The Gifted: “eXtraction; X-roads” When Push Comes to Shove…

It’s the two-part season finale you can’t miss!

Campbell’s attending an anti-mutant conference to get the funding he needs to end the Underground for good, forcing them to fight back. Leaving the Struckers to defend the base…

The Gifted – “eXtraction”, Season 1, Episode 12
Airdate: January 15, 2018
Director: Scott Peters
Writer: Michael Horowitz
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
The Gifted – “X-roads”, Season 1, Episode 13
Airdate: January 15, 2018
Director: Stephen Surjik
Writers: Matt Nix (Series Creator) and Jim Garvey
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby


What You Should Know:

Dr. Campbell has created a machine that binds two Hounds together, merging their powers as one. With the first test of his new weapon, he cut off the Strucker family’s attempt to flee to Mexico, inadvertently driving them back to the Underground headquarters in Atlanta.

The Strucker parents took their children and left the Underground in the hopes of escaping Esme and her sisters, Phoebe and Sophie. But the Fairburn station was destroyed, Andy was injured, and the Frost sisters wound up being their only way out.

Esme and her sisters approached the Underground with a proposition: help them take down Campbell and his Hound program in exchange for resources they desperately need. While the Underground considered their options Esme approached Lorna, whose powers have been increasing as a result of the pregnancy, and revealed to Lorna the history of her parentage – that her father was once a King of the Hellfire Club.

Ultimately, despite Marcos’ vehement arguments against it, the Underground agreed to work with the Frosts for the time being. And just in time, because Campbell was just given the green light to put together a public demonstration of his new Hound program.


What You’ll Find Out:

~eXtraction~

*Four Years Ago*

Roderick Campbell tends to his ailing brother, trying to talk him into going to his doctor. But his brother, Jack, reminds Campbell this was expected to happen. His doctors predicted he’d die before he reached forty due to his cystic fibrosis. So instead of lingering on the topic, Jack pushes Campbell into leaving him to his oxygen tube, as Campbell has a lecture he’s supposed to be presenting. Reluctantly, Campbell heed’s his brother’s advice.

Campbell’s lecture proves to be about genetics and mutation. He explains how just one gene can make an enormous difference between an ordinary, healthy life and a short, sickly one. Then he segues into comparisons of homo sapiens and the Neanderthal, explaining how the latter were genetically superior and yet homo sapiens became the dominant species. By communicating, working together, by building a network and walls and societies. All of which he uses to lead to his real point – mutants. The latest evolution of humanity, supposedly stronger and ‘superior,’ but he believes that humanity can once again overcome them if they “harness the power of science” and come together as a species.

*Present Day*

John, Marcos, Lorna, and Clarice hold a meeting with the Frosts to discuss their situation. Marcos makes it clear right off the bat that they’re still not friends and this alliance is temporary, which the sisters promise they’re aware of. They explain that they’ve found a way to shut down the Hound program, but they have to move quickly, as Campbell’s looking to go national – and he’s planning to start by attending the next day’s Humanity Today summit. A name Clarice, in particular, takes offense to.

When John tries to point out that security at such an event would be nigh impossible to breach, Esme argues that they’re basically out of time. She suggests they “grab Campbell” and use him for their needs, to which Clarice comments they’re supposed to be the good guys – not kidnappers. The Frosts stare her down and Esme asks if she’s come clean to her “new friends” about her criminal past. If they know about her “old friends.” The other Underground leaders give Clarice surprised and curious looks but Clarice looks away silently.

Caitlin and Reed are setting up their new/old beds, with Caitlin remarking how she feels conflicted about having returned to Atlanta. She’d been glad to leave but now a part of her feels equally glad to be back. Moments later John steps in, asking if Reed had any luck going through his father’s old research. He adds they’re headed up to Charlotte the next day to get Campbell and the research used to help create the Hound program might be useful in taking it down. Reed admits he couldn’t decipher much of the science in the books, but he and Caitlin agree to see if they can’t find more information somehow.

As John heads back upstairs Clarice catches up with him, to talk to him about what the Frosts said. He tells her not to worry, but she pushes, eventually getting him to stop and listen to her. She explains that a while ago she’d had trouble with some Purifiers, and been pretty angry about it. She found a group of mutants who were fighting back, unaware at the time that they were members of the Brotherhood. She insists she didn’t join them, and as soon as they asked her to take it too far she ditched, but when John demands to know why she didn’t tell them she argues that she wasn’t arrested for anything she did with the Brotherhood and that was all Sage had asked. She adds she didn’t come clean since because being with the Underground has been the first time she’s felt safe in a long time and she was afraid of losing it. Angry, John tells her he’d chased after her before because he’d thought she was one of them. But maybe he was wrong.

On a plane en route to the conference in Charlotte, Dr. Campbell receives a call from a Mr. Wong. Wong has bad news – he’s been going through the data they have of Otto Strucker’s research, certain that something they need must be within since Otto found a way to suppress Reed’s X-gene. But in doing so Wong has discovered a large portion of Otto’s research to be missing. Unpleased with this news, Campbell tells Wong in no uncertain terms they need this research, so if it’s missing, then it’s his responsibility to go and find it.

Marcos is packing when Lorna steps into their room, saying she wants to talk about the Frosts. He’s still solidly against working with them, which she knows, but she takes his hand and tells him they don’t have to pretend to be one big happy family with them. They are the family. And the Frosts aren’t going to get between them. Marcos relaxes at her words and the smile on her face, and reassures her he’ll go along with the plan – for her.

Esme, Phoebe, and Sophie bring the others to their ‘safehouse’ in Charlotte on the morning of the Humanity Today summit. The house is a large manor, which surprises Marcos and the others. After teasing that they could add some mold and put some holes in the walls, Esme leads the way inside. She tells them they’re prepared for “a variety of interrogation methods,” and that their founders left them with more than a ‘few encouraging words,’ unlike the X-Men. John calls her out on referring to the Brotherhood, which Esme neither confirms nor denies.

Esme shows Lorna to her room, stopping to say she’s glad Lorna’s there, as Lorna seems to be the only one who really understands what’s at stake. She singles out Marcos as being “concerned” about the situation, but not comprehensive of it. Lorna tries to get her to stop, but she pushes it until Lorna finally yells at her to “Stop talking about my friends!” Her powers flare and the metal-framed bed half-crumbles and goes sliding across the room, knocking down a couple of pictures and into the dresser. Esme compliments her improvement, stating she can see Lorna’s father in her.

At the summit, the politicians and businessmen socialize before the conference begins. Dr. Campbell spots Senator Montez and makes a point to approach him, knowing Montez has long held a firm anti-mutant stance. They greet each other familiarly and Montez extends his condolences regarding the recent tragedy at Trask Industries. Campbell thanks him and says the mutants wouldn’t have attacked if they didn’t feel threatened. He adds he’s glad to be attending the summit, as it’s nice to among people who ‘see the problem clearly.’ Then he says he’d love to talk to the Senator about expanding their efforts, prompting the Senator’s assistant to jump in, saying no, that they’d declined such an offer previously. Campbell acknowledges this but says they’ve made a few discoveries since then and “the Senator’s in a unique position to help our cause.” He believes that’s worth renegotiating the idea of funding, and Montez seems interested, so he agrees to talk with him.

Waiting just out of sight of a roadside, Marcos, Lorna, and John discuss the less than fine particulars of their way into the summit. Kidnapping and bullying a wealthy mutant-hater into getting them inside. A short distance away, Clarice and Esme wait inside one of the Frost’s SUVs, keeping an eye out for their ‘guest.’ Esme passes the time by asking if Clarice is still upset with her. Clarice promises that if Esme’s poking around inside her mind she’ll teleport Esme in front of a moving truck, but Esme brushes her off, saying she’s well connected and people talk. She adds that her only point was they have things in common.

Clarice kicks the SUV into gear when their target comes into view and drives across the road, forcing the smaller car to stop or crash headfirst into her. The driver of the car stares at Clarice for a long moment before looking around, seeing John, Lorna, and Marcos moments before Lorna pierces his driver’s front tire with three daggers. The trio walk up and the man locks the door, hoping to keep them out. John rips the door off its hinges while Marcos holds his hands up, half shielded, in warning. The man surrenders.

Campbell gets his sit-down with Senator Montez and shows him a video of the two scientifically-conjoined Hounds tearing apart the Fairburn station. Montez admits the video is impressive. Campbell says they’re ready to expand immediately, all they need is the proper backing. That he’s heading to DC after the summit and, he confesses, he simply can’t do it by himself. Montez acknowledges Trask’s past support, but cautions they also have to be careful with public opinion. Going too reckless sometimes backfires. His assistant says ‘getting tough’ on mutants polls well, but ‘these types of things’ also require caution. Campbell says this is different than previous trials like the early days of the Sentinel Robot program. This particular test resulted in thirty-seven mutants captured, zero Sentinel Service agents harmed. When the Senator expresses continued hesitation, Campbell steps it up, saying if he wants to be more than just a Georgian Senator it couldn’t hurt to be “the man who won the war for humanity’s future.”

Back at the manor-turned-safehouse, while one Frost stands guard outside, the other two are inside with their unwilling guest, Franklin Bennet. Using their telepathy, they have him make a quick call to the summit to make a change to his guard detail. Meanwhile, Marcos and John are changing into perfectly fitted guard uniforms. Marcos jokes that he’d have bought John a nice shirt a long time ago if he’d known that was what it took to convince him of something. But John says if someone’s going to offer him this kind of help to bring down the people responsible for killing Pulse and Sonia then he’ll take it. Suspicious or not. Marcos says he doesn’t like it and John tells him when he was in Afghanistan he had to work with a lot of people he didn’t like. But that was the job. “Eyes on the prize.”

Clarice and Lorna are changing into their own uniforms in Lorna’s room, commenting on how the uniforms don’t help if anyone sees Clarice’s eyes, Lorna’s hair or that “three of [them] are the same person.” Noticing the horribly bent bedframe, Clarice asks if the Frosts pissed Lorna off, guessing they tried the ‘we’re not so different’ thing. And Lorna says they might have a point. That the Frosts think they know something about her birth father, and him having been a part of all this. But Clarice tells her that doesn’t matter. She says she’s got her share of villainous mutants in her family tree, and it took her a while to learn that doesn’t make her a villain, too. Her DNA doesn’t control her. Lorna listens silently and Clarice adds she hopes Lorna learns that for herself faster than she did.

Off the phone now, Bennet threatens the Frosts, telling them they’ll be stomped out like cockroaches. They don’t deserve to breathe the same air as humans. Angered by his hatred, the Frosts decide to give him what he wants and force him to stop breathing. Moments later Clarice stomps into the room, followed by the others, grabs Esme by the arm and snaps that torturing a creep like him won’t make their job any easier. She demands they stop, so Esme signals her sister to release his mind, and Bennet takes in a desperate gasp of air.

The summit has officially begun and Senator Montez takes the stage with a choir singing in the background. Outside, Esme drives the lead car with Franklin Bennet beside her, a sister in the backseat keeping him cooperative, as they check in. At the podium now, Montez declares that he loves the energy of the Humanity Today summit; that it’s the birthplace of great ideas, ideas needed to take their country back. He preaches that since 7/15 humans have been living in fear while mutants hide behind the Constitution, but the Constitution is a human document. “Written by humans, for humans.” Montez goes on to say it’s time to stop making empty promises, to stop “being politically correct” where mutants are concerned. So he plans to introduce new legislation to stop the mutants from destroying their way of life. This declaration meets with a vigorous round of applause. He claims his bill will flush out mutants everywhere. Despite whatever power they may have or where they may try to hide. Because humanity is tired of living ‘under siege.’

Clarice finds John waiting behind the SUVs, which are backed together in a deliberate pattern to shield them from view. She says she can get them in through a specific balcony, at which point it’ll be on him to get them to Campbell. John cuts her off, saying he needs to say something to her before they go. He tells her what she did by stopping the Frosts from torturing Bennet was the right call, and maybe he was too hard on her before. She doesn’t think he was, she was the one who was dishonest. But he persists, saying really what he means is to say he was wrong and she is one of them. She says nothing, but neither can look away and after a moment Clarice grabs him by the neck and kisses him. John responds without hesitation. When she pulls away she whispers “that felt real.”

Ge12-Kiss

The moment is interrupted when Marcos walks around the other SUV, ready to go, but takes a beat as he clearly realizes what he’s walked in on. But they have a job to do, so Clarice opens a portal into the summit. Lorna and Esme remain waiting by the vehicles as the trio jump into the portal, arriving on the aforementioned balcony and slipping quietly into the building.

Minutes later, now seated again in the car, Esme recognizes that Montez’s speech is done and confirms that her sisters have dumped Bennet away from the scene, gagged and unconscious so as not to reveal them prematurely. Lorna observes how the crowd outside looks so happy, to which Esme bitterly comments “nothing brings people together like hate.” With nothing else to say, Lorna uses her power to cut off all electronic and satellite signals in the area.

Inside the building, Clarice checks her phone to confirm that Lorna’s made her move, and John guides them to the precise elevator Campbell’s riding in. He warns there’re also a handful of guards in a suite down the hall. The men take up position beside the elevator doors while Clarice hangs back, hopefully out of the line of fire, but nearby for a quick getaway. The elevator doors slide open and Campbell leads the way out, in the opposite direction. Marcos casually calls his name to get the group to turn around. He promptly blinds them all, expecting the move to delay everyone so John can make quick, easy work of the guards.

But one of the guards is Campbell’s Hound, who attacks Marcos by making him sick with something, dropping him to his knees. John easily dispatches the human guards, then tosses aside the Hound to save Marcos. In the meantime, Campbell has regained his composure enough to find one of the guard’s discarded guns, and the second elevator has opened – releasing the choir children. Campbell quickly scoops one child up, claiming to want to usher them to safety, but subtly holding the one in his arms at gunpoint in warning to John and Marcos. With no other choice, they’re forced to let him go. A heartbeat later the guards from the other suite come running into the hall. Clarice calls out as the men open fire. John shouts for her to get down as Marcos jumps to the side floor of the hall for cover. Clarice spins, but she’s in the middle of the hall. John grabs her and holds her tight against him, shielding her with his body as his jacket is shot to shreds.

*Lakeview Mental Hospital, Four Years Ago*

Lorna lies on a standard-issue bed, using her power to aimless spin around a metal disc, crimson tinged with purple and ridged around the edges in a vague helmet shape, when someone knocks at the door. She immediately catches it before the nurse pokes her head in, saying she has a visitor. The nurse asks what she’s holding and she brushes it off as a gift she received a while back from a friend of her mom’s. With an acknowledging “that’s nice,” the nurse turns and allows the visitor entrance. A woman in a comfortable business suit walks in and the nurse leaves.

The woman introduces herself as Evangeline, and when Lorna remains silent she goes on to explain she only just recently learned of Lorna’s circumstance. Evangeline is an attorney, which piques Lorna’s interest. Evangeline reveals that Lorna was involved in an anti-Purifier protest which became violent and Lorna received psychiatric care as an alternative to jail due to her bipolar disorder. Lorna sarcastically brushes it off until Evangeline adds that Lorna would be in a maximum security prison if the judge knew the truth behind how half a dozen anti-mutant protestors had really fallen off that bridge. This gets Lorna’s attention and Evangeline tells her that ‘they’ need people like her – people who will fight back. Lorna asks about this ‘we’, to which Evangeline replies, “You’ve heard of the X-Men?”

Lorna scoffs because the X-Men have been conveniently absent since the world ‘went to hell.’ Evangeline states they’ve built a network to help mutants, but the network needs leaders. Implying Lorna should be one of those leaders. Lorna finds this funny, as they’re having this conversation in a mental hospital. So Evangeline tells Lorna that everyone has ‘demons’ inside them, and to prove her point, she rolls up her sleeve and transforms part of her arm into a dragon’s arm.

*Present Day*

Esme and Lorna remain waiting beside the SUVs, watching as security details start arriving at the summit. Esme becomes increasingly paranoid as Lorna spots the portal open up behind them. Marcos, Clarice, and John leap clear … without Campbell. Esme immediately demands to know where he is, why they don’t have him. Marcos explains they couldn’t get to him because he shielded himself behind a group of children. Esme responds with a heartless “So what?” Clarice returns, “So kids,” in an effort to make their point as John grabs Esme to turn her toward the SUVs, reminding her that their mission is blown and they have to go. Sentinel Services has arrived. They tear out of the parking lot just as Sentinel Services spots them, resulting in a short-lived chase. Once they’re on a deserted two-lane road Lorna takes advantage of the sunroof to stand, grab hold of a power pole, and the metal fire hydrant at its base, and throw the pole to the ground. With the hydrant tossed aside and water shooting high into the sky, live wires dancing across the road, the pursuit is over.

Back at the summit, Montez finds Campbell, shocked to hear there was a mutant attack at the Humanity Today summit. Campbell assures him the threat has been neutralized for the moment. He adds urgently that this is their best opportunity to strike at their enemies and they should hurry to the airport to move forward with their plan.

On the day before the summit, while the leaders of the Underground are preparing for the mission, Lauren finds Andy isolating himself in the vault room. He’s re-reading the book containing information about their great-grandfather and his twin sister, which bothers Lauren, as he’s apparently read it several times. He brushes off her disapproval, asking why she isn’t with Wes, and she tells him Wes has departed for Augusta already. Andy asks if she wants to read the book and Lauren easily declines, assuring him she knows all she needs to about their psycho predecessors.

Andy takes offense, insisting they weren’t psychos and the book was written by humans who were highly biased against them. He argues the twins were working on putting together a “place for mutants,” but Lauren points out they are literally in one of those. Andy disagrees, saying where they are currently is just a place to hide. Lauren argues the Underground is more than a place to hide, they fight to help mutants and get them to better, safer places and their ancestors were nothing but murderers. He tries to liken their relatives to George Washington, saying he wasn’t considered a murderer, and when Lauren snaps that they’re not living some “war fantasy” he shrugs her off. Instead, he comments about how everyone’s bugged out about the Frosts and warning bells go off in Lauren’s head. She tells him they’re liars but he looks her square in the eyes and suggests perhaps they’re the only ones who aren’t. Frustrated, Lauren stalks away, leaving Andy to his book.

Caitlin’s walking through one of the sitting rooms in the station where a group of mutants, including the getaway driver with the invisibility power, Fade, are talking. As she passes Fade breaks conversation to loudly call “Great, look who’s back.” Caitlin stops and turns to him, taken aback by his attitude, and he tells her that more than a few of them weren’t sorry to see them go when they left for Fairburn. She reminds him they’re on the same side and he tells her plainly he doesn’t believe her. With nothing else to say, she walks away.

Caitlin finds Reed and Sage in the computer room, going over Otto’s old information again. Reed admits they haven’t found much, and Sage adds they have another problem, too. They’re not the only ones looking. She’s found records indicating Trask has reached out to about everyone Otto ever worked with, and for some reason, they’re even sending someone out to a random insurance company in Decatur. The same insurance company where Reed’s mom works.

Lauren and Andy are watering a multi-tiered row of plants and Lauren points out that Andy missed one. He’s upset because the team for Charlotte has departed to grab Campbell and he feels they should be a part of that. He knows Campbell got the idea to join his Hounds together with that machine because of him and Lauren and he seems to think they should be involved in stopping him. Lauren asks what his plan would be, to go out and attack people? She argues they’re part of the team in the Underground, too. Implying they’re where they’re supposed to be for the time being. But the conversation is interrupted when their parents rush up, declaring Sentinel Services and Trask Industries are sending men to Reed’s mom and she’s in danger. They need to get to her before the enemy does.

At Southern Worldwide Insurance in Decatur, Reed and Caitlin leave Andy and Lauren with the old SUV outside as lookouts while they head into the building in an attempt to find Reed’s mom, Ellen. They get into the building, following vague memories since Reed hasn’t visited her at work in a while, and Reed confesses he’s nervous after what happened when he went to see his dad. A moment later they’re stopped in the hall by a random employee who thinks he recognizes them, and while he tries to place their identities Caitlin jumps in, making up random names and a false story. The employee awkwardly walks away with a nod.

They finally make it to Ellen’s office, finding it empty, before hearing a familiar voice shouting from down the hall in frustration about unwashed dishes. Reed and Caitlin make their way to her, verifying her safety, before the trio return to her office to talk in private. Ellen asks about Lauren and Andy, still a bit tongue-tied in her shock at seeing them for the first time in months, and Caitlin promises they’re fine.

Outside, Andy and Lauren are waiting by the front of the truck, doing their best to keep their eyes on both possible entrances. Lauren notices Andy cracking his knuckles and asks what he’s doing, so Andy explains he’s just getting ready for when Sentinel Services shows. She tries to remind him they’d just make it worse by fighting, but he cuts her off, saying Sentinel Services would be the ones in trouble if it turned into a fight. Shocked at his words, Lauren tells him calmly they need to be responsible with their power; they don’t want people to be afraid of them. But Andy thinks they should be scared. That if they were scared they might show a little more respect.

Back inside, Ellen’s heard some of what Reed and Caitlin have to say and she doesn’t quite get it. She insists she couldn’t possibly know a thing about Otto’s research, she hasn’t even seen him in years. Reed tells her it doesn’t matter, she just needs to come with them to be safe. Ellen tries to argue she’s got work to do, Caitlin points out that as crazy as it is the people they’re running from aren’t reasonable, and Ellen finally realizes what they’re really saying. They’re saying she needs to abandon everything. She starts to decline, so Reed cuts in, to emphasize how serious it is, telling her they already went after Otto. And killed him.

Ellen struggles with absorbing the fact that her ex-husband was a mutant and she had absolutely no idea. So Reed explains about the serum Otto used on him, to keep Reed from developing his own mutant abilities. He tells her that’s likely what Sentinel Services is looking for, and Ellen has no idea what or where it is. But time’s running out and Caitlin says they really need to finish the conversation somewhere else as Reed’s phone begins to ring. It’s Lauren – Sentinel Services has arrived.

Two Sentinel Services agents are approaching while Lauren and Andy crouch behind the front of the getaway vehicle. Lauren suggests they go to the back of the building and look for a fire alarm to quickly evacuate the building. It would be the safest way of escape. Andy figures it’d only really be safer for the Sentinel Services guys when all they have to do is keep them from getting inside. He stands up, claiming he’s defending their family and walks forward.

The agents immediately recognize Andy and pull a gun on him. The forward agent demands he put his hands in the air and Andy stops, slowly raising his hands as if he’s complying. Behind him, Lauren watches with bated breath. Then Andy swings his hands forward and the agents go flying backward, crashing hard onto the asphalt. Andy advances, demanding the agents leave them alone, and Lauren calls out to him to stop. He argues they’re still armed. So she stops him with her shield. Furious, he spins back around, glares at her for a beat, and throws his arms out in an attack. She sees it coming and throws another force field up to defend herself. The powers meet in the middle, colliding and diffusing in a bright shockwave of power that sends both siblings flying backward. Moments later their parents and grandmother come out of the building, the family rushes into the truck and tears out of the parking lot.

Once they’ve ditched any possible pursuers, the Struckers stop at an out of the way gas station and Reed calls the Underground to let them know they have to dump the car and need a pickup. Ellen admits to Caitlin and Reed she’s feeling overwhelmed and apologizes to Reed because she really can’t help him with what he needs. She doesn’t have the first clue where Otto may have had any secret lab. Reed suggests maybe it wasn’t a lab, but perhaps a person, and this triggers a memory in Ellen. She tells them about a woman Otto used to keep company with, whom Ellen thought for a while he’d been having an affair with, by the name of Madeline Risman. She’d even met Madeline once when Madeline came to the house to meet Reed. Ellen becomes overwhelmed with guilt, realizing her own husband was making her son sick and she never knew.

After gathering herself, Ellen, Reed, and Caitlin approach the siblings, who’ve been waiting quietly several yards away. Not speaking to each other. But they relax as the family approaches and Andy asks if Ellen is coming with them to the Underground. Reed says yes, as she has to lay low, and Lauren explains to her grandmother what the Underground is. Ellen thanks her, but tells Reed she’s not coming. She knows she can’t go home, but she’s got a friend out of town and plenty of cash to get her there. She doesn’t want to slow them down and she’s not built for being on the run. Misunderstanding her grandmother’s reason, Lauren cries a little as she says that despite that they’re mutants, they’re still the same people. Ellen gives her a hug and says no, “you’re so much more.”

Ge12-Departure

Safely back at the Underground station, Sage tells Reed they’re lucky to have gotten to Ellen when they did. Not only was a separate team dispatched to Ellen’s house, but it seems everyone who’s ever so much as met Otto Strucker is being visited by Sentinel Services. So Reed tells her about the researcher his mom mentioned in order for them to focus their own search strictly on her.

Upstairs, Caitlin confronts Lauren and Andy on what’s going on between them. She saw them both splayed on the ground in the insurance parking lot and she’s noticed they’re not speaking to each other now. Andy calls it a disagreement. Lauren’s not willing to brush it off, so she says no, he attacked the Sentinel Services agents and almost killed one of them. Andy’s defense is the word ‘almost.’ Caitlin interrupts their argument, saying they need to be sticking together as a family right now, and Andy returns that Lauren’s the one who needs to hear the lecture, not him. When Caitlin asks what he means he declares that he seems to be the only one who’s “actually proud to be a Von Strucker,” and walks away. After a moment, Caitlin tells Lauren this can be worked out, but Lauren vehemently disagrees. She looks her mother straight in the eye and tells her Andy has changed; he isn’t the same person anymore.

~X-roads~

Sage and Shatter give the Struckers the bad news about Charlotte; from what they’ve picked up on the news and police reports, it didn’t go their way. Campbell escaped and there’s been no word from John or the others. Andy and Lauren are disheartened by this, and Andy suggests they go to help. But Charlotte is two states over. They wouldn’t get there in time to be of any use. Like it or not, all they can do is stay, wait, and hold the fort. Andy doesn’t like that idea. Lauren reminds him there are people who need protecting where they are and they can’t just go running off whenever they get upset. Andy thinks they should be upset, as their friends might not be coming back.

The parents step in, asking them not to fight, reminding them they need to be strong. Andy insists he’s the one who wants to be strong. Lauren argues he means he wants to be the Von Struckers. She accuses him of sounding like the Frosts, and he declares “the humans are coming after us!” Both their parents are startled by this exclamation, and when Reed challenges him by asking if they’re ‘coming after’ him, Andy stumbles before muttering that they understood his meaning and shouldering his way out of the room.

Over at Southern Worldwide Insurance, Sentinel Services has set up under the command of Agent Turner. Another agent explains the scene to Turner, walking him through Andy’s attack on the agents earlier. Turner declares the family didn’t make as clean a getaway as they thought, taking the other agent to a large van and revealing a new pair of chemically joined Hounds. One of whom is clairvoyant, the other is able to track organic molecules. The Hounds step from the van and after a minute pick up the trail of the Struckers’ rushed flight from the scene.

Ge12-Hounds

That evening Caitlin finds Andy shoving some of his things into a duffel bag and asks what he’s doing, so he tells her he’s going to crash with a couple of the guys upstairs. She accuses him of leaving and he swears it’s not what she’s thinking, he just wants some space for the night. Andy goes up to the pair he mentioned and gets their permission to crash in their space with them. They talk briefly about the situation with Dr. Campbell and Andy remarks how this is the type of situation Polaris has been training them for as Lauren walks up.

She sits down beside him, trying to have a peaceful conversation, saying she knows what happened at the lab has him shaken. He accuses her of not having been changed by it and she says watching all those people die in front of her has haunted her ever since, but they need to focus on the problem still in front of them. She reminds him of some of the positive things they’ve accomplished, like helping to rescue Reed and Lorna from the prison transport, and helping to keep Trader alive after he was shot. Andy agrees those things felt good, but says “we’re not little kids playing X-Men anymore,” what they’re doing is dangerous and real and they can stop it. Taken aback, Lauren clarifies he means ‘destroy,’ as opposed to stop. Instead of agreeing with her, he tells her she’s the one who started the mess by lying about her powers and nearly getting their entire family killed. And why would she want to do that again? Hurt by his words, Lauren gets up and leaves.

Agent Turner calls to check in with Director Wolcott, letting him know about his situation and how it may be connected to the Underground. Wolcott informs him of the attack on the summit and instructs him to get the mutants found. As soon as Turner’s off the phone his new partner tells him they’ve got two trails; grandma heading to the highway, the rest of the Struckers leaving the city proper. Turner decides to leave grandma to the local police and have his people focus on the Struckers in hopes that the chase will take him to the Underground headquarters.

Turner’s convoy comes to a stop in the middle of a small country road, as the Hounds have indicated the trail shifts into the woods. The woods nearest them being a toxic waste contamination site. As soon as Turner hears this he knows they’ve found the spot. While the team gears up he checks in with Wolcott, who’s pleased with the news of possibly having found the Underground’s headquarters. He confirms that Turner still has the assault team from Fairburn and authorizes Turner to use any force he requires to “get it done.”

The mutant on lookout duty at headquarters spots the Sentinel Services crew with his binoculars and immediately hits them with his fear power. Everyone becomes uneasy, the scientist helping to control the Hounds tells Turner they should leave, muttering something about contamination as the men around them stumble. Turner hears whispers of his daughter calling to him. After a moment he gathers himself, shouting at his men to fight it off because they’re going in. The mutant on lookout duty, realizing he’s not stopping them, radios in their only warning.

As soon as Shatter receives the warning he races through the main rooms, shouting for everyone to evacuate “right the hell now!” Caitlin catches him and he explains to her that Sentinel Services has found them. They have to abandon the base. Around them, everyone starts to scramble as Lauren runs up to her mother, unsure if the news is true. Caitlin tells her it is and to go find her brother. Lauren runs off and Caitlin catches Fade, remembering that he drives the refugees to safety sometimes. She orders him to help her get the children to safety first so he can hide them in the first bus. He asks who put her in charge and she snaps that she doesn’t care how much he hates her, for the moment their priority is the children’s safety. He gives no further argument.

Across the hall from them, Sage is tearing down their computer network, throwing portable devices into a bucket and calling for everyone to give up their phones and other communication tech. She scrambles the computers and servers and sets fire to the devices in the bucket. Lauren passes dozens of people scurrying to pack their minimal belongings before finding Andy, who’s confused as to what’s going on. She tells him about Sentinel Services and he asks if they’re going to fight now that their home is under attack. Lauren tells him firmly that their only job is to do whatever they have to do to protect their people.

Caitlin helps rush the last few children, and the Underground’s dog, into the van. Fade gets the boy settled, confirms with her the rally point in Nashville station, and takes a moment to wish her luck. The van goes invisible just as Reed comes racing into view, screaming for everyone to get inside – Sentinel Services has breached the property. There’s no more time.

Inside, Reed has a super-strong mutant place massive concrete blocks in front of the entrance to barricade it as a stalling tactic. While he’s placing the last one Caitlin pulls him aside, telling him they need to figure out a way to get the remaining mutants out of the building to save them from being turned into Hounds. Knowing all the existing exits will be covered, Caitlin suggests they make a new one. They realize vault room is partially underground, Sentinel Services would have no reason to guard it. But they’d have to find a way through the wall to dig out first. So Reed calls everyone’s attention, asking them all to work together. Caitlin instructs anyone who’s been in combat training to come up to the entry-level and asks everyone else to join her down in the vault. As they scramble, Sentinel Services can be heard on the loudspeaker calling for their immediate surrender.

Caitlin organizes the group in the vault room. They clear the furniture out of the way as the strong mutant from earlier begins removing sections of lockboxes from the back wall. Section after section is handed off to groups of helpers to be set aside, out of the way, until there’s a large enough space for people to fit through. Revealing a concrete, reinforced wall. Just a couple of hits assures them there’s no way he can make it through, so Caitlin calls in Shatter for assistance. Shatter uses his power, simultaneously transforming the outside of the dull gray wall into a dark, fragile-looking black crystalline surface. The super-strong mutant tries again with significantly improved results.

Upstairs, Reed directs the few combat-trained mutants in the best hope they have of stalling Sentinel Services. He knows they’ll come from the front based on their direction, so he has mutants named Skylar and Naya set up at one window and Andy and Lauren on the opposite window. Framing the front entrance. As they approach their designation Lauren reminds her brother they’re fighting to save the headquarters, and he tells her they should focus on their own battles. Through the windows, Reed at a window between the pairs with a shotgun, they watch as Sentinel Services advances behind the cover of an armored truck.

As in position as they can get, Agent Turner and his new partner send in the advance team with riot shields. Unaware they’re being watched through the broken blinds. As soon as the breach team begins to move to the stairs, Reed opens fire and calls for the attack. Naya and Skylar launch their powers, one of which involves a massive force of water, at a pair of agents. Lauren shields the response fire as Andy throws back another section of the squad. Behind the truck, Turner calls in for more reinforcements, watching his men get thrown back helplessly. When most of them are down he orders them to fall back. Inside, Caitlin and the others are working as quickly and efficiently as possible to make their way through the wall, well aware the fighting has started.

After seeing what they’re up against, Turner has both sets of Hounds prepped to lead the charge. His partner starts to ask if they’re trying to take prisoners and Turner says no, they’re ending things for good this time. Those were their orders.

In the vault room, everyone’s lined up to pass along the large chunks of earth and reinforced concrete in an effort to maximize efficiency. With one more piece out of the way, some dirt crumbles and daylight pierces through. They’re close. Caitlin slips from the line to share the good news with Reed and see how their situation is, which Reed tells her may be bleak. As he speaks the Hounds from Fairburn launch their first strike. He shouts for the others to fight back, and they manage to again toss aside the Swat team surrounding the Hounds, but the Hounds themselves push forward. Reed orders everyone to flee downstairs; escape is now their only option.

As the Hounds push at their blockaded entrance, the Struckers rejoin the rest of the refugees in the vault room. Moments later the strong mutant comes out of the tunnel with the final, large piece, exclaiming that they’ve finally broken through. Shatter immediately takes charge, giving the desperate group directions to avoid being seen as they scramble into the tunnel. Only then, as the building shakes, do Caitlin and Reed realize that once Sentinel Services breaches the building it won’t take them long to figure out where they’ve gone. This escape only grants them a short reprieve. Andy and Lauren exchange a look of understanding and Lauren tells her parents there’s another way. She and her brother can stay behind and keep Sentinel Services from finding their escape route by destroying the building – which will mean killing everyone else inside.

Both pairs of Hounds finally make it into the building, with Turner in their ears telling them to end any resistance they may find. The Fairburn team takes the lead down the stairs, quickly encountering the Strucker siblings who’ve just joined hands. The Hounds see them and charge, but it’s too late. Andy and Lauren let loose, blowing both pairs away before their power expands outward, enveloping the entire building. Agent Turner orders his men to fall back as he and his partner duck for cover. The fleeing refugees stop, briefly, and stare in horror and awe before remembering the urgency of the situation. The Atlanta station is overcome by the Struckers’ power, cracking and crumbling, until it glows so brightly everything goes white.

Ge13-Headquarters

Esme and the others manage to safely return to their hideout in Charlotte after their failed attempt to grab Campbell at the summit. While Phoebe, Sophie, and Lorna head inside Esme turns around and resumes yelling at Marcos, Clarice, and John about screwing up the mission. She doesn’t care that Campbell was hiding behind children, she sees only that they’ve just given the humans even more of a reason to want to expand the Hound program.

Sitting alone, Lorna finds herself thinking over her relationship with Marcos. Their first kiss, the time she got arrested for him, the conversations they’ve had – all of it. Marcos comes into the room, declaring that the Frosts are checking the airports in an attempt to find Campbell, but he thinks it’d be better to leave at this point and do things their own way. Lorna asks him what if there is no other way, no other chance to stop what’s coming. She’s bothered, shaken, after having witnessed so many seemingly normal people so focused on hatred – hatred of mutants. And enjoying it. Marcos admits he’s worried about her, that she’s been seeming off lately, but she insists her behavior has nothing to do with her disorder. She tells him she thought their baby would have a better chance than they did, get to grow up in a better world. When he says they are working on building one, but they have to “have faith,” she smiles and says she’s always loved that about him. They embrace, but when he’s not looking her smile fades away.

A little later, Lorna’s made her way outside and is rearming her leg sheath when Esme finds her. Esme claims she knows Lorna has realized the others don’t see the real danger in the situation. But that Lorna recognizes someone needs to make some hard choices. Esme starts to say something about Lorna’s father again, but Lorna scoffs at the tired argument, saying she has nothing to do with him or the Brotherhood. So Esme reminds her of her psychic ability, referencing the medallion Lorna’s father gave her on her thirteenth birthday, and says he only ever wanted her to be proud of who she is.

John attempts to contact headquarters with no luck. Clarice notices this after his second try and asks him about it. He explains that no one answered the first time, and nothing even rang the second. Marcos comes running downstairs, concerned because he can’t find Lorna. John takes a moment to look for her but he can’t track her, nor can he locate two of the Frosts. So they go to the remaining sister to find out what’s going on. She tells them the three have gone to make sure Campbell, and Senator Montez, never make it to DC. It’s become an assassination mission. John loses his temper and loudly reminds Frost this isn’t how it’s supposed to be; they can’t just start killing. That will only make things worse for everyone. Frost attempts to argue with him but Marcos steps in, furious, and done with listening to them. He tells her they’re going to get Lorna. He lifts his barely covered, glowing hands and threatens to kill her if her eyes go blue.

Esme and her remaining sister are taking Lorna to the small airfield Campbell’s scheduled to fly out of, assuring her actions are honorable. Esme goes so far as to say she believes Marcos and the others will come around eventually, once they realize this is a battle for survival. But Lorna knows they’re wrong. She knows how important the Underground is to them. The other sister tells her they’re trying to rebuild the Hellfire Club for similar reasons, to protect mutants.

On their way to try and stop Lorna from becoming an assassin, Marcos is freaking out. He blames himself for not seeing this coming. John tries to calm him down but Marcos argues she’s been off ever since she escaped the prison convoy. Acknowledging that Lorna struggles sometimes, John asks if perhaps this could be due to her bipolar disorder. Clarice answers for him, having known others with the same illness and assuring them this is not “one of the symptoms.” Reluctantly, Marcos confirms that he believes Lorna is fully aware of what she’s doing.

At the airfield now, the Frosts ask one more time if Lorna’s positive she’s up for the task at hand. Especially with her friends on the way, undoubtedly intending to stop her. Lorna promises she can handle it and has them leave, needing to convince Marcos and the others she’s doing what she’s doing of her own free will. Meanwhile, Dr. Campbell has secured a Trask Industries jet for himself and Senator Montez. He thanks Montez for agreeing to move forward with him, both agreeing the priority needs to be getting mutants off the streets. Curious, Montez inquires as to how Campbell became involved in this. So Campbell tells him how his brother suffered at the hands of a different genetic disease, cystic fibrosis, and now he feels it’s his duty to save humanity from such diseases.

When Marcos and the others arrive Lorna uses her power to stop their car prematurely. She asks them to stay back, telling them she doesn’t want to talk, she just has to do this. When they refuse she throws a curved row of barbed wire in their path. Clarice tries to skip the barbed wire by using a portal, so Lorna flicks it into her, knocking Clarice back a step. Lorna tells her not to get ‘clever,’ her tone apologetic. Marcos looks at her with pained disappointment.

In the plane, and unaware of the nearby threat, Montez cautions Campbell that when they get to DC they’ll still need to be careful. Some states still support the idea of mutant rights. Campbell says that’s why he came to Montez, and promises to remember him during the upcoming Presidential Primaries.

Marcos pleads with Lorna to stop before it’s too late, arguing there are innocent people on the plane. He reminds her of 7/15, and how everything just got worse. She only sees the innocent people on their side who stand to die if she doesn’t stop Campbell while she has the opportunity. John reminds her she’s not a killer and she gives him an odd look. She adds “the X-Men made a mistake” about choosing her for the Underground. Desperate, Marcos calls to her, saying he only cares about his family – not the X-Men, not the Brotherhood, not anything else. She agrees with him, but she’s done hiding. He doesn’t want their kid to grow up in the world as it is, or as it will be if things get worse. She wants to make a new world.

Ge13-Choice

Lorna turns her back to them, ignoring the rest of Marcos’ cries, and as the plane flies overhead she grabs hold of it with her power and, with a pained cry, rips the engines off. Mixed emotions cross her face as the flightless plane begins its uncontrolled descent out of sight. Behind her the others watch, until one of the engines crashes just beyond them, sending them all flying into the dirt. When Marcos is finally able to look up, still dazed, Lorna’s gone.

In Nashville, everyone finally reunites at the Mutant Way Station. Sage catches John, Marcos, and Clarice up with what happened in Atlanta. Everyone managed to survive thanks to Andy and Lauren, but headquarters is completely gone. Marcos questions that description, but she repeats it, specifying that no one got out except the Strucker siblings. It’s a heavy blow. Clarice pulls John into a hug and Marcos asks Sage if she’s heard from Lorna, but she hasn’t.

Caitlin brings some water over to Andy and Lauren, who are sitting quietly, as if in shock. She asks how they’re doing and Lauren admits she’s still coming to terms with it. Andy reminds her it was a matter of survival, and she assures him she knows. She just feels bad. Those Hounds didn’t choose to be there; what happened to them was Campbell’s fault. She recognizes how lucky she and Andy were to escape the lab as fast as they did. Reed joins them, acknowledging the day was hard, but reminding them how they all stepped up and rescued a lot of people. And that is something to be proud of. In the following moment, Lauren is the first to spot John and the others as they approach. Caitlin rushes to give Marcos a hug as Reed smiles and they step forward to greet the others.

The following morning, Agent Turner has come under fire. Director Wolcott is saving face in front of witnesses by accusing Turner of stepping out of line and recklessly endangering Sentinel Services agents, as well as government property, without authorization or backup. Turner reminds him he got his orders from him, which Wolcott boldly denies. He claims Turner’s orders were to apprehend mutant terrorists while assuring the security of his own men. Turner is shocked, but Wolcott presses on, confirming Senator Montez died in the crash and blaming that, too, on Turner as he was the agent who “failed to secure” the mutant responsible. Wolcott starts to say Turner could have avoided these tragedies, but the moment ‘tragedy’ leaves his lips Turner loses his temper. He finds his feet, startling everyone at the table, and declares that while they’re all covering their cowardly asses real men are out in the field dying, fighting for the survival of their species. Overwhelmed by the betrayal, Turner takes the badge off his belt and tells them to play their games without him from now on, because he quits.

Meanwhile, at the Nashville station, John and Marcos have gathered everyone for an important meeting. It’s time to think about where they go next, as many are lost and the station’s overrun. Marcos declares it’s time to rebuild. But people are disheartened. Sage argues that everything’s gone, they don’t have a starting point. Shatter believes Sentinel Services would only smash whatever they put together, anyway. Many others seem to agree. Caitlin doesn’t, she thinks it’s a reason to keep fighting. Fade speaks up, more politely accepting she’s trying to help, but pointing out she’s human. It’s not her fight. Reed argues he’s technically a mutant, his children are mutants, and they all owe it to the Underground, and to other mutant families, to be there when those families need them. But Sage speaks out again with a harsh perspective – that only since the Struckers arrived has the Underground lost half their stations. However Caitlin points out that the Hounds were coming regardless, it was just bad timing. Marcos cuts in as the crowd start to ponder Sage’s words, reminding everyone that they knew it would be hard. Knew it would require struggle and sacrifice.

Then Lorna speaks out over the crowd, declaring struggle not to be noble, and sacrifice to be another term for losing. The crowd shifts as everyone looks over, and Lorna walks up with Esme behind her. Lorna’s cleaned up her look with a more expensive variation on her favorite black and metal theme. Marcos asks her what’s going on and she tells everyone she’s there because the Underground is dying. Because she wants to build the world they’ve all dreamed of, where they don’t have to keep hiding. She refers to the baby as hers, and Marcos corrects her that it’s theirs. He tells her he can’t help her with this, and Esme assures him they’re not asking for his help. That the ones they’ve come for know who they are. Moments later Fade gets to his feet and walks over to the women. Joining them. Sage follows, pausing when John calls to her and apologizing, telling him it’s only about survival. The strong mutant who helped them escape the vault room joins next.

Andy watches for a moment, then he stands. He takes a step and Reed grabs him, holding him back. Caitlin tells him to stay put and yells at them that they are not taking her son. Andy tells his parents he’s going of his own free will. That rebuilding the Hellfire Club was something their family used to be a part of before, and they’re always talking about helping people. Caitlin tells him this choice isn’t helping anyone, but when Reed says he can’t let Andy go, Andy declares he’s not asking.

Lauren begs him, reminding him when they played X-Men as children it was because the X-Men were heroes. She pleads with him to stay with her. He tells her “the X-Men are gone.” He steps away from her, moving to join Lorna’s group, and Reed grabs his arm to stop him. Andy throws him back with his powers, knocking both his parents over and shaking the building. Once everyone’s gathered their feet they look at him in shock, the betrayal on the Strucker family’s faces evident. Andy apologizes, says he doesn’t want to hurt them, so please don’t stop him. He reaches Lorna’s side and their smaller group leaves with one final glance over their shoulder.

Ge13-Switchover


What Does This Mean for the Future?

The future of mutants could be changing, but for the worse or for the better will likely depend on perspective. With a United States Senator having been killed at the hands of a mutant – a mutant who’d already escaped custody once, no less – the US government will surely push harder in whatever way it can to wipe out mutants as a species. Humanity will be inundated with more hate- and fear-filled messages from the media and their leaders, making it even harder for refugee mutants to find sympathizers.

The Underground has been weakened, their network crippled, their trust fractured. Whether they’ll try rebuilding in the same manner or changing the system in response to everything that went down with Campbell’s Hounds, and the Hellfire Club, remains to be seen. Marcos’ faith, in particular, is being tested. But the Underground was founded on struggle and forged through the fire of hard times, so as long as those who remain stay together, they should survive. It’d be nice to see the Struckers really step up as additional leaders, showing real loyalty to the cause. But with Andy’s departure, Caitlin, in particular, might have a hard time participating in anything beyond helping the injured.

The Strucker family dynamic will be forced to change now that the youngest has turned his back on them. It’s quite likely both parents will be even more protective and coddling over Lauren as a result. Hopefully, Lauren will stay strong and manage to convince them of her own conviction. She has a lot of potential to be a strong figure in the Underground, she only needs to learn to push past the things that rattle her a little faster.

There’s no doubt the Hellfire Club will be a big player in the coming season. They’ve gained a few more allies and are still making moves under the guise of protecting their fellow mutants. Their true motives, however, run deeper than simply protecting their species. What they intend to do with Lorna, Andy, and the others – let alone how Lorna or Andy will react to it – remains to be seen. It’s possible Sage has defected to study the ‘enemy’ from the inside, but no guarantee. Lorna may be being groomed for the Inner Circle, as was originally hinted at from Esme’s earlier line about her being royalty.

As for Jace Turner, Dr. Campbell, and the Hound program, Senator Montez’s confirmed death doesn’t seem enough to safely assume their threats have been negated. Turner may have left the Sentinel Services, but his hatred of mutants rages on. He may join up with Purifiers, he may join up with another anti-mutant organization, or he may just become some sort of mutant-hating ‘vigilante.’ Campbell has not been confirmed dead and has enough resources to leave room for doubt. Regardless of Campbell’s survival, though, the Hounds still at Trask Industries remain in captivity and under Trask’s control. The threat, though possibly changed, remains.


Rating: 10/10

Final Thought: Wow! Where do I even start? The X-Men. The Brotherhood. The Hellfire Club. Even Purifiers, Hounds, and Trask Industries itself. This one really felt like a ‘What If?’ comic book on television and I loved it!

Giving Clarice a history with the Brotherhood is a great way to acknowledge her varied comic book self’s backstory and connection with Brotherhood Hall of Famer, Sabretooth. Having had her already choose to ditch them once she realized who they really were was also a good way to speak to the character foundation she had on her own, too. Another great and unexpected tie-in I completely flipped over was the brief introduction of the dragon-shifting mutant, Evangeline Whedon. She may have only had a small role in a flashback scene, but Lorna thus far is the only one we know for sure to have come face-to-face with an X-Man. Although I still suspect John may have early on, too, but that’s never been confirmed.

So what did happen to the X-Men? From what flashback-Lorna said it seems like they were around until about the time of the 7/15 incident, and Evangeline’s presence also confirms that. I’ve got a rough, mostly groundless theory based entirely on the patterns and behaviors of the characters we’ve met in the show so far. Given humanity’s – and the government’s – reaction to 7/15, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the government attacked the X-Men first. Before launching anything else, or announcing any program. They’d be afraid of retaliation by this public, powerful group of mutants who would undoubtedly be able to rally together both mutant and even human supporters. So they’d attack with whatever ‘just in case’ anti-mutant weapons or systems they had hidden away. Probably killing some, capturing some, and sending most scattered in the wind. It’s not a perfect theory, but it makes as much sense to me as anything else at this point.

As for the two-part season finale, though, we got more than enough to chew on for a while. Polaris switched sides, kind of. Or did she? I can already hear most of you rolling your eyes and going “yes, yes she did!” Hear me out. Those manipulative telepaths had been working her hard from the moment Esme first stepped foot in the Atlanta station. We didn’t see her give anyone else nightmares like that, and with the exception of Andy – another descendant of the Hellfire Club – we didn’t see any of them really pushing for a particular member of the Underground. They were targeting Lorna, and Andy a bit, too. But they wanted Lorna bad. Constantly pulling her aside to talk, make arguments for ‘what has to be done,’ reminding Lorna that she’s ‘the only one’ who ‘sees the truth,’ etc. Both literally and psychologically isolating her, little by little, from Marcos and the others. Did they do it all telepathically? No. But a good manipulator knows to use many methods instead of relying on just one. Do I think they didn’t use any telepathy? Also no. They definitely used some. Why did it take two telepaths to drive one willing woman to an airfield, leaving just one to monitor three bound-to-be-angry Underground leaders? I think the manipulation the Frosts used on Lorna was masterful to be sure, and I imagine it’ll take the majority of season 2 to get to the root of the problem. I only hope the entire situation doesn’t dredge up Lorna’s mental instability.

Now I will tackle the Struckers. If you’ve read my previous reviews you know my feelings on the parents, particularly of Caitlin. So the first thing I’m going to say here is that she finally impressed me a little – and I hope, I really hope, Andy’s betrayal doesn’t throw her all the way back to square one. (I also admit to fearing it will.) Rushing off to rescue grandma and prevent Sentinel Services from getting her was finally a family-oriented mission that made an equal amount of sense for the Underground’s sake. And while I’m thinking of it, I hope they don’t completely abandon the lead Ellen gave them about the woman Otto used to talk to. But wow, I’ve been waiting all season for Andy to go off the rails, I admit, I just didn’t see it coming quite like this! He’s demonstrated lack of concern for Sentinel Services before, as well as the desire to instill a little fear – as if it’s equivalent to respect – in those that would harm mutants. He’s been perpetually angry the majority of the season, and with all those factors I wholly expected he’d lash out eventually. I anticipated innocent bystanders or friends would get hurt and maybe, after some time and self-pity, he’d learn an important lesson. Turns out I was … minimally right.

Not caring about the Sentinel Services agents was one thing, but immediately attacking his sister in anger? Turning around and blaming her for everything that’s gone wrong? That boy needed a smack upside the head with his own powers. I appreciated seeing the siblings get over their disagreement in the face of a bigger, sincere threat and in the name of saving everyone else. And of course, it was about time they actually prove what they’d been saying about their power. That was the big move they needed to make, a fabulous show of unity and sacrifice in hard times. The meaning of which was lost on Andy, apparently, as he’s convinced his ancestors were saints – so convinced that he not only abandoned his sister, and his parents when provided the opportunity, but he used his power to keep them from stopping him.

Honestly, I think that was a great move. As a fan of the show, I’m not terribly broken up about it, because Andy wasn’t one of my favorites anyway. But it’s compelling to see how everything will change as a result. More interesting to me, though, is that this forces writers to explore the siblings as separate characters independent from each other. They have to use and develop their separate powers because they won’t be able to fall back on their inherited joint ability. I admit to having been worried their individual gifts would fall by the wayside and problems would be solved with ‘oh, let’s throw the Strucker kids at it!’ Now I’m sure at some point they’ll be reunited, or at least reunited enough to hold hands again, but hopefully this split will give them both distance and growth. Lauren’s got a good grasp on her power, but she tends to need a push to take a stand. She needs to find her feet and grow into herself – and her parents need to let her. Andy, though, he’s clumsy with his power. The finale was the first he’s felt like he had a decent amount of control with it, but I bet he can do better. If nothing else, I’d like to see the Hellfire Club help him learn real control.

I’m going to let my fangirl out for a moment now because she’s dying. Some of you may recall, a while ago, I spotted some chemistry between John and Clarice and predicted there’d be more done with that down the line. (I also immediately decided I liked them together because that’s how ‘shipping’ works.) It is at this point in time I just have to say: YES!! Finally. I know it was brief, but that kept it believable, and I’m okay with that. Especially since John had such a dopey grin on his face after that kiss. God, I loved that scene. And the brief look Marcos gave them when he realized what he interrupted, like, ‘I didn’t see that coming…’ So yes, of course, I spent the rest of their scenes looking for anything at all to add to my joy, and there were incredibly (well done) subtle glimpses of protective John in a few of them. Plus, you know, the big one with the bullets flying everywhere. It was all wonderful, and if I get one thing I want out of next season, please oh please let it be that they don’t break up! We don’t need episodes full of sap to have them be together; good writers know that. I’m sure someone can figure it out. There. I had to get that off my chest. (I’m so happy!)

Lastly, I mentioned above about hoping Sage is defecting to investigate the Hellfire Club from within. Some of you may be wondering why in the world I would be thinking that. Well, I’m getting it from the comic books, of course! They’d be doing things backward, but obviously, the show’s only taking inspiration from the stories we know and love, anyway. Originally Sage’s character was introduced as Tessa, loyal Black Rook (kind of like a personal assistant?) to Sebastian Shaw, Black King of the Hellfire Club. Tessa popped up a few times when the X-Men interacted with the Hellfire Club until eventually it was revealed that she’d been a double-agent all along, really working for Professor Xavier. Her cover was known to no one else, she wasn’t really a part of the X-Men at the time, her job was gathering intel on the Inner Circle. That eventually fell through and Tessa took the name Sage, officially joined the X-Men, and never looked back. So perhaps I’m dreaming because in the comics I love Sage and therefore I don’t want Gifted Sage to be a traitor. Or perhaps the writers are taking a familiar concept and turning it on its head, but keeping it familiar all the while.

The only thing we really know is that, as frustrating as it is, we have to wait way too long to find out what happens next!

The Gifted will return on Fox Network in the Fall 2018 TV season.

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