The Gifted recap: Unhappy reunions
The Mutant Underground takes extreme actions to intercept the Inner Circle's raid on a mental hospital
Caitlin Strucker goes to great lengths to try to get her son back this episode, so we begin with a look at why, exactly, she cares so much. In flashback, we learn that Caitlin’s second pregnancy was not an untroubled one, and that for a time there was fear that either she or embryonic Andy would die in the process. Obviously, they both pulled through, but it clearly left Caitlin with a deep-seated passion for protecting Andy. Now that she doesn’t even know where he is or what he’s doing, much less whether he’s safe, she’s kind of losing her mind.
She’s not the only one, either. As we saw last week, Marcos can no longer take “no” for an answer when it comes to Lorna and their new baby. After finally getting to hold baby Dawn, Marcos is desperate for more. So, after learning from Erg that the Inner Circle was poking around a mental hospital, Marcos and Caitlin want to do everything in their power to intercept them. Unfortunately, the only lead they have is that mutant hacker Wire. But when Marcos leads John and Blink back to Wire’s hideout, they’re greeted with several shotgun blasts. Wire has apparently been killed by Reeva, leaving only his similarly-powered brother. They knock him out and take him back to their hideout, but he’s clearly not interested in cooperating. Unfortunately for him, Marcos and Caitlin are dying for any information they can get about their loved ones. So they decide to torture him.
Now that Reed’s hands melt whatever he touches, Caitlin may be the only main character left who doesn’t have mutant powers. But once again her medical knowledge proves even more important (and dangerous). Sensing that our new friend is addicted to the mutant drug Kick, she offers him a treatment drug if he can hack into Lynnwood Hospital’s servers for them. He tries, and at first, doesn’t find anything…until he suddenly discovers the hospital’s security went into emergency mode just 12 minutes ago. The Inner Circle are there right now, and everyone scrambles to make it there in time.
When they arrive at the hospital, the mutants find the staff fleeing. Reed, watching from afar, draws on his experience as a mutant supervisor to guess the basement must be keeping some extremely powerful mutants. Indeed it is; when Blink and Thunderbird get down there, they find Polaris and try to convince her to talk. Instead of responding, she magnetically opens every cell door, releasing a swarm of powerful mutants like a superhero version of the climax of Cabin in the Woods.
Lauren doesn’t have any better luck with Andy. She and Marcos are able to intercept Andy outside the facility, but he’s not interested in talking either. He and Lauren have a bit of a face-off, telekinetic blast vs. bubbly forcefield, but eventually, Andy’s power wins out. He sends Lauren flying backward, where she hits her head hard and falls unconscious.
Someone should maybe explain Andy’s current attitude to Caitlin, who over the course of this episode gets a drug addict clean, then gets him hooked again, and then resuscitates him after his heart gives out from the whiplash. Reed asks why they’re trying so hard to “save” Andy and Lauren from the Hellfire Club if they’re torturing and using people just like the Hellfire Club does. Like, what’s the difference? For once, Reed makes a good point. It’s emphasized when, after the hospital hubbub, the Cuckoos force the staff to appear on TV and admit that they were illegally kidnapping and torturing mutants — which is true! When all is said and done, aren’t the Mutant Underground and Hellfire Club basically on the same side in the mutant/human conflict? Plus, Andy and Lorna weren’t kidnapped, they willingly joined the Hellfire Club because they agreed with the ideology. Marcos and Caitlin need to face the reality of that because right now they come off more like purposefully ignorant maniacs than the crusading heroes they think they are.
I have to say, I felt like this episode was probably the weakest of the season so far, but it also reflects a flaw in season 2 as a whole. Last season, when Sentinel Services was the main bad guy, it was easy to identify the threat and what needed to be done to survive. But now that the Sentinels are mostly off-screen, it feels like the show is purposefully trying to squeeze the Hellfire Club into that villain role and it just…isn’t working. This episode even intensified that by not showing us things from the perspective of Andy and Lorna, who had basically been co-protagonists up until now. Instead, they come off like cardboard villains, which we know they’re not. Plus, the Hellfire Club’s extreme actions make sense when you remember what the Sentinels did last season. Hopefully, that problem will be solved now that Jace Turner is apparently all set to join the KKK-like Purifiers. It’ll also be interesting to see what super-special mutant the Inner Circle smuggled out of the hospital. Maybe they’ll seem more villainous after that.