Meet David Haller. He is just your run of the mill, schizophrenic, powerfully telepathic Mutant. David has some issues.
Spoilers for “Chapter 1”
FX’s newest project is a highly ambitious show where our “hero” suffers from paranoid schizophrenia making his narration of the show very unreliable, much like USA’s amazing Mr. Robot. Unlike Elliott Alderson, David Haller (Dan Stevens) has powers. See, David is a mutant, but he doesn’t know that about himself just yet. He knows something is not quite right, but so much of what goes on in his head is not real. He has a difficult time distinguishing reality from fantasy.
For those hoping to passively watch a show about a bunch of mutants teaming up, you are out of luck. Legion is made to be confusing. As we follow David on his journey to discovering who he is, we are stuck in his head as he endeavors to figure out what is real. Did he actually make his kitchen explode after a fight with his now ex-girlfriend? Who is the Man with the yellow-eyes (Quinton Boisclair) and why does he keep popping up? Is his current girlfriend, Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) in his head, or is he in hers? Why are these people calling themselves cops interrogating him?
To try and catch both you and me up, here is the super-over-simplified-timeline-in-order recap of the premiere:
David started off a pretty normal kid. As he got older, his powers began to develop and his mind started to fracture. He began hearing voices and seeing things that are not there. One day, after an argument with his girlfriend, Philly (Ellie Araiza), his kitchen explodes and a blob of a man with yellow eyes appears in the corner, watching him. The voices and weird occurrences become too much and David hangs himself. He survives the suicide attempt, but when he was found, there was no rope. Just rope burns around his neck.
For six years David lived as a patient at the Clockwork Asylum. There he made friends with fellow patient Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). Things remained the same for these years. Meds, therapy, odd moments where he would have nightmares and his room ended up destroyed. Until Sid arrives and David is immediately smitten. The two begin a romance, but it is not without its troubles. Sid doesn’t like to be touched by anyone ever.
One night, Sid comes to stay the night in David’s room (with a pillow to keep them separate, of course) and she reveals she is being released in the morning. As Sid is leaving the next day, David decides to go for broke and gives her a kiss. The two lovers switch bodies as David ends up in Sid’s head and vice versa. Being in his body and surrounded by everyone causes Sid to freak out. She uses David’s powers to lock everyone in their rooms with no doors. Unfortunately, Lenny was trying to get out of her room when the door disappeared and she was killed. David, in Sid’s body, sees the carnage created by Sid and is escorted from the asylum into the real world. Eventually the body switching antics wears off and David is back to being himself. He goes to his sister’s (Katie Aseltion) house to rest for the night when he is visited by visions of Lenny.
Worried about Sid being stuck in Clockwork, David attempts to make contact with her inside the hospital. The admins tell him she is not there and has never been there. Making his way to Clockwork, David notices two people following him (Jeremine Harris, Amber Midthunder). Then he is shoved into a van by a group of faceless goons. When he comes to he is being interrogated by people calling themselves the police (Hamish Linklater, Mackenzie Gray), but these men are actually evaluating how powerful David it and if they can use him.
The stress of the questioning and withdrawal from his medication pushes David to shift back and forth in time. Reliving the events that landed him in Clockwork, his time with Sid and Lenny, memories where Sid embeds herself and warns him about the men interrogating him. Sid, in his memories, tells him she is coming to help him escape. As he wakes, David finds himself in a pool surrounded by goons with guns and his interrogator warning him he will be electrocuted if he loses control once again.
Still not entirely sure if what he is experiencing is real, David follows what Sid tells him to do and is rescued by her and the two other who were following him before. The group escapes and make their way to the shore where David is introduced to Melanie Bird (Jean Smart).
What in the Hell?
Again, David is not the most reliable of narrators, so we as the audience really don’t know what is real and what is his delusion. Throughout the episode, he continuously slips between memories (or at least what we are led to believe are memories), but the memories are tainted with the delusions of others inside his head. Even as he is being rescued, he is not sure everything is real and neither are we.
Those who are familiar with the comics know David is the son of Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. Xavier didn’t know of David’s existence until much later in his life, Gabrielle never told him she was pregnant. In the comics, there was an event which correlated with David’s powers beginning to manifest that also caused his mind to fracture. As we get further into the series, hopefully we will learn more about David’s past. Noah Hawley, the writer and producer for Legion, has teased Professor X could make an appearance on the show, so fingers crossed.
The blobby like man with the yellow eyes could possibly be Mojo, a member of the alien race known as the “Spineless Ones.” Mojo enslaves people, his powers derive from magic, and they grow stronger with the more “worshipers” he has. How he fits into the narrative of Legion, I’m not sure just yet.
As for Melanie Bird, I’m not entirely sure about her just yet. I don’t think Melanie is her real name. If I had to guess, she is Gabrielle.
Legion is very ambitious, but highly entertaining series that has me hooked. What about you, are you in for the long haul? What did you think of the premiere? Talk to me in the comments section below.