Friday, 3 March 2017

Legion: Chapter 1

"How does that make you feel?"

I haven't read a lot of Marvel stuff concerning Legion, or David Haller, but I know he's supposed to be the mutant son of Charles Xavier whose many personalities each have a distinct power. But he's a pretty obscure character, and at first glance an odd choice to be lead character for a new TV series.

The premise, while seemingly not hugely  faithful to the source material, is intriguing: we begin with David, seemingly  suffering from disassociative personality disorder, in the Karkaesque world of a TV mental institution where trying to prove that you're sane is, as the cliche goes, a paradox. The love interest is, of course, called Syd Barrett, an appropriate nod to the crazy diamond and, with the '60s rock soundtrack, in keeping with the vaguely '60s aesthetic where it is not even clear whether all this is happening now or back in said decade, further disorienting the viewer in this intriguingly on-linear and creatively shot show. I don't know where this is going but it's cleverly done, intriguing, and has more than enough human interest to balance out its somewhat abstract visual and narrative style. David Haller's experience of the world is not straightforward, and writer-director Noah Hawley doesn't seem to see why ours should be either. I like that.

You've got to love Lenny, and although she's literally dead by the end of the episode I'm sure she'll remain a fixture. Things are getting intriguing already, too; it's quite a bombshell when we learn that the authorities know perfectly well that David is not mentally ill but does, in fact, have considerable mutant powers- is this set in the same universe as the X-Men films? What's society's attitude to mutants? Who are Melanie and all of her friends? What's the story with Syd? I'm sure we'll have fun finding out.

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