The evolution of a program is the best way to keep an audience invested. As much as I loved Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the past, it failed to get out of its “by the numbers”, basic cable rut. Legion is a bizarre show with a fun premise, and because of the titular character’s abilities, the creativity is, seemingly, endless. Because Dave has had so many struggles with reality, by virtue of the Shadow King (great villain, by the way), his greatest struggle is with his past and the piecing together the true reality of his past. The first season is weird, not in a bad way, but this new season seems to hint at the next level of bizarre storytelling.
So Chapter 9 starts off like an episode of Twin Peaks, complete with backwards talking and a parallel to the black lodge, and it continues its Wes Anderson-esque whimsical storytelling. Off the bat, we are reminded that this is no ordinary story, and what we see may not exactly be what is real. Last we saw David he was trapped in a floating orb, but we open on him waking up in a laboratory of division 3, giving the show a nice excuse to flash forward one year. We are given a stronger backstory on division 3, beyond the “they hate mutants, so they are the bad guys” of season 1. The greater depth makes for an allowance of likability. There are still many mysteries, which is intended for the audience to stay tuned to watch all the events unravel. Who is Division 3? What do they know? What was the orb? Why are they dancing?
In my review of season 1 of Legion, I mistakenly called the horror reminiscent of David Cronenberg, but I meant David Lynch. I apologize, you may call me a noob, hack fraud in the comments all you want. It feels like a Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me fever dream, and the Shadow King feels plucked straight from the black lodge. While I hated the conclusion of Jessica Jones because it destroyed the one interesting part of the show (Killgrave), Legion was smart enough to keep the focus on the battle between David and SK. On the small screen, Marvel has a pretty good track record with villains (Kingpin, Jigsaw, Killgrave, Hydra), and the multi episode format gives baddies a chance to be fleshed out. When we are given 2 hours, the focus is primarily on our heroes, but when we have one hour, 8 times, we can shine the spotlight elsewhere.
The premise of the first season was based around the mystery of David and his struggles with reality, as well as the Devil with the Yellow Eyes, but now the cat is out of the bag, and we are thrust into a mystery directly involving the Shadow King, and his quest for his original body. It’s this mystery that kicks off this season. We have a good idea who David is and what he can do, but the Shadow King is still very much a mystery. The show succeeds in doling out the information slowly, so we can be taken along for the ride at a brisk pace. Instead of huge handfuls of information at a time, we get to see and hear little by little, because there is a lot to take in. We have a full 9 course meal of plot lines, and when we have such tonal shifts (though not out of place), it’s best to be allotted the chance to get enough story without being distracted.
Like the first episode of Twin Peaks: The Revival, Legion welcomes us back to the trans mundane. Chapter 9, like most second season premieres, sets up the plot threads, while reestablishing the tone of the first season. We get our daydreams, conspiracies, villain plot and dance numbers that defines the show. Unlike the end of the first season, and like the beginning of the first season, Aubrey Plaza is back to her subtle origins, because the focus has shifted to a brand new plot, but remains as dastardly as ever. It all feels like a bigger version of what we were given last season, but the lack of subtle visuals is what makes this show such a treat. I am pumped, and I think we are in store for something even more grand than what we got last season, but I lament that Cary still sucks. Apart from that, it may be the only show on TV that I am looking forward to, and I can’t wait for chapter 10.