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Have you been re-watching the original episodes of “Twin
Peaks” that aired on abc from 1990-1991 in anticipation for its return to
Showtime on May 21, 2017?
I haven’t and probably should, but I did just watch a show
so “Twin Peaks” inspired that at times I swore the credits would reveal David
Although bizarre visionary David Lynch had nothing to do
with F/X’s “Legion,” the show was in the fully capable hands of writer/director/producer
Noah Hawley. Hawley has already brought even more critical acclaim to F/X thanks
to his outstanding interpretation of “Fargo,” which is about to return for a
third season on April 19. With “Legion,” Hawley stunned audiences yet again,
making his success rate two for two on F/X.
Previously, Hawley had quick cancellations with his abc
shows “The Unusual” (2009) and “My Generation” (2010) so obviously his work
fares far better on cable than broadcast television. Just as he based his
version of “Fargo” from someone else’s work (the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of
the same name), “Legion” is derived from a Marvel Comics character.
I’ve been burnt-out on comic book adaptations for quite some
time now and only checked out “Legion” due to Hawley’s involvement. I do love
the Christopher Nolan Batman films, the first “Iron Man,” and found “Deadpool”
hilariously entertaining, but the way Hollywood constantly churns out formulaic
comic book adaptations (I have not seen “Logan” so am not including it in my sentiment)
has left me completely jaded by the genre.
However, as expected, Hawley totally reinvented the tired
“Legion” is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on television
unless you have seen “Twin Peaks.” Nonetheless, it’s still unlike any comic
book show/movie you’ve seen because the whole superhero aspect takes a backseat
to a gripping mystery.
The series, which premiered February 8, 2017 and just
wrapped its first 8-episode season on March 29, is what you would categorize as
a mindfudge and that is the clean way to describe it. Like “Memento,” “Donnie
Darko,” and “Inception,” you aren’t 100% sure what is going on in “Legion” and
what you think you know could change at any second. For example, I still can’t
definitively tell you what time period “Legion” is set. While most of the
environments and fashion scream the 70s, the weaponry and technology makes me
assume its present-day or even the future.
It takes commitment to watch a puzzling show that can pull
the rug out from under you without warning. While watching “Legion,” I would
ask myself and text others “what the heck is going on?” despite the fact I was
still enjoying what was unfolding. I would read episode recaps to make sure I
wasn’t missing anything and hoped that by the finale everything would be
Clearly “Legion” knew they were throwing a tremendous amount
of information at fans because in the penultimate episode the show uniquely
went out of its way to spell everything out. The method was as engaging as it
was informative and to go into too much detail would spoil its brilliance.
However, depending on how closely you were paying attention, it was possible to
piece the show together even before the disclosure.
Wow, I am reaching word count and I haven’t even explained
the plot of “Legion.” That actually says a lot about the show – its ambiguous
nature is what makes “Legion” so rewarding.
“Legion” revolves around David Haller (marvelously played by
Dan Stevens), a young adult that has battled living with schizophrenia ever
since he was diagnosed at a young age. While residing in a psychiatric
hospital, his world is turned upside down when he meets the beautiful Sydney
“Syd” Barrett (Rachel Keller of Hawley’s “Fargo”). Hawley purposely chose her
name as a reference to Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett who suffered from mental
illness. The series includes even more Floyd thanks to a mind-altering scene
that utilizes the band’s “Speak to Me” and “Breathe” so profoundly it caused
the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. Hawley also splendidly injected T.
Rex in a pivotal moment.
Meeting Syd sends Haller down a rabbit hole that reveals he
may not suffer from a mental illness at all, but might actually be one of the
strongest mutants in existence. A government agency that views mutants as a
threat wants to control Haller, while a mutant-friendly group, led by Melanie
Bird (Jean Smart, also of Hawley’s “Fargo”), wishes to protect him.
Aside from the perplexing plot, intoxicating cinematography,
and dark humor, “Legion” boasts remarkable performances. Dan Stevens, who is
most famous for playing Matthew in “Downton Abbey” but first popped up on my
radar in the awesome film “The Guest,” is destined to receive nominations for
his strenuous performance. I also think Aubrey Plaza, known for her quirky
comedic character in “Parks & Rec,” is a shoo-in for an Emmy for her
diabolical role. And, wait until you see what “Flight of the Conchords” star Jemaine
Clement does with his charismatic character.
Season 1 of “Legion” was an education for both the
characters and the audience and now that we’re all on the same page Season 2
(coming in 2018) is going to be one wild ride.
neoliberals: I don’t know why black people are so outraged about the latest outrageous racist thing against black people, when we should obviously be more concerned with the thing that white people are outraged about. Really, don’t we have more important things to be concerned with right now?
me: Why do they always try to concern troll us, and imply that our valid grievances are divisive, minor distractions? Unless it’s another black person being murdered by cops, why are we always expected to put our issues on the back burner to rally around whatever white people decide is “more” important? Black people are perfectly capable of being concerned with multiple issues simultaneously. We can be concerned with Bill Maher’s casual racism, and “allies” who used prison slave labor, and lack of media representation, and Donald Trump, all at the same time. It’s dismissive and paternalistic when people suggest otherwise