Legion: Season 1 Episode 8 Review – Chapter 8
This review contains spoilers.
Out with the old, in with the new. Chapter 7 proved to be the demise of Walter, The Eye, as Lenny disposed of him in a metaphorical and painfully literal manner. In previous reviews I have been vocal about my issues with his character, and ultimately he was more of a villain by default than an actually fleshed out character. Luckily, this episode marks the return of The Interrogator, or Clark as we find out he is called, and he immediately proves to be ten times more interesting than Walter ever was.
Whereas we never learned anything about Walter as a person, here the show introduces Clark’s private life and how it is affected by the circumstances. In seven minutes the show deftly establishes him as a man who is clearly incredibly hurt by what happened to him, but uses it as further conviction to carry on with his work. Whether his goal is to protect the human race from potentially volatile mutants or simply to get his revenge on the mutants who burned him remains to be seen, but it gives the character a moral duplicity that sets him apart from the nameless D3 soldiers. Also, the show pulls off a great role reversal, as he is no longer The Interrogator, but rather the person being interrogated. Quite a shift in power indeed.
A lot of credit should go to Hamish Linklater, who builds on his strong showing in the pilot. He imbues Clark with just the right combination of confidence and vulnerability, and I look forward to seeing him play a bigger role in whatever events may transpire next season. He could be just what the show needed to make Division 3 more interesting.
But Clark is not the villain that they need to be concerned with, at least not for now. David’s stylish headband can only do so much to keep Amahl Farouk at bay, and the cracks quickly start to show. When they try to banish him from David’s mind, Farouk demonstrates just how powerful he can be when he fights back.
It is here that the show delivers its final grand setpiece to close out the season. Seeing that David is losing, Syd steps in to save him. By kissing him, they switch bodies, and the monster is out of David’s body and into hers. Once inside of Syd, he uses her power to take over Kerry and from there he incapacitates everyone else. It is a lot to catch up with, even in slow motion. While it may be somewhat confusing, the way it is choreographed makes it thrilling to watch above all else.
It is slightly disappointing that the big confrontation with the monster ends with Kerry (Farouk) and David (not sure whether this is David or Syd) simply running at each other, which is uncharacteristically formulaic for a show that has often shown to be at its best when coming up with creative approaches to these kind of moments. The end result is interesting, however, as Farouk collides with Oliver and takes over his body.
During the episode I was wondering what Oliver’s function would be in the context of the show now that he had been saved from the astral plane. For the first half hour the writers seemed somewhat unsure how to use him, but in hindsight it is clear that they had a different direction in store for him. Jemaine Clement is great in the role and I am excited to see what he can do when possessed by a dark influence, though I wonder how much of a role he is going to play next season now that he is driving off into the sunset with a revitalised Lenny by his side. In any case, you can be sure that it is going to be one hell of a road trip.
One problem at a time, however. The episode ends with a post-credits scene in which a mysterious floating object abducts David. It seems to come out of nowhere, and it certainly is a weird note to end the season on. Its origins are not a complete mystery, however. When things start going south during the experiment, the person in charge of Division 3 says “Send the Equinox”. It is a really quick line that is very easy to miss in the heat of the moment. But it could be very plausible that this flying object is said Equinox, and that Division 3 has captured David. This could very well be the start of a larger D3 presence in season 2, which has become a more enticing prospect since the characterization of Clark shows that Legion is making steps in this regard.
Chapter 8 is a very good episode of Legion that could have been even better. It starts off on an absolute high note, but runs into some minor problems as the episode continues. Some of these are uncharacteristic for the show, like the cookie-cutter final confrontation; some are more familiar, like the abrupt start of new plotlines like The Equinox. These are things the show needs to improve during its second season if it wants to go from a few moments of absolute brilliance across a season, to a consistently high quality throughout. However, that does not mean that this episode is bereft of great moments, on the contrary. It functions as a fine end to the season and a promising set up for things to come.
Image credits: FX Networks