In the last season of Legion.
David Haller is a mutant, perhaps one of the most powerful of all time. We also discovered that he was crazy with schizophrenia. Except he wasn’t crazy because he has mind powers. Except he was crazy because a parasite infected his mind. Except it wasn’t a parasite, it was a mutant, The Shadow King, and he’s been with David since he was a baby. The Shadow King is a mutant who always needs a host, and has been able to somewhat control David, until David fell in love with Syd. Syd is a mutant who has boundary issues, because whenever she touches someone, she switches bodies with them. She and David join up with a mutant resistance group, Summerland, (before they become aware of the Shadow King), who’s being pursued by humans, Division 3, who see the threat of mutants. A whole lot of things happen, and basically what it boils down to is that the Shadow King is forced out of David’s head, just to infect Oliver (a character who’s been stuck in ice in another dimension for several years), and Summerland joins Division 3, who have been pursuing them. Oh, also, David got kidnapped by a floating orb.
This is but a sliver of the things that happened in the eight-episode run of last season, and I didn’t even tell it in order.
Legion is a show where literally anything could happen, and it would be acceptable, but the brilliance of this show is that the anything that happens has a reason. Every single image, word, sound, song, character, colour, flash frame, shape, costume, everything has purpose. The key to this purpose though is… figuring out what the purpose of everything is. We may not get all the puzzle pieces right away, and we may not ever know what something fully means, but everything has meaning. But just because everything has meaning, doesn’t mean it’s not fun, because the show reveals in it’s weirdness. It’s like a more active Twin Peaks, where Twin Peaks reveals in it’s slow and methodical pacing, this show revels in it’s dense story telling. It’s probably my favorite show on television today, it goes crazy, but it wants you to come along.
The season premier is no exception. It treads on some of the ground that we are use to (well, when it comes to a Legion episode, anyway), but it does so in a consistently entertaining, and visually stunning way. David has been gone for a year, but it hasn’t been a year to David, it’s been a day. He remembers flashes, but not much else. Summerland, however, is no more. They’ve been taken in by Division 3 as new employees, doing their work to find Oliver, who is now the host for the Shadow King. Shadow King is on the search for his original body, and it’s up to Division 3 to stop it. Division three is being run by Admiral Fukyama, who has a Wicker Basket on his head, and is followed by robotic women, with mustaches, who talk for him (yet the mutants are weird?). Division 3 are on the heals of the Shadow King because where ever he goes, a psychological virus follows, where people stay as still as statues, except for chattering teeth, which is super creepy. The team also are trying to get David to remember where he’s been for the past year, using whatever technology can be invented to help with this.
That’s basically what happens plot wise in the episode, but then, like this show is known to do, it goes off on seemingly random tangents. But remember, everything has meaning, even if we don’t know what the meaning is yet.
There’s an unseen narrator (Jon Hamm) who’s giving a series of… let’s call it thought experiments. There’s only two, but they are damn effective. It’s with Madness, telling you to imagine a maze, eventually getting to a point where you become lost in a maze of your own creation. Not only is this an effective metaphor for the show, but I think of it as a plot point for what this virus is, that they can’t get out of their own head. This is part two, “The Madness of Crowds”. What was part one? Good question, I don’t know either… which might be part of the madness?
Chapter three (not Part Three) is about “Delusions”, and tells us a story of two men. One, Zhuangzi, who dreamt that he was a butterfly, to the point that he believed it. When Zhuangzi woke up, he wasn’t sure if he was Zhuangzi who woke up from being a butterfly, or a butterfly who’s now dreaming of being Zhuangzi. The second who trips, and suddenly it appears the leg didn’t belong to him, eventually to a gruesome end where he decides that he didn’t want his leg anymore. This is a lesson in delusion, where it starts with an idea, and the more you think of it, the more you brush aside rational thoughts, the more the you think the idea is real, to the point of psychosis. This to me is a warning, not just to the characters, but to the audience, telling us that we’re probably being lied to somewhere, and it might be our fault that we believe it. All of this is to make us uneasy, and it works.
There are a couple other standout parts of this episode, like when we try and poke into what might have happened during David’s missing year. It’s not a lot, but it’s big. We see what looks to be Oliver and the Shadow King at a club with David. What happens then is what seems to be a dance off between the three of them, but is really a battle. At the end of it, the virus effected the entire club… possibly. Was David apart of this? Did he try to stop it? It’s wonderfully entertaining, and surprisingly intense for being what amounts to a dance off.
The other scene, is the end scene, where we see the last thing that David actually remembers. In the ball, he finds Syd, but from the future. She plays a game of light Pictionary with David, because she cannot speak. For some reason, Syd wants David to help the Shadow King find his body. No reason is given, but it ends with Syd needing to go, and drawing a picture of a heart before leaving. It’s amazing how a game of Pictionary can be so emotional.
There is so much I didn’t cover in this episode. Like what’s with that goopy chick? Who’s the guy in the cart? What’s with the wicker basket? Can I have the sound of a room full of teeth chattering out of my head please? Why is the dance club the epicenter of everything? I look forward to being more lost into this show. The craziness works, but it doesn’t work without the characters, who are all great. I’m ready to delve into this madness.