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Just when I was starting to think that “Chapter Seven” was going to be all about recapping how our heroes got into this predicament and a quick review of David’s origin story, Legion went and flipped the script to give us one of the coolest sequences I’ve seen on television this year. There was a lot to like about the final twenty minutes of the episode, even if the first forty was action free.
While the first two thirds of “Chapter Seven” was less about moving the story forward than it was about making sure everyone in the audience was on the same page about what has gone before, it still allowed for some wonderful character beats for both Syd and David. I’m really impressed with how Noah Hawley and his writing staff have built Syd from the closed off woman we met in “Chapter One” to the take charge badass we got in “Chapter Seven.” I loved seeing her lead the charge to rescue the team, directing Cary to continue on his mission while making sure Kerry and Rudy were safe (even if she needed Rudy to sacrifice himself at the end to complete her mission). As for David, I really enjoyed seeing him gain control of his powers and reason his way out of trouble. It was about time for him to start believing in himself, even if it took his British rational mind (and Dan Stevens’ real accent) to get there.
The first part of the episode also filled in some blanks we couldn’t have possibly known the answers to, particularly in answering the question “What, exactly, is the parasite in David’s mind?” It turns out it’s the Shadow King, Amahl Farouk. Now, I wasn’t familiar with that particular X-Men villain, but he doesn’t seem like the nicest of guys. I am intrigued to see that Legion is taking steps to connect the series to the larger X-Men universe, after opting out of adding any known mutants to Melanie’s roster. While I don’t have a burning desire to see some of the more familiar mutant faces appear on the series (save for the inevitable Charles Xavier appearance, teased here by a clip of his wheelchair from the X-Men film series), I am not adverse to the show getting anchored in that particular universe in this manner.
As for the rest of the exposition dump (or exposition recap), it was so entertaining to watch that I didn’t really mind it occurred. From the quick back and forth between Cary and Oliver, to the great use of the chalkboard cartoon sequences, it was the Legioniest way of recapping what had come before and making sure everyone onscreen and off knew what was happening. If other shows could come up with a similarly entertaining manner in which to provide reams of information, I would be grateful. Just think of how fun Game of Thrones could be if we were giving fun character beats to explain the political maneuverings or past battles rather than having to deal with the dull sexposition the show is famous for?
But the crown jewel of the episode was the silent sequence at the episode’s climax. With “Bolero” playing in dissonant chords in the astral plane and a gorgeous melody in the real world, that was a work of genius. Watching Aubrey Plaza go full horror movie villain and Jermaine Clement conduct an absent symphony drove home the two sides of the section: the darkness of the dissonant music and the beauty of the pure orchestral sound. From the performances (it’s not an easy thing to actively communicate mood and story without actual dialogue and vocal inflection without turning cheesy, but the cast was up to the challenge) to the superb direction from Dennie Gordon and script of Jennifer Yale (as with the acting challenges, both Gordon and Yale had a complex task to create the sequence on the page and translate it to the screen), everything about it worked in prefect harmony, creating the right amount of suspense and visual synergy to sell it all. I’m not sure the series can top that sequence, but boy, I cannot wait to see them try with next week’s finale- and next year’s second season.
— So the Eye is no more- and dispatched in rather gruesome fashion. For a show about a battle between various forces of good and evil, the series hasn’t had much in the way of blood and gore. But it more than made up for the lack of it in the blood-drenched death of the Eye.
— I don’t like seeing Kerry and Cary fight, but I have to say, she has a point. While Cary leaving was the initial catalyst for saving everyone, he did promise not to leave her. It also highlights that while Kerry in the real world can take care of herself, she still has the emotional vulnerabilities of the Kerry from the astral plane.
— Not bad Professor X impression, David. And, for not knowing who his real father is, David’s drawing of his real dad looked suspiciously like his real dad.
— Glad Oliver is back in the real world. How great was Jean Smart’s performance when Melanie got to see Oliver again?
— I didn’t expect to see The Interrogator again. But I suppose all great villains return just in time for the final battle of the season, right?