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YMMV / Legion

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation
    • Is the nurse in chapter six David's sister being seemingly cruel and arbitrary in order to shock the group out of their complacency inside the illusory institution on the astral plane, or is she acting on repressed resentment toward David, or is she being mind controlled, or is she really not even there and what we see is just another form of the The Devil With Yellow Eyes?
    • The Season 2 finale is filled with this. For instance, did David really wipe Syd's memory of her decision to try to kill David and all the things Farouk told her to get her to do so then rape her under false pretenses, or did he simply try to undo Farouk's brainwashing of Syd so she would go back to the way she was before it and treat her as such? Similarly, did the group turn against David because of legitimate reasons or because Farouk manipulated or even outright brainwashed them into it? Lastly, was David breaking out and leaving while taking Lenny with him simple self defense to avoid being drugged or executed for what he hadn't even done yet, Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, or was he deciding Then Let Me Be Evil?
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    • Just how heroic is this series' version of Charles Xavier? Yes, he seems to be a fundamentally good person and a loving parent/husband, but it is heavily implied that he fought the Shadow King because the latter had set him a trap, and that liberating the King's subjects was secondary at best. And while he knows that Farouk's love for his son is genuine, which is partly why he accepts a truce, he also knows (because of David having fed him with knowledge) what he had done to David's adoptive sister and that it was the kind of thing someone like Farouk considers an act of love.
  • Award Snub: Despite being lauded by both critics and audiences alike, Legion was completely overlooked by the 2017 and 2018 Emmys, not receiving a single nomination either times.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: A major part of the show's aesthetic is making surreal digressions seemingly brought about by David's mental instability. Whether these are unrelated to the show's plot or are a fundamental aspect of how the show conveys character is up for interpretation:
    • The dance number in the pilot's third act, after David gets gassed. It seems to come out of nowhere and has no apparent relation to the plot.
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    • "Chapter 14" gives us a mouse lip syncing to "Slave to Love".
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: The fact that the Melanie in the pit in season 2, trying to convince Syd that David must be killed using magic viewing screens, is actually Amahl Farouk. This is treated as a reveal, while it's pretty obvious that Melanie, who has no powers, wouldn't suddenly show up in an Eldritch Location with a whole magical presentation on killing David. However, the coinciding reveal that Farouk isn't also in Oliver at the time isn't exactly obvious, given that we don't know the full extent of Farouk's powers.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Shadow King is a Faux Affably Evil Sadist with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but the sheer glee he takes in brutally tormenting and/or disposing of those who oppose him regardless of what form he takes makes him both terrifying and incredibly entertaining to watch.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: During the dance sequence "Lenny" has in chapter six through David's memories, exulting in her control over his mind, there's a moment where she does a burlesque-style swing on the noose David tried to hang himself with.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Aubrey Plaza's swaggering, off-the-wall portrayal of the Shadow King has been praised, with her dance number from the sixth episode considered by many fans to be the epitome of this trope.
    • Navid Negahban's performance as Amahl Farouk, playing the disembodied King of Shadows as an exotic Man of Wealth and Taste.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Lenny, particularly in her psychiatrist disguise from "Chapter 6".
  • Fight Scene Failure: This isn't an action series, and the actress who plays Kerry was obviously not chosen based on her martial arts background. For a character who seems to live to fight, her punches and kicks tend to look pretty uncoordinated. She gets better in later seasons, probably as a result of some between-season training.
  • Foe Yay: Lenny/The Shadow King is fond of invoking this with David, especially in "Chapter 6", where she shows a serious lack of boundaries and muses about "wanting [his] body" while suggestively rubbing against him.
  • Growing the Beard: Beginning with "Chapter 3" the Through the Eyes of Madness angle starts to lessen and a much more coherent narrative begins to form, as opposed to previous episodes where it's so psychedelic and confusing that some viewers had difficulty staying with the show.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In Season 1, Lenny (under the Shadow King's influence) says that Amy has "kind of a hot bod under all that tight-ass Hausfrau bullshit." In Season 2, Lenny is physically resurrected by the Shadow King, who kills Amy and gives Lenny her body to use.
  • He Really Can Act: The show is widely considered to be this for Aubrey Plaza and Dan Stevens, big time.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Just 19 days prior to Legion's premiere, Split was released in theaters. It stars James McAvoy (the younger Professor X in the X-Men Film Series) as a man who struggles with dissociative identity disorder, and his body chemistry changes depending on which personality is in control. Some movie critics and fans have joked that if McAvoy wasn't already cast as Xavier, Split could've been his very sophisticated audition for Legion.
    • Just a couple weeks after Lenny fails to kill herself because the bullet turns into bubbles, we have Thanos' fondness for doing the same thing in Avengers: Infinity War.
    • While in Oliver's body, Farouk has a tendency to kill people by vaporizing them into little piles of ash. Cue the Avengers: Infinity War ending within the same week, no less.
    • David's last words to Farouk in the series finale are "No, I don't think I will." Bonus points for him finally successeding in Set Right What Once Went Wrong through Time Travel.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Waffles. It comes from David scarfing a large amount of waffles when he visits Amy in season one, and the famous "waffle river" at Division 3 one season later.
    • "And now we come to the most alarming delusion of all..." The monologue by Jon Hamm in "Chapter 16" opens with this preface, which has gone on to be used for sarcastic purposes, particularly describing things that are considered incorrect.
    • The Mi-Go Monk adage in "Chapter 16". "To create fear, look in a mirror." This is the saying that accompanies the intro of the episode and has been almost constantly photoshopped to say humorous things instead.[[/labelnote]]
    • "DAAAVIIIIIIIIIIIIID!" Clark's rather odd attempt to calm David down during the first interrogation. It's also not the last time we hear it.
    • Lenny appearing behind David after Kerry is shot. The screenshot is often paired with a comical line said by Lenny.
  • Narm: The usually great philosophical discussions with Jon Hamm come to a screeching halt in "Chapter 16," as he instead just rants about how cell phones are destroying the world, a bizarre digression into Ludd Was Right that nothing else in the series remotely approaches.
  • Narm Charm: The ways in which David and Farouk metaphorically face off against each other, including a dance battle and a wrestling match. They’re extreme and ridiculous, but also surprisingly epic and effective in portraying the conflict between the two. It all culminates in them having a sing-off in the middle of a desert while flying slowly towards each other. Over the top? Yes. Awesome? Absolutely.
  • Rewatch Bonus: In "Chapter 7", David's arm can be seen reaching behind his back just before the bullets hit him.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of fans still find themselves rooting for David after his Face–Heel Turn. Especially due to Division 3 idiotically allying themselves with the Shadow King, despite knowing what a monster he is, and Syd being a Karma Houdini for her own crimes.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Bolero scene from "Chapter 7", so much that it preceded the show's panel at Comic-Con.
    • David and Farouk's Battle in the Center of the Mind at the start of the Season 2 finale, racking up numerous comments that it's one of the best scenes of any TV show in history.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Rather hilariously invoked with Syd and David.
    David: [after listening to Syd speak for about a minute after they've only just met] Do you want to be my girlfriend?
    Syd: [Thinks about it for a few seconds] Okay.
  • Squick: Syd's story of how she lost virginity. She swapped bodies with her mother and then had sex with her boyfriend, but the switch didn't last long and she was involuntarily changing bodies back while he was inside her! In Season 2 when we actually see this in flashback, it's revealed that Syd's mother had the boyfriend arrested because she understandably thought he'd raped her underage daughter.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: "Choir and Crickets", the gorgeously soothing music that Syd listens to on Lenny's head phones in Chapter 7. Makes for fabulous easy-listening music and, appropriately enough, Syd uses it to fall asleep to.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • When it was announced that Fox and Marvel were working together to make a TV show based on the X-Men franchise, very few people predicted it'd star Legion, a third-rate character in the actual comics.
    • The very presence of Professor X, even if most of his role happened offscreen. Even ignoring Flip-Flop of God, no-one thought that he would make an appearance due to the films.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In her flashback episode, we see a teenage Syd using her powers to get two males she doesn't like into deep and almost certainly life-changing trouble for her own horrific crimes instead of the people she violated. The show, disgustingly, tries to make her the victim instead of the rapist piece of garbage she is. This becomes even more egregious after the second season finale, in which David uses his powers to make Syd forget that she is angry with him and has sex with her. This is treated as a Moral Event Horizon for David (which it admittedly is), but Syd's own crime isn't even mentioned, let alone condemned the way David's is. In Season 3, when Syd talks about her sexual encounter with her mother's boyfriend, she speaks with no remorse and makes it sound like she was the victim. "Face pushed in the glass" indeed.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The general weirdness definitely invokes that reaction.
  • The Woobie:
    • David was tormented all his life by a demonic presence known as the Shadow King and led to think he was mentally ill. Later, he discovers that the Shadow King has forcibly robbed his sister Amy of her physical body for Lenny to use. Syd, meanwhile, grew up unable to touch anyone without swapping bodies with them, which rendered her friendless and deprived her of intimate relationships.
    • Lenny too. A lifelong junkie whose life started on a downward spiral at age nine when her grandmother gave her her first drink. Then she is the victim of an Accidental Murder when David and Syd swap bodies, crushed to death by being fused into a wall. However, while her physical body dies, her mind is locked away in the astral plane by the Shadow King, who uses her as a puppet to torment David and his friends; it's clear this is not pleasant for her and she even attempts suicide a few times to escape.


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