Memento? That’s a Christopher Nolan movie…that I’ve still never seen. Anyway, this is “meMento.”
The episode begins with a flashback to New Orleans, 1985 as a man picks up an order in the name of von Strucker. This man is actually the Andreas Von Strucker, played by Carsten Norgaard.
The clerk at the shop gives him a box and asks to sell the instrument, but it belongs to someone close to Andreas. As such, It’s not for sale. The modification is complete and the clerk assures him that the secret is safe. Agreed, and the clerk will hold onto that secret for the rest of his life. And that ends right now as Andreas pulls out a blade and flaming energy begins to surge through it as he prepares to end the clerk.
In present day, Lauren looks over the von Strucker history, which she’s been doing since ever since the team rescued John. Reed is concerned, saying that fighting alongside Andy may have affected her. She’s also been obsessed with the Fenris music box. Caitlin reminds him that if they’re going to take down the Inner Circle, Lauren needs to be ready.
So the Struckers talk with Marcos and Clarice about taking on the Inner Circle, which is better organized and armed. Caitlin wants to rally the underground, but many stations have gone dark and aren’t responding. Still, Caitlin wants to at least try to make the other stations understand. Marcos agrees to help, but he cautions them, saying that they need to be smart with what they’re doing.
Over at the Inner Circle, Lorna remembers her kiss with Marcos when Andy arrives to let her know that there are new arrivals who have shown up to join the fight.
Indeed, Reeva Payge and the Frost Sisters speak with three new recruits. One of the new mutants, Max, played by James Carpinello, doesn’t like that they’ll be getting their hands dirty. Okay, so Reeva asks him to close his eyes and imagine every mutant whoever did him wrong. And imagine getting revenge. That sounds good. And the recruits will help…once they complete their training.
Max can burn things, another can set things on fire, and another can teleport items. Still, none of the recruits are a match for Reeva Payge’s screaming, though. She reminds the mutants that this is her house, so her rules. She needs discipline and commitment. The mutants can always go back to wearing collars, but no. They’ll stick around.
Above, Andy is impressed, but Lorna is uncertain. Later, she goes to meet Reeva to discuss the new mutants, who apparently are responsible for the sinking of a cruise ship and the loss of many lives. Lorna calls them mass murderers. But hey, Lorna took down a Trask plane, so Reeva believes she should understand collateral damage.
After all, humans aren’t innocent. Reeva turns Lorna’s attention to Benedict Ryan’s broadcast and informs her that the Purifiers’ are increasing their membership. They need to hit the humans so hard that they won’t even consider fighting back. Reeva reminds Lorna that she’s royalty. Humans will destroy this all, but Lorna will rebuild from the ashes. Soon enough, her time will come.
Elsewhere, Jace Turner meets with Benedict Ryan after the broadcast ends. The mutants who supposedly died in Atlanta are alive. Ryan doesn’t want Jace pursuing a vendetta. He wants Jace’s sacrifice to matter. People are worried about the free mutant criminals. Ryan is offering Jace a chance to be a hero by making America safe.
Keep the citizen militias going and convince regular folks that it’s fine to stand up to the mutants. Once that’s over, then they can talk about Atlanta.
As the von Strucker music box plays while Lauren sleeps, she has dreams of the von Struckers in action. However, Andrea Von Strucker, played by Julia Farino, is shot just as they combine their powers. All the while, Lauren is tossing energy discs in every direction. She finally awakens in a sweat with her parents at her side.
The next day, Reed expresses his concern about Lauren’s powers, but Lauren tells her parents that the dream she had wasn’t about Andy. However, she can’t remember much from it, though.
Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. It’s the landlord, Art who is here to report a noise complaint. Reed’s cover is that his daughter had a seizure, but the landlord reminds Reed that this is the first time that this happened. Art just wants to be sure and tells Reed to make sure that “Lila” is safe.
The Purifiers assemble while Ted, still injured, is surprised that he didn’t get an update from Jace about members taking action. Jace isn’t shutting Ted out, though. In fact, he wants Ted to join him on a trip to Anacostia. Although, in my opinion, one should ever go to Anacostia, though.
Caitlin and Clarice examine John, who is healing rapidly, but not back up and running yet. Clarice expresses concern that John could get injured again. Caitlin tells Clarice about Reed’s time as an attorney. One day, his car wouldn’t start. When he called AAA, it turns out that there was a bomb in his vehicle. So he’s alive because of a bad battery. Still, Reed continued his work. People bend and adapt, but they don’t change.
This is who John is. As for John, he and Clarice still love each other, so they should be fine.
They get a call from Marcos, who updates them on his progress- some mutants have fled, but not all. As Marcos drives, though, he finds control of the car being taken away from him by, of course, Lorna, who leads his vehicle into an alleyway. We call this metallic backseat driving. She needs his help, but naturally, Marcos sees no reason why he should help after everything that Lorna has taken from him.
She knows that Marcos hates him, but she informs him that Reeva is planning something big. She has the team from the Ignatius cruise massacre. Lorna was willing to kill or die for this dream, but there have to be lines. These new recruits killed children and families. It’s why Reeva needs them because this will change the world. Lorna can’t stop Reeva by herself.
Lorna apologizes for how she treated Marcos and she’s fine if he still hates her, but she begs for his help because she knows that Marcos is too good of a man to let people die just because Lorna sucks at love.
I mean, you could word that better, Polaris, but I guess the general point still sticks.
Back at the apartments, Marcos tells a dumbfounded Clarice about Lorna’s sudden change of heart and how somehow Reeva’s plans sound monstrous enough to frighten Lorna. As for what they do now, Marcos wants to go to the Morlocks, despite what he said to Clarice last time. However, they have eyes all over the city, so you might as well utilize a resource.
Meanwhile, Caitlin and Reed discuss Lauren’s increasingly violent tendencies. While Andy went down this same path, Caitlin is confident that Andy was just brainwashed. Reed tells Caitlin about the song playing on the music box- it’s about an evil force that steals children…and the parents who ignore it. That could befall the Struckers.
Jace, Ted, and the Purifiers arrive at a youth shelter, with some fugitives posing as homeless to protect themselves. Inside, the owner tells the Purifiers that they can’t just randomly come in, but Jace’s attention is drawn to a few children in particular and he gives chase. When cornered, one mutant begins to active his power, but Jace threatens him against that, saying a bullet would be faster. The mutants back down.
Underground, Clarice wants Marcos to apologize for being wrong and talking with John about Clarice’s connection to the Morlocks. After enough badgering, Marcos does finally apologize for hurting Clarice.
At the same time, Erg and some fellow Morlocks, Glow among them, arrive. And underground, Clarice goes by Blink because of course she does.
Back at the Inner Circle, the new mutant recruits are living it up when Lorna arrives. She brings up the cruise ship when Max says that he reveres Lorna’s father. As for what Reeva has them doing, Sentinel Services had them in three separate places, so they’re just getting back in the swing of things. Max brings up the secret to his career- as long as he gets paid, he doesn’t ask any questions. Smart idea.
Lauren continues to practice with her powers by slicing a bottle open when Caitlin arrives, saying it cool that her daughter is working on getting better. Though Reed is concerned, Lauren admits that she likes getting stronger and learning about her family. It’s overwhelming, but if they’re going to win this fight, they can’t take anything off of the table.
And then the police arrive. They demand entrance, so Reed decides to answer the door when the cops come a-knocking. The police demand to see Reed’s license and even knock over a glass in order to create probable cause. Dicks. Lauren tells her mother to go out and tell the cops that she saw her daughter go down the street.
She comes out and says that mutants are out on the street while the cops are pointing their guns at innocent people. Indeed, Lauren uses her newfound discs to take down a lamppost, giving the police every reason that they need to flee.
Back underground, Marcos learns that Glow has been teaching the children and she’s getting used to the mark. She thanks Marcos for the sacrifice that he made and she even allows Marcos to touch and light up the scar- she’s getting used to it. Just when it looks like Marcos is going in for the kiss, he stops. Glow understands how Marcos feels about his ex, but it’s more complicated than that.
She tore the world apart and is now asking him to help put it back together. It makes Marcos sad and angry, but he wishes that he was stronger. Though Glow reminds Marcos that it takes real strength to forgive.
Elsewhere, Clarice makes her case to Erg, believing that he doesn’t care about the people above. But Erg is aghast. Sure, he wasn’t born underground, but he has made a commitment and his first priority is protect the Morlocks. And he’d do the same thing for Clarice…but he would also want her to join them. However, Clarice can’t do that. Rather, she won’t let people die because she did nothing.
Erg can’t fight Clarice’s war, but he can give something to her.
Back with the Purifiers, Jace talks with one of the mutant runaways, who denies anything about escaped mutants. As for why he ran, he’s afraid of the Purifiers and goes as far as to compare them to the Klan. That comparison clearly gets to Jace, who says that this isn’t about hate. He has no problems with mutants if they follow the law.
But a shot interrupts the conversation, and it turns out that Ted has shot and killed one of the mutant children. His defense is that the mutant raised his hands. The two literally have blood on their hands, with Jace demanding to know what Ted did. Shooting a kid in the chest doesn’t just happen. As there’s blood on the chair, the child would have to have been sitting down. Ted is worried. He’s going to be a cop in prison.
Yeah, they don’t treat cops too kind in prison, I imagine.
Later on, Jace speaks with an officer about the shooting. As Ted sits in the back of a cop car and the dead child is loaded into an ambulance, Jace eventually says that he heard a commotion and saw the kid looking like he was ready to attack. Officer Wilson stood his ground.
At the apartment complex, Reed is upset about Lauren using his powers, but ultimately, it worked. Caitlin won’t have Lauren holding back anymore, and Lauren is confident that she can handle herself.
Lorna meets with Marcos and informs him that Reeva isn’t talking much about the plan yet. Marcos does have a tip and he’s about to check it out, but he’ll see what it is anyway. Lorna admits that they’re in this situation because of her actions, and she’s treated Marcos terribly. Marcos admits that he’s been angry about losing his family. He’s been wondering about when he would crack or give up, but then he doesn’t.
But why not? Lorna doesn’t know. Marcos just wants Lorna to be safe. And all Lorna ever wanted was a safe place for the two of them and Dawn. She understands why Marcos hates her. With that, the two kiss again as Aurora Borealis emerges.
As Jace hears Benedict Ryan report on the shooting, he receives a call from, of all people, Paula, who asks if he can talk. She had to call, as she’s been watching Benedict Ryan’s show, and says that Grace would be proud of him for saving those kids. She knows that it’s hard for Jace, but now she’s willing to meet him. A conflicted Jace tells Paula that he loves her before he hangs up.
John finally awakens and talks with Clarice about being held hostage by the Purifiers. While there, he was thinking about Clarice and her talks with Erg. He’s lost Pulse and Dreamer and it’s hard for him to be close to someone. He gets scared to lose someone else that he loves. And Clarice doesn’t want to lose John either.
Then John gets a call from Evangeline. She’s got the regional leaders of the underground for a meeting. She admits that she should’ve listened to him. The underground is collapsing and it’s time to gather the people. Be ready. Yes, it is indeed time to fight.
Lauren takes out the Fenris music box and discovers a note hidden inside. Turns out that Andreas Von Strucker wrote that the fhe Fenris siblings wouldn’t love long to see their future. He leaves a piece of both his hair and his sister’s- intertwined into one- so part of them will be with the next von Struckers. It’s up to them to continue the fight.
Following this, Lauren pays Art a visit to discuss the recent police visit. He claims that it was random, but they only came to one apartment. As Lauren shuts the door behind him, she tells him that there are mutants around…like her. She threatens to cut him down if he endangers her family again. And he won’t talk, because in this world, anyone could be a mutant. You’re never safe.
Marcos and Lorna go to the meeting spot and wait to see what’s going on when they get the surprise of a lifetime.
Reeva arrives, but who is she meeting? It turns out to be none other than Benedict Ryan. The two appear to argue for a bit before exchanging some information and parting ways. However, up above, Marcos and Lorna wonder why in the hell Reeva would be speaking with Benedict Ryan. A real mystery, to be sure.
Well, that’s a plot twist, isn’t it?
After last week’s mutants versus the Purifiers, we get a sort of slower-paced episode here that’s less about action and more about character growth and emotional beats. It’s a fine balance that The Gifted manages to maintain, as “meMento” took our characters to new points but also threw in another angle for the ongoing war between mutants and humans.
But we’ll get to that later. One common criticism from the first season was that the Struckers, Caitlin in particular, weren’t that proactive. I tend to agree, and it looks like the folks working on the show noticed. We’ve had a slow, but sure massive turnaround for Reed and Caitlin, and this episode highlighted how far the couple has come since last season.
While they haven’t fully changed, they have, as Caitlin said to Clarice, adapted to new circumstances. Lauren is embracing the Von Strucker family history, testing out her powers, and putting herself at risk in order to protect her family. The Caitlin from last season would never have allowed this. But here? She’s on board with Lauren training herself if it will help bring back Andy.
After all, she said last week that saving Andy would involve destroying the Inner Circle. Coupled with the various threats that the Struckers face from distrusting humans and it’s no surprise that Caitlin would change her tune on Lauren. She isn’t a child anymore, and whether Caitlin and Reed like it, she’s going to take matters into her own hands.
I like how Reed is still trying to be cautious, though. It balances things between him and Caitlin, but he also has more familiarity with the Von Strucker history and the dangerousness that the name brings. He’s all for Lauren becoming stronger, yes, but there has to be a line. At the same time, he’s not outright forbidding Lauren from training. He couldn’t do that if he wanted to, anyway.
The Struckers aren’t at odds or arguing. They’re talking about the situation and while they may not be on one accord, I appreciate that this isn’t dividing them. At the end of the day, they want the same thing. They’re just being cautious on how fast to approach this situation.
If Lauren’s last move at the end of this episode is any indication, she’s moving as fast as she can. She trains on her own, reads up on and has dreams about the Von Struckers, and threatens the landlord after he endangered her family. This is a dark turn that I can get behind and I am happy to see Lauren taking matters into her own hands.
Admittedly, she could use a room to train in unless she wants to damage more property. There’s no Danger Room and training outside could just draw more attention, but she could some sort of indoor room to practice.
In addition to a more proactive Strucker family, they remain involved in discussions over taking on the Inner Circle. It’s Caitlin who suggests taking them head-on, and if that wouldn’t work, call for help. But they’re vastly outnumbered thanks to the Inner Circle freeing thousands of mutants. And I’m glad we found a way to circle back to that plot thread.
The Inner Circle has the numbers and infrastructure. The mutant underground, by comparison, has dwindling numbers and stations that have gone dark. The dream is over to many, but to some, it’s not completely lost. Even though the underground’s odds are stacked against them, they haven’t given up when it would be easy to do so. After all of their losses, who could blame them?
Plus, they do still have resources with the Morlocks. Again, nice to return to this plot. For one, Clarice gets the satisfaction of being right all along. I couldn’t disagree when she demanded that Marcos apologize after all the grief that he and John put her through. At the end of the day, they ended up going back to the Morlocks. Clarice puts up a tough front, but it was interesting to hear her admit that Marcos hurt her.
She didn’t do anything wrong by going to Erg and asking for help. If anything, this will end up aiding them in the long run. So she deserves some sort of apology from Marcos and I’m glad that she got it. Though I have to imagine it took all of Blink’s might to avoid lashing out and saying “I told you so!” She would’ve had every right to say as much.
Though I’m curious what she’ll make of Erg’s offer. He sees the usefulness in Blink and wants her to embrace her mutant side. Even though Blink said no, I could see her maybe coming around down the line.
Sticking with the Morlocks, I was very happy to see Glow return. She’s grown accustomed to the Morlock life and it was nice to see her pal around with a torn Marcos. While I enjoy Sean Teale’s chemistry with Emma Dumont, he’s equally great in his scenes with Laysla De Oliveira. Marcos is torn between his seemingly growing affection for Glow and his love for Lorna.
It would be easy for him to just commit to Glow. He likes her and she likes him. Between that and how burned he’s felt by Lorna, no one would blame him.
But Marcos is a tormented mutant. The show takes its time with dissecting how he’s been feeling with everything going on around him. Lorna abandons him and doesn’t allow him to spend enough time with Dawn. When Polaris pleads for Eclipse’s help, he, like Blink, has every right to be pissed off. Wouldn’t a violent revolution be everything that Lorna wanted?
She presumably killed Dr. Campbell and blew up a plane at the end of last season. Clearly she’s not against extreme action. All of a sudden, though, when Reeva seems to be going too far, only now does Lorna draw a line. Yes, that’s a tad hypocritical and it would be out of character if Marcos didn’t call Lorna out on her crap. In fact, I’m a bit surprised he ultimately agreed to help her in the end.
However, as Lorna pointed out, Marcos is a good person at heart. He has all the reason in the world to hate Lorna for what she did, but more innocent people shouldn’t suffer just because Lorna, for lack of a better word, fucked up.
Again, like the Struckers, I am glad to see the two talking things out. Marcos accepts how torn he’s been feeling with these mixed emotions, and Lorna accepts that they’re in this mess because of her. She could’ve delayed this conversation for another time, but she accepts her fault and realizes that the two of them now have a greater common enemy in Reeva. But how great? More on that later.
Sticking with the Inner Circle for a bit, I like that there’s already some history with these new mutant recruits. This could’ve been any random group of mutants, yes, but the fact that they were responsible for the sinking of a cruise ship that claimed many lives adds an extra threat level to their presence. Plus, it shows that Lorna did her homework and actually recognizes who these mutants are.
It’s a quick way to give the mutants a backstory and establish why Reeva wanted them in particular after they were freed.
Then there’s Jace. Poor old conflicted Jace. Actually, credit where it’s due, Jace has remained consistent with trying not to go down a very dark path. Admittedly, he crossed a line when he shot John several times, even if he survived, but still, he’s not trying to be kind of person that Ted Wilson or Benedict Ryan are. Like Lorna, he understands that there are lines.
When that one mutant kid compares the Purifiers to the Klan and says that both of their grandparents didn’t need a reason to run from the hooded order, you see as plain as day on Jace’s face how much that hurt. He does not like that comparison, but he’s now a part of a group similar to one that terrorizes people that look just like him.
The situation isn’t made better when he says that Ted stood his ground after shooting and killing one of the mutant kids. The real life parallels to recent talks on police brutality are front and center. Given how much the X-Men and mutants in general have been stand-ins for discriminated people, this is no surprise. But it begs the question of whether Jace can redeem himself at this point.
I want to hold out hope that he can. He’s in the middle of his divorce proceedings with Paula. When she praised his efforts, he could’ve soaked in probably the first positive thing he’s heard from Paula in a long time. Instead, he’s plagued by guilt over covering for the murder of a mutant who, as far as we can tell, did nothing wrong. It makes me wonder if Jace may choose to take a step back from all of this down the line.
Then we have the ending scene with Benedict Ryan meeting Reeva Pagye. First off, what? Second, the hell? What’s going on here? The two looked like they were in a heated argument, but they also seem to be exchanging information. What’s this all about and what could it mean for both the Inner Circle and Mutant Underground going forward? No idea, but that’s a great way to end the episode and leave us in suspense.
So all in all, “meMento” was a strong character-building episode that left us with one hell of a cliffhanger at the end. Plus, does Evangeline have an ace up her sleeve by assembling the underground leaders? We’ll see what this leads to next time. See you then!