Legion: “Chapter 8” – Finale Review

(Spoilers Ahoy)

Legion has produced some of the most (and literal) mind-bending episodes that have ever graced superhero TV. Nay, usual TV. Creator Noah Hawley has melded mental eccentricity with power drama and intriguing character development whilst also producing memorable scenes in the shows unusual set-design and scene exploration. Legion blazed through it’s season with wit, originality, and terror; unique against the backdrop of mutant and superhero fatigue, offering a new spin on the genres that we know.

With it’s finale, it certainly showcased power – though not with the force we’ve known.

Chapter 8 of this fantastic show may play out with the usual garb you’d expect from power-led series. There’s a baddie to defeat, there’s a twist in the fold, there are lovers trying to get back together. The episode picks off where we were left: The Investigator from Chapter 1 has returned and is determined to get David under his fold, regardless of collateral damage. Meanwhile, the parasite inhibiting David is threatening to come out of their electric halo cage and it soon becomes a battle to get The Shadow King burnt out of David’s subconscious.

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The whole season has been about perspective and how much it could play on our understand. What we see and know isn’t necessarily the truth. David’s point of view, due to the parasite and his drug taking, manipulates the narrative alongside The Shadow King who distorts it too. In Chapter 8, however, it’s a much more moral perspective that is twisted as we see the Investigator, played incredibly by Chris Melina, ecover from his injuries. With his husband and son, we see him rebuild his life with burn disfigurement only to have him return to his job in pursuit of David. Here is where Hawley spins a different web: Instead of a crutch wearing villain, he presents a character who quite rightly wants revenge for his injuries and the death of the men and women beside him. His perspective, then, is that mutants are all

Certainly Chapter 8 had a tricky path to follow. The last episode set an unprecedented level: A high bar where superhero television series and thriller television series collided in a spectacular display of creative ingenuity that was both gripping and horrifying. Following the penultimate episode, Chapter 8 had to topple that but ultimately fell somewhat flat within it’s presence. There are truly magnificent moments. The Shadow King transferring to Kerry who attracts almighty anger due to her despondency with Cary allows a magnificent battle sequence between David and herself, one that echoes of typical superhero finale but still stunning to watch nonetheless.

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What this episode opens is an intriguing look at Season 2 where the danger must be intensified, more so than this already phenomenal series. The thought of Jermaine Clement and Aubrey Plaza now being a tag-team villain as Oliver is newly possessed by The Shadow King is far too tantalising to wait for next year to see. There’s also the thought of David who enjoy a true brief moment of conscious freedom before being snapped away again in the mid-credits scene. This all offers new and uneasy ground for us to explore.

Legion is a show to go back and watch. Though Chapter 8 hums of a familiarity that Legion spent so long trying to differentiate from, it is still an utterly palpable and compelling show.

Come back for our overview and highlights of Legion! 

Ghost in the Shell (1995)- Review

Until recently, anime and I had a somewhat tenuous relationship. I was never that thrilled about the often overly sexualised women, nor did I enjoy the on-the-cheap animation that was used (where three frames could render an entire two minute walking sequence.)

However, as I grew older, my tastes began to mature, computers improved enough to allow more fluid animations, and I stopped letting such petty things stop me from watching some of the shows that have made their way to the UK (although the sexualisation factor is still leaves me feeling a little iffy.)

Despite my hang-ups, there has always been one anime film that I’ve held in high regard more or less from day one, the 1995 feature, Ghost in the Shell. It was released at the same time in Japan, Europe and America in an attempt to get more people watching the film and get them into anime, albeit with limited success. The film has also recently had a poorly received live-action remake starring Scarlett Johansson as the protagonist.

Ghost in the Shell is set in the year 2029 and technology has become part and parcel of everyday life, with a not insignificant number of people starting to sport cybernetic implants to improve themselves. The story itself focuses on Major Motoko Kusanagi, a police officer working for Section 9 (the unit set up to fight cyber crime.) Major and her team are tasked with hunting down and capturing an incredibly talented hacker who goes by the moniker of Puppet Master. As they get deeper into the investigation, they start to encounter a combination of shady government departments attempting to hinder their work, as well as getting taunted by the Puppet Master himself.

Despite coming out in 1995, the film is surprisingly advanced and philosophical in its themes of transhumanism, especially as the concept at the time was in its very early infancy. Ghost in the Shell continually attempts to address the line between man and machine, alongside what constitutes a soul and living. When compared to nowadays, a lot of what is discussed can come across as both misdirected and rather basic, but when considered from within its time period, it is fascinating just how similar some of the arguments are compared to nowadays.

However, not everything about this film is perfect. As I mentioned earlier in this article, the frame rate is still a little on the low side, and if you’re watching with the English voice actors, I strongly suggest you don’t, and watch the Japanese version with subtitles instead. This is because, several of the voice actors sound like they were either bored or stoned when they read their lines. It could be an affectation that comes along with voicing characters who move very little on-screen (preventing them from acting using their bodies as well as their vocal cords), or it could help sell the idea that the protagonists are less human than their “inferior” counterparts. This is a relatively minor niggle, but it can get somewhat grating during prolonged dialogues.

To make up for the voice acting, the music in the film perfectly encapsulates the look and feel of the city as it goes about its day. There is a strong techno heart to the beat that drives the story forward, and the lyrics are beautifully rendered to the track.

Ultimately, Ghost in the Shell is a cult classic that more people need to see, especially with the new film coming out. Despite the lacklustre voice acting from the English side of the cast, everything else is superb, if a little freaky now and then.

The only question left to ask is; will the remake do just as well as the original?

IT – Brand New Trailers & Clips!

Horror and Stephen King fans have equal reason to get excited as the first trailer of the acclaimed Horror novel IT has just dropped.

As well as King’s loved novel, 90’s kids will remember the TV miniseries that was later combined as a feature film. Following seven youngsters in the town of Derry. Outcasts and self confessed ‘Losers’ the seven know that something is wrong with their town but must face this truth head on when member Bill’s younger brother Georgie is murdered, in mysterious circumstances. Haunted by the vision of a grotesque and shape shifting clown that can take the form of a child’s worst fears. IT (Pennywise) torments and terrorises the gang who vow to stop him from killing again.
These trailers and clips prove that this adaptation is faithful to the source material. Including the iconic scene of young Georgie chasing his paper boat into the sewer. The image of the demonic clown is no less frightening and strange happenings, including invisible balloons and moving photos fill this scary taste of what’s to come. Directed by Andres Muschietti, who previously directed Mama.

Whether Bill Skarsgard can fill the shoe’s of Tim Curry as Pennywise is yet to be seen but the trailers and clips should gives fans hope. The film also stars a mixture of unknown and known young actors including Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame. The original child cast were also greatly applauded for their performances so let’s hope they have picked ‘The Losers Club’ well.

IT is out 23rd September