Features

‘Legends’ is equal parts cerebral and compelling television

Kian Hagerman
Mesa Legend

Sean Bean delivered a captivating performance in “Legends” as Martin Odum, a man who has worked undercover using fake identities so long that he struggles to remember who he really is. The short-lived show has a lot going for it; a great cast, intelligent plot and enough twists and turns to keep even the most experienced couch sleuths guessing.

Things get interesting quickly, as Odum begins to uncover clues that point to the possibility that he might not be Odum at all.The way he portrays an intelligent character with unclear motivations and paranoia prevents the viewer from ever truly knowing what might happen next.

The destabilizing effect of his memory loss coupled with the events that transpire never felt so outrageous or over-the-top that it broke my suspension of disbelief. Bean’s acting chops are on full display, and he carries the show, slipping between mannerisms and accents effortlessly.

What I liked most about the first season was the dynamic between Bean’s Odum and Morris Chestnut’s Tony Rice. Rice suspects that something is off about Odum, and as he draws closer to the truth about who he is, Odum’s life is made more complicated by how his actions are perceived by Rice.

Both characters provoke empathy, their motivations reasonable, and yet they are set against one another by fate.I recommend paying close attention to their interactions, because there is a great deal of subtlety that communicates information that is easily missed otherwise.

The plot of each season is very different; the first is a mystery thriller, while the second season is a bit more bizarre and difficult to describe.Continuing to investigate who he is, viewers are shown brief, important moments from Odum’s past that he has forgotten, which tie into his activities in the present in ways that both he and the audience are unaware of.

The circular nature of Odum’s life, and his inability to recall his past means that he is forced to repeat some of the same mistakes he made. The highlight of the second season was just how skillfully woven the parallel plots were.Though the number of episodes for the show are few, the length of each episode allows for a large amount of information to be conveyed.

The pacing of the show is relatively fast, and there are very few repetitive elements of the serial style, driving the plot ever forward.It is unfortunate that the show did not go on longer, but the resolution to the story of Martin Odum is satisfying and believable.“Legends” is available for viewing through various means, including streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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