After an incredible mind-blowing opener last week, Legion settled down into what appears to be its main story for this first season. After escaping from the shady government officials, Division 3, last week with some help from girlfriend Syd Barrett and her friends, David now had to begin training in order to properly understand and control his powers.
David appears to be based at a hidden refuge for those with powers called Summerland. Even though we don’t see anyone else using powers, we hear over the PA system that “the dining hall is a levitation-free zone” and that the “advanced time-travel class has been cancelled.” David’s main teacher is a “Memory Artist” named Ptonomy who can read other people’s memories and thus allows David a peak into his past. That was the main focus of this episode, journeying back through David’s history, which naturally brought up more questions than answers.
We saw some sweet moments between a young David and his sister Amy, and then between him and his mother. A particularly unsettling dream involving a book called “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World” destroyed any nostalgia though. That father doesn’t look like Professor X… And once more the Devil with Yellow Eyes appeared time and time again haunting David’s mind. Is he a part of David’s psyche? The mystery deepens. As Ptonomy points out, Melanie Bird, who appears to be in charge at Summerland, says David is likely the key. “To what?”, David asks. “Winning the war. And other things…” Ptonomy responds tantalisingly, hinting at what’s to come.
Alongside this main plot was the continuing romance between David and Syd. Even though it is only two episodes in, this unusual but wonderfully sweet relationship is what all these rom-coms about socially awkward people wish they could be. Their conversation as he accidentally reads her mind is both endearing and witty. Dan Stevens continues to be magnetic in the lead role. If there was any doubt over his acting chops it has surely been shattered by now. David is an incredibly complex character to portray, particularly when the story continuously jumps from past to present over and over again. Stevens is asked to exert a lot in order to embody David in the multiple different stages of life we see in each episode, but he does it with ease.
In this second episode, David is coming to terms with the fact that the belief he held for so many years about his mental health is in fact a lie. He must learn to deal with that alongside the massive pile of other mysteries in his life. The episode does not feel bloated though. The editing is once more superb and allows the audience to really invest in a scene. You even forget for a time that what you are seeing is in fact a flashback.
It’s truly a ride that you have to just hold on to. I would however, recommend repeat viewings. If only for the tiny little moments that may be lost the first time around. In his conversation with Ptonomy for example, David pauses confused for a moment before continuing. Scanning the background for clues you can clearly see the hazy figure of a woman circling the room. Perhaps a hint at the powers David possesses revealed in the climax of the episode?
“Chapter 2” is less explosive than last week’s pilot, but only slightly, and was pretty much just as crazy. What it succeeded in doing was settling the series down into a narrative plotline going forward, which was definitely needed. Thankfully that didn’t mean sacrificing any of the visual flair of creator Noah Hawley. The visuals and sound are absolutely brilliant, and the acting superb. There are so many doors still left to be opened in this one, and it is genuinely one of the best things on television at the moment.