Legion – Chapter 14 Review
If you had asked me back in January which second season would be more satisfying, Legion
, I would have laughed at you for even suggesting that Westworld
could put together a better string of episodes than the widely inventive Legion
. Yet, here we are, living in a world where Legion
can't seem to pull itself out of the narrative weeds, while Westworld
has committed to having fun and also creating character arcs. "Chapter 14" was an hour-long look at various lives David (and, in some, Amy) could have led had a few chips fallen in a different direction. And, while the episode had touches of the creative ingenuity that has marked the series as a step above many others, the style over substance approach that has also defined the series finally had a decidedly negative impact on the overall quality of the show.
I opined that bringing Amy back just to kill her off (or kill off her body, as on a show that cares so much about the minds of its characters, who knows if she will reappear in another form in Farouk's mental abode) was a waste of the character. Her sole purpose was to serve as something David loves and didn't want to lose. "Chapter 14" reinforces that idea by consistently falling back on how Amy informed David's fate. In one possible life she keeps David heavily medicated in an attempt to keep him sane - which backfires spectacularly. In another she is a selfish woman who makes demands of an equally selfish David, indicating that she allowed his mental gifts to flourish for her own financial gain (thus turning him into a dangerous bully). And in yet another, Amy is conspicuously absent, and David is dangerous and without any checks against him - at least until Kerry arrives to put him down for good. Then there's our actual narrative, where Amy sets her own death in motion by taking David to Clockworks.
It's an interesting exercise, but it's also a strange waste of time. We don't learn anything we don't already know. No part of the season arc (if you recall, Division 3 and David are deciding if they should get Farouk's body back to him) is affected. Yet, Noah Hawley opted to spend an hour exploring who David and Amy could have been had things been a little bit different. Sure, both Katie Aselton and Dan Stevens give strong performances, and it's nice to see Amy again. But we know Amy's death is horrible for David. We know she's one of the only people he loved in the entire world. This is devastating. We didn't need an hour dedicated to rehashing the same point over and over. Especially when there's still a lot of ground left to cover this season.
The cynic in me sees this episode and last week's announcement of Legion
getting an 11th episode this season as one in the same: Hawley realized that the season arc had fallen by the wayside and needed additional time to wrap it up. Because this episode really stopped all forward momentum of the show dead. We needed to know how Lenny got a body, so while "Chapter 13" wasn't particularly satisfying as a story, it served a narrative purpose. "Chapter 14" was just a waste of time, preventing us from getting further into the story we want to see. A disappointment all around.