Power Play – The Gifted: “outfoX”

The threat of Fenris looms over the Struckers, but the threat of Trask looms over mutants everywhere. The Underground has to make a move while they have a chance.

The Gifted – “outfoX”, Season 1, Episode 9
Airdate: December 4, 2017
Director: Liz Friedlander
Writer: Brad Marques

What You Should Know:

The Underground recently took in a new group of refugees, including a female telepath named Esme. Esme was able to acquire some useful intel from the memories of a dying Hound, including the location of the building where the captive mutants are being held.

Reed visited his father to gather information on Trask Industries and wound up getting a surprising family history lesson. He himself had been born a mutant before his father developed a serum to suppress his X-gene in an effort to prevent the return of Reed’s grandfather’s and great aunt’s mutant heritage. A heritage which, instead, was passed down to Andy and Lauren: the legacy of Fenris.

Dr. Campbell, with Pulse and several soldiers in tow, attacked the building while Reed and John were on-sight. Reed’s father sacrificed himself in order to allow Reed a chance to escape. Pulse died in the explosion but Dr. Campbell escaped, suffering unspecified injuries.

What You’ll Find Out:

*One Year Ago*

The Struckers are taking some time away from their daily lives for what appears to be a family picnic. Andy is showing off his amateur skateboarding skills to Lauren while Reed and Caitlin set up the table for lunch and discuss how nice it is for him to get the day off from work. Caitlin cuts off his almost-apology, assuring him that they know his work is important and they all appreciate this time together. He asks how the kids have been and she says Lauren’s been a little distant lately but comments that it’s likely just ‘teenager stuff’ and nothing to worry about. They’re fine.

Andy tries talking Lauren into taking a turn on the skateboard. She refuses at first but relents with the promise that he’ll be right there if she loses her balance. Lauren awkwardly steps onto the board the way Andy directs her, with Andy’s help, but something goes wrong and Lauren immediately loses her footing, falling backward. Andy catches her by the hand as she screams out in panic and their hands begin to glow, their hair lifting up by an unnatural breeze. Time seems to stall around them as they lock startled gazes. Lauren finds her footing and they pull their hands apart, each in silent shock. One of their parents calls out to them and Lauren immediately turns away from her brother, lying about how they were just messing around. Andy lingers, still in shock.

*Present Day*

Reed is sitting on the counter in what John and the others often use as their meeting room, silently reflecting on everything that happened with his father. Memories filter through his mind from his childhood. Trying to see his father while his father worked in his home office but his mother’s voice tells him not to. Lying in a hospital bed, listening to his frustrated mother on the phone in the hall, begging his father to come see Reed, even if only briefly. The rush of memories is interrupted when Caitlin finds him. She sits beside Reed and when he expresses confusion over the way he’s reacting to the loss of his father, she tells him she thinks it’s normal. Caitlin tells him her own story, that she and her mother hadn’t gotten along for years since she herself was a teenager; that they’d fought all the time. Only shortly before her mother’s death had they started to mend things, but by then it was too late. She says she thinks losing a relative or loved one, you aren’t as close to is actually harder.

Then Caitlin confesses that she doesn’t understand how his father, his grandfather, and his grandfather’s twin could all be mutants. She’d always believed mutations were random. Reed explains they usually are, but that it’s not unheard of for them to sometimes be passed down, either. So Caitlin asks the obvious question: why did it skip him? With no real choice, Reed tells her what he’d learned about his father’s work and what his father had done to him. And how the X-gene his father had tried suppressing returned with their children. Reeling with the news, Caitlin can’t stop herself from asking if he knew about all this, upsetting Reed. But Reed holds his temper enough to explain that he would never have kept such a secret from her. He tells her that for two years he and his mother thought he had leukemia, though he was dying, and that it was ultimately his father’s secrets which destroyed his family. Caitlin takes a breath and promises that they won’t let those secrets destroy their family.

Esme gathers John, Lorna, Marcos, Sonia (Dreamer), Clarice, and Sage to insist that they rush the lab she saw in the now-deceased woman’s mind. Lorna remarks that she’s too new to be making demands but Esme ignores her, arguing hard for charging full force at the lab. Playing to their sympathies for the mutants being tortured, playing up the pain she saw and felt in the woman’s memories. Sage confirms she’s working on schematics, but when Sonia asks if Esme got anything on the security Esme admits she didn’t. She brushes this aside quickly, latching onto John and directly referring to ‘his friend,’ Gus, though she doesn’t use his name. She bluntly tells him that if they don’t hurry their enemies will only do that to more people. John has no words of response, but Marcos steps up and tells Esme that they can’t run in blind. They intend to fight back, but without the proper information they’ll just end up dead.

When the meeting disperses, Sonia finds John alone in his office, obviously ridden with guilt. She asks him about it and he admits that he wonders if Esme was right. Sonia argues that Esme is young and naïve to their real situation, even pointing out that it seems suspicious that she knew anything about Pulse. But John suggests that she could easily have picked it up from him with her telepathy, dismissing the concern, and lingers on the guilt he still feels for having had to leave Pulse behind. Sonia tries to tell him that it isn’t his fault in the first place and that losing himself to guilt is only making things worse for all of them. John’s only real response is that he refuses to let what happened to his friend happen to anyone else. Sonia turns to watch him leave the room, oblivious to Esme peering in through the cracks in the blinds behind her.

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That night Lauren’s lying awake in bed when Andy quietly calls for her attention, wanting to share something he found in the library. A book containing archived information on Andrea and Andreas Von Strucker. The siblings flip through it, learning that they called themselves Fenris and became immensely powerful when they joined hands. Newspaper clippings and text in the book reveal that the twins were part of a “shadowy organization” called the Hellfire Club. The most recent information was that they disappeared while fleeing from the X-Men. Andy tries to read more but Lauren becomes upset, agitated that their family history is connected to such monsters, and tells him to go back to bed.

Meanwhile, Lorna suffers an unusually strong nightmare. She dreams she’s walking down a prison corridor, each cell containing her teammates. Clarice. John. Then Marcos, who doesn’t seem to hear her when she calls to him. All the while a baby’s cries echo down the hall. With Marcos not responding she turns and runs to the cell at the end, containing a stroller she can’t quite see into. But no matter how hard she tries she can’t get into the cell. In reality, her powers are flaring, knocking things off hers and Marcos’ shared metal dresser. Until it finally culminates in her waking with an agonized scream and the dresser crumbling in on itself, the lamp on top exploding. Marcos comforts her, assuring her Trask doesn’t have the baby, but Lorna’s severely shaken. Now she knows they have to get into that lab and save those people. Outside their door Esme eavesdrops as the glow of her power fades from her eyes.

Sentinel Services Agent Jace Turner checks in with his partner at the hospital to see how Dr. Campbell is doing after the explosion at Otto Strucker’s shop. Inside the room Campbell is covered almost entirely in white bandages, moaning in pain, as his mutant companion slowly and deliberately moves his fingers along Campbell’s abdomen. Turner’s partner explains that Campbell was badly burned but should live, though he refused surgery. He adds “apparently his mutant has ‘skills’.” Turner’s response is that they need to get a team together as he’s sure that the Mutant Underground will launch another attack soon. His partner tries to talk him down, arguing they need solid evidence to get permission for something like that. Turner says they have all the intel they need as the Underground knows about the Hound program and will surely want to attack the lab. But he acknowledges his partner’s point about the official lack of permission, so he tells his partner to ‘bury the paperwork.’

Back at the Underground station, Sage explains that she’s found some information on the lab, but it’s out in the middle of nowhere. Most of what she’s found is that it’s hard to find solid information on. Except that she found a local bar that’s popular with Trask Security. So Sonia and Lorna volunteer to head out there to gather what they need from the unsuspecting security guards. Marcos voices concerns over Lorna’s participation after her nightmare, but she assures him she’ll be fine.

Caitlin is flipping through the old photographs that Reed took from his father’s collection when Reed walks in to see how she’s holding up, and Caitlin admits that she’s been having some unfair thoughts. Why couldn’t Lauren have just told them she was a mutant in the beginning? Or what if Otto had just been honest instead of keeping all those secrets? She thinks their whole lives might have been different, even begins to say something about Andy, but Reed interrupts to argue that they did the best they could. Reed can’t help but ask, then, if she would have done things differently with their relationship if she’d known the truth from the start. She swears she wouldn’t have. Reed takes a deep breath and drops the final bomb on her, telling her about Andrea and Andreas Von Strucker. About their powers. He admits he has no idea if Andy and Lauren are capable of the same ultimate power if they were to join hands. Caitlin declares they have to tell the children, and though Reed voices hesitation, she sticks to her guns. His father had kept too many secrets and it had destroyed everything. So she vows there will be no more secrets.

Sonia and Lorna have made it out the bar and managed to find a high-level security guard, getting him alone at a back booth. He’s bragging about how tight the security detail is, pausing briefly to acknowledge that he actually shouldn’t be talking about it, but Sonia leans in and asks if he’s ever worried the mutants will attack him. He tells them there’s a whole program designed to make the mutants behave, remarking that ‘homo superior’ isn’t so superior once they’ve been cracked in the head “with a nightstick.” Lorna’s temper flares, bending the spoon she was twirling around her knuckles, and as soon as he looks back at her she punches him in the temple, knocking him unconscious. Genuinely surprised, Sonia lectures her, but Lorna dismisses it and Sonia proceeds to pull what they need from his memory. Being sure to leave an altered memory behind to hide their involvement.

At the same time, Caitlin and Reed have gathered their children in the vault room to tell them about the similarities they share with their great-grandfather and his twin. As well as to test in what they hope to be a safe and controlled environment. Andy initially mistakes this as meaning they’re supposed to destroy something, which both parents immediately assure him they do not want. Lauren and Andy agree though Lauren seems particularly skeptical of the idea. The siblings step up, facing their parents, and join hands, though Lauren’s grip is noticeably loose. Nothing happens. Reed seems surprised and the siblings pull their hands apart with Lauren commenting sarcastically that the only thing she noticed was that Andy’s hand was sweaty. Caitlin shows relief, saying there may be nothing to worry about, as Lauren moves to walk away. Andy stops his sister, asking her to try again. Suggesting perhaps they need to try harder, subtly calling her out for not really holding his hand, and admitting he hopes something happens. Lauren relents and takes proper hold of her brother’s hand.

They close their eyes and immediately a golden power emanates from them as if taking over them. Everything seems to fade and still, giving them a new, enhanced perspective. The moment builds with both siblings enthralled while their parents watching, looking between their children and the wall as it begins to shake. Reed finally rushes forward and pulls their hands apart, immediately ending the surge of power. The siblings are visibly shaken, but also seem as though they’re coming down from some sort of rush, their speech jumbled. Caitlin asks multiple times what happened before Andy and Lauren interchangeably explain that ‘all they had to do was push’, and they were about to bring down the entire building. Killing everyone inside.

In light of the new information gleaned from Sonia’s and Lorna’s outing, the previous meeting to discuss the attack on the lab is reconvened. Marcos explains that from what he and Sonia have been putting together it seems like breaking into the building will be difficult. It’s designed to resist mutant attack, including automated heavy caliber machine guns. Lorna argues that she can handle guns but Marcos points out that it would be too dangerous with as many as they have from that distance. John asks Clarice if she can get them inside, but Clarice says no, that without knowing the interior of the building she could “blink” them inside a wall. Sage volunteers that she did find one vulnerability. There’s a power station a mile or so away from the lab itself, and if they take it down they could get into the lab before the power comes back online. Esme jumps at this idea, but Marcos points out that they don’t have enough ‘heavy hitters’ to attack both places simultaneously. Angered, Esme gets in his face, demanding to know how long the ordeal is going to take. She starts to use the argument that her family is trapped there, but John finally shouts loud enough to get her attention. He steps up to her and assures her that he understands her urgency, but they only get one chance at this goal, so they have to make it count. Seeing everyone agreeing with him, Esme keeps quiet.

The Strucker family regroups, having caught their breath, and the parents ask what it was like when they joined hands. Andy answers first, saying everything around them disappeared and it was as if they weren’t two separate individuals anymore like they had become one. Lauren says it felt like they were seeing out of the same eyes. Caitlin and Reed exchange concerned glances before Reed asks how they could be sure about their ability to destroy the building. Lauren immediately, confidently answers that she could feel it. She begins to clarify that it’s because of the individual differences in their powers – that Andy can pull things apart and she pushes them together – and Andy finishes the explanation. That together they could do anything. That they looked at the wall and it was as if they could just vaporize it. Andy tries to suggest they should practice as if to say they could get better with the power, but Lauren cuts him off incredulously. Reed interrupts, saying their power is a gift, but it’s also dangerous, that this kind of power could hurt people. They can’t just go around using it. Angry now, Andy snaps back, predicting that his father’s suggestion will be to bury the power like Otto did. “How’d that work out?” Caitlin tells him he was out of line for his comment, Andy argues the power is part of who he is now, and in frustration, Reed declares that sometimes Andy can’t even control his individual power. Andy stomps off in anger, accusing his parents of thinking he’s a monster.

Lauren follows after him to calm him down. Andy exclaims that he’s a freak because he doesn’t hate his powers and Lauren asks if he really believes she hated what just happened. She confesses she’d never felt more powerful, and it scared her because she liked it. Andy asks if she remembers the day in the park when it happened before and she’s clearly surprised that he’d felt it, too. He tells her that’s what started messing him up in school, that he’d never been able to get it out of his head. And now all he wants to do is do it again. But he’s worried that this means they’re going to end up like the Von Struckers, and Lauren confesses that she has no idea if that’s what it means or not.

Lorna finds Marcos going over more intel on the mission they’re prepping for, casually suggesting she be the one to hit the power station. Marcos points out they only have a three-minute window before the generator would kick in, not enough time for her to get to the lab. Then he turns the conversation around to the nightmare, still worried about her. She tries to brush it off but he points out that the furniture in their room would argue it’s kind of important. He starts to ask “if” she’s worried about the baby and spins around to face him, almost yelling the word. She gathers herself quickly, though, saying, of course, she’s worried about the baby. She admits she isn’t sure ‘this place,’ possibly inferring the Underground, or at least their present station, will survive. Esme watches through the bars, just out of sight. Marcos steps closer, promising he’ll protect her and the baby no matter what. Lorna expresses her concern that he might not be able to keep that promise, but Esme strides in, interrupting the conversation. Lorna even tells her so. Marcos asks what she needs and Esme declares that she has an idea how to knock out the power station: use the Strucker kids.

At the Sentinel Services headquarters, Jace Turner is on the phone with his wife, telling her he’ll be out late. Again. She expresses disappointment and frustration, but he repeats what is clearly a tired argument, that he’s pursuing an important case and it’s all in the name of justice for their daughter. Turner’s partner, Ed, arrives with information. He’s pulled together a team to look into the lab, but he reminds Turner they’re walking on a thin wire doing an unauthorized investigation into a covert facility. The stakes are high, so Turner acknowledges they “best not fail.”

The Struckers and the leaders of the Underground, plus Esme, have gathered to discuss the upcoming mission. Marcos is presenting their needs to Andy and Lauren, explaining that they need the siblings to do essentially the same thing they did to the prison convoy bus, but this time to the high voltage transformers in the power station. When Caitlin voices confusion as to how this could be the safer task, Lorna confirms that this time it actually is. The plan is for Clarice to get everyone inside, as Sage was able to hack the security cameras and get visuals, and Sonia will guide the group to the target. The Struckers agree, with Reed and Caitlin requesting to monitor the security cameras. As soon as the Struckers commit, Esme grins as if in victory, having remained completely silent. Oblivious to this, the group disbands to prepare.

The attack squad arrives in two old SUVs, with John and Marcos quickly departing to set up the lookout spot while Lorna and Esme gather the remaining gear. Esme drops the detonator, but Lorna manages to catch it with her powers and takes a minute to check on the younger girl’s headspace. At first, Esme cuts her off, claiming it was just an accident and that’s fine. She goes to walk away with her part of the gear but Lorna tells her this isn’t just some adventure and Esme pauses. She reads Lorna’s mind, seeing the memory of when Marcos was shot and Lorna attacked the police in a rage. So she asks Lorna if she’s ever been so desperate to save a loved one who was hurt that she’d do anything. She says that’s why she’s there, that she needs to save her family. That they’re a part of her.

John and Marcos make it up to the chain link fence perimeter across from the Trask Industries lab. John takes a moment to look around from the cover of the bushes, noting that it won’t be easy, and how much easier it would have been if Pulse were with them. Marcos agrees, adding with a laugh that they’d then have to put up with Pulse’s bragging for weeks. John shares the humor briefly before quietly admitting that he misses his friend, to which Marcos says he does, too. Marcos also adds that John wasn’t the only one who left him there that night, implying that he doesn’t get to own the entirety of the guilt. But he adds aloud that this is their chance to make it up to him. John nods and calls Reed’s team, en-route to the power station, letting them know that they’re ready.

Disguised in an old meal delivery truck, the Struckers, Clarice, and Sonia arrive at the power station. Reed contacts Sage back at base to let her know they’re in place. She patches their on-truck computer remotely to the station’s security cameras, adding she’s placed them on a loop, but the guards will notice eventually so the group still needs to move quickly. Clarice opens a portal to the building, the kids hug their parents, and the team heads off, leaving Reed and Caitlin alone in the truck.

Turner checks in on Ed and the secret team they’ve put together. Ed claims they haven’t found anything suspicious, that only guys are off, both with viable excuses. One of which is sick leave. That catches Turner’s attention so he has a tech pull up the guard’s file. Ed tries to tell him the guard called off because he bumped his head at the bar, no big deal, but the file check shows his security passcode checked in at the power station recently. Sensing the mutants are behind this, Turner calls for a squad to be put together ASAP, disregarding their previous desire for stealth in favor of catching the mutants.

Inside the power station, Sonia confirms the com-links are working and Caitlin and Reed guide them safely around corners to avoid unnecessary confrontations. Sonia admits that the guard she took the memory from had only been to the transformers a couple of times, so the memory isn’t the clearest. Clarice reminds her that it’s in the middle of the building and Andy asks her why she didn’t just teleport them straight there. She asks if he could “make a portal through 100 walls to a room [he’d] never seen before and land safely next to a high voltage transformer” and he surrenders his argument. Moments later they come face-to-face with a guard, but Sonia quickly handles the situation, altering his memory and managing to disarm him in the process.

While the group at the power station is making their way to the transformers, John, Marcos, and Lorna are preparing the explosives to take out the automated guns. The goal is to get the big guns out while the power is down, then free the prisoners. Esme says once the prisoners are free they’ll help in taking out the guards, but Marcos questions this assumption. Esme only replies with conviction and “believe me.”

Watching their kids on camera, Caitlin asks how Reed ever dealt with his nerves when used to do these kinds of things. Reed tells her the first few times he actually threw up, but he never told her because they were dating and he wanted to impress her. He reassures her that they’ll be all right and she seems to accept his words, but a little ways away Sentinel Services is setting up for a takedown. While their remote units scan the power station Ed pulls Turner aside, still doubting this switch in gears, and points out that if they don’t find any mutants here they’re in serious trouble. Turner maintains his confidence and moments later one of the units signals that it’s found mutant signatures – they’re clear to go. Back in the delivery truck, Caitlin is watching the hallways on her monitor when she sees something alarming. She panics, unable to form coherent words as she clicks around to find it again, until finally landing on an image of the same arachnid-like sentinel machines that attacked them once before. She shouts for Sonia to evacuate immediately.

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Sonia stops at the surprise exclamation, asking Caitlin what’s going on. Reed tells her Sentinel Services is in the building and they’ve released sentinel robots. Sonia breaks into a run, declaring they need to get out, explaining as they run that Sentinel Services knows they’re there. Agent Turner, followed by Ed and at least a dozen more agents, rush into the building as Ed expresses his confusion over using the robots again. He reminds Turner they were destroyed last time and Turner tells him the techs have been working with them since then, they’ve been learning. That it won’t happen again. Sonia has gotten the group to a larger, abandoned hallway and tells Clarice to get them all out of the building, but try as she might Clarice is unable to open a stable portal out of the building. In all the turning around she’s lost her perspective and no longer knows which way the exit is. One of the robots comes around the corner right when Clarice finally thinks she’s figured it out, forcing her to take cover as Andy tries to destroy it like before. He fails and though they start running the robot captures Clarice, who yells at them to keep running and leave her behind. Then the com-links go down.

The alarm at Trask Industries goes off, startling John’s group. Using his powers, John overhears that the power station team’s been compromised. Their mission’s blown; it’s time to go. Marcos and Lorna quickly pack up, as does John, but Esme freaks out. She insists they need to get in there, ignoring the fact that the other half of the mission has failed. She fights John when he grabs her arm, shouting, and he has to toss her over his shoulder and carry her away. She screams as he and the others evacuate the area.

Sonia, Andy, and Lauren have made it below the power station, to the basement level. But Sentinel Services is right behind them. Sonia manages to unlock another room with the guard’s stolen code but there isn’t time so she sacrifices herself to try and give the children time to escape, shouting at them to run before pulling the door shut. Leaving Lauren and Andy alone to fend for themselves.

They run through part of the basement, Sentinel Services still chasing them, until Lauren remembers there’s another way. They can save themselves if they join hands again, “like Fenris.” Agreeing, Andy takes her hand and the power flares. It overtakes them faster this time, but Andy opens his eyes and looks over at Lauren as the building begins to blur. He pulls his hand away, breaking the power and surprising her. She looks back at him, asking what he’s doing, and Andy reminds her they’re in the basement. If they destroy the building everyone will die. The look of shock on Lauren’s face speaks volumes.

Sentinel Services, led by Agent Turner, flood the room, guns drawn. Watching helplessly, Caitlin panics, attempting to flee from the truck and rescue her children. Reed restrains her, reminding her over and over that there’s nothing they can do at this point. They’d only be arrested, too. Andy and Lauren are forced to their knees, collars locked around their necks, and Lauren levels a surprisingly venomous glare at Agent Turner. Caitlin, still screaming, sobs in her husband’s arms.

What Does This Mean for the Future?

Four words: Big, blow out fight.

Fifth word: Betrayal.

Curious? The fight’s pretty obvious. Dreamer, Blink, Andy, and Lauren have all been captured. Now in the custody of their enemy, Sentinel Services – worse, Dr. Campbell, head of Trask Industries and the ominous Hound program. The man who’s been searching for the Struckers, presumably to study or manipulate their inherited abilities. Nothing good will come of their capture, and the Mutant Underground is sure to strike back.

The betrayal should really be obvious, too. The new telepath, Esme, obviously has her own agenda. Perhaps she genuinely will stop at nothing to rescue her family. It may be as simple as that. Chances are that family consists of her identical sisters – the other Cuckoos. However even if her motivations are that straightforward, the fact that she’s so quickly willing to go to such lengths to manipulate the people around her, the ones who went out of their way to rescue and shelter her, demonstrates the lack of loyalty she’ll show them. If the opportunity presents itself she’d undoubtedly abandon or surrender them to attain her own goals. More likely, though, since she was so intensely focused on getting the attack on the lab going – and her suggestion of ‘using’ the Strucker kids came out of nowhere – she might just already be working with Trask. The only real question is if that’s of her own free will, or if it’s in order to save her sisters.

The Strucker siblings obviously have a lot to work out, both with their ever-evolving power sets and themselves personally. The unexpected turn-around of Andy, the perpetually angry one, being the one to pull away in favor of not killing everyone at the last minute was surprisingly telling. And the shock on Lauren’s face made it obvious the thought had never crossed her mind. Maybe the rush of the new, developing power, and the associated altered perspective has changed both of them in ways they’re not yet familiar with. Or possibly both of them have been hiding truer natures behind false faces until now. Their time in captivity, away from their sometimes-coddling parents, may give them more answers and a necessary opportunity for some introspection. It may also teach them that they have the power to overcome the collars around their necks.

Rating: 8.5/10

Final Thought: Well it didn’t take Esme long to answer the ‘can we really trust her?’ question. Seeming to stay at least a little bit true to her comic book roots, Esme did some pretty shady things this week. Spying on, and manipulating, the leaders of the Mutant Underground until she got her way, Esme wasn’t afraid to stir the pot. Though she had the wise sense not to admit to giving Lorna that haunting nightmare. While I can’t like the enemy outright, I do like the way her character is being handled so far. Technically we still can’t be completely sure she’s a villain, but I’m mostly convinced. For me, it’s only a matter of ‘voluntarily’ or ‘in order to save a loved one.’ Speaking of her loved ones, I would love to see some other Cuckoos show up. I’d also kind of love to see Esme go dark side and her sisters have to fight against her in defense of the Underground.

Though the nightmare was almost definitely implanted by Esme, it did a good job of shaking Lorna up. Of showing her burgeoning maternal instincts and how she’s struggling with her fear for her small, growing family and her need to fight. Where she once would have given her life for the cause, now she has to hesitate, because giving her life also means sacrificing her unborn baby. Giving her life will soon mean abandoning not only Marcos but also their young baby, who will have a hard enough time surviving in their hard world. So she needs to make it through, no matter what, but she also needs to make it better.

Reed and Caitlin’s decision to be open and honest with their children was an overdue moment of character development in regards to their parental roles. I was glad to see it, as their constant attempt to ‘protect’ their children from information and learning and progress has been an annoyance for me the longer the season builds. I was equally impressed with Andy and Lauren’s fairly calm reactions. And though my irritation re-flared when the parents insisted on going along on the mission, the way they ultimately agreed to work in their usefulness and still allow their children to partake seemed like a more healthy compromise. A good step. Granted, it’s a step I imagine will result in a massive leap backward now that the kids have been captured.

And now that I’ve contained myself, I must add: so many X-Men things! Or, rather, I just love every little X-Men reference. Of course when they say “X-Men” specifically. But you know what else I love? Less expected, more creative ways of bringing in familiar things. In the comics, the Von Struckers, aka Fenris, were connected to Hydra. But Fox can’t mention Hydra because Marvel Studios is using Hydra in their movie-verse. So what do they do? They replace Hydra with a different ‘shady organization’: The Hellfire Club! Oh yeah, you know I squealed a bit at that revelation.

For those who don’t know, in the comic books, The Hellfire Club is a very old, generally villainous organization in the mutant community. The Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle is run by powerful, wealthy mutants of massive social stature. In fact, wealth and stature remain important qualifications for entry into the present day. Another potential connection The Gifted has set themselves up for by this mention is through Esme Cuckoo, as in the comics, she is a genetic clone (one of five) ‘daughter’ of Emma Frost. Emma Frost was originally introduced as the reigning White Queen of the Hellfire Club long before she switched allegiances and joined the X-Men.

Based on the Marvel Comics Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

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