By Dave B.
For starters, watching the first season of Legion is absolutely mandatory for understanding season two. That said, time for the review! Full disclosure, like many people who watched it, I liked the first season of Legion. Unlike many of them however, I didn’t love it. It was undeniably creative and original, but at times it felt like it was inexplicably weird simply to be weird and to appear more intelligent than it may actually be. Legion’s second season takes all of the good aspects of the initial installment to the next level. Unfortunately, it also magnifies some of its more annoying tendencies.
The recent season of Legion may be the most visually beautiful television show that I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is beyond excellent. The pure creativity on display, both visually and thematically, is impressive. The acting performances are good across the board, but Aubrey Plaza (Lenny) and Navid Negahban (the Shadow King) are consistently excellent and are clearly the best actors on the show. If I could take Legion at face value, it would be one of my favorite shows ever. But the intent of the show’s creators is that it not be taken exclusively at face value and when taking a deeper look at what’s actually happening on the screen, two significant flaws become more evident.
For me, the most obviously annoying thing about this season of Legion are the narrated parts. I have no problem with a show that wants to make moral points or societal observations, but those are done best when audiences are shown the point instead of told. Legion often seems to have a fairly low opinion of the intelligence of its audience as it continuously uses narration to explicitly spell out what it wants viewers to consider. I hope that the show’s writers give viewers a bit more credit in season 3.
My other issue with Legion is that although I usually don’t mind odd imagery that exists simply for its own sake, this show takes it to a level that drives me to distraction. A show that was less impressed with itself might take a few seconds to explain why these female-form androids have mustaches or what’s the deal with this minotaur or where did this tent come from or any of a dozen other things that take place within individual episodes and throughout the season. It’s not a deal breaker for me liking Legion, but the trivial distractions in it eventually become annoying instead of endearingly quirky.
For the most part, Legion’s second season is great. It’s easily the most creative show on television and it succeeds at cultivating emotional and intellectual investments from viewers. But it’s creativity is infused with an arrogance that keeps me form loving the show as much as it loves itself. I recommend the second season Legion and I hope the third season will add a dose of humility to its impressive originality.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.