Legion: “Chapter 2” Season 1 Episode 2 Review

Photo Credit:http://nerdist.com/legion-recap-chapter-2/

Legion‘s second episode was likely a lot closer to what we can expect from routine episodes of the series. Getting away from the shock and awe of the brilliant pilot, there’s still a sense of confidence present in the series. The gears of this story are still exciting and emotional. So if this is what we are to expect more of, than Legion will still be a great show.

Getting away from the X-Men source material and tone, which was still overcast over “Chapter 2,” this second entry actually had a lot in common with the second act of the first Matrix. David is referred to at one point as “the key,” while Bird and Syd take on the roles Morpheus and Trinity, all while there’s a bunch of reality distortion and well-dressed men hunting them. Of course, Legion is a lot weirder than The Matrix, so the show’s distinct tone still manages to ring true even when it’s borrowing from some iconic other pieces of pop culture.

This episode was primarily about two things: fully introducing Bird and getting David involved with some training. They naturally flow together like twin rivers going to the same outlet. Jean Smart takes her commanding presence from Fargo and softens it ever so slightly. Acting as the Xavier figure, she frequently encourages David to release his untapped potential. But it’s also clear that sometimes his sheer power frightens her. I’m not sure David has the capacity yet to decipher just what’s happening to him in Bird’s facility, but there are hints sprinkled throughout this episode that point to it not being all sunshine and daisies.

But Bird employs Ptonomy to use his ability to learn about David’s. Ptonomy is called a “memory artist.” We’re soon transported to David’s childhood memories, with himself, Ptonomy, and Bird standing in a field watching young David and his sister play. It’s Bird’s hope that one of David’s memories will unlock the secret to David using his powers. This goes along with the classic X-Men trope that a mutant’s powers typically manifest at puberty or in times of great stress. We see this twofold, as within a memory, present David is capable of shaking the memory plane when his memories are unpleasant, or hint at something darker. David appears to have stowed away some pivotal moments in his history. Bird’s persistence in finding these moments is calm enough for now, but there’s already a sense that David might be getting used.

But as a transitionary, world- and character-building episode, there needed to be a bit of a cliffhanger. David sees his sister get taken away at the mental institution she would normally visit him at. David immediately wants to go save her, but Syd catches up with him and hopes he’ll stay to train before he does so. It’s not the most original hook, but Legion still gets away with it thanks to its off-the-wall characters and striking visuals. Plus, there needed to be a deeper motivation for David to become whatever Bird is trying to shape him into.

Regardless, Legion proved in its second episode that the pilot wasn’t a fluke. The more we learn about David and Bird, the more the show excites me about its potential. “Chapter 2” wasn’t as exciting as the pilot, but it didn’t need to be. Now we know what David’s world looks like when it’s a bit calmer. That’s pivotal for when the show inevitably revs up the crazy once again. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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