Legion: Chapter 1
February 8, 2017 8:45 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Holy shit! Everything about this was top notch, but that action scene at the end was really something else.
posted by codacorolla at 8:50 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oops, that AV Club review is a general one based on the first 3 episodes, here's the Chapter 1 only recap and the Den of Geek full review

Anyway, that was a gorgeous pilot. I went into this blind, other than knowing it was some kind of X-Men show, was not expecting it to be so cinematic.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:02 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Holy shit! That was excellent. One of the best pilots and best Marvel spin-offs I've seen.
posted by homunculus at 9:07 PM on February 8, 2017

Agree!! That pilot was excellent!
posted by greermahoney at 12:17 AM on February 9, 2017

FX: Um, the show is free with your cable subscription, actually, it's--
Me: [throws money at FX anyway]
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2017 [9 favorites]

This is really what I've been wanting from a Superhero film/show for a long time. Something that's willing to get weird, and replicate creative art and panel work that actually makes comics interesting as a medium, instead of joyless, flat workmanlike action movie cinematography (the MCU house style, really). This especially came through in the way that the show depicts Haller experiencing hallucinations, depression, disorientation, etc. Like that shot with the camera sinking into the floor, or the similar shot of it meandering through a rat hole in the wall.
posted by codacorolla at 1:35 PM on February 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

This was definitely one of the more stylishly-directed TV premieres in some time. I always thought the comics character was kind of boring in kind of a "grab bag of powers" way, but I'm definitely hopeful based on this first episode.
posted by whir at 7:57 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok, I'm going to watch the shit out of this show.

I can't decide whether to try to get my husband on board or not. I suspect he might not last through the dance sequence.
posted by bibliowench at 9:00 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

This show is reminding me of a super-violent Pushing Daisies in all the best ways. Whimsical set design, romantic leads who can't touch - they need a golden retriever!
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:03 PM on February 9, 2017 [8 favorites]

Is it Hannibalesque? If its Hannibalesque I am on board.
posted by Justinian at 9:04 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, it's visually stunning, and I don't know what the hell is going on, so . . . maybe?
posted by bibliowench at 9:10 PM on February 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

I caved and watched it. Definitely some Pushing Daisies echoes more than Hannibal, but that's not a bad thing.

Kept seeing the female lead as Brie Larson. But that's the wrong Marvel property.
posted by Justinian at 10:43 PM on February 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I loved it. I'm not clear on how the two of them switched places back, but I almost don't care.

They do a fantastic job of using shots and edits to make you feel totally disoriented and unwilling to trust his environment. Even the aesthetic: Is it the sixties? Is it some weird alternate reality? All in his head? What even is happening?

Last night I had to choose between this or getting caught up on The Expanse. I opted for this because the pilot was free streaming and I wanted to find out if it was worth getting the series.

It was. Gah, that was great.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:29 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

So my friend and I are split: Is "Sydney Barrett" Rogue or not? The scene where she pulls him out of the pool while wearing elbow-length black leather gloves (along with the general "Don't touch me" and "Absorb other mutant's powers") seems to indicate "yes", but the body switching thing seems a bit off.

Also, I was on board with this from the moment it was announced since Hawley was involved. And it still managed to be better than I was expecting.
posted by thecaddy at 7:04 AM on February 10, 2017

I'm confused about that too, but I don't think so because (1) Rogue's never depicted as a blond northerner and (2) the whole switching places thing, which I don't think was in his head (and I still don't understand how they switched back).

They got a smirk out of me when they dropped all pretense near the end and had him just calling her "Syd"
posted by middleclasstool at 7:08 AM on February 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

More broadly, this raises the question of how tightly this is going to tie into the X movie universe. It seems unlikely they'll make him Xavier's kid, but putting the X in the logo seems to indicate that they aren't distancing themselves from that universe either.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:12 AM on February 10, 2017

I like the lunatic who paints himself and hides in the fake tree. With no explanation of any kind ever offered for that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

I like the lunatic who paints himself and hides in the fake tree. With no explanation of any kind ever offered for that.

Was that a Clockworks patient? Or the 'Devil with the Yellow Eyes' (keep wanting to call him 'Yellow-eyed demon' from my years of watching Supernatural).
posted by oh yeah! at 7:45 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Part of me hopes they never explain him. He just keeps popping in occasionally.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:08 AM on February 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is it Hannibalesque? If its Hannibalesque I am on board.

Sort of. The director and showrunner seem committed to visual storytelling and symbolism, which is similar to Hannibal. Especially Hannibal's later years (e.g. the kaleidoscope sex scene). The main similarity would be that both shows have a definitive sense of style, and Legion seems to be willing to take similar risks as Hannibal in terms of telling its story in a way that's not strictly literal. In terms of style, Hannibal always felt like a baroque painting, but this feels like a panel from a Grant Morrison series.

Was that a Clockworks patient? Or the 'Devil with the Yellow Eyes' (keep wanting to call him 'Yellow-eyed demon' from my years of watching Supernatural).

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. In the final scene, when the devil is in the background, he's hiding in almost exactly the same way as the camouflaged man. I wouldn't be surprised if it was just a visually interesting detail, though, and not part of some larger puzzle we're supposed to figure out.
posted by codacorolla at 8:11 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wiki'ing and googling reveals that this is a parallel universe situation where we're not tied to movie continuity and the timeline is different. Here the government has only recently discovered mutants. This could be the late '60s or early '70s, or it could be that their alternate-now has a different style, or it could all be an aesthetic choice made subconsciously by David's memories. Or something else. As to Syd Barrett, they're saying she has touch-based powers, but are not saying whether she's Rogue. My guess is no.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2017

No, I don't think that's supposed to be Rogue. I'm not entirely convinced that it's someone who actually exists outside of David's imagination. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but all the weird people just in the background of scenes -- sitting in corners, facing the wrong direction, disguised in plants, etc -- really add to the sense that the viewer can't really trust what is going on. The mixed signifiers of the time period (60's jump suits and advanced tablet computers) have the similar effect of unmooring the events from a time and place. I'm liking how atmospheric the show is so far. I want it to be a bit more than just watch to be baffled by in the next few episodes, though.
posted by Jugwine at 3:25 PM on February 10, 2017

Syd Barrett, right?

(And the music under the walking-in-the-cloisters scene, just before he's captured: it felt to me like they totally wanted to use On The Run but couldn't get/afford it and so went with something that sounded really quite similar.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:20 PM on February 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ah: "Both of us agree that Pink Floyd was basically the soundtrack for schizophrenia in the 70s."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:23 PM on February 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wonder at what point they went back and remixed the music for the hospital without doors scene to make it exactly like Stranger Things?
I also really enjoyed this. I have no experience with the comic character Legion. The production value was top notch for TV but I did spend the entire second half trying to place the interrogator, turns out he was in The New Adventure of Old Christine, which I loved.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:51 PM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

A detail I wonder about: The night before she left, when she opened the door to his room, she doesn't walk in; her legs aren't visible.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:12 PM on February 11, 2017 [10 favorites]

Nice to see David Selby still working. And thanks oh yeah! for posting that Sienkiewicz interview (somehow I missed it even though I read the site). I love the Jim Aparo anecdote. Good on Jim for laying down the law. I always felt Bill's inks were way to heavy for Jim's lines, and while Jim's greatest weakness was his indistinguishable faces (one male, one female, but lots of expression in both) it's nice to hear that even has he was nearing the end of his life he was still able to stand up for himself and defend one of his trademark artistic markers.

As for the show, I wasn't expecting anything at all going in, but I'm intrigued--at least for now. That fascination, however, has a limit. I don't want to put up with draggy, is-it-real sequences ad nauseam. I want to start getting at least a few straight answers. I don't need all of the mysteries solved by the end of the second episode, but I want to feel there has been some progression along the story line.
posted by sardonyx at 10:05 PM on February 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pronoiac, I noticed that, too, about the legs. I wondered whether it was a continuity error or meant she apparated there or that she was imaginary.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:46 PM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

"I wondered whether it was a continuity error"

A.) It was far too deliberately filmed and
B.) I don't think Noah Hawley does continuity error, at least not on that scale. That was a very direct shot.
posted by komara at 7:40 PM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Having pretty much no context other than the first few comments in this thread that encouraged my viewing it was pretty obscure and confusing and the 'art' filmic montage sequences were a tad annoying but it's hard to represent inner craziness.

The escape sequence certainly sets up expectations for a pretty intense series, if it can combine the action with the moral and psychological ambiguity it'll be great fun.
posted by sammyo at 5:44 AM on February 14, 2017

I really didn't care for the escape sequence. Maybe I need to watch it again, but it felt like guards didn't exist until they were on screen (some suddenly appear in close combat range, others are in the distance shooting). And the whole thing made me think very little of David's rescuers. What kind of escape plan involves getting shot at that much? I suppose they had a bit of a deadline

Or I guess they could not exist (or some of them might not?), in which case it feels more like we'll get a bunch of stuff half-explained in some reveal.

Other than that I mostly liked it.
posted by ODiV at 7:16 AM on February 14, 2017

I think the strategy was to just run out and who cares if they get shot at a bunch because there's someone with them (one of the rescuers) who can control matter and keep the bullets away.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2017

So, there were three rescuers, right? There was Syd, the guy with the long-distance punching ability and another woman. Did she have any visible powers?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:44 AM on February 14, 2017

The Designing Mutant? We don't know yet whether she does or not, I don't think.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:04 AM on February 14, 2017

There was also the guy with the Tommygun.
posted by ODiV at 9:16 AM on February 14, 2017

I'm just going to throw out a suggestion for everyone, hopefully it won't go to MeTa. I know this is faction, y'all, but can we please keep in mind that these mental illnesses are not made up, and refrain from using words like "lunatic" when talking about this show from here on out? I would really like to be able to read future fanfare posts about it, because i love Hawley and this show so far.
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:02 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

Sorry about that, FirstMateKate, I'll keep it in mind for future threads.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:35 PM on February 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Visually it's astonishing - I found myself paying a lot more attention than I usually do, just because I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. While I'm not in the least familiar with the source material for this show, Sienkiewicz' illustrations for Elektra: Assassin and Big Numbers had an enormous effect on me when they came out. The only other example I can think of of a film-maker seemingly trying to evoke what he was doing there is Natural Born Killers (and I have no proof that that was Stone's intention, just a hunch).

But this is a Golden Age of television, isn't it? When a superhero show can be as smart and stylish as this.
posted by Grangousier at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2017

There's an early draft of episode one on this TV scripts site.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:38 AM on February 20, 2017

Just watched it and enjoyed it, but I don't know if I can stomach an entire season of "whimsical is-this-real?" tweeness, and I say that as someone who really loved Season 1 of Pushing Daisies (I've yet to get a working dvd copy of season 2 ::sigh:: )

I like the fact that the we have an ultimate unreliable narrator as the main character. It means that we'll have to pay attention to everything to try and suss out what is objectively real (in show universe) and what is just something-occuring-inside-character's-head.

So what do we know so far?

We don't know why she was in the asylum
We don't know the extent of her powers
We don't know why her legs didn't appear when we saw her entering David's room
We also don't know how or why she body swapped back to her own body after the first swap with David?

Why was she in the asylum?
Why is she still appearing to David?
Why she seems to objectively appear - Did any one else notice how she was plainly reflected in the Mirror in the basement when the lamp broke but David wasn't facing in her direction? It was a weird effect, but seemed like a deliberate framing, not a continuity error

Who / what the Devil with yellow eyes is

Who any of David's rescuers are except Syd

The extent of his powers
How old he is
What happened to his parents. The flashbacks to childhood seem to imply something happened to his Mother at least

What organisation kidnapped / was holding David
Why was there a dog in a cage?

What Era / Timeline the show is set in

I'm intrigued and I'll definitely continue watching, but the piling-on-questions-whimsy had better start providing some answers / wider mythos sooner rather than later.

I am a big Aubrey Plaza fan (Lenny), so I hope she has something to do in this other than be literal Imaginary Manic Pixie Dreamgirl.

I've not watched any of Dan Stevens (David's) work before and I was a little worried that if his performance was weak, then that would let down the entire show, but he felt flawless. I believed, that he believed what was happening to him.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:03 PM on February 20, 2017

Faintdreams, Dan Stevens played Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey. You may not have seen DA, but his performance in Legion made me completely forget that he was Matthew Crawley, and he was excellent in that role as well.
posted by cooker girl at 6:18 PM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Halfway through the episode I thought, "Wasn't someone from Downton Abbey supposed to be in this?"
posted by Rock Steady at 6:29 AM on February 25, 2017

Well, that was a pretty amazing pilot. A pleasure to see Dan Stevens again too—he was great in The Guest and it's nice to see him continuing to make interesting post-Downton choices.

Loads of 'homages' here. Aside from the Stranger Things riffs (the quasi-ST musical theme featured a few times, most notably in the hospital after the Terrible Incident and when Amy takes David downstairs to sleep in her basement after feeding him a pile of Eggos waffles), that scene in the swimming pool, where Syd kills all the government henchmen, their body parts plunging into the water around Haller, was straight out of Let The Right One In.

The dance number in the mental hospital was also ripped right out of American Horror Story: Asylum.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:22 PM on March 5, 2017

Just getting to this show finally - one thing I loved but haven't seen mentioned is how the costumes for the henchmen in the weird interrogation facility, with the blue & pink jumpsuits and pink knit caps, were basically Sentinels.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:03 PM on March 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

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