Full Breakdown of the "Legion" Footage Shown at NYCC

Sunday, 09 October 2016 - 3:02PM
X-Men
Legion
New York Comic Con
Sunday, 09 October 2016 - 3:02PM
Full Breakdown of the "Legion" Footage Shown at NYCC
The Legion cast and producers took the stage today at NYCC, and they showed the first half of the pilot episode of Legion, the tangential X-Men TV series. And while it may not be the Breaking Bad of superhero series (yet), it's very, very good. It's artfully shot, well-acted, highly original, and arguably more cinematic than any other comics adaptation on television right now. There are a few flaws, to be sure, but this has the potential to be our next X-Men obsession.

The pilot opens with an extremely artsy (but not pretentious) montage of David growing from a dreamy-looking child to a troubled preteen who blows out glass windows and is driven crazy by hearing voices. By the time we meet the grown-up David (played by Dan Stevens), he's in a mental hospital, having a horribly depressing birthday celebration with his older sister, who can't even give him a cupcake. 

We see a little more of David's life in the hospital, including his friendship with Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), who is already the breakout character of the show. Plaza is having more fun with her role as David's mentally ill Girl Friday than anyone else on the show, not to mention that she is leaps and bounds more interesting than David's love interest, Syd (Fargo's Rachel Keller), a young woman who can't stand to be touched. Keller is a good actress, but Syd is written as a very generic and borderline sexist "girlfriend" character. The most cringe-worthy moment of the pilot comes when David literally falls in love with her after seeing her from across a crowded room, so hopefully the show will cease and desist with the terrible romcom cliches and flesh out this character.

David and Syd carry out a tentative romance (without touching) while Lenny cracks wise in the background. Since David is supposed to hallucinate, you never quite know what order events are happening in, and you never quite know what's real and what's not. So it's only fitting that there's an abrupt cut to David being interrogated by a detective, who alludes to something cataclysmic happening at the mental hospital. It's not entirely clear what he's talking about, but it has something to do with David trying to hang himself at the beginning of the episode (there were rope burns on his neck, but the police didn't find a noose). Syd is also apparently a hallucination, as he conveniently can't touch her and there's no record of her ever being a patient at the hospital.

But who knows what we should believe, because the detective turns out to be sketchy as f*ck. He picks up on David saying that he thought he could control things with his mind, and at first he seems skeptical. But then the detective leaves the interrogation room and emerges not in a police station, but in what looks like an empty pool. Then he goes into a secret back room and watches David on a monitor with another government(?) official. They say that he may be the most powerful mutant being they've ever encountered. The other man thinks they should just kill him, but the detective (who's actually a scientist) says that they've never had a subject like this, and that they should continue to study him. This part feels a little tacked on to the more character-driven stuff, but the rest of it was so good, we'll have to see how it plays out.

Legion premieres on FX in early 2017.
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