Peace was never an option. Time for the Inner Circle to put its plan into motion.
The episode begins in Chicago, Illinois, eight years ago as a group discusses mutant families that aren’t getting their leases renewed. Only families that don’t have the X-gene in their families are getting their applications even looked at in the first place. So the leader, Benny, played by Agam Darshi, proposes letting the new arrivals know that they need to find another place to live.
One attendee, Reeva Payge, doesn’t believe this will help them find peace. But it’s too late for that. Anti-mutant graffiti and vandalism are rampant and the humans are already afraid of the mutants. Benny wants to protect her family, but Reeva thinks there should be another way. So the plan is to print out fliers and start informing others.
When the meeting ends, Benny apologizes to Reeva for what she said. Reeva wants to work with the community, but the fact is that they’re being driven out. They’re living a lie if they think that humans will accept them.
And this is when a few Purifiers drive up, shove Reeva aside, and attack Benny. She puts up a fight at first, but one of the Purifiers manages to shove a blade right into her gut. The Purifiers flee as Reeva is left to watch Benny slowly bleed to death.
In present day, Reeva tells the others about their upcoming attack on Creed Financial. Lorna will disable communications while Rebecca and Andy enter the vault. Violence will only be used as a last resort.
As for the mutant detection system, Lorna thinks it could be a problem. Luckily, the Frost Sisters are working on that. As for now, everyone should rest up for tomorrow.
Rebecca realizes that this vault is different from the one in the training room. Here, she’d have to turn the whole damn thing around. This is much different than the cop car that Andy saw her turn. She’s afraid of everyone judging her if she screws up, but Andy believes in her. Plus, he’ll be right by her side. And yes, Andy will kill anyone who makes fun of her. And he promises, so remember you said that, Andy.
Reeva asks Sage to make sure everything is ready for tonight, as she can’t be late for dinner.
Reed, meanwhile, continues to struggle with his ever-present powers and he’s still burning everything that he touches until Lauren can stop him from burning something else. He tells Lauren and Caitlin to keep away, saying that things are getting worse. Most of the hospitals don’t treat mutants, especially one who destroys everything that he touches. At best, he’d be in a prison hospital.
But Reed knows that if he stays, they’ll all get arrested. So Caitlin will talk to the others so they can discuss how to move him.
Yes, that’s the plan, though John and Marcos know that could be risky. Clarice suggests taking him to the Morlocks, but Caitlin isn’t on board with that. However, the clinic has been shut down, so maybe no one will be watching it since it’s already been damaged. And it’s safer than the current location. Okay, that works. Clarice and John will organize transportation.
Jace, meanwhile, tries to connect with Paula, telling the person on the phone that he just wants two minutes. However, that won’t happen. Ted enters to tell him that taking down the Baltimore station turned a lot of heads. A top level Purifier supporter wants to meet them. This meeting is high security and Jace will have to be tested for the X-gene first.
Even though Jace was in Sentinel Services, there are no exceptions. It’s that important. Jace finds it strange, but he agrees.
Reeva finally has her dinner with her mysterious partner, Quinn, played by Sharif Atkins, who asks about the big secret. She’s just being careful, and she wants to be sure that this night is just between the two of them. Quinn explains that after he lost Sandy, he never thought he’d find a woman that strong again. And with his hours at work, things have been crazy. Then he met Reeva Payge.
He takes out a drawing of him that his sons drew, and he’s smiling. For the first time, he’s smiling. The two hold hands and Reeva suggests that they take things elsewhere.
Outside, they head to Reeva’s car just when the Frost Sisters arrive. Reeva apologizes to Quinn as the Frosts tell him that he’s about to make history.
So Quinn is brought to the Inner Circle and told that he’s to turn off the mutant detection system at Creed Financial. Reeva tells him that if he doesn’t do as he’s told, he should think of his sons. Quinn doesn’t hate mutants- this is just a job. However, he’ll do it as long as his sons aren’t hurt. Before Reeva leaves, Quinn asks if this was all a lie. To Reeva, she wishes it was. That way, it would’ve been easier.
Upstairs, Lorna tells Esme that there’s been a change of plans. As in she needs someone to watch over Dawn and she wants Esme to do it. Sophie and Phoebe will take care of the bank plan. And if something happens to Lorna, someone else has to take care of Dawn.
John, Marcos, and Clarice find an ambulance and go over their plan to move Reed, though Marcos asks about Clarice’s interest in the Morlocks. After all, why are they a solution to this problem? He’s curious about where Clarice’s loyalties lie, but as far as Clarice is concerned, the Underground isn’t doing so well and any new allies would be helpful.
Hard to argue with that logic.
Jace and Ted head into an abandoned barbershop so Jace can be properly introduced to Mr. Benedict Ryan, played by Peter Gallagher. Ryan tells Jace that he appreciates the Baltimore attack and many other people have been inspired by him. Jace is just looking for justice.
Ryan tells Jace that people watch his show because they want something to believe in, and what good is it if only a select few know about Jace’s work? To help take back America, the people will need Jace’s help.
Back at the Underground, Reed gingerly grabs a family photo and for a moment, nothing happens, but he soon shatters the frame. Lauren explains that Clarice is back with the ambulance, so it’s time to go. Reed tells his daughter that she shouldn’t come, but if anything happens, Lauren promises to protect him.
Reed says that it’s his job to protect her, not the other way around, but the family is in this together. Time to start acting like it. They can’t keep running.
As Reeva talks Quinn through the plan, he reminds her of their plan to one day go to Athens. He reminds her that she has a good heart, but she has greater plans. She cares for Quinn, which is why when this is over, Quinn will return to his family. She’s not a monster unless she needs to be. And right now, she’s doing this to expose the guilty and help those who will die without her help.
Andy goes to Rebecca, who is still a bit nervous since she’s barely been outside and now she’s being thrust into a huge mission. Still, Andy believes in her, so there’s that. As everyone prepares to leave, Lorna hands Dawn over to Esme. Dunno why she’s not entrusting her to Sage since she’s known her for longer, but okay, I guess.
Time to put the plan into action. Quinn enters Creed Financial and disables the mutant detection system. Everyone else enters, with Lorna stopping every bullet fired her way. Reeva renders everyone useless with her screaming ability. Yes indeed, the mutants are back in town.
Back at the barbershop, Benedict Ryan tells Jace that he needs someone to come on his show and tell the truth- that Sentinel Services covered up what happened in Atlanta and has been lying to the American public. Jace acknowledges that good people work at Sentinel Services, but Ryan says that solving the country’s problem means someone has to stand up.
Still, Jace acknowledges that people working at the Services have helped him. Ryan, though, has connections. He needs someone to sell the message that this is the time for action. Jace is conflicted and says directly to Benedict that he isn’t that guy.
The Inner Circle assembles everyone in the bank, telling them that if they cooperate, there won’t be any problems. The manager, James, played by Steven Sean Garland, says that the vault is made of adamantium. The only people with the combination are two states away. The employees will be let go, but first, the bank will tell the world that it was funded off the backs of mutant labor.
So Sophie and Phoebe use their telepathy to instruct James to disclose everything about Creed Financial to the world.
Elsewhere, Rebecca, Andy, and Lorna head to the vault, though Rebecca is…conflicted. Why should the humans get to walk free after everything they’ve done to humans? Well, Lorna tells her to stick to the plan. They get what they came for and then leave. With that, Lorna forces the elevator doors open so the three can enter.
Over at the clinic, Marcos sees John spinning out and asks him what’s up. John has been thinking about the patient the he and Caitlin lost- you remember Michael, right?- though Marcos reminds John that he did the best he could. Everything they’ve worked for is dying. Not to mention losing Shatter. Other stations and clinics are talking not about peace, but uprising. The Inner Circle is beating them at their own game.
Speaking of loyalties, Marcos brings up Clarice and how he should talk to her about Erg. John demands some proof from Marcos, but hey, Marcos was down there. He saw something between Clarice and Erg.
Then Reed and Lauren enter, with Reed warning them not to get too close. He rests himself on the metal.
Back at the bank, Lorna, Andy, and Rebecca arrive at the vault. It’s time for Rebecca to work her mutant magic. With all her might, she tries to turn it inside out, but it’s tougher than she realizes. She may be able to turn it around, but it turns out to be too much. Andy reminds her of how alone she must have felt at the hospital. She has to channel that. Picture that anger and use it.
It works, as Rebecca manages to utterly destroy the vault.
Ted chews out Jace, saying that he passed up a chance to make real change. Jace insists that this isn’t his thing and he won’t have people just randomly bringing up his daughter either. However, Ted reminds Jace that the Purifiers are all he has and if he wants to prove himself to Paula, he must change the future.
Reeva brings Quinn to the accounts, and though he tells her that innocent people will suffer, that’s not really Reeva’s concern, given how many mutants have suffered. If Quinn stays smart, he’ll get through this. They arrive at the vault and it’s time for Quinn to log in.
As Sophie and Phoebe continue capturing James’ admission to the world, they get him to say that the time for the mutant uprising has come. With the message complete, it’s now quiet time, as the Frost Sisters have everyone go to sleep.
As Esme cares for Dawn, Sage goes through the files on Creed Financial when she sees something coming through. Something as in everything.
At the clinic, Lauren and Caitlin go through Otto’s old papers and Caitlin reveals that there’s a doctor who works at Charlotte State University who might have been Otto’s lab assistant under a different name. She may be able to help Reed. Caitlin regrets not noticing anything these past six months, but Reed kept it secret to protect her. Lauren believes that their family could be cursed.
What if they’re never able to touch Reed again? Lauren thinks about what the von Strucker twins did, but Caitlin reminds her that those two were killers. When Andy and Lauren used their powers together, Lauren knew that people were dying, but she felt free and powerful. Not because was saving others, though, even if that’s the opposite of what the von Struckers did.
Reed rises, believing that the attacks have passed. Caitlin sets down a cup of water and tells Reed that she has something to show him.
Marcos, John, and Clarice set up shop at the clinic. While Marcos goes off to unload the rest of the metal, John asks if there’s anything he should know about the Morlocks and Erg specifically. This doesn’t work if they’re not honest, after all. Clarice, though, wants to know what their plan is past tomorrow.
John again asks if there’s something to know, and Clarice admits that he worked with her to steal food and mutants who passed through the underground. Why? Because Erg is getting things down. Down there, the mutants don’t have to hide. This isn’t Clarice’s excuse. She did it for the Underground. She knows how the losses have affected John. He needed help and this was the only way for Clarice to get it.
Caitlin presents the information on the doctor who may be the only person who knows about Reed’s condition. Reed doesn’t feel he can make it that far, but the real risk would be doing nothing.
So with the information out there, it’s a good day’s work for the Inner Circle. Reeva tells Quinn that they’re done here. As for what happens to Quinn and everyone else, Reeva tells him to return to his office. The police will arrive soon. Reeva tells him that one day, he’ll be a hero to a nation of mutants. And soon, Quinn will even know Reeva’s real name.
Okay, so Jace has changed his mind and agreed to be on Benedict Ryan’s show. He’ll talk about Sentinel Services, but won’t name names. Luckily, there’s no need, as Ryan is going after the system. And this is when Ryan is alerted about the recent attack at Creed Financial.
As the Inner Circle prepares to leave before the authorities arrive, Lorna locks the humans in. As they leave, James warns the mutant terrorists that they’ll burn for this and should be wiped from the face of the Earth. Everyone shrugs this off…except for Rebecca.
The taunting gets to her and she believes that the mutants deserve retribution, even though the mission is done.
While the others prepare to head off, Rebecca essentially says the hell with the plan and begins to everyone in the room inside out, thus killing them all in one bloody swoop. Everyone else is aghast, but Rebecca is smiling.
Well, looks like someone needs a time-out.
Something that X-Men has always managed to do is make you sympathize with and understand the characters we understand to be the villain. In the practical sense, Magneto is the bad guy. But you understand why he does what he does and you get his hatred for humanity. You know why he and Charles Xavier will never agree, even though they both want a safe world for mutants.
The same applies to Reeva Payge who, after having so much of her shrouded in history, finally has her backstory explained to us. And after Lorna spent so much time wondering about Reeva’s plan, The Gifted not only explains her origin, but also pays off the story she told Andy in the second episode of this season.
This could’ve been any random incident or person killed, but I like that the show pays attention to its continuity and remind viewers that Reeva has mentioned this incident before. Now we see the brutal incident when it took place and it’s another example of The Gifted using flashbacks to explain character motivations and actions.
Before, Reeva seemed more like Charles Xavier in her attitude towards humans. No need to use force or be brash when you can find peace. But what did Erik say in X-Men: First Class? “Peace was never an option.” And when Reeva sees her friend die right in front of her at the hands of humans, everything changes. Like we saw with John and Clarice’s flashbacks last season, anti-mutant discrimination will always be rampant.
Makes you sit back and wonder whether we should be following the Inner Circle instead. Remember when Logan asked Storm back in X-Men if she was on the right side? Are we? The Mutant Underground is, for all intents and purposes, the good guys of this show, but the Inner Circle is doing a lot of the heavy lifting and, to be honest, getting shit done.
Their mission was an absolute success. They took down Creed Financial, got all the information they needed, and sent another message to the world about the mutant uprising. And they managed to do it in style, even if I’m not particularly fond of the all-black look that feels too similar to the costumes of the early X-Men films.
They didn’t hit a snag until Rebecca started questioning letting the humans off so easily. With Twist being isolated for so long, Andy sent her the message that the Inner Circle was doing the right thing for mutants. Compound that with the taunting, the training, and reminder of how humans tortured her, and you’ve got a very volatile mutant on your hands.
So when she kills the employees and has that sinister smile on her face, you understand why Rebecca was kept away from the other mutants at that mental hospital and why she’s such a serious threat. More than that, Reeva now has a huge problem on her hands. She needs Rebecca for the greater mission, but she can’t try to keep her on lockdown. Otherwise, what makes the Inner Circle any different than the hospital?
But someone with this kind of power will be dangerous. Since the Purifiers managed a win against the mutants last time in Baltimore, Rebecca’s actions here can be, for lack of a better word, twisted into looking like retaliation.
Reeva was perfectly fine just using the humans as pawns, as we saw with her conversations with Quinn. She’s not out for blood- she just wants justice. Exposing crimes to the light is far more satisfying. But now that blood has been shed on her watch, the war is going to escalate. But no war comes without its casualties.
The deeper Jace Turner goes down the mutant-hating rabbit hole, the more interested I’m finding his story. Without Paula in his life, he’s aimless and without direction. Going after mutants is what he knows best, but he’s not willing to go as far as the Purifiers. Remember, he wants to operate within the letter of the law, not through violence unless as a last resort.
Someone like Benedict Ryan- an obscure character in X-Men lore that wouldn’t be out of place for The Gifted to use- represents the kind of person Jace could be if he not only went further, but if he had wider reach. Somewhere within Jace is anger not just at mutants for what happened to his daughter, but also at Sentinel Services for how they treated him in the end.
The difference here is that Jace still has loyalties to that life, which is why he doesn’t want to name names and tells Benedict that Sentinel Services, bad as they can be, still helped him. And with Ryan having a direct line to the President and a wide influence, who knows how many more people will be inspired by Jace’s words? We’ll find out.
Then there’s the Mutant Underground who, again, is licking their wounds after a loss. It was no doubt the least engaging storyline of the episode, but by no means bad. I’m glad we’re addressing the Morlocks more and it gives me hope that we’ll see them again soon since they’re a viable option. Not that Clarice was keeping secrets, she just didn’t say anything.
But you know what? She’s got a point. What is the Underground doing? The Inner Circle may be the “villains,” but they’re accomplishing goals. For the Underground, making it from day to day is enough. And daily survival is a perfectly reasonable thing to fight for, but what’s their five year plan? What’s their end game? Right now, they don’t really have one.
Sure, neither do the Morlocks, but Erg has no dog in this fight. His goal is protecting his people. The Underground wants to keep the peace, as well as bring back Andy and Lorna, but what comes next? It’s important for the show to address this because I’m also wondering just what comes next for the Underground. Luckily, it doesn’t seem like this discussion created any divisions, but I’m glad it’s out in the open.
As for the Struckers, they take more of a backseat this week with Reed still trying to keep his powers under control while Lauren and Caitlin do what they can. I did like Lauren wanting to embrace what the von Struckers did. Like Andy and based off her encounter with the doctor last time, she wants results. In a way, there’s a nice parallel between Lauren and Clarice.
Both understand their current situation, but aren’t in the mood to just sit around and wait. They want to be proactive and take advantage of any potential avenue. Caitlin can’t see it that way, but then, Caitlin isn’t a mutant like Lauren or Reed. So while we don’t get much further other than the tidbit about the doctor who worked with Otto, I’m curious to see how the Struckers combat Reed’s abilities together.
So all in all, a pretty solid episode of The Gifted. The Inner Circle got their ducks in a row and got shit done, but then things went to shit when Rebecca took it a bit too far. We’ll see how they resolve this mess in two weeks.
And I’d be a fool if I didn’t mention the very touching tribute that The Gifted had to Stan Lee at the end of this episode. Of his many cameos, you may recall that Lee did in fact appear in-person in the pilot for this show. The industry, not just the world of comics, has lot a very special and influential man and while he will be missed, his legacy thrives and will continue to outlive us.
See you all in two weeks. Excelsior!