Earlier this week FX played the 8th, and final, episode of the first season of the series Legion.
The series, tied in to the Marvel Comics X-Men series and, coming into it, I heard it was an ambitious, at times mind-bending work. How “close” it was to the various X-Men comics it is I cannot say.
What I can talk about is the series itself, which I found incredibly entertaining, with some caveats, the biggest of which is that at times the show ventured from weirdly engaging to just plain weird.
The show’s pilot was, as I stated in my original review, was humorous as weird but at times one admittedly had to have patience. The story was intriguing enough to keep me going, though even at a mere 8 episodes there was at least one which maybe could have been trimmed out without much loss (I forget which one it was…I think it might have been episode 6 which was simply one wild head-trip).
The show concerns David Haller (Dan Stevens) who is mentally disturbed and in an institution…and may have the mental power within him capable of destroying the world. One of his best friends there is Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) who may or may not be real. The nature of Lenny becomes a central plot point of the series and Aubrey Plaza is a delight in a humorous and at times very scary role.
Into the institution appears Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) who has secrets of her own, and the two are drawn to each other. Turns out Syd also has her secrets and her interest in David extends beyond mere attraction.
There are also a group of military figures who are interested in David and they kidnap him from the institution which, in turn, sets off Legion’s story.
I don’t want to give away more than this but suffice to say the series is intriguing, creative, suspenseful, and at times howlingly funny.
I also believe I know one of the show’s biggest kept secrets, which I’ll get to in a second (it does involve rather huge SPOILERS).
Anyway, if you haven’t given the show a try, do so. It’s weird and at times requires a bit of patience but it gets better and better as it goes along and its final two episodes, in particular, were knockouts.
Now, for those pesky…
(abandon hope all ye who enter here)
Still there? Required statement: You have been warned.
So Legion involves a group of mutants led by Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) who are running from the government. The government, rightly, fears the mutants and wants to stop whatever they’re doing. The mutants, of course, want to survive.
In the course of the series Dr. Bird, it is revealed, has a husband, Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) who is apparently a very powerful mutant who got himself stuck in the “astral plane” for the past 20 or so years. He figures into the series, particularly the conclusion, and is at this point a confused individual who fancies himself a beat poet.
Ok, here’s the big SPOILER/SECRET I believe the show has hidden in plain sight: Dr. Melanie Bird and Oliver Bird are somehow the future/older versions of Syd Barrett and David Haller.
Take a look at these images of Dr. Melanie Bird…
…and Syd Barrett:
As the series progressed, I was struck by how similar these two looked, as if one was an older version of the other.
Syd Barrett’s mutant power is that whomever she touches “switches” bodies with her. This process is painful to Syd and therefore she wears gloves and makes it a point of not touching people.
In the entire 8 episode run we’re never told -at least not to my memory- what Dr. Bird’s powers are. Why not? She runs a mutant enclave…surely she has a mutant power as well, right? So why make a secret of it? Could it be that revealing it would reveal she has the same powers as Syd?
My evidence, beyond simple visuals: Dr. Oliver often wears gloves, just like Syd. She also doesn’t touch others. Whenever Dr. Oliver talks to Syd and Syd tells her she’s going to do something -sometimes something Dr. Bird looks about to protest- Dr. Bird nonetheless holds her tongue and doesn’t question Syd’s judgment. It’s almost as if she realizes that Syd and her are the same person and therefore, how does she question the judgment of her own, albeit younger, self?
There’s a further point: Dr. Bird reacts very curiously to the attraction Syd has for David. It’s almost as if she realizes the person Syd loves is the same person she loves, which leads to the following:
If Syd Barrett and Dr. Bird are the same person, could David Haller and the astral-plane stranded husband of Dr. Melanie Bird, Oliver Bird, also be the same person?
Here’s Oliver Bird…
…and here’s David:
There is less visual similarity between the two versus Dr. Bird and Syd, but note the curious resolution presented in the show’s finale. When the parasitic creature within David is finally drawn out, it bounces around but where does it ultimately land?
If Oliver is an “older” version of David, where else would a parasitic creature go to but to the one whose “soul” it most knows?
Now, as I stated before: I never read the comic books which featured these characters and therefore don’t know if this is an already known story concept (or, indeed, if I missed some clearer hint to this in the series itself).
Regardless, these are my theories. Perhaps they’re close to true?