RECAP: Gifted Season 2 Episode 9: gaMe changer – Drama in the Mutant Underground, Melodrama over the girl who can turn people inside out

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Read about what happened in the densest episode of the season filled with major moments (of varying quality.)

NOTE: 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, and I hope using their code names doesn’t prevent you from connecting with these often very human characters, not including Andy whose photo you can see below.

This episode’s flashback features Rebecca one year ago. As she and her family eat breakfast her parent’s’ fear of her is palpable, which is pretty understandable since she’s not shy about turning people’s bodies inside out. Sentinel Services arrives at their door, and we learn they were called by Rebecca’s parents. Based on the look she gives her parents as she’s being cuffed, there’s clearly some unfinished business there.

In the present day, the Hellfire Club has Rebecca confined in a spinning object with no light inside, which prevents her from using her powers for reasons the writers didn’t feel like compelled to fully explain. Andy doesn’t like that his girlfriend is trapped in a spinning pod of darkness, but there’s not much he can do about it.

Lauren reveals to her parents that Madeline wants to remove the X-Gene in not just her father but all mutants. That sounds like a good thing to me given it would prevent random people from uncontrollably shooting lasers out of their eyes, but it worries the Struckers, especially when they learn Doctor Madeline’s brother founded the Purifiers. Madeline has their DNA, which is the key to removing the X-Gene. Reed says they have to destroy it, even if it means he’s never cured of his (mutant caused) condition.

Jace is applauded as a hero of the Purifiers and tells his audience that everyone needs to see the mutants as terrorists after the deaths at the bank. They’re organizing a Citizen Militia to patrol their neighborhoods. They even have a hotline number!

Andy visits Polaris to ask if everything the Hellfire Club does was worth sending her daughter away. Polaris expresses how much she looks forward to the “mutant homeland” they’ll make, where she can live with her daughter Dawn (and his father Eclipse?)

Eclipse waits restlessly in a care until Blink calls him and tells him to open the trunk, where she teleports a systems analyst with the information they need to combat the Mutant Uprising. Blink and Thunderbird pop over moments later, saying they made a lot more noise than intended, setting off a major mutant hunt.

Caitlin asks how long the treatment Reed was given will last, hoping to learn more about his condition before they have to destroy all the research. Madeline tells them the medicine blocks the “complex proteins that release energy” until it ceases to be effective, resulting in a massive output of power which will cause significant damage. By comparing Reed’s X-Gene to Lauren’s they can figure out how to turn off the X-Gene entirely.

While speaking with overly talkative lab assistant Noah, Lauren convinces him to show him where all her blood is being kept (because she’s “interested in the process”) in return for a lunch date she clearly doesn’t want to go on.

As her parents wait to hear from her, Doctor Madeline reveals to them that Lauren carries two versions of the X-Gene, and like their ancestors she shares them with her sibling, reemphasizing how much more powerful Lauren and Andy are together.

In the storage area, Lauren asks Noah if he really believes in what Madeline is doing. He shows her the device implanted in his chest so he doesn’t hurt anybody with his ability and that he just wants to be normal. Good point, Noah!

There’s a lot of drama between the Big 3 of the Mutant Underground. Blink challenges Thunderbird over pushing Eclipse back into the fight just days after he lost his child. Their dynamic might be the strongest of the series. It’s engaging to watch the three young leaders try to live up to the enormous responsibility put upon them.

We find out the systems analyst is played by the actor who portrayed Ted on Breaking Bad, and I can’t think of a better choice for a character we’re supposed to hate. The trio tells him that his business is the one being targeted by the Mutant Uprising. He admits the company is behind the mutant restraint collars placed on imprisoned mutants.

Thunderbird pressure the analyst to find where the attack will happen. Eclipse tells him he needs to keep his cool, but Thunderbird is too focused on stopping the Inner Inner Circle. Blink comes in to tell them that the manhunt is leading cops to arrest mutants just for having the X-Gene, and scolds Thunderbird for his carelessness before leaving to clean up his mess.

Reeva tries to coax Andy into working with them again, but he’s too worried about Rebecca. He argues that killing 17 civilians should be forgiven because it was her first mission. Reeva agrees that Rebecca is a victim and it’s not her fault what the mutant mental ward turned her into. I disagree, especially based on that flashback of her prior to her stint there. Reeva might, too, just trying to get Andy back on board. Andy, however, is alarmingly sympathetic for a mass murderer.

Andy walks towards the pod holding Rebecca and breaks it open with his powers. They make out before Rebecca tells Andy that she meant to kill the people at the bank, which I never even thought was in question. Rebecca tries to kill Reeva, but Andy uses his powers to stop her from turning Reeva inside out. Rebecca slams into a wall at just the right/wrong angle to kill her. Clearly, the show wants us to feel sad that she died and Andy killed her, but I’d be surprised if a tenth of the audience is having that reaction.

The analyst tells Thunderbird and Eclipse he found something just prior to receiving three bullets in the chest from an unknown assailant. Thunderbird uses his senses to take down the often-invisible mutant, but he and Eclipse have to run since the police heard the commotion, and so did Jace’s Citizen Militia.

Still at Hellfire HQ, Polaris consoles Andy and convinces him to help take down the location that controls all the mutant collars to get justice for his girlfriend who needed a mutant collar more than anyone.

Lauren shows her parents to Madeline’s research. Before Lauren can destroy it all, soldiers come in, weapons pointed on the family. Doctor Madison tells them she’s saving the human race. Caitlyn calls it scientific genocide and says God Made mutants who they are. Madison scoffs and says no god would make someone like Andy (fair) or Noah (unfair). Noah didn’t like that Madison called him a curse on his family, and unleashes his earthquake powers to let the Struckers escape.

Until the discrimination, Doctor Madison made good points. Is it insensitive to believe that the world would be better if anyone could secretly be a walking WMD?

The Mutant Uprising arrive at the building controlling all the mutant collars. Andy and Polaris in her new tiara go in an destroy all the servers. We cut to a mutant detention center in Atlanta where all the prisoners are freed, and then one in MI, and others in Texas and California. The world is about to enter total chaos

As Thunderbird and Eclipse attempt to escape they’re attacked by a gang gun-toting Purifiers. Thunderbird holds them off, stopping a truck going 50+ miles per hour. Jace and his Purifier friends get out of the car (good strategy!) and knock out Thunderbird. So one of the leaders of the Mutant Underground is in the possession of the Purifiers.

For all the fun I’ve had poking fun at his episode, it had its share of good moments, mostly from the three leaders of the Underground. They’re all very compelling, whereas the Struckers created for this series largely feel like an unnecessary soap opera in the middle of a good story.

The next episode isn’t until New Years Day so I’ll be back recapping a new episode next year! See you then.

1 COMMENT

  1. Most of the characters don’t have superhero code names, and even those that do don’t use them (Johnny has never been referred to as anything but Johnny, unless it happened in the pilot and I don’t remember) or, at best, use them half-heartedly (Lorna/Polaris, Clarice/Blink), except for the few, largely tertiary characters who are known only by their codenames (Sage, Erg, Shatter — Erg even renounced his human name), so for consistency’s sake, I think that you should really be referring to all the characters with both character names and code names by the way that the show refers to them 99% of the time: by their character names.

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