Legion: Chapter 18
June 6, 2018 9:45 AM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Reunion, ruination and rage.

AV Club recap: Everyone heads to the desert as Legion builds to its climactic showdown.

Vulture recap: Rise of the World-Breaker

In other news, Legion has been renewed for a third season.
posted by elsietheeel (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Thoughts: One episode left.

I wish they'd stop filming so dark.

More Jane's!

That's all I've got for now.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:54 AM on June 6, 2018

this got so, so dark as of 4-ish episodes ago. i stopped watching. should i start again? not worried about spoilers.
posted by zeek321 at 3:46 PM on June 6, 2018

(as in the darkness seemed meandery and pointless)
posted by zeek321 at 3:47 PM on June 6, 2018

Legion never feels like a superhero adaptation, but doesn't shy away from it either.


And it wasn't played for laughs. It was just... a thing.
posted by elr at 3:57 PM on June 6, 2018 [6 favorites]

(as in the darkness seemed meandery and pointless)

It has been kinda tough that way, I agree. Digressions, things that happen that don't seem to lead to anything else, etc - this season has been very different than the first. I wouldn't say it has gotten less dark, maybe it would be safe to say that it has been less consistently dark though?

This season has been pretty hard viewing. Not totally unrewarding, but difficult for sure.
posted by Golem XIV at 4:45 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

IMO they could have compressed the last four episodes into 1 or 2 episodes without losing much of anything. Part of the problem is that the previous three or so episodes have been full of repetition of plot points, character moments, and scenes so it feels well... repetitive. This episode was full of scenes that were shown as psychic visions/commands in previous episodes. In addition to that they introduced a full-on clip show device (where my Greatest Gen fans at?) that Melanie used to show what David's been up to.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:52 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this episode tied together a lot of what felt like aimless crud over the past few episodes. I don't know that it would have any impact if you hadn't seen it the first time through without the "aw shit, Farouk is manipulating Syd shiiiiiiiiiiit" realization, but on the other hand David, buddy ol' pal, after getting the information out of Oliver, I dunno that kicking back in a throne is a good look, y'know? Unless if he's waiting for the rest of his plan to come together, I guess?
posted by Kyol at 6:25 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The good bits were

1) the giant tuning fork
2) Kerry kicking the collective asses of the, I guess, nunchuck monks? who even were they?
3) Cary running in total terror from the minotaur
4) the Gunbag of Holding
5) melanie finally having non-drugged-out lines, even as Farouk

the bad bits were

1) the ignominious defeat of the tuning fork
2) the entire clip show conceit. It's only a 11-episode season! We remember all of that!
3) what were the two droids doing in the maze?
4) the "melanie is actually Farouk" switcheroo. I mean, we knew she was under his control, it isn't that much of a surprise, what else would she be doing in a cave with access to Future CCTV?
5) the is-he-isn't-he-a-villain thing entirely. I just don't find it interesting at all.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:56 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

PS, this is your reminder that this all takes place in the mindscape. It's really the only explanation for well... everything.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:32 PM on June 6, 2018

As we reach the final episode and I started wondering if it'll be a cliffhanger like last season, it occurred to me....did they ever answer what the floating abduction ball was all about? They hinted at it and we saw Cary tinkering with it, but did they ever really address David's missing year and what the ball was?
posted by kokaku at 8:29 PM on June 6, 2018

Overall, I'll be glad when the show is done so I don't have to keep watching it, and I loved the first season, but this one has felt so padded (unnecessarily - there are so many great characters and stories they could have told) and repetitive (why so many flashbacks to things we've seen and already know? what happened to trusting the audience as the first season did?) and somewhat boring.
posted by kokaku at 8:32 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

IMO they could have compressed the last four episodes into 1 or 2 episodes without losing much of anything.

This, so much this. I wish they could borrow some of the writers from the Good Place, and learn to be as bold with their plotting/writing as they are with their cinematography. This show could have been an all time great if they didn't treat their plot points as these precious, non-replaceable resources that have to be conserved at all costs.
posted by Balna Watya at 8:49 PM on June 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

I enjoyed this episode. I thought things progressed nicely. And now we have the question: did David destroy the world because he is evil, or did he destroy it looking for Syd/mad because Syd dumped him? And now we have to wonder, without Farouk/Melanie's intervention, would that have happened at all? Does Farouk think he can be David this time, because it seems right now like he's setting himself up for his own death.

I like that Syd said what we were all thinking to Melanie: your're mad at Oliver - get over it. But also Melanie snapping that Syd isn't listening. Because no one has really cared to listen to what Melanie had to say, but we all had to listen to Jon Hamm's pontificating. I don't really have much more to say other than Sexism! because it's early in the morning.

Totally thought Syd was going to body swap with the monster and then make it kill itself.

I'm very confused about if this is the real world or the astral plane, not the overall show (which may or may not be in David's head), but these desert scenes in particular. I guess at some point it became the real world (how else would Cary/Kerry be there) but I thought the initial wandering in the desert & skeleton Syd & David were in the astral plane?
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:28 AM on June 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

See, my take is - David _didn't_ destroy the world, that's just what Farouk-controlling-Melanie told Syd, to pry her away from David in the future.
posted by Kyol at 6:20 AM on June 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

See, my take is - David _didn't_ destroy the world, that's just what Farouk-controlling-Melanie told Syd, to pry her away from David in the future.

I too was expecting a reveal of a time loop by the end. That's really the only resolution that makes...sense? to me.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:44 AM on June 7, 2018

But what about "future" Syd? She was the one that said that. Melanie was just replaying what happened to current Syd. Does current Syd then just repeat the lie back to Farouk?
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:45 AM on June 7, 2018

...did they ever answer what the floating abduction ball was all about?

IIRC Future Syd sent the orb. I don't think they explained why.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:01 AM on June 7, 2018

I love how much this episode is calling back to the Magick miniseries. The entire thing feels placed in Limbo, and it even referenced back to the original Division 3 attack - where Hawley was first referencing Kitty's evil glee in stalking Nightcrawler.

Did not love that the entire episode was a giant failing of the Bechdel-Wallace test. Especially since the Magick series is such a good exploration of how we groom women as objects from such a young age. It feels like a muddled attempt at allyship, understanding this was an important feminist idea, but centering it with the male gaze and completely missing the central point.

I feel like television has the power to be such a great medium because it's not just the showrunner. You want to have believable marginalized characters, you can bring in marginalized writers to guarantee authenticity.

This was a weird episode for me because I loved it as much as I hated it. That hair! I would hatewatch Mutant trash just to see Legion in his crazy tall hair.
posted by politikitty at 11:20 AM on June 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I’ve been chewing on that AV Club review linked up top. Particularly two things: that they’ve made an intentionally alienating story this season, and that they’ve forced a moral re-evaluation of everyone in the show.

The first season was a non-stop challenge to our perceptions. Are we seeing a hallucination? Is this something David’s parasite created and everyone’s trapped in it? Is it real? What year is it?

They’re doing the same thing this season, only with our moral perceptions, our judgments. And they’re being methodical about it. Hell, they even brought in Jon Hamm to explain to us what they’re doing to us with the story. They’re going to alienate us. They’re going to challenge what we thought we knew after the first season. They’re going to make things look so complicated that even lovers stop trusting each other, that everything seems hopeless. That’s not as much fun to experience as “is the magical lesbian just in his head”, especially in the era of Trump where there’s already tons of doubt and fear and yelling and futility. But it’s a logical progression from the first season and meaningful stuff to explore. They’ve made us active participants in the story from the get-go. I’ve never seen TV done quite this way.

Not to say that they’ve stuck all the landings. I agree that there are pacing problems. I also think there have been some elements like what happened to Ptonomy that are troubling in our current cultural moment, and I’m worried that the writers aren’t up to handling them well. But on the whole, this is a show that I think a lot about, that I go back and rewatch to try to understand better, that I’m artistically and morally troubled and challenged by. I’m grateful for that. Very few people have done that on television.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:04 PM on June 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

What I miss is a sense of grounding. I know it's intentional, and the unreliability of every single narrative element is part of the story that we are being told, I just hope the payoff is worth all of the grinding to get there.

Did we really need Syd to be subverted by misogyny, when simply showing David's madness or cruelty would have served?

Did we need torture porn just to prove David's earnestness, even as we were seeing that it was in vain?

Do we need a minotaur when Farouk can levitate the magic tuning fork with a wave of his hand?

I suppose we trust David's plan more than we trust his stability (but what made him suddenly so adept at making the plan in the first place?)

Lenny with a head-shot FTW?
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:49 PM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

i think lenny's supposed to shoot the tuning fork.
posted by JimBennett at 12:00 AM on June 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Syd and Melanie/Farouk was just plain terrible. We have to assume Syd is under Farouk's mental control already to be so damn gullible, and if she is, why bother with all of Melanie's blather and Giant Petri Dish memory. The only way this would make sense is if it is part of David's plan is to have Syd turn against him.

We also don't know what Melanie did to Clarke after knocking him out at Division HQ.
posted by benzenedream at 1:03 AM on June 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mostly, I much prefer this season to last. There’s just so much more of interest going on. Last season was pretty much one question, over and over - “What is real?” This season asks a lot more questions, and most don’t have comforting answers.

My main complaints are the pacing, the repetition, and what has been done to Melanie and Oliver’s characters.
posted by greermahoney at 9:27 PM on June 8, 2018

Farouk is specifically trying to turn David to the dark side. Killing Amy isn't senseless, it's part of the plan; as is alienating Syd from him. Angry, lost and alone, David dives deep into cruelty and torture. Creating the monster Farouk as Melanie tells Syd that David already is.

This is Farouk's failsafe. If he doesn't win the race to his body and is destroyed, then he has created a future so terrible thats it's survivors are willing to annihilate themselves — and a futute that he is uniquely qualified to avert. He's been counting on help from the future — though I'm not sure if he knew what form it would take.

He probably assumes that, with his body back, David presents no credible threat — presumably if that were the case there would be no third season.
posted by thedward at 2:21 PM on June 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

yeah it feels like Farouk is the one that's been scheming everything, even leading to future Syd asking David to help him find his body. in the process, creating a monster out of David. he didn't have to kill Amy, but he did it just to piss off David.
posted by numaner at 2:55 PM on June 15, 2018

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