The Horror Honeys: 'Legion' is Legendary...

'Legion' is Legendary...

A Season Review with Zombie Honey Bella Blitz

Legion (2017 - )


All photos courtesy of FX
The word ‘legion’ represents a multitude of people or things. Comic books are legion. Comic book movies are legion. Comic book TV shows are becoming legion. And the first season of the FX show Legion represents a multitude of ideas, characters, relatability, colors, emotions, and horror visuals to keep you satisfied until season two gets underway.

He doesn't look crazy to me.


Legion
(David Charles Haller), for those of you unfamiliar with the Marvel character's background, is the mutant son of Professor X and Gabrielle Haller. His mutant powers manifest and are diagnosed, as a severe mental illness known as DID (dissociative identity disorder). Except Legion's mental illness is probably more rooted in anxiety, depression, and confusion than DID, since, in actuality, his mutant power is plurality. Plurality in that each of his identities controls a different superpower. And that is just the tip of the psionic iceberg.

With such a lofty character, a TV show could only go one of two ways: spectacularly well or stupendously awful. Creating a world that could suspend an audience's disbelief, demand empathy, and delicately deal with mental health issues, almost seems an impossible task. This is not your typical spandex laden superhero story. Legion is more than that. And the showrunner, Noah Hawley (Fargo), clearly understands the job he has tasked himself with.

OK. Maybe a little crazy.
At the core of Legion is confusion and horror and an internal mission to find out who, and what, Legion is. The flow of the storytelling feels cyclical but looks linear, leaving you to wonder what is real and what is in Legion's head. The key to maintaining this confusion is never truly differentiating between the two spaces. From the onset of Legion, you cannot be sure of where you are, or even, at times, who you are. There is little-to-no tap dancing around the broken nature of Legion's psyche, and you are just along for the ride.

Colors play an effective role in dictating, and indicating, emotions and feelings. In addition to the color design, the set and costume design directly correlates to the state of Legion's mind. Much like someone that suffers from severe depression, the state of their home can give the state of their mind away. Legion and his cohorts' appearance, mannerisms, and even their diction are all that is necessary to know if Legion is having a good, or a bad, day.

What the hell is this guy doing here?
So few shows, especially superhero shows, lean heavily on the everyday senses of us mere mortals. We are more perceptive than they give us credit for, and Legion is tapping into that perception. Rather than give its audience explosions and capes and moody heroes, Legion is relying on exposition that is smart, insightful, and sensitive to the plight of those living with a mental health issue.

The average viewer may find the jumpy plot, quickly bouncing between timelines, minds, personas, and planes of existence, hard to follow. And it is. But in its goal to confound, it also became an amazing visual voice for anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder, to name a few. While Legion is, firstly, meant to entertain, it has secondarily become a means of communicating the internal struggle that many people live with on a daily basis; giving those closest to them something they can see, relate to, and understand without the struggle of verbal communication.

No.
And all of that is made even more poignant by the superb cast of Legion. Dan Stevens (The Guest) plays Legion, moving between characters, memories, self-discovery, fear, and fortitude with an ease that is nothing less than graceful. Aubrey Plaza, (Parks and Recreation) is Legion's best friend, confidant, and devil on his shoulder, Lenny. Her appearance is never anything short of fun and dysfunctional. What role she'll play in Legion's well-being, or undoing, is never clear when she appears. Lenny was made for Plaza and she eats it up. And Jean Smart (Fargo) should be cast in more of everything as the mysterious woman with answers and class.

Pulling a show like Legion together is legendary. The minds behind breaking apart an already splintered mind and making it accessible on the small screen are astounding. Every episode of Legion gives you just enough to fill in the bigger gaps, while creating smaller ones that keep you coming back for more. Each chapter in the story of Legion, and his journey through his consciousness, and subconsciousness, ends with an ellipsis.

Double fuck no.
And, just when you think you have seen the evilest parts of the darkest corners of Legion's mind, you realize you haven't seen anything. Just when you think they've tapped into the strongest power of Legion's plethora of powers, you realize they haven't even scratched the surface. Season one feels like a taste test. A sampler platter of what lies ahead; of who may lie ahead. And Legion isn't even the only mutant being introduced. Or the only mutant with issues that have to be addressed delicately.

The word legion represents a multitude of people or things. Legion is...

ZOMBIE HONEY RATING:
5 Jemaine Clements singing in an ice cube