Legion – Chapter 16 Review
Even by Legion
standards, "Chapter 16" was a narrative mess. Perhaps that was the point - highlighting the confusion and jumbling of one's mental state as insanity takes hold (even though Insanity was defeated last week). But as a viewer, it seemed more like Noah Hawley had a bunch of story ideas and wanted to fling them all at the wall to see what stuck. Some did, but most simply washed away. It was disappoint, especially after two weeks of ignoring the season arc in favor of misplaced deep dives into David's past and present mental state.
There were some elements of "Chapter 16" that worked well. The brief interlude between Syd and Clark was a wonderful moment that moved the plot and added depth to both characters (and considering we knew next to nothing about Clark before that moment, it was a welcome surprise). Syd musing that her relationship with David was one built on the desire to have someone on her side while at Clockworks showed introspection I didn't think she was capable of (and she's definitely not wrong: there's a reason therapists advise their clients not to dive into a new relationship while they are still dealing with unresolved personal issues).
And Clark's comment that David could go nuclear if Syd breaks his heart was foreboding (and timely, considering the recent string of incidents where a break-up has been blamed for acts of violence). David has always seemed far more invested in his relationship with Syd than she has (the year-long break between the seasons likely only increasing that distance), and if things were to go wrong and David were to get another blow so soon after losing Amy? Well, I suspect he would become the reason for the apocalypse Future Syd hinted at.
The other highlight of the episode was getting to spend some more time with Oliver and Farouk, two of the show's more delightful (if currently evil) characters. The easy chemistry between Jermaine Clement and Navid Negahban made the scenes feel light in an episode that often felt bogged down by confusing cuts and a lack of a real through line. I assume that, at some point in the coming episodes, Farouk will get his body back and Oliver will revert to some semblance of the man he once was (although, like David, I'm sure Farouk will leave some part of him behind). But until that happens, I'm going to keep enjoying the time we spend with this unlikely duo.
The rest of the episode just didn't do it for me. It was trying too hard to capture the stylistic vibe of the series while ignoring any of the narrative structure. Ptonomy's role in the series moving forward remains confusing (what happens to him if the Admiral isn't in play in season three?). Melanie is finally doing something, but it's under Oliver's mind control (which, unless something compelling occurs as a result, is pretty lazy storytelling). And Cary and Kerry? Well, we got to see them again this week, even if they didn't have anything to do. As we approach the last three episodes of the season, I don't have much hope the show will pick things up. But I'm going to keep watching.
-- Professor X Watch: Another reference to Charles Xavier this week, when the old woman asked Farouk if the Professor was coming. While David has proven himself to be an interesting foil for Farouk, it's clear his real adversary is Chuck. And with the continued references to him, it can only be a matter of time before we get to meet him.
-- While I didn't care for a lot of the episode, I did enjoy the moment when David ran through the potential outcomes for each of his team helping out in La Desole. Honestly, I can't see most of them really standing a chance against a mutant as powerful as Farouk (even if he's limited within Oliver's body, which is still pretty darn powerful). But it was a fun little montage.
-- This was the first time one of the "Narrator" interludes really made sense. It was a nice moment, with an important message. I just don't really see how it resonates with the story at this late time. Devices certainly have led to people not treating others as human. But, where does that slide into this arc? Is David starting to think of others simply as pawns in the game? We know Farouk is, but that's not news.