Thoughts & Feelings Column: The Reflection


Show Summary

Three years ago a strange mist and light rained down across the world without anyone knowing why. Many people died from the this encounter, and many others have development mutations. Some people use these mutations for villainous purposes, some heroic.

Our stage is set in New York City, and just hearing that context can make you think of Marvel comics. In fact, all of The Reflection is reminiscent of Marvel-type comics. The thick lines, backgrounds, setting, and heroes all remind you of Inhumans (terrigen mists) and the X-Men(Magneto ideals, subjugating the mutated) comics.

Episode One

As a show, The Reflection works on a few fronts. It is delivering a commentary on society as a whole as well as American culture. The stark, thick lines and simple animation make the show stand out in the current anime market where most shows look to be in the same vein.

Instead of moving forward with the plot, episode two of The Reflection presents us with a behind-the-scenes look at the how and why of episode one – Namely I-Guy and the attack in New York.
The Reflection makes an effort to proceed with the plot this episode, but I’m still left a little confused why we are following such a stretched lead across the United States.
With episode four comes great lengths to give The Reflection more in common with X-Men than any other comic it seems to be drawing from or homage-ing to. It’s terribly easy to call and predict, but that doesn’t make the journey there any less fun. Plus, Lisa is offering a much needed jovial attitude to counteract X-On’s continuing dismissiveness and lack of visual empathy.
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.

It turns out that an episode of The Reflection isn’t complete without a good ‘ol town hop. This time the crew moves from New Orleans to San Antonio to Los Angles. Though The Reflection still has to learn that focusing too much on disposable characters halts meaningful progression- we are finally making way into the climax. This episode manages to keep a better balance between cast members, and remind us how little we really know about Eleanor who may become quite the key player toward the end of all this.

Episode Seven

The Reflection pushes the story forward while harboring itself in the safety of the main cast. I get more and more worried each week that this show will finalize the season on a cliff hanger or a rushed end card. While a lot happens with main troupe of heroes this episode, Ian is the focus as we return to exploring his immature tendencies and selfish behavior.

Episode Eight

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.

Episode Nine

Just like last episode, The Reflection manages to accomplish a whole lot of nothing in a long expanse of time. Unfortunately, I felt every second of wasted momentum this round which is a new feeling as the show hasn’t ever felt slow until now- just empty.

Episode Ten

Is it just me, or is The Reflection dragging its feet on its way to the final showdown? I want to give the show more credit by saying it’s incorporating multiple drama building scenes, but the places I can say that for are simply wasted uses of establishing unneeded geography of the entire mansion as Eleanor BAMF’s around. At other times, the show seems to be forcing in characters because the cast has become far too differentiated to maintain a cohesive story (namely I-Guy).

Episode Eleven

We are back to the action this week, which means we are moving along to the end of series (finally). It’s been a long, strange trip, but it seems like all our suffering has paid off in setting up Wraith’s very interesting plan.

Episode Twelve

As Ethan continues to suck up energy, the battle rages below with the Darkness energy is beginning to turn the entire sky and sand to black. The people from which the Darkness is being extracted are being transformed into drones mindlessly attacking X-On’s team, and almost all the shots featuring Ethan’s electric darkness are still frames. It’s lazy and upsetting to the point where I can say that even episode 26 of Evangelion did more with its still frames than The Reflection managed. Moving past the lack of actual animation in this animated TV show is tough, but there’s poorer storytelling that unravels slowly through the progression of the episode.