It was only a matter of time before The Gifted‘s cast of character would be divided on X-Men/Brotherhood lines. And boy, did that moment land with key characters seemingly accepting their fate as adversaries.
At the same, it is interesting to see the last two episodes of the first season circle back to ideas from the beginning. In episode 12, “eXtraction,” we see just how far the Strucker parents (Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer) have come when they try to convince Reed’s mother, Ellen (Sharon Gless), to join them in the Mutant Underground now that Sentinel Services believes she holds a key part of Otto Strucker’s research. Though, perhaps, their zealousness to protect her by adding her to the team may indicate they are still green as well. But Ellen recognized this and made plans to head for Boca Raton. Although, she did give Reed one key piece of information: the name of Madeline Rismer, a researcher who worked with Reed’s father on the X-gene blocker.
“Madeline” is an important name within the history of the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. But a cursory search for “Madeline Rismer” brings up nothing. It could very easily be a cover or an entirely new character we’ll meet in season 2 as “the cure” will be on the mind of whoever replaces Dr. Campbell (Garrett Dillahunt) as the scientific baddie next year.
Also, let’s bid a fond adieu to Dillahunt and Campbell. They deserved better.
Unfortunately, the visit with Ellen led Agent Turner (Coby Bell) and Sentinel Services right to the Mutant Underground HQ. Defending the mutants there and devising the escape route proved once again that Reed and Caitlin were meant to be leaders, but would Turner have found the headquarters had they not run off to save mom?
Perhaps we’ll see Reed and Cait confronted with more leadership challenges like these next season, but for now, it’s admirable to see these two rise to the challenge; even if their sudden ability with firearms was laughable.
Also laughable was the sudden switch of Andy (Percy Hynes White) to the dark side. Or the Fenris side, I suppose. Yeah, they tried to set it up in episode 10, but it bears the mark of the convenient melodrama the show occasionally relies on to speed up the narrative. And, to be fair, episodes 12 and 13 try their hardest to post-rationalize his sudden difficulty after weeks of successful socialization among the Mutant Underground and his family. It’s nonetheless interesting to see Alex go in this direction as it brings him back to where we found him in the first episode: maladjusted and drawing wolves.
Which leads to the key concept of both episodes: the hereditary nature of mutation itself. Are people like Andy and Lorna (Emma Dumont) predisposed to join organizations like the Hellfire Club because their parents (or great-grandparents) were members? Though The Gifted will not say the name, a badge in the episode 13 cold open proves Magneto is, in fact, Lorna’s father. He also has history with the Club and a deep belief that war with humanity is inevitable. Has Lorna been fighting these impulses all along? Were they misdiagnosed as a bi-polar condition? Or is the other way around? Similarly, is the very presence of the Fenris power an indication that Alex must destroy everything around him? It’s an interesting idea as X-Men comics are filled with legacy families and at least one villain obsessed with harnessing genetic codes and family tendencies. In Lorna’s case, it’s led her to become the Black Queen — at least based on her outfit in episode 13’s final moments — and doing something Erik Magnus Leshner wouldn’t hesitate to do: kill a bigoted US senator.
An event which will inform the second season in ways we can’t even begin to consider, but leads us to a number of lingering questions until next Fall:
- How will the Underground rebuild? Though the headquarters was destroyed, the people and other safehouses still exist.
- Were the tracker Hounds killed in the explosion? The answer to this one determines whether or not the Underground will be on the run all of next year.
- Will they claim the name “X-Men” for themselves? It seems a possibility, especially if they have to fight. Rebranding may help their cause.
- Who are the Inner Circle? Are they X-Men characters we will recognize?
- Where will Turner go? Without Sentinel Services or resources, he’ll still need allies in his thirst for vengeance. Purifiers, perhaps?
- Will Lorna ever have that baby? Episode 12 made it clear it’s only been a month or so since Reed told Lorna she was pregnant, but will that baby survive to term with all the other craziness going on?
The Gifted returns next fall on FOX.