Seriously, What's Up, 'Legion'?
So here’s a thing: due to a number of insignificant, but persistent health issues, I’ve recently started an allergy elimination diet. You go a few days without eating a certain food, reintroduce the food, and then wait to see if your body freaks out. I had such a freak out on Wednesday night, and learned two important things. 1) I have an allergy to either wheat or yeast, but should avoid bread for a while, and 2) Legion is a super weird show to watch if you’re ever so slightly tripping balls. Yes, my allergy freak-out came in the form of a slight mental blurring, which felt weirdly detached from reality, and forced me to question the reality of my perception, aka I was high. That is why I originally believed this week’s episode of Legion was weirder than most. Having watched it again last night totally sober, I can now confirm that Legion has decided to stop giving any fucks about accessibility.
Because seriously, what’s up, Legion?
The story itself this week was actually more straightforward than most, offering actual explanations for a few mysteries. David has a wildly powerful, mutant parasite living inside his consciousness, which is responsible for the gaps in his memory and a large portion of David’s powers. David himself must be an incredibly powerful mutant in order to survive the parasite’s attachment. Also, said parasite has been taking different forms in order to interact more with David. It’s been Benny, Lenny, King, that weird, angry kid from the scary book, etc. In “reality,” it looks like this.
Thank you, bread and Legion combo for replacing the Babadook as my nightmare material.
Given a TV show about covert, battling groups of mutants, that’s pretty normal. What was actually weirding me out was the way that story was told. Namely, why did everyone act so goddamn weird this episode? I mean, the literal acting, and presumably Tim Mielants’ direction to act in that way. Like, why is it that finally being able to bone down turned David and Sydney into a couple of douchey assholes who make these faces?
Why did the acting, in general, seem to be a seminar from James Franco’s clinic on how to make everybody suspicious of you? Why were there so many minor plot points that didn’t make sense? Why did Dr. Bird insist on waking everyone up when they discovered that David was missing, but then only the people who were already awake went to rescue him from division 3? Why was she slowly walking to the car when everyone else was running? Why do they have a British car? Why does Syd insist on calling David “her man”? AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS?
What I luckily did appreciate in my second, crazy-pill-less watch was that the style of the episode wasn’t so much incoherent as it was dissonant. The acting was slightly off, but in an intentionally off-putting way. Having a majority of the show slightly off kilter reminded us that while David’s mental illness and mutanism aren’t reasons to be afraid of him, the giant murder monster living inside his brain, with the ability to kill people with thoughts, is a great effing reason. That, luckily, also reminded me to trust Noah Hawley. If people are behaving weirdly, it’s probably to the benefit of the storytelling and not due to lack of talent. If the dramatic death scene seems melodramatic and intentionally vague, that’s probably because they’ve got a kick-ass reveal coming up. If Syd’s interaction with her former psychiatrist being held in a cell seems off, it’s probably because the good doctor is actually a super creepy asshole. And the second we think we’ve finally been given enough answers to create a cohesive narrative, we’re given Super Class, Group Therapy Leader Lenny.
Which, yes, is really weird. But in a really great way.
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