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Legion Season 3: What’s Worked, What Hasn’t & What We Want to See

Dan Stevens Legion Season 3 Premiere
Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/FX

With Legion’s third and final season now more than halfway finished, we’ve got a lot to digest.

There are three episodes left to what has easily been the best and most streamlined season of the series. As a show that has finally learned to laser-focus its controlled chaos, it’s sad to see Legion go at what could arguably be its prime, but ultimately a wise move on behalf of creator Noah Hawley and the rest of the cast and crew, who don’t always nail the ambitiousness of their ideas.

Despite being overlooked by award showsLegion is sure to go down as one of the most fearless and revolutionary television series of the decade. Ahead of the finale, I’m going to look at some of the high points, some of the lows, and what might be in store for David and our Summerland/Division Three heroes.

Without a doubt, Season Three has been as technically flawless as ever. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is probably the closest we’ve ever come to a live-action adaptation of a comic book. The way the show is stylized, the visual elements that seem almost cartoony in the way they juxtapose with the live-action settings, the flow of the story – this all points to a careful and loving recreation of the medium of a Marvel comic, ESPECIALLY one from the late 1980’s/early 90’s era that the Legion comics hail from. There’s something so faithful about the way Noah Hawley has adapted the story of David Haller, son of Professor X and one of the most powerful (and dangerous) mutants alive, into the story about a very human but very unstable man willing to destroy the world in his quest for validation.

The over-the-top aesthetic of Legion can be both an asset and a detriment to the series at times, and for a chunk of season two proved to be a small obstacle the series had to overcome to arrive at the finish line. Here, it’s been perfected to the point that the show itself stops taking its visually arresting moments for granted; you aren’t left wondering whether something meant anything because we’re finally fully immersed in a world where android women with bowl cuts and mustaches don’t mean anything but mean everything at the same time. It’s simply a world without rules, where mutants who view themselves as gods try to make them up as they go.

In the past, slower episodes could feel more frustrating than they had to be because they would dominate such a large portion of the show’s limited structure. Season three has left barely any room for this complaint. We started strong with only a small lull in episode two, before jumped decades back in time for an entire episode based around the story of how David’s parents met. This episode is a highlight of the series and although it takes some liberties with the continuity both in Marvel/FOX’s cinematic universe and within the Legion comics, it’s a version of Professor Xavier’s past that makes him a much more sympathetic and human figure, a version that deserves to be held as canon. If not for the interjections of voiceover by David and Switch, “Chapter 22” could even be standalone viewing for anyone who wasn’t familiar with the show.

Another highlight is the way the show explains and defines the concept of time. Switch’s time hallway, that we later learn is full of demons that eat time that has been tampered with, is an extremely fascinating setting, on par with the astral plane, and could be developed so much more than it has been and would remain just as fascinating. Switch’s relationship with time is also a point of interest, because it’s clear that time travel takes a toll on her body, one that we don’t know the full consequences of but could spell trouble for her if David continues to take advantage of her to fuel his own agenda. Switch has not been given much in the way of character development, but unlike the way they completely passed over Ptonomy as a big player, this feels intentional, and adds a welcome layer of mystery.

There is so little to complain about in terms of pacing, action, storyline, and acting that I almost began scrambling for something to dock it for, before realizing that the answer is Lenny. What happened to her in “Chapter 23” was hard to watch, and as uncomfortable to reckon with as when David’s sister Amy was killed to provide a new body for Lenny in season two. She’s had one of the most traumatic lives on the show, but we’ve watched her take it all in stride until now. Reeling from the loss of her girlfriend and her unborn child, but having been forced by the time demons to watch her child grow up before her eyes and die, Lenny has finally reached a breaking point – one that I feel was deserved, but much too quick. Killing herself rather than allowing David to manipulate her any further was a bold choice, and one that I’m sure she didn’t take lightly, considering she promised Farouk that she would “live the living shit out of” life if given another chance, but it just felt like Lenny lived her last days as nothing more than an accessory of David, when she wanted so much more for herself than that. I, too, wanted more for her, and I hope that with the changes David and Switch are planning to make, Lenny can have a finale much more deserving of a woman who has lived several lives over the course of the series, with all of them ending tragically.

So where are we at the end of “Chapter 24?” David has Switch back, and now that he’s aware of the presence of the time demons, he’s more prepared for their time-jumping adventures. Farouk has been banished to a place outside of time and space. Clark is dead, the Loudermilks seem to be badly injured. Syd has her entire mind wiped by David after she tried to trick him by using her body-jumping powers to inhabit David’s body and have Kerry kill him.

And David? He’s more aware of his power than ever, more unstoppable, and the voices in his head that have been plaguing him and encouraging him this whole time have finally decided to agree on one thing: they are Legion. With David fully gone and hellbent on altering history to suit his own selfish needs, it’s hard to say how this series is going to tie up the story in three episodes. Especially a show as unpredictable as Legion.

But we need to make some predictions here, so I’m going to try. I think that the mystery behind Switch is that there’s more to her than there appears. In last week’s episode we saw Switch have a nightmare that heavily involved her father and his love of robots, showing Switch look in a mirror and reveal a small wind-up arm on the back of her neck. Switch’s distrust of robots has come up in the past, and I think there’s a lot more to Switch’s time powers and her relationship with her powers that we haven’t seen. I don’t think that David is necessarily going to succeed at his plans, but I do think he’ll be unhappy with whatever results may come, and that none of the characters will emerge completely satisfied by the time the finale ends. There’s a long-held saying about comics that “everyone who dies eventually comes back,” and I’m not sure that’s going to ring true here in the most literal sense, but I have a weird bit of faith that we’re not going to witness the ultimately death of too many more fan-favorites.

Legion Season 3 airs Monday nights on FX, and streams on Hulu.


Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben
Melissa Jouben is an enthusiastic young writer who can usually be seen performing or enjoying live comedy in New Jersey and New York. She has a very limited range of interests which can be summed up by the following list, in no particular order: comedy, cartoons, toy collecting, wrestling, limited edition varieties of soda, and Billy Joel. She was born and raised in New Jersey and can’t wait to leave so she can brag to all her new neighbors about how great the ocean smells at low tide.

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