Legion: 3.02 Chapter 21
After a bold and ambitious start, the second episode of Legion season three represents the very best and worst the show has to offer. The surrealism of season two, which resulted in an often meandering narrative, continues with the third season but unlike episode one, this lacks the tension to keep the audience hooked. David and his cult have escaped the clutches of Division and in Chapter 21, everyone plots their next move.
With his ability to step into the mindscapes of other characters, we were treated to some lovely moments between characters that physical distance would otherwise prevent. The talk between David and Syd was emotionally wrought; there was the hint that she still might love him, but the fact that he will destroy the world forces her to hunt him down. For David, learning of his 'destiny' and the fact that the woman he loves had already killed him twice in two different timelines, was a tough pill to swallow.
His capture of Cary to help build a device that would allow David to travel in time with Switch, also offered some delightful mind-warping insights into Cary's duo-relationship with Kerry. The scenes where they mirrored each other were fascinating and the comic moment of each trying to lead the other in the dance routine offered some much needed laughs.
Unfortunately, these character moments seemed lost in the mix of musical numbers, weird dreamscapes and bizarre locations - the black and white stripped plane seemed surreal of surreal sake. While these all add to the magic of Legion, you can always have too much of a good thing. Adding in the lack of focused storytelling at times and it is hard to have something tangible to focus on as the audience. At the same time, I continue admire Noah Hawley's attempts to give something very different to every other comic-based superhero show out there - if this can be classed as a superhero show even with its X-Men trappings.
I loved how the episode embraced its Alice in Wonderland influences. Aubrey Plaza continues to be the show's MVP and seeing her drive a Cheshire Cat bus and then host a dinner party as the Mad Hatter was one of my favourite things I have seen the show do so far. Taking on the drug metaphor literally, the red and blue vials as she interrogated poor Squirrel was a delight.
Chapter 21 felt like a stop gap between the dramatic opening events of the season and David's trip into the past with Switch. We already know a certain key X-Men figure is going to show up soon and I can't wait to see how that plays out. I just hope the season manages a measure of focus as it heads towards Legion's endgame.