- Teen girls on TikTok have convinced the internet that they eat their tampons 3 Years Ago
- Twitch streamer faces criticism for trying to defend racist jokes 3 Years Ago
- How to stream Raiders vs. Vikings in Week 3 Today 12:55 PM
- NRA calls Beto O’Rourke ‘AR-15 salesman of the month’ in wake of buyback proposal Today 12:03 PM
- After 23 deaths, Sean Bean is tired of getting killed on-screen Today 11:48 AM
- Stephen Miller has a girlfriend—and people are stunned Today 11:35 AM
- Mickey Rourke says Robert De Niro iced him out of ‘The Irishman’ Today 11:07 AM
- Conservative men are melting down over Elizabeth Warren’s speech Today 10:40 AM
- People are calling rapper Tekashi 69 a ‘snitch’ for outing gang members Today 10:16 AM
- Greta Thunberg tells Congress to ‘listen to the scientists’ about climate crisis Today 9:55 AM
- Maybe we should start taking Tom DeLonge seriously about UFOs Today 9:11 AM
- Get ready to argue about the alternate-history politics of HBO’s ‘Watchmen’ Today 8:53 AM
- Third instance of Justin Trudeau wearing racist makeup emerges after he apologized for first 2 Today 8:45 AM
- 6 must-watch college football games to stream this weekend Today 8:12 AM
- What is the Hinge dating app, and how does it work? Today 7:00 AM
After two episodes of intentionally surreal confusion, Legion’s third chapter brings us to more familiar territory. Steely cult leader/Professor Xavier stand-in Melanie Bird confirmed what was already obvious from the start: David Haller has unprecedented psychic abilities, and she wants to harness his powers for her mutant uprising.
In Melanie’s ideal world, David is destined to become a classic (one might even say cliched) reluctant hero. The only obstacle is his need for therapy, which was the main focus of Chapter 3—and, arguably, the entire show. Melanie is convinced that his schizophrenia was misdiagnosed, but his hallucinations show no sign of abating. It’s increasingly clear that there’s no easy solution to David’s problems, and Melanie is blinded by her desire to make him function as a weapon.
Legion is stylish enough that it can get away with episodes where virtually nothing happens. This one revisited a lot of the memories we already saw last week, but while Melanie and the “memory artist” Ptonomy are blocked from accessing significant moments in David’s past, his girlfriend Syd can travel freely through his mind, at one point literally embracing his inner child. She also gets to see some of his hallucinations, possibly as a lingering effect of their body-swap in episode 1.
Alongside Mr. Robot, Legion belongs to a new generation of surreal dramas influenced by Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, another stylish show about mental illness with an unreliable narrator. Showrunner Noah Hawley spoke about his love of Hannibal while working on Fargo, and Legion includes a few subtle callbacks like shots of pigment dissipating in water, or the way the camera frames the space between David and his therapist. The similarities end with Legion and Hannibal’s shared love of stylized therapy scenes, but there aren’t many shows that exist at this rare intersection of surreal visual flair and psychoanalysis.
Despite all the focus on David, we may actually have learned more about Syd this week. When they finally got round to discussing her body-swapping powers, Syd explained: “It’s not my body. That’s how I’ve come to think about it, if anyone can just come and go.” This is the deepest insight we’ve seen into a mutant’s power since Rogue in the first X-Men movie, articulating why Syd is so wary of being touched, and why her powers have more complicated repercussions than the practical issue of being transferred into a stranger’s body.
Another show might have focused on the fact that she accidentally killed someone while inhabiting David’s body, but this angle is more interesting. Syd had these powers long before she met David, and her body issues are a reminder that like David, she’s a mutant and also a person who recently checked into a psychiatric hospital. Melanie Bird’s therapy techniques may not be the most helpful solution for either of them.
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