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Legion - Chapter 20 - Review: Everything Negative, Can Be Changed to Positive, Once You Know How.

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Noah Hawley's mind-bending X-Men-inspired series, Legion, has returned for it's final season with it's first episode taking it's already nonlinear-approached storytelling to new levels by beginning to more seriously examine time travel, as the end of last season tried hard to convince viewers that David is a villain who will come to end the world thanks to the interference of a possible "Future-Syd".

But before we find out what David (Dan Stevens) has been up to, the episode introduces us a new mutant who will come to be referred  to as "Switch" (Lauren Tsai). From the get-go it's clear Switch is teaching herself lessons in time travel, which she listens to via instructions on cassette tape and headphones (serving as interesting voice-over monologues through out the episode), but it also becomes clear that Switch feels isolated, as she only talks to her father through a TV monitor and he doesn't really offer any comfort or personal feeling for her welfare, only interested in her lessons! This makes Switch the ultimate candidate that David would be looking for; a person who can travel in time and change the past, so the future could be changed too! Somebody as isolated as Switch feels, would be easy to manipulate into David's cause.

"Time is Not a River. Time is a Jungle Filled with Monsters." --Time Travel Lesson, Chapter 13

After going through her own city-jungle-maze in trying to find David via through symbols like "The Pregnant Virgin", A Red Bus dubbed as "The Yellow Bus", The Orange Fish (also known as Salmon),
Getting a Message through 89.1 Radio Channel Frequency, and A Nonsensical "Musical" Clothing Store, she finally is able to reach him and well, his new cult!

Immediately things speak bad for David's choice here, as his followers all seems well too much like a self-fulfilling prophecy. He feeds off of their energy, and they feed off his, while they inhale intoxicating hypnotic smoke and take in some blue substance coming from blue silk-looking flowers.

However, before the situation is better assessed, while David is telling Switch his story about The Shadow King, Division 3 makes their way into the building and cave, where David dies at the hands of Syd's (Racherl Keller) gun! Switch escapes to a time hallway, where she begins listen to another chapter of her time traveling lessons, warning her about not landing too close to an event that one wants to change, but also not too go to far back in time, AND to not interrupt the time stream too often!

Going back an hour, she fails, but this time it's Syd who takes out David! But before Switch can get back to her time hallway, Amahl Farouk (Nevin Negahban) takes note, as he brings her to the astral plane to try and figure out why she would help David, insisting that helping David is all he and Division 3 wanted. Switch tells him it's simple, "He's a man. You're a robot."

"We Do Not Want to Go Back Too Far, For the Further We Go, The More Risk Waking the Demon." --Time Travel Lesson, Chapter 14

Switch leaves the Astral Plane and it's not 100% clear if she went back in time to warn David again (although it seems likely), given how the episode ends with Division 3 wanting to drop a bomb on David's location, only to loose the signal, and for a bomb of some sort going off leaving a massive crater in the ground. But in between this time frame, Amahl warns Clark (Hammish Linklater) about Switch, while also testing Syd's motives for wanting to be there when David dies!

As different as the approach to time travel might seem here, (which I actually really love) this was really a wonderful first episode back that even though it feels like the narrative could still easily go astray, as Legion often does, it also feels like it his it's foot on the bigger picture questions the series needs to in some ways answer, even if only partially so. The episode brilliantly builds on things that came before, making it feel like a natural direction to take, despite it's unique sense of it's 'off-road, road-tripping' visual flare in doing so.  In fact setting aside time travel, another intriguing theme the series is layering on is artificial life through the construction of robots and androids.

"All Past is Future. When Traveling Back in Time, Remember the Present is Not Just a Date, It's a Feeling." --Time Traveling Lesson, Chapter 13

The Vermilion were really the series first foray into androids, being used in a bee-hive-mind /collective conscious fashion, are connected to Admiral Fukiyama, speak for him, and act out his tasks. It added a question about the importance in being able to "feel" over an ability to think without emotion. This episode builds on that through the reveal of Switch's father being a robot collector, Switch referring to Amahl as a robot (meaning a robot is metaphor for an unfeeling parasite), Syd's motivations being questioned, but not really answered (and I haven't felt right about her since that episode where it was revealed she relished what she did to mother and mother's boyfriend as a teenager), an introduction to a Demon (robot?) in the time hallway, and Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) is given a synthetic android body, but seems terribly indifferent.

In addition the final scene with with little robots moving across the screen, including one of Switch, does prompt me to theorize if she's an android or rather has a synthetic body? Could she become the demon in the time hall or is that something or someone else? Another curious line of dialogue that might relate to this was how she told David that she would sneak into her father's room to watch him with his robots, and that she would be very still pretending she was robot too! I mean where did her "time travel lessons" come from anyway? Does "Dr. Roboto" not seem like a like a fitting theme about mad scientists playing with life extension in every form?

Legion is back and is off to amazingly pleasant start with some characters looking for change, peace, and love, but perhaps in all the wrong places...

Stray Observations:

Lenny has graduated from being "The Corn Flake Girl" to "The Breakfast Queen", LOL!  Not sure what the deal is with Lenny's pregnant virgin girlfriend that she's "having a baby" with, but it was an amusing way to get back into Legion's off-kilter head-space and perhaps bring some Biblical Allegory into the series (ie "Virgin Mary" and "The Orange Fish" (Salmon)).

One of the visual things that stuck with me from last season was the electric blue octopus sign and the blue car that teleported Lenny to the desert! There were lots of electric and hypnotic blue visuals through out David's cult location, including blue silk flowers. The one also growing out of a crack in the sidewalk also reminds me a great deal of Fringe's final season, where Walter finds one as sign of hope.

I also loved the the Blimp or Aircraft Division 3 was traveling in during the last sequence. It was really cool how the camera followed Farouk through it's puzzling interiors, leading to Cary working on Ptonomy's new body or Syd's circular library. Granted I couldn't tell what Syd was reading and if it really matters, since IMO Syd is the actually mystery of the series in terms of goals and motivations.

No Amy turning up in the episode to play Jiminy Cricket to Lenny, but I suspect she will eventually. I would like to think that Amy might factor into saving David from destroying the world, if possible.

Thought the Chessboard Floor in Switch's living room was interesting thing to throw in. Does this mean she is struggling with whose side she'll be on, struggling with time, or struggling with herself?

Switch is a cool addition to cast! She makes for a nice parallel for David to have, as clearly she longs for love, not getting it from her father.  Also, could she be related to Admiral Fukiyama??? Doesn't he seem almost like another version of the same idea??

Should I even comment on the Giant Pig with Hukkah-filled Nipples? (I mean we thought Lewis Carol was a little out there, but this gives him a good run for his money).

Ptonomy seems distant and not very human, but yet he was concerned about his mustache!?! The fact that Cary thought that would make him fit in with the Vermilion better , or that Ptonomy would want that, was tragically hysterical, but also points out a debate about if Ptonomy's humanity is still in tact.

"All Past is Future. When Traveling Back in Time, Remember the Present is Not Just a Date, It's a Feeling."  This line from the time travel lessons I find the most curious, because not only does it highlight the importance of feeling and what it means to be human, but it might be interesting think about in relation to David wiping Syd's memory from the end of last season. Despite that most viewers probably see it as a major overstep, David was so scared of loosing Syd, not understanding her sudden change of heart. He wanted to "buy some time" to figure things out, but he also wanted to remind her what their love "felt" like. Does that make David a super villain or does that just make David human? I haven't fully bought into David being a full-fledged villain, as I still think Amahl has had a greater influence over all of David's reality, first inside his head for 30 years and now through the people David loves. That's not to say that David's actions at the end of season 2 don't point to a slippery-slope, but looking back at so many of characters, were any of them ever really good people? In hindsight they all have weaknesses and exist in a reality where not enough questions are ever really asked by them to make good assessments as to whom they really are, but in the end, I do hope the message is, we can fight our demons and find some happiness for ourselves in time.

Also does David want a time traveler to change the past or better understand the past to better shape his present and future? When Switch and David converse, David mentions he thought about the idea of going back and changing just one thing, but realizing that doesn't work (and how does he come to that conclusion already?). So this makes me wonder if David's goal, besides what Switch ended up doing to save David, was actually soul searching and information gathering?  That he knows that changing the past is an a front to changing who everyone he cares about is or was, maybe even learning from his mistake with Syd? It will be interesting to see how David uses time travel.

Any thing I missed? Any thoughts or theories you have on anything? Sound off in the comments below!!!!

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