First look UK TV review: Legion Season 3
Handling of time travel
8/10 Total Review 8.3/10
Warning: This contains spoilers for Season 1 and 2 of Legion. Returning for a final season, the cerebral spectacle that is Marvel/FX’s continues to explode with colour, conflict, and musical numbers. Episode 1 charts the story of Switch, a time-traveller drawn to David, with the latter hoping he can solve his past mistakes. Now the leader of his own cult, supposedly preaching peace and love, David’s power and ego have gotten the better of him.
Legion’s blurred depiction of good and evil has been a major strength since the start, but with David seemingly crossing the line, the stakes feel higher. Division 3 and David’s former friends, still partnered with Amahl Farouk, are now hunting him even more ruthlessly – particularly Syd (a genuine but deadly Rachel Keller) . A series of time-bending attacks lead to several deaths, with David and Switch resetting the clock each time. While this trope is oft-used, Legion avoids staleness by treating it like a strategic problem rather than a solution. As Farouk says: ‘How do you stop a man who can go back and do it all again?`
While the plotting is still purposely unreliable, and the time-travelling ensures the viewer remains at a disadvantage throughout, one thing that is crystal clear is that Legion is filled with brilliant performances. Dan Stevens has David’s eerily peaceful cult-leader down to perfection, in total denial about what he did to Syd, while still flawed enough to be called a protagonist.
With emotional supporting work from Keller, and more technology-based stutterings from Bill Irwin’s Cary Loudermilk, Legion’s character work grounds it in a sea of confused superpowers, complex plotting and acid-trip visuals. Naturally, however, any and every scene Keller’s in is dominated by Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny. As wide-eyed and aggressive as ever, her taut unpredictability makes her a nerve-racking joy to watch.
Noah Hawley’s dedication to Legion’s intangible, bright-yet-sad brand of storytelling is once again a marvel to behold. In a story simply about a egotistical psychic cult he manages a musical number, a dance number, slapstick comedy, a chilling conversation about a sexual assault, and much more. The fluid, eery nature of Legion makes it by far the most complicated and artistic superhero TV series to date.