Episode 2.3 “Chapter 11”
Directed by Sarah Adina Smith
Written by Noah Hawley & Nathaniel Halpern
Starring Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, Jean Smart, Jemaine Clement
Air date: April 17, 2018
Spoilers below for Legion:
Last week on FX’s Legion, David Haller (Dan Stevens) had two encounters he never expected to have. One was with the actual Shadow King, Farouk (Navid Negahban), and the other was with future Syd (Rachel Keller). The end result is that according to Syd he has to help Farouk find his body. This means finding the Monk who knows where the body is hidden. David is spending an awful lot of time inside Cary’s immersion tank bouncing back and forth through time and the Astral Plane. On this week’s Legion, the Monk finds himself inside Division 3 and poses a threat to everyone involved.
In Episode 2.3, we open with another amazing Jon Hamm narration explaining “conversion disorders” where the body converts emotional stresses into physical disorders. This may explain why so many are infected by the chattering disease at Division 3. After an amazing pre-title scene we encounter Farouk who is battling a familiar enemy in his mind before beating defeated and buried inside an egg shaped coffin by a clan of monks. Back at Division 3, Cary and Kerry have some terrific interaction. Since Kerry (Amber Midthunder) is not used to being outside so much she’s forced to adapt, which includes a hilarious scene of her learning poop.
We learn that The Monk (Nathan Hurd) is the contagion of the mass disease and he is loose inside D3. David goes to the Astral Plane to meet with Farouk and in another amazing scene stealing moment, Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny is now trapped inside with Farouk and going batsh*t crazy! Now separated from the Shadow King, she’s freaking out and desperate to be put out of her misery. When David encounters Farouk about The Monk we learn a bit about David’s father and if you don’t know I won’t spoil it. This is a great scene and Navid Negahban is really good here. The highlight, however, is Plaza in the background killing herself repeatedly.
Back in D3 and soon only David and Cary (Bill Irwin) are left with their minds intact. Everyone else is either missing or infected. They find Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) chattering and David takes Cary inside his mind where they have to solve a maze-like puzzle to break him free which David in his infinite powers can do. Next up is Melanie (Jean Smart) and another more complex puzzle to break her free. At this point I felt for the first time, the episode was getting a bit tedious. Legion is unlike any show on TV in terms of visual storytelling and using its unique kind of cinematography to bring the viewer with them, but I felt the story dragging this time.
It all ends up with a standoff against The Monk with David of course being the weapon the Monk needs to stops Farouk. At episode’s end I was intrigued but also confused. FX has granted Legion extra run-time this season and the episodes average around 70-80 minutes each. Thus every episode is essentially a short feature-length film and that is a big deal especially when the show airs at 10:00 pm EST. The pacing, twists and turns got to me a bit this week as shown by the fact that the episode aired Tuesday and I first finished it Thursday evening.
I truly love Legion. The acting, writing, and unprecedented originality make it must watch TV. Noah Hawley has assembled a team of visionary artists including directors who have the time to install their own creativity within his overall epic vision. While Sarah Adina Smith directed the heck out this episode, next week I am psyched as Ellen Kuras directs. Her background is cinematography and she filmed one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Legion returns to FX Tuesday night 10:00 pm. You can also follow my reactions on the free Stardust app @DrZaiusGoD.
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