Brief Thoughts On The Gifted, Episode 8

by Erik Amaya

 

And so Fenris finally matters.

Since the moment people learned the main characters on FOX’s The Gifted would be the family Strucker, many wondered how long it would take for the history of the name in Marvel Comics to become part of the show’s lore. The answer: eight weeks. But now that we know Fenris, the name Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker took on during their reign of destruction, is a part of show, it leads to a new question … will it happen again with Lauren and Andy?

For Reed, the revelation comes with too many horrible things to process. 1.) His father’s apparent emotional distance was a product of his attempt to control the X-gene. 2.) Reed is himself a mutant; the only one ever actually “cured.” 3.) Fenris is a hereditary mutation more robust than any other. And 4.) His grandfather (and presumably grandmother) were the original mutant terrorists.

And maybe HYDRA experiments for all we know.

But it is curious that the show skirted around the incestuous element of the Fenris story from Marvel Comics. I suppose all the things Otto Strucker (Raymond J. Barry) had to tell Reed were bad enough. “Oh, and your grandparents were brother and sister” would have just fractured Reed’s mind. Well, I’m assuming Otto knew. In his explanation to Reed, he says “They raised me” while avoiding any specific mention of his own mother. It’s always possible the mother was long out of the loop or Otto did not know the unusual circumstances on his birth.

If nothing else, the emotional resonance of Reed’s meeting with his father was something new for the show. It’s just a shame Reed had to introduce his strained relationship to the audience a handful of scenes before Otto himself would die. But parenting mutants is not an easy thing. The Gifted seems particularly interested in that aspect of X-Men lore.

Consider the case of Chloe, the super-fast mutant planted by Sentinel Services and Trask to find the Mutant Underground. She only came into their sphere because she was defending her mutant child. Consider the anguish Polaris is feeling about her unborn child even as her story with Marcos continues to be the most melodramatic and least interesting aspect of the show. Also consider Blink’s connection with a child from the same foster home she grew up in. For all the David Hallers, Sabertooths and Nathan Dayspring Askani’Son Summerses in the pages of various X-Men comics, the real costs to families rarely takes on such a focus.

Okay, okay, maybe The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix goes there, but it’s tough to hit these notes when superheroes comics are mainly engaged in fighting cosmic threats.

Meanwhile, let’s say adieu to Pulse, whose death was anticlimactic despite being in the room with Otto. Sure, it will continue to fuel John’s resolve to save the mutants conditioned by Trask, but it still feels like such a waste to introduce him only to discard him in the middle of someone else’s story. But, then again, X-Men comics teach us to expect that every character will get a big important story line. In dramatized fiction, that is rarely the case.

Dangling questions:

  1. If Fenris is hereditary, does the compulsion to commit violence come with it?
  2. Is it too early to suggest the Von Struckers are still alive and, possibly, Externals?
  3. How quickly can we get done with the Cartel story? It feels like a distraction.
  4. How bad was Dr. Campbell hurt? Will he need an eye-patch?
  5. Where the heck is Agent Turner?

The Gifted airs Mondays on FOX.

Erik Amaya

Host of Tread Perilously and a Film/TV Writer at Comicon.com. A contributing writer at CBR, Fanbase Press, Monkeys Fighting Robots and Rotten Tomatoes. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.