Review: FX’s Legion – Too Insane for TV?

Just the other day, I went on record saying how much of a fan I am of the X-Men comics, and how much I wasn’t a fan of the X-Men movies (save Deadpool).

Bearing that in mind, I really enjoyed Legion.

The show is completely different than any other superhero show that’s ever been done.  Probably because Legion was never a superhero.  He’s a deeply disturbed, but highly powerful mutant.  Maybe the most powerful mutant that’s ever lived.  The only problem is, he’s crazy as f@#%!

David Haller, the birth name of the mutant Legion, is schizophrenic, which is where the name Legion comes from — specifically from the Holy Bible, Mark 5:1-13, where Jesus encounters a man possessed by a multitude of demons, and when asked for the demons’ name, the man says, “Legion, for we are many.”

So with that dark and spooky tale as the show’s namesake, we enter the dark and somewhat ominous world of the TV show, Legion.  Naturally, the pilot only hints at the omega-level mutant’s true abilities, focusing instead on his personal interactions with his family and the other inmates in the psychiatric hospital where the episode takes place.  What did you expect?  He hears voices, he thinks he can control things with his mind (or rather, he did, before the meds).

Things are pretty normal for David (played by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame, and also plays the Beast opposite Emma Watson in Disney’s upcoming film) until he meets the new girl, Syd Barrett.  Yes, Syd shares the name with Pink Floyd frontman, but the one on the show (played by Rachel Keller of Fargo) is a lot prettier.  Stevens does an incredible job with all the nuances of the character and really sells the protagonist as more of a broken, sympathetic human and less of a nut-job and super-villain, as he was known for years in the comics.

I won’t give away the whole thing, as you should watch it for yourself, but there’s enough intrigue to get you hastily through the episode and leave you wanting more.

One thing you shouldn’t expect any time soon is the show to reveal that David is the son of X-Men founder, Wheels…err, I mean Charles Xavier.  Time will tell just how comic-accurate the show will remain, but for now, it’s a solid, good time, and the show’s narrative structure is utilized well to keep the twists coming.

 

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