The Reflection presents with another episodes that adds to a long line of static where the story fails to progress, but somehow manages content enough to fill all 20 minutes. Honestly, I’m disappointed with this episode because we remain stagnated as the creators “tease” information about the characters they are attempting to breathe life into. The best we can hope for is a good finale, but the ever approaching end of season has me worried. We are gearing up for the climax in a child’s roller coaster.
Throughout the episode we are given a look into Steel Ruler’s past. When you piece together all the asides and blips, it’s understood that when Steel Ruler was child she lost her family in an accident of some sort. In the aftermath, she must have not had any family willing to care for her, so she became a street urchin. When Steel Ruler grew up, she was better off, but still a victim. Just as she was mugged, stabbed, and left for dead the purple smoke overtook and she developed steel powers. It’s an unsurprising backstory for Steel Ruler, but it’s one that has allowed Wraith to easily manipulate her.
Steel Ruler and Eleanor meet, and after a lively game of tag that offers nothing to the show besides wasted time, the girls hash out the deal of the century: the people stolen in New Orleans can be freed if Eleanor agrees to meet with Wraith. It’s a great exchange since Wraith seems to only want to meet with Eleanor, not have her join their team. Eleanor could, theoretically, have her meeting, then head home with the New Orleans captives. However, instead of making a decision on her own, Eleanor runs off.
The SHIELD-like organization catches up with Eleanor after the encounter with Steel Ruler, and they tell her to accept Wraith’s offer. Eleanor still can’t make a decision on how to proceed, but then chooses to condemn the organization for not saving the Reflected in NOLA. She’s a hypocrite and can’t see it, and I assume much of the audience will also be unable to see Eleanor’s faults (which offer no real characterization) here.
Our meeting with fake-SHIELD is helpful in one way: they freely allow Eleanor to learn information about X-On’s past. As it turns out, a lab experiment went wrong where only one survivor was found and one was deemed missing. Since the boy is labeled at “X” in the photos, we have to use our context clues to understand that X-On is this boy “X.”
Later, after Eleanor blows up on X-On, we see Detective Jim get defensive about the lab accident which makes me think he was the lone survivor of the incident. I’m hoping this laboratory incident has some bearing on the story as a whole because at the moment it doesn’t seem largely important and feels like wasted time.
Other than our focus between Steel Ruler and Eleanor, there’s some interaction with I-Guy driving Kit; however, this doesn’t seem to get us anywhere (similar to the rest of the episode). I-Guy is lamenting his friends’ deaths while nearly killing criminals on the street. The lighter side of this includes a revisit to the idol girls who are on an international flight whose problems of not understanding English is cute compared to a man who recently saw the bloodied corpses of friends who died because of his selfishness.
I read a review this past week about this particular episode that stated how The Reflection has grown into a great character drama, and it’s that point that I have an issue with (if that wasn’t clear at this point). It’s true that The Reflection has become more focused on characters and creating drama, but the shows doesn’t do a solid job making you actually care about the drama which causes this all to be forced and frustrating.
It’s possible I expected far too much out of The Reflection. Since the art style was so different, I also expected above-average story-telling from the creators; instead, I’ve gotten a show that I can’t attach myself to and a contrived attempt to impart empathy.