Just because Legion doesn’t make sense half the time doesn’t mean your favorite ranking trio isn’t going to at least try. Rachael, Matt, and Gaby are back, this time ready to deliver a definitive Legion character ranking (from worst to best). As is customary, this intricate ranking relies 99% on winging it and 1% on moving people around for being dicks. If you’re morally sound, you rise. If you’re evil, you drop. And if you’re cute or snarky? We give you some extra points. Who do you think made it to the very top? Hint: it’s not Lenny.
[Spoiler-infested waters. Swim at your own risk.]
The Nerd League’s Legion Character Ranking
18. Angry Boy
R: I google searched for days whether or not this nightmare fuel was from a real Edward Gorey book and then stayed awake in bed waiting for him to grab my ankle just as I was dozing off.
G: All Shadow King guises are scary AF, but this? Listen, maybe David’s not “actually” schizophrenic, but had I seen visions of this mofo as a child? I would’ve ended up at Clockworks, too. And for good reason.
M: I used to have a ventriloquist dummy I got for my birthday at some point in my childhood. Its mouth was a permanent smile and it had these dead, cold eyes. Angry Boy looked like his Bizzaro and let me tell you, I’d prefer the angry face. I’ve hidden that dummy in a place no one will ever find him for good reason.
17. Devil with the Yellow Eyes (Shadow King?)
R: Noah Hawley’s iteration of the Devil with the Yellow Eyes aka the Shadow King aka Farouk looked a whole lot like a hairy booger with legs.
M: I like that the Shadow King is a thin, tall man in a fat suit. Why do I like it? It’s terrifying, but I cannot look away.
G: He reminded me of Mr. Potato Head. But like, if Mr. Potato Head joined the cast of Saw.
16. The Eye
R: You mess with Kerry, you mess with me. I’m glad the dude got crumpled up like human origami.
G: Just made me so uneasy the whole time. And when I say uneasy I mean “needing of a shower post trauma.”
M: I’m with Gaby on this one. This guy gave me goosebumps from the moment he came on screen. One hell of a creep.
R: *Sung to the tune of Cell Block Tango* He had it coming, he had it coming, he only had himself to blaaaaaaaaaame.
G: If you’d have seen it, I’m sure that you would’ve done the same. And by the same I mean you’d have made the walls swallow people whole.
M: I had to google Brubaker to confirm who he was, and I just found a lot of pictures of Ed Brubaker. Did you know Ed Brubaker created my favorite Summers brother, Vulcan, during his X-Men run? The more you know!
14. Lenny Busker
R: 1. Lenny’s fashion game was on point for the entire season. 2. “You ever try to unmake soup?” is such a sinister line of dialogue and no one else could have delivered it with such a nuanced, almost Grinch-like gleam in their eyes but Aubrey Plaza. If she isn’t (at a minimum) nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Lenny I’ll hand make her one.
G: I just don’t even know who Lenny is, you feel? Because when Lenny wasn’t Shadow King, she was actually Benny. So was Lenny only the girl at Clockworks that David/Syd killed? I guess that girl was dope. Also, #RIP.
M: Lenny might be the strongest comic television villain since Kingpin and Eobard Thawne. Half of the season, you loved her for being super crazy and fun! Unfortunately, turns out she was just another Shadow King guise feeding on your essence and ruining your life. Downright terrifying and addicting to watch on screen.
13. Dr. Kissinger
R: Honestly, how any of the Doctors in this show actually became licensed Doctors was the most confusing part.
G: I never understood if he was trying to help them or not. What was his deal?
M: Did anyone ever get him out of that underground prison? He’s totally dying of dehydration.
12. Dr. Poole
R: I wouldn’t mind living in the lighthouse that Dr. Poole was hiding out in.
G: Idk, dude. That didn’t look too safe.
M: He is a betrayer. Betrayers gonna betray.
G: Then again, David did bash his head in.
R: Ah, Rudy. We hardly knew ye. But you had some pretty badass powers and probably didn’t deserve all that blood pouring out your facial orifices.
G: He also risked his life in the astral plane, except he was already dead irl. I wonder if he knew that? Still, MVP.
M: Did Rudy say a single word throughout this season? All I can remember is him drooling in the mental hospital.
10. Amy Haller
R: Amy Haller impresses me to no end because you have to have some serious moral conviction to spend a good portion of your life knowing that your brother is adopted and not tell him.
M: Amy Haller is secretly Bettie Page’s ghost and no one can convince me otherwise.
G: I want to believe Amy had David’s best interest at heart, but she also strikes me like the kind of sister who’s only there for you as long as it doesn’t affect her. All that “let me check with my husband about whether or not you, my sick brother, may stay with us” crap? Nah, Amy. You’re staying mid-list.
9. Oliver Bird
R: Oliver was one “shagadelic, baby” away from being Austin Powers with telepathic abilities. And any character who names their Bioshock-looking diving suit that allows you to travel through dimensions Jules Verne has my unconditional love.
M: Oliver looks like an aging actor breaking into porn to hold on to his dream of being in the stars. Oliver acts like a collegiate English professor who seduces his students. I love every minute he is on screen.
G: Exactly, and now he’s living out his own iteration of On the Road, which was already annoying when Kerouac did it. It also would’ve helped if he hadn’t read so much Jules Verne beforehand.
R: I spent the entire first season of Legion trying to figure out what Philly was short for. Philadelphia? Phoebe? Felicity? Philomena? Philomena feels right.
G: I know we don’t know much about her, but I feel like I’ve been her?
M: Is Philly from Philadelphia? Did she raise horses as a young girl? Am I reaching for a joke because I forgot who this person is?
7. Ptonomy Wallace
R: Sure, the dude was a little trigger happy, but I can forgive him on the grounds that he had an amazing name, a tragic backstory, and an A+ fashion sense.
M: Who the fuck names their child Ptonomy? Also, I didn’t know memory guy had a name? I called him “memory guy” all season. He is a very dapper man and easily angered, that memory guy.
G: I really liked him at first, but the man cannot handle stressful situations. The minute shit started hitting the fan, he was all like “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”
6. The Interrogator
R: At the beginning I wrote off the Interrogator as being a generic villain who deserved what he got. Then it was very cleverly revealed that he has a partner who loves him, an adorable son, and that he might not be so evil after all, and I was reduced to a ball of emotions.
G: Well played, Legion. Well played. Thinking of this ranking as I watched, I was sure The Interrogator would be hanging out with the Shadow King, but look at him now! Between Ptonomy and Melanie! 10 points for character development.
M: What do you think hurt him more, the pen to the face or all of the facial and body burns? I want to say the pen short term and the burns long term.
5. Melanie Bird
R: Jean Smart is a goddess. That is all.
M: Man, I wanted to like Melanie a lot but in the end, she was more a manipulative, sad lady than a leader. More Niles Caulder than Charles Xavier.
G: I can agree with the sadness, but I also felt like you had to cut the woman some slack. I mean, she spent 25 years trying to bring her husband back from the astral plane he lost himself in, all for him to not even remember her. The coffee machine had his voice, ffs.
4. Kerry Loudermilk
R: Cary and Kerry fucked me up and I kept sweating the fact that something devastating was going to happen to one of them. These two are precious cinnamon rolls. Protect them.
G: Kerry was kick-ass, and the fact that she was “half” a person gave her a very edgy personality. Imagine, she gets to dump all the mundanities of life onto Cary. If Kerry were juice, she’d be 100% badass concentrate.
M: Was Kerry a mummudrai? Her powers reminded me of Cassandra Nova, Charles Xavier’s twin, if he never murdered her in the womb. I’m still really lost about her getting a physical body or taking over Cary’s body. I’m more confused than amazed on this one.
3. Cary Loudermilk
R: See above.
M: If anyone should get an Emmy this season, it’s the guy who played Cary. This guy played existential pain and neuroticism in a way I have never seen before.
G: As badass as Kerry is, my heart just melted for Cary. He always had to carry the heavier end of the stick, take on anything Kerry didn’t want to do, and worry about her constantly even while taking the brunt of it. Is he an older brother? A father? Who knows. But pain-wise, it was all of the above.
2. David Haller
R: David is a character that speaks to my soul because he plays the banjo and I play the banjo. Us banjo players need to stick together.
M: I’ll be chewed out for this but I kind of preferred David on the show to the comics. He’s a positive yet manic person who destroys every relationship he has because of a crazy parasite person living in his brain. Hell of a lot easier to understand than sucking up other people and then manifesting them as other personalities.
G: The biggest achievement with David as a character was that no matter which “David” we were presented with, we were always 100% there for him. I can’t commend Dan Stevens enough for balancing the twitchy, the adorable, and the menacing all while keeping a perfect American accent. There are characters that stay with you forever, and David Haller is one of them.
1. Syd Barrett
R: Not only is Syd the type of character I could see myself being friends with, she’s also unapologetically human, hopeful, and an unwavering badass from start to finish. I can’t WAIT to find out what season 2 holds in store for her.
M: I related a lot to Syd while watching Legion. I also have a terrible dating history AND hate being touched by other people.
G: My favorite thing about Syd (and there were many) was that she was vulnerable and badass at the same time. She was allowed to protect “her man” and feel devastated for not being able to make out with him. None of that took away from her quick wit, her spunkiness, and her overall kickass demeanor. The existence of a character like Syd Barrett is what the feminist movement was fighting for all along.