LEGION Chapter 2 Review: Don't Sneeze

Chapter 2 of LEGION starts off where Chapter 1 ended. David, Sydney, Melanie Bird and company are on a boat after just escaping a government facility. Heavily armed government goons and German Shepherds are trying to track them down, but are having no luck. David and the others make it to a facility hidden in the woods. In this facility, other mutants are being protected. However, David’s powers begin to spiral out of control as a result of the powerful mutants around him.

Once again, David’s narration of the show really makes LEGION shine. It also reinforces how unstable David is. While David loses control of his powers, the scenes seem dreamlike, sequences are out of order and there are multiple voices talking at once. We are also given point-of-view shots through David’s eyes and any camera shot while David is out of control are quick and not completely in focus. Through David’s eyes, we can see Bird telling him that he is telepathic and potentially telekinetic (can control matter with his mind). With the help of Bird, David is able to slowly gain some control of his powers and he is able to calm down and go to sleep. Bird talks slowly and calmly to David. The way Bird talks and acts around David make her seem like a very trustworthy character, but her motives are still unknown.

It is revealed David is in a facility called Summerland. Bird tells David that he is not sick, but all the voices and hallucinations are a result of his power. Bird then takes David to a "machine" (or isolated but secure room) in the middle of the woods. With the help of a mutant named Ptonomy, they begin memory work. 

Memory work is when you enter a memory. You can walk around and talk to people in the memory, but altering it will also alter your memory. Bird says they are entering David’s memory in order to pinpoint where his powers emerged. We get to see David’s childhood and it seems very happy. He has a sister, a dog, a mom and dad; and they loved him. However, things turn very dark when David’s father starts reading him a book about a little boy who murdered his mom so he wouldn’t have to go to bed. 

Entering David’s dream was very interesting. Whenever the memory switches to a new time or location, we first get a shot of Ptonomy, Bird, or David in the real world. David seems extremely happy and for some reason David can’t see the faces of his mom and dad. Ptonomy says he should be able to, but David can’t. Is this a result of David’s emerging powers or is he afraid to open up to his past? Either way, memory work is a very creative way to look into David’s past. 

I can’t wait to see how this will play out through the series. I also want to know about David’s childhood before his power’s emerged. I loved how the machine they use to do memory work is a glass box in the middle of the woods. This really gives the show a unique style and makes you question everything and whether what you are seeing is real or not. 

When David comes back from his memory work, he freaks out and Ptonomy is forced to put him to sleep in order to calm him down. While David is sleeping, we get a flashback of a younger David in therapy. During his session, it is revealed that David had a girlfriend. However, she broke up with him as a result of David losing control of his powers in the kitchen, as seen in Chapter 1. It is also revealed that David may have multiple personalities. However, late in the episode David says he isn’t talking to himself, he is responding to the voices. Maybe he doesn’t have multiple personalities; he is just trying to make sense of his powers. After the session, David walks out and sees a hyper Lenny on the street. Lenny is rolling around a stove that she stole from a girl she had relations with because Lenny believed the girl cooked too much. 

This flashback gave us a great insight on David. First off, it shows that David has many more problems than it appears. Like David’s comic counterpart, David may have other personalities. It is also shown that David and Lenny were friends before they ended up in the mental hospital. This was much to my excitement because Aubrey Plaza absolutely shines as Lenny. Plaza is a fantastic actress and really gives life to her character. Lenny is the comic relief of the show and little is known about her character. I hope that we get to see more of her character in the past before her unfortunate death in the mental hospital. 

When David wakes up, Ptonomy tells him that Bird thinks David is the key to “winning the war.” The war that they are fighting is unknown, but is it assumed that the war is against the government who kill mutants that are too powerful. We then get a little more information on Ptonomy’s powers. Ptonomy says that he can remember everything, even before he was born and was still in his mother’s womb. Ptonomy asks David about the book in his memory, “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World.” David avoids the question and it is unsure if his father actually read that to him as a child. 

David then meets up with Sydney and Syd talks to him about her experience in the hospital. She says that in David’s body everything was loud, lights hurt and she could see the Devil With the Yellow Eyes. Syd tells David she killed Lenny, but David forgives her. Sydney says that when she used David’s powers, it alerted Melanie Bird and Division 3 — the government mutant hunting group in Chapter 1 and pursuing David now — to their location. Bird got to David (with Sydney’s conscious) first and took her to Summerland. On their way, they are shocked to see David had turned into Sydney before their eyes. David asks Syd if he can hug her, but she says she hates touching people, even with gloves on. 

David and Sydney’s relationship is very interesting. They can’t touch, but have a strong bond with each other without it. I think they both can bond over the fact that their mutant powers are very unfortunate. They both have had to change their life drastically in order to adjust to their powers. David also has complete trust in Sydney. Although he doubts the safeness of Summerland, he is comforted when Sydney says they are safe. 

Davis is put inside of a MRI machine to scan him. During this scan, David hears the voice of his sister, Amy, asking where he is. When the doctor scanning him realizes this was a real event and not one of David’s memories, he runs off the get another doctor. David starts to freak out because he was left alone and he sees the Devil With the Yellow Eyes. David wakes up in an empty room and it is discovered that he somehow moved the MRI machine outside. After realizing Amy was in trouble, David tries to leave Summerland. Syd convinces him to stay so that he can learn to control his powers and that way he will have a better chance of saving his sister. David agrees to stay, but little does he know that the leader of Division 3, the Eye, has captured Amy and is presumably about to torture her. 

Much like the last episode, this chapter was heavily focused on David. This isn’t much of a problem considering how complex and interesting David’s character is. I felt like this episode really focuses on how bad David has it. His powers are completely out of control and always have been. It is also shown how David had a good childhood, but remembers everything bad about it due to his powers and distortion of reality. Something that really hit me hard this episode was a flashback of David and Amy talking. During this scene, David says that he isn’t allowed to have a family, relationship, or a nice home because of his illness. 

This episode also makes it much more obvious how hard it is for David to function throughout life. He constantly has trouble focusing on more than one thing. This is a result of his powers and makes it hard for him to live a normal life and function. Something I found interesting is how sometimes David doesn’t even finish his sentences. He talks and then before he finishes his thoughts, he starts an entire new thought. This leaves the audience, and whomever David is talking to, to pick up the pieces. The show does a great job on displaying David’s inability to focus. Time will slow up and down, sounds will fade in and out, and there are constantly multiple people whispering. 

Another thing that I found really interesting about this episode is how Bird tells David that his hallucinations are real. This really makes me think about the Devil With the Yellow Eyes. During one of David’s therapy sessions, he tells his therapist that the starts talk to him. When asked what the stars say, the closet door opens and it is assumed that the Devil With the Yellow Eyes is behind it. Is this devil real or is it part of how David copes with his powers? David gets very scared when his therapist approaches the closet, which makes me thing that this devil is indeed real. Maybe the devil is another mutant. What makes this devil situation even more mysterious is that David won’t tell anybody about when or why he sees the Devil With the Yellow Eyes. 

So far, this series has had a very strong start. The use of sounds and camera work to show David’s power is extremely well done. The show also likes to skip around time and never displays events in chronological order. It forces the audience to pay attention and piece the pieces of a large puzzle together at the end of each episode. I also love how the show is extremely separate from the comics and from Fox’s X-Men movie universe. Although this means no crossovers for the time being, I don’t want any crossover at all. I want to focus on David, Lenny, Sydney and more of these amazing characters that were created for the series. I can’t wait to watch Chapter 3 next week; I can’t see this series letting me down any time soon.

Written by James Philbrick, LEGION Beat Writer -- Click to read James' posts

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