The Gifted might be the lonely little last survivor of my lineup at the moment, but wow does it deliver some powerful punches! Personal drama, family drama, societal drama… it’s all one and the same here. Not a bad accomplishment, that.
2.07 “no Mercy”
This week’s flashback: Reeva.
It turns out that while Reeva will manipulate, betray, and murder, this is actually her while actually trying to not be a monster.
In her mind, it’s all justified by her goals. The motivation behind those goals is in her past. The story she shared with Andy, we see it.
She was at a mutant gathering, one where her friend brought up the subject of how the mutants were being slowly driven out simply by people refusing to rent or sell to them. It’s a very powerful form of discrimination, refusing shelter, of all things. Reeva’s friend was saying they should go door-to-door and nudge the humans out. Reeva argued against that, and the two of them argued after. That’s when a trio of human thugs came to vandalize the building. One of them shoved Reeva, and her friend defended her forcefully. It was a rapid escalation, with a lethal outcome.
I can’t say Reeva’s friend was a particular victim, with what she was intending to do, and with her ability apparently having a serious physical effect on her opponent, possibly even killing him. The man standing next to him came to bust up a building, and stabbed a woman instead, as she seemed to be killing a man, who had only shoved Reeva, albeit forcefully. It seems to me that both sides were in the wrong, though the humans, right then, were definitely more wrong.
Part of me thinks that Reeva’s friend was simply wrong for reacting so aggressively. But, then again, if it were a simple human woman who just kicked the guy’s ass, or even pulled a gun on the men threatening them, wouldn’t we be praising that? But toss in mutant powers, and suddenly it’s too much? Hmmm, no, I don’t think that’s quite right. Should she have been more passive? Just let them damage the building, just let them hurt Reeva? No, that would be a definite no. So, what else should she have done?
It’s quite the moral quandary: nothing wrong with defending oneself and one’s own, but one can still do so the wrong way, with too much aggression. So, what do you do? How do you stop a situation like that while also defusing it, especially when at least one side, probably both, don’t want to be defused?
Whatever should have been done, it didn’t happen. Reeva’s friend was stabbed right in front of her, a moment etched forever in her memory.
To keep something like that from happening, ever again, that is how Reeva justifies her actions.
On the one side, that means she will do anything, including annihilating anyone in her way swiftly and without mercy.
On the other, so long as she gets what she wants, she has no desire and sees no purpose in wanton bloodshed.
That is her dichotomy. That is how she can live with being a monster, because she tries not to be. It doesn’t change that she is one, mind you, but she doesn’t like it. That’s an important distinction. It means that she can, at times, be reasoned with.
Unfortunately, it also means that even she didn’t realize what she was doing by bringing Rebecca into the Inner Circle. Just as madness cannot comprehend reason, people with reason are always surprised by people who lack it. It’s strange to say, but if Reeva were actually a bit worse, she might have been better able to stop what happened at the end of this episode.
It being a doozy, I’ll come back around to that.
For the moment, we have three particular threads to follow in this episode. There’s the Inner Circle, who dominated this episodes, and the Underground, of course, and Turner.
Our Underground friends have been pushed in ways which can scarcely be understood. They just lost big-time with the loss of another station, and everyone in it, and another friend murdered. They don’t have much of anything anymore. Even helping one single mutant deal with abilities running amok is a strain.
It’s a very traumatizing experience for Reed, having everything he touches fall to pieces. Even so, his first concern is protecting his family. He keeps them away so he doesn’t hurt them. His thought is to leave, so he doesn’t draw attention to them and the Underground. Even if he ends up in SS hands, at least they could secure him so he doesn’t hurt anyone.
Lauren and Cait are a bit less keen on giving up. With John, Clarice, and Marcos helping, they move Reed to the clinic, which is torn up so much that no one will notice a little more damage, and no one unfriendly is watching it anymore. Metal seems to be the best deterrent to Reed’s powers, so they reinforce an ambulance with it to take him there, and Reed lays down on a metal bed to try and get some rest.
The Struckers have been through a lot, and they have little besides their resolve to face this together, as a family. To which end, Cait thinks she has a line on a scientist who could help. A colleague of Reed’s father while he was working on that suppression idea of his. Now she heads up an entire lab, and she might be the only living person with some proper insight into Reed’s condition. So, they need to go see her.
Just getting Reed to agree to that much is difficult. It’s a huge risk, taking him that far. But Cait is determined, and she shows Reed that it can be done… by taking his hands with hers. And nothing happens to her. It’s a powerful thing, human touch, especially when you’ve been deprived of it. So, Reed agrees.
As for the trio of their friends, tensions are rising. John’s suffering from another defeat, which stings especially as the Inner Circle’s mutant uprising is swaying the rest of the Underground off-screen, and Marcos has to be the one asking questions and urging serious talks, but Clarice’s deal comes to the forefront of things.
Clarice is wanting to think more long-term, instead of just stumbling their way through an unending series of crises. Her connection to the Morlocks comes out as well, which she gets defensive about, always trying to turn it around, but she finally fesses up. And, really, her reasoning, getting the help they need, for John’s sake, isn’t too faulty. But she’s wrong on a couple of things. The Morlocks are, as Cait puts it, a mutants-only group of separatists. And while Urg talks about not hiding who they are… they are hiding. In the sewers. That might be a way to survive, but it’s not a worthy end goal, I think. Urg’s wit and rhetoric would make me as wary of him as of Reeva.
I’d also be wary of the Purifier leaders. Turner meets one, a successful man with his own talk show and, as he puts it, a line to the president: Benedict Ryan. Turner’s a little surprised by this, but takes it in stride. What makes him hesitate and initially refuse Ryan’s offer to bring him on the show and tell his story is his loyalty to the agents at SS. These are people he trained with, fought with, lost friends with, and who had his back as much as they could. Ryan wants to expose SS for covering up what really happened in Atlanta, but Turner doesn’t want to just throw all his old friends under the bus en masse. So, he refuses. At first. He has a big row with his new Purifier friend over this before relenting. He doesn’t want to name names, but he’ll do it.
And when they hear about what happens at Creed Financial… well, it very much encourages them.
Speaking of, we circle back around to the Inner Circle, engaging in a little bank heist.
Reeva manipulates an executive, Darius, into deactivating the mutant detection system, which gets them in the front door. The poor man thought he was dating a wonderful woman, a woman who made him smile for the first time in two years after his wife passed. Reeva, for her part, seems to really like Darius, but she doesn’t hesitate to force him, even by threatening his young sons. To her, it’s simply what she has to do, no matter if it hurts him, no matter if it hurts her as well. She simply does it.
Front door, open.
The Inner Circle walks in and takes over the place in short order. Reeva and Lorna disable and disarm the guards. The Frosts, sans Esme, who is babysitting and charged by Lorna to take care of Dawn if anything happens, round up the employees and record a confession for the internet. Rebecca, with Andy at her side watching her back, turns the adamantium vault door inside out, ripping it apart in the process. Reeva escorts Darius down to the vault to give them, specifically Sage, access to the accounts, and they take it all, never minding the innocent people who will lose their businesses and their homes just because of what bank they did business with.
Video uploaded, over a hundred million stolen, hostages secured, police still incoming. All in all, very successful.
Until they take their eyes off Rebecca.
Reeva never even considered harming the employees, and, in fact, expressly forbade it. She gave Darius her word that everyone would be safely released to go home to their families, and she meant to see that promise kept.
Lorna may have blood on her hands, like everyone who was on that plane she ripped apart, but she would never have considered harming the employees.
The Frosts have done cruel, homicidal things as well, with little remorse, but always for a purpose, and always to people who either hurt them or could threaten them, and often at Reeva’s orders.
Andy simply wouldn’t have dreamed of hurting anyone he didn’t need to. As powerful as it felt to be Fenris alongside Lauren, he’s still a good, sane kid. He was shaken even by the simple, brief confrontation he had with his sister. And let’s not forget, he looked at what the von Struckers did before and excused it as anti-mutant spin. Basically: he’s not a killer, and certainly not a murderer.
They’re all caught off-guard by Rebecca.
They all turned around to walk out the door, not guessing that she would linger. They should have known who and what they were dealing with, but they didn’t. Andy even urged her to tap into her anger when she tackled the vault. He didn’t realize that she’s no victimized lamb. He better realize it now, because she just committed an atrocity.
She got a little mad at what one guy said, so she murdered everyone. A complete massacre.
And where all the others were horrified, Rebecca smiled.
Episode ends with the Inner Circle fleeing the scene, their triumph turned as sour as it can possibly get.
Gee, I wonder if this might come back to bite them, and all mutants, in the very near future. You know it’s bad when even the freaking Inner Circle is going to suffer from the fallout which is certain to follow.
So, the Underground is fractured yet again, the Struckers are going through Hell, the Inner Circle just had a great victory up until their resident psychopath slaughtered everyone on a whim, which is going to be a lightning rod to the Purifiers exactly when Turner legitimizes them in the eyes of the public.
Yeah… not a good day to be a mutant.