Monday, June 18, 2018

Legion - Chapter 19

Fans of the comic character knew this was coming. The Second Season finale of Legion sets up David (Dan Stevens) as villain (or at best anti-hero) heading into the show's next season. While I don't have any issues with how the episode concludes, I do have some quibbles over how it gets there. First, no matter how much Division 3 is afraid of David or how much Syd (Rachel Keller) feels violated by his deplorable behavior, the group of David's friends choosing the Shadow King (Navid Negahban) as an ally makes no sense. The Shadow King being less of a threat than David doesn't all the sudden make him a hero. (Ted Bundy murdered more women than Jack the Ripper, but that doesn't make Jack "good.") This is, after all, the man responsible for David's current mental state, not to mention his sister's death, and various mind-fucking and murdering he's done along the way. Is David a good person? That's a central question to the episode. However, even if you conclude David is a bad person (or has the potential to be one) that, in and of itself, doesn't all the sudden make Farouk a good or trustworthy person.

Not that long ago Clark (Hamish Linklater) was preaching handling David with kid gloves. Imprisoning him, freeing the Shadow King, putting him on trial without allowing him to defend himself, and threatening to dope him and throw him back into the mental institution hardly seem like the least intrusive solution possible. The result is the classic cliche of Division 3 causing the very thing they were attempting to prevent - turning David against them and against the world.

Memorable moments from the episode include the music video stylized opening to The Who’s "Behind Blue Eyes," David's arguments with himself, and the season coming full-circle on the egg metaphor as part of David's understanding and transformation into something else heading into next season. Is it a great finale? No, it has plenty of dumb moments for a smart show (relying on Division 3 making foolish choices, the Shadow King not being locked down, and Cary's inexplicable reconstruction of events that weren't recorded), and there's also David's actions towards Syd (likely only included here to help underline his villain turn). That said, it's still a stylish finale that gets the show to where it wants to be heading into next year. The real question is, will the show's writers let David destroy the world or finally introduce characters yet unseen that may have the ability to stop him?

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