Are you in the mood for something different?
Well, this series definitely fits that bill. I finished the third (and final) season of Legion in much the same frame of mind as the first two: mesmerized with the imagery and mind-blowing effects; dazzled by the unconventional storytelling that seemingly breaks all of the rules; impressed with the acting of the entire cast; and . . . confused.
You must keep in mind that, once again, I was watching a television show based upon a comic book that I never read. I didn’t know anything about David Haller/Legion prior to this series. Since then, however, I’ve learned that the character was the co-creation of Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. Claremont is, of course, the writer who was responsible for most of what I consider “my X-Men,” along with artist John Byrne, it should go without saying. I’m familiar with Sienkiewicz’s art and can only imagine that it was well-suited to this virtually abstract, acid-trip story. I suppose I could satisfy this theory by actually looking at the source material, but I probably never will. I’ve watched the television series. That’s enough for now.
The FX series Legion was created by Noah Hawley, who was also responsible for the television version of Fargo. The two series share a similar aesthetic. Stylish visuals are very important—and memorable—in both shows. While watching this story about a schizophrenic mutant, I had the distinct feeling that I was looking at, experiencing, an art project. You may argue that all filmmaking is art, but I would counter that it is a matter of degrees. Legion is much more arty than most.
I believe I compared the first season to reading James Joyce. If I didn’t, I probably should have. As with Joyce, I felt that the best way to experience this series was to let the images and scenes wash over me without trying to consciously understand it all. I still felt this way during the final season.
I could give you the guideposts to the plot, explaining the conflict between Haller and Amahl Farouk, as well as the eventual resolution, but it wouldn’t really describe the series. It is not a superhero show, even though the final season features a young Charles Xavier, who happens to be David’s father. The type of show where, in the finale, the characters can perform the entirety of Pink Floyd’s “Mother” without it seeming too meta or weird is one that really, ultimately, defies description. This is that show.
I recommend this series with the caveat that it is definitely an acquired taste. Don’t expect the usual Marvel bombast and rock-’em-sock-’em sequences. There are fighting sequences, but they are weird, too.
Firewater’s Final-Season-of-a-Strange-Series Report Card: B+
I’m still not sure what I just watched, but I know I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.