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TV Review: Legion 1.3 “Chapter 3”
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Legion
Episode 1.3 “Chapter 3”
Written by Peter Calloway
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Created by Noah Hawley & Stan Lee
Starring Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, Jean Smart
FX Network
Air date: February 22nd, 2017

Last week on FX’s newest great series Legion, David Haller (Dan Stevens) had “memory work” done to investigate his childhood and help remember where and when his powers started. He is beginning to settle into his new life at Summerland with his “hands off” girlfriend Syd (Rachel Keller), psychic “memory artist” Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) and memories of his dead best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). He is still haunted by demons from his past, like the Devil with Yellow Eyes, and threats to his future, like the mysterious The Eye (Mackenzie Gray) who has his sister (Katie Aselton). Despite all the complexities of David’s world and the eccentric characters, the star of this series is the style and substance of the world created by Noah Hawley and director Michael Uppendahl. Legion does not at all feel like your typical Marvel product, or any other superhero show on television. It is a mind melting explosion of originality, one of the freshest feeling new shows of 2017 thus far.

Spoilers below for tonight’s episode of Legion:

Shall we begin? With his sister Amy kidnapped, the memory work must be curtailed to go straight to the scariest parts of David’s past. Ptonomy knows a place to start, and we pause right before David explodes his kitchen apart. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) realizes he’s not just a telepath, but also telekinetic, and soon they can add teleportation to the growing list of powers. Ptonomy is legitimately afraid; “what are you?” he asks. Talking about the show with a buddy at work, he gave me a theory and again, I did not read the Chris Claremont/Bill Sienkewicz source material. But what if every single character is just a manifestation inside David’s head?

The adorable romance between David and Syd continue despite their lack of touching. They talk in a way that feels realistic. They’re discussing shape-shifting into one another, yet it just feels natural. Stevens and Keller have excellent chemistry. Scenes like this are lacking in other superhero programming. All the relationship drama on these shows, especially the DCEU, feels like cast-off dialogue from Dawson’s Creek scripts. Dr. Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) takes more tests of David, this time with stress induced. “Try not to break everything this time.”

He has visions of his future being scared at Halloween, but Lenny interrupts his session to give him thoughts about his sister being “gang banged in the cornhole” by government agents. David snaps and soon he and Syd are passing through time and space to witness Amy’s interrogation. They call David a God. The Eye notices something, but he isn’t sure what… It is so hard to recap a show in which you have no clue if what you’re seeing is real. I feel my only strategy is a borderline stream of consciousness style while the show is on.

David returns from his psychic-trip, and he and Syd then re-materialize in the lake outside the complex. Melanie knows The Eye, a former resident of Summerland, who is very dangerous. She is at a loss with David. He is too powerful to train and thus impossible to control. But he is their best chance at winning the war they’re fighting against, evil like Division 3. She needs to sedate him, so she can have access to his brain without his interference. There’s another tender moment between David and Syd about her safety around him. He feels disappointed about being a junkie, but she assures him everyone makes mistakes.

She starts seeing things inside David’s head, maybe from her time as David after they switched. Bird and Ptonomy don’t see it… this was another mind trip of an episode, more reserved than the first two weeks, but still elegant and different in all the right ways. I can’t wait to find out exactly what David is, and whether or not the people around him are real or not.

Legion returns next Wednesday night at 10 only on FX.

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