“Can Your Child Be A Mutant?” (The Gifted Season 1 Episode 1 Review)

An ordinary district attorney takes his wife and kids on the run from the government when he discovers his children are mutants wanted by the Sentinel Services.

Directed by Bryan Singer

Created and Written by Matt Nix

What You Need to Know
The show takes place in yet another alternate universe from the X-Men film series where the X-Men are either missing or dead. The pros to this are that the show can stand alone, allowing them more creative freedom. They can take the setting anywhere they choose, kill off anyone they need to, and even recast and use characters who have already appeared in the films like they’ve already done with Blink.

What You’ll Find Out

The show begins with a seemingly ordinary family, some would say privileged. The father is a district attorney named Reed Strucker, played by Stephen Moyer of TruBlood fame, who specializes in mutant prosecution cases.

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He speaks politely to a black haired mutant in a cell who was captured the previous day. Her name is Lorna Dane, also known as Polaris. In the comics, Lorna is the daughter of Magneto and longtime girlfriend of Havok. Whether or not this Lorna grows into her comic book counterpart is to be determined. Like I said, the alternate timeline does leave room for appearances of Eric and Alex, so we’ll have to wait and see. She is guilty of being involved in what’s known as the Mutant Underground, not unlike our histories Underground Railroad. A group of mutants helping others flee the country.

Reed is polite, respectful, and shows no personal hatred of mutants. In fact, he sympathizes with Lorna, adamant that he’s only trying to help her and keep his family, humans like himself, and mutants like her, safe. She does not believe him. To mutants, he’s the villain. Mutants will never know what it’s like to be a normal human among people so powerful they can murder dozens if not hundreds of people with little effort and no training, even on accident.

But unfortunately for Reed, he’s about to know exactly what it’s like to live like one of them when he learns both of his children, Lauren and Andy Strucker are not only mutants, but they accidentally caused the destruction of their school during a dance with hundreds of students inside. He takes his family without hesitation, gives up everything he’s worked for and leaves his life behind. Reed is certainly not as evil as Lorna and the rest of the mutants believe. He cares for his family more than he cares about himself.

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Reed contacts a friend of Polaris named Diaz; another mutant. He organizes a meeting to work out a deal. The mutant underground gets his family to safety, and he gives them information on Polaris.

During the meeting, a deadly government task force arrives, the Sentinel Services. A nod to the mutant killing machines from Days of Future Past. And the initials of SS shows some Nazi symbolism as well. With good reason, these guys don’t hesitate to open fire on mutants, or unarmed humans, even minors. This is truly a terrifying world to live in.

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Finally, the SS deploy small spider-like machines to chase Reed, his family, and Diaz. The things are more dangerous than they appear. Diaz’ powers do little to no damage. These guys are not trained fighters like the X-Men. All they can do is run.

What Just Happened

One quote in this show perfectly sums up the premise. “What happens when it’s your own kid?”

Reed helps put away mutant after mutant, knowing they need help more than a prison sentence. He’s even aware that some of the prosecuted mutants disappear, never to be seen again. A mystery the show might explore later. He turns a blind eye until he learns his own kids are mutants. At which point, he puts together a plan so fast, it’s hard not to think he’s already thought about this knowing that it could happen to anybody, even himself.

They all four love each other and it’s shown well. Reed is extraordinarily protective of his children, Lauren helps her younger brother, Andy, when he’s bullied at school and she begins training him to control his powers. The Strucker family is easily one I’ll love to watch as they develop.

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The show uses mutants as a metaphor pretty heavily, which works to an extent. But it possibly falls apart when you realize that in the real world, minorities are no more dangerous than anyone else, but in this universe, Andy Strucker accidentally destroys his entire school. Every parent with a kid in that school nearly had to bury their children because of an accidental outburst. No human can accidentally commit mass murder. From the perspective of a normal human, mutants ARE dangerous and their powers are unpredictable. Every time one of them looks you in the eye, you have no idea if they have a weapon pointed at your head.

Rating 9/10

Final Thoughts
From the perspective of a normal human trying to protect his family, mutants ARE dangerous, but is human safety more important than mutant freedom? This is the question the Gifted promises to answer.

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