S01E02 - Bad Fathers & Broken Homes
The episode begins with a cold open, showing a pair of adults shouting up at the camera. They are screaming obscenities and throwing things. We discover they are shouting at their young teenage son, Ben (Joey Hall), who is clinging to the ceiling by his bare hands and feet, like a spider. He is crying, scrambling away from his parents, and his father grabs a broom and begins beating the boy with the broom handle shouting, "My son isn't a monster! Not my boy!" The child loses his grip falls from the ceiling and before he hits the floor it fades to black.
New York City. Late Summer, 2008.
A school bell rings and the first day of school for the year ends. Classes are released for the end of the day and we find Magnes leaving class, talking to kids and coming out of Red Hook High School. Out front, he sees Ben sitting on the steps with a nasty bruise on his face. Magnes tries to talk to Ben, but he says his parents are waiting for him and leaves. Magnes is suspicious, but also concerned. He watches Ben leave, and when Ben gets in his parents' car Magnes sees Ben's dad slap him.
We cut to the Distillery where Helena and Eve are playing checkers. Except Eve is trying to play with the pieces like it was chess, and Helena is getting frustrated. Cameron comes in and demands that Eve join him in the meeting room, and the two step out just as Magnes is coming in.
Magnes and Helena talk over a game of checkers, and we learn that Magnes' parents both died in the Midtown explosion. Helena says she wishes her parents did, but doesn't elaborate. This prompts Magnes to mention that he thinks a kid at school is being abused by his parents, but all Helena suggests is bringing it up to the guidance counselor. Magnes says she doesn't understand and he leaves in frustration.
Outside, Magnes runs into Teodoro Laudani (Lenny Broskowicz) who bumps his shoulder into Magnes on the way in to the Distillery, nearly knocking Magnes over. Inside, Teo asks Helena where Cameron and Eve are, and she points him to the meeting room. When Teo leaves, Helena waits for a moment then creeps over to the door to the meeting room, left slightly ajar, and eavesdrops.
In the meeting, Cameron talks about how the time has come to take a stand. That if people are going to be afraid of people with powers, they should have more reason to. Cameron suggests attacking a police station and PARIAH is divided. Everyone is shouting different suggestions, either in agreement or disagreement and it becomes chaos. When it looks like Cameron has lost control of the meeting, Helena shouts, "What about a holding facility?"
The room is quiet after Helena reveals herself, and Cameron shouts that she shouldn't be in the room. Eve quiets Cameron down and asks Helena to repeat herself. When she does, there is a unified reaction from the crowd. They agree with her idea. Helena smiles, nervously at first, but then stronger as she finally feels welcomed by PARIAH.
In Delilah Quinn's apartment, we see her dancing to music while cleaning. There's a knock on her window, and when Delilah opens her curtains Magnes is floating there five stories up from the street. Delilah chastises him and pulls Magnes into her apartment. She asks why he's here and Magnes tells Delilah about the kid from school. Unlike Helena, Delilah takes him seriously. They say they should come up with a plan and Magnes agrees.
That night, Eve and Magnes discuss their childhoods. Eve tells Magnes she doesn't remember her parents and that every time she uses her ability, she forgets a little piece of her past. Magnes wonders if that's a good or a bad thing, Eve laughs and asks Magnes to play chess with her.
The next afternoon at school, Magnes sees Ben waiting on the front steps for his parents to come pick him up. Magnes asks Ben if his parents gave him that bruise, and Ben says no. Magnes tells Ben he saw his dad hit him, and Ben starts crying. He tells Magnes he can't tell anyone and is afraid his father will hurt Magnes. Instead, Magnes puts an arm around Ben and says he will protect him, because he has a secret, and that secret means he has to protect people. Ben asks Magnes what that secret is, and Magnes just smiles, then he checks to make sure no one is looking and flies up into the sky with Ben in his arms.
Ben's parents drive up to the school and wait for him. But when no one shows, they get out of the car and start shouting angrily for Ben. On a nearby rooftop, Magnes and Ben are watching, unseen. Ben looks up to Magnes, teary-eyed, and says he has a secret too.
Magnes says he knows, and the two stand silhouette against the setting sun overlooking the city.