Brief Thoughts On The Gifted, Episode 5

by Erik Amaya

THE GIFTED: L-R: Jamie Chung and guest star Elena Satine in the "boXed In" airing Monday, Oct. 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Eliza Morse/FOX
Last week’s episode of The Gifted appeared to wrap up the plot threads established in the pilot. But this week smartly followed up on one important question posed by the initial premise: How are the mutants supposed to trust Reed Strucker?
Trust was the engine of the show’s fifth episode as the series finally had time to address the Strucker Family’s presence as the Underground HQ, Reed’s attempt to buy his family their freedom two episodes ago and Dreamer’s (Elena Satine) intensely invasive mutant ability. It also found time for Polaris (Emma Dumont) to kidnap Agent Turner (Coby Bell) and film part of a standoff.
But let’s start with Reed (Stephen Moyer). As discussed two weeks ago, he did a bad thing by trying to deal with Sentinel Services. While his reasoning makes sense — a prosecutor would use his understanding of the legal maneuvers to protect his family — he had not considered the cost to other families. Once confronted with the fact mere children would be hurt if he helped Tuner find the Ungerground base, he bailed out of the truck driven by Tex (Jeff Daniel Phillips). While it was a moment of growth for one of the protagonists, it also created a deep fissure of distrust in Tex — who can turn himself and nearby objects invisible — one he was happy to spread to the rest of the HQ’s new arrivals. You could see it on the faces of random mutants as they looked at the Struckers with suspicion even as Caitlin, Andy and Lauren saved Harry’s (D James Jones) life.
Reed managed to buy himself some time by talking directly to Tex and proving to John (Blair Redford) that he has valuable information to share with the Underground. Knowing how their dragnets worked, he also devised a plan to send Sentinel Services in the opposite direction of the HQ. Considering that the base is the show’s only real standing set, it was easy to assume the show would hold onto it for a while longer, but Reed’s choice to get caught by the Atlanta CC cameras was a key moment of building trust. I imagine Tex will still be wary of Reed, but rescued him and Reed’s plan worked.
Back at the base, the rest of the Struckers proved themselves loyal by saving Harry. It is interesting to note that with the key Underground mutants away or dealing with Reed’s plan, the influx of new mutants had to learn to trust this family. It probably helped that Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) used her powers to stop Harry’s hemorrhage, but Caitlin’s (Amy Acker) obvious empathy and concern is just as powerful at this point.
Meanwhile, trust may become a concern for Marcos and Polaris. While their discussion about the baby — and the obvious choice in names — was sweet, Lorna’s treatment by Sentinel Services has left some scars. She’s far more ready to hurt human agents than she was when the show began. Her willingness to use Dreamer’s power on Agent Turner was an example; there was not a second of hesitation on her part. Sadly, the team failed to learn why Pulse is working for Turner, but the whole event suggests Polaris may end up deciding her father’s ways (provided we learn that she is Magneto’s daughter) are correct. Pitting her against Marcos would be the height of X-Men style drama.
And since we’re talking about Dreamer’s power, let’s examine the cost of using it. Blink (Jamie Chung) finally twigged that she received an implanted memory and confronted Dreamer about it. And based on her reaction to Dreamer’s justification, it’s clear the show want to portray its use as morally objectionable in all cases. Which makes sense as Dreamer’s power, when you really consider it, is one of the most insidious abilities a person could have. But just to drive the point home, the episode wraps with something genuinely heartbreaking: Turner learning for a second time that his daughter is dead. While removing that memory was not Dreamer’s aim, it is still a gutpunch. Considering how driven Turner was before, when he had some time to process that grief, I can only imagine a renewed rawness to those emotions will make him downright ruthless. It’s also easy to imagine an eventual confrontation between Turner and Dreamer.
Which, I guess, raises the question of how Dreamer lives with that ability day to day. While she often seems conflicted about using it, she still offers it as a salve to Blink. I hope the show continues to examine the ambiguity of Dreamer as a character and the consequences of using that power.
Dangling Questions:

  1. If the July Incident took place in Dallas, is the Xavier School in Westchester still in tact?
  2. If it is, does Sentinel Services know about it?
  3. How did John come across all the neat police scanning equipment?
  4. How did Sentinel Services turn Pulse?

The Gifted airs Mondays on FOX.

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