The Gifted recap: 'eXtreme measures'
Blink goes to find her old friends, while Eclipse repays his debt
If you’re like me, then after the last few episodes you’re probably thinking, “Jeez, is this stuff with Blink and John and the implanted memory ever actually going to go to anywhere??” Based on tonight’s episode, I can now say that the most up-to-date answer is: Kind of? Maybe? We’ll see!
Basically, after teleporting away in a huff last week in response to John and Dreamer lying to her about the fake memory, Blink hasn’t gotten very far. She’s mostly just walking around empty apartments, burning her hands on soup. That’s where John finds her, with the help of his handy-dandy tracking abilities. After learning that Blink set off to find out why her portal storm earlier in the season kept opening to a random country road, John decides to help her with her quest of self-discovery — both because she’s too vulnerable to Sentinel when she’s out on her own, and because maybe (just maybe) he’s starting to feel some feelings for her.
Speaking of feelings and the people who feel them, Lauren Strucker’s romance with the illusion-making Wes seems to be blossoming — which is her dad’s cue to come in and screw everything up for her. Looking through the hard drives he and Marcos lifted from the government last week, Reed discovers police records showing that Wes used to employ his mutant powers for criminal ends. Like any teenager, Lauren doesn’t react well to this information and insists there must be some explanation. Indeed there is! As Wes says, after his powers made him an outcast in the world, he had to do what he could to survive.
In that way, he’s not too different from Marcos — who, unfortunately, is not around to compare experiences with Wes, because he’s busy repaying the debt to his cartel-leading ex-girlfriend that he struck when he had no other options. Doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s almost like being oppressed and ostracized by the public requires people to make tough sacrifices in order to survive. But Reed’s still stuck in prosecutor mode — that’s right, even after being almost sent to a literal black site prison, he still believes that institutions like lawyers and police are always in the right. He still has a lot of learning to do; as Caitlin tearfully tells him, they were blind to so much in their old lives as comfortable suburbanites.
They still are. Reed’s doxxing inspires Wes to come clean with the Underground leaders about his past. They’re forgiving, but he’s still being assigned elsewhere, to a different base. At least Lauren manages to give him a passionate kiss before he leaves. (Recap continues on page 2)
Anyway, back to Marcos. Carmen is in need of his Eclipse powers to burn a rival organization’s product. Marcos is simultaneously disgusted at having to relapse into his old life as a criminal enforcer (Sean Teale etches the self-hatred in his face) and yet also thrilled at the chance to once again fully unleash his destructive powers.
Carmen can see that and is seductively trying to tease Marcos’ old self back out of him. Polaris can also see it and is fearful at the idea of losing him to the cartels again. The shared contempt between Carmen and Polaris, the hatred with which the cartel leader calls her romantic rival “magnet girl,” is definitely a fun new dynamic on the show. Even Marcos’ revelation that he’s only working with Carmen to repay her for helping free Polaris doesn’t do much to ease the new tension at headquarters.
Whereas most episodes of The Gifted are breakneck thrillers and heists, this one took the time to develop its character relationships and internal dynamics. Sentinel Services is growing just as murky as the Mutant Underground in that regard, thanks to Jace Turner’s deal with the devil. Garret Dillahunt plays Dr. Roderick Campbell as a fascinatingly grotesque mad scientist, who is more than willing to employ one of his brainwashed mutant slaves to telepathically attack a combative Department of Justice representative. Though Jace is clearly disgusted at having to work with this man, he’s also more than willing to do it if it means capturing, lobotomizing, and/or killing mutants — in that way, their dynamic isn’t too different from Marcos and Carmen’s. Jace is an interesting character to watch right now, but I’ll need to see a little more compassion from this fascist before I believe he’s actually morally complicated.
John and Blink eventually find the teleporter’s safe space, a cabin that had been run to take care of mutant refugees. Unfortunately, by the time they get there, it’s already been raided by the Sentinels; there are bullet holes in the door and blood on the floor. A tearful Blink finally realizes that the Mutant Underground’s fight is her fight as well and goes back to headquarters with John — who is now starting to look after her maybe a little too longingly.
Coolest power use: How about the badass female team-up of Polaris choking a cartel grunt with the strap of his own gun while Dreamer breathes that good purple smoke into his face to get crucial information?
Dumbest Reed move: He had a good run these past few weeks, but now Reed is back to his dumb ways. Doxxing your daughter’s boyfriend is not very chill.
Most impossible choice: For once, this goes to the bad guys! Jace clearly doesn’t like Campbell, but he nevertheless continues to employ his gruesome methods — if only to silence the cries of his daughter now running afresh through his scrambled brain.