REVIEWED: SEASON 3 (EPISODES 1 - 2) | WHERE TO WATCH: FOX UK, NOWTV
While the world hoovers up every instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in their billions, a true piece of art bearing the Marvel logo goes widely unwatched. Legion has been baffling viewers with its beautiful nonsense for three years now, and it’s about to come to an end with its third season - a creative rather than corporate decision, as showrunner Noah Hawley believes the story has reached its natural end.
You can accuse the psychedelic shake-up of superhero fiction of many things, but resting on its laurels is not one of them. At the end of Season 2, Legion pulled off one of the boldest twists ever seen in the genre: by revealing that Dan Stevens’ David Haller was the villain of the tale all along. This could have left the show completely unmoored from reality going forward, but so far Season 3 has proven to be even more layered and engaging than before.
The latest run picks up a few months after David’s escape from Division Three, with the future World-Killer now running a hippie commune (read: cult) along with Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza, still eating up her limited screentime). Meanwhile, Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) is working with Amahl Farouk/The Shadow King (Navid Negahban) on a single-minded mission to kill her former lover.
This show has a reputation for putting style over substance, but the moral complexity on display in Season 3 should put that to bed once and for all. Every character is the hero of their own story and the villain of someone else’s. Wading into these murky waters is Lauren Tsai’s Switch, introduced in the season’s first episode as our new audience-identification figure. Giving us a fresh pair of eyes to see through was a smart move, and Tsai immediately makes a big impression as the time traveller.
Yes, time travel has entered the picture this season as David’s masterplan appears to be to travel back to his infancy and defeat Farouk before he ruined his life. We already know that this will spell the arrival of Charles Xavier AKA Professor X, as played by Game of Thrones’ Harry Lloyd, though the big, bald cheese has yet to appear in the first two episodes.
Legion’s visual invention is still present and correct, however, with episodes 1 and 2 serving up several standout sequences - from toe-tapping musical numbers to disorientating, drug-fuelled visions to moments of pure cartoonish comedy. As always, the talented scripts are realised with cinematic direction. Though that’s not a surprise when you have the likes of Pixar’s Andrew Stanton helming the opener.
If you’ve jumped off the ride at some point over the past two years, do yourself a favour and hop back on the merry-go-round for this final season of Legion. Otherwise, you’ll miss the most mentally-stimulating, imaginative, and just plain bonkers piece of the Marvel puzzle out there.