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Legion 2.3 Review – ‘Chapter 15’

May 16, 2018 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
Legion Chapter 15

It occurred to me this week that I’d been remiss in acknowledging one of the key performances on Legion. John Hamm gives the narrator a combination of authority, gravitas, and…whatever you call it when you pay extra attention to your professor because you have a crush on them. Hamm’s voice is so perfect for the task of explaining insanity, delusion, and patterns that it’s really the only time he’s in anything that doesn’t make me think of Mad Men. This week was another vague episode that encourages us to just go with it. Spoilers, such as they are, for Chapter 15 follow.

“Ostensibly, on Legion…” is a phrase that once again reminds us that they know damn well that no viewer will have a complete sense of what’s going on in a given week, or even a given season. Luckily for Noah Hawley et al, we don’t keep watching Legion because of the well-grounded story or the logical progression of events. We come for the visual splendor, clever and innovative sound design, the brilliantly realized characters, and the sense of hugeness and importance that we can’t quite reach where we’re standing. Whatever is happening here, it will impact all of humanity. The events befalling these mutants are part of the human condition, even though they aren’t quite human as we understand humans. Yet their humanity is omnipresent.

What is moral panic? It’s when people are suddenly terrified that Satanists are around every corner, or that the family unit will disintegrate if two people of the same gender get married. It’s a weird, random idea that grows, mutates, and spreads until something reasonable becomes totally irrational and deadly. Whether it’s a literal witch hunt or a giant, stupid wall—moral panic creates real and excessive responses to fears that may or may not even be real. Hence the question: What’s more terrifying—fear, or the frightened?

Is Farouk’s machine getting bigger? Is that the takeaway from the scene with the car? We know that Farouk is getting tired of trying to convince David. After their conversation this week, he’s had it with trying to rule the world with David. If, indeed, that was his plan all along. I suspect that Farouk is one of those villains that might think he wants a friend, but will “accidentally” murder them the first time they seriously disagree, then rationalizes it so they can live with themselves. Anyway, once Farouk makes his proclamation, he proceeds to torment David with Amy’s memory. It’s a drag.

The psychology talk got more specific than usual this week. Carl Jung is a fave of mine, at least in theory, so I recognized the talk of masks and personas right away. Jungians believe that no one is ever completely genuine. Everyone puts on different versions of themselves depending on the situation and who else is around. We watch our language in church or around grandma, but with our friends we’re totally different—even as we don’t reveal absolutely everything to our friends. We tend to speak differently with coworkers than we do with bosses, which is different than how we’d talk to the mailman or a neighbor you just met. Multiply that times mutant powers, and we begin to get a sense of what it’s like in the minds of people like Syd, Ptonomy, and the Loudermilks.

We also learned a new word this week, “Escheat.” It’s a law, written by the state, giving the state ownership of any property of a person who dies without an heir. It’s Farouk’s example of a rigged game. Could it mean that if the Shadow King dies, David will get his powers? No…if SK is the state, maybe he’d want David’s powers if David dies. Anyway, Farouk tells Syd that they have a mutual need to keep the world from ending. This is my least favorite aspect of this show, and why I tend to avoid the fantasy genre for the most part. I’m just bored with stories where the whole world or all of humanity are in peril. Maybe it’s nihilistic to say so, but I don’t care if the world or humanity ends for everybody. If nobody else is around, what could we possibly be missing by dying? We already know that the jeopardy is limited because we’re all still here.

The big news this week is the eggs. We know that the little slimy tar creatures inside the eggs are bad ideas, delusions, negative juju. We know that Ptonomy has been dealing with one for a while. This week, Ptonomy managed to spread this monster-delusion to Syd, Kerry, and Clark. This ended with that lovely floating breakfast bar getting trashed, and a giant monster busting out of Ptonomy—and almost certainly killing his physical body. So that was bullshit. We’ve seen so little of Ptonomy this season, and I’ve been wanting to know more of his story. Then again, if only his mind stays alive, it’s possible that we’ll get all the good dirt on him once we get an episode that takes place in his mind.

Syd’s jealousy toward her future self is kinda cute and funny. I wonder why David hasn’t mentioned that she should…try to keep both arms attached. They hadn’t mentioned her missing limb in so long I started to wonder if I’d seen it wrong. But no, when Syd and Farouk speak this week, we see several times that one of her arms is most definitely missing. I should think by the end of the season, we’ll find out what happened. Speaking of Syd, her description of the new Lenny as “the music they play to keep criminals from thinking clearly.” She’s an emotional distraction that sends David into a shame spiral about both Lenny and Amy. We saw last week that David does harbor some resentment for his adoptive sister, but that’s a common sibling dynamic and rarely leads to legit murder.

What else did this week teach us? The Vermillion (AKA mustache chicks) are robots/automatons, and there’s a bunch of them. We saw that Kerry still kicks all manner of ass, and Ptonomy is a great shot. Can I just say—I love that action-thing where people run halfway up a wall and then push off from it to punch the hell out of someone. Yuss! Most vitally though, we saw that Fukyama is…the monk. He didn’t die from his “fall” from the roof after all. Doesn’t that mean he knows where the body is? But wait, that’s not all.

The Vermillion think Ptonomy and Kerry are traitors working for the Shadow King. But no. The monster appears to come out of the monk, but it’s a delusion caused by the egg-monsters. David is able to remove them from Syd and Clark, but Ptonomy’s too far advanced. It’s huge and appears to kill him getting out. The Vermillion hook Ptonomy up to a big tree that’s probably a big computer with binary all over it. But I’m not sure Ptonomy would want to be kept alive or brought back or anything unnatural. I get the sense that he would accept his death pretty well, and might appreciate the solitude.

David’s confrontation with the monster is exceptional. This week, we got a strong sense of what David can do with his powers when he wants to. Based on what we’ve seen, he can do…anything. He was willing to let the monster go, but instead David had to demonstrate the importance of relative size when conquering an enemy. At least we know that Ptonomy is avenged. When we next see him, he appears to be meeting up in the afterlife with an older female relative. A mom? A grandmother? Whoever she is, he seems happy to see her. I can live with that, even as I don’t want him to be dead.

“What starts as an egg can become a monster.” The end-of-episode review tells us that these concepts are all vital if we intend to understand the big lessons of the season. It’s about delusions, insanity, ideas, and our love of patterns. Some say our love of patterns is why humans like music in the first place. For more information on this, dig up a copy of Disney’s Mathmagicland. In the mean time, remember that humans see what they believe more readily than they accept what they see. Four episodes remain this season, so we’re bound to learn a whole lot more before we’re through.

See you’s next week!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
This week, Legion acknowledged that it's a show about a guy from a comic book—by actually showing us comic books. Granted, they looked more like William Gaines comics than anything from Marvel, but that's okay. The Devil with Yellow Eyes is closer to a horror character than a comic book villain anyway. This King of Shadows once again gives David and the gang a run for their money.