The Hellfire Club is ascendant in The Gifted season 2, and it seems they have one goal in mind; to establish a mutant nation, where the mutants can live free from human persecution.
The first season of The Gifted introduced viewers to a dystopian world where the X-Men had long since vanished, and mutants were hunted down for any use of their powers. By the season’s end, a dangerous new force had emerged; the Hellfire Club, mutants who pulled no punches in the defense of their race. Battle lines were drawn between the Hellfire Club and the Mutant Underground, setting up an action-packed season 2 in which friend and family are set to be turned against one another.
But what is the Hellfire Club’s endgame? Speaking to CBR, Grace Byers – who plays the Hellfire Club’s leader, Reeva Payge – discussed her motivations. According to Byers, there’s one simple idea at the heart of Reeva’s schemes:
“So the vision that she has is that — and I mean, it’s no secret — she fully believes that it is impossible for humans and mutants to live peacefully in the same world. Her experience has told her that. The present has told her that. She has lost lots of people and lots of things due to that. So it has been proven to her time and time again that it’s just not possible, and so she is working for a world and a nation where the mutants can live unharmed and at peace and free.”
In the comics, Reeva Payge was recruited into the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club by Shinobi Shaw. She actually only appeared in a single issue back in 1994, and has never been seen since. This gives Byers a remarkable freedom when it comes to portraying the character; she can essentially create her from the ground up, not needing to worry about comic book accuracy. The Gifted season 1 had a reputation for making amazingly deep cuts into X-Men lore – even in terms of choosing the main villain, Dr. Roderick Campbell. It’s exciting to see that trend continue.
Payge’s plan will be familiar to any fans of the X-Men comics. The idea of a mutant nation is one that has been pursued by several different mutants, most notably Magneto himself. Magneto’s first attempts were orbital satellites, usually referred to as “Asteroid M” but once as “Avalon.” That was a radical approach, an attempt to literally take mutants off the face of the Earth, where they would live in peace under the Master of Magnetism’s care. He ultimately graduated to taking over an entire island nation himself, the country of Genosha, which he forced the world’s government to grant as a sanctuary for mutants.
As any comic book reader will know, the fundamental problem with the idea of a mutant nation is that it’s inevitably seen as a threat to humanity. As more mutants relocate there, the power levels grow exponentially, until no country’s armed might could possibly stand against it. The United States Government is certain to unleash its Sentinel program against the Hellfire Club’s plan.
The Gifted season 2 premieres September 25 on FOX.