New year, new episode about the almost-X-Men!
NOTE: For clarity’s sake I was using the characters’ hero (or villain) names but based on the suggestion of a reader I’m now using their real names with their code names in parentheses when they’re first mentioned. It was a good note for the character-driven series.
This week’s flashback is set three years in Atlanta, the mutant underground’s previous home. Thunderbird is playing a game of pool with Lorna (Polaris), who uses her powers to cheat. After his “loss” Thunderbird calls her out for getting in a relationship with new recruit Marcos (Eclipse). John (Thunderbird) says that he’s fine with their relationship, but when their lives are on the line they can’t afford to keep secrets and need to work together.
Cut to another shared dream between Andy and Lauren. Andy knocks on Lauren’s door, finally interested in having a conversation. Lauren isn’t up for it, though, because of his continued devotion to the Inner Circle and how he attacked her with his powers not long ago. That enrages Andy enough making his telekinetic powers erupt.
Lauren wakes up and explains the dream to her parents. Caitlin says maybe it means Andy’s ready to come home, but her daughter and husband aren’t as convinced. Reed receives a call from Marcos alerting them that the Purifiers, led by Jace Turner, captured John. Once they get together the group decides, reluctantly, to reach out to the Inner Circle in hopes of rescuing John.
Andy complains to Polaris about the anti-mutant version of FOX News being prejudiced against mutants when she gets a call from Marcos, who uses a captured member of the Hellfire Club as bait to convince Lorna to meet with him. Clarice (Blink) wants to go with Marcos, but he convinces her to stay behind so that if he’s captured she can still try to save John. At their meeting, Marcos asks Polaris for help finding John, reminding them of the promise they made at the beginning of this episode. She seems open to the idea.
Jace Turner, all but irredeemable at this point, looks down at John trapped in chains and offers a chance for him to save himself by turning on the Mutant Underground. John retorts that in a room with members of a hate group maybe it’s not his soul that needs to be saved. Jace leaves, putting headphones blaring screamo because he knows the high volume is torture for someone with super hearing and, presumably, is aware that screamo music is terrible.
Lorna and Andy arrive at the apartment where the Mutant Underground resides. Reed and Caitlin immediately run to hug Andy. Their affection is a bit strange given he just attacked his sister and is part of a terrorist group. Lauren is, understandably, less enthused to see him. Lorna and Andy say they found John and will help the Mutant Underground get him back.
We see the Purifiers continue to interrogate John. He tries to explain the good the Mutant Underground is doing but Jace won’t hear it. John reveals the Inner Circle is responsible for the terrorism. Jace doesn’t believe him at first due to Lorna and Andy’s involvement in several of the attacks but figures out that they must have “given up on the dream of the X-Men” and don’t represent the Mutant Underground With that revelation, he begins to open his mind up to the idea that not all people with superpowers are inherently evil.
The Mutant Underground, plus Lorna and Andy, approach the Purifier’s compound. While investigating the area Lauren tells Andy she knows he’s struggling with his involvement with the Inner Circle after their dream. She references Andy’s girlfriend, who recently turned dozens of people inside out. But Andy explains that the Inner Circle is fighting against the people who tortured her and turned his girlfriend into someone who could do something so evil.
The Mutant Underground storms the compound. Lorna and Marcos distract the Purifiers with flashy magnetic and fire attacks while Andy, Lauren, and Clarice make their way towards John. Jace, seeing Lorna and Marcos together, believes they really have always been aligned. He shoots John four times in the chest for lying to him but has to leave before he can finish him off.
As the mutants escape with John a Purifier shoots at them and almost hits Lauren. Andy turns around and attacks him, breaking his legs with his telekinesis and enjoying the experience. When they exit the compound his parents look at him with horror and maybe a little bit of the disgust the viewers have had for him since Day One.
Reed and Caitlin try to convince Andy to stay, but after seeing their reactions to what he did he’s turned into a total genocidal maniac. As he leaves Caitlin tells Reed and Lauren that the only way they get Andy back is by destroying the Inner Circle. Also a lot of therapy, but I guess that goes without saying.
Lorna and Marcos says their goodbyes. Before leaving Lorna kisses him but tells Marcos that doesn’t change anything. The episode ends with both looking outside their windows at the same night sky, as well as a similarly reflective scene featuring Lauren and Andy practicing their powers in preparation for the inevitable battle between them. It was a strong way to end an episode with some good parts and nothing outright bad, which I guess is a win for this series?