I don’t know if this is just because they’re the two shows I review episode-by-episode, but I can’t help but draw parallels between Legion and Westworld. They both demand a higher-than-usual level of concentration, they’re both concerned with notions of identity and the sense of self, and they’ve both ended up with men inside the machine.
The differences are just as interesting. Westworld begs to be dissected, pored over, turned over and magnified in order to try and tease out the minute clues hidden in plain sight. Legion, on the other hand, says “It’s ok, you don’t need to grasp everything that happens. Trust us that we’re not about to leave you twisting in the dark.” Westworld rewards your attention with information, Legion rewards you with emotion. It’s classic head vs heart. Personally, my heart overrules my head in even the most basic situations, from what side of the train to sit on to what I want to eat for lunch. Hence, why I adore Legion and am willing to forgive a lot, but Westworld tries my patience.
For a show about a psychic mutant searching for the dead body of the nemesis who until recently lived in his brain and distorted his world view to the point he ended up in a psychiatric hospital, Legion consistently astounds me with how moving it is. Part of that is down to the cast. Every single person in Legion is bringing their A game, and that’s the reason why Lenny’s line about how desperate she is for everything to be real or an offhand remark from Clark about the tragic death of an ex-boyfriend can hit so hard.
Season Two has spent a lot of time muddying the waters, especially between Syd and David. They’re struggling with trust, especially since Future Syd showed up with ominous warnings, and Syd is beginning to doubt the strength of their relationship under these new, stressful influences. Clark advises her to stick it out, seeing as David is so powerful that breaking his heart could spell disaster. Some breakups feel like the end of the world, David could make that very, very literal. But Syd rejects that as a reason to fight for their relationship, instead telling Clark what she told David in her mind maze, love is why the world is worth saving. Her parachuting into the desert just to kick David in the shin and tell him off for running off without her is just about the most romantic thing I’ve seen in a long time.
That’s another reason why Legion keeps me so hooked. The stakes are huge here, if Future Syd is to be believed, but they’re also so very personal. Everyone is trying to save the world, but mainly because the people they love live there, and that’s what makes it worth saving.
Questions, questions, questions
- I realise this wasn’t much cop as a recap of what happened in this episode. In short, Ptonomy finds the Monk inside the mainframe and discovers where the monastery is. He also discovers that Admiral Fukuyama was used by the government as a safe to stash away secrets about mutants. David has some complicated plan to track down Farouk’s body without Farouk finding out his plan, but that’s been complicated by Oliver gaining control over Melanie. Also, the monastery keeps moving, leaving David and Syd lost in the desert, with Melanie’s minotaur stalking them.
- Syd tells Clark the same thing she told David in her mind maze, about love not being enough to save the world but being the reason to save it. Is it my imagination or did it sound much more romantic this time?
- Did anyone else give a little whoop when Lenny high-tailed it out of Division III on that motorbike? I’m seriously rooting for this to end well for her.
- Farouk finds the driver who took his body to the monastery. She asks about “The Professor”. Wonder who that could be?