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LEGION -- "Chapter 2" (Airs Wednesday, February 15, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: (l-r) Jean Smart as Melanie Bird, Dan Stevens as David Haller. CR: Michelle Faye/FX

Legion Gets Trippy Down Memory Lane

With only eight episodes in its first season, there's very little time to waste when it comes to FX's Legion. After a stunning series premiere that provided plenty of questions but obviously very few answers, the show's second episode started to slowly pull back the curtain on David Haller (Dan Stevens), but it's quite clear the show is in no real hurry to explain either.

In "Chapter Two," with the help of Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), whose power as a so-called "memory artist" involves being able to remember everything in his life and travel into the memories of others, Jean Smart's Melanie attempts to dig into David's history by taking a trip down memory lane. By revisiting David's past, she hopes it will allow him to rewrite the narrative of his life -- the one in which he's been told over and over again he's suffering from a mental illness -- and form a firmer grasp on his uncontrollable telepathic and telekinetic powers.

During the trippy hour we catch glimpses of David's seemingly idyllic childhood with his sister Amy (Katie Aselton) before fast-forwarding to scenes of David as a junkie who's friends with Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) prior to them being institutionalized together. These wildly different memories can be viewed as examples of life prior to David's powers manifesting and after. Later on we also discover a rather sinister recurring bedtime story read to David by his father and that there's something very strong keeping part of David's memories blocked, even from himself. All of this just adds more questions to the already long list from the premiere.
But while David is at Summerland exploring memories of his father and previous therapy sessions, Amy has been searching for her brother, which naturally leads to her being kidnapped by Division Three. As Syd (Rachel Keller) points out to a restless and ready-to-bolt David, they're using Amy as bait and he is useless to save her until he learns and understands how to control his powers. So he stays.

Legion is clearly still in set up mode in "Chapter Two," moving its many pieces around a colorful chessboard to set up both David's origin story as well as the inevitable battle between Division Three and David (and maybe even all of Summerland?). Because we're viewing this world and these events through the subjective prism of David's mind, though, it's still impossible to tell exactly what is real and what is a creation or fabrication. It makes for a totally bonkers but wholly enjoyable viewing experience that feels like no other comic book drama on TV. All of this is more than all right of course given the complexity of Legion's narrative, but with only eight episodes and a long list of questions that's constantly being added to, David's search for answers -- and thus our search for answers -- should be next on the show's list of priorities.

Legion airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

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