The Genius Narrative & Storytelling in ‘Legion’

If you are looking for a new TV show to start, certainly go with ‘Legion’. I can’t stress this enough. It’s an absolutely marvelous and enticing production. All those Netflix Marvel TV shows everyone is praising? I dare to say that ‘Legion’ is better than ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Daredevil’, and ‘Iron Fist’. Is it better than ‘Jessica Jones’, I’m not certain, but that alone should tell you how amazing this show is. It intrigues you from the first five minutes and manages to entice you completely until the end of the first episode. Both technically and plot-wise, this production is nearly flawless. One aspect of it, however, struck me the most. The narrative, storytelling, and general story structure of ‘Legion’ is profoundly amazing and truly, truly genius.

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A character story.

‘Legion’ is a superhero story. Not your generic Marvel film superhero story though, of course, but rather a well-developed and meaningful superhero story. It follows the character of David Haller, his inner struggles, him searching for his power, and the outside forces he has to battle. ‘Legion’ is, above everything else, a character story. Everything in those eight episodes of the first season resolves around David Haller. It’s all about his backstory, his defeats, his wins, his development, and his life. However, the producers manage to create a truly fantastical story to resolve around this character. Thus, you get to explore David Haller and understand his deepest and most subconscious thoughts while simultaneously following a very interesting plot. The show’s ability to combine these two aspects is astonishing and based mainly on how specifically the story is structured.

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The foreshadowing.

A lot of ‘Legion”s power, its ability to hold tension, and its ability to hold the viewers attention comes from the beautiful foreshadowing. This show is all about showing you what’s right there… without telling you what’s right there. After realizing what the big twist was, I couldn’t help myself but wonder how I hadn’t noticed it before and how I hadn’t tied everything together. Why? Throughout the story, there are multiple hints about what’s actually going on, but they seem to confuse the viewer even more. You don’t understand what’s happening, but you do wonder what’s about to happen. Why?

Because the producers have managed to arrange those foreshadowing sequences perfectly and through genius narrative thus manage to confuse the viewer rather than explain something to them. I firmly believe that everyone must rewatch ‘Legion’ after first viewing. There is just so much detail to analyse once again after you know what it all actually means. Furthermore, there are layers and layers of meaningful story arcs and metaphors throughout this show, so one would get something out of each rewatch of ‘Legion’.

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The unorthodox narrative.

Upon firs viewing, a lot of people might classify the narrative of ‘Legion’ as ‘weird’. Let me get one thing straight. The narrative is not ‘weird’. There has been an extensive use of incoherent narrative in movies and TV for many, many years now. Most productions believe that through putting numerous flashbacks in the story, it will somehow make it more interesting and more ‘original’. This is technically true, but only if its done right, as it is not in most productions that attempt this. ‘Legion’, however, certainly succeeds. Through a more incoherent narrative, meaning that the story doesn’t flow as a straight line, it manages to keep things exciting, while simultaneously being a generally more original production. The use of this is also definitely not ‘just for the sake of it’. It uses flashbacks and ‘random’ sequences when it needs to. When it doesn’t, it is in fact a ‘straight line story’. I believe there is even a whole episode in the show that has no flashbacks or sudden sequences at all.

The use of flashbacks in ‘Legion’, by the way, is absolutely genius. The producers have found a way to justify the use of constant flashbacks. (If you have seen the show, you know what I’m talking about.) This does two things. One, it keeps the story more fresh and original because basically no one has done this before. Two, it creates a new and profoundly successful way to explore and analyze the main character.

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Keeping your interest.

Lastly, through genius storytelling, the show certainly manages to keep your interest. You know just the amount of information you need to know in order to want more, but not to give up on the story. ‘Legion’ is definitely confusing, there are times when you are desperately trying to figure out what’s going on, but that’s not irritating. At least the irritation’s cause is not the show itself. I, personally, felt irritated by myself while watching the production as I was mad at myself for not figuring out what’s happening. Thus, I watched more and more in order to understand what was indeed going on. And all of this was, once again, achieved through truly brilliant storytelling and structure of plot.

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The real question is: why? Why does ‘Legion’ put so much effort in building such a narrative and telling the story in such a way? Is it to explore the character of David Haller better? To foreshadow things better? Maybe it’s to create something original? Is to find an excuse to use extensive and constant flashbacks? Or is it simply to keep the viewers’ interest?

All above is my final answer. And think about this: ‘Legion’ achieves all this through the structure of the story, not trough the plot itself. As mentioned above, this is a character story. The show wants, nay, needs, to have the freedom to explore all kinds of people and story arcs in order to develop the character of David Haller. Thus, ‘Legion’ can’t count on its plot or on its characters to do all the things mentioned above, so it focuses of the structure of the story to do it instead. And if the narrative of the plot is this good, how good is the plot itself? In short, unbelievably amazing. And this is why ‘Legion’ a truly brilliant and genius show.

What did you think of this article? Have you seen ‘Legion’? Did you like it? Share you thoughts in the comments section below, please! Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE this article if you enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading,

Mickey Angelov