This is one of the weaker entries in The Reflection where background characters are far too much in the focus, and others argue over the right thing to do with their powers for far too long, causing a circular conversation that ends up going nowhere. What the show gives us in about ten minutes of content could have been accomplished in half or less. It’s a sad truth that while The Reflection has a great minimalist style, the story-telling continues to leave much to be desired.
Eleanor continues where she started at the end of episode four; walking forward to see Merchant/Trader in the crowed of Reflected. As she advances, the background characters all show off their powers to her in a circus-like fanfare that throws you immediately out of the show. Cool powers, but why use them now? Just to introduce yourself? It’s lame to say the least.
We then learn that Merchant and Trader a.k.a Michael and Vy were lovers before the Reflection. Michael was away gambling when he was hit with the orbs that blinded him, but gave him the ability to see only persons affected by the Reflection and which type of Reflection affected them (orbs or smoke). Vy was at home, upset at Michael for his gambling, and was hit with smoke that turned her into an armored beast.
This backstory lends some credence to the idea that it’s not the orb or smoke that makes the man, it’s the darkness their hearts. Vy was a kind girl before the smoke hit her, and she has remained so. I highly doubt it’s all because of Michael’s influence because if Vy really wanted to, she could literally leap away and wreak her own havoc.
However, because of Michael’s selfishness and gross misunderstanding of his own lover, he believes that Vy’s current condition is all his fault and that as penance he must protect all the Reflected by capturing and housing them in an old plantation home- even if they don’t want it (i.e. Michelle). Here, Eleanor and Michael circulate their feelings on facing trouble and running away from trouble that doesn’t serve the characters better understanding of each other or help change their minds- just a waste of time… like fighting with a child over if the package says “Fig Newtons” or “Pig Newtons.”
Oddly enough, after Eleanor has finally said her peace to Michael, both notice a piece of Vy’s armor breaking off. So, it’s possible that in attempting to protect Vy, he was actually holding her hostage, but Eleanor’s words have reached Vy and started to give her hope- thus breaking down the armor Vy uses to protect herself from Micheal. Or, maybe that’s a stretch.
Anyway! Back in New Orleans, Lisa is wandering around town like a lost puppy looking for jazz. I feel like someone should have told her that NOLA is a party city, and that those true jazz districts are far and in-between nowadays- especially if you are starting from the center of town. Luckily, after some time, Lisa finds a little dugout bar with some “jazz” playing. The little boy that Eleanor saved before she was spirited away is there playing the clarinet, and after a set of rough tumbles and conversations, both Lisa and the boy end up captured by the police chief’s men for interrogation on where Merchant & Trader are.
It’s actually very easy to interrogate a child, who knew?! Probably these police thugs. The boy gives up all the information he has on the hideout in the swamp, and the guys tell their wonderfully racist boss all about it. As it turns out, Steel Ruler (a.k.a Kitana-girl; it really took me way too long to learn her real name), is in cahoots with the police chief. Steel wants to find where this hidden base is, and though it goes unsaid, wants to take all the Reflected that are housed here.
X-On comes to save Lisa and the boy just in time for him and Lisa to chase after the police as they attack the swamp mansion. The battle isn’t terribly interesting, and Steel Ruler stays back for the most part. She has a worker ant named Volt who attacks Vy and Michael, though it wasn’t anything exciting. Eleanor does a great job disarming some of the police force while Lisa just goes crazy with her light guns.
Unfortunately, just as the battle ends everyone notices that Steel Ruler and Volt are missing. Eleanor saunters into the mansion (she’s seriously in NO rush whatsoever) and sees that all the people are gone. Steel Ruler and company were able to take all the people there, including Michelle.
On the fun side of things, it seems like X-On is able to retain all the powers he steals from people which means he’s more like Rouge than I had thought before. There is also no real mention of our Japanese idols this round, either. Of course, I may be the only one who is terribly sad about that one.
I really didn’t take to this episode well, and it has a lot to do with Eleanor and Michael’s side of things. Normally I’m the first on the boat for long conversations, but if the talking gets us nowhere- I’d rather see a fight or a still frame of some power lines.
Now that we are leaving New Orleans, and Steel Ruler has an excessive amount of hostages, there should be some forward movement as well as action next episode. However, “should be” should be stressed since The Reflection has a habit of attempting to be just a bit too Marvel comics where it really shouldn’t step. There’s a reason only older comic fans like Chris Claremont.