FX’s first attempt at a television series based off of a comic book is quite a bizarre one. The second episode of Legion offered just as many questions as it did answers about the life of mutant David Haller. The big question right now is, “Will the surrealist nature of the show completely overshadow the story?”
Legion‘s premiere episode, last week, led viewers through the trippy world of David Haller, a young patient in a psychiatric hospital, who also happens to have telekinetic abilities. Haller was being investigated by a mysterious and well-armed group. The episode ended with a group of mutants freeing Haller from his imprisonment.
Along with his new-found freedom, Haller has a group of mutant friends–including the love of his life Syd–who want to help him understand his extraordinary abilities. Thanks to the mutant powers of Ptonomy Wallace, he, Haller, and the in-charge-of-everything Melanie Bird head into Haller’s mind to see what makes him tick. Most of what they find, we–the viewer–already know: Haller has been told time and time again that he’s “sick.” In addition to that previously known information, we catch glimpses of something darker hiding within Haller as well.
While the first episode of the series was surreal, visually stimulating, and confusing, the second episode is a bit more grounded, and that’s even when you consider the fact that the majority of the episode takes place inside Haller’s memories, which does move the narrative forward. There are fewer hallucinations and more of a defined narrative for this episode. Things aren’t just happening to Haller, he’s actively involved in moving his own storyline forward this time around.
The problems come from the fact it’s hard for the viewers to tell what’s real and what’s a memory. The show continues to jar the audience into new scenes with little-to-no context. It’s then up to the viewer to piece everything together, and many times, the audience is just trying to play catch-up. This was a huge problem when the show came back from commercial break, where we’d be in a completely different year. It’s almost like a dreamlike Westworld. By the time the audience figures out what’s going on, it’s onto the next scene. It’s not always the case, but it can lead to frustration. Now, this could all be intentional. Legion deals with mental illness, confusion, and not knowing who you are, or where you’re going. The jumpy transitions and unreliable timeline may be a mechanism to help the viewer empathize with Haller, to get an idea of what his reality is like.
Where Legion continues to shine is in the fact that it has it’s own distinctive look and feel like nothing else we’ve seen in modern comic book adaptations. Comparatively, it’s like Gotham, if Gotham had more of a direction and a whole lot less fan service. While this is based on characters from Marvel Comics, it sits in its own universe. There may be similarities, like the fact Syd is pretty much Rogue, but the show relies more on creating a world than trying to translate one. As a comic book fan, this is incredibly pleasing because I don’t have any sort of clue what’s going to happen next or who will appear on the show, like with The Walking Dead. It was nice to see the mixture of ’60s architecture and style and modern technology make it’s way into this episode, since it takes place in the real world and is not confined to the hospital like the series premiere.
The pacing of this episode is slow, and there are moments where the viewer can become frustrated with either that or the fact the show tries a bit too hard at times to be mysterious; however, it’s also those exact same aspects that give me a reason to come back next week. The trickle of information about Haller, his powers, and his secrets isn’t enough, and I want more, but more than anything else, what draws me–as well as other viewers–is Legion‘s identity and style. It feels like the show took notes from the set design of X-Men: First Class and went from there, adding a hallucinogenic feel to it. Legion is both familiar and foreign, and at this rate, it’s one of the most intriguing comic book adaptations on television.
What About The Devil With The Yellow Eyes?
In both episodes, we’ve caught a quick glimpse of this overweight man with yellow eyes, who is utterly terrifying, as seen above. While the vast majority of characters on this show, minus Haller, do not seem to be from the comics, we think this villain may be.
From just the look of him, we could–and this is a stretch–say this is Mojo. In the comics, this X-Men villain hails from Mojoworld, another dimension. He’s a villain who is in charge of producing television shows and entertainment for the people on his planet. What if Haller’s life is nothing more than Mojo’s own version of The Truman Show? What if the people of Mojoworld sit around and watch every moment of Haller’s life? If that’s the case, why does Haller keep seeing Mojo appear? We only have questions at this point, but the weird nature of the character lends well to the series.
The other person we think The Devil with the Yellow Eyes could be is Shadow King. He is a being with psionic powers that fought not only Haller in the comics, but also Professor X. In fact, Xavier’s battle with Shadow King led Charles to form the X-Men. Shadow King can take control of living beings, and when we first see the character–in the comics–he’s possessing Amahl Farouk, an overweight, bald man. This villain is a bit more frightening and more of a threat to Haller, considering he has tremendous psychic and telepathic abilities.
Who do you think The Devil With The Yellow Eyes is? Let us know!