Learn what happened in Episode 2 of the X-Men inspired series that uses bits and pieces of many different stories to make something entirely its own.

Gifted is steadily becoming one of my favorite superhero shows because I don’t have expectations going in. Instead of feeling inconsequential because it uses the mutants no one cared enough about to put in movies, the story uses their lower status to tell a story about a world without the X-Men and who picks up the pieces. I’m quickly warming up to Gifted, and hope you join me for the ride.

REMINDER: 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 second episode of Season 2 flashes back to three years ago. Thunderbird is in the center of a ring, easily overpowering multiple fighters attacking him with hammers. You can tell that at this time he’s very different from the spiritual leader he becomes.

As Thunderbird counts his winnings, a woman introducing herself as Evangeline Whedon offers him a chance to stop wasting his life. She worked for the X-Men before they went away and wants Thunderbird to lead the underground station in Atlanta, telling him “A face like yours deserves better than a baseball bat.”

Present day Thunderbird visits Eclipse, mourning Lorna and their baby, who he presumes dead. Eclipse shows Thunderbird the $200 bottle of champagne he bought to celebrate the birth of his child, but right now he has little to celebrate.

Reeva discusses the blackout caused by Polaris’ labor with the Cuckoo sisters and the unwanted attention it brought with it. Thanks to her connections, the Department of Energy will put out a statement that a lightning strike causing the power outage, but to be safe Reeva wants everyone who even might know the truth to be taken care of. Esme is hesitant but has no other option but to agree and follow orders.

Jace Turner, the former Sentinel Service agent, discusses his transition to private security with his wife. He mentions he has a feeling that the blackouts in Washington, D.C., involve mutants, frustrating her. After years obsessing over hunting down mutants to avenge their dead daughter, he’s finally moving forward and she doesn’t want him opening that door again.

Thunderbird thinks back to when Evangeline found him and tells Blink they should get in touch with her. He discusses how Evangeline saved him during the period after being discharged from the Marines when he was lost, taking too many pills to deal with the pain. We even see him chained him to a bed to force a detox.

Caitlin wants to find Evangeline, too, in case she can lead them to Andy. Reed doesn’t know what they can say now that Andy’s chosen the Hellfire Club, but Caitlin refuses to give up on him. They fight over their broken family and, by doing so, continue to fracture.

The Stepford Cuckoos find the manager of the munitions facility they “borrowed” shopping for a plane and putting too much attention on himself. Scared, he swears he won’t tell anyone what happened in the warehouse, but they have their orders. The Cuckoos take over his mind and put him on a walk towards a helicopter’s spinning propeller blades. At the last second, Esme uses her powers to make a truck driver hit him before he reaches the spinning blades. Is that really better, though? Less disgusting, maybe, but being run over seems like a way more painful way to die. But it’s the thought that counts?

Andy runs through the Hellfire Club’s training course, easily blasting through barriers. But, during the last obstacle, he imagines trying to attack Lauren and runs into the wall when he should have blasted it apart.

Caitlin, Eclipse, Thunderbird reach Evangeline Whedon’s office without detection, but upon seeing them she immediately wants them gone. They convince her to at least make sense of the raw data they received about the Hellfire Club last episode.

Reed, who stayed behind, examines a folder containing his father’s notes about the mutant powers they inherit, and how he tried to prevent Reed’s abilities from manifesting. Also inside the folder are photos of the family, and he looks through them with Lauren. She tells her dad that it’s okay not to feel okay, something Reed needs to hear but doesn’t seem ready to accept.

As Polaris rocks her new baby daughter with her magnetic powers, Andy comes in to discuss his doubts, and how he feels he should be with Lauren. Polaris warns him that if the Hellfire Club isn’t convinced of his loyalty, he will be in danger. Soon after Andy sneaks out and calls his former home from a burner phone. His dad answers, but Andy won’t say anything and hangs up.

Meanwhile, Jace Turner talks with a friend about the power outage, who calls his ideas a crazy conspiracy. He’s probably one of the men Reeva paid off. After that interaction, Jace comes to the realization that there’s “not enough justice in the world for Grace.” If he doesn’t let go of his past he’s going to lose his future, too. He tells his wife he now knows that when she lost her daughter she lost her husband, too, and he’s going to change that. The scene is stirring, genuine, and heartfelt, a great reminder of the series’ potential.

Evangeline processes the data and shares that it shows Reeva is ready for war after taking over the inner circle of the Hellfire Club. Thunderbird promises they’ll stop her but Evangeline scoffs because there’s no way to stop a group with their level of resources, Polaris, and a Strucker. Thunderbird remains undeterred, and Evangeline attacks him for his foolhardiness, asking if he thinks she’ll let him destroy the rest of what mutants built after his failure in Atlanta. Ultimately, however, she points him to a mutant separatist named Erg, even though, in her words, hope is the worst thing she could give him right now.

Andy fails another test, distracted by thoughts of his sister. Thanks to the Cuckoos, Reeva knows what’s holding him back and is ready to dispose of him. But right when she’s about to activate her sonic scream, Andy opens up to her and admits he tried to reach Lauren and has dreams where she’s afraid of him. Reeva encourages him to use that emotion, not forget it, to help usher in a world where mutantkind can feel at peace.

Caitlin stares at the night sky on the roof of a building, a million things on her mind. Eclipse joins her, and they drink the champagne meant to celebrate the birth of his child. Caitlin pushes him not to sink into despair.  After she leaves Eclipse reflects back to his first date with Polaris when she asked him what he first did with his powers just for the fun of it. He remembers making green light with his hand, and does it again, shooting it into the sky.

All the way across the city Polaris can see the green light and is reminded of her baby’s father. She gets up to check on her daughter and she’s burning up. Based on the teaser for the next episode, baby Dawn needs her father’s mutant abilities near her, so things are about to get interesting