Legion Reveals its Rational Side in the First Season’s Penultimate Chapter

Even when Legion’s storytelling is at its most conventional, it still finds a way to stand apart. “Chapter 7” is heavy on exposition, at one point even inserting David into a classroom while he tries to figure out his life story. He receives help from his rational mind, who is a version of himself with a British accent (so brilliant). The animated images jump out from the chalkboard in a clever way to liven up exposition that may otherwise become tedious. This rewriting of David’s past is critical, as he’s finally able to see himself for what he truly is. He’s a victim who has been preyed upon by a “monster” for his entire life. This monster feeds on David’s power and takes control of his mind, but with this newfound clarity, he’s finally ready make a stand.

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The fight for David’s mind is masterfully orchestrated. It utilizes most of the show’s characters and environments, from the astral plane to the drooling mental patient seen in the pilot. While there are a lot of familiar superhero comic book conventions at play here, they’re dressed up and executed really well. At times the episode is hilariously self aware, like when Syd declares she’s been “paying attention” as she runs down the events of the series so far.

Legion continues to separate itself stylistically from everything else on television. The episode’s climactic confrontation plays out as a silent film, with black and white sequences and even dialogue cards. It’s amazing how we’re seven episodes in, and the show keeps finding ways to give us new visual surprises. This isn’t just a gimmick either. The writers have to navigate us across reality, David’s mind, the astral plane, and back again. The use color and effects make it all feel seamless. This should be a logistical nightmare, but instead it’s very easy to follow.

And how about that setup for next week’s finale? Division Three has our heroes surrounded, and David may be their only hope of escape. However, Lenny is seen pounding in her coffin, and is eventually able to break through.

Other observations:

  • Can we have an episode next season dedicated to Oliver and his time in the astral plane? His lines are so great this week. From “dishes”, to the disappointment on his face when he realizes his wife isn’t Asian, Jemaine Clement is too good.
  • I’m interested to see how the Cary and Kerry dynamic changes going forward. The most devastating moment of the episode occurs when she tells him he abandoned her, and refuses to merge with him.
  • David’s classroom lesson throws in a few more hints about the identity of his father. When the non-rational David attempts his own British accent, it ends up sounding like an impersonation of a certain X-man.
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