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Legion: ‘Chapter 18’ Review

Legion has taken a dark turn that brings the world of the show closer to the dystopian future that has been glimpsed in past episodes.  As David’s plan against the Shadow King comes to fruition, fans are left to question if the final outcome will lead to the birth of something far worse.

The big twist – well not really due to excellent foreshadowing – was that David may prove to be the larger villain of this series.  It seems that future Syd’s words to the Shadow King have proved true, as David gives into his darker instincts in ‘Chapter 18’.  This is best shown when he tortures his own friend, Oliver, to get information from Farouk.  Complete disregard for Oliver’s body and what he has suffered under the Shadow King’s control is a very sinister move on David’s part.

This new twist works so well because it builds off of season one’s premise of whether David was controlled by the Shadow King or if those action were his own.  It left viewers guessing as to whether David was really in control of his actions and this episode returns to that premise, just not with the answer some would have wanted.  Legion is designed to be one long novel for television, and this aspect of the series is readily apparent in this ‘chapter’.  However, despite what seems like the most obvious path following this episode, nothing in Legion is clear-cut so this could all be masking Hawley’s true intentions for the character.  The comic-book Legion hairstyle was an excellent inclusion in the opening moments of the episode.  What better way to depict an evil David then to give him his comic counterpart’s distinctive look.

David’s shift has been made even more tragic because it is slowly revealed to Syd at the same time the viewer is made to understand this new information.  After all the progress the couple has made in previous weeks, it’s sad to see it all come tumbling down.  She seems to acknowledge the threat David poses top the world but defeating him will not be an easy choice for her to make.  Syd is angry and hurt, with her desire to battle the Minotaur acting a distraction from this inner tension.  Also, that monster was frightening and adds an interesting new visual element to the series.

Division three had one goal, and they have failed in that regard.  The event they have been trying to prevent is finally upon them, as Farouk’s consciousness has been reunited with his body.  However, this moment never feels big and ominous, as the episode shifts the larger threat over to David.  The scene with the character at the episode’s end was beautifully shot, framed and written.  After having spent decades locked away from his own corporeal form, Farouk uses his full powers, before staring into the rising sun.

Farouk has a new ally in Melanie, who is freeing herself from the destructive influence of the males in her life by forging a new path.  Melanie still seems to be a pawn of the Shadow King, so this newfound agency may be an illusion.  Either way, her new attitude makes for a great new antagonist due to her relationship with the team and her scenes with Syd were fantastic.  Playing on Syd greatest fears regarding David allowed Melanie to turn his closets ally against him, though whether he revelation are true remain to be seen.

It was awesome to see an action sequence this week as despite my love of Legion’s Lynch-esque storytelling, every superhero story needs some violence now and again.  Watching Kerry defeat those malicious monks was a thrill and a burst of energy that was needed in such a self-reflective and morbid story.

That hole in the ground being filled up by a metaphysical and quite large drain plug was a wonderfully surreal moment, with the pink color clashing with the barren desert landscape.  Lenny being given direction by the monk’s wearing those ridiculous helmets was also an amazingly odd moment that brought with it some good humor.

There is this interesting element to this episode where it feels like every character is playing their part in a larger game.  Each one is like a chess piece as the show has as larger endgame in mind, but they act as if they are being controlled by a larger force, such as when Lenny tells Kerry she can’t join her due to David’s plan.  Perhaps David’s manipulation of the team is part of his development into a darker character, taking on the characteristics of the Shadow King.  Everyone has become a pawn to him is his desire for revenge, similar to Farouk’s actions to regain his physical form.

A deeply disturbing episode that may prove to redefine David’s role in the show, ‘Chapter 18’ sets up a historic season finale.

Rating: 9/10

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