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With a show as mysterious and strange as Legion, you’re right to be worried about it jumping the shark. Its nebulous storytelling is fun to watch for a few episodes, but they can’t keep us guessing forever. So, I’m glad to say that Chapter 7 finally provided some concrete answers. Our heroes even got a traditional adventure storyline, with a clear goal (defeating David’s psychic parasite) and a means to get it done.
Of course, Legion didn’t actually enter the realm of “normal” superhero TV. Despite its more comprehensible plot this week, the story played out with all the creativity you’d expect. The mutant squad escaped their hospital hallucination in a black-and-white homage to silent movies and They Live, Oliver Bird tried to stop a hail of bullets by conducting music in midair, and David unraveled his childhood backstory with some beautiful chalkboard animation.
Legion made a name for itself by being as baffling and weird as possible. Most of the fan memes are jokes about being confused as hell, but Chapter 7 was a smoothly executed info-dump. The psychic parasite was revealed to be Amahl Farouk “The Shadow King,” a powerful mutant from the X-Men comics. David figured out that his biological father had defeated the Shadow King before David was born, but the Shadow King then possessed David as a baby, becoming the source of his “schizophrenia.” We even got a glimpse of Professor Xavier’s wheelchair, although David still doesn’t know that Xavier is his father.
But the most intriguing detail had nothing to do with the main plot, or with the X-Men. It was a throwaway line from David’s sister, where she mentioned email.
Is Legion actually set in the present day?
Legion‘s costumes, music choices, and production design all point toward a 1960s or ’70s setting. The show intentionally kept things ambiguous, but that “email” comment means it may actually be set in the present day. It’s a reminder that you can’t trust anything you see or hear in this show.
We view things from David’s decidedly unreliable perspective, and there are still plenty of unexplained details. For instance, what happened to the dog from Chapter 1? When Division 3 kidnapped David, they had some kind of dog monster in a cage on site. They also left a dog statuette on the interrogation to “watch” him, which may be a reference to the Shadow King, who disguised himself as a puppy in David’s memories. The statuette could be a figment of David’s imagination, but what about the dog in the cage? Are Division 3 aware of the Shadow King?
With season 2 on the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the finale pulls the rug from under our feet once again. I just hope none of the main characters turn out to be a hallucination. At this point, that would be a cop-out.
Previous Legion recaps can be found here.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor