It’s hard not to be blown away by the depth of The Gifted and its storytelling. The second foray from Marvel Television into the X-Men universe has been incredible. It’s delivered a side of the X-Men universe that we haven’t seen before, far from Xavier’s academy and Magneto’s machinations. The mutant underground, the Strucker Family, and every single character embodies the power of Marvel’s “children of the atom”. The series is at its halfway point, which makes it even more important to acknowledge and catch up on just what has gone before for our favorite mighty mutants. One thing’s for sure, every single character is compelling as hell, every actor is delivering an out of this world performance, and things are heating up for the mutant underground and everyone connected to them.
We’re here giving you a quick catch-up on the past 3 episodes so you can go in fully prepared for what’s sure to be a crazy episode. With news that the original Struckers are going to be introduced as well as Turner diving deeper into the dark side, it’s sure to be a crazy rest of the season. Settle in with us and get ready for the last 4 episodes of Marvel TV’s X-Men universe.
1.04: eXit strategy (a deeper mystery is introduced)
The episode that began with Thunderbird and his best friend Augustus or ‘Gus’ breaking everyone out of a mutant detention center ended with a much broader mystery introduced. After Gus ‘died’ breaking out of the center, we gain more insight into Thunderbird’s backstory. Focusing on Blair Redford’s spectacular performance brought the episode much-needed gravitas, he’s truly leading man material and proving it every week. He’s not the only one who got a spotlight however, as Sean Teale’s Eclipse, worried for his girlfriend and the mother of his child, wanted to make sure that she was safe so he dove back into his old life working for a cartel under the mysterious “Carmen”.
The focus of the episode was getting Polaris, who had a number of things to say about Reed Strucker’s change of heart, back. After episode 3, he went to jail to protect the mutant family who had brought home the true human cost of his actions beyond how it affected his children. The scene with Polaris reading Reed the riot act was beautiful. In essence, the notion that you don’t have to forgive your abuser is a beautiful and not-often shared message. The Gifted isn’t just great television, it’s powerful television giving people a lesson in how to be a good ally, and showing marginalized groups as powerful versions of themselves.
The episode also picks up on the drama between Blink, Thunderbird, and Dreamer, a mutant who used her abilities to try and give Blink, also known as Clarice, some desperately needed confidence. There’s something to be said about mental health in that story and I haven’t figured out what it is yet. Clarice and John have some moments, there’s clearly tension there but the fact that Blink was manipulated even with good intentions into saving them might prove an obstacle to them actually being together. It hurts.
The Strucker kids team up with the underground after Eclipse learns just which truck has their people in it and while they save Polaris and Reed they learn something much darker after Thunderbird discovers that his friend Gus hasn’t died, instead, he uses his ability, to kill electronics and mutant abilities. He’s knocked out and shown to have a mysterious tattoo that looks almost like a dog’s head on his wrist. What happened remains to be seen, but the underground gets away to fight another day.
- Blair Redford’s Thunderbird is a highlight of the show. Later (in episode 5) we find out that the X-Men selected him personally to lead the underground and it’s easy to see why. He’s doing so good.
- Polaris’s speech spoke to me, and also taught me a hell of a lot. That’s super important.
- Reed’s apparently mutant knee who can still run after having the pins ripped out of it.
- The friendship between Thunderbird and Pulse. Hands down.
1.05: boXed In (The Struckers officially join the fight)
The show hasn’t let up on its frantic pace yet, and it serves the series well. It makes you feel like you could watch it like a film instead of just a weekly television show. The team decides to take separate cars (the mutant underground being truly vast is awesome) and while Polaris and Eclipse talk about what it means to be a mutant parent and just what might be coming for their baby (either Aurora or Rory, because, you know, emotions.) the show demonstrates some healthy relationship dynamics.
It also continues to deliver lessons on how to be supportive of marginalized groups while delivering fantastic drama. When reed arrives back at the underground, the mutant bartender who saved him in episode 3 recognizes Reed and calls him a traitor. He points out that he was working with Turner and that Reed can’t be trusted with their support. The Struckers have to earn the underground’s trust.
The standout of his episode was Coby Bell as Jace Turner who delivered a heartwrenching performance. The show shares his backstory, a Dallas cop with a perfect family until his daughter was a casualty of a mutant right’s protest. It offers some fascinating dynamics behind the man who has become regarded as the big-bad of the show proving that there are no real traitors in situations like these, just people experiencing different shades of gray.
They’re not the only ones with some trust issues. Eclipse and Polaris work together to take down a sentinel services blockade trying to find out just what happened to Pulse, Blink, and Dreamer join them, and in a tense sequence, dreamer pours through Turner’s mind. The fact that the show is doing it’s best to explore the mental health aspect of mutant abilities, from the toll it takes on having them to the toll they take on others is an important dialogue to have. The Gifted is on television doing it’s absolute most to tell a compelling story and mix messages in with it and I hang in my seat every week during each episode.
After getting some information from Turner, the mutants leave, but Dreamer is forced to abandon Turner before she can cleanly leave his mind, leaving his memories screwed up. The episode ends with the Struckers deciding to stay and prove themselves to the underground instead of leaving to go to Mexico and Turner believing that his daughter Grace is still alive.
- Finally getting to see Shatter speak! @JermaineRivers has been a vocal supporter of the show and fans and his character has so far remained a stoic presence. This was the beginning of his story and I can’t wait to see where he goes!
- Eclipse and Polaris and flying mirrors (plus that Rory and Aurora line.)
- I cannot offer enough praise for Coby Bell’s character. Characters like this are hard to do justice to and both the writers, actors, and all involved seem very willing to make him feel safe and comfortable despite playing a big bad who eventually becomes a tragic big bad. I hate the guy but I also feel things for him and I’m proud of everyone involved giving the guy so much work to do.
1.06: got your siX (The underground makes a plan)
Blink and Thunderbird face the consequences of Dreamer’s manipulations. Thunderbird, in a spate of true leadership, realizes that it wasn’t the best thing in the world to manipulate Clarice before she was ready (teaching me something about patience and healing). She leaves the underground, determined to go and look for those who matter to her. Given that Polaris and others have decided to make a plan to break into the federal building to learn about what Dreamer wrote down from Turner’s memories this comes at a terrible time.
The kids step up, however, and for someone who grew up on the X-Men movies with Patrick Stewart and yes, our dear departed Hugh Jackman, the show introducing a mutant school of sorts was both tragic and also powerful as hell. Polaris is determined to teach the runaway kids in the underground how to use their abilities. So when she sets up a school to train the kids the show we get introduced to a new collection of mutants. The highlight is Danny Ramirez’s Wes, aka Mirage (sorry if he doesn’t have an actual name yet, I just really want to call him Mirage.) Mirage seems sweet on Lauren Strucker and it’s adorable and awesome. I can offer you nothing more articulate or blog-worthy then “The ships on this show are so precious I want to protect them all with my life.”
Got Your Six also develops Reed and Andy’s relationship. Andy, desperate to help and feeling powerful every time he destroys something showcases the influence that a father figure can have in a person’s life. Andy is on a track to become a very dangerous person without it and Reed’s support proves invaluable as everyone from the women of the underground with Lauren, Polaris, (and Wes tags along too pulling off the coolest illusion of the episode).
The episode ends on a heavy note with Turner, now fully committed to the cause, teaming up with Campbell, a man heavily mentioned in X-men canon as being the villain Ahab. Turner, living with the grief of his daughter’s passing for the second time, agrees to work with Campbell who has an interest in the Strucker children and is behind the tattoos-seemingly brainwashing mutants into hunting down other mutants.
- Blink standing up for herself taught me something about pushing people. Kudos to Jamie Chung.
- I’m determined to think of a good ship name for Lauren and Wes, WesLauren? LauWes? (or Miragefield since that’s what they do when combined?)
- The kids all better get backstories and when this show is spun-off into more spin-offs hopefully like full character arcs.
- The opening scene with the veterans, showcasing that veterans fought in wars who were mutants was…mind-blowing. You know that Charles fought in World War 2 because you see it in the comics and you know that they were involved in the Cuban Missile crisis but Got Your Six and The Gifted brought that home to Iraq and Afghanistan. That was some of the most powerful writing I’ve seen in awhile.
Episode 7, eXtreme Measures, airs tonight at 9 PM ET PST. Be sure to tune in to The Marvel Report for coverage of the season and more mutant goodness. Now, go forth children of the atom and start getting excited about tonight!