In the wake of Polaris' long-awaited childbirth, everyone tries to figure out their next step
While last season of The Gifted was a nonstop race to stay one step ahead of Sentinel Services, this season so far is playing out much slower and darker, with a focus on the stress of sustaining such a lifestyle.
This episode, though, begins with something of a callback to the first X-Men movie. We see a younger, angrier John Proudstar fighting multiple assailants in a ring for money, much like where we first saw Hugh Jackman’s Logan. That’s where Evangeline Whedon comes in. A mutant with the power to transform into a red dragon, Whedon’s most impressive ability is as a mutant rights lawyer. She tells John about the Mutant Underground and offers him a job supervising one of the safehouses, setting him on the path to becoming the Thunderbird we all know and love today. John’s memories of Evangeline are not all positive, though, which troubles him since she might now be their only source for information on the Inner Circle.
He’s not the only one stuck in the past. Marcos can’t help but think of all the plans he and Lorna made to celebrate their eventual childbirth, while Lauren and Andy keep finding each other in dreams. We saw a bit of that Fenris dream action last week, but this time it’s even more intense. After Andy begs Lauren to join with him, her resistance leads to her falling off a roof. Although it’s not clear yet whether these visions are foreshadowing or telepathic communication or what, they have a very real effect on the Struckers. The next day, Andy can’t keep his focus during training, which unsettles Reeva and makes her wonder about his loyalty.
It’s not all bad news, though! Blink and Lauren manage to locate the missing sister of the girl they took in the last episode, which means at least someone has a happy family reunion to look forward to.
Sentinel Services also seems to be on the down-low these days, which explains why the mutants now seem exclusively worried about the Inner Circle. When we check in on our old Sentinel nemesis Jace Turner, he’s doing his best to blend back into civilian life. The blackout resulting from Polaris’ childbirth smells like mutants to him, but after being dissuaded from looking into it by both his wife and an old Sentinel friend, he decides to do his best to be the normal, loving husband. Somehow, I suspect this happy retirement won’t stick.
Jace isn’t the only one interested in the blackout. In order to dissuade anyone from asking inconvenient questions, Reeva dispatches the Cuckoos to take care of loose ends. They show their cruel streak again, telepathically forcing a man who knows too much to walk in front of a speeding truck, but man I love some Cuckoo action.
They also figure out a solution to Andy’s problem. Once Reeva lets them sit in on this very Danger Room-like training session, they easily find that his lack of focus has to do with his sister. During a break, Andy tries calling Lauren, but Reed picks up instead; he doesn’t say anything. Fade, the one-time invisible bartender for the Mutant Underground, is now an invisible spy for Reeva and catches Andy making the call. Luckily, Reeva is able to sit down with Andy and sort out the problem; by the end of the episode, he’s turning her practice walls into debris with ease.
Unfortunately, John’s meeting with Evangeline doesn’t go as well. After he and the others present her with the data drive on the Inner Circle they recovered last week, she pronounces it a lost cause, considering Reeva’s incredible resources and mutant heavy hitters. John retorts that the Mutant Underground has plenty of powerful mutants of their own, but Evangeline reminds him that this is not the X-Men. She refuses to let him lead the mutants on a suicidal charge. But she does give him one lead: A mutant named Berg, who lives in the tunnels under DC. That’s right, folks: It’s almost time for the Morlocks.
The other Struckers also aren’t able to find the same calm as Andy. Reed is still suffering from outbursts of his thought-dormant superpower, which apparently manifests as destructive red energy bursting from his skin. This makes it harder for him to deal with Caitlin, who will stop at nothing until she’s reunited with Andy (I can certainly appreciate the intensity of this mother-son bond), and Lauren, who constantly wrestles with guilt over the people she and Andy killed in Atlanta. It’s hard to see her joining the Fenris formation any time soon.
John lies about the meeting to Blink, saying it went well. But once she’s asleep beside him, he takes a midnight stroll. Finding a suitably hard wall, he starts punching it while thinking about Pulse, Dreamer, Andy, Lorna, and all the mutants he hasn’t been able to save since leaving that bar. It’s intense. But Marcos, at least, is able to find some light in the situation — literally. After downing the champagne he meant to drink with Lorna, he refracts his sunlight power through the shattered glass, creating a ray of green light over the city. Lorna sees this makeshift Bat Signal and tells baby Dawn that her daddy is saying hi. Unfortunately, Dawn has problems of her own — namely, a burning fever that Lorna doesn’t know how to address. Quite a cliffhanger! I wonder if Dawn will eventually acquire the messianic hopes so often attached to X-babies…