Supacell: Who are the People in Black Masks?

The sudden emergence of superpowers in people from all walks of life forms the crux of Netflix’s ‘Supacell.’ The story unfolds from the perspective of five people whose dormant powers are activated in moments of distress. These are normal people living normal lives with challenges that are unique to their stories but not as far removed from reality. Hence, the things that they use their powers for or against are also motivated by their desire to simply survive or, at least, ensure the survival of their loved ones. It takes a while for it to occur to them their powers might attract that wrong sort of crowd. Only a visit to the future alerts one of the protagonists of the impending danger of the enemies who are coming for them and are impossible to identify because they wear masks. SPOILERS AHEAD

The People in Masks are Not the Real Villains

One of the things that sets ‘Supacell’ apart from other shows in the superhero genre is that it uses the concept of sickle cell disease and its prevalence in Black people to explain why there are only Black superheroes in the show. This point is driven home when the masks are taken off the villain’s faces, and we discover that they are also Black. However, this also reiterates the theme and tone of the story, which focuses on the common populace chancing upon superpowers.

The first time we see the masked people is in the first episode when Michael lands in the future and sees his future self, along with his team that is yet to form, battling masked enemies. These enemies return as they try to kidnap Michael and his new friends. To understand why they are being targeted, Michael and his friends need to know the identity of the people behind the mask. In the final episode, Rodney uses his lightning-fast speed to take off their masks, and it turns out that these people aren’t any different. In fact, one of them is Andre, the man who was supposed to be on Michael’s team.

The real villains are the people in Ashington Estate, who have made a lair for themselves and where they hold all the superpowered people captive. These people (who themselves don’t have superpowers) have found a way to control the people with superpowers and make them do their bidding. For example, Andre is a good guy, but there are things in his life that he needs to do to make sure he can provide for his family. He can never seem to get a proper job or hold on to one due to one mistake in the past that led him to have a criminal record. However, when the villains of Ashington Estate kidnap him, they offer him a job that will solve all his problems.

Andre is so desperate that he doesn’t stop considering the moral repercussions of the job being offered to him. All he sees is him finally making money the (seemingly) legal way and not getting into trouble with the law. Even if it means he will have to kidnap others like him (which apparently is for their own good), he is ready to do it. In the same way, others have been manipulated by Ray (Eddie Marsan) into thinking that they are actually helping the ones they are catching. Some see-through Ray’s lies, but they have no other option. It is either having the freedom to roam free in the world or living in a jail cell like the ones who refused to do what was asked of them. This means the people behind the masks are no different from the protagonists. They, too, are simply trying to survive and keep their loved ones from coming to harm.

Read More: Netflix’s Supacell Shot: Exploring All Filming Locations