It’s hard to believe that this season of Legion actually drew to a close. This was the darkest and most tragic episode, and it really expanded the Legion balloon. Shows like The Flash or Agents of Shield are very streamlined in their narrative, and even though Legion draws on perception and mental illness, it allows for unconventional twists and turns. This episode isn’t just an exercise in ambitious storytelling, but a showcase for some of the best TV animation I have ever seen. As did the first season, we end on a cliffhanger, but that is about as derivative as it gets.
The conclusion to this season revolves around the fall of David. It is a great tragedy, because David has drawn the short straw his whole life. His downfall isn’t a result of his hubris, but a life time of poor misfortune. It opens with a confrontation between David and the Shadowking, but when Syd arrives, she just sees David beating SK’s face with a rock. It really isn’t something you’d expect from a hero, especially when he says “I just have to finish killing this guy.” From an audience perspective, we understand what David is going through, but the other characters haven’t been on the journey that we have, so he looks like he went off the deep end.
The core concept of Legion remains perception. Syd believed David to be the villain, thus she would become the hero and stop him. Her hubris led to her creating the monster that David would become, thus making her the villain, in a Frankenstein sense. The TV show Lost had a recurring reference to something called “the incident”, and an episode where the main characters try to set off a hydrogen bomb to fix something convoluted. The reason I bring that up is because a character questions the plan to the point where he wonders if them trying to prevent the incident is what causes the incident. It’s the same principle here. Syd betrays David, who loves her, because she thinks David is crazy and will destroy everything. David is crazy, but when abandoned, he becomes irrational. David is not perfect, but a life time of trauma will create imperfect beings.
The opening sequence features some of the best animation I have ever seen on TV. It’s so grandiose that it deserves its own paragraph. It truly is the calm before the storm. It hearkens back to the first episode which showcased 1960’s sitcom set design, where the show gives you visuals that stick with you, and highlight the psychedelic nature, but not in a pretentious way. It felt like the original (not the butchered American cut) version of Rock & Rule. It, honestly, looks better than the Justice League movie.
After 11 episodes of metaphors and visuals, we have finally come to a close. We’ve been with David all this time, and it’s easy to forget that, even though he is the hero, he is capable of great destruction. Nothing is ever what it seems in a series that focus on the distortion of the mind, even to the other characters in the series. It also is the series’ best episode to showcase the impressive visual effects, which is a perfect complimentary device. It’s worth watching the entire series to get to this episode. It starts off sweet, then it gets horribly bitter, in the best possible way. I conclude that this season is better than the last in terms of character, plot, twists and visuals, and David Haller is David from The Guest.