Legion: Chapter 2
February 15, 2017 8:21 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

 
I'm really digging Legion. It's amazing what shaking up the format and a little creativity can do for a Marvel television property.

I know trying to figure out when it is set is a fool's errand and it's probably not internally consistent anyway but so much of the look and set dressing screams early 70's yet the functional MRI setup pegs it at early 90s at the earliest. I can't stop thinking about it.
posted by Justinian at 4:08 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


I know trying to figure out when it is set is a fool's errand and it's probably not internally consistent anyway

Yeah, pretty sure it's intentionally inconsistent, I don't think we're supposed to know when it's set. From the AV Club first review: "Even what’s familiar is of no real comfort, because the music, the clothes, even the people and events that make up David’s life come from various eras, leaving the viewer with only a vague sense of when this is all occurring. Hawley intentionally avoids dating the show with specific models of cars, and while the hairstyles and clothing suggest the ’60s, a stray reference to CNN upends that. That pop culture hodgepodge is designed to leave David (and us) without a firm place to stand on."
posted by oh yeah! at 5:13 AM on February 16


I'm impressed with the way they've created what seem to be (though I was no regular reader of anything with Legion in it) analogues of the formative elements of Legion's life from the comics without having to retread stuff that is already in the X-movies or delve into anything dated or off-point.

This makes me continue to be a little curious though whether Syd Barrett is just Rogue by another name.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:53 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


That trapped-in-an-MRI scene was pushing all sorts of buttons for me.

I'm used to waiting until a show has already aired most of its episodes and then binge-watching. This weekly delay is (perfectly normal but) infuriating. They better not hurt Amy.
posted by bibliowench at 7:55 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


The first two episodes could have been compressed into almost a prologue, yes the guy is crazy/or not crazy but made to seem like it by the scary establishment bad guys. There is more detail than that and some (rather obscure) character development, but... I mean I watch some things out of order on purpose, I'm fine with non-linear storytelling. But.. it's based on a comic, I'm not expecting a profound message, get on with the plot.

I do really want one of those creepy vapor frogs for a cookie jar.
posted by sammyo at 2:04 PM on February 16 [1 favorite]


Is there a TV corrallary to "Chekov's gun" involving large sheets of plate glass and breaking? Because that Summerland building is setting off lots of buzzers for me.
posted by hwestiii at 5:11 PM on February 16 [1 favorite]


It's good, but why can't they just hold hands with gloves on? Or hug while wearing oversized sweaters or blankets or something?
posted by amtho at 9:17 PM on February 16


Still loving it. The fat, yellow-eyed thing is a very effective... villain, I guess? One recurring theme I've noticed are stagey recreations of nature. There was one in the Clockwork hospital, and also one in the Summerland foyer (with the stuff bighorn).

It's good, but why can't they just hold hands with gloves on? Or hug while wearing oversized sweaters or blankets or something?

She explains that directly in the show: even the feeling of touch through clothing is like "ants" on her skin.
posted by codacorolla at 9:41 PM on February 16 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed; as a rule it's better to not dig in on potentially spoilery cross-media stuff unless it's clear up front from the post framing or prior group discussion that folks are onboard with that, so I'd say feel it out first.]
posted by cortex at 11:46 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I, for one, would prefer to keep the comics out of this fanfare. Legion isn't super popular or well known or even common knowledge. it seems like there's a lot of people who are watching the show that are coming into it brand new, myself included. The comment removed spoiled what is, to me, the biggest dynamic of the show : mutant/mentally ill. I think, even trying to talk in vague terms, it's not going to go well. It seems like a huge goal of the show is to make the viewer question near everything. To wrestle with what we think we know and what the main characters think they know (like Smart's character's absolute conviction that David isn't ill). I love Hawley and so far am excited for the journey it seems this show is purposed for.

I'm not sure if the show is going to follow cannon, it seems like from other comments a lot of it might stray. But in a show that seems to be built on wonderlandesque "vial A or vial B" propositions, comments like "well B is canon so we'll see" is really a bummer.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:00 PM on February 17 [3 favorites]


I love Cary, I love his mice and I love that he talks to himself. Also, good LORD Ptonomy (I've been calling him phlebotomy, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, etc) is gorgeous. I love, love, love, Jean Smart and am very excited to see how she handles what's looking like an inevitable crash-and-burn. (I just binged season 2 of fargo so my love for her is carrying over from that).

I thought the episode was way more formulaic than the first, and I was a bit disappointed. I think it was out of order, honestly. The episode could have benefited from starting out with the MRI scene, with cary and the mice and other cary. that scene contained enough weird to ride the wave through the more-standard scenes. As it was done, the first half an our of the show was pretty average. Memory walking, flashbacks about childhood and old friends, corny romance scenes. It would have been nice to start out weird, see some normal stuff, more weird with the devil in the machine, etc.

Also so far I just, really dislike Syd. I think it's because Uppendahl is so deliberate, Hawley is so enigmatic and Stevens is so affected that she seems to drown surrounded by them. I mean, it was literally stated that her condition is proximity-affected, and yet she constantly stands 3 inches from Haller. It makes the romance seemed force, that they're just ignoring this important, explicitly stated detail just so they can get a super corny shot of them silhouetted on a bench by the lake (barf). I just keep thinking back to my boyfriend Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies. He's this enormous dude, and it's very apparent he's aware of his space. He slouches, tucks in his arms, stands in the corner, he keeps his arms behind his back, never reaches out absentmindedly in case he accidentally comes in contact with anyone. You can always see him very hard to make himself small, or steer clear of everyone, or be as unassuming as possible.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:29 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


If a mod wants to add some 'show only' spoiler conditions to this thread, that's fine by me. Some of the articles I've linked to are about the comics, but I think it's usually clear from the titles? I haven't read any of the comics, so, whoever else feels like starting some 'books included' episode or season thread should go ahead.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:43 PM on February 17


Shut up! You had me at Thomas Fucking Dolby
posted by fullerine at 12:51 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


FirstMateKate, and anyone else, I am so sorry for the spoilers. I didn't think my comment through before I posted.
posted by bibliowench at 1:24 PM on February 17


You dont have to apologize! I specifically didn't name you because I wasn't mad or anything, we're in a gray area spoiler wise with all this "books/comics turned tv/movies" stuff. And, as cortex said, it's pretty community-driven where we want to draw our line. just throwing in my 2 cent on the topic. ( let's be honest, it's very apparent that my 2 cent is a dime, at least. I can't talk briefly on anything)
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:29 PM on February 17


Bibliowench, I don't think you said much more than I'd already picked up from the various reviews and such, no harm done.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:57 PM on February 17


I love the way that the context makes Hyperactive desperate and sinister, which I suppose it always was. The Good Place and Westworld having finished, it looks like this will be my new drug (I even have to go to shady places to score it). It's too much to expect that the rest of the series will have the same hallucinatory quality that the first episode did, but I'm definitely looking forward to them.
posted by Grangousier at 3:46 PM on February 17


But is Lenny real or not????
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 4:06 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


So it feels like at this point we're supposed to be thinking that while some people assume David's problems stem from being mentally ill and some people assume it's his super powers, that in reality it's both.

Also, I totally thought Syd had been sent in as recon to get David out. Was very surprised when it turned out she was legitimately admitted and rescued shortly before he was.
posted by ODiV at 8:17 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


> But is Lenny real or not????

Right? in the first episode, unquestionably she is real, because Syd says (in this one) "I think I killed your friend".

But then, you get to the memory where they are buying the drugs, and you wonder why would David and Lenny get sent to the same place?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:52 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Not to mention all the ways the show seems to hint that Syd isn't really there either (the door opening last episode without Syd's feet showing; her standing in the door at the top of this episode, but Jean Smart looking juuuust past her as if she were a figment of David's imagination). I don't know who's real and who's not, and that's clearly a feeling the show wants to maintain.

I still can't believe something this weird and personal is being aired on a major television network.
posted by thecaddy at 8:00 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Um. I don't think it's a spoiler from the comics that he's a mutant, right? So: what if his sister is too? Taking her hostage might be an interesting mistake.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:15 PM on February 20


I can't take the devil with yellow eyes seriously, as it has a scrotum for a chin.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:24 PM on February 20


I forget which scene it was, but I thought I heard the interrogator from episode 1 say "David?" Did he die in episode 1, or could he have survived? Could he have died, to end up in David's head, like Lenny?
posted by Pronoiac at 11:28 PM on February 20


I thought of something on the Lenny thing as I was falling asleep:

The memory of buying the drugs isn't David's, it's Lenny's. As in, her memory is integrated into David's.

Also, I think it's weird that the devil with the yellow eyes shows up when David is angry/frustrated.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:46 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


But then, you get to the memory where they are buying the drugs, and you wonder why would David and Lenny get sent to the same place?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:52 PM on February 20 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


This has been bugging me! As soon as I saw them hanging out in the real world, my immediate thought was "wow! what a coincidence that they knew each other before being committed?" I was probably naive in that thought
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:13 AM on February 21


Fun background PA announcement during the "you might be the key" conversation: "Dr. Baker's advanced time-travel class has been cancelled."
posted by Pronoiac at 10:24 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I am enjoying this tremendously. It never even occurred to me that David was seeing Lenny's memory, but yeah.

I was struck by Hawley's use of color, which seems like both a callout to comic art and symbolic of something: everyone in the asylum wears rusty orange, although it's not a uniform, just happens to be what everyone has on. It seems to indicate deception or obfuscation.

Amy, David's anchor to the outside world, wears solid bright green, and later, subdued mint green. The bright green vapor frog really jumps out (sorry) as a contrast to David's sad desaturated world.

After David gets out, none of his clothes are orange at all, though Syd is mostly in black, but with an orange ribbon. She's obviously still hiding something.

I don't think these are just arbitrary fashion choices.
posted by mneekadon at 6:11 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The first two episodes could have been compressed into almost a prologue, yes the guy is crazy/or not crazy but made to seem like it by the scary establishment bad guys. There is more detail than that and some (rather obscure) character development, but... I mean I watch some things out of order on purpose, I'm fine with non-linear storytelling. But.. it's based on a comic, I'm not expecting a profound message, get on with the plot.

Late to the party but, this is the total 100% opposite of my reaction to this show (three episodes in). I had absolutely no idea it was based on the X-Men until I'd already been sold on watching, based on descriptions of the show as a freaky nonlinear visually stunning David Lynch/Bryan Fuller/Wes Anderson mashup. And so far, it is paying off. (It's also one of those things that, while I personally love them, I would only recommend to like half of my friends.)

Noah Hawley has said in interviews that he took a fair bit of inspiration from Hannibal for this show, for which you could conceivably raise similar objections - we're like two or three episodes in and we haven't seen a scrap of cannibalism, why are we spending all this time on this sweaty FBI profiler's freaky hallucinations of a stag covered in feathers? It's not a surreal art film, it's a spinoff of a franchise about a sassy genius murder, so let's get on with that part already.

I love that this show so far is way more interested in the twisty insides of David's brain than on the superhero stuff. I love that I'm still not totally sure what's going on and what's real and not real. And I love how much time it spends on just setting up hyper-stylized images and lingering on them. And I'm into the mutant/government conspiracy stuff too, but I don't mind that it's like a tertiary concern of the show.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:37 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


I love, love, love that Noah Hawley was like "what this episode needs is a gigantic 1960's stereo amplifier set like something cobbled together for a Patrick Troughton Doctor Who serial" and it works great. And those overlays of the things running through David's head while he's lying in bed, Syd in the pilot and Dr. Bird in this episode, are like something straight out of a Guy Maddin movie, so good. It's great seeing Hawley really indulge himself after the glimpse of what that could be like with the UFO stuff in Fargo.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:56 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


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