‘Legion’s Jemaine Clement on Oliver & Melanie’s Final Episode and That Rap Battle
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Legion Season 3 Episode 6, “Chapter 25.”]
Legion is the Marvel mutant-filled series that no one expected.
Currently, in its third and final season on FX, the drama follows the powerful and corrupt mutant David Haller (Dan Stevens) and his ex Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) — the real hero of the story — in her efforts to prevent him from causing mass destruction. With musical interludes and psychedelic visuals throughout, it’s a wild adventure.
In the July 29 episode, after the previous bloodfest of an episode, viewers watched Syd grow from infant to teen to young adult on the Astral Plane — a metaphysical location that psychic mutants can access where time is… different. Two familiar faces, husband and wife duo Melanie and Oliver Bird (Jean Smart and Jemaine Clement), raised the baby Syd, though they didn’t recall knowing Adult Syd in their prior lives after spending so much time on the Astral Plane.
Turns out, that’s the last we’ll be seeing of Melanie and Oliver before the series wraps on August 12. TV Insider caught up with Clement to chat about his time on the series and more.
Clement fills us in below.
Oliver’s role throughout the series has changed so much. How has your experience changed from shooting Season 1 to shooting Season 3?
Jemaine Clement: Season 1, it felt like such an experiment. I hadn’t genuinely seen a story done that way before, especially not a superhero story. By Season 3, we were very much used to the approach and the fact that there’s always something different. When you see something surprising, there’s a really comfort there, like ‘Oh yeah, that’s good. They’re experimenting,’ though when you try something different, you don’t always know how people are going to react to it.
Melanie and Oliver have been on the Astral Plane so long now that they’ve pretty much completely forgotten their former lives. Are we going to see them recover any of those memories before the series wraps?
I feel like that would be a spoiler, but no you don’t see that. They have other lives now that they’ve created on the Astral Plane.
Is the July 29 episode the last time we’ll get to see Oliver and Melanie, or do we get to check in on them again before the series wraps?
Yeah, this is the last time we see them. They’re happy together in another reality. It’s a surprisingly happy ending for this show.
How was it on set shooting this episode with Jean?
Before we started the third season, I had to finish watching it and I was amazed by Jean and thought she was fantastic. I didn’t know very much coming into Legion when we started it, it had a fake name, I couldn’t even look it up.
I knew Dan was in it and I knew Aubrey [Plaza] was in it, but I was surprised to find out that Jean was playing my wife and I had to subdue my fandom. A lot of the cast loves to watch Jean work. She’s always interesting.
My favorite scene in this episode is the rap battle that ensues between Oliver and The Wolf (guest star Jason Mantzoukas). Did you have a hand in writing it at all? How was it shooting that scene?
No, we didn’t write any of it. I might have changed a word here or there, but Jason and I were obviously quite nervous about it. You know, not being rappers, and even though it was quite funny, it wasn’t funny all the time. It had quite a serious, dark message in it. We were both nervous about it. But on the day, it was really quite exciting and quite fun to do it. And I really enjoyed working with Jason, who I’d only met casually a couple of times. He was this guy I’d seen in movies and always thought was funny, and I had a great time working with him.
At a certain point, Jason and I thought one part was going to be a disaster. On paper, going into a rap battle is a big move. That’s a big move for Legion to pull.
You also did a dance-off scene in the Season 2 premiere against David and Lenny [Plaza]. Which one do you think you had a better handle on, the dance-off or the rap battle?
Well, I guess the rap battle in a way because it’s similar to the kind of thing we did on Flight of the Conchords. The dancing, I’m terrible at memorizing dance moves, so I know they simplified it for me. [Laughs]. The dance was really difficult, especially for Dan and Aubry, it was very ambitious.
They don’t make it easy for you guys.
No, but it’s really fun. I know that when I’m going to be working on Legion, it’s always great fun to hear that the first three days are going to be dance rehearsals or something. It’s a good challenge.
Did you get to steal any of Oliver’s amazing looks from the past three seasons?
Well, you know, I’m quite partial to a safari suit, and onset I wear some things kind of like his clothes — which I feel like I can’t wear anymore because when I wear them, I feel like I look like Oliver. Even though I love it, there’s no way I can really wear a safari suit anymore.
I also wanted to discuss your appearance on-screen in What We Do in the Shadows last season during “The Trial,” when you reprised your character Vladislav from the original movie alongside Taika Waititi’s Viago. Was that just a one-off or is there a chance we’ll be seeing them again in Season 2?
We’ve just had a month of the writers’ room for Season 2 and that hasn’t really come up yet. It’s possible, but we’ve only done a very brief outline of what this season’s going to be, but we don’t really know for sure yet.
But I’m excited about some of the ideas. We’re going to take on some horror elements, which I think is going to be really funny as well.
Now that your time on Legion is over, what is the one thing you’ll remember 10 years down the road from doing this show?
It was always fun turning up and just seeing some crazy scene that looks like it’s out of a dream, like people frozen out in the forest, giant sewing needles. Every single day on that show was just some fun, new adventure.
Legion, Mondays, 10/9c, FX