On the face of it, Legion is a series about a man named David Haller who is misdiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and spends his life bouncing around psychiatric institutions as a result.
Beneath the surface, however, the show is so much more and people are having trouble trying to figure out what it’s about.
So far, there have only been two episodes of the series. The first, which aired last week, introduced Haller, his friend Lenny and his romantic interest, Syd Barrett. The second, which aired last night, brought Haller to a facility full of instructors and doctors who could help him harness his powers while studying his brain activity. More details about Haller’s childhood, family and friends are introduced with each episode, along with additional information about terrifying demons Haller sees and the lack of control he has over his newfound mutant abilities.
It may seem pretty concrete, but multiple fans have started comparing the show to True Detective, Westworld and Mr. Robot; all of which have gained notoriety for their distinctive, riddle-addled dialogue, complex timelines, use of multiple personalities and, in simpler terms, being more difficult shows.
People have begun to talk about the show’s extreme weirdness online, with many admitting that Legion pushes the boundaries on the level of oddness they normally like in their programs. Despite that, almost everyone is unanimous about one thing: the show is phenomenal.
“Still don't have a solid grip on what the hell's going on, but I'm 100% in on this show regardless,” one Redditor wrote. “It's so well done.”
“It's so far past my weird limit but I can't stop watching,” another echoed. “I love it.”
On Twitter, the show has sparked up similar conversations with many people admitting they’re still trying to figure out what’s going on.
I may stop trying to take actual notes on Legion and instead just write in big, bold letters "Things that I don't understand what they are."— Bradley Adams (@Bradley_AdamsTV) February 14, 2017
Even with the confusion surrounding the show, most fans aren’t turned off by it. Instead, much like Mr. Robot and Westworld, fans are intrigued by learning as much as they can about it and figuring out where showrunner Noah Hawley is going to take it.
“It's more that there's so much still to learn and that so much is done anachronistically, the show has clearly barely scratched the surface and I'm just pumped to see where it goes,” another Redditor wrote.
Hawley has addressed confusing moments that arise in the show before, and said that like True Detective or Mr. Robot, it’s not fair to just ask the audience to rely on the filmmaker and writers because they’re in the position of power and telling the story. Instead, Hawley said you have to give the audience a mystery to solve by introducing a series of puzzles and providing a protagonist they can believe in. Even during the most confusing moments, the audience needs to believe they’re not being led astray and it will all make sense in the end, Hawley told Uproxx last week.
It’s a lot to ask an audience to take a perpetually unsatisfying journey where it’s like you’re never going to know for sure. It’s another thing to say, ‘We’re going to take a character out of confusion into clarity and an audience out of mystery into clarity.’ That’s the goal of it which is to say, there’s a contract and you watch that first hour and you like, ‘I don’t know. There’s a devil with yellow eyes and there are these other elements that I’m not sure what they mean, but I trust the filmmaker and I know that I’m going to understand it eventually.’
Fans are willing to give the show a chance if it means the investment will pay off in the end, with many pointing to Westworld rewarding that time spent by about the fifth or sixth episode. There are others, however, who question whether or not the series will actually be able to pull off the difficult feat of providing a satisfying ending on par with Westworld’s first season finale or the twist at the end of Mr. Robot.
“It's not so much that you're not smart, the show is (so far) being vague and confusing on purpose, loaded with metaphor and figurative visual language,” a Reddit commenter said. “Whether this pans out to a larger narrative thrust (most likely, all the confusion is representative of David's mental state before he has control of his powers) or if it's just being showy without substance remains to be seen.”
Hawley told Uproxx that the payoff will be rewarding to fans who stick around, but it’s going to take a couple of episodes for audiences to get the hang of the dance routine.
Legion airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX.