Thursday, March 30, 2017

TV Show Review: Legion

Probably the only tv show I plan on rewatching all the way through again this year, the mind-bending adaptation of the X-men comic by Noah Hawley takes viewers on a wild ride through the psyche of super powerful mutant David Haller (Dan Stevens). While his origins are not revealed in the show, I had found out that he was Professor X's son from some additional reading but this show stands apart from the X-men cinematic universe. We first encounter David amongst the insane as he is trapped in an asylum. His reality is never clear as the show jumps in time and into different perspectives. David sees things that aren't there but we can't ever know for sure as they seem to have control of his physical surroundings.

One thing David does know is that he is in love with a new patient Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) though she refuses to touch him. We learn that her reticence to have physical contact comes from her superpower of switching bodies when she touches someone. David's best friend Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) is also in the asylum and used to be a fellow drug addict with David back in their days of freedom. Lenny has a lot more to do with the plot that would give a lot away so I'd recommend going and seeing this on Hulu or FX if you don't want me to give it away first.

Eventually, David is kidnapped by a mysterious group that is interested in his powers. With the help of Syd and a group of mutants, David is busted out in a pretty fascinating action scene for television. There are not many parts that show off the exceptional powers of the cast but when they do, it is in really cool ways with interesting camera tricks. Helping Syd is Cary (Bill Irwin) and Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), two people who share the same body, though this is never fully explained clearly and works in a strange manner. The leader of the group is Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) who has a troubled husband Oliver (Jemaine Clement) locked away in a mental ice cave. 

Another member of the group, Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) can go through David's memories to discover the secret but David is concerned because his sister Amy Haller (Katie Aselton) has been captured by the group pursuing them. The group discovers that a strange demonic mutant has lodged itself inside of David's brain convincing him he was schizophrenic and using his powers as a way to cover up his tracks and feed off of him.

The show is crazy and if my description of it doesn't make much sense, it is only because I am still not totally sure what the show was about. I especially enjoyed Aubrey Plaza as Lenny and the creature inside David's head as her performance deserves some Emmy recognition, something nearly unheard of for superhero shows. I always like to see more connection to the cinematic universe but understand that desire of the creators to create their art as something separate and only loosely tied to other properties. This show makes me really excited for what the X-men universe could do on television and more Noah Hawley as he has a third season of Fargo soon. Highly recommend Legion to fans of the bizarre. 

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