Caitlin reaches out to family while Blink tries to get her powers under control again
Three episodes in, and The Gifted is not slowing down. This was another episode of breakneck escapes and paranoid confrontations, and thankfully Reed managed to not be a total butt this time.
We start off with an introduction to Marcos and Lorna’s relationship, which is helpful because their separation is gearing up to be a massive plot engine and all we’ve seen of them was their brief exchange at the very beginning of the pilot. Once upon a time, it was Marcos who learned about the Mutant Underground from someone else. They hit it off immediately, especially once Polaris showed off her floating abilities (thank you, metal boots). This scene could have been cliché, but it quickly became beautiful once these two mutants realized that by touching their magnetic and solar powers together, they could create a miniature version of the Northern Lights. Literally who could top this level of #relationshipgoals?
We quickly catch up to the present, where things are not quite so romantic. Polaris is still collared and chained in mutant prison, and her best option is a “generous” offer from Jace Turner to give her and Marcos visitation rights for their child, once they’re both in prison. She keeps testing her collar and is even able to muster enough power to open her cell door — but since this leaves her bleeding from the nose and eyes, it’s clear she won’t be able to escape on her own.
For his part, Marcos is busy trying to come up with a better way to reunite their little family, but unfortunately he’s not getting much traction. The Mutant Underground has limited resources and limited personnel — and the only person capable of powering a mutant jailbreak, Blink, is still recovering from her seizure in the last episode. The experience left Blink with one of the pink face-marks recognizable from her comic version, but it has also shaken her so hard she can’t use her powers. Her problem seems to be that her powers only activate in times of fear, similar to how Andy Strucker’s powers only come up when he’s really angry. One of the other mutant leaders, a woman named Dreamer with the ability to manipulate people’s memories, proposes using her powers to give Blink other emotions to activate, like love, but John Proudstar shuts it down. It’s too risky, messing with someone’s mind.
Caitlin Strucker decides to pursue her own fight. She wakes up her kids in the middle of the night to inform them she’s going to go visit her brother Danny, who also has a government job, and see if he can use his contacts to get them any information about Reed. As you might expect, Andy and Lauren insist on coming along, despite the considerable danger of exposing themselves. This act doesn’t just put the Struckers in danger, of course; when John discovers their tracks the next morning while trying to train Blink (which doesn’t work well, considering she feels more love for a warm jelly doughnut than any actual humans), he and Marcos set out to retrieve them.
Even though they’ve been in hiding for a few days now, the Struckers have clearly not adjusted to their refugee status yet. Once they’ve gotten away from Mutant Underground headquarters, they realize they don’t even have enough cab fare to make it to Uncle Danny’s house on the other side of town. Andy does seem to be a little quicker on the uptake, suggesting they use their powers to steal some money. When his mother and sister reject his plan to rob a bank (because it will hurt people and is against the law), he uses his telekinesis to blow open nearby parking meters, giving them enough change for cab fare without hurting anyone. Good thinking, kid!
Unfortunately, Danny doesn’t seem able to provide the kind of help Caitlin wanted. He has contacts in government, yes, but most of them base their political platforms on “security” (read: authoritarian police state) and so would not react well to a request to help fugitives. Even Caitlin reminding Danny how she willingly took care of their dying mother in order to spare him doesn’t seem to move him. Fascism sucks. (Recap continues on page 2)
The kids join their cousin in a bedroom to play video games while the adults go back and forth. Checking Instagram, Lauren notices that two of their classmates have now spray-painted anti-mutant graffiti on the front of their house. This angers Andy so much that he can’t help but let off a telekinetic blast — it doesn’t destroy the house or hurt anyone, but it does break his cousin’s sports trophy. The kid, so excited over his cousin’s telekinesis, can’t help but send a picture of it to a friend. Bad move for him, but a great demonstration by the show’s creators that they understand how social media works and how teens work it. Like Netflix’s American Vandal, The Gifted doesn’t use social media as a punchline about millennials, but as an engine to move the plot forward
Meanwhile, Reed is being an idiot. On Jace’s directions, he goes back to the bar where he met Marcos and makes contact with the bartender, asking to be taken to the Mutant Underground. The bartender (who has the amazingly useful ability to turn invisible) reluctantly agrees and introduces Reed to the day’s other refugees: a mutant mother and her child. The mother uses her ability to ease Reed’s pain, saying they have to stick together. That’s the first red flag for Reed that maybe he shouldn’t just lead these people to the Sentinels.
The second comes when they’re in the car, getting driven to the Mutant Underground drop-off point with Jace and the Sentinels close behind. Noticing Reed’s unease, the child tells him not to worry, since they’re headed to the safe place. I’ll say this for Reed: He’s slow on the uptake, but he is developing a real sense of solidarity, and he decides to throw himself out of the van. This allows the bartender to turn his car invisible, because without Reed’s tracking device the Sentinels can’t follow. Jace catches up and obviously starts howling about their deal, but Reed tells him to shove it up his ass.
At the same time, the cousin’s unfortunate photo of the broken statue alerts the whole neighborhood that the Struckers are hiding at Danny’s house. Local dads show up in a local militia, guns and everything — when Danny tries to reason with them, they hit him in the face with one. This angers Andy, who promptly flattens the dads with a telekinetic blast. Luckily Marcos and John are there too, and Marcos uses his sun powers as a deterrent until they all pile into a car, at which point the dads pursue them. Blink is able to safely teleport them all back to base, but there’s a problem: In order to sufficiently motivate her to do so, Dreamer implanted Blink with a fake memory of her kissing John. It’s actually Dreamer’s own memory, even though she and John decided not to date for the sake of their mission. If I know anything about anything, I know this won’t end well.
Coolest power use: Definitely the miniature aurora borealis Lorna and Marcos make together, although the bartender using his invisibility to get the drop on Reed was also slick.
Dumbest Reed move: Almost betraying his fellow refugees to the Sentinels. Luckily, he learned the error of his ways in time.
Most impossible choice: Manipulate Blink’s emotions in order to save John, Marcos, and the Struckers, or risk killing some of the dads lest they make it to headquarters? Dreamer went with the former; I guess we’ll see how that pans out.