Legion—Season 1

legion season 1 poster review episode guide list
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Interesting and clever, utilizes fun visuals and storytelling

Not for everyone and not always easy to follow

legion season 1 title card episode guide list

You are now entering David’s mind

David Haller (Dan Stevens) has never felt in control.  Diagnosed with schizophrenia, his problems have been written off as symptoms of his disease.  Spending year in the Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, David meets a fellow patient named Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) and also befriends a woman named Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza).  Unfortunately, schizophrenia isn’t David’s only problem.  David is also a mutant and his powers are growing out of his control.  When tragedy strikes, David finds himself on the run and sheltered by Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) who has her own take on mutants and their abilities.  Something is growing inside of David, and it wants out!

legion chapter 3 powers david haller dan stevens

Calgon…take me away!!!

Legion—Season 1 is a science-fiction action-adventure psychological Marvel comic book TV series.  Spinning out of the X-Men films and airing on FX from February 8, 2017 to March 29, 2017, the series is an adaptation of the Legion character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz who first appeared in New Mutants (1) #25 (March 1985).  The series was met with positive reviews and received early renewal for a second season.

New Mutants was one of my all-time favorite comics and I started reading right around the time that Legion premiered.  As a kid, the randomly picked-up issues made little sense but something about the crazy haired mutant clicked for me and made we want to read more comics.  The decision to turn Legion into a TV series was an odd one, but Legion provides a series that doesn’t fit the norm.

legion chapter 5 rachel keller dan stevens

How can we say this is an X-Men show without saying it is an X-Men show?

The series isn’t for everyone.  With crazy, warped plotlines that may-or-may not be what is really happening, Legion takes some patience to follow.  Much like the solo Legion comic book series X-Men Legacy, Legion is a rather heady, warped series with odd twists, characters, and events that aren’t always explained outright.  It does help to have some background in the character and in the X-Men (knowing the Shadow King can really help), but the series isn’t overtly “comic book” this season despite throwing the term “mutant” around frequently.

The cast is quite good.  Dan Stevens graduates from Downton Abbey and even gets to play with his accent a bit this season.  Rachel Keller is strong as his mutant girlfriend and it is always fun when Jemaine Clement shows up.  Amber Midthunder, Bill Irwin, and Jeremie Harris need some development as “the X-Team” that David is adopted by and likewise is true of Katie Aselton as David’s sister.  Jean Smart brings class and depth to her characters in all her series, and Aubrey Plaza’s sarcastic glares and stares works as the embodiment of the Shadow King and David’s doubt.

legion chapter 7 shadow king amahl farouk

I think the Shadow King just has a glandular problem

Visually, Legion excels.  The TV series feels very cinematic and is often a visual (and audio) feast.  Since the series is largely psychological (and taking place in the head of a person who is a superhuman schizophrenic), there is a lot of play that can be done with the layers of reality…and Legion takes full advantage of that.  It has dance segments, music segments, and event dips into silent film for a chunk of an episode.  It does this while still feeling natural and as a result the series has a bit of a Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind feel with a deep dive into the psychology and overlapping memories of David’s mind.

Legion is a challenging series and one of those series you watch and know immediately that it will be under-seen and under-appreciated.  It was also trapped in the weird conundrum (like the series The Gifted) of having to decide if it was going to commit to be a “comic book series” or if it was going to try to get a wider swath of audience that might not watch a series if they knew it was X-Men based.  It tried to play both sides and in a way had some success with the approach…but the series was always going to face an uphill battle.

Legion—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

legion chapter 1 david haller dan stevens

“Chapter 1”

1.1       Chapter 1 Airdate:  02/08/17

David Haller (Dan Stevens) is a troubled young man.  When he is diagnosed with schizophrenia, he finds himself in the Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital where doctors try to treat him.  Unfortunately, David’s problems aren’t just medical, and David is a powerful mutant.  When he falls in love with a fellow mutant patient named Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller), tragedy strikes and makes David a target.  David’s a prisoner…but is it just all in his head?

legion chapter 2 dan stevens jean smart jeremie harris

“Chapter 2”

1.2       Chapter 2 Airdate:  02/15/17

David is on the run with and in hiding with Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart).  With Bird helping David try to understand his powers, Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) helps David enter into his own past and review events he might have forgotten.  David’s sister Amy (Katie Aselton) goes looking for David and runs into trouble of her own.

legion chapter 3 angriest boy in the world

“Chapter 3”

1.3       Chapter 3 Airdate:  02/22/17

Amy is a prisoner of Division 3, but David is warned by Bird that going after her can be dangerous if he isn’t prepared.  With difficulties seeing into David’s memories, Dr. Bird’s attempts to dampen his powers leads Syd to a trip into David’s past that could reveal the real horror he’s facing.

legion chapter 4 astral plane david haller dan stevens

“Chapter 4”

1.4       Chapter 4 Airdate:  03/01/17

David is trapped in the astral-place where he meets a strange man named Oliver (Jemaine Clement) and has a face-off with Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) who reveals she has her own plans. Separating from Cary (Bill Irwin), Kerry (Amber Midthunder), Syd, and Ptonomy search for David by investigating his past but find they could be walking into a trap.

legion chapter 5 lenny aubrey plaza david haller dan stevens shadow king

“Chapter 5”

1.5       Chapter 5 Airdate:  03/08/17

Kerry tries to recover from her injuries as David’s relationship with Syd deeps as he learns more about his powers.  Headstrong and eager to rescue Amy, David sets off on his own to Division 3…but David might not be alone inside his head and Cary has ideas of what that might be.  With David’s potential unleashed, David might not be in control of himself.

legion chapter 6 shadow king amahl farouk david haller dan stevens

“Chapter 6”

1.6       Chapter 6 Airdate:  03/15/17

With David and his friends in danger, David has pulled himself and his friends into his mind creating a frozen timeline.  Trapped in Summerland with Lenny as the head psychologist, Cary, Kerry, Melanie, Ptonomy, and Syd are at the mercy of Lenny’s whim…and the yellow-eyed demon (Quinton  Boisclair) wants answers from David’s mind.

legion chapter 7 david haller dan stevens

“Chapter 7”

1.7       Chapter 7 Airdate:  03/22/17

With Oliver providing Cary with a potential escape route, restoring everyone to reality while saving from the gunfire becomes the goal.  Kerry finds herself abandoned by Cary and hunted by the Eye (Mackenzie Gray).  Reality is breaking down in David’s head, and with Lenny locking him away, David must figure out things about his own past if he hopes to escape.  Oliver reveals the true identity of the yellow-eyed demon, and its plans for David.

legion chapter 8 lenny david haller aubrey plaza dan stevens

“Chapter 8”

1.8       Chapter 8 Airdate:  03/29/17

Clark (Hamish Linklater) and Division 3 have come to subdue David, but David’s new control over his powers could prove too much.  With the threat of Amahl Farouk escaping his prison inside of David, the newly adjusting Oliver and Cary plot a means to extract the Shadow King.  Kerry finds herself unable to connect with Cary following their experience in Summerland and tries to determine her next step.  When the Shadow King appears to be proving too powerful, Syd decides she must make a decision if she wants to save David.

Related Links:

X-Men Legacy 1:  Prodigal

X-Men Legacy 2:  Invasive Exotics

X-Men Legacy 3:  Revenants

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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