After a few weeks of predictable melodrama, The Gifted found its footing once again with this weeks episode. And it’s all thanks to a Stepford Cuckoo.
And, if we’re being generous, The Hellfire Club.
Following up on the previous episode’s revelations about Dr. Campbell’s lab, Esme “encouraged” John and Polaris to hit the Trask base hard. John took to the cause pretty easily as he was still torn up about Pulse. Polaris, though, needed extra prompting via a nightmare. The tactic worked, and revealed just how powerful Esme is on her own. You almost have to wonder what she would be like with her “family.”
Meanwhile, the Struckers confronted their family secret. Andy independently learned about Fenris, but Reed and Caitlin also decided it was best to learn more about this with hiding anything from the children. They even tried to activate what we’ll call the Fenris power, but Andy and Lauren put a stop to it, knowing it would collapse the Mutant Underground HQ around them.
Later, both Strucker siblings admitted to one another that the power felt good. Andy even admited an accidental activation of the power a year ago led to many of his troubles at school. Remember when we saw him drawing that wolf back in the pilot? Fenris was always coming for them.
One interesting element of this story thread revolves around Reed and Caitlin wondering if things would be different had Reed known he was a mutant all along. Embedded in that discussion — though never acknowledged — is the possibility that Caitlin and Reed would not be married. It hearkens back to the prejudices both characters held toward mutants once upon a time. Nevertheless, Caitlin is totally committed to this life and she takes the lead in talking to the kids about Fenris.
In fact, all parents should feel comfortable talking to their kids about Fenris.
But then Esme suggested Lauren and Andy as the mutants the team needed to hit a power station near the Trask facility; bringing the two story strands together in a rather compelling way. It also cast doubt on Esme, whose knowledge about Pulse and the Struckers seemed a little bit beyond her telepathic ability. Then again, telepathy is a very plot convenient power. For a moment, I wondered if she was part of Campbell’s overarching plan by putting all the key Underground Mutants — and the Struckers — in a vulnerable spot. As the episode came to a close, though, it seemed that was not the case.
Esme’s first and only concern appeared to be her “family,” which I’m assuming are the other Emma Frost clones. Campbell, for his part, was too busy being cured of his burns by a mutant to be much help. Lastly, Agent Turner stumbled onto the operation thanks to his diligence. While it’s still possible that Campbell set up a long game with Esme to get the Struckers, it’s doubtful he wanted them to fall into Turner’s custody. Which is exactly where Andy and Lauren ended up, much to Caitlin and Reed’s dismay.
There are only three episodes remaining in The Gifted‘s first season, so all or most of these threads will be resolved by mid-January. Well, assuming the shows takes a three week holiday break after the next episode. Nevertheless, the doubt around Esme leads to a least a few dangling questions.
- What is Campbell’s endgame with Lauren and Andy? Is it just to control their destructive power?
- Now that we know The Hellfire Club is part of the show’s history, are they still active today?
- And if so, is there a White Queen waiting to welcome the Cuckoos home?
- What was the deal with that Empower Academy video on the show’s YouTube channel? Is it a seed for a presumed second season?
The Gifted airs Monday on FOX.