Episode 2 of Legion answered some of our questions about where this madcap but artfully designed show was heading. A sense of rescue or escape in the first episode, as welcome as it was after the chlaustrophobia of the mental hospital, nevertheless seemed like it had to be a veneer of safety since the plot must go on. Episode 2 also set up a scenario where David Haller looks like he can get “help” from the mutant-friendlies who have rescued him, ostensibly through walking through his memories and recontextualizing them as powered experiences rather than bouts of mental illness. For the viewer, this is tantalizing, since we want David to be consoled for his constant marginalization in life, but if you’re a comic reader, you might be thinking, “But, can they really help him…?”
David Haller is, according to the comics, legitimately mentally ill, the causes of which are linked to the mental pressures of his unique abilities. So, hearing the good doctors, however sympathetically, posit that none of his experiences relate to mental illness might set your teeth on edge. After all, David Haller is all about the tension between control and lack of control, ordinary humanity and…something else.
So it feels like a sudden release of tension, and a bit of a relief when we see David seeming to resist therapeutic treatments by Melanie Bird and in episode 2, even while we get to literally see inside his head and understand him a little better. And in the end, can anyone really protect him from the government agency hunting him anyway? If curing him would make him less dangerous, maybe that’s not a good thing.
With the third episode coming up this week on February 22nd on FX, we see some of these conflicts coming out more explicitly. When asked, “Could you maybe not break everything this time?” by the long suffering Cary Loudermilk, David’s truthful answer is that he cannot promise that.
If the second episode gave us a little bit of a breather to gather our thoughts on this world David moves in and his own situation, the third episode seems ready to tighten the noose. Now David has to worry about a sister, a girlfriend, allies, and enemies, and that’s a lot to handle for an explosive personality.
Here’s our trailer for episode 3, airing this Wednesday on FX: