The Gifted recap: 'boXed in'
Amid happy reunions, one Sentinel agent really gets hit where it hurts
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been waiting pretty much since this show began for Sentinel Services agent Jace Turner to get his well-deserved comeuppance. This episode finally delivered on that, while also providing enough context for Jace’s life that you can’t help but feel for him a bit.
When we last saw Jace in the closing moments of last week’s episode, he was screaming his head off with anger at Reed and Polaris’ successful escape from Sentinel captivity. He vowed to bring furious vengeance against the entire Mutant Underground, and apparently he wasn’t kidding. The Underground headquarters is in disarray, with reports that they’re being watched heavily and safe houses are being raided. Caitlin, Reed, Eclipse, and Polaris barely even make it to a nearby garage before they find themselves trailed by a Sentinel drone. Marcos resolves to lead it away from the others alone, but Lorna insists on coming with him. After such a painful separation, she clearly wants to be with him as much as possible.
There’s an upside and a downside to this. The upside is that she and Marcos are able to easily and beautifully combine their powers. Last time they did this, they made their own personal aurora borealis (which is why Lorna now insists on naming their child Aurora, if it’s a daughter), and this time Lorna levitates Marcos’ rearview mirror outside the car. When he directs his sunbeams at it, they get reflected upward and fry that drone out of the sky. The downside to Lorna coming with, however, is that she’s still smarting something fierce from her imprisonment. So when she and Marcos run into Jace’s small Sentinel roadblock, she insists on kidnapping her former tormentor and taking him with them to get some answers.
Marcos and Lorna got their cute reunion, and soon the Struckers get their turn. It’s touching seeing Reed reconnect with his kids, but unfortunately the happy feelings don’t last long. The invisible bartender (a mutant called Fade) is there too, and he last saw Reed attempting to betray all of them to the Sentinels. He raises hell about it, and the other mutants are sympathetic; Shatter even tells Dreamer that they might need her powers to remove Reed’s memories of the headquarters, if he can’t be trusted.
Duty calls, however, and The Gifted is still a show full of people scrambling to survive from one moment to the next, so there’s not much time to debate Reed’s record. Sentinel forces are now closing in on the Underground headquarters. Reed can lead them off, but he’ll need Fade’s help to do it. Guerrilla living, am I right? You gotta love it.
The plan for Reed and Fade is simple. After getting dropped off by his surly comrade, Reed will walk around in public still wearing his Sentinel captive uniform. With such a swarming police presence everywhere, the authorities will soon be alerted. Reed will then walk up a couple blocks and get in Fade’s waiting car. The police will pursue them, drawing them away from headquarters, and then the invisibility will kick in and the two will make it back to home base secretly and safely.
Except…when Reed walks up to the designated intersection, his ride is nowhere to be found. It looks like he might have been left out to dry, and Reed hurriedly tries to get away on foot. Unfortunately, without the metal pin in his leg (thanks to Polaris borrowing it to fight off the Sentinels), he can’t get very far away. After a few steps, he bumps into something — it’s Fade’s car! He had been keeping himself invisible to see how Reed reacted. Having confirmed the Strucker patriarch is indeed on their side, Fade lets him in and drives off, appearing to vanish into thin air. (Recap continues on page 2)
With Reed’s loyalty proven, it seems they don’t need Dreamer to wipe his mind. But her power is nevertheless needed, just for a slightly different purpose. Instead, Marcos and Lorna summon her and Blink to their hiding spot so that she can uncover Jace’s memories of how the Sentinels turned their friend Pulse against mutants.
Conversations between Jace and his captors have not been very productive so far. When they accuse him of committing “genocide” against mutants, he responds by saying “July 15” in the same tone of voice real-world national-security scolds use when saying “never forget 9/11.” As revealed in a flashback, that’s the day when a Mutant Rights March got dangerously out of control, and Jace’s young daughter got caught in the crossfire. It’s a tragedy for sure (and one that hits harder for Marcos and Lorna, now that they have their own child on the way) but Jace is clearly using it to justify a merciless witch hunt against mutants, which doesn’t really seem to be in keeping with the spirit of his fun-loving daughter. But the punitive impulse is strong in American culture, as you can see in my joy at his own punishment.
Like any modern political debate on Twitter, this conversation ends in a dead end for all parties. Jace refuses to divulge any information about Pulse, and the mutants refuse to let him go. As valuable an asset as Pulse undoubtedly is, it feels like in this situation you could do worse than just giving people the information. But Jace refuses, so that’s where Dreamer comes in. After she blows her purple smoke in his face, we’re treated to a montage of Jace’s memories from this season so far, as well as some fast-moving images of a new facility and official papers bearing the same symbol John found tattooed on Pulse’s wrist.
Before Dreamer can get any further, however, Jace’s comrades arrive and fire tear gas into the warehouse to smoke out the mutants. Running out of time, Polaris pulls Dreamer away from her subject so they can Blink away…but by doing so, she leaves Jace in the throes of Dreamer’s lingering smoke.
The episode ends by showing us what this means. When Jace returns home to his wife after a long day, he asks where their daughter is. Apparently, in the scramble, Dreamer’s powers ended up erasing his final memories of his daughter. His tearful, pained wife is forced to explain all over again that their child has been dead for four years. Those memories that opened the episode, of Jace’s young daughter smiling and playing in the park, are lost to him now — like tears in rain, as another sci-fi franchise might put it. This is a terrible thing for anyone to go through…but if anyone has to suffer like this, it might as well be this a–hole. Don’t you wish you had just given up that information now, Jace?
Also, I don’t know if anyone besides me remembers this, but in season 2 of Heroes, HRG and the Haitian pulled something similar, threatening to erase a man’s memories of his dead daughter unless he gave them the information they needed. That guy was actually smart and agreed. Anyway just needed to point out this connection because I keep thinking of The Gifted as a much better version of what Heroes should have been. On to superlatives!
Coolest power use: Marcos and Lorna will remain a consistent threat in this category whenever they’re together, but this time I’m giving it to Lauren Strucker for using her forcefields to literally hold Trader’s body together while her mother fishes out a pesky bullet.
Dumbest Reed move: Actually, there wasn’t one this week! If this character development keeps up, I might have to come up with a new category.
Most impossible choice: Dreamer’s decision to tell Blink the truth about implanting her memory of loving John. Since she waited so long already, this was not going to end well, and it doesn’t, with Blink storming out of the room. But hopefully things will improve now that the truth’s out in the open…?
Nah, who am I kidding? This is The Gifted. We’ll see the consequences of this decision soon enough.