Less than a month before Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox release Logan (the latest film in the X-Men movie franchise), FX premiered a new series from Marvel Television set in the X-Men Universe titled Legion. The titular character is a rather obscure (although not unimportant) choice from the pages of Marvel Comics and based on the 90-minute series premiere, it’s not going to be like any other superhero show on television. The show isn’t campy like Supergirl or The Flash. At least during the pilot, Legion doesn’t feel like a show based on comic book characters, which separates it from programs like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Gotham.
Note: The following contains spoilers for the series premiere of Legion.
Not unlike the movies Memento and Inception, the viewer is struggling right along with the protagonist to figure out what’s really going on in their world. Like Memento, the protagonist has severe mental issues that make discerning the truth difficult for the viewer. Like Inception, the layers of reality experienced by David “Legion” Haller (Dan Stevens) can make the truth difficult to decipher, thanks to what the so-called experts have told him is simply a cocktail of psychological disorders.
Like the epic Summer series Mr. Robot, the sense of conspiracy and paranoia in Legion is almost tangible and proves justified by the end of the first episode. Borrowing from the overall narrative of the X-Men films, the federal government fears mutants with unchecked powers — and David Haller may be the most dangerous mutant they’ve ever encountered. Even so, as viewers quickly find out, he’s not the mutant that everyone is interested in. His girlfriend Syd (Rachel Keller), whom David met at the asylum he’d lived in for the past six years, has gone missing — and everyone thinks David knows where she is.
The complicated thing about Syd is that you can’t come into contact with her skin (like Rogue of X-Men fame) without suffering the consequences of her powers. On the day she was to be released from the mental institution, David kissed her without warning. After a small burst of energy sends them both flying backwards, David was suddenly experiencing things from inside Syd’s body. Meanwhile, David’s body (unexpectedly inhabited by Syd) suffered something like a telekinetic seizure which incidentally killed David’s friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) and locked most of the other patients inside of their rooms by making the doors disappear into the walls.
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As the federal government continues to question David (who has been off of his meds for weeks) regarding the whereabouts of Syd, his uncontrollable telekinetic powers continue to manifest themselves in ways that are detrimental to those around him. Suddenly, Syd manages to manifest herself inside one of David’s memories, explaining to him in the memory that it is the only way she can communicate with David undetected by the government officials holding him.
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The plan unfolds mostly as intended, as Syd and some companions helped David escape his captors. Although very little information was given about her in the series premiere, David was introduced to Melanie Bird (Jean Smart), a therapist that Syd assures him will be able to help as the first episode comes to a close.
Other important characters introduced in the first episode include David’s incredibly supportive sister Amy (Katie Aselton), the government’s unnamed interrogator (Hamish Linklater) and his creepy sidekick The Eye (Mackenzie Gray). So far, all of the characters appearing in Legion are characters created specifically for this show, aside from Legion himself. As previously reported here at Inquisitr, David Haller was the lovechild of Charles Xavier (from whom he received his powers) and Gabrielle Haller (a catatonic Holocaust survivor revived by Professor X) in the pages of Marvel Comics. If and when the beloved mentor of the X-Men will make an appearance on Legion is still up in the air.
Marvel’s Legion is scheduled to air weekly on FX. New episodes will premiere Wednesday nights at 10/9c. Replays of the pilot, simply titled “Chapter 1,” can be streamed on demand via FX’s official Legion page.
[Featured Image by FX]