The Gifted – Exit Strategy
By: Maggie Stankiewicz
This week’s episode of “The Gifted” begins by transporting us two years into the past as John (Blair Redford) and Pulse (Zach Roerig) survey the perimeter of a mutant relocation facility in Georgia. The mutant gentlemen are on a mission to rescue a fellow mutant from Sentinel Service’s custody, but it doesn’t look like it will happen without any casualties. The mutants have been found out. Two more from John’s team come running through the fence as bullets fly in their direction. It’s time to flee and they do, with the exception of Pulse. He vows to cover his mutant brethren and sacrifices himself to facilitate their escape. He is shot down. John’s last vision of his friend is one of him collapsing to the ground.
In present day, Jace Turner (Coby Bell) antagonizes Polaris (Emma Dumont), who has now fully adopted her mutant identity. Jace and a guard lead Polaris through a corridor, relocating her to a cell situated beside none other than Reed (Stephen Moyer), the very many who put her there. She is unaware of his new perspective, but he makes an attempt to enlighten her on his relationship with Marcos – keyword: attempt.
The mutants plus the Struckers are having another scrum meeting, extrapolating data and weighing the benefits of another rescue mission. Judging by their excursion two years ago, the odds are not presenting in their favor. In war, there are very few ways to mitigate risk. Kate (Amy Acker) tries to boost the morale of her children by explaining that while risk is imminent so is hope. There has to be a way. The mutants seem to be in agreement, though they are approaching the situation with less emotional investment, except Marcos (Sean Teale) of course. Kate and Marcos are bonded by their need to rescue the person they love, for the sake of their families.
All wars come with multiple battles, emotional and physical. John and Dreamer (Elena Satine) are fighting their own in private, discussing the repercussions of planting a memory in Blink’s mind. All is fair in love and war and these two are certainly in the throes of both.
Marcos embarks on a mission of his own, traveling to a club with which he has a rich and rocky history. The bouncer threatens him, but he promises he comes in peace. This is convincing enough to grant him access into the club where he bumps into Carmen (Michelle Veintimilla), a woman whom he has scorned. Carmen reveals that she is now leading the business-related ventures of the club after her father retired. Given her reaction to his presence, this transaction may not go as he had initially hoped. They sit to discuss his predicament involving Sentinel Services and he reveals that he is there to rescue Polaris, whom she refers to as “that magnet girl.” It quickly becomes clear that Marcos had been involved in some shady dealing before falling in love with Polaris and Carmen is unhappy with his change of heart. In order to convince her of his friendship, Carmen pressures Marcos into taking a shot with her.
Back at the underground, Blink (Jamie Chung) is caught in a fitful sleep involving intimate dreams and visions of herself and John. She awakens in the midst of a dream, clearly concerned by the intrusive thoughts. Meanwhile, John is on the phone with Marcos, expressing concern over his re-introduction to Carmen. John’s wariness of Carmen proves to be completely founded as we quickly find out that she intends on exploiting Marcos’ mutant powers.
The mutants hold another strategy session for the next rescue mission, which involves heavy utilization of Blink’s powers. Her gift of transportation will be imperative, but in order to execute the mission without raising the body count – they will need a strong defense. They’re hard pressed to find a mutant with powers up to the task…but there are certainly two young mutants who may be able to offer their services. Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) approaches Andy (Percy Hynes White) to ask him about his ability to control his powers; more specifically about his ability to possible disengage a bus without killing its passengers. She suggests that they combine their powers, hers contributing an element of precision and focus, his using brute force. They test their strategy on a single lamp post – and succeed without a hitch. The dynamic duo are at it again.
At the detention center, Reed decides that he hasn’t quite tortured Lorna enough. While he has a captive audience, he begins to verbalize his moral dilemma with being a prosecutor of mutants now that he knows he fathered two of them. He admits the flaws in his archaic, binary logic – admitting that he could not why mutants needed their powers for survival until now. He apologizes to her at the end of his soliloquy; but she isn’t ready to grant him forgiveness. It’s her turn to take control of the conversation, commending him for realizing that he was one of the bad guys and demanding that he takes his apologies elsewhere. Reed’s reaction is silent, but somehow we know that if he could apologize to the others he’s prosecuted…he would.
John and Kate look on while Lauren and Andy demonstrate their combined abilities, appealing to the group’s desperate need for a powerful defensive gift. John is immediately on board, recognizing how detrimental their abilities are to the rescue mission. Kate, on the other hand, will require more convincing before she lets her children put themselves in harm’s way. Lauren argues that there are risks worth taking and that this is one of them. Kate may not have abilities, but she does have power as the Strucker family matriarch. With John’s promise of their safety during the mission, she grants them permission to participate.
Carmen is getting Marcos into a sticky situation – one that he’s clearly been in before. Leading him into a dank room with a bound and gagged man, Carmen makes it abundantly clear that she wants Marcos to torture information out of her prisoner. Marcos is in an impossible situation, fully aware that Carmen is extorting his abilities in exchange for aid in rescuing Polaris. He obliges, but not without first asking kindly. When it fails, he calls upon his thermal powers and threatens to blind the man with the palm of his hand. It works and Carmen agrees to help him.
Marcos returns back to his home base and catches up with John, though he lies about the extent of his interactions with Carmen. Blink is still dreaming about Johnny, but something about the memories is leaving her unsettled. Discomfort is the mood of the night; with all of the mutants preparing to rescue Reed and Polaris the next day. There may be blood, there will be tears and they may not be successful. Even so, they must try for the sake of their families.
The next morning, Agent Turns loads Polaris and Reed into the infamous bus – and we know it is almost time. Blink and John are preparing for the extraction from a high vantage point. The energy between them is different, but John remains transparent and cordial with Blink. After a moment she asks about the night they first met, confusing the details of their initial meeting with the memories that were transplanted. He informs her that no, they didn’t go outside like her dreams suggest, but sooner or later he and Dreamer will have to come clean.
The Struckers are perched upon a roof for one more family meeting. Lauren’s strong exterior is cracking, she is strong but is she that strong? Kate is full of concern, but it’s balanced by the belief she holds in her children.
Finally, the mutants spot the convoy. The moment of truth is upon them. From the roof, Andy struggles to conjure his powers, but the vehicles aren’t stopping. Either his powers aren’t working – or he needs a boost. Lauren bullies him into a reaction and together they pop the wheel off of the bus. The militant force of anti-mutants form outside of the vehicles, but they’re not set up the way the mutants had anticipated. It’s almost as if Sentinel Services knew something like this would happen. Inside the bus, Reed tries to reason with Polaris once more, pleading with her to run with him if the opportunity for escape presents itself.
The bus didn’t stop where it was supposed to, throwing a wrench in John’s meticulously thought-out plan. It’s time to quickly re-evaluate. Sentinel Services begins to sweep the area in search of mutants. They disband, though Marcos and Dreamer remain positioned together.
John coaches Blink while she tries to open up a portal, but there is an interference preventing her from doing so. John attempts to use his enhanced tracking abilities, which are also snuffed out. Trader (DJames Jones), previously cloaked under his powers of invisibility loses them when he gets too close to the human regime. His visibility flickers, and he if quickly found out. They proceed to shoot him until he falls motionless to the ground. Infuriated, Marcos attempts to use his own powers only to find out that his hot hands are useless.
John and Blink are on the move. John is aware of only one thing with the ability to disrupt mutant abilities. It’s a who, not a what. As they approach a window for a better view, John spots Pulse. Pulse, who can disrupt electronics and systems, has been caught by Sentinel Services and was somehow turned into a weapon for them.
Outside, Marcos pulls a gun from his waistband. Dreamer yells at him, but he will kill to save Polaris. Trader is still alive, but circling the drain when Dreamer runs to him. Kate, Andy and Lauren are on the move too trying to evade a Sentinel Services agent. The agent has located the SUV they’ve been using. Lauren tries to use her power, but Pulse’s power of inhibition are affecting her, too. Kate quickly draws a syringe from her purse, ambushes the agent and injects him with the serum. He falls to the ground, unconscious. Kate might not have mutant powers, but her brain is just as powerful as her children’s gifts. Kate orders her children to flee by car while she stays back, unwilling to leave Reed behind again.
Within the bus, Polaris and Marcos are being relocated to a secure location. The two officers securing them unclip some of their restraints, allowing them the opportunity to physically assault the officers. They fight, but are no match with their hands still cuffed. This battle is coming to a quick climax. Mutants are falling and Sentinel Services are still at an advantage.
John takes matters into his own hands, engaging in physical combat with the agents protecting Pulse. He knocks one of them out and then tackles Pulse, temporarily interrupting his power-blocker. Pulse stands up and John jumps through the air to deliver yet another powerful punch to his former best friend. It’s enough to cease the glowing in Pulse’s eyes.
Polaris says she can feel her powers coming back, no doubt a positive side effect of John’s quick thinking. Reed asks if she can use them, but the bus has nothing metal for her to leverage. He remembers about a screw in his leg from a prior procedure and grants her permission to rip it out of him. She agrees. Reed is in agony for a split-second, but it’s enough for her to use the screw to split their restraints and set them free.
Marcos realizes he too has his abilities back and uses them to set a Sentinel Services vehicle on fire. Blink opens a portal. Dreamer and Trader run through it. John, bloodied for the first time in his life, finds Marcos who refuses to leave without Lorna. As if summoned by his loyalty, Lorna, acting as Polaris, uses her powers to escape the bus. Reed and Polaris are free, but there’s still no way out. That is until Kate, now in possession of a Sentinel Services SUV, pulls up to the mutants with a resounding, “Get in!” They hop in the car without hesitation and speed off, hoping to get a head start.
Jace Turner is displeased with the mutant’s resourcefulness and ingenuity. The loss of this battle is personal for him. As he watches the vehicle Kate Strucker stole shrink in the distance, he demands that Sentinel Services take this witch hunt to the next level. He won’t stop until every mutant and mutant sympathizer is in jail.