The Gifted – got your six
By: Maggie Stankiewicz
In a flashback to freer, but still troubling times, John (Blair Redford) solicits civilians on the street in hopes of raising funds for mutants affected by the 7/15 incident. A non-mutant human criticizes John and his fellow mutants, accusing all of them of being responsible for the tragedy. An enraged John counters the stranger by discussing his tenure as a deployed Marine, but it’s no use. A fellow veteran pulls John aside, just as he witnesses a blue pickup truck approaching. The passenger tosses a pipe bomb out the window, which John quickly grabs and throws away from the crowd. In the process he saves a woman from flying shrapnel as the town square succumbs to the smoke. In present day, John sits alone – contemplating his situation. Marcos (Sean Teale) interrupts the brooding session to discuss a breaking and entering strategy that will help them penetrate Sentinel Service’s defenses.
In the underground’s common area, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) commiserate. They are both aware that their family’s dispute with Sentinel Services was a catalyst for the nationwide manhunt that has resulted in a sudden influx of mutant refugees within the compound. In this scene we are introduced to a charming teen mutant named Wes (Danny Ramirez), who seems to have an affinity for Lauren. She quickly dismisses him as she has more important business to tend to. Speaking of important business, Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) has established herself as the underground’s resident nurse. Judging by the look of Polaris’ (Emma Dumont) training methods, her services will be more needed now than ever.
John and Marcos have flushed out the immediate details of their plans, which seem to involve the use of Blink’s powers. John locates Blink (Jamie Chung) to let her in on the plan, but she has something else in mind. Blink, infuriated by Dreamer’s mind violation, is no longer willing to roll over and be exploited by John and Dreamer. He may not have been directly responsible for the intrusive memories, but he is culpable for allowing Dreamer to manipulate her mind in such a way. John admits that while the situation is more complicated than meets the eye, as are all emotional engagements, there is a war to be fought. Blink takes it upon herself to uncomplicate the situation by opening herself a one-way portal out of John’s eyesight.
John, Marcos, Sage (Hayley Lovitt), Dreamer (Elena Satine), Reed (Stephen Moyer), Polaris and Shatter (Jermaine Rivers) have assembled to once again discuss an extraction plan. There are several obstacles in their way, including a very thick concrete wall. They are at a loss for how to break through until an eavesdropping Andy offers his services. Reed is reluctant, but Andy reasons that in a game of survival all parties must play their hands. Recalling his formidable destructive power, it’s clear that everyone at the roundtable agrees with him, to an extent.
Reed and Andy pack up the back of a mutant mobile. Caitlin supervises, questioning Reed’s decision to allow Andy to come along and fight. Reed argues that this will be a good bonding moment and while nobody can argue that fighting for your life can build some unbreakable bonds, we wish that there was another way for the boys to reconnect. What’s even worse than allowing your child to break into a federal building? Realizing that your husband’s finger no longer adorns his wedding band. It was confiscated during his incarceration. It suddenly becomes apparent that it’s not just Reed and Andy who can’t connect anymore – it’s the whole family. They need to talk, desperately, but now is not the time.
Lauren peers through the window as she watches her dad and brother prepare for their mission. Wes cautiously approaches her, offering her a friendly ear…but she once again removes herself from the situation to work.
If Jace Turner (Coby Bell) wasn’t already on the war path, he certainly is now. Reeling from processing the news of his daughter’s death for the second time, he is filled with renewed vigor in his genocidal fight against the mutants. It’s revealed that he’s on a leave of absence, working on site against protocol, but his subordinates are too timid to oppose him. Alone at last, he picks up the phone and calls Dr. Campbell. It’s time to revisit the doctor’s earlier proposition.
Reed and Andy sit in the back of the truck and Reed attempting to get his son to open up. He reveals that he spoke to Andy’s guidance counselor about the bullying he endured prior to the incident, but the gesture only worsened his situation.
You know what they say about best laid plans… Sirens echo through the back of the truck. Law enforcement comes through on the intercom, demanding the mutant-toting truck pull over. They oblige, but the chances of getting out unscathed are looking bleak. The cop asks to see what’s in the cargo area. Andy suggests fighting the cop, but Marcos has other plans. Marcos not only emits light energy, but he can absorb it. If he can absorb enough light…he just might be able to mask himself and the others long enough to evade the cop’s gaze. Reed and Andy cower in a corner while Marcos causes a blackout in the back of the truck. It works just long enough for the cop to be pulled onto another call.
John is sliding concrete blocks around outside like they’re Legos. Dreamer admires him while he works, but she has ulterior motives. She probes him on how his conversation with Blink went, and the conversation quickly turns to John’s guilt about not being able to save Pulse. He suggests that the X-Men were wrong in choosing him to help lead the underground. His morale is low. Dreamer argues that the X-Men chose him for a reason, to fight in this war. John leaves, but not first without dispensing a grim truth – the X-Men never said mutants would win the war.
Reed, Andy and their driver have found refuge between the trees. Reed takes this as an opportunity to ask Andy about what being a mutant feels like, more specifically what using powers feels like. With Marcos, it looks like his powers deplete him of energy. Andy says that’s not the case for him, that it’s more cathartic than exhausting. This news concerns Reed, given Andy’s strength. They quickly disband before the teenager has an opportunity to get worked up.
Shatter walks in on Caitlin as she looks for some misplaced school books. She reveals that she’d like to implement a homeschooling program of sorts and asks Shatter where they underground acquired all of the materials. He reveals that the books are easy to come by during rescue missions, as Sentinel Services likes to pick up all of the mutant children while they’re at school, like shooting fish in a pond. This disturbing news prepares Kate for what she sees next. Polaris stands before a group of young mutants, training them for battle with flying saw blades and other pieces of scrap metal. Children have no place in battle.
The topic of children and childhood is spreading through the mutant ranks, even on the road with Marcos and Reed. Marcos reveals that while he is excited to be a father, he is terrified of becoming his own. In one of the shows more tender moments, Reed reveals that a parent’s love is unconditional – and that not all men become their fathers. If they did, neither of them would be where they are.
Back at Sentinel Services, Jace Turner agrees to provide Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt) with all of the information he’s been able to collect on the Strucker siblings.
Kate makes one last appeal to Polaris’ emotions by insisting that fighting does not have to be a constant in their lives. Polaris, having lived this life far longer, knows the truth. She reveals that Lauren and Andy’s powers eclipse those of the other mutants that have circulated in the underground. Lauren and Andy aren’t just part of the fight, they’re integral to it.
Lauren finally succumbs to Wes’ attempts at communicating with her for more than two minutes at a time. She reveals that she hid her powers for so long that she’s not sure how to navigate within her family unit now that the truth is out. Her plan had been to keep it a secret and move to Florence, a dream long lost. Wes uses his powers to project a mirage of what he thinks is Florence for Lauren – offering her just a taste of her dream.
Marcos, Andy and Reed are on the move. It’s Andy’s turn to break through the infamous wall. He does so with more precision than we’ve seen. The wall trembles, hairlines fractures in the foundation, before a human-size hole is blown out. His powers are maturing. The two older men make their way inside, collecting hard drives and documents essential to their plans. Armed guards and law enforcement on hot on their tails; however, which causes them to retreat immediately.
More mutant refugees are coming to the underground. John notifies Sage and Shatter of the news, who in turn remind him that they’re already well beyond capacity. John is a busy man, turning on his heel to reprimand Dreamer for what she did to Blink. His guilt leaves him vulnerable enough to allow Dreamer to kiss him. He enjoys it for a moment before his phone rings. It’s Marcos and cops are onto them. A cop is trailing the truck while an ambush of other police officers await up the road. Lauren suggests that they utilize Wes’ mirage powers to trick the police, allowing her brother, father and Marcus safe passage.
Lauren, Polaris and Wes find a high vantage point to assess the situation. It’s direr than they had imagined. Police are at the gates of the underground. She orders Marcos to tell the driver to keep driving, even beyond the base. Polaris assures him that they’ll handle the rest. She turns to Lauren and asks if her force fields are strong enough for the truck to drive over. Lauren isn’t sure if they are – but she’s willing to try. Wes and Lauren will have to dig deep to pull this off.
Lauren’s defensive powers and calm demeanor are juxtaposed by Andy’s offensive powers and desire to destroy. While Lauren works from above to protect them, Andy insists on using his powers to fight. Reed talks him down. Andy needs to learn that while he is powerful, the kind of gifts he possesses are not the answer to every situation. And he’s right. Their gifts are most valuable when they work as a team.
The truck rapidly approaches the cop’s road block. The cops begin open firing at the truck. Polaris steps in to slow the bullets while Lauren creates a forcefield ramp that allows the truck to soar through the air, well above the cops’ heads. The truck driver cheers with relief, as do we all. Once the truck hits the asphalt, Wes creates an illusion that splits the truck into two vehicles, each going in an opposite direction. He cloaks the real truck, sending the officers astray. They’re safe for another day.
At Sentinel Services HQ, Turner hosts a brief meeting, He orders that cell phone surveillance be taken on every single cell phone within a fifty mile radius of the mutant’s projected location. He doesn’t want to catch criminals. He wants to catch all mutants and their allies, regardless of their innocence.
Only partially aware of the hornet’s nest that they’ve just kicked, the mutants and the Struckers are safe and sound back at the underground. Kate and Reed finally have time to talk, but they use it instead to kiss with the fervor of newlyweds before Kate suggests Reed uses the time to patch things up with Andy. Reed grabs Andy’s attention and promises that he’s always been proud of him and that Andy can talk to him about anything. Andy meets his father halfway by starting up a good old-fashioned board game.
John means business in his leather vest, reviewing the information recovered by Marcos and Reed. Dreamer sits beside him, doing the same.
Blink is on the move somewhere outside of the underground.
Marcos and Lorna sleep peacefully, until his phone begins to vibrate. He is roused from his sleep to discover that Carmen (Michelle Veintimilla) is beckoning him. She is collecting on their agreement, demanding he use his powers or else she tips off Sentinel Services…and we know she means it.