And so the end has been prepared for.
No, not really.
Legion wraps up its fourth and final season tonight. It a show that IMO defies standard review, which is why I haven't reviewed it. Much of it is imagery and music and allegory and psychedelia. We've had rap battles stand in for telepathic struggles and the main character has gone from protagonist to antagonist to... basically non-existence at the end, since he helped initiate a series of events that basically ensured that "he" never existed. Along with everything that had happened in the last four seasons.
So if I had done reviews, they would have been of events that never happened in the show's "reality". Yes, they happened and FX showed them. And they exist on DVD and in reruns. Still, that makes the entire thing kind of pointless. It's all very timey-wimey and such.
What is timey-wimey? We get David (Dan Stevens) traveling back in time thanks to Switch (Lauren Tsai). He arrives at the time when Charles Xavier (Harry Lloyd) met with Farouk, the Shadow King (Navid Negahban). Farouk being the psychic entity that was driven out of his own body and somehow found his way into David's mind. They're half a world away, so presumably Farouk got there through Charles' psychic link with his son. Not that it's ever explained or anything, and I don't believe we ever saw Charles and Baby David together for more than a few brief moments at best. But it's a comic book show, so go with it.
David and Charles prepare for war, with David pulling a goldfish out of his ear (in one of the show's many visual tics) before producing a mace. Charles pulls out a bullet which he loads into a psychic gun. However, they discover that the 2019 Farouk has traveled back in time, as well, to aid his younger self.
The two sides square off: David versus Past-Farouk, and Charles versus Adult-Farouk. The astral plane battles are impressive, as always on the show. David and the hordes of Davids (aka "Legion") attack past-Farouk and overwhelm him. But he turns into a straitjacket and traps David, who fights his way free with the help of a... musical duet with his mother Gabrielle (Stephanie Corneliussen).
Charles shoots Present-Farouk, but he shrugs it off and they have a drink. We find out that Present-Farouk has conveniently turned good after years of living in David's mind, and accepts the deal Charles offers to leave David alone and call off their battle. They stop David from killing Past-Farouk, and Present-Farouk loans Past-Farouk his sunglasses to show him David's life that Present-Farouk "lived" while sharing his mind. Like I said, it's very timey-wimey.
Charles tells David that he's a lousy father and shouldn't have abandoned him, and promises to be there for him. The two of them hug.
At the same time, the Time Demons that were unleashed by Switch's time traveling are attacking the house where Gabrielle lives with Baby David. Syd (Rachel Keller), Kerry (Amber Midthunder), and Cary (Bill Irwin) have time-traveled there. Cary is in bad shape because he's taken on Kerry's injuries from an earlier fight, and he's the scientific geek in any case. Syd shotguns Time Demons, and Kerry chops them up while merged with Cary, which is their mutant power. This causes Kerry to age for some reason: either due to long-term exposure to her "older" brother, or the presence of the Time Demons, or both, or neither. The two of them existing at the same time in one body confuses the Time Demons, letting Kerry fight them. Although Syd can shoot them just as well.
Meanwhile, Switch is losing her teeth due to the strain of time travelling David around. Her father Xiu shows up and tells her that her baby teeth have grown out and now she has "wisdom teeth". Which is an amusing play on words. This turns her into a transdimensional being like her father. Xiu can control the Time Demons, which means Switch can. So she goes to the house, sends the Time Demons away, and tells Syd that she will be reborn as a new person when the timeline changes because David doesn't become the David that he was. The one that mind-raped Syd and killed and/or raped some of their teammates. However, Switch assures her that even though they will disappear, their sacrifices meant something.
Syd takes this pretty well, all things considered. Kerry and Cary are now of the same age, and greet each other as brother and sister for the first time. Which is kind of meaningless, because they'll cease to exist off-camera a few seconds later.
The last scene is of David and Syd looking down on Baby David, and Syd saying that she did what she did for the baby rather than the adult. David takes that pretty well, and then the two of them fade out of existence as David's timeline alters.
There's no sign of Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), Clark (Hamish Linklater), and Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris). Not to mention the Vermillions! They were killed off three episodes ago when the power-mad David boarded Division 3's airship and did unpleasant things to them.
So Legion ended with everyone (who was still alive) getting a kinda-sorta happy ending. David and Syd get a do-over, although presumably they'll never meet. Charles and Xavier are together, and will raise David to be a happy well-adjusted child. Cary and Kerry have a touching reunion of sorts before they're wiped from existence. Switch has moved on to the next level of reality. Presumably, the Present-Farouk ceased to exist because Charles never defeated Farouk's past-self, and said self didn't end up in David's mind to turn his first 32 years of life into a schizophrenic nightmare.'
Over the course of 27 episodes, Legion was definitely an entertaining show. If... you're into that kind of thing. It had mutants, and Charles Xavier eventually, and a few comic book characters. And lots of artsy-farty imagery, and directorial touches, and musical numbers, and the kind of thing that reminds me of the 1960s The Prisoner. The above is mostly my interpretation, although there are others out there who think much the same thing.
And that's one of the strengths of Noah Hawley and his creative team. Much of Legion is interpretative. Compared to the relatively straightforward narratives of the other Marvel movies and TV shows, Legion is a spaghetti basket of narratives and plots and timelines and Jon Hamm narrating for a season, and general wackiness. Hawley & Co. were never afraid to do whatever the heck they felt like, and if you didn't think it made sense, their attitude seemed to be "You ain't seen nothing yet!"
Narrative, Legion didn't handle the landing very well. Even with being wiped out of the timestream, most of the characters got a "happy ending". David is no longer a monster, Syd is no longer mind-raped, Farouk becomes a good guy, Charles and Gabrielle make a happy family with young David. But... David killed a number of people. He left Clark floating in space as a corpsicle, for pete's sake, along with a bunch of Division 3 soldiers. David stripped away decades of memories from Clark's lover. He became increasingly abusive and monstrous, wiping out his followers with barely a glance.
Basically, David gets to walk away from it all as he hits the cosmic "reset button" and erases everything that happened. David doesn't get a hero's journey. In fact, he more or less succeeds in what he set out to do this season: go back in time, alter his past, and get a "do-over". In a sense, the "evil" David won. So Legion is less about David becoming a hero, and more about altering time so that he never became the monster the show eventually turned him into.
While there's arguably no other way it could have ended, it leaves one feeling curiously empty. "Evil" David wins: he alters history so he doesn't become evil and doesn't commit all the vile acts that the creative team seemed to occasionally revel in showing this season. That makes Legion an interesting case study in good vs. evil, and what evil is, and what good is. As satisfying broadcast entertainment, not so much. It doesn't help that we never get to see this "brave new world". Does David turn out to be a good person? (Or at least a better person?) Who knows?
A few episodes ago, Syd told her younger self that what she suffered at David's hands made her stronger. All of that is gone. By fading to black at the end as time unravels, we never see what she becomes without David in her life. We never find out what happens to Cary and Kerry. Ptonomy may or may not become Mainframe. Nothing is learned, nothing newer and better comes out of the chaos. Maybe it does... maybe it doesn't. Interpretation, baby, interpretation.
Overall, Legion is one of those shows that you watch, put away, and come back to years later to binge watch. There are certainly scenes to watch over and over: Jemaine Clement's rap battle with Jerome Wolf in Chapter 25 is the most recent example. But watching the whole series over and over, when you know how it will end? Not so much.
But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
Written by Gislef on Aug 13, 2019