“Chapter 24” sees Legion move towards a climax as David launches a counter-offensive and lives are lost.
This recap of Legion Season 3, Episode 5, “Chapter 24”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
David Haller is a narcissist. That should be self-evident, but it’s worth reiterating because of how completely it defines all his perspectives and decisions. It even defines a lot of Legion‘s large-scale structure and its present fascination with time-travel. Its high-level thinking is devoted to permanence, or impermanence, depending on your perspective; the idea that things that have happened can be returned to and redone, while things that haven’t happened yet can be carefully sculpted ahead of time. And the show is fascinated with that idea because David is. If he can change the past and determine the future, he can undo all his mistakes, and create a world more suited to his excesses.
After last week’s excellent episode, “Chapter 24” finds David launching a counterattack, raiding convoys and wiping memories. Here Legion Season 3, Episode 5 again plays with language borrowed from horror and suspense, putting its surrealist impulses to work in unsettling the audience with David’s nonchalance and the scope of his powers. It is, of course, all about him. Later, when Lenny, traumatized from having witnessed the birth, life, and death of her child, decides to part ways with David, he sees her grisly suicide as her “abandoning him”.
This comes to light in another compelling conversation between David and Syd in “Chapter 24”, during which Syd is able to use his narcissism to trick him. Piloting his body, she’s able to save Kerry from David’s folk-horror harem, but she’s unable to stave off the many raspy voices of David that, taken together, are legion. The Shadow King believes that while he’s less powerful than David, his stability gives him an advantage; David’s recklessness and impulsiveness are exploitable. This almost proves to be true, but with Switch’s help, David is able to trap Farouk in a snapshot wasteland, outside of time.
“Chapter 24”, presumably contractually mandated to include at least one nutcase deviation, spares time for a singalong. But it’s worth enjoying in this case just to appreciate how much better Legion has been since being unburdened from a lot of this nonsense. Now we’re approaching the end of the season and presumably the end of the show, we’re getting what I wanted all along: Just the right balance of psychedelia and actual storytelling. The increase in action gives weight and consequence to the characters’ decisions, and it’s temporal looseness means it’s genuinely impossible to tell where everything might be heading. This, I think, is the best the show has ever been. I hope it sticks the landing.