Welcome back to the Mutant Underground! Let’s see what those crazy mutant kids are destroying this week, and whether Reed is swinging toward the Vampire Bill or the Captain von Trapp end of the scale.
In a flashback to three years ago, Lorna and Marcos, who don’t seem to know each other well, are taking a walk outside of the compound. She explains that the building was condemned after the Oakwood riots. The National Guard stormed a nearby mutant orphanage and scared a kid into letting his powers get out of control. It destroyed the whole area.
Marcos wonders what he did in a past life to deserve the punishment of being a mutant. Lorna says she wouldn’t change the way she is for anything. She asks him what he did the first time he used his powers just for fun. Marcos tells her that he was homeless in Bogotá, he wasn’t doing anything just for fun.
Lorna demonstrates. She wears steel toed boots and steel bracelets because when she was 16, she discovered that she could use her powers and the metal to make herself fly.
Inspired, Marcos crushes some glass, cups it in his hand, lights it up, and projects the sparkles onto Lorna. She likes it.
He takes her hand to help her down from the car she’s standing on and colored lights begin to emanate from where they touch. Lorna says it’s the aurora borealis- the Northern Lights, made when the Earth’s magnetic field combines with solar energy. The glow increases and surrounds them.
Aw, it’s so pretty and special! They’re going to have the most adorable baby, guys, with some kind of magical unicorn sparkle producing power. Metamaiden hates fun and love, so she’s busy complaining that there’s something scientifically inaccurate about their aurora borealis. I don’t care. I like them both. I like them both together. Their powers combine in the most lovable, cool way. I’m going to enjoy the ride.
Except that’s Lorna’s still in solitary in the present day. Jace comes in with his usual round of threats and promises. He lets her know that there’s a bust happening soon, after which they’re going to transfer her to someplace worse. She has one more chance to turn in everyone she cares about. She doesn’t talk.
Back at the compound, Marcos and Thunderbird are arguing, again, about how to rescue Lorna. Clarice is their best option, but her powers aren’t working. Marcos tells Thunderbird to train Clarice, the way he’s trained all of the other mutants.
Caitlin thinks they should contact people in the outside world for help. The mutants all try to explain to her, again, that things like constitutional rights, due process, and congressional representation don’t apply to mutants any more. She won’t give up on the influence she’s used to wielding without one more try though.
Thunderbird talks with Clarice about starting training. She looks haggard from her ordeal last week. She doesn’t know how to access her power in a reliable way, so they’ll need to work on finding different cues than what she’s used to using.
Dreamer stops Thunderbird on his way out and offers to insert memories into Clarice’s head that would give her the strong feelings she needs to be able to rescue Lorna now. Lorna is Dreamer’s best friend and she’s growing impatient. Thunderbird turns her down, because inserted memories make bad things happen eventually. He lists some names. Uh oh.
Caitlin stops on her way out of the compound in the middle of the night to tell her kids that she’s going to talk to her brother about a get out of jail free card for their dad. They insist on going as well. They understand the value of keeping the team together.
Thunderbird and Clarice start their first training session. He explains to her that in the Marines they trained him to focus on something that meant a lot to him when things got tough. It would give him something to hold onto when he wanted to give up. Clarice doesn’t have anyone or anything left that’s important to her though.
She chooses a warm jelly donut as something she wants right now, and focusses on that as she tries to create a portal. Here’s where we see how she stays so thin, because a jelly donut doesn’t even motivate enough her to open a small portal. She becomes afraid, remembering what she did to the compound while she was sick.
Thunderbird senses the Struckers’ tracks out of the compound. He consults with Marcos, who’s frustrated that Caitlin didn’t get the message after last week. Thunderbird points out that she’s believed in the system all her life, and some people need to learn the hard way. The two set off to rescue the Struckers from themselves before they bring down the whole compound.
Caitlin and the kids get to her brother Danny’s house. She pulls out every emotional argument she’s got to try to convince him to help them by using his contacts to help Reed. He says it’s too dangerous, and all of the influential people that he knows stopped speaking to him when it became known that he’s related to mutants. He offers her his couch for one night, plus the cash in his safe.
Jace has been setting up his sting operation with Reed. They’re going to start with the bartender at the bar where Reed met Marcos. Reed gets a special thin ankle transmitter that won’t be felt during pat downs and won’t come off on its own. It doesn’t look all that stealth to me, but what do I know?
Reed approaches the bartender at the dumpster behind the bar, and does some fast talking to get himself on the next van to Mutant Central. The bartender takes him into a backroom to wait, where an adorable mother and little girl are already waiting. The mother mutant takes away Reed’s pain from getting shot with the immobilization round, without being asked. Reed starts to feel like the biggest monster on the planet.
Andy and Cousin Scott play video games while Lauren checks her social media. She finds a photo of their house posted by one of their school friends. Lucas and the girl with him have just spray painted anti-mutant graffiti all over the house, which also has busted windows all over. Andy gets so upset that he wrecks one of Scott’s trophies with his powers, which Scott thinks is totally cool.
Jace gets a humanizing moment in the stakeout van, as he sends loving good night texts back and forth with his wife, Paula. It’s sweet how he can do that and then two minutes later order people to try to kill or lock other people’s loved ones up for life.
Reed is in the Mutie Van, on his way to the rendezvous point where they’ll meet up with the team from Mutant HQ. Both the little girl and mom look up at him with giant trusting eyes and tell him that it’s okay, they’re safe and with friends now. He doesn’t have to be scared any more. Did I mention that they’re separated from their Daddy/husband too? Reed can’t take the guilt any more and throws himself out of the van while it’s still going full speed. This week he’s Captain von Trapp, and no way is Gretel going to become an experiment.
Because it’s TV, he’s uninjured. He tells Jace to shove his deal up his *ss.
Lorna decides to practice using her powers with the collar on. She gets the metal door to solitary open, but she’s also bleeding copiously from her nose and collapses. The guard who finds her says, “That’s just sad.” It looks to me like she does a little more each time she uses her powers. Eventually she’ll build up enough of a tolerance to actually escape. Especially if she’s transported somewhere and just needs to get a van door off. Reed can help get the collar off while they’re being transported next week, right?
Caitlin is sleeping on her brother’s couch when she’s awakened by Marcos and Thunderbird. She whips out the giant chef’s knife that she was sleeping with and puts it in their faces. They have a little argument about just how much of a discussion about this trip she was allowed before she went AWOL, and just how easy she is to track, then the rest of the family wakes up. It seriously sounds like she’s arguing with either more brothers, or more husbands.
But the discussion is put on hold, because an angry, armed mob is forming outside. Cousin Scott sent a friend a photo of the trophy that Andy destroyed, and the friend’s dad accidentally saw it. He’s alerted the entire neighborhood that there are dangerous mutants with a $300k bounty on their heads lurking in their midst. Their bank accounts insist that they protect the neighborhood.
Danny goes out to try to talk the mob down. Caitlin wants to go too, since she’s known some of them since high school. Danny stops her, and reiterates what Thunderbird and Marcos said. People are angry and irrational about mutants.
The mob won’t listen to Danny. They knock him down and start toward the house, demanding that the front door be opened, or they’ll open it themselves. It’s the last straw for Andy’s volatile temper, and he blows the front door to bits, then yells, “Leave us alone!” Andy inherited Vampire Bill’s dramatic streak.
Chuck, the leader, raises his gun to fire at Andy. Thunderbird grabs him out of the way while Marcos aims light rays at the gun to make it too hot to hold. The Struckers, Marcos, and Thunderbird make a run for the car, and race away. The mob isn’t far behind, jumping in their own cars to follow.
Thunderbird calls Dreamer and asks her to help them get back to headquarters without killing anyone and without leading the mob to HQ. Dreamer goes to Clarice, but Clarice doesn’t think she can do it. Dreamer inserts her own memories of her time with Johnny into Clarice’s head. The memories give Clarice the motivation to open a portal big enough for a car, so they safely escape the mob.
Caitlin apologizes to Marcos for going rogue and not realizing he was right. He tells her it’s alright, she went AWOL for someone she loved. He’s done the same type of thing.
Thunderbird is confused when Clarice gives him a big hug after she saves them. He asks Dreamer what she did, then gives her the “inserted memories=bad things happen” talk again. Dreamer knows.
Jace gets a call from creepy Dr Campbell, who offers his services, again. Jace turns him down, but also tells him that they’re moving two prisoners to a detainment facility, where they’ll be able to get what they want. Campbell says that they already use some of his methods at the facility, and he can offer more in exchange for the Strucker children.
The next day, Caitlin, Marcos and John meet Danny on a deserted country road. He’s sorry that he reacted badly the day before, and now he wants to help. He and his wife have a cabin up in the Smoky Mountains that they never use. He gives Caitlin the key.
He also made some calls about Reed. He’s alive. He and Lorna are being moved to a top secret mutant detention center. Danny tells Caitlin to accept that she’ll never see Reed again. Caitlin goes to stand with her two mutant avengers, and vows to bring her husband and Marcos’ baby mama home.
Next week, we get the band back together for a rescue attempt that may or may not be a giant trap.
I really want that collar off of Lorna, now. Then she can go all Magneto on the entire prison, and anybody from Sentinel Services that she can get her hands on. That thing is degrading, and I notice that we haven’t seen a male mutant in one yet. The signs of misogyny started to creep in this episode, with all of the women being ineffective on their own. Even Lauren was suddenly unable to use her shield to get them to the car or to shield the car as they drove, which she’s done before.
Thunderbird’s head can’t be ripped off. You have to wonder how he knows that for sure.
Thunderbird and Dreamer were very close, but then decided to cut off their potential romance when she joined the Underground. The Underground apparently has a strict ‘no workplace dating’ policy that Marcos and Lorna are breaking. Or, Johnny enjoys being tortured and alone, which seems more likely.
Caitlin’s quickly developing her badass skills. She worked her brother like a pro to get what she needed from him, then was smart and slept with the biggest knife in the house under her pillow. She whipped it out fast, too. Combined with the way she figured out what Clarice needed last week, talked herself and Marcos into the ER, and expertly stole prescription meds, she’ll be indispensable before long.
We got multiple 3 shots with Caitlin in front, and Marcos and Thunderbird on her right and left, slightly behind her, like they are a superhero team. I like the three of them together. They all have good chemistry. Marcos and Johnny move and fight together like they’ve been partners for a long time. Marcos and Caitlin seem to already understand and respect each other. Johnny and Caitlin respect each other for their practical abilities, if nothing else. Their temperaments and abilities balance each other out. She’s what they’ve been missing from the leadership in the Underground. A medical person and liaison to the outside world who’s a human, so she can move around more freely.
Scott named Andy Destructo. Andy has so much anger in him, and he seems to be giving in to it more and more. He desperately needs Johnny, or better yet, another powerfully destructive mutant, to take him under their wing and train him.
You’d think the kind of vandalism that’s done to the Strucker house wouldn’t fly in their upper middle class neighborhood, but you would be wrong. The teenagers in the oppressively affluent and suburban neighborhood that I lived in for several years were the worst behaved and most entitled of anywhere I’ve lived in about 20 different places, including crime-ridden city neighborhoods, working class neighborhoods, and rural areas. That’s exactly the kind of thing they would have done, and their parents would have tried to get them out of any charges rather than admitting wrongdoing.
The same goes for the adults in Uncle Danny’s neighborhood when they violently enforce the code for conformity. Nowhere is conformity valued more than in upper middle class America. Mutants threaten the status quo, which benefits the affluent and wealthy the most. The wealthy assume that their wealth will protect them. The position of the upper middle class is usually much more tenuous.
The show is illustrating this with the Strucker family and their swift fall from grace. Every single one of the dads on Danny’s lawn is terrified that his family could be next. Subconsciously, they hope that by turning the Struckers in, they’ll somehow have made a bargain that will protect them from having a mutant in the family and losing everything.
The whole thing with Danny feels a little like a set up. There’s no way that someone didn’t inform Sentinel Services that he’d been harboring dangerous fugitive mutants. The cabin does sound like a great place to move HQ, as long as they quietly transfer ownership to Caitlin under an assumed name, or to someone else that has no public association with mutants or the Underground.