Time comes under attack in the latest season three episode…
The consequences of meddling with time is a classic sci-fi trope and Legion – in it’s own unique way – delivers a disturbing, surrealist fallout of David’s attempts to travel back into his parents’ lives last week. Firmly back in the bizarre and strange, Chapter 23 is not going to win over any viewers that have turned away over the last two seasons due to the show’s increasingly experimental style. But the fallout of David’s time travelling presented here is a haunting, visceral forty five minutes that would make David Lynch proud.
The time demons that break through the doorways David and Switch created to feed in time itself, are truly disturbing. Out of phase with time, these shadowy creature with bulbous glowing eyes, gnashing teeth and clock work sounds, are truly are a nightmarish creation. The attack on David’s cult is downright creepy, the distortions in the corners of the screen and the wallowing screams piling on the atmosphere of this growing threat.
“How do we fight them if we were never born?” Switch asks as she makes her perilous escape with Cary. It’s an intriguing idea, time happening all at once, different time periods converging and other moments frozen or simply eaten away. This leads to some powerful moments; Syd encountering her younger self and dealing with the issues of her sexual encounter with her step father glimpsed in season two, builds on the personal trauma of her character. Syd has felt rather side lined this season but this episode gave Rachel Keller something to work with. Syd wakening to find the time demon on top of her was terrifying.
Equally as interesting was David encountering his mother in a Nazi prison, learning more about her past as a gypsy and understanding the trauma that sent her to the mental institution. The time demons creeping up on him was another spine-tingling moment that led to a wonderful sequence where he was caught in a time loop, unable to escape the creatures. Lenny – who has found new love with pregnant cult member Janine – also found herself caught up in rapidly advancing flashes of time, helping Janine through labour and then expiring her loss as she raised the child alone. Seeing the baby grow in mere seconds, becoming a mother of her own and then dying with Lenny, her new mother, at her bedside was heart breaking scene, giving Aubrey Plaza something new to play with in the role.
My absolute favourite sequence (though this might have been too far from some) was Farouk, Kerry and Clark’s journey into the ‘time before time’ to stop the time demons. Delivered in still images – this silent movie was beautiful and just as haunting. If anything, the eventual attack by the time demons in stop motion framing was more creepy than the moments in the ‘real world’.
Chapter 23 takes a little while to get going but when the attack by the time demons begins, it really finds its feet. Legion continues to challenge the audiences with its experimental style, but the pay off are episodes like this, that offer the audience visual horror totally different to most shows on television. It really feels like we’re heading towards the ‘end of the world’ endgame now and I like how we still don’t know if David is going to end up the hero of the villain. One thing is certain; we’ll miss him when he’s gone.
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