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Legion – Season 1, Episode 5: Chapter 5 Review

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★★★★

Spoilers lie within for the episode. Don't complain to us if your brain explodes after reading...

As we hit episode five of this initial run, it's becoming clear that in some ways, Legion is behaving more like a traditional superhero show (or movie), but one split into chunks, as though it's had an encounter with the main character's powerful mind. We've had the expository build-up, and now comes the action-packed race to the conclusion. But don't think we mean that in a negative way: the series continues to impress in a myriad of ways. Just consider all the different styles, applied to the siege on the Division 3 base... It takes real confidence to stage action beats this way, and proves that the creative team (Tim Mielants is director here, with Peter Calloway providing the script) have a clear vision and truly want to make something out of the ordinary.

Legion also has the advantage that, thanks to the different personalities (at least one other that we can now pinpoint) lurking in David Haller's noggin mean that he serves as both protagonist and antagonist of the story, keeping the plot personal and never feeling like it's just some basic exploration of superpowers. But before all hell breaks loose, there's a chance for something most people will probably have figured out long before our hero (villain? Anti-hero? All of the above?) - there was a way for he and Syd to have their sexy time together. So there's the scene in the "white Room", where David and Syd enjoy their first (technically second, counting the body-swapping contact in Clockworks) kiss and more. The scene is played well by both Dan Stevens and Rachel Keller, with Syd initially unsure and nervous before embracing their time together. There's also a chance to explore some more backstory for Ms. Barrett, as she relates the skewed and distinctly awkward story of her first sexual encounter.

Of course, the rug is pulled out from both Syd and everyone else with the big reveal. David, as the show's title suggests and previous scenes have hinted, is not alone in his mind. It's still not completely clear, but it appears that the representation of Lenny/Benny, the Angry Boy and the Devil with the yellow eyes are all a parasitic entity that snuck in there when he was young. A particularly chilling reveal is the security camera footage from within Division 3 that shows the devil as David striding through the place, vaporising the guards. In fact, the whole sequence of the assault on the compound and our team's investigation of it is another highlight for the show. Check out the silent footage of Melanie, Ptonomy, Cary and the rest pantomiming their way through the building, stepping past guards who have been merged with the floor or simply wiped out of existence.

All through the episodes thus far, Stevens has played David with a hint of edge and menace to the otherwise earnest and confused character we've come to know. It's all been building to the idea that the entity (most likely entities plural given the comic book's use of multiple personalities in one mind) is a malevolent force theat has been lurking like a backseat driver, ready to take charge whenever it found an opportunity. And that final scene, with the gang seemingly locked in a group therapy session in David's mind, their brains dulled to keep them compliant? Terrifying in its mundanity.

Great work from the cast again, and some beautifully designed shots, particularly the wobbly angles and dreamlike camerawork in the assault on Division 3. Now we just want to know how the show's team intends to top what it has already done.

Big Questions

How does our team get out of this?

Given that everyone from the main team is seemingly trapped in the faux group therapy session in the end, we can only wonder. Perhaps Oliver will decide to re-join the real world and use his own considerable power to get them out?

And what does that scene mean?

Our best guess is that it's either the parasite's doing, or David – who seemed spurred to fight back by the threat against Syd – taking them there so they can be relatively safe. If we had to favour one, we'd say the former, as Lenny was the psychologist...

Legion airs on FX in the US on Wednesdays and Fox TV in the UK on Thursdays.

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