King who has found his way into the body of Oliver Bird before the Shadow King can be reunited with his body.
It seems simple enough on the surface, but the show eloquently throws in bizarre tangents that cause the viewers to question everything that they see. Oliver at the beginning of the show comments that he doesn’t enjoy questions that relate time, a theme that circles back around at the end of the show when David is left questioning if his vision from Syd is actually from the future or if it’s something more sinister.
What stood out the most this episode was the two brief asides narrated by Jon Hamm on the nature of disillusionment and the unknowingness of the nature of our reality. These segments were the closest the episode got to its psychological horror elements in season one, highlighted by the shot of a man sawing his own leg off during primetime. These segments also felt as though they helped the viewer get into the correct mindset without trying to force it down the viewers' throats. It’s subtly telling viewers there’s not much they can put faith in for this season and most likely the true nature of things won’t be revealed until the end of the season.
Once again the show excelled in its cinematography and editing; seeing the distinct visual style and tone of the show after a year only reaffirms how much of an insult it is that this show wasn’t nominated for any technical awards at the Emmys. The stellar acting returns as well, with Jean Smart breathing new life into the character of Melanie Bird, humanizing her in a way that always felt absent in the first season. While fans didn’t get to see the interplay between Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement as they had hoped, the few scenes they were present in teased how wonderful the duo’s chemistry will be going into the future.
The season premiere of Legion reaffirmed why it can't be left off the list of the best television shows of this decade. No other show holds the viewer’s attention quite like this one does, with care and artistry being put into every single frame and every line of dialogue. It never holds itself back in order to appeal to a wider, less engaged audience. Instead, it sinks itself deep into its viewer’s psyche and has them obsessed until the next episode airs.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Public Relations