“Chapter 27” provides a divisive, unusually upbeat conclusion that resolves the show’s conflicts with surprisingly little actual conflict.
This recap of the Legion Season 3 finale, Episode 8, “Chapter 27”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There are, realistically, only a couple of explanations for the Legion Season 3 finale, which definitively concluded David Haller’s story in a way that felt final but also bizarrely anticlimactic. On the one hand, it was the plan all along — for all the show’s trippy weirdness, propensity for psychedelic diversions, musical interludes, and aggravatingly unfocused storytelling, maybe it always intended to end this way. Or, maybe it didn’t. Maybe it simply, through all its hedonistic excess, painted itself into a corner from which the only escape was arguably the easiest. “Chapter 27” felt, at times, like it was taking those easy options, like it was tying a neat bow around itself, ending on a note of earnest sincerity that I’m not entirely sure it earned.
But despite all that, I think this was the point. I think that for better or worse this is where we’ve always been heading; to David finally getting his own way, but his way being the best for everyone involved. Since its inception, Legion has been an atypical superhero show, sometimes to its detriment. But “Chapter 27” was subversive even by the show’s own standards; it didn’t just upend the conventions of superhero storytelling but also the idea of what a finale could and should be. The hero became the villain and then the villain, implausibly, became the loudest voice of reason. Nobody died. Longstanding conflicts were resolved peacefully or by proxy. Big, dramatic face-offs were avoided, and the most significant decisions were made in intimate exchanges. All of that is unusual and to the show’s credit.
The Legion Season 3 finale will prove divisive, though, simply because in many ways it felt like an abandonment of the show’s own complex morality, especially after a full season dedicated to the weight and consequences of meddling with timelines and rewriting reality. David’s consistently selfish impulse to undo the worst of his transgressions, and his self-fulfilling justification for it, was undone by the power of parental love; by his father’s refusal to abandon him, and by his mother’s willingness to devote herself to him over her own trauma and need to heal. It’s a profoundly optimistic sentiment, but it also feels a bit pat, reminiscent of how Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar abandoned its rigorous scientific underpinnings to posit the idea of love being a transdimensional force.
Legion never pretended it was hard sci-fi though, so “Chapter 27” can get away with leaning into sentimentality a little bit. And it’s sometimes preferable to what might have otherwise been. The introduction of two temporally-displaced Farouks presented all kinds of potential outcomes, but the least likely was perhaps the most effective, making a point about maturation and redemption that felt neater and less troubling than the resolution to David’s arc. David’s arc was resolved, yes, but in a way that suggested perhaps that the end justified the means; it’s admittedly a surface-level interpretation, but it isn’t one that the Legion Season 3 finale rejects.
David resetting the timeline allows him to get what he wants without hurting anyone in the process, but it also doesn’t address the potential for history to repeat itself given his powers or his mental issues; his greatest betrayals — especially those committed against Syd — will never happen and therefore don’t need to be confronted. Perhaps it’s fitting that Legion leaves us on this note. This has always been a show that plays by its own rules, and it must be commended for that, despite any other valid criticisms that might otherwise be aimed at it. Legion went out the same way it arrived: Doing whatever it felt like doing. It’s rare you can say that.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.