Legion S2– Episode 2: “Chapter 10”

Starring: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, David Negahban, Jemaine Clement, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Hamish Linklater, and Jean Smart
Written by: Noah Hawley and Nathaniel Halpern
Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour

”You and I, we are…les dieux. Gods. What did John Lennon said? Bigger than JESUS.”

Legion continues its streak of arthouse superheroics in the immensely entertaining “Chapter 10”. Written by show staffer Nathaniel Halpern and series creator Noah Hawley and given a glossy eeriness by director Ana Lily Amirpour (SEE A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT Y’ALL), “Chapter 10” plunges us right into the thick of the war against the Shadow King. This, while continuing to deliver the MOST X-Men shit ever set to the epic Jeff Russo score. Driven by a message from a future Syd (I mean, C’MON), David enters into an unholy alliance with Farouk to track down his body. David quickly learns that he’s become his pawn (again). He must now try to face the powerful entity on his own terms; on the very face of creation itself. Equally scary, hilarious, and consistently well-shot “Chapter 10” is another trippy as hell win for mutantkind.

It all starts with a violent diversion. Spurred on by the projections of Oliver and Lenny, David sends the Division 3 team and the android representatives of Admiral Fukyama, Vermillion, on a wild goose chase. Just typing that sentence made me feel insane, but that’s pretty much par for the course on Legion. Right away director Ana Lily Amirpour displays her talent for horror. Staging with a methodically paced and grimly quirky assault on Division 3 by Lenny and Oliver. Singing “Would You Like to Swing on a Star” the pair tear through soldiers and terrorize the Loudermilks with subtle, but effectively deployed scares that establish the stakes and visual tone of this installment early.

In a way, Ana Lily Amirpour kind of makes this the most “comic booky” episode of the show so far. She leans into the energy and look of Bill Sienkiewicz’s artwork and translating it really friggin’ well onto the screen. Notably, in the episode’s opening and the off-putting video skipping way she films the scenes in the future. Hawley and Halpern’s script also gets in on the fun. It drops in more time travel shenanigans and a goddamn Shi’ar Empire name drop as David attempts to get ahead of the Shadow King using his Omega Level brain and Cary’s isolation chamber. Not only is the plot itself Peak X-Men, but Hawley and his writing staff really seem to get the team/ensemble aspects of the X-Men and represent it really well during this episode.

The season opener was more about David catching up, but “Chapter 10” really gets everyone doing something. They expand out the overall plot of overlapping timelines and David and Farouk’s looming duel. My beloved Loudermilks get some meaningful screen time, and Rachel Keller basically gets to play two characters. One a hardened, cagey citizen of the future. The other a dedicated woman for the mutant cause who just so happens to like to switch bodies with a cat and hang out on the roof of a building. Even Jean Smart’s Melanie gets a powerful monologue with David about the cost of having a dream. “Chapter 10” really brings it this week. It’s got me really excited about the what the future (or perhaps futures) of Legion hold.

Verdict: Watch It. It’s Like Watching a Comic.

Absolutely stuffed with incredible visuals and supported by a clever, engaging script “Chapter 10” keeps Legion is great standing with the mutant community and the general television watching audience. There isn’t a moment of “Chapter 10” that isn’t fun to watch, even if you aren’t the biggest X-Men fan. But if you ARE one, then sakes-a-bloody-live it feels great to have something like “Chapter 10” carrying the standard of X on screens right now. We even get a splash of H.P. Lovecraft without all his abhorrent racism, so WIN-WIN!

Until next time Magneto was right, and I’ll be seeing you.

Justin Partridge
A writer, a dandy, a Friend of Tom, and a street walkin' cheetah with a heart fulla napalm. He has loved comics all his life but he hasn't quite got them to love him back just yet. That hasn't stopped him writing about them or about any other media that hoves into his sights. He can usually be reached via the hellscape that is Twitter @J_PartridgeIII or by e-mail at justin@betweenthepanels.com.

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