Monday, June 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Legion' - A Mysterious Cult Seeks Out the Powers of Switch for a Precarious Mission in 'Chapter 20'

FX's Legion - Episode 3.01 "Chapter 20"

David gains a following.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of FX's Legion.

"Chapter 20" was written by Noah Hawley & Nathaniel Halpern and directed by Andrew Stanton

The show returns for its final season with a premiere that focuses almost entirely on a new character: Switch. She is a time traveler who presents as a young woman out of place in time long before her powers manifest themselves to the audience. The show uses production design to reveal that she is a person who feels like an outsider to her world. Her perspective is vibrant and bold. But that stands in stark contrast to the gray and beige overtones of the world around her. It also counters her belief that she may just be an unfeeling robot that sits idly by in her father's workshop. She goes on this epic journey that finds her joining David's new cult because she sees it as a path that leads to passion and purpose. When she explains to Farouk later on why she is working with David, it's because David presents as a man while Farouk is a robot. That may not mean anything to Farouk given his brief context and interaction with this new complication in the search for David. However, it's significant to the audience because we get to see what's driving Switch forward. That is the identity given to her by the people who make up David's cult. She is intrigued and mystified by this new world. The audience should be as well. It's one that immediately comes across as a place where people are just suppose to love each other openly while doing a bunch of drugs. There are new opportunities available to them because of what David can actually conjure up. And yet, he continues to be playing a much larger game. He sees the value in holding people close. But now, it comes across as him having a security blanket around him instead of actually being a part of a team. That too shows how the series is committed to the heel turn that occurred at the conclusion of the second season. David now presents as the greatest threat to the survival of the world. He is so powerful. He is learning and growing every single day. His motivation for wanting a time traveler by his side is still very mysterious. Switch goes to him seeking answers but instead finds a battle where she is the only person capable of saving David. That too is a lot of fun because the show gets to produce these big, action moments where the characters follow through on their threats even though they won't ultimately last in the long run. Syd and Kerry actually aspire to kill David. That is their driving force at the moment. They both succeed in doing so as well. Sure, Kerry dies multiple times in these scenarios too. However, Syd gets the revenge she is seeking. She tries to insist to Farouk that that's not what she is trying to do in this hunt against the man who scorned her. She wants to play down the impact David actually had on her life. And yet, she will forever be scared because of him. She literally has tattoo reminders on her wrist that she always has to put herself first now. That's a little blunt in a world that can sometimes be too opaque with what's actually going on. The show enjoys the sense of mystery and confusion. It's certainly setting up a lot in this premiere. The actual design of the time travel sequences is interesting because it presents as Switch just walking down a hallway. Of course, there may be a terrifying monster further down that she must avoid at all costs. That could wreak even more havoc to the past, present and future if she's not too careful. And yet, that doesn't prevent her from saving David's life over and over again. She eventually finds a solution to this problem. It leaves Division 3 and their allies completely stumped because they thought they were so close to finally eliminating David as a threat. In reality, they were. They just didn't expect the true threat of Switch and her time traveling powers. Again, that adds a very compelling wrinkle to the proceedings this season. David already presented as the most powerful mutant that ever existed. He doesn't know how to wield that power in a responsible way. He now sees the value in reading people's minds instead of just instinctively learning how to trust them. He has become the monster. But how does he plan on changing the past? That mission is yet to reveal itself though it's bound to spell out certain doom for this world and all the pain it has caused him.