Marvel LegionCreated: Sat May 08 2021 07:30:02 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) Tags: tv,reviews,complaints
I just finished binge watching Marvel’s Legion, and I’m not sure how to feel.
I have a complicated relationship with Marvel. As a child, I really enjoyed comics and superheros, and I definitely leaned towards Marvel over DC. I was too fast of a reader to bother with monthly issues, but major storylines would eventually get published as anthology, and I devoured those. Besides being a more substantial read, I also felt like they connected me to different eras of Marvel history. Like, I had a book with the first 10 issues of X-men, and another with the entire Dark Phoenix Saga.
Later, I would discover Image Comics and come to prefer their dark but cartoony style, but Marvel still defines comics to me. Particularly X-men and the Fantastic Four.
In the early 2000s, I used to hang out at Barnes and Noble and binge on comic anthologies while eating espresso brownies. It was one of my favorite ways to pass the day. During that time, I read some amazing titles at the time, like the beautifully illustrated Marvels and the epic Earth/Universe/Paradise X.
I started reading comics less eventually, and shortly after that, the whole world decided that superheros were one of the two types of media that were allowed to be produced anymore. The other is Star Wars. After witnessing a couple of disappointing attempts at Marvel film adaptations (X-men, Spiderman, Fantastic Four), I told myself I wasn’t going to watch those movies anymore. Nobody was more surprised than me when these movies just kept being made. Then the Avengers got their own movie franchise and it dominates the world. My 5-year-old sleeps on a Captain America pillow.
I fucking hate the Avengers. Iron Man’s power is being rich and cocky. Thor is a god, which means he is completely square and uninteresting. Captain America? Let’s just say I wouldn’t have wanted to be his Facebook friend during the last couple of election cycles, although in fairness he did come out against forcing superpowered people to register with the government.
Anyway, the point of all this is that I like Marvel but not so much the live-action franchises based on it.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
Legion is the story of David, an omega-level mutant. As a baby, a disembodied Persian psychic takes up residence in his brain and drives him insane. He believes he is schizophrenic, literally living in, a mental ward until he meets Syd, a cute blonde that body-swaps you if you touch her. They body swap, and Syd (in David’s body) kills a lot of people. They get rescued by Not The X-men who tell David and Syd, you guys aren’t crazy. You’re just mutants. We need you to fight the bad guys. What follows is 2.9 seasons of awesomeness, followed by an ending that made me so mad I’m not sure if I even like the show anymore.
It’s an origin story, but a great one. David and Syd meet in the mental ward and fall instantly in love, despite her not being able to be touched. David keeps trying to kiss her. When Syd is released, David shoots his shot and plants one on her. They body swap, and David (in Syd’s body) is rushed away, while Syd (in David’s body) murders the shit out of everybody, including Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). The body swap effect wears off, and David is interrogated by Clark, an employee of the government’s Division 3 mutant-hunting department. David is fucked, but Syd and Not THe X-men rescue him.
They are taken back to Summerland, i.e. not Xavier Mansion, where they meet Ptonomy, who dresses like the kind of bartender that keeps an ice pick in his apron, Kerry/Cary - the two-for-one twins, and the frozen body of Jemaine Clement. Lenny’s ghost torments David AND everybody else. Ptonomy uses his memory powers and some flamed orange peel to help David discover that he isn’t crazy, just has another literal person in his head. They fight the bad guy in David’s head, Amahl Farouk, and get him out successfully, but not before he can pop into Jemaine.
David is abducted by a future version of Syd and told he needs to help Farouk/Jemaine find Farouk’s body. But why? Farouk is the bad guy! Well, something worse is coming and we need him to help fight. When he gets back to the present, it is three years later and all his old friends now work for Division 3. Psychic battles and song sequences occur. Ptonomy dies; Lenny comes back to life. There is a cringy love triangle between David and future-Syd and regular Syd. Also it turns out the worse thing is (OBVIOUSLY) David himself, who is totally nucking futs. Regular Syd decides David is bad and tries to kill him so he wipes her memory of that decision and rapes her. You read that right.
Long story short, they did change the timeline. In the old timeline David kills Farouk, but now Farouk lives to become a Division 3 employee alongside the rest of the Not X-men. Now David is the bad guy.
Season Three (Starts out good)
David leaves clues around town that he is looking for a time traveler. Luckily he finds one, a Chinese girl named Switch. It turns out David has started a cult and his goal is to go back in time and undo the killing and rape. There are some great scenes, (pretty much everything with Switch is awesome). Ptonomy comes back to life as a computer with a mohawk, Lenny has something really fucked up happen to her (even by Lenny standards) and stabs herself in the neck with Ptonomy’s old ice pick. Jason Mandzoukis stops by. David kills almost everybody, goes back in time (and so do Syd, the TwoForOne Twins and Farouk) to meet his dad, the real Professor X. He’s all set to kill past Farouk when his superphrenia gets the better of him. It’s cheesy.
Present day Farouk convinces past Farouk not to fight Charles Xavier, which means X doesn’t disembody Farouk, which means baby David gets to keep his sanity and the past is indeed rewritten. The not-X-men fade from view McFly style, and I guess David gets to be a good guy.
Why the ending bothers me
Firstly, this goes against Marvel canon, as I see it. I don’t mean to go all “worst episode ever”, but Marvel’s cashed in heavily on multiple timelines / universes. You don’t change the past by going back, you just split the timeline.
Secondly, the entire third season is basically David doubling down on being a villain again and again because he wants to undo the damage he did. He believes he can rewrite the past. His girlfriend dumped him, so he decides to murder/suicide the entire world. Which is what will happen. If someone rewrites your past, the you as you know it is dead. Will you even be born in this new timeline? Will the actions of these godlike mutants rewrite history completely now that one of them isn’t in a psych ward and the other isn’t stuck in the first one’s head?
It bothers me so much that the show let him be right. He feels bad his girlfriend dumped him, and worse because he literally raped her. He kills hundreds of people, many in unnecessarily painful ways. He shouldn’t get to be right.
A Better Ending
Now-Farouk kills David and rights the timeline by taking down his past self for a redemption arc.
David gains enough control over his demons for a few minutes to stop destroying the world.
Syd kills David, they all die in the process but stop the world from ending.
Stan Lee comes into my personal living room and hits me over the head with a rolled up comic while shouting “Excelsior!”