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April 23, 2024

Legion plays with viewers’ expectations

By DUBRAY KINNEY | April 13, 2017

Early on in the first episode FX’s Legion, a character’s memory of a pivotal event is dissected. Thirty minutes later another character enters and essentially tells the audience that the previous memory was fabricated.

Nomally something like that wouldn’t be too disorienting, especially considering that Legion basically tells you that we’re seeing the show through the main character, David’s, delusional eyes. Yet, for me at least, the revelation that multiple aspects of David’s established backstory were lies made me double check everything every character said from that point on.

Legion is the latest television show from FX, a network that has been on a roll since the late 2010s with shows like The Americans and Fargo. Legion had big shoes to fill with the popularity of the shows that surround it but it also had the right man at the helm of the show. Noah Hawley, showrunner of Fargo, signed on to showrun Legion and his ability to tell a story with style was duly noted as the show unfolded.

Legion revolves around the mind of David (Dan Stevens), a man who is admitted to Clockworks, a mental institution, after he suffers from a psychotic break. Other people at this institution include, Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) and the newest admitee Syd (Rachel Keller) who believes that she’s a mutant with the ability to switch bodies upon touching the skin of another person.

It should be mentioned here that Legion is an adaptation of an X-Men character onto the small screen but unless anyone wants to get spoiled towards possibile directions for the show, I wouldn’t look up anything about the character.

Going into this show blind is the best thing that any viewer could do. The show plays with any given viewer’s expectations as well as tropes and themes that we associate with certain situations before throwing them on their heads.

Some sequences that are worth talking about without getting into spoiler territory is a semi-silent confrontation that is given sound by the faux-composing of a telepath. Not to mention the action-packed finale of the first episode which features mutant abilities being used at such a grand scale that one could argue is better than any of the X-Men films thus far.

I should also mention that Aubrey Plaza is an absolute standout on this show. She gets to play a character with such range and such physicality that I wouldn’t be surprised if this serves to be her true breakout role, even though she’s already been in plenty of things. Perhaps after Legion she’ll make her push for the A-List in a similar way that her former Parks and Recreation (RIP Lil’ Sebastian) co-star, Chris Pratt did.

Legion is a show full of anachronisms, stories that go nowhere and characters that don’t seem to know where they are going. It’s also one of the must-see new shows of 2017.

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