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The Gifted – eXtreme measures

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By: Maggie Stankiewicz

 

The episode begins three years in the past, with Marcos (Sean Teale) entering a busy diner. He is greeted by John (Blair Redford), whom he is somewhat acquainted with, and Lorna (Emma Dumont). Marcos has never met Lorna before, but is instantly and visibly intrigued by the way she unabashedly uses her powers to stir her coffee, onlookers be damned. John and Lorna are looking to recruit Marcos into the mutant underground. Their offer would mean that Marcos would be free from trafficking drugs for a local drug lord, and he’d be able to cut ties with his current girlfriend, Carmen. It is revealed that Carmen just so happens to be the daughter of Marcos’ boss.

 

Flashing back to present day, we are reminded that joining the mutant underground didn’t quite save Marcos from Carmen’s grip. In the still of the night, she demands that he join her for another “job.” He is reluctant but powerless. In his resignation he pulls a box from a drawer, and from the box he pulls out a large necklace with a talisman that is carved in the likeness of the grim reaper.

 

The mutant gang meets up the following day. John is at the helm, dispensing orders to his team. His intel suggests that Sentinel Services has increased their surveillance. This is bad news, considering the fact that the underground has hit capacity. Marcos suggests taking on a lone assignment to retrieve extra supplies. John makes mention of his own upcoming mission to locate Blink. Dreamer (Elena Satine) is not happy with this but he dismisses her rather quickly. Lorna then offers to accompany Marcos on the supply run, which he declines. It looks like the boys are both up to no good.

 

Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Wes (Danny Ramirez) are high up on the underground’s building, Wes encouraging Lauren to come out onto the scaffolding where he is peering over the edge. Eventually she caves. Wes takes her hand and manipulates the world around them, so that they are flying high above. Andy (Percy Hynes White) interrupts their romantic moment, asking if they’ve been checked for herpes; the gift that keeps on giving. Andy lets his sister know that lunch is ready, and they join Kate (Amy Acker) at the table for some good ol’ fashioned Easy Mac.

 

Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Sage (Hayley Lovitt) work together in the technology pit, scanning multiple monitors for information on Sentinel Service’s plans. As he skims through the wanted and captured files, he uncovers the profile of a young man who fits Wes’ description. Wes is branded as a criminal. This brings to mind the question: is Sentinel Services planning on capturing Wes for justice, or for experimentation?

 

Speaking of Sentinel Services…Jace Turner (Coby Bell) and Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt) sit down for some artisanal coffee and some discriminatory blitzes against the mutants. Dr. Campbell suggests that it’s time to leverage the mutants they’ve already captured and turned. Jace isn’t quite ready to take that step, but Dr. Campbell appears to be quite determined.

 

Kate has found her niche in the mutant underground – teaching. Reed puts an end to her science lesson to inform her of Wes’ possible tyranny. Reed wants to split Lauren and Wes up immediately, but Kate suggests that he take a softer approach. Reed agrees and seeks out Andy, who is practicing with Polaris. Andy’s loose lips almost sink the ship, when Reed asks where Lauren and Wes are. John has finally located Blink (Jamie Chung). He instantly apologizes, and Blink is unwilling to accept it. He takes the wrong approach by using the underground to appeal to her, but it’s really him that she wants to need her. Another pesky side effect of Dreamer’s mind warp.

 

Jace meets with a legal representative who orders him to shut down his mutant program. He takes a solid stance against the woman, threatening to fight her with every ounce of will that he has. She counters him, and makes her way out of the room. This clandestine agency just might be on its way to waging a war within itself.

 

Marcos evades Polaris’ attempts at joining him and sneaks away to assist Carmen on another errand. Polaris half-suspicious and half-worried, calls the location Marcos said he would be at. The mutant informs her that they have been short on supplies for weeks –which can only mean that Marcos lied to her. Polaris runs to find Dreamer to discuss her seething rage over Marcos’ indiscretion. She knows exactly what he’s up to, and she’s hell-bent on finding him. Elsewhere, Carmen (Michelle Veintimilla) briefs Marcos on the upcoming job, which will involve the use of his thermal-abilities. He agrees to participate in the job.

 

Kate and Reed corner Lauren to show her the criminal profile of Wes. The interaction results in a small argument that ends with Lauren storming away from her parents.

 

Sentinel Services is having a day full of meetings. Jace is meeting with his superior, the woman whom he was debating the legality of his actions with earlier in the day. The room is full of other agents and Dr. Campbell. The discussion gets heated, with the woman shutting down Jace’s plans. At the climax of the conversation, the woman falls ill. Jace spots a suspicious man in the corner, his fest clenched and tinted green. A mutant. Within seconds the woman hits the floor. Dr. Campbell runs to her side, declaring that she is having a stroke. The one woman in the room capable of shutting down Campbell and Turner’s experiment has a stroke in the very meeting that will put an end to it? Suspicious. Dr. Campbell is already using mutants to do his bidding. What else is he hiding? Jace calls Dr. Campbell in a fury and accuses him of orchestrating the event. Dr. Campbell doesn’t admit his fault, but does mention that the woman will survive. The meeting elevated Dr. Campbell’s status to hero – as he “saved” the woman’s life, and Jace Turner’s program lives to operate another day.

 

Reed consults with Sage on how to approach the Wes situation. Offering him extremely (wait for it) sage advice, she suggests that the underground was built on truth and trust. Perhaps Wes deserves another chance. Within the underground, Lauren is concerned for Wes’ criminal status. She confronts him on what he did, and after a few moments of probing he admits that he did rob a jewelry store, but that his circumstances were dire. His desperation drove him to associate with the wrong crowd in order to survive, but she can’t quite see it that way. Her privileged life, and his initial deceit are clouding her empathy.

 

John and Blink are in search of a farmhouse that had once been inhabited by Blink’s loved ones, Carl and Denise. John’s tracking abilities activate, and he senses a struggle. He alerts Blink to not enter the home, but she does so anyway. The door is filled with bullet holes, blood pooling on the floor. Blink crumbles and falls into John’s arms.

 

Dreamer attempts to appeal to Polaris’ reason before the engage with a drug cartel in search of Marcos. It doesn’t work. They use their combined powers to capture and interrogate some guards, hoping that they’ll have some insight on Marcos’ location and extracurricular activities.

 

Reed is brooding alone until Kate joins him. They are still hung up on what to do about Wes. Adjusting to life as the parents of fugitive mutants definitely has a learning curve – but they’re doing their best. Their brief moment of reprieve is enough to recharge Reed’s parental batteries. He finds himself outside, sitting beside Wes. Reed discusses the problematic justice system, and a core principle of society: trust. Reed reveals that while he knows exactly what Wes did, he will not be the one to share it with their community. He leaves that choice in Wes’ hands.

 

Outside of the farmhouse, Blink cries again. John embraces her. The day’s events are enough to change Blink’s mind about fighting in the war of mutants vs. Sentinel Services. She’s ready to embrace her gift and the underground.

 

It’s show time for Marcos and Carmen’s crew at a delivery compound. While one mutant freezes their targets, Marcos uses his hot hands to ignite a truck. Polaris and Dreamer watch in dismay as he walks away from at explosion that he caused. To add insult to injury, Carmen kisses Marcos’ cheek. Witnessing the destruction of the truck and her trust for Marcos, Polaris decides that he can save himself.

 

Marcos returns to home base and confirms what we already know: men, even mutant men, are all clueless. He approaches Polaris, who is quite obviously upset and continues with his charade about gathering supplies. He lies once again and shows her a bundle of cash, claiming that the other mutant location didn’t have supplies, but they did have cash. Polaris listens until he finishes speaking, then rips the grim reaper necklace from his next with a biting, “So how’s Carmen?” He stammers, but she shuts him down. He continues to try and make it right, claiming that he is only working with Carmen for her and their baby. It’s not enough, and she storms away.

 

The Struckers are enjoying a quiet family dinner until Wes walks in. He is there to announce that he has come clean to Sage and the others about his criminal history, and that they are rewarding his innocence by cutting him some slack. It’s not enough though, and he breaks Lauren’s precious little heart by letting her know that he is joining another group in the morning.

 

The underground houses a swell of emotion. John kisses Dreamer in greeting, but there’s more on his mind than that. Carmen texts Marcos. Kate and Reed kiss and cuddle. Lauren finds Wes to give him a goodbye kiss. The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of love are all rearing their heads.

 

Sage has uncovered some interesting and problematic information about the program that is abducting and experimenting on mutants such as Pulse. The program is not government funded, it is a privately-owned military contractor owned by Trask Industries, a name that strikes a chord with Reed…and that’s because his father worked there for nearly four decades.

 

The episode comes to a startling conclusion when Dr. Campbell and Jace makes their way down a hallway. Two lines of mutants stand, energy vibrating between them. They are ready to fight a war against their own kind.

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