The Gifted – boXed in
By: Maggie Stankiewicz
Jace Turner (Coby Bell) has a beautiful family. He is at the park with his wife and young daughter when a series of explosions erupt in the distance. The sky is decorated with clouds of smoke in various colors and his anxiety levels are spiking. As his daughter plays on the park equipment, he knows it’s time to go. He tries to rally his family, but it’s too late. A scarlet mist blankets over them and before he can blink, he’s on the ground fighting unconsciousness. His daughter is gone and it was a mutant’s fault. This flashback is but a small glimpse into the past of everyone’s least favorite Sentinel Services agent; traumatic – but not a justification for his genocidal agenda.
Back in present day, Kate (Amy Acker) and Reed (Stephen Moyer) embrace. For a few brief seconds it feels as if they’re not running for their lives from a government agency. Sadly, they are…and it’s time to get a move on.
Eclipse (Sean Teale), Polaris (Emma Dumont) and John (Blair Redford) commiserate around their escape vehicles where John reveals that Pulse was Sentinel Service’s secret weapon. At the height of the conversation, John’s tracking abilities sense approaching danger. They disband into battle positions with Eclipse and Polaris taking off together to misdirect the agency’s drones. Polaris combines her powers with a car mirror, completely disengaging and destroying the drone. Eclipse drives them away into safety, enamored with her ability to destroy large objects.
The mutant underground is bustling with activity. Reed is perplexed by the mutant population and the operations of the underground, but is quickly distracted by the sight of his children Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind). Elsewhere at Mutant HQ, Sage (Hayley Lovitt) dishes out some sage advice: Sentinel Services is angry and the chances of survival are slim.
The complete Strucker family reunion comes to a screeching halt when Tex (Jeff Daniel Phillips) recognizes Reed from his stint as a double agent, where he endangered a mutant mother and her child. Tex and Reed engage in brief fisticuffs before Tex spills the beans about Reed’s former partnership with Jace Turner. It’s now John’s turn to mediate, but the Strucker children aren’t having it. They’re committed to protecting their father as well. In a moment of truth, Reed owns up to his mistakes. Kate is not pleased with this information, but the mutants are left with an even more unsavory taste in their mouths. A lot is happening with the mutants and their new allies!
Trader (DJames Jones) is wounded from the rescue mission and his condition is worsening. As he convulses on a table, Kate springs into action. This is what she is there to do – to heal what has been hurt in the throes of war. Dreamer (Elena Satine) and Shatter (Jermaine Rivers) discuss a strategic need for Dreamer’s ability to plant false memories. Blink (Jamie Chung) is eavesdropping, but disguises it as a well-timed opportunity to stock the shelves. She asks Dreamer about her abilities, bringing herself one step closer to figuring out exactly what was done to her. Reed is determined to be redeemed in the eyes of the mutants and his family. He invites himself into Sage and John’s strategy session, impressing them with his knowledge of legal jargon and police radio-speak. In a convoluted scene, he reveals to them what they already know: law enforcement is looking for them.
Eclipse and Polaris demonstrate once again that their love is in face more beautiful than Aurora Borealis as they discuss their future together as parents of a tiny, crazy powerful mutant baby. Covering all the important topics such as names, genders and their love we are all reminded that even in war it’s important to stop and appreciate the beautiful moments…and yes, there are some. Even if they don’t last long. Eclipse and Polaris hit a roadblock, fronted by none other than Jace Turner and his team. They draw their guns and threaten to open fire, but Polaris quickly disarms them. Reversing the power dynamic, she grabs a gun, incapacitates all men except for Jace and proceeds to kidnap him. Eclipse isn’t necessarily on board, but watches as Polaris uses rebar to restrain the vengeful agent. He reminds Eclipse that Sentinel Services would have tried to turn her as they did Pulse and he is faced with the harsh possibility of losing her in a whole new way. The terror is enough to assist in the abduction and interrogation.
Kate, Andy and Lauren are busy working at the bedside of Trader, administering fluids and working hard to stabilize him while Reed continues to brainstorm with John and Sage. Reed suggests using himself as bait for Sentinel Services…and it just might work.
Eclipse and Polaris continue to interrogate Jace. They accuse him of holding a genocidal vendetta and he scoffs at the accusation. It doesn’t take long for him to share his experience in losing his daughter. The mutants are momentarily shaken by this revelation, but Polaris recovers a lot quicker than Eclipse is able to. Her ability to compartmentalize will either help or harm their relationship in the future. Too much is at stake to worry about it right now. They need to know why and how Sentinel Services is making mutants turn to the dark side.
John has decided to execute Reed’s plan of using himself as bait. Unfortunately, he has chosen Reed’s new not-so-BFF Tex to provide an assist. Tex begrudgingly agrees. In the other room, Trader is still not doing well, even with Andy’s blood donation. They’re running out of time to save his life.
Blink and Dreamer materialize at the location of Jace’s captivity, ready to help Eclipse and Polaris escape unscathed. They’re going to need the help too because Sentinel Services has tracked them down.
Tex drops Reed off at a bustling street corner, where he proceeds to deliberately walk to catch the attention of government surveillance. It doesn’t take long before the call is made to pursue him. John is listening in through a police-interceptor. So far, the plan is working.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Kate. Still struggling to save Trader’s life, the medical mama and her kids cannot stop the wounded mutant from hemorrhaging without the proper tools. Always quick on her feet, Lauren uses her precise, powerful gifts to apply pressure to the artery; giving Kate a chance to sew his wound shut. A little genetic magic goes a long way.
The police are getting closer to Reed as he crosses over onto Elm Street – but he’s missed his mark. The plan has gone awry, as it so often does for the good guys. Reed breaks out into a run, despite his injury, until he hits an invisible object. Bouncing off of it with a thud, the object becomes visible. It’s Tex in the getaway car.
Back with Jace, Dreamer prepares to extract key information from Jace Turner’s mind. Time is of the essence with law enforcement banging on the door, but this information is too important to pass up. Polaris goes on the offensive, sending rebar flying towards Sentinel Services who plan on retaliating in a big way. While law enforcement plans their attack, Dreamer enters Jace’s memories and they’re not a pretty place to be. Tear gas flies through the windows and the mutants react…badly. Dreamer doesn’t have enough time to neatly seal Jace’s memories back up before she is torn away from him. Jace screams out in pain, his mind violated and left unrepaired.
Back at base, Dreamer reports her findings to John and the team. She confirms that Jace did know Pulse and that some key symbols, including Pulse’s tattoo were familiar – albeit concerning objects.
In a much-needed moment of respite the Struckers enjoy a meal that exists on the menu of every Doomsday Prepper. Reed reveals that he no longer wants to flee the country. He would rather stay with their new mutant family and help. As long as they’re together, they’re better…it doesn’t matter where they are. This is picturesque, but he may regret that the next time bullets go flying.
After watching Dreamer’s powers in action, Blink is certain that her new peer has planted painful memories of unrequited love within her. Blink confronts the other woman – revealing the true pain of feeling as though you love a stranger who will never love you back. Dreamer offers to retract the memory, but Blink refuses. She can’t trust Dreamer with her mind, no matter the reasoning behind the memory implantation.
Jace Turner returns home to his wife (Frances Turner). They kiss on their front lawn and he divulges details on his last debriefing before asking the episode’s most heartbreaking question: “Did Gracie wait up for me?” His wife is stunned, shattered and confused. Dreamer’s walk down memory lane did more than just provide the mutants with key information – it scrambled Jace’s memories and left him (and audiences) much worse for wear. If he can’t remember that Grace is dead…what does he remember? Will re-living the news of his daughter’s death for a second time worsen his mutant bloodlust? These are all questions that we are sure to find the answers to before the season is over.