Legion: Chapter 26
August 6, 2019 11:02 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Everyone is someone, David.
posted by artlung (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found myself very moved by notions of causality and how there's so much time travel and multiversal fiction these days - about how variations of fictional lives exist in some sense and how they are tools to think about our choices, moral, courageous and otherwise. And the notion of being able to confront a parent who failed you and have a chat is primal. And the bits with Farouk and his ambiguous and nigh-evil nature have me noodling hard. The essential humanist and moral perspective David's father (Is it X?) when confronted with our time traveller gutted me - everyone IS somebody despite the fact that so much of superhero-dom relies on plenty of cannon fodder.
posted by artlung at 11:06 AM on August 6, 2019

I'm really interested in what you mentioned about that particular response from Charles to David. It proved a few things, to me: that his fatherhood would have helped David, that 'this' David can't be saved (like Syd says elsewhere) because he didn't get that kind of moral upbringing from somebody aware of his powers, and other stuff but I've lost my train of thought. Basically, David's quest here is very selfish and ill-fated, but Charles probably could have helped him if things had gone differently.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:34 PM on August 6, 2019

I love Legion, but I have not loved its pacing this season. I was reminded in a review of this episode that there is just one episode left! Knowing that now, I sort of wish that the previous episode, which spent the entirety of its running time to basically make Syd’s point of “don’t kill babies,” had been abridged, because I don’t see how just one more hour is going to be enough to fully conclude the story thus far.

Which is not to say that I don’t trust the folks who make Legion to finish it with style and grace, but they’ve built up so many fascinating threads I don’t want to see most or all of them abandoned. (What’s up with Twitch’s father’s room full of robots? Is Ptonomy just hanging out in the basement of the airship? Is Amy just gone forever?)

Episode MVP was, as always, Kerry. She is the purest and most direct character in a universe of ambiguity, doubt, and dissembling. If I ever get to travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby I hope to channel her certainty.

I’m really interested by the revelation (which was evident earlier but made explicit this episode) that, no, it’s not that David’s powers or the Shadow King’s Influence made David feel mentally ill, he actually has just been mentally ill this whole time, due to heredity. Though I guess it could still be the case that his mother and grandmother appeared mentally ill due to their own mutant powers, but I like the idea that Gabrielle’s mind and Charles’s powers combined to make the unique case of David.

Also, as someone who read the earliest X-Men comics as a child, I love the show’s presentation of Charles as a lonely, clueless, good-hearted-but-oblivious-to-how-he-hurts-his-own-family dimwit.

Finally, Navid Neghadban was so good as young Farouk. He was so charming even as you knew he was drawing gullible Charles inexorably into his trap.
posted by ejs at 7:14 PM on August 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

This series has caught me even more deeply than I expected. I never really took to David even when he was ostensibly the hero - I was completely bewitched by the world surrounding him - but the character now - this whining, mean, selfish brat... I have a tendency to see my own worst characteristics in characters (I identified very strongly with George Costanza and Gaius Baltar), and watching his casual cruelty to Switch is very painful. I can't even feel sorry for him any more, but he is acting as a lens for me to examine aspects of my own character that I'm less than proud of. Which is what characters are for, I suppose.

Anyway, as beautiful as ever, but this episode has so much momentum towards the conclusion I'm not sure what can be said about it in itself. I'm already wondering where I will find the time to watch it all again from the beginning.
posted by Grangousier at 4:02 PM on August 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

One thing that struck me while watching this is that both the time-eaters and the in-between time are things that could really only exist in a video format - in comics they would just look blurry. This is kind of an unusual turnabout for adapting stuff between media, as ordinarily the transition from comics to video involves losing a lot of the interesting formal things you can do in comics, like messing around with panels or Moore and Gibbon's masterful mirror comic in Watchmen.

This episode did make me think about the morality of time travel in a way I'd never really considered before. And Farouk's lair was incredibly creepy - there was a real sense of uncanniness with so many of the children being identical, Sam the driver appearing over and over, the classic Stir of Echoes style empty theater of the mind scene... The show hasn't felt quite as scary to me in a while.
posted by whir at 10:11 PM on August 12, 2019

whir, that’s a really interesting point about how the creepiness of the Time Eaters would be conveyed on screen vs page. I could imagine doing them in a jarringly different art style from everything else, maybe, or being able to move outside/between the panels in a way other things couldn’t? I’m even thinking of how otherworldly and unsettling Moon Knight looked in that Ellis/Shalvey run just by Bellaire coloring everything on the page *except* him. It would definitely have to look different from how they’re done on screen, but it would be an interesting art experiment to get the same feel across.

I was having similar thoughts about conveying the way Time Eaters trap people in static images that jump from frame to frame, which basically IS like watching a comic book, except the show is still controlling the pace. I’m not an artist, but I couldn’t figure out how I’d even approximate that particular experience of time with something that didn’t start as a moving image.
posted by jameaterblues at 10:42 PM on August 12, 2019

Mod note: Deleted a few spoilery comments!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:16 AM on August 13, 2019

I really don't think we can take the mental illness of Gabrielle Haller at face value. And I certainly don't take the message that David was predestined to be mentally ill because his mother was as the message of the show, or even that either of them was definitely mentally ill in the ways that the world they lived in said they were. The X-men comics had a lot of vaguely sympathetic but also sensationalist, paternalistic, and old-fashioned ideas about mental illness, but I feel like the show mostly avoids landing on any particular interpretation of mental illness and how much of a factor it might be, intentionally.
posted by nequalsone at 7:28 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

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