Season 1 of The Gifted introduced viewers to a version of the X-Men that hadn’t quite made it to the screen before. Whereas the blockbuster movies had focused on big-name superheroes like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, The Gifted focused on characters who weren’t lucky enough to find the welcoming arms of Professor Charles Xavier and his mutant school.
When twins Andy and Lauren Strucker (Percy Hynes White and Natalie Alyn Lind) discovered they had mutant powers — powerful telekinesis in Andy’s case, forcefields for Lauren — they were forced to go on the run. With their parents Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Caitlin (Amy Acker), Andy and Lauren sought to escape Jace Turner (Coby Bell) and his fellow Sentinel Services agents, who wanted nothing more than to jail and torture them. The family found refuge with the Mutant Underground, but this ragtag group of aid workers and resistance fighters is not exactly a refined superhero squad.
Led by Thunderbird (Blair Redford), the Mutant Underground constantly struggles to pull off a successful rescue mission without losing someone or something else in the process. In the opening scene of the premiere, for instance, Thunderbird and his comrades — sun-powered Eclipse (Sean Teale), mistress of magnetism Polaris (Emma Dumont), and the mentally manipulative Dreamer (Elena Satine) — succeeded in rescuing the teleporting mutant Blink (Jamie Chung) from the Sentinels, but lost Polaris in the process. That was a big blow to Eclipse in particular since Polaris had recently gotten pregnant with his baby. Then, when the mutants rescued the Struckers later in the premiere, they lost Reed in the effort.
A tug-of-war ensued between the Mutants and Sentinels. Reed and Polaris were eventually rescued, while Andy and Lauren discovered that if they combined their powers, they could be nearly unstoppable. When visiting his estranged father Otto, Reed found out that his grandparents had the same abilities and wreaked havoc across the world as the Fenris twins. Otto experimented on Reed as a child to stop such power from rising again, and successfully removed his X-gene. The operation, however, did nothing to stop the rise of the next generation. The young Struckers’ power made them a target, and they eventually get captured by the Sentinels along with Dreamer and Blink after an operation went bad. Dreamer was killed in captivity by the evil scientist Dr. Roderick Campbell (Garret Dillahunt), who experimented on the Strucker children until he found a way to combine the powers of his brainwashed mutant “Hounds.” It started to seem like the Sentinels had finally gained a decisive advantage over the mutants…but that’s when the Hellfire Club came in.
When the Mutant Underground found a young blonde telepath named Esme Frost (Skyler Samuels), they thought she was just like any other mutant in need. In fact, Esme (along with her identical sisters Sophie and Phoebe) was an agent of the Inner Circle of the powerful Hellfire Club, an organization of wealthy and powerful mutants who use their resources to advance the mutant cause discreetly. While the Mutant Underground favored the “help people” ethos of the X-Men, the Hellfire Club favored the aggressive tactics of the Brotherhood — as seen when Esme used her telepathic abilities to manipulate mutants and kill Sentinel agents so she could free her captive sisters.
For a while, these two mutant factions had a mutual goal: Defeating Campbell and quashing his Hound program. To accomplish this goal, the Frost sisters convinced the still-pregnant Polaris that definitive answers were needed to secure a safer world for her baby. In the season finale, Polaris used her magnetic powers to bring down the plane carrying both Campbell and the anti-mutant U.S. Senator Montez (David Noroña), killing two of the biggest threats to mutantkind in one fell swoop. Alas, this was too much of a break for the other mutants to stomach, and a split ensued. Polaris and Andy (who was getting more and more tempted by his powerful potential) sided with the Hellfire Club, while Lauren and Marcos stuck with the Mutant Underground.
That’s where we left off at the end of season 1 of The Gifted. Check here for EW’s preview of season 2, and stay tuned for episode recaps and more coverage throughout the new season.