The Hellfire Club Has A Plan, But It's Evil
The Gifted season 2 began with Reeva Payge (Grace Byers) murdering the other members of the Inner Circle and taking control of the Hellfire Club - that essentially declares what kind of an organization the Club is. The Inner Circle is The Gifted's stand-in for Magneto's dream of mutants asserting domination over the human race "by any means necessary". According to the series' history, the Hellfire Club has existed since at least the 1950s and was co-founded by the Von Strucker twins, Andreas (Paul Cooper) and Andrea Von Strucker (Caitlin Mehner). Also known as Fenris, they are the ancestors of Andy and Lauren Strucker, who have identical powers. The Hellfire Club are responsible for major terrorist acts in London and Rio De Janiero and are without a doubt villains.
However, Reeva has a plan to save the mutant race from their current persecution: Project Homeland. The overall details of how Reeva plans to achieve this haven't been made clear, but a glimpse into the future showed the Inner Circle triumphant in Washington, D.C. so it appears Reeva intends to forge a mutant nation within the United States (instead of taking over an island like Genosha and making it a free mutant state). The Frost sisters are key members of the Inner Circle and act as Reeva's enforcers and political influencers (thanks to their telepathy). In addition, as Magneto's daughter and one of the most powerful mutants, Polaris is very important to their plan, as is Andy Strucker, who has familial ties to the very origins of the Hellfire Club. However, Lorna has also bristled against how secretive and manipulative Reeva and the Frosts are; Polaris is reconsidering whether she and her baby Dawn should stay in the Inner Circle.
For a mutant fleeing persecution in The Gifted, joining the Hellfire Club is a very attractive option: with their political influence and vast financial resources, the Club offers the most comfortable living imaginable. They operate out of a posh skyscraper in Washington D.C., offer fine clothes, meals cooked by a personal chef, and "every video game" according to Andy when he showed their newest recruit Rebecca/Twist (Anjelica Fellini) around their HQ. However, the moral and ethical cost of all of this luxury is high: you have to be sympatico with the belief that mutants are the superior race and that human life is cheap. The Inner Circle has no issues with killing people to achieve their goals, and the creation of a mutant homeland will likely lead to thousands of deaths, human and mutant alike. But if the Inner Circle wins, mutants will have a nation of their own - is that worth the price to be paid? It is certainly a grander endgame than what the Mutant Underground offers.
The Morlocks Offer Freedom But At A Cost
Finally, The Gifted season 2 introduced the Morlocks, a faction of mutant survivors who secretly live in the sewers beneath Washington, D.C. The Morlocks are mostly comprised of mutants who can't pass for humans due to their physical mutations - so they take pride in their differences. When Blink (Jamie Chung) met the Morlocks' leader Erg (Michael Luwoye), he explained the Morlocks' philosophy is to reject the X-Men's "false dream" of integration and instead embrace a total separation from human society. Any mutant who wishes "to be free" can join the Morlocks, but those without an obvious physical mutation must tattoo an M on their cheek to proudly display their mark as a mutant. All Morlocks abandon their human names and take up a "true" mutant name, like Blink, Glow, etc.
Despite living in the sewers, the Morlocks have created a thriving society and some members of the Mutant Underground opted to remain with the Morlocks and took the tattoo option - it definitely says something about the Mutant Underground that a life living in darkness in the sewers was preferable to being a fugitive trying to fulfill the X-Men's philosophy. However, the Morlocks' society isn't much different from the MU; they also must perpetually hide and commit theft to find necessary food, medicine, and resources. The Morlocks have their own effective information network, and nothing happens above ground that Erg doesn't hear about, but to join up with Erg means permanently rejecting any hope of making society above ground better for mutants. It's not clear how long the Morlocks have sustained their underground community, but is living in the sewers really a viable life option long-term?
Overall, there's no ideal choice for a mutant in The Gifted. In a world that already hates and fears them, the series makes life for a mutant as difficult as possible and makes the cost of trying to be a hero with the Mutant Underground abundantly clear. The series also holds up a broken mirror to the real-world and serves as a thought-provoking, cautionary tale in the best tradition of X-Men.
The Gifted season 2 airs Tuesdays @ 8 PM on FOX