Legion, Chapter 14

After the previous episode, there was bound to be fallout. A response. And there will be, at least I think so. What is happening now, though is something else.

As something of a casual X-Men fan, I understand who David Haller is. As far as I know, there are three things that define him. One, he is schizophrenic. Two, he is extremely powerful. Three, he is the son of Charles Xavier.

When this episode began, I quickly assumed that David’s schizophrenia had been triggered by the trauma of what happened to Amy. And I carried that misconception through several scenes, seeing different Davids, different manifestations of David’s power. That this was one world, David’s power and personality scattered by emotional distress.

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Until finally, a rough-looking David ranted about timelines to his equally strung-out friend, using cold French fries to crudely illustrate his point. These are not fragments of David’s mind. These are possibilities, alternate versions of David. Davids of Future Past. Well, not exactly.

Some of these Davids are successful, some are happy. Some have the delusion of a singing mouse to keep them company and little else. One of them we actually know, the delinquent junkie Dracula David that led to CLOCKWORKS.

Many of these Davids, including the ‘real’ one, are not well off. But those that have any sort of stability or care in their lives, they have a consistent element. Amy. Those versions of David who had Amy in their lives were better off, even if Amy struggled to deal with her troubled brother.

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So the episode takes its time in making its point, but it does get there. What this point is, and what it means for David, is subject to some interpretation (at least until the next episode), but it seems like a paradigm shift. In this world where few things make sense, they promise to make even less sense for a while.

So there are two schools of thought on this episode, and to a degree, Chapter 12, where David steps inside Syd’s mind. One is that this show has a real literary quality beneath its visual feast, that it prefers to illustrate things and not always explain them. It does mean indulgence of curiosity at some expense of brevity, which might be a fancy way of saying ‘meandering’. But it deserves some leeway, and it is hard to complain when even the diversions are this inventive.

The opposing perspective is that this is inconsiderate to the viewer. There is a clear story here, with questions to be answered, and a clash all but inevitable. Taking sidebars to explore relationships, or to screw around with alternate timelines for an entire episode, is filler at best. Get to the goddamn point and give us the battle that we were promised, quit wasting time with these obtuse sidebars that don’t contribute to the story.

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Maybe this depends on how you feel about something like No Country For Old Men. Did you enjoy it, expectations and all, or did you hate it for not delivering on the promise of a three-way shootout, like some Texas version of Heat?

I don’t fault anyone who is getting frustrated at this point in the season. But me? I’m here for all of this. I’d much rather draw my own conclusions than have my conflicts cleanly spelled out for me. Any show could rush to the confrontation. This one has such inventive, fluid space that I’m happy to wander around in it for a while.

Also, Heat was completely homoerotic. I still can’t believe the end, where one guy shot the other guy, and then they high-fived and gave each other handjobs on the tarmac. Jesus Christ.

Stray Thoughts:

  • This show does love its slow, foreboding covers of 1980s rock songs. I admit to enjoying the cover of “Superman” that closed out the episode.
  • For a while, I also suspected that all the versions of David were the same timeline, but at different points.
  • The parasite – the yellow-eyed devil – making a reappearance is not a good sign for David.
  • This episode is difficult to watch in many places.
  • I do miss the regular cast. The cameos are welcome, Kerry’s role being no surprise here.