S01E01 - A Thread of hope
The episode begins with a cold open. Eve Mas (Eloise Cosgrove) is walking through a ruined city. The camera pans back and we see it is the ruins of Midtown Manhattan. But as it pans back further we see the destruction is more widespread. There are fires in the distance, screams and gunshots. Eve stops in front of a burning building, and she can see a silhouette inside surrounded by flame. She hears a gunshot and the building collapses, flames wash over her, and she awakens in a bed from a nightmare.
New York City, Summer 2008.
Three years after the Midtown Explosion, a group of like-minded people with powers have banded together under the charismatic leadership of Cameron Spalding (Michel Rose) to form an organization intended to strike out at a government they see as increasingly tyrannical. Their organization is known as PARIAH.
We are introduced to Helena Beauchamp (Marie Teller), a Southern Baptist firebrand who is recruited by Cameron into PARIAH after she is released on bail for vandalizing a police car with the slogan "Strong and Free."
Beauchamp meets Cameron alongside Eve, at an abandoned distillery in Harlem that is the group's headquarters. Helena meets the young Magnes Varlane (Brody Stevens) and Delilah Quinn (Ellen Daughtry) is brought to a meeting where PARIAH discusses their anger toward increasingly aggressive police in the city. Cameron suggests that it's time the group takes more decisive action, but is cut short by Eve who does not think Helena is "ready" yet. Cameron disagrees, and Helena is placed in charge of an operation to graffiti One Police Plaza.
Elsewhere in the city, we are introduced to DHS Agent Malcolm Parkins (Tony Burman), a telepath who was one of the first Evolved to come forward in early 2007 following the bomb. He is being commended by his superiors for a successful apprehension of an Evolved arsonist when he receives a phone call. Parkins steps out of the office and onto the street to take the call, looking confused.
Parkins is told that there may be a group operating in New York City planning a terrorist attack. It is revealed that Delilah Quinn is on the other end of the line, talking in a whisper outside of PARIAH's headquarters.
Later we cut to a scene in a Diner where Helena and Magnes are discussing Pariah. Magnes talks about how Cameron and the others took him in a couple of years ago when he was living on the streets. Helena sympathizes with Magnes' story and tells him he can always count on her. Magnes shows her a backpack full of spray-paint bottles and asks her if she's ready for her first operation.
Later, Helena and Magnes are spraypainting the walls of One Police Plaza at night and laughing together. She tells Magnes her father would have "tanned her hide" if he caught her doing something like this. Magnes says the police would probably do worse. They step back to appreciate their work, a graffiti that reads "Fortis et Liber" in Latin. Meaning Strong and Free in English. Magnes says he doesn't speak Chinese and Helena punches him in the arm.
After the operation, Cameron and Eve talk about how Helena is getting along with Magnes. Eve says she is glad Cameron trusted her judgement and recruited Helena, and Cameron says that he always counts on Eve's guidance, because she has never steered him wrong. Eve presses a kiss to Cameron's lips and reminds him to never forget that.
On the distillery roof at night, Helena is watching the city lights and Magnes approaches her. They talk about how hard it is being different, and Helena asks Magnes if he has an ability. He says he does but he doesn't like to show it off. Helena smiles and takes Magnes' hand and says she has one like that too.
Then Helena laughs and looks up to the sky and Magnes sees that it's started to snow in summer.