Legion (FX) Review

(Season 1 is currently streaming soon on Hulu with Season 2 coming in 2018)

 

I’ve been waiting to watch the new FX/Marvel series, Legion, ever since it premiered back in February but kept getting backed up on episodes so I waited until the season finished up and started to binge away. All I can say is that when season 2 comes around, I’ll be watching that live week to week because this show is truly something else. It is one of the most original, unique and rewarding shows I’ve ever watched. The comparison I can make is Twin Peaks, but that show is tame compared to the mind-twisting and trips sequences this show gives us. I loved the first season of Legion and am so into these characters and this story and can’t wait to see where it goes next.

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Legion tells the story of David Haller (the always fantastic Dan Stevens), a man who at a young age was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and is a patient in the mental hospital, Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital (a clever homage to Stanley Kubrick A Clockwork Orange, which this series feels like the lovechild of Kubrick himself). When he meets Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller), the love interest of David, she brings into a world that helps him see that he may not be as sick as he was originally thought to be.

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As someone who went into this show like the most blind a person could possibly be, I won’t go any further on the plot because each revelation further branches the story into a very different direction then you think it’s going. The way the story is told isn’t like a normal television series and has a lot of non-linear sequences that require the viewer to pay attention as if I missed even the littlest sequence, it felt like I started watching Inception about an hour and a half in. Paying attention however is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced in any form of media because you get some subtle nods into David’s backstory and even some easter eggs into how this series ties into the greater X-Men lore, which when I saw it, I had goosebumps.

Every actor is fantastic in this series. The arcs are truly some of the great ones on television and even the character’s you don’t expect end up having the biggest arcs by season’s end. Rachel Keller as Syd, has the fear of being touched and you can see it every time her and David are together that it is eating at her that she can’t even hold hands with him and it depressed me each time I saw it. Jean Smart as Melanie Bird has this warm motherly figure aura the whole time once David meets her and when you find out some of her backstory, it too is extremely tragic. There are two standouts in this show however, Dan Stevens and Aubrey Plaza. Both of these actors should receive award recognition when the Emmys come around. Dan Stevens, of course, I expected to be fantastic as his role of David in The Guest is like one of my favorites and the reason he should play a particular British secret agent. So, when he has some really fantastic moments in just about every episode, you can say I knew it was coming. Of course, I didn’t know how how the mountain would go on his performance and it kept building and building. The true surprise and in my opinion, the best part about this show is Plaza, herself. The way the show uses both her range and the arc her character goes on is absolutely stunning. I don’t want to say too much because I thought she was just gonna be comedic relief which at first, she is. But, at about the halfway point, there’s a pretty big twist that sends ripples throughout each character in this show and Plaza is elevated to something else. I hope she receives an awards nomination, actually I hope she receives multiple and I really think she deserves to win because she was amazing.

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The visual style to this show is very Kubrick-esque like I said but like it’s as if Kubrick took a lot of mushrooms and then directed this. It is so trippy and dream-like that you begin to question what is reality and what is fantasy. The series also houses some of the scariest imagery in a series or honestly a film that I’ve seen in quite sometime. The show flirts with horror more often then not and it had me jumping quite a bit. The way the show uses this imagery to metaphorically and literally show what the monsters and demons inside our head can do to is was both horrifying and super investing.

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Legion is the best comic book TV series on right now. It is also the most unorthodox TV series on right now. Between Deadpool, Logan, and now Legion, Fox and Marvel have tapped into a newfound potential within the superhero genre and more mature and adult themed installments. The only gripe I have is the finale didn’t quite live up to the previous 7 of the 8 episodes this season has. It kind of felt like a bit of a set-up for next season and while it was still a good finale, I kind of wished it was a great one. Besides this, Legion gets a recommedation from me purely because of how original and unique it is. It does help that the acting, directing, writing and visual style are also so amazing that you’ll be sucked in ten minutes into the first episode. Go watch this show if you like comic books, psychedelic imagery, or just amazing, investing TV. You’ll get all of that plus way more.

 

Grade: A

 

 


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