Legions Season Finale Was Almost Uncharacteristically Normal

first_imgHow do you end a story like Legion‘s first season? Over the last eight weeks, we’ve been treated to a surreal, expectations-defying head-trip of a show. Legion has opened up new ideas about what a Marvel superhero show can be. It’s been unafraid to confuse and overwhelm its audience to put us in David Haller’s shoes. Now that David’s more in control, it starts to feel more like what we all assumed an X-Men TV series would be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Legion‘s season finale was still an exciting and satisfying conclusion. It just didn’t reach the highs of the episodes leading up to it.The finale at least opened in a surprising and refreshing way. Remember Clark, the Division 3 interrogator from the first episode? We get to see what happened after he got caught up in the explosion. He spent some time in the hospital with nearly half of his body covered in burns. We see his husband and their adopted son try to comfort him. He may have seemed like a soulless government villain in the pilot, but Legion went out of its way to show us that he had a life and a family that cares about him. Allowing us to empathize with an antagonist, no matter how minor, is a rare, interesting move for a superhero show.We see Clark insist on going back into the field, which leads us to the end of last week’s episode. The Division 3 soldiers have stormed Summerland, with Clark ordering them to kill everyone but David. But there was nothing to worry about. David is more in control of his mind than he’s ever been. With a flick of his fingers, all the soldiers are knocked into a pile. This sequence wouldn’t be out of place in any other comic adaptation, but it signals a noticeable change in tone for Legion.Hamish Linklater as The Interrogator (Photo via FX)Clark and the SummerLand team spend a decent portion of the episode talking out their differences. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Melanie suggests that it’s time for the human race to evolve, meaning Clark and his cohorts had better accept that mutants exist. Over the course of the episode, Clark appears to begin to understand. He sees what the Shadow King is doing to David and realizes, at least for now, that they should all be working together. Whether the rest of Division 3 sees that is another story.It soon becomes clear that it’s time for the Shadow King to come out. There’s one problem. Because Syd was in David’s body for a time, the Shadow King can communicate with her. He knows what the Summerland team is planning to do. Appearing in Syd’s mind as a decaying Lenny, the Shadow King threatens to destroy David mind if they try to force him/her out. The threat comes with a stomach-churning metaphor about trying to unmake soup. The only way David survives Lenny’s departure is if Syd helps him/her escape unscathed.The team straps David down in Cary’s lab, and the treatment begins. For a while, it seems to be working. We see David relive all his memories from early childhood to Clockworks. Lenny is slowly removed from each image. It’s not long before the Shadow King starts to fight back. Surrounded by images of himself as a baby, David tries to talk to the zombified Lenny. It’s a testament to what a strange, fun ride this series has been that a sequence like this can feel like a step closer to normal superhero fare.Bill Irwin as Cary Loudermilk, Rachel Keller as Syd Barrett, Jeremie Harris as Ptonomy Wallace, Dan Stevens as David Haller. (Photo via FX)As Lenny begins to fight the extraction, hurting David in the process, Syd decides she has to save him. She runs into the room and kisses him, which transfers the Shadow King into her body. Kerry runs in behind her, and with a touch of Syd’s hand, the Shadow King is now in her body. Apparently satisfied with Kerry’s abilities, he stays in her body, attacking Cary and knocking him to the ground. Ptonomy comes in firing his tommy gun, in the dumbest, most nonsensical moment of the entire episode. Sure, I guess a gun firing wildly into the air adds some tension, but there was no reason for it. No one gets hit, and it isn’t even clear what he was trying to accomplish. It’s just a stupid, pointless sequence that is thankfully over as soon as it starts.After psychically knocking Melanie to the floor, the possessed Kerry meets David in the hallway. The two charge at each other, psychic energy building around them. It almost looks more like a live-action Dragonball Z scene than anything X-Men related. They collide, and the blast sends them both flying backward. It also knocks the Shadow King out of Kerry’s body. David and Kerry make sure everyone is OK, which they all are. Except for one person. Oliver is unaccounted for. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the Shadow King hopped into Oliver’s mind and escaped. Just before the end credits, we see Oliver driving away from Summerland in a left-hand drive car. He’s alone until the camera pans past the windshield and looks into the passenger window. There’s Lenny. It appears Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement will be co-villains for season two.Jemaine Clement as Oliver and Aubrey Plaza as Lenny. (Photo: Screenshot via FX)Or maybe not. Like every Marvel superhero adaptation, Legion ends with a post-credits scene. As David and Syd stand together on a deck, a strange ball floats up to them. They don’t have long to wonder what it is before it scans David and traps him inside. Noah Hawley just had to mess with our minds one last time, didn’t he? I guess we’ll have to wait until next year before we find out just what the hell that was.After all the big reveals in last week’s episode, it makes sense that this show would be dedicated to battling the Shadow King. I was just hoping the final showdown between David and Farouk would look more like the rest of the season has. Instead, it looked like a superhero battle. Not the same, but not altogether too different from what other TV shows and movies have given us. Again, that’s not to say the finale was bad. Even when Legion gives us straightforward superhero TV, it’s some of the best, most visually engrossing superhero action out there. That’s just not the reason I fell in love with this show. And hey, I have no idea what a “better” conclusion would be, or if one was even possible. Endings are hard. Especially for a show like Legion.last_img

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