September 25, 2018 at 10:47 PM EDT

Welcome back, everybody! Season 1 of The Gifted was one of the most engaging superhero shows in recent memory, managing to balance comic-book lore and real-world relevance in a way that kept me engaged every episode. So needless to say, I’m pretty excited for season 2. With this premiere, The Gifted’s sophomore season gets off to a good enough start. Like most season 2 premieres, this episode is tasked with reminding us of where everybody was the last time we saw them, as well as introducing new characters and plotlines to fuel new stories.

So, where is everybody? Our old friends in the Mutant Underground have managed to lay low in some safehouses, carrying on their work in secret while the government continues thinking that they all died at the end of last season. Caitlin Strucker is putting her medical knowledge to good use treating rescued mutants, but she still wants nothing more than to find her son Andy, who went off with the Hellfire Club last season. Andy’s sister Lauren is still with her parents, but Reed has problems of his own. After much tension last season, Blink and Thunderbird have finally hooked up. They’re cute and I’m happy for them, but I’m guessing it probably makes things awkward for John with his best friend Marcos, a.k.a. Eclipse, whose pregnant girlfriend Polaris (a.k.a. Lorna) left him for the Hellfire Club.

THE GIFTED: L-R: Reeva Payge (Grace Byers, R), Esme Frost (Skyler Samuels), Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) and Polaris/Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont) in the "eMergence" season two premiere episode of THE GIFTED airing Tuesday, Sept. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Steve Dietl/FOX
Steve Dietl/FOX

Before we check up on Polaris and Andy’s whereabouts, though, we’re introduced to the new leader of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle: Reeva Payge. Apparently it was Reeva who gave the telepathic Stepford Cuckoos their marching orders last season, including convincing Polaris to bring down the plane carrying the evil scientist Dr. Roderick Campbell and the anti-mutant politician Senator Montez. Good riddance to those two I say, but the other members of the Inner Circle don’t feel the same. They’re mad that Reeva overrode their authority to act on her own, and aren’t swayed by her lofty rhetoric about a future that’s safe for mutants. Reeva’s not going to waste time arguing with them though. She unleashes her mutant power, a sonic scream that messes up the brain chemistry of anyone who hears it. As the Inner Circle members reel from this effect, the Cuckoos methodically walk around the room killing every last one of them. Reeva is certainly merciless, and I suspect this season will constantly keep us guessing whether to cheer for or against her. As it was last season, it looks like The Gifted is determined to paint its main conflict in shades of grey. Sure, the mutants are fighting for their lives against authoritarian repression, but they also kill people sometimes! Sure, the humans are trying to commit genocide, but some of them even have daughters! Though speaking of which, there’s no sign of our old friend Jace Turner in this episode.

NEXT: A New Dawn

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