“And dinosaurs once ruled the Earth. And remind me what happened to them.”
Legion wrapped up it’s first season with a bang and more than enough questions to keep us scratching our heads until the next instalment. The re-introduction of ‘The Interrogator’ character in this episode was an odd choice, and one that at the end of the last episode I was sceptical that Hawley could pull off. But with this episode I was proved wrong as he turned out to be one of the most promising characters in the show (which is saying something as all the characters are awesome). The episode wasn’t as stand alone as previous ones, and perhaps works the best as a direct continuation of last weeks episode. But as finales go it was up there with some of the best.
After last weeks bat-shit insane episode the more conventional pace of this episode is at first strange. But not to worry, the episode structure may be quite normal but what transpires in it is anything but. First things first, the episode starts with a flashback to a character I think most of us figured we’d never see again; Hamish Linklater’s ‘The Interrogator’. He was an interesting and strangely well acted character for a single episode role so perhaps it’s no surprise we find out he didn’t die in the pool fire during David’s episode 1 breakout. The opening sequence of ‘Chapter 8’ is spent humanising The Interrogator where we learn his real name is Clark and he lives a perfectly picturesque and happy life with fellow Division 3 worker husband Daniel (Fargo season 2’s Keir O’Donnell) and their adopted son. Or at least he did, before David came along. After the aforementioned pool fire he did in fact survive, although only barely. 40% of his body now coved in third degree burns, he returned with a renewed zeal for capturing David. Although after the events of the episode I’m thinking Clark could eventually side with the Summerland gang – even if Division 3 don’t. Clark’s interest in David seems be more of an appreciation of him, rather than the desire to control or kill him that D3 have. Syd even points out Clark’s fondness for David. And to top it off, David’s desire to see them working together seems to have been reciprocated. Clark could be a very interesting character going forward into season 2 and after David is captured by someone in the post-credits scene (my money is on Division 3 and their mysterious ‘equinox) he could turn out to be essential.
The big moment in the episode came towards the end, when the gang finally managed to rid David of the parasitic Amahl Farouk/Lenny/Devil with the Yellow Eyes. Problem is the Shadow King needs a host, and Syd was the first to get it. In a cool slo-mo sequence the parasite jumps from host to host and, while controlling Kerry, has a showdown with David. This results with Farouk entering the body of Oliver. And at the worst time too; he’d just remembered Melanie! Oliver being one of the most powerful mutants in the show will surely spell news for the gang now Lenny is crawling around in his head. Lucky for us though it means we should be getting more of the fantastic Jermaine Clement as the fabulous astral plain dwelling Summerland founder. Some of the other cast members who have shone in previous episodes take a bit of a back seat this time around. It’s understandable as the show needed to use the hour to wrap up the season, but it would have been nice to see characters like Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) or David’s sister Amy (Katie Aselton) get a bit more to do. Bill Irwin’s Cary was still awesome though and his brief spat with Kerry seems to be over. Dan Stevens was brilliant once again also, as the conflicted and possibly still psychotic David Haller. Even when the spotlight is on the show’s other lead, the superb Rachel Keller as Syd, the show pretty much has to rest on Stevens’ shoulder’s. The suggestion that David may still be mentally ill, even after the removal of Farouk, is an interesting one. I’m curious what Hawley and Stevens’ will be able to get out of this without it feeling like a re-tread of season 1 but I’m certain it will be interesting.
The direction this episode was top notch once again, with series regular Michael Uppendahl taking the reins once again. The sequence with Lenny jumping from body to body was probably the standout scene of the episode but it was once again a beautiful hour of TV. The opening scene with Clark recovering from his mutant-inflicted burns was especially nice and reminded me of the gloomy cinematography and dark set design of Hannibal. The use of Pink Floyd for the now required musical segment was awesome scene too. The trippy sounds of ‘Breathe’ and ‘On the Run’ set to imagery from previous episodes was very cool, even if we all knew it was coming eventually (c’mon, one of the shows leads is called ‘Syd’ Barrett).
After the fantastic end to a fantastic debut season I’m at a loss to tell you where Legion is headed next. Legion has been a revelation for the comicbook TV show, leaving even the best of Marvel’s other offerings far behind. Whether the show continues for a third series after the closely won second series I suppose isn’t important; Noah Hawley and Legion have already left a mark on the television landscape. And although I don’t like predicting where the next season will go I can hazard a guess that the look and feel of the show’s location’s will change now the show has moved production from Vancouver to California but after that, well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. What I do know is that if Noah Hawley can somehow top the brilliant story, fantastic direction, and superb performances from season 1 then season 2 should be something very special indeed.