Check out a summary for what might be one of the last mutant-involving projects before Marvel takes control of the X-Men franchise.
I’ve never gotten too into the X-Men, but I was excited to see a TV series about mutants less psychedelic than Legion. And this is the first time in movies or television they’re focusing on teenage mutants, as opposed to having one or two young heroes. That and my love for Sean Teale, an actor I’ve been a fan of since he appeared on the UK series Skins, made me watch the first episode, and the show has kept me intrigued, even though it’s far from perfect. So I’m happy to get to recap Gifted for you all.
For the sake of clarity, I’m using the characters’ hero (or villain) names, instead of switching between them based on context. It should make it easier to keep track of a sizable cast.
The episode opens with the inner circle of the Hellfire club seated around a table, listening to Reeva justify her actions. She angered the rest of the council by breaking rank and sending her “pets” AKA the Stepford Cuckoos to enlist an unstable pregnant woman in their mission for a plan that’s “insane.” But mainly, she didn’t have authorization.
So Reeva and the Stepford Cuckoos disposed of them. So much for hierarchy.
Next, we see Polaris, very pregnant now, talking with Andy Strucker. Andy died his hair an Eminem shade blonde and it looks as bad as you’re picturing it right now. Andy is fully in line with the Hellfire Club’s mission at this point, deciding to honor Baron Von Strucker, his ancestor who founded the Hellfire Club, instead of, you know, his actual family.
Reed Strucker intercepts police chatter about a raid at an apartment complex where mutants are hiding. The Mutant Underground teleports there (thanks Blink) and they’re able to rescue ten mutants.
We learn Reed and Caitlin Strucker have been looking for Andy for months but have no leads, probably because he doesn’t want to be found. In the meantime, they’re freeing mutants, so at least there’s that.
The Stepford Cuckoos bring Polaris to a “comfortable” (their words) munitions warehouse where she can give birth because it’s the only location that can withstand her labor.
The Mutant Underground discusses their options moving forward. They know the only thing keeping them alive is that the government thinks they died in Atlanta. Eclipse tells them he reached out to a hacker named Wire. The group is mad because they agreed not to work with criminals, but isn’t being a mutant basically illegal at this point? Anyway, they stress that they need to play it safe. Eclipse responds, “My kid is about to be born, maybe I’m done being careful.” The line is effective, well-acted by Sean Teale, making it one of my favorite moments of the episode.
Reeva reaches out to Polaris, who feels alone as she’s about to give birth, telling Polaris that she needs her. Polaris brings up a good point, asking “But haven’t you needed people before?” It’s about as politely as you can ask someone if they’ll kill you as soon as you’re not useful to them
The Stepford Cuckoos sneak their way into the comfortable munitions warehouse with their telepathic powers and bribe/threaten the owner to assume ownership of the warehouse. No word on if the workers received severance pay.
Thunderbird agrees to track down the sister of Christina, a girl the mutants just saved. That will come into play later.
Lauren “dreams” that she finds Andy on the rooftop, but he grabs her and tries to combine their powers. She wakes up scared from what was probably a psychic link between them. Lauren tells her parents about it, and they finally have “the talk” about the son/brother becoming an evil mutant. Afterward, Amy goes to Eclipse about meeting Wire because the siblings are “getting close”
During preparations for the birth Polaris tells Andy she’s worried the birth won’t go well and that he needs to protect the baby no matter what happens to her. He promises he will.
Caitlin and Eclipse find Wire, who has the ability to connect to a machine and find things others can’t. So he’s basically a normal hacker but with a needless power. When he won’t help them, we finally get to see Amy Acker go badass. Caitlin attacks him and aims a gun at his head until he changes his mind, but she’s grazed by a bullet. They get information about the Hellfire Club.
Thunderbird and Blink tell Jasmine, the girl they saved, that they lost the trail on her sister because it seems like she was “picked up” while trying to get out of the city. They don’t know who picked them up but there was no sign of a struggle.
After washing down a handful of pills, Reed is contacted by Thunderbird to tell him to get home to be with Caitlin. Reed has what seems like a heart attack before his veins start to glow and worm around. He holds whatever it is back, and it doesn’t seem like it was the first time he had to do it. It seems he’s developing mutant powers.
Polaris starts going into labor, and her contractions cause blackouts throughout the city. This alerts Eclipse that Polaris is close, but something is going wrong with the delivery.
Blackout through the city caused by contractions alerts Eclipse that Polaris is close. Reeva and the Cuckoos tell Andy they’re going to “take care of this” and Andy steps aside surprisingly quickly considering he just promised Polaris he’d protect her baby.
But they find a safe way to help Polaris. The Cuckoos show Polaris a vision of a “dawn of a new age.” She sees a celebration marking an era of peace and prosperity. She and Andy seem like they were at the head of the movement. At the end of her vision, her 3-ish old daughter runs up to her and Polaris tells her, “We did it, baby.” I’m going to guess things don’t turn out quite the way she’s envisioning it (the Cuckoos are telepaths, not psychics) but we’ll see.
Polaris delivers her child and the power goes out “everywhere.” Eclipse thinks that means the birth killed her and breaks down at the same time Polaris is happily holding her baby girl. She names her Dawn… get it? At least she didn’t name her Hope.
A short teaser shows what to expect this season. Reeva prepares for war, the heroes search for powerful mutants to help them, and we the start of a showdown between Lauren and Andy.
Jokes aside, I really enjoyed this episode. The writers seem like they’ve figured out the tone of the show and, even though a line or two made me cringe, there’s clear improvement over Season 1. Genuinely excited to see where things go from here.