Last year I voted Legion as my favourite series of the year, and although Season 2 didn’t quite hit the same heights (probably the old “coming in with expectations rather than being taken by surprise” aspect) it did have some brilliant story telling again, plus the final episode blew me away, with an amazing opening sequence and a great cliffhanger. Let’s take a closer look then!
A year after Amahl Farouk / Shadow King escaped in the body of Oliver Bird and David Haller was kidnapped by a strange orb, the mutants of Summerland and the government agency Division 3 race against Farouk to find his original body, which would allow him to unleash his full power…
*Spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
Oliver making the most of his body-napping by Farouk.
David Haller (Dan Stevens) – To him his time in the strange orb was mere hours, rather than the year that passed. During this time he was visited by a version of Syd from the future who had a rather dire message to relate to him…
Sydney “Syd” Barrett (Rachel Keller) – Syd has lost the love of her life to a strange orb, but still… could be worse! I mean, at least David isn’t possessed by the Shadow King any more…
Amahl Farouk / The Shadow King (Navid Negahban) – Amahl Farouk wants nothing more than to return to the physical plain after countless years as a mental force, but to do that he has to find his original body…
Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) – Lenny was killed by a nasty mental blast from David a long while ago, and has since existed in the mind of Farouk. She wants out, or she wants to die properly… one of the two.
Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) – Oliver had spent years in the astral plain, and wouldn’t you know it, almost as soon as he escaped he became possessed by the Shadow King, forced to do his bidding in the physical world while he searched for his body… Always the way, isn’t it?
Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) – Cary is a top scientist who has the ability to house his other self, Kerry, inside of his body, and visa versa. He has been working on finding David and stopping Farouk, who seems to have unleashed an odd plague that’s making its victims’ teeth chatter…
Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder) – Kerry is more for the action than the science, so she’s not used to the usual things in life, normally leaving that to her other half. Still, if things get tough, she may have no choice in the matter…
Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) – Mel has become disillusioned with life after her long-lost husband Oliver finally returned to her, only to immediately leave due to being possessed by an evil mental entity… God, men, am I right?
Clark Debussy (Hamish Linklater) – Clark is an interrogator for Division 3, which has now welcomed in the fugitives they were trying to take out, all for the sake of stopping a far greater evil…
Plus many more!
This four minute sequence will be in my mind forever.
Once again the cast is perfect. Dan Stevens’ David Haller is perfect, cocky when he needs to be, scared, angry, confused, sarcastic… he’s just got it all down. The rest of the cast from Season 1 continue to be great as well, Syd the supportive girlfriend who’s also quite distant, Lenny as the “crazy chick”, though this time with a bit more of a sympathetic edge to her, and Oliver is still the weird out-of-time looking funny guy, even if he is under the control of Farouk for the season.
Speaking of Farouk, he is played by Navid Negahban throughout the season, rather than a series of mental images, and he’s great in the role as well. Charming, yet always dangerous feeling. The main plot, Farouk wanting his body back and Division 3 wanting to stop him, but David gets a message from the future to let Farouk get his body back to save them, was really good. Two big twists happen, that being Lenny is brought back to life by Farouk sacrificing David’s sister Amy’s life, an act which then sets Mr. Haller down the path of wanting to kill the Shadow King, warning from a future version of his love be damned, and the second is that Farouk finds out the big bad that they need Farouk around to stop in the future is… David Haller! He’s snapped and is now controlling the world through power and fear. The present day Syd finds this out, and is generally shown that there is a dark side to her lover, one where he seemingly likes getting his hands dirty.
That leads me to Episode 11, the series finale. WOW. That’s all I can think to say about it. It opens with David and Farouk facing off against each other in a battle of mental powers, but it’s done with them both singing “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who, and the actual battle is done via projections in the sky behind them. It was an absolutely stunning sequence. Farouk is captured alive and David does the worst thing he could do and alters Syd’s memories so she likes him again. He’s found out, as is his future deeds, so Division 3 capture and put him on trial instead, leading to a brilliant cliffhanger where David, instead of seeking help, breaks free and uses his power to vanish along with Lenny, presumably setting up the dystopian world they tried to stop in the first place, though this time with the Shadow King alive. Amazing! The lead protagonist has had a proper downfall and gone to the dark side. I’m sure he’ll be “saved” from himself at some point, but he’s already done some pretty nasty things to go along with his good deeds, so he’s a very interesting character no matter which way they spin it.
The Division 3 leader, Admiral Fukuyama, a man with a basket on his head who only talks through an endless series of … female bodied robots with moustaches who constantly look through large magnifying glasses, was… a hell of a thing. Fun, but weird as hell. I enjoy Oliver and Lenny’s jokey side to being enslaved by Farouk, particularly Oliver, who kept up his wit and charm even when doing something horrible out of his control. The idea that he and his wife are now stranded in the astral plain is an interesting story, and could well be their last if needs be…
I’d also like to say how brilliant the presentation was over the course of the show again. The logo and credits being well inserted into the show, and the more stylish wide shots and locations, like Future Syd’s place, the sweeping shots the desert in the final two episodes and the weird digital dimension locked in Division 3 that I haven’t mentioned (because it’s oddly not that important in the long run), were all really lovely to look at. Add in a few odd mental showdowns (the big fight in Episode 11, and a weird dance off earlier in the show, are just two…) and the show retains its odd feel throughout. Most episodes I was surprised when the credits hit because I was so invested I didn’t realise how much time had passed.
Throughout the series were little informative videos that explain stuff like delusions in a slightly off-the-wall way, but nonetheless interesting! Again, it added to the presentation and actually played well into a mental struggle David has right towards the end.
I’ll also mention that early in the season a bunch of people have a weird disease that makes them stand still and just chatter their teeth, and it was really freaky. Mainly the sound, especially when there was a collection of them together. *shudder*
“I am your boss” “….. Okay then.”
I have to wonder why Mel was kept around. All she did all season was just get high and talk about how all men are bastards, because her husband left her again, despite the fact he left her due to being possessed by an evil mind demon-man… She just ended up being a pretty unpleasant character whenever she showed up.
Episode 6 was a mixed bag, but I don’t think it needed to happen… Basically, after the trauma of finding out about his sister’s death, David sees visions of various alternate versions of himself created by different circumstances and choices. It was interesting, and very well acted, but I don’t know if I needed a whole episode of it. David ends the experience by reliving when Amy took him to the mental hospital, and presumably accepts the facts of his reality, but again, a whole episode of Davids that will never appear again… For a bad, it’s not THAT bad, just felt like a bit of a waste, and it was the only episode I wasn’t buzzing about afterwards.
…. I’ll leave this to your imagination.
Legion – Season 2 does a great job of continuing the story and showing us our lead “hero” having a bit of a … major downfall, possibly becoming a Magneto-like villain who you understand where his grief and anger come from. Either way, scenes from Episode 11 of this season will be with me forever, and there isn’t many episodes of many shows that can say that…