So, you've just watched Legion! Congrats. Are you wondering what you just watched? You're not alone!
Noah Hawley's new series is unlike anything else on TV. The FX drama, based on the lesser known Marvel character of the same name, is the sort of series that requires multiple viewings to understand what is happening, a fact that might seem problematic or cumbersome but is actually a sign of its ingenuity.
There are a lot of complicated layers to the story of David Haller (Dan Stevens) and with each new viewing comes a new appreciation for Hawley's incredible (and incredibly weird) creation. But because not everyone has the time or even the desire to watch the same hour of television multiple times, we've gathered some of the most pressing questions we had after watching the premiere and attempted to answer them for you as best as we could.
1. What the hell is happening?
Assuming you're talking about Legion and not the general state of the world at the moment — because no one really knows and we definitely don't have the time to dig into that today — the best answer is that Legion is a series filtered through David's mind, which means the story exists in a subjective reality and the credibility of everything you see should probably be questioned.
Here's the story as David knows it: He is mentally ill and was in a mental institution but escaped after briefly switching bodies with his gifted girlfriend Sydney "Syd" Barrett (Rachel Keller) following an impulsive kiss on her last day. Once he left the hospital, he went to live with his sister Amy (Katie Aselton) before being picked up by a seemingly nefarious group known as Division III (Division Three? Division 3?) and subsequently interrogated. David was then rescued by Syd and several people with powers who work for a mysterious woman known as Melanie Bird (Jean Smart). Oh yeah, and his best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) was killed while Syd was in David's body and now David hallucinates Lenny's presence in his life, where she appears to act as the personification of his conscience.
2. So is David actually mentally ill?
That's the million dollar question. Although David clearly appears to have demonstrated powers of some kind, there is no reason that the two proposed explanations for his behavior — that he is a mutant and has multiple powers or he is mentally ill — can't both be true. In the comics, the character of David Haller was diagnosed as having a form of dissociative personality disorder, with each of his personalities controlling one of his many powers. Something similar could easily be the case here, too. As it stands, all we know is that David has been under the care of doctors for years because of what his family was told was a mental illness and Melanie and her team are offering him another explanation for his situation.
3. During what time period does the series actually take place?
Based on the style of clothing worn by the show's characters, the series appears to take place in the '60s, but various other aspects of the series don't support this theory. According to star Katie Aselton, who spoke with TVGuide.com in January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, "[the show] takes place in the '60s if the '60s were the future."
That is not all that helpful, but Aselton at least attempted to clarify her statement. "We're looking at a story through David Haller's filter, right? And if you are not sure what is real and what is not, then what time period do you live in? All of them," she said.
Actually, that sort of makes sense? Either that or Legion has completely brainwashed us. Email email@example.com if you know the answer.
4. Does it seem weird that Syd would risk everything to rescue David?
This is one of those questions that is difficult to answer because it's based on viewer experience or expectation and not the characters' views, but we have to admit David and Syd's relationship evolved incredibly quickly. Is that weird? The fact that they cannot physically touch one another because of Syd's power means the bond they share is strictly emotional. However, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. From where we sit, all signs point to yes, the couple is in love — or what they perceive to be love — and frankly, it's probably the most honest and human piece of this entire wacky puzzle. So yes it's weird, but it also makes plenty of sense in the grand scheme of things.
5. What is that creepy toad monster/angry egg thing in David's memories?
Is it a manifestation of David's inner demons? Is it the real-life version of the mucus creatures from the Mucinex commercials? Is it both? Who knows! At this stage it's too early to tell exactly what role it plays in David's life, but it's very obvious that it's probably nothing good. It's probably also safe to say we haven't seen the last of it.
6. How bad was that CGI in the escape sequence?
It looked weird at times, right? We're not alone here?
Legion airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.