Secrets, personal vendettas, and impending doom make for a fast-paced episode that leaves you begging for more!
The Gifted – “eXtreme measures”, season 1, episode 7
Airdate: November 13, 2017
Director: Stephen Surjik
Writer: Michael Horowitz
What You Should Know:
In a desperate attempt to rescue his pregnant girlfriend Lorna (Polaris) from prison, Marcos (Eclipse) cut a dangerous deal with his ex-lover and head of the cartel, Carmen. With the intel and a plan, the Mutant Underground managed to extract Polaris, as well as Reed Strucker, from Sentinel Service custody during a prison transport. In the midst of battle the Underground leader, John Proudstar (Thunderbird) ran into his former best friend, whom he’d believed to be dead. A mutant named Pulse, being controlled to fight alongside Sentinel Services.
Polaris and Eclipse captured Sentinel Service Agent Jace Turner, intent on finding out what he’d done to their old friend. They brought in Dreamer to read his memories but were forced to evacuate before she could finish, unintentionally resulting in him temporarily forgetting that his beloved daughter Gracie had perished in “the July 15th incident” four years prior.
Clarice (Blink), having witnessed Dreamer use her power, confronted Dreamer on some strange dreams she’d been having lately about herself and John that didn’t make sense. Dreamer finally confessed to having implanted false memories in order to help Clarice reconnect with her power, defending her actions by pointing out that several of their team had been in jeopardy. When Clarice learned John also knew, though he had told Dreamer to come clean, Clarice left the Underground.
Using the images Dreamer pulled from Turner’s memories, Reed was able to identify a significant building likely connected to whatever program had brainwashed Pulse. John sent Eclipse, Reed, and Reed’s son Andy on an urgent mission to break into the building and retrieve the hard drives stored there. Sentinel Services nearly captured them on the return trip, but Reed’s daughter Lauren, her new friend Wes, and Polaris teamed up to save them.
Afterward, Agent Jace Turner made an unapproved deal with a mysterious man named Dr. Campbell, who seems to have a brainwashed mutant as a bodyguard, to help him find and capture the Underground.
What You’ll Find Out:
It was three years ago when John and Lorna recruited Marcos from the cartel – and from Carmen. In John’s pitch to get Marcos to join them John confirms that the X-Men are already “gone.”
Fast forward to the present day, Carmen calls Marcos to collect on her end of the deal. He tries to get out with an argument of inconvenience, which she promptly shuts down, leaving him no choice. With Lorna still sleeping, Marcos pulls out what is later revealed to be a pendant of the Patron Saint of the Dead. A pendant he always wore for luck when working with the cartel. In the morning meeting, he volunteers to make a supply run to another outpost and talks Lorna into staying behind because she’s volunteered to train the younger refugees in using their abilities.
Carmen explains, eventually, that she needs his help later in the day to destroy some trucks from a rival cartel. She assures him he won’t have to kill anyone at his insistence. Throughout the conversation, she makes several remarks about how nice it is to have him back, all while derogatorily referring to “magnet girl.” Marcos begrudgingly follows her from their place of meeting to her home so they can get ready. While suiting up with bullet-proof vests Carmen says something about her team handling the men, which alerts Marcos. He reminds her she’d promised no one would die. Carmen indicates a specific member of her team, whose facial markings make him obviously a mutant, and clarifies that that man with “deal with” them, adding “he’s one of you,” as a consolation before leaving the room.
While Marcos is busy with Carmen, Lorna has finished her daily training session and learns he hasn’t returned yet. She calls the station he was going to and the lie is revealed. The station wasn’t expecting anyone and definitely doesn’t have supplies to spare. She goes to Dreamer, saying she’d ransacked their room and Marcos’ pendant is gone. She asks Dreamer to go with her to confront the woman she blames for his disappearance. When they get to Carmen’s home they find only a couple of guards, so Dreamer uses her power to get what they need from his memory.
Carmen, Marcos, and the rest of the cartel militia have arrived at their destination. Marcos is twitchy, leaning over a crate box, waiting to go in and finish things up. Carmen comments about how he was always that way. They jump in their SUVs and the unnamed mutant rolls his window down, swinging his arm down as a wave of red air follows the movement. The rival cartel members all freeze, as if frozen in time. Marcos jumps out of the SUV and walks past the time-stuck strangers before setting fire to the boxes of drugs and the trucks, burning everything so hot that they all promptly explode.
Lorna and Dreamer pull up to the exact spot where Carmen and Marcos previously stood in time to see Marcos burning the last truck and walk away from the explosion. Lorna calls out to him, but he doesn’t hear her. He has an intense expression and Carmen walks over to him, kissing him on the cheek for a job well done. Dreamer moves to intercept, to pull Marcos from there, but Lorna holds her back, declaring him to be capable of getting himself out of whatever he got himself into. They leave. Marcos gets into the backseat of the SUV with Carmen, having clue Lorna has seen him.
A short while later Marcos returns to the Underground headquarters, carrying a box of supplies, and sees Lorna sitting by herself. He greets her calmly, unaware she knows he lied and hands her a wad of money claiming he reached out to an old contact who offered them some cash to help out. Lorna walks up to him and immediately calls him out on everything, going so far as to yank the pendant off his neck. Caught, Marcos comes clean, explaining to her why he reached out to Carmen in the first place. Still angry, Lorna stalks off without another word.
While the Underground holds their morning meeting, Agent Turner of Sentinel Services meets up with his new ally, Dr. Campbell. Campbell asks how the surveillance mission is going. Turner admits they’re still having trouble, as the Underground appears to be ditching burner phones regularly, not using known names, and possibly even some sort of shielding or cloaking tech to make it harder to trace. Campbell seems unsurprised and calmly suggests they try a more direct approach: placing their “mutant assets” into the field, in undercover work.
Agent Turner launches the initiative immediately and is quickly paid a visit by a woman from the Department Of Justice. She confronts him on how far off the rails his tactics are going by having no warrants, no authorization, submitted no briefing, etc. He argues the danger of uncontained mutants and terrorism. She puts her foot down, telling him to shut it down. He refuses, claiming he is protecting his streets and is prepared to fight tooth and nail. She promises he’ll get that fight and leaves.
The woman from the DOJ returns promptly, have convened an emergency meeting with mostly unnamed people of importance, Agent Turner, and Dr. Campbell. She gets right to the point, stating that the unwarranted search has gone too far. Turner cuts her off, accusing her of mincing words, and argues that her so-called American citizens are protesting, conspiring with mutants in other countries, consider themselves another species, and don’t deserve to be given the rights of Americans. In response, the woman from the DOJ stands up, begins to request ‘it,’ presumably the application of mutant assets in the field, be shut down, but again is cut off, this time by an intense coughing fit. She coughs and wheezes, unable to catch her breath, and collapses on the floor with blood coming from her nose. Dr. Campbell steps in, asking someone to call for an ambulance and claiming she appears to be having a stroke. Agent Turner looks around and notices the mutant who usually travels with Dr. Campbell seems intently focused on the scene.
Agent Turner contacts Dr. Campbell by phone a very short while later in an attempt to call him out on the subject. Dr. Campbell claims he suspects the woman from the DOJ burst a blood vessel, adding that she’ll survive. Turner points out that the DOJ will just send someone else eventually. Campbell agrees but insists this will give them enough time to get started. He confesses to nothing, distracting Turner by referencing his deceased daughter.
Later, Dr. Campbell takes Agent Turner to show him their secret weapon. Turner calls them ‘spies,’ saying they’ve been trying to place spies in the Underground for years. Campbell says not to think of them as spies, but as weapons. All they have to do is get them inside and “the Hounds will do the rest.” He opens a locked room and reveals to Turner several rows of mutants, all dressed alike, of both genders and a mix of races, standing at attention.
During the same morning meeting where Marcos lied about going for supplies, John announced he would be going off to track down Clarice. Dreamer immediately questioned this choice, but John pointed out that with Sentinel Services closing in on mutants everywhere, Clarice wandering alone put them all at risk because she knew their location.
John tracks Clarice down to an abandoned building where he immediately apologizes, saying he should have told her right away when he learned what happened. She agrees he should have, but in a less antagonistic way than before. John then adds that he’s tracked her down in an effort to convince her to return. He explains it’s not safe to be wandering with Sentinel Services about, and that the Underground needs her. She retorts that that’s his battle, not hers, and she’s got stuff to do. So he asks her what. Clarice admits she’s been looking for the road she kept opening portals to when she was sick because the Underground taught her that a mutant’s powers have significance. Instead of arguing, John offers to help, pointing out that if nothing else, he owes her for what happened.
After striking out on the first road they try, Clarice changes her mind on letting John help. He asks her if she remembers anything, to which she reminds him she was unconscious at the time. She adds he should just leave, “go do whatever”, because there’s obviously nothing to track. John stops her from walking off and argues there might be a trail inside her. He explains that wounded animals usually retreat to a ‘safe place,’ and asks her where her safe place was back when she felt she had one.
They end up looking for a house where she lived in during her high school years, a pseudo foster home for abandoned mutant children. She explains it was for those who couldn’t pass as human and that the couple who ran it, while good people, thought the best way to protect the children was to hide them away forever. So she left. They find the farmhouse, with Clarice recognizing the property as soon as she sees it and showing signs of excitement.
As soon as they step onto the property John is hit with the sense that soldiers have been there recently, raiding the property. He tries to tell Clarice to wait by the gate but she runs up to the door instead, concerned for the couple she remembers. John gets them inside and Clarice calls out but the house is obviously empty. Clarice runs to check the bedrooms while John checks the kitchen, finding the back door riddled with bullet holes and two distinct puddles of blood on the floor. Clarice walks up behind him and falls into tears, letting him hold her while she grieves. John goes to sweep the area while Clarice waits outside, and John returns to confirm the news. It seems Sentinel Services killed everyone. Clarice blames herself, knowing they wouldn’t have found the house if it weren’t for her portals, but John argues it was Sentinel Services who pulled the trigger. She takes a breath and tells him that she isn’t sure whether or not it was her fight before, but “it sure as hell is now.”
At the end of the day, they return to the Underground together, confirming her conviction. Clarice jogs down the stairs ahead of John, splitting from him. John is caught by Dreamer, who kisses him, but he’s obviously uninterested and breaks away quickly.
While John and Marcos went off on their missions, Reed stayed to help Sage comb the pair of hard drives. Reed is confident they’ll get something of use off them, saying they’re only encrypted because they’re important. Sage is rapidly scanning multiple pages of data from her hard drive while Reed goes through his, and Reed discovers a file of mutant wanted posters. One of them is a sketch and description that rather well depicts Lauren’s new crush, the image-manipulator Wes.
Reed seeks out advice from his wife, Caitlin, on how to approach this issue, interrupting her small biology class that she’s formed. He shows her the file, explaining the crimes Wes is wanted for which include multiple counts of theft. Caitlin advises him to talk to Lauren before confronting Wes. Reed goes in search of Lauren, hoping to find her in training with her brother. He interrupts the class long enough to talk to Andy, asking where Lauren is and realizes Andy is covering for his sister – again. Reed assures Andy she has more to worry about than getting into trouble and lets him return to training. It’s not long before Lauren finds her parents, offering a weak excuse for her absence in training.
Reed quickly takes over the conversation, bringing Wes into it, and Lauren accuses him of not liking her dating a mutant. He assures her that isn’t it and gives her the file, becoming increasingly harsh about the things Wes is guilty of as he lists them. Lauren tries to talk over him, her emotions rising, and Reed argues she needs to learn to look at things with a clear head. Lauren finally screams at him to shut up, accusing him of having never changed, slams the file down and storms out of the room. Caitlin stares at her husband in disbelief.
Lauren, having calmed herself down, seeks out Wes. She asks him calmly about the information her father thinks he’s found and whether or not it’s true. Wes, though hesitant, admits that it is. He claims he was in a rough place, in the beginning, tries to offer an explanation, but Lauren reacts as though betrayed by this revelation and cuts him off. She says he isn’t who she thought he was and leaves.
Reed, alone with Caitlin, confesses his uncertainty as to how to handle the situation. He appears to recognize he’s made a mistake but can’t see the way to rectify it. Caitlin explains that what Lauren needs isn’t a prosecutor, but her father. In light of this information, Reed finds Wes outside and strikes up a calm conversation. He asks Wes a little about his past and Wes explains that he’d fallen in with the wrong crowd. They were the ones who took him in, that was all. He wasn’t proud of it. Reed asks if he’d told John and the others when they admitted him, having learned from Sage that a refugee is expected to be honest, and Wes admits he hadn’t because he was afraid. Reed promises not to tell, saying Wes should be the one to make that call.
During the family dinner that night, Wes enters the room, requesting a moment of their time. He tells the Struckers that he came clean with John and the others about his past. That they had deliberated and, because he came clean freely, have agreed to cut him some slack. Instead of kicking him out to fend for himself they’re sending him out with some supplies to a new location. He thanks the family for their understanding and leaves. The following morning Lauren rushes out as Wes is helping to load the departing van and kisses him goodbye.
John, Sage, and Reed meet the next morning for an update. Sage has made significant progress on her hard drive. Pulse was one of the first mutants put through this program. There’s no mention of the location where the mutants are being held, only the names of who was chosen because it isn’t a government facility or a government program, it’s a private military contractor: Trask Industries. Only Trask Industries supposedly shut down in ’06, a fact Reed is sure of because his father used to work for Trask.
What Does This Mean for the Future:
This episode opened up so many possibilities. So let’s start with the most likely, based on the preview for what’s next: Andy and Lauren Strucker. It’s already been revealed that we’re about learn a lot more about their lineage in Fox’s version of the X-Men universe. It was strongly hinted that instead of being a much-changed interpretation of the Fenris twins from the comic books of origin, they may instead be descendants of the (interpretation of) the Fenris twins. The only thing we can honestly be sure of is that they won’t have Hydra roots, thanks to copyright laws. But it would be nice to see Andy’s powers develop beyond ‘angry teenager explodes stuff.’
Now the Hounds. Dreamer first caught a glimpse of the word a couple episodes back, in Turner’s mind, but no one knew it meant anything. Now Dr. Campbell has used the term in front of Turner to refer to the mutants he’s controlling, bringing it one step closer to familiarity for fans of the classic X-Men comics. For everyone else, take note: the Hounds will be big.
Carmen’s definitely going to be a problem, but a problem Lorna and Marcos should be able to overcome once tempers subside. Their connection is strong enough.
Something’s definitely building between John and Clarice. The awkward way he initiated their second hug after finding her childhood sanctuary in ruins and the way he pulled away from Dreamer are strong indicators. This will undoubtedly cause friction within the Underground and confrontation with Dreamer on all ends. But likely that won’t happen until near the end of the season, at the worst possible time.
Final Thoughts: Though especially segmented, this episode had a bit of everything. I loved getting a solid reference to the Hounds by the end. For me, for a moment, it completely usurped the bigger bombshell of Trask Industries. But let’s go there because that really was huge. As The Gifted is set within Fox’s X-Men universe, somewhat connected to the film franchise, it’s fair to reflect on what we know about Trask from the films. That mostly being ‘sentinels and hating mutants,’ which explains a lot. And also opens a lot of doors moving forward. It was a great tie-in and I especially loved the way John delivered his line following Reed’s admission of his father’s history with Trask Industries. He managed to maintain his character’s usual calm, levelheaded-ness with just the right touch of disgust at the name Trask. It’s the little details, folks, it really is.
I mentioned above that I see something building between John and Clarice. I also have to say I am solidly okay with it! For one thing, I don’t like Dreamer. She’s manipulative and selfish. But more than that, the chemistry in the scenes with John and Clarice was amazing. The look on his face when he was comforting her in the kitchen, the way he held her so tight and looked like he wanted to break the face of whoever had done the horrible deed. It was perfect. It’s totally within his strong, protective, caretaker character role to feel that way, I know, but it’s too late for me. I’m sold. It’ll have to be a slow build since he has this self-imposed ‘no relationship’ thing (that he clearly only holds himself accountable to, because, Marcos and Lorna?), not to mention Clarice would likely be resistant. But I want them to happen. Badly.
My biggest issue was the Lauren/Reed/Wes storyline. It felt the least natural to the flow of the overarching plot. Everyone else is taking steps either as a result of previous occurrences, or in anticipation of upcoming ones, and in the meantime, Lauren’s off ignoring her responsibilities and Reed’s freaking out because an ostracized mutant teenager stole a few things? He broke more, and worse technically, laws just trying to get back to his family. His son did worse without even meaning to in the high school gym. He, Andy, and Marcos had only recently returned from breaking into – and destroying part of – a government building. But this was a raging disaster that had to be dealt with privately, required a screaming match with his daughter, and seemingly set his character development (at least in the fatherly department, which we’re already barely familiar with) back a good step. To demonstrate better character development he should have handled that much differently, in my opinion.
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby