“Chapter 22” takes a stroll down memory lane and finally introduces Professor X in one of the show’s best installments.
This recap of Legion Season 3, Episode 3, “Chapter 22”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — when Legion drops all the fancy-pants surrealist extravagance and just focuses on telling a slightly offbeat but otherwise straightforward story, it’s a fine show. And thankfully Legion Season 3, Episode 3, “Chapter 22”, was about as straightforward as this thing ever gets; a methodical delve in David’s past, primarily through the lens of his parents, Gabrielle Haller and Professor Charles Xavier.
“Chapter 22” isn’t completely divorced from David in the present day; his presence can be felt in whispers as he projects himself from the future, trying to prevent the Shadow King from infiltrating his body as an infant, and there’s an implication that his meddling might have been the catalyst for both his mother’s and his own mental deterioration. But it’s really an episode about legacy. Far from being filler, it’s an important look at love and family and the inevitability of time and is an unusually coherent installment of a show that has all too often prioritized style over substance.
As ever, the origins of Professor X, who once upon a time was promised never to feature in the show, are recognizable in the broad strokes and refreshingly different in the details. In Legion Season 3, Episode 3, Xavier and Gabrielle meet in a mental institution, where he uses his powers to help her purge lingering trauma from the Holocaust. Xavier is aware of how his powers can be intrusive and dangerous, which means its no surprise that Farouk is attracted to him through Cerebro.
For all its natter about time travel and suchlike, at its heart Legion Season 3, Episode 3 is a love story, and a well-told, affecting one at that. It might be slightly too sedate for some, especially those who revel in the show’s usual madcap excess, but I, for one, am happy that “Chapter 22” was able to flex muscles the show doesn’t bother to exercise all that often. Despite some niggles and the ever-present question of whether what we see in this show matters or is simply distortion, this was one of the finer hours we’ve seen of Noah Hawley’s demented brainchild.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.