Delusion Leads to Panic Boredom and Frustration on Legion

first_img It’s looking like Legion has reached the conclusion of Jon Hamm’s psychology lessons. The one that bookends this episode demonstrates how moral panics happen, and ties all the previous segments together as an illustration of the episode we just saw, and possibly hinting at the overall story of the season. The opening of the episode uses the Great Comic Book Scare of the 1950s to show us what a moral panic looks like. (By the way if you didn’t know, that’s a real thing that happened, and the story behind it, and the creation of the Comics Code Authority, is fascinating.)Basically, it starts with concern, which we see the delusion creature attach itself to. Then, the concern spreads to others, is amplified by the media, and grows into an irrational fear. Fear that something you can’t control is coming for you. And the way it links moral panic to current anti-immigration sentiments and… dudes in Guy Fawkes masks is a nice touch. Also, the fact that it makes The Devil with Yellow Eyes, one of The Shadow King’s forms, the symbol of the parents’ fears in this segment probably isn’t a coincidence. He seems to be the source of many of the delusions plaguing the team this season. And we still can’t be completely sure what parts of this story are real, and what is the delusion.Navid Negahban (Photo via FX)Once we get back into the story, David is still dealing with the fact that Farouk murdered his sister. When he contacts Farouk to tell him he won’t be helping anymore, we get some interesting insight into how their minds work. Farouk says he only did what David wanted done. He had wished Amy dead in the past. David can’t deny that’s true, but to him, those were just dark thoughts. Nothing he actually wanted to happen. That’s the difference between the Shadow King and David. David can compartmentalize. Farouk either can’t or doesn’t. Those differences might not last much longer though. After the conversation, Farouk decides to find out exactly why Future-Syd told David to help him in the first place. Who destroyed the world that Farouk could defeat? The answer is a legitimate surprise: It’s David. Something happens to him that turns him into a world-destroying threat. So that’s what Future-Syd meant when she said she missed when David was sweet.David also makes a trip into the future to tell Syd he’s out. He can’t help Farouk anymore. She says she realizes it was a lot to ask, but David wonders if she’s just trying to manipulate her. There’s… a lot about this story that doesn’t really work. Legion has been consistently knocking it out of the park since season one, and the last two episodes have been exceptional successes of experimental storytelling. This one has none of that. It’s confused, muddled and overlong, which is not something you can often say about this show. The Jon Hamm narration ties it into a package that’s slightly better than its contents, and it does bring a couple of interesting ideas to the table, but that’s it.Rachel Keller as Syd Barrett. (CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX)The part where David and Future-Syd have a romantic relationship comes out of nowhere in this episode. We’ve had more than half a season where they’ve just had the occasional ominous conversation. Now, she’s seducing him, which may be her way of convincing him to stay on his course. To distract him from his rage, and convince him to help Farouk. Even so, it’s weird. So is present-Syd’s sudden jealousy of her future self. It feels like a complete 180 from where she was when David went inside her mind just three episodes ago. Also, it’s not like David would be cheating anyway. At least she knows he still finds her attractive when she’s older. Not a whole lot happens in this episode, as far as David’s story goes. It has that one big reveal, that Farouk is sort of the hero and David will become the villain, and it stretches that out as long as it possibly can. The result is a slow, plodding episode, the kind we almost never get from Legion.The more exciting plot point picks up in the middle, which is where Ptonomy’s delusion infection from season one comes into play, as well as the idea of a moral panic. Ptonomy wakes up one night seeing a monster inside the Director’s beehive. He walks through Division 3 spreading his delusion to everyone else. Soon, The Eye, Cary, and Kerry are fighting their way through the android guards. At least this episode gave us some good action. It was nice to see Kerry in a fight scene again. They make their way to the Director’s room, and look beneath his beehive. Where in reality, there’s a normal human face, they see a monster. This is the moral panic. This is the distraction Farouk intended when he planted the idea on Ptonomy’s brain. David finally wakes up from his meeting with Syd, and arrives to fight the delusion creature.Jeremie Harris (Photo via FX)It’s a quick battle that shows off the mental powers David has at his disposal. Remember, a delusion is just an idea. A giant, gooey dangerous idea the leaps out of Ptonomy Alien-style, but an idea nonetheless. And David can defeat ideas. He turns a big idea into a tiny one and crushes it under his shoe. It’s not the coolest mental fight we’ve seen, but it’s a highlight of this episode, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, Ptonomy didn’t survive the delusion bursting out of him, which is the episode’s biggest missteps. Much like with David’s sister, we never got to know Ptonomy very well. We got the briefest sequence in his mind a month ago, before that episode moved onto someone else. He’s a character who always got the short end of the storytelling stick, and that continues to be the case here. The death seemed more motivated by the need for something to happen in this episode than by the story. So we have a meaningless death for a character the show never fleshed out in the first place. It’s a bad move. Hopefully, uploading his consciousness into the Director’s mainframe will finally give him an interesting story down the line, but now? It’s a disappointing end to a letdown of an episode.Legion is a show that requires you to pay attention to every single detail. Usually, the show is so good, you’re doing that anyway. The way it’s shot and the way its scenes are structured make you naturally want to study every frame. Last night’s episode didn’t do that. It had flat character moments, seen-it-before visual effects and a nothing story. It’s the hardest an episode’s ever been to get through. Still, it offered up some decent ideas for a way forward at the end. Jon Hamm sums up all his previous lessons into a single point. We don’t believe what we see, we see what we believe. And when we’re confronted with a reality that doesn’t conform to the pattern we look for, we can grow dangerously unhinged.The interesting thing is, this monologue starts on Future-Syd looking back into the past at David. She sees his anger at Farouk, at her for asking him to help him, at himself for kissing her. Who is having the delusion here? Who is only seeing what they believe? This is the first time the show has suggested her view of the future may not be entirely accurate. At least it gives us an interesting idea to play with as we head into the final four episodes of the season. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img

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