‘Legion’ Spoiler Review: Thoughts on ”Chapter 3”

legion episode 3 review 3

The Haunted House of David’s Brain

The bulk of “Chapter 3” is spent exploring David’s brain, with Dr. Bird, Ptonomy, and Syd attempting to unblock those repressed memories by literally wandering through them. While the interior world of David Haller was creepy last week, it’s gone full-blown horror movie this week, feeling more like a haunted house than anything else. And that’s certainly appropriate, isn’t it? For the mind of a haunted man to be transformed into a literal haunted landscape for psychic visitors?

This is an area where Legion continues to excel. The show uses cinematic language and familiar concepts to make the abstract come to life in a way that is quickly and easily understood. Memories within memories are depicted as hazy projections on top of other images. Characters command their surroundings, allowing them to closely investigate a memory after “pausing” the action. As the action grows more intense, as the characters find themselves under assault by the possibly literal demons within David’s brain, the show’s aspect ratio shifts, tightening up and closing in on the characters, lending the events an unexpected and subtle claustrophobia. In its third episode, Legion is still very much a comic book show, but it’s also one of the most inventive horror shows on television, an endlessly creepy tour through a personal hell.

And when it’s not being unsettling, Legion‘s literal depictions of abstract concepts can be beautiful, like how David and Syd’s psychic teleportation into the lake next to Summerland is depicted as two billowing drops of colorful ink spreading through crystal clear water. The series has carved out a clear visual identity – nothing on TV feels quite like this.

legion episode 3 review 1

The Ghosts of David Haller

When “Chapter 3” concludes, David is still sedated and still trapped within his own mind, surrounded by countless anonymous figure pointing accusing fingers. These are the voices that have plagued him his entire life. They are the personification of his illness (or his powers, depending on your point of view). They are terrifying and horrible and maybe…they mean well. Remember what David said back in “Chapter 1,” when he discussed his suicide attempt. The voices didn’t encourage him to end his life – they asked him to not kill himself.

While there are seemingly countless voices within David’s mind, we’ve come face-to-face with a few of them: the hideous Devil With Yellow Eyes, the World’s Angriest Boy in the World, and Aubrey Plaza‘s Lenny. Anyone not ready to trust Summerland or its methods may pay special attention to Lenny’s words of warning: they cannot help him and it’s amusing that they think they can.

What if there is truth to Lenny’s words? What if the monsters that torment David’s interior and attack other visitors aren’t malicious, but simply acting in the manner they see as appropriate? They could be defending his repressed memories for good reason. They could see Summerland as intruders bent on using David’s abilities for their own, nefarious purposes. These creatures, these beings, are not memories or figments. They have agency and do not follow the passive dream rules Ptonomy and Dr. Bird were expecting. They’re real enough…and anything that’s real has to have a reason to exist and a need to fulfill.

And that brings us to the conflict brewing at the heart of Legion: is David ill or is he just the most powerful mutant on the face of the Earth? Summerland thinks the latter, while David’s own inner demons suggest differently (with Lenny just coming out and saying it). Those monsters, those voices, those defenses Dr. Bird was not prepared to battle, suggest a harsh truth: David Haller is the most powerful mutant on Earth and he’s also mentally ill and those two concepts are intertwined. Would David be able to manifest his powers at all if there weren’t literal monsters living in his head? That sounds like a good question to ponder as we move forward.

legion episode 2 review 6

Today in David and Syd Being Adorable…

Like with the past two chapters, the weight of Legion‘s various horrors and mysteries allow every scene between Rachel Keller‘s Syd and Dan Stevens’ David to sing, with their oddball romance providing a beating heart for the disconcerting show orbiting it. This week’s delightful revelation: Syd can touch David while visiting his mind, allowing the two of them to actually make physical contact for the first time without causing complete and total mayhem. And because Legion has never seen an ordinary moment it didn’t want to turn inside out, Syd’s first embrace with David comes after he’s sedated, meaning he’s presented as a young child. It’s a little weird, but it’s also adorable – their embrace manages to exist outside of sexuality, transformed by psychic weirdness into a moment of pure affection rather than desire.

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: