We gave it a B+
Whether or not an alliance with the Cuckoos makes sense for the heirs to the X-Men, one things for certain: Their opponents certainly aren’t holding back. Even though Jace Turner is still queasy about the Hound program’s legality and ethics, he’s got to admit it’s effective. After his experiments on the Cuckoos and the Struckers, Campbell has figured out how to mix mutant powers for deadly impact. His first example is taking two mutants with minor powers over gravity and inertia; by fusing their blood in a grotesque manacle machine, they can unleash terrible destructive power greater than the sum of their parents.
Guess who the Sentinels select as their first target for this two-headed telekinetic monster? That’s right, the very Fairburn Station where the Struckers just arrived. Luckily Lauren’s old flame Wes is there, and with his illusion powers is able to keep them hidden long enough for the other mutants to arrive. These new Hounds still pose an overwhelming threat, but then the Cuckoos arrive to help them get away. Once they get back to base, the Struckers realize these new Hounds make it too dangerous for them to be on the move, and the other mutants decide to ally with the Cuckoos in their mutual struggle against the Hound program. In addition to their obvious tactical skills and effective powers, the Cuckoos tease Polaris that they know the truth about her birth father. Apparently he was once a “King” in the Hellfire Club (this is an organization in love with chess metaphors, and ranks its members like chess pieces), making her heir not only to powerful magnetic abilities but also influence and status. As you may know, Polaris’ father in the comics was Magneto, who has occasionally allied with the Hellfire Club in the past. But perhaps this version of Polaris was sired by some other powerful mutant, so that the show can retain the spirit of the character without getting every single background detail right just as it’s doing with the Stepford Cuckoos.
Speaking of the Cuckoos, their game is deeper even than it appears. It was they who tipped Jace off about Fairburn, so that they could convince their fellow mutants of the danger posed by the Hound program. These girls are running rings around everyone: politicians, mutants, Sentinels, and even the mysterious Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club itself. Hopefully their machinations don’t catch up with them too soon.
Coolest power use: The show is having a lot of fun with the Cuckoos’ telepathy. Loved seeing them leave Sentinel agents writhing on the ground at invisible horrors as the mutants made away with their transports.
Dumbest Reed move: The Strucker parents’ indignant rage at the Cuckoos, who may have manipulated them but also saved their children, made me roll my eyes this episode.
Most impossible choice: This is a show about making tough choices, and the Cuckoos are clearly very good at it. Escalating tensions with the Sentinels and risking mutant lives is quite the risk, but shouldn’t they all be playing to win?