This Legion review contains spoilers.
Legion Season 2 Episode 7
Who needs Jon Hamm to describe insanity when you could have just sat in the writer’s room during this episode’s inception and learned the definition? “Chapter 15” finally gives us the payoff to all of the Hamm interludes and the little insanity hatchling and it’s all…utterly insane. After last week’s narrative detour for a beautifully executed episode of elsewhere David tales, Legion attempts to move forward with chaotic, motley results in “Chapter 15,” but it mixes in some solid highs to counteract its superfluous lows.
I’ll just come out and say that I don’t think the insanity creature stuff worked at all, though I do admire the fact that they showcased a self-aware quality about it. Even David knows how inane it all felt, literally brushing the monster aside with a “I don’t have time for this,” speech. However, acknowledging your own gaffes doesn’t erase them. For all of the lead up to this insanity outbreak, all of the Hamm-eos, the payoff doesn’t quite come or justify the time spent.
There’s still a possibility that this could lead to a more significant story for Ptonomy, who infected the other members of Division 3 to get them to turn on Admiral Fukyama, suffered Alien-style as an adult form of the creature came exploding out of his back, then had his brain uploaded to the mainframe where he appears to be trapped. Ptonomy is the least developed of the Division 3 gang, so I appreciate the apparent effort to give him more to do, but so far it feels exactly like how Syd described Lenny in this episode – a distraction. Hopefully this is an end to all of the heavy-handed monologues, even if they did feature stylish accompanying visuals and that sultry-voiced delivery.
Despite this nonsense taking up a good chunk of time, there’s still plenty of good material this week to talk about. Navid Negahban feels like he dominates the episode, having lengthy chats with both David and the future version of Syd. There’s something about Negahban’s performance that feels like a classic Bond or comic book villain, but with a playful glee and distinguished quality that keeps the Shadow King from feeling as pure evil as he did last season. He sprinkles in the typical persuasive antagonist talk when dismissing David’s anger about the death of Amy, talking about how she never understood David or how he never truly cared about her, but he also seems to be genuinely interested in seeing David embrace more of his capabilities.
Later, Farouk’s disbelief and delight that David is the future villain that he must be kept alive to stop has him in a more amused than intimidating mood while talking to future Syd, but he’s able to sprinkle in some menace for good measure. Future Syd clearly isn’t sure that the Shadow King is the solution to her problems, but she’s willing to try, which speaks to how threatening future David must be and how helpless he’s made her feel. It also colors future Syd’s interactions with David to make them feel more manipulative, so much so I’ve begun to wonder whether future Syd is someone we can trust at all.
David’s inability to wrap his brain around having two versions of his girlfriend provides “Chapter 15” with its best material. When David is clearly upset over the death of his sister, Syd suggests that if he doesn’t want to talk about it with her, maybe he should visit the future version of her. David asks Syd if she’s comfortable with that, insinuating that having an emotional or physical relationship with an alternate version of his girlfriend still is akin to cheating, even if they’re the same person. When Syd insists that she’s not jealous, but then has to walk that feeling back, the pair decide to set some ground rules. Watching Syd and David work through this extraordinary fictional issue in such a real-life, communicative way helps the fantastical situation feel relatable. The wrinkle that future Syd has thrown into their relationship continues to be my favorite part of this season, bringing great character moments out of both parties.
Later, David steps just up to line of those ground rules. He visits future Syd to let her know that he’s angry that she didn’t tell him about Farouk killing Amy. David would have never agreed to help Farouk and she let him know about this beforehand. Now he’s set on killing the Shadow King, future be damned. At first Future Syd is upset over this, but she quickly throws up her hands and gives up, perhaps using reverse psychology by telling David she knew it would be too much to ask. She then plays on his emotions, asking for a final goodbye after David had already established that he wouldn’t get physical. David couldn’t help but relent, and it will likely cause problems between him and Syd moving forward.
Last but not least, Syd pays Lenny a quick visit this week. Syd lets her know that whatever she has planned, it’s not going to work. Syd seems awfully confident at first, even going so far as to say that she knows it’s not really Lenny or even Amy in that body, but Lenny quickly unsettles Syd by talking about the horrors that she suffered and mockingly accusing her of anti-feminist behavior. Aubrey Plaza is the most entertaining prisoner since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.
So though “Chapter 15” makes some choices that are, ahem, insane, it still manages to be worthwhile by playing on David’s strongest relationships: his relationship with the Shadow King and Syd, in the present and future. After so much stalling, I have to assume that the race will officially be on for Farouk’s body next week, but it’s looking like future Syd may present more harm to David’s life at the moment than a newly physical Shadow King.