The Pitch: It’s been months since Season Two ended with David Haller (Dan Stevens) turning on his pals at Division Three and taking off on his personal with quirky confederate Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) in tow. Since then, David has centered his powers into fashioning himself right into a charismatic cult chief referred to as “The Magic Man” with the hopes of evading the remainder of Division Three and reversing his fortunes.
Enter Change (Terrace Home‘s Lauren Tsai), a mutant with the power to time journey, who will get caught in David’s orbit and commits to serving to him change the previous. In different phrases, no extra Syd (Rachel Keller), no extra Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban), no extra ending the world. However with time journey comes dangers, not simply of fractured timelines however of mysterious “time demons” that lurk within the temporal shadows, simply ready to eat the remainder of existence.
What’s Mistaken With Peace Love and Understanding: Merely put, Legion has numerous ‘splaining to do. Noah Hawley‘s infamously opaque, Expressionistic superhero story is much-lauded for its mind-bending visuals and deep emphasis on theme over character. But generally it’s too intelligent for its personal good. To its credit score, although, Season Three commits to the (arguably unearned) twist that ended the second season: David, our hero, has truly been the dangerous man this complete time. It’s not a foul idea in concept, however Hawley et al. burned numerous bridges by turning David not solely right into a harmful legal responsibility who will definitively trigger the top of the world, however somebody who successfully raped Syd repeatedly (by altering her recollections to govern her into having intercourse with him). It was a daring, misguided transfer that turned us manner off within the season two finale.
Rachel Keller as Syd Barrett in FX’s Legion
Not less than partially, David’s journey in Season Three appears to be an interrogation of his newfound sociopathy, and pays lip service to the self-reflection most males need to make in a tradition that holds them extra accountable for the best way they wield energy over girls. “He thinks he’s the sufferer,” says Syd of David; somewhat than settle for duty for what he’s executed, he reacts by hatching a scheme to erase his childhood trauma so he doesn’t do it within the first place. There’s one thing deeper there in regards to the methods males blame their very own traumas and setbacks for their very own horrible actions, however the present usually will get so misplaced in its narrative quirks that these queries don’t get the eye they deserve.
As a lot as Hawley claimed in interviews that Season Three would reveal Syd’s true nature because the protagonist, she will get solely marginally improved growth right here. Her life remains to be outlined by David’s and her id remains to be wrapped round a lifetime of sexual trauma. (Even the Time Demons find yourself enjoying that assaulter position in a single extraordinarily misguided second halfway by means of the season.) So, regardless of being the dangerous man, it’s nonetheless David’s story by means of and thru.
Lauren Tsai as Change in FX’s Legion
Xavier’s Terrace Home for Gifted Mutants: That mentioned, there are just a few welcome respites from Legion‘s numerous convolutions. Whereas she serves as one more prop for different characters to move round, Tsai suits into the aloofness of Legion‘s world fairly effectively as Change. It’s nonetheless irritating to see her get not practically sufficient to do because the season continues, however she retains up admirably with the remainder of the solid and is a welcome addition to the present’s innate weirdness.
But it surely’s telling that the season’s most interesting hour can be its most simple and coherent. It’s a flashback episode during which we see how Charles Xavier (Harry Lloyd of Recreation of Thrones) met David’s mom, a Holocaust survivor named Gabrielle Haller (Stephanie Corneliussen). Not solely will we get to see little fan-servicey moments like Xavier attempting on an early model of Cerebro, however the episode itself can be a beautiful piece of interval romance, full with sepia-toned cinematography and superbly assured performances from Lloyd and Corneliussen. It nonetheless dabbles within the typical Legion prospers (“She’s a Rainbow” performs once more for the primary time for the reason that pilot, and Xavier’s time in World Struggle II is filmed as a grainy 40s warfare film), however it’s a welcome breather from the chaos that surrounds it.
Jeremie Harris as Ptonomy Wallace, Amber Midthunder as Kerry Loudermilk, and Invoice Irwin as Cary Loudermilk in FX’s Legion
Flights of Fancy: After all, Legion‘s outré model is its actual enchantment, and Hawley continues to drag out all of the aesthetic stops because the present will get even weirder in its third and last season.
— To maintain out of David’s psychic attain, the remnants of Division Three — particularly, Syd, Cary (Invoice Irwin), Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), a resurrected model of Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), Clark (Hamish Linklater), and new ally Farouk — jet round in a bulbous, retro-futurist airship.
— The season’s new tertiary villains, the Time Demons, appear like Blue Meanie puppets who transfer in menacing cease movement, and may even entice folks in slideshow-esque realities that hold time fractured for them.
— One episode, which catches up with Melanie (Jean Good) and Oliver Hen (Jemaine Clement) within the astral airplane, is a Burtonesque darkish fantasy stuffed with road urchins and a Massive Dangerous Wolf (Jason Mantzoukas) that’s come to check the ethical fortitude of its inhabitants.
It’s all extremely well-rendered and consistent with Legion‘s dedication to conserving its viewers off-center at each flip. When you could not likely know what’s happening at any given second, Legion stays one of the vital visually bizarre exhibits on TV, and that’s simply its best advantage.
Aubrey Plaza as Lenny Busker in FX’s Legion
The Verdict: For all of Legion‘s experimental formal tips and superbly kaleidoscopic narrative buildings, one can’t assist however get the nagging feeling it’s nonetheless not main anyplace. There are nonetheless the prerequisite thematic discussions of time, future and morality available, however they’re leavened by a helter-skelter sense of pacing and Hawley’s incapacity to actually dig deep into his supporting solid (particularly the ladies).
Each body of Legion‘s last season is filled with visible splendor and moments of blisteringly dry comedy — you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jemaine Clement interact in a psychic rap battle with a Massive Dangerous Wolf performed by Jason Mantzoukas. However a lot of this appears like stylistic posturing, its deeper thematic concepts aestheticized as exactly as its intricately dressed and posed solid. If that is the mental’s superhero present, then why do its themes really feel so shallowly introduced?
It’s maybe too harsh to say that Legion goes out with a whimper. Season Three is a demonstrable enchancment over its second season by advantage of the truth that it a minimum of pretends to interrogate the assumptions made throughout that season. However with its continued give attention to music-video logic over thematic coherence, Legion stops simply wanting placing its revolutionary, eye-catching aesthetics in service of one thing better and extra priceless.
As it’s, Legion is bizarre for bizarre’s sake and appears content material to do this proper as much as the top.
The place’s It Taking part in?: Legion digs into your thoughts Monday nights on FX, premiering tonight.