the gifted

The series premiere of The Gifted brought in a 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic, earning 4.8 million viewers. This week’s second episode garnered a 1.2 and 3.7 million viewers, a 22% drop, but not bad at all. In episode one, Reed and Caitlin Strucker played by Stephen Moyer (True Blood, Shots Fired) and Amy Acker (Angel, Alias, Person of Interest) discover that their children are mutants after their youngest, Andy is bullied at a school dance leading to the discovery and surge of his abilities and lots of damage to the school. Their oldest, Lauren, uses her powers to get them out of the chaos and home.

It didn’t take long for Sentinel Services, an anti-mutant government agency to come knocking, demanding that the children be turned over. Andy and Lauren used their powers to escape with their mother. Reed, a mutant-prosecuting lawyer, got information from a co-worker and reached out to an organization called The Mutant Underground but is unable to escape with the rest of his family when Sentinel Services came after them with spider-like robots. Episode two, titled “rX” picks up right where “eXposed” left off…kind of.

The episode begins with a flashback of the Strucker family bowling. They witness a group of teenagers teasing a young mutant. When the girl’s father comes to her defense it upsets her because she doesn’t want him to make it worse. She releases a surge that knocks over drinks and several other objects. Instead of reprimanding the teens, Strucker approaches and quietly instructs the father to take his daughter and leave because a mutant causing destruction with their abilities is against the law. Lauren doesn’t understand why the family has to leave and not the teens who were bothering them.

Back in present time, the other Struckers panic and beg to go back to their father who was left behind when Blink’s portal closed. Even if Eclipse and Johnny wanted to they can’t take them back to where they left Reed because Blink (real name Clarice Fong) faints and is in bad shape.

In prison, Polaris (real name Lorna Dane) is put with the general population and taunted by the other prisoners. She tries to use her powers but literally gets a shock because of a collar around her neck. One woman in a nearby cell tells her that she won’t last long without back up inside.

Reed is taken in by Sentinel Services and interrogated while the others deal with Blink’s medical emergency. Her powers begin to surge causing a portal to open onto a dark road. The Struckers, Eclipse, and Johnny barely dodge the tail end of an oncoming pickup truck. Caitlin, who is a nurse, tries to get the others to take Blink to a hospital, but that’s not an option considering she’s a wanted mutant who escaped from Lakewood prison. She’s also hesitant because she doesn’t know how to treat mutant ailments.

When a portal opens back up onto that same road, the police are on the scene investigating the crash. Lauren uses her shields to close the portal while the police call for back up after seeing them. Deciding that something must be done, Eclipse and Caitlin leave to get medicine for Blink. On the way, Eclipse, whose real name is Marcos Diaz, shares that his human parents rejected him when they learned about his powers. He applauds her for supporting her children but also questions if Caitlin and Reed would care about mutant rights if it weren’t their children involved.

Caitlin is surprised to see that the mutant hospital is extremely crowded. Eclipse explains that many others have closed and that one would probably close soon too. Knowing it would take forever to be seen and get into the treatment area, Caitlin devises a plan to use the bullet wound Eclipse got at the beginning of “eXposed” to be seen immediately. Their plan works perfectly, especially when Eclipse’s glowing blood singes anything it touches.

With Sentinel Services, Agent Jace Turner begins to discuss charges with Reed who tries to say they have nothing on him. Turner says that the co-worker who gave Reed access to Lorna’s file told them all they needed to know about him seeking out the Mutant Underground. The agent brings up the possibility of using Reed and Lorna as examples since the higher-ups are considering naming the Mutant Underground a terrorist group and Strucker a connected party. We also learn that Turner’s seven-year-old daughter was killed in an incident referred to as “The July 15th Incident”.  He says, “I’ll never know whether the blast that killed my daughter came from a good mutant or a bad one. And I don’t care.”

In the Lakewood cafeteria, Polaris tries to get close with another mutant inmate. The woman wants nothing to do with her saying people like her only make things worse. I’m assuming she meant mutants who try to escape or plot in prison. In the background, we can see an inmate eyeing Polaris. In a short scene that I loved, the other inmates are unsettled when the green hair dye runs down Polaris’ back while she showers. She exits the room looking very confident.

The GiftedLater in the prison yard, Polaris is confronted by the woman who was eyeing her in the cafeteria. She’s the “big dog” among the prisoners. When she doesn’t back down in the face of threats, the woman’s cronies attack her. In a moment that was hard to watch, the woman kicks Polaris in the stomach knowing she’s pregnant. This drives the young mutant to use her powers despite the shock of her collar. She throws the woman into a fence with a table and gets thrown in solitary confinement.

At the hospital, Caitlin dresses as a nurse and steals medicine after Eclipse is patched up. Everything goes as plan until the doctor who treated Eclipse calls the police thinking a cut on Caitlin’s head was caused by Eclipse, even though Caitlin told him otherwise. They flee the hospital with Eclipse using his ability to shoot solar energy from his hands to meld the door behind them. Blink’s condition continues to worsen causing more portals to open around the Mutant Underground base. When Lauren is unable to close them, getting knocked back, Johnny makes the decision to evacuate the base.

When Caitlin and Eclipse get back to the base, Caitlin is impacted by a mutant who’s a gatekeeper for the base. His abilities allow him to enhance others’ fears. Once they make it past him, they push through the chaos of the evacuation to get the medicine to Blink. When she regains consciousness, Johnny questioned why her portals kept opening to the same road. She says she doesn’t remember. Elsewhere, Reed makes a deal with Turner to protect his family after they bring in his mother and threaten to charge her as an accomplice. He agrees to hand over the Mutant Underground if his family stays out of jail.

Final thoughts on this week’s The Gifted

The second episode of The Gifted did a good job of expanding the world of anti-mutant behaviors and prejudices. From the shock collars, the overcrowded and underfunded hospitals, to the doctor telling Caitlin, “While it may be fun to try dating a mutant, they can be aggressive,” the writers have a done a good job of echoing the way stereotypes and perceptions about people groups can be displayed in society. While the Strucker family is the center of the series, I’m more interested in the mutants of the Underground. Reed is hard to sympathize with. The opening scene continued to show us what kind of stance he takes on mutants. Even after they help his family, putting themselves at risk, he’s willing to turn them over, thus endangering the lives of maybe hundreds of mutants who just wanted to be treated like people and not hunted down.

We don’t know enough yet about who the other Struckers are personality and behavior wise to care about them beyond sympathy for Andy who was bullied. I will admit to being partial to Lauren as well. She called out her brother for using the term “mutie” when discussing mutants, kept an eye on him at the dance and got them out of there, ditching the date she was really excited about, and uses her powers without fear to protect her family and others.

Sean Teale (Reign, Incorporated) has played Eclipse well with a healthy dose of emotional vulnerability regarding Polaris and badassery using his abilities. While his character was made up for the series, I think he fits in well. While I’m not as familiar with some of the mutants we’ve seen so far besides Blink, the special effects used to display their abilities has been well done.

I’m giving “rX” an 8/10.

The Gifted airs on FOX at 9 PM EST on Monday nights.


Kira McCall covers entertainment for MFST. Follow her on Twitter at cocovanilla45 and kiramira_. McCallEntertainmentRecent PostsTV ShowsAmy Acker,Blink,Eclipse,Jamie Chung,marvel,Polaris,Sean Teale,Stephen Moyer,the gifted,The Gifted on FOXThe series premiere of The Gifted brought in a 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic, earning 4.8 million viewers. This week's second episode garnered a 1.2 and 3.7 million viewers, a 22% drop, but not bad at all. In episode one, Reed and Caitlin Strucker played by Stephen Moyer (True Blood, Shots...