Legion: 1.02 Chapter 2
Episode Two of Legion picks up straight off where episode one ends; psychiatric patient and newly self-discovered telepathic mutant David Haller (Dan Stevens) along with the help of fellow mutants including his crush Syd Barrett and leader Melanie Bird, are fleeing after having escaped the claws of the dictatorial government agents. They make their way to a hidden remote haven in the woods; a modern minimalist building called Summerland where mutants with super powers are provided with refuge and trained to hone in on their supernatural skills. An equally fascinating and colourful episode as its predecessor, where we start gaining further insight into the world of mutants
Melanie believes that David’s ability is the missing link to the mutant resistance, however we are not given privy to her or the group’s overall plan. Not long after David’s arrival at the camp, she is having him go through an arduous process in an effort for him to acknowledge and gain mastery over his mutant powers, in his case its telepathy. The first procedure is accessing his memory and visiting past life moments, in order for him to gain insight in to his gift. With the help of mutant Ptomony Wallace (Jeremie Harris) who has an ability to read people’ memories like a scene from The Christmas Carol; they start visiting David’s memory bank: moments from childhood to adulthood and back again; specifically looking at instances where his super powers came unintentionally to the surface.
Along the way viewers can see a recurring, disturbing presence, that of a scary obese egg shaped headed figure who seems to originate from a children’s book his dad read to him at bedtime. This figure is suggested to have plagued David throughout his life and whom he tries to hide from Ptonomy and Melanie. Towards the end of episode, in a moment of down time, David has a vision of his sister Abbey coming to visit him at psychiatric ward but is now held captive by the agents. Syd manages to stop David from leaving Summerland to go and rescue Abbey; instead she makes him realize that his sister is bait, and he would be more helpful if he remains finish his training and then pursues to save her.
The second episode of Legion’s features a different director, Michael Uppendahl (Mad Men, American Horror Story, Glee) but still with Noah Hawley on writing credits. The episode still retains the same slick and colourful style with the subtle use of visual effects, which make for great watching. It still has the speedy pace which we are becoming accustomed to and it doesn’t hold back with revealing one thing after another through the continual mash up of past and present events. It uncovers layer after layer to David’s complex background story; which doesn’t follow a linear singular strand but a more convoluted, multi-narrated one.
There is a certain innocence and deer-caught-in-headlight’ to David which Dan Stevens accurately brings to the character. His portrayal of David is still very much on point; he is scared, he is paranoid, he is reluctant and is unable to trust easily; especially coming to terms with his mutant abilities and being unable to fully embrace them. We also see a boyishness, horny teenage behaviour to him with the more light-hearted plot: his relationship with Syd. There is a palatable sexual tension between the two and added to the fact she can’t touch him, due to her mutation, it heightens the tension even further.
Another brilliant episode with great suspense, refreshing colourful and despite its fast pace and dense plots; it is still easy to follow. I look forward to next week’s episode!