Start at Jampony actual work with actual friends – and Sketchy reporting he has a new job, working as a reporter for a tabloid to photograph “mutants.” Max is concerned but Alec doesn’t think White reads the tabloids and, besides, it’s Sketchy, hardly a great threat.
Speaking of the Whites, Wendy calls Logan saying she’s found Ray, her son, and wants his help getting him back. The phone call is cut off by Ames white breaking down the door, hitting Wendy – then wrapping his tie around his hands in preparation to strangle her.
This leaves Cindy to cover Max at work (and deal with Alec and Sketchy, poor Cindy) while Logan and Max head out to where Wendy was. Logan uses his journalistic investigation tricks to get to look at the register and Max ruins it buy destroying the subtlety and demanding confirmation that they’ve had no-one stay there all week. Inside Logan calls the number Wendy called from and the find the room she was in. Inside they find a roll of film
They go to develop the film and the local sheriff watches them suspiciously. The pictures are of an exclusive looking private school or academy – and they can see Ray in one of the windows. The place is Brookridge – so the sheriff says when he asks about their interest and is all creepy, suspicious about it. Max realises the school seems to be a training camp like Manticore based on the weird children (well, a child staring at her anyway) and that would make the town cult central.
That night while Logan distracts the guard asking for directions, Max sneaks into the building. Inside she finds people in robes and follows them. She ends up spying on a ritual with a priestess in face paint, people banging gongs, an altar and lots of robes and odd symbols and foreign chanting. Ray is brought out and so is a big box of snakes –big snakes. After drinking the snakes blood, the priestess uses the hilt of the knife in the blood to brand a symbol on Ray’s arm
At this point Max is noticed by one of the kids who uses his telekinesis to move the curtain she’s hiding behind. Yes telekinesis. Yes I know. Max blurs forwards and, when blocking the priestess’s attempt to stab her, has the palm of her hand branded before being overwhelmed by the cultists.
The priestess calls White to let him know what happened with Max (and that Ray is unconscious – apparently part of the ritual) and that they expect Max to be succumbing to the ritual effect of the knife soon as well. The priestess goes to see Max for some cryptic byplay (and to show they’ve all got the nifty caduceus symbol branded/cut/whatever into their arm).
Logan, waiting outside, gets ready to rescue Max and is arrested by the sheriff and taken to a cell. He wants to know why Logan’s at the school and interested in Ray. Logan turns it around and demands to know why the sheriff hasn’t noticed anything odd at the school, being a cop.
White arrives but he goes to see Ray first – he’s not doing well and the priestess doesn’t think he’ll survive. White genuinely cares and is emotional why the people around him try to chivvy him to action.
Max is being watched by the creepy kid who expects her to die from the ritual mark. She starts to feel hot and the kid gets creepier until she begs for water. He finally agrees and when she opens the door she runs for it – only to be stopped by his creepy telekinesis power. She can’t get near him without being thrown across the room – until she lifts up her shirt and the young tween loses all concentration, allowing her to knock him unconscious. She puts on a robe and sneaks past White on the way out. Next stop she chokes the priestess unconscious who is stood over Ray. White realises something’s wrong when he finds the unconscious kid, but Max has already fled the building with Ray.
White catches her outside and holds her at gunpoint – until the police arrive, Logan with the Sheriff. The siren distracts White and Max blurs out – it doesn’t help his case that he shoots at the sheriff. Logan gets in the driver’s seat and rams White with the car, before collecting Max and the Sheriff (who gapes at White being able to get up after that) and then making their getaway
In the aftermath, White, the priestess and some high priest gather to discuss things in civilian clothes without face paint – confused that Max didn’t show any symptoms to the ritual. White mentions that Sandman’s work at Manticore must have gone further than they expected – that would be the man Joshua calls “father”. Which means more testing of other transgenics. White also wants to find his son, but the priestess doesn’t believe he survived. They also have to abandon the academy.
Meanwhile, against all the odds, Sketchy stumbles across a transgenic – a strange looking one as well – being chased and taken down by White’s agency – and White himself. And he gets it all on camera.
Of course White’s team notice and plan to track Sketchy down and silence him. Sketchy hurries back to tell Alec and Original Cindy all about it – Alec distracting him while Cindy exposes the film in his camera. At the same time White is getting chewed out by his boss for flushing a creature out into the public. White gets all shirty about the secrecy and cover up and lack of funding (they can’t get more money without it being noticed) but the boss points out the unpleasant consequences of it getting out that the government spent billions creating monsters then millions more tracking down and catching them. Not easy to spin.
White’s subordinate goes to Jampony looking for Sketchy and, of course, Normal tells him everything he wants to know because he’s a gung-ho nationalist. At Crash Sketchy is depressed that his pictures are ruined, beating himself up and being convinced by Cindy and Alec that it’s all made up anyway. Sketchy gets up to leave – and runs into White’s men on the way who take him with them. Sketchy throws up on their shoes.
Of course the next day at work, Sketchy realises that if the government is trying to shut him up, the mutants must exist. Or why would the government be involved?
In the cell with the transgenic they captured, White goes in with a snake in a box – ready to test the transgenic.
At Logan’s flat the doctor confirms that Ray will be fine. They plan to give the boy to Wendy’s sister. Let’s hope she’s able to deal with a breeding cult indoctrinated super-powered child. Ray mentions something called the Coming – and it’s apparently bad if you’re not one of the “Blessed.”
*Sweeps the previous canon and world building into a corner* it’s broken, it’s pointless holding on to it. I suppose this brand new meta would be interesting if it actually really went anywhere, but the subsequent cancellation means it doesn’t really, it’s foreshadowing for something that never happens which, from the benefit of hindsight, doesn’t make it exciting
I think they were rather cavalier about what Ray may need or how a normal human family would deal with Ray. And I think it’s bemusing that the Sheriff was willing to go hunting for White’s fully legal son on the say so of a prowler no matter how weird the school is. I also think it’s bemusing that if this is cult central, the cult would take pains to make sure the hotel clerk is under control but not the sheriff.