Review: Legion on FX – TV’s most flippant show delivers in season 2
2017 not only marked the debut for Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale, it was also the year in which we were first treated to David Haller, the mutant leading the ensemble of FX’s Legion. Whereas the two other shows have struggled in their second seasons, Legion‘s season 2 ended up matching the first, and in some ways even exceeding it.
As the logo for the show gives away: Legion is set in the X-Men universe. This was enough to deter us as the first season was airing, since we’re currently experiencing superhero overkill. We did a delayed viewing after that season had wrapped, and had our preconceptions shattered almost instantly. Instead of another traditional hero’s journey, we were treated to a protagonist (portrayed by Dan Stevens) who is simultaneously the world’s strongest mutant and psychologically damaged. As the season unfolds we find out more about his illness, and the true cause of it.
The biggest concern with a season 2 was that the show would re-establish itself as a pure superhero series, focusing more on David and his team confronting super-powered villains as opposed to trippy visuals and odd tangents. Luckily we were once again proven wrong. Legion is one of those cases where the lower budget actually looks to have pushed the writers in more creative directions. Instead of CGI apes, that means we’re treated to minotaur-type creatures, a villain who’s fluent in multiple languages, and even a battle that contains animated moments.
Although Legion is at its core a dark show, it juggles its storylines and cast in as flippant a way as the writers desire. Season 2 doesn’t take the traditional steps to get to the final battle of the season, leading to the season’s highlight episode in which we explore an alternate future where David thrives. Before we get to the final confrontation there are musical numbers, a reference to Repo Man, narration by Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, point-of-view episodes focused on side characters, and a shocking twist set to the creepiest possible version of Tom Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More.
The fact that creator Noah Hawley has also been running the TV version of Fargo, explains why this show is more Twin Peaks and The Prisoner (also discussed in our article about TV shows and movies like The Good Place) than The Avengers. That might explain why Legion has been struggling with its ratings, but fans should not worry: FX has picked up the show for a third season already. Given how season 2 ends, we find this to be a massive relief.