A Look at The Gifted- Season 1, Episode 6: “got your siX”

This episode was brought to you by the Claremont Interstate Movers. Also, never mind having Mystique as your teacher.  Meet Professor Polaris.  This is “got your siX.”

The episode begins four years ago in Phoenix, Arizona as mutant veteran John Proudstar tries to raise money for those affected by the 7/15 incident.  One man blames mutants for what happened, causing John to rage, but he keeps things in check.  He senses danger from an incoming vehicle as someone from it tosses a pipe bomb.  John picks it up and tosses it into an empty lot just as the bomb detonates.

In the present, Marcos tells John that he called around about Pulse and there are rumors or mutants hunting other mutants- Pulse may not be the other one.  As for the federal building in Baton Rouge, Reed may know a judge who has information about the program in the building. They may have to break in, and John is willing to change the game if Sentinel Services changed theirs.

Andy and Lauren discuss beating the rush of mutant refugees, though Lauren believes this to be her fault.  One mutant, Wes, played by Danny Ramirez, asks Lauren if she has any different food available and then asks if she helps take care of other refugees.  But what if Lauren was already done?  Wes creates the illusion of her task being completed, but Lauren has stuff to do.

Elsewhere, Caitlin checks a child’s blood pressure and asks how often he uses his powers, which is two to three times a day when he’s looking for food. She then looks over and sees Polaris overseeing a mutant working on controlling their power.  Caitlin wonders why Polaris would train these kids for combat, but hey, the kids are being hunted.  Seems more helpful than knitting.

John speaks with Clarice about the federal building in Baton Rouge with information on what happened to Pulse, but Clarice gets straight with John and tells her about the conversation she had with Dreamer.  John, like Dreamer, felt that it was an emergency, though Clarice still feels like she was used, while she’s got her own issues and people to find.

And she’s not asking for John’s help- she just wants to know if, when they were working together, if the look they shared was real.  John’s answer?  It’s complicated.  Good thing Clarice can make this a lot less complicated.  She creates a portal and leaves the compound.

That evening, everyone goes over the plan.  Reed describes what he knows about the Baton Rouge building and the judge who helped with his cases.  Shatter wants to know more about Reed’s cases, and John then spills that Clarice has left, so they need another entrance.  Marcos may be able to get them into the back through reinforced concrete, but that could take awhile, so Andy volunteers his powers.

Naturally, Caitlin isn’t fine with Andy volunteering, but Reed still considers this their best shot.  Marcos, meanwhile, assures John that he’ll be fine, but John is needed at the compound.  Everything is loaded up as Caitlin bids farewell to her husband and son.  Caitlin then notes Reed’s hand- his wedding ring was taken while he was in prison. Though the two haven’t talked, they do kiss before parting ways.

Wes again tries to make small talk with Lauren, who acknowledges how crazy her life has become in the past few weeks.  She’s not sure of anything anymore.  Wes offers to talk, but Lauren has work to do.

Jace, against everyone’s wishes, shows back up at Sentinel Services, livid about remembering the memory of losing his daughter again.  He enters his office and makes a call to Dr. Roderick Campbell.

On the road, Reed tells Andy that he talked to the guidance counselor, which is apparently the reason Andy was attacked in the gym.  He wishes that Andy spoke up, but there’s time to talk right now.  They hear police outside and overhear a cop asking the driver for his license before asking to check the truck.

They turn off the lights just as Marcos absorbs the light.  He keeps the truck dark enough until the officer leaves.

John, is at work at the compound when he tells an approaching Dreamer that he’s been thinking about reinforcing the place.  Dreamer asks how the talk with Clarice went, but she’s clearly gone, so not too well.  John wonders if the X-Men made a mistake choosing him to be part of of the underground.

With so many new refugees, he feels that he isn’t doing enough, but Dreamer reminds John that he was chosen for a reason.  While the X-Men did say a war is coming…no one said who would win, though.

The group on the road comes to a stop, as there are a lot of police on the road.  Andy remembers that the family used to talk of camping a lot, and here they are.  Reed asks Andy if it hurts when he uses his powers, but Andy says that it doesn’t.  After all, watching Marcos, Reed saw how much it took out of him.  But for Andy, you have to put something into yelling, but it’s different. It feels good when he rips stuff apart.

Reed reminds his son that his powers could hurt someone, but Andy just wants his father to be proud of him.  Marcos interrupts when the driver has a question.

At the compound, Shatter finds Caitlin looking through storage.  Her plan is to start a school for the kids, and the books come from when Sentinel Services liked to grab families when they would pick kids up from school- get them all at once.

Polaris trains a group of mutants, Lauren among them, on using their powers.  She does this by tossing metal objects towards them which they must deflect with their powers, but Polaris stops when Wes screws around and creates an illusion.  She tells them that they’ll need to depend on each other and work hard.  Before Lauren can go, Caitlin steps in and tells Polaris that she doesn’t want Lauren involved.

Marcos tells Reed about overhearing the conversation with Andy and advises him to keep at it with Andy, as it helps coming from a father figure.  He asks if Reed always wanted to be a father, and Reed says that he did.  And he congratulates Marcos on being a father soon, but Marcos didn’t know his father much before he was kicked out for being a mutant.

In his eyes, he disappointed his father.  Reed says that if they all turned out like their fathers, they wouldn’t be very good.  Marcos asks how Reed figured out parenting, but he hasn’t.  But nothing you do will make the kids love you less.  You start there and do the best you can.

Back at Sentinel Services, Dr. Campbell informs Jace that, after speaking with some colleagues on Capitol Hill, he got Turner reinstated.  He then switches the conversation to the Strucker children.  Now that the two are working together, Campbell wants access to those files, so whatever Jace has, send it to Campbell.  And with that, time to go to work.

After receiving an update from Marcos and Reed, who have arrived at the building in Baton Rouge, Polaris must again debate with Caitlin, who feels that the kids deserve a future that isn’t filled with fighting. But Polaris knows that the kids will be fighting for the rest of their lives and people like Andy and Lauren need to improve their powers.  They’re mutants.  There is no normal for them anymore.

Wes and Lauren look through some office furniture while Lauren admits that she’s been hiding her powers all this time.  She asks Wes if he ever wanted a normal life, but he thinks hiding is even worse.  Lauren looks back over her life of doing things like graduating or moving to Florence, but things like that may never happen. Wes then creates a vision of Florence just for Lauren.  But it turns out to be Rome.

Reed, Andy, and Marcos arrive at the wall that Andy soon pulls apart while activating some car alarms in the process.  Reed tells his son to fall back while he and Marcos continue upward.

They enter a room and start pulling files when Reed, after stopping at a picture, looks outside and sees officers coming. But Marcos is still burning through the safe and gets some data files.  Against Reed’s wishes, Marcos uses his powers on the room as the two escape as a mean of covering their tracks.

Back at the hideout, John informs to Sage and Shatter that other mutants are coming due to another headquarters getting hit, though the compound is already over capacity according to Sage.  Dreamer approaches and learns that Marcos’ mission went well even without Clarice’s help.  John tells Dreamer that what they did was wrong, but it did save lives.  If she’d known earlier, Dreamer figures that Clarice would’ve left earlier.

It’s fine that John made it out and Pulse didn’t.  They have to move forward.  And with that, the two kiss.  John then receives a call from Marcos, who tells him that they’re almost back, but they’re being trailed.  Nothing’s coming up on the scanners, so Reed tells John to look up any notices to if there are directives on avoiding the upcoming highway.  There are, so Sentinel Services knows that they’re coming.

John informs Caitlin, Lauren, and Polaris that Sentinel Services is heading for a trap.  Lauren tells them that Wes can help by creating an illusion, and Lauren wants to join in as well.  Caitlin can’t stop her daughter at this point.

Indeed, when Polaris, Wes, and Lauren arrive at a high point, they see a blockade.  Polaris tells Marcos to inform the caller to keep going.  They’ll handle the rest.  The plan is for Lauren to create a shield strong enough for a truck to drive over, so she should think of everything but the target.  As for Wes, dig deep to create something big.

The truck heads right for the blockade, though Andy is frustrated that he can’t help.  Reed tells his son that while Andy can help, his powers aren’t the answer to everything.  Right now, the answer is to be a team.

High above, as the officers fire, Polaris stops the bullets, Lauren creates her barrier for the truck to vault over and it manages to jump the police cruisers.  Wes then creates the illusion of the truck heading in two directions, and it turns out that the truck headed in in neither direction, but went straight ahead instead. Also, the truck is labeled Claremont Interstate Movers.  Nice.

Back at Sentinel Services, Dr. Campbell arrives just as Turner informs soldiers that the mutants on the roadblock were the same ones that stole information from the building in Baton Rouge.  He wants all information collected based on cell phones with a 50 mile radius of the roadblock, even without a damn court order.

And at the compound, as Reed makes dinner, Caitlin joins him and gives him a replacement wedding ring.

As Andy sets up a Monopoly game, Reed joins him to make something clear: he’s always been proud of his son.  And whatever Andy is thinking, Reed is available to hear it, no matter what. Andy decides…that his father should be the shoe for the game since he’s always the shoe.  And with that, the game begins.

Then, we get a montage: John and Dreamer, meanwhile, look over the case files that Reed snatched….

Clarice explores an empty building…

That evening, Marcos receives a call from Carmen, who is ready to collect on their deal in exchange for helping rescue Polaris.  And if Marcos doesn’t show up, her next call is to Sentinel Services.

Traditionally, “got your six” means you’ve got someone’s back or have them covered. Given the odds stacked against the mutants here, made more difficult by the lack of X-Men, they have no choice but to have each other’s backs.  At the same time, they and their human allies need to give one another the space to develop on their own terms.

Take John, for example.  The man has a lot on his plate now not just as leader of the underground, but feeling like a failure for not being able to save Pulse and now he’s lost Blink as well.  Blair Redford is great at showing just how frustrated John is with his heavy plate, not to mention the flack he’s received from humans, despite his wartime service.  You’d think that would mean something to humans, but no.

It’s nice to see shades of doubt in his leadership, and we get an added layer to his character when we learn that the X-Men picked him for the underground.  Perhaps this is a role that he never wanted or felt he couldn’t live up to compared to other mutant leaders like Charles, Scott, Erik, or Emma, but he’s doing his best and trying to save as many mutants as possible, challenging as that seems to be.

In this instance, Dreamer is the one who has John’s six and I’m glad the writers, for now, have steered away from the potential love triangle stuff.  Clarice is proactive enough to confront Dreamer and John, thus removing herself from the equation altogether for now.  Perhaps wherever she’s headed could give us some insight into her backstory.

But getting back on-topic, Dreamer is that immediate support system that John needs. Good on the show’s part that they’re not bickering over their decision to alter Clarice’s memories, given that they did save lives as a result while also being fully aware of the long term consequences.  I’m glad this discussion, for now at least, is done, rather than drag it out.  Now the two can focus on learning more about Pulse.

A lot of the characters had moments to shine here.  Well, sort of.  Shatter got a few more lines than normal when talking with Caitlin about the books and we got more speedy facts and analytics from Sage.  It’s not a lot, but I’m glad that they’re slowly getting more to do than provide just exposition or be extra characters in a planning scene.

We got to see Polaris in more of a leadership role that felt part Dodgeball, but also had shades of the training sequences in X-Men First Class.  Yeah, they’re not very long, but it’s nice to see Lorna training the mutants on how to use their powers, given that, as she tells Caitlin, they’ll be fighting for a good chunk of their lives.  It’s nice to see her take all of this seriously and not let her pregnancy relegate her to the sidelines.

Not that Polaris would ever take a backseat because that’s not who she is, but she knows that everyone has a part to play and the least she can do is help other mutants tap into their abilities.  And it’s great that she’s not taking this lightly, as no one should. They’re all in the fight of their lives and not taking this seriously could spell disaster for them, as it has for so many.

Plus, she agrees to take Wes and Lauren to help with the rescue mission, resulting in success partially as a result of her teaching and advice.  With all that said, I’m all for seeing Polaris play a more hands-on role with training other mutants.  Hell, if Xavier’s School ever needed a substitute teacher, Polaris should enlist.

Hey, if Magneto at one point run the school in Charles’ absence- albeit, not that well- then Polaris is just as capable.

Like last week, it’s nice to see Lauren stepping up and becoming more active in the underground.  She has great potential with her powers and with proper guidance and practice, she can really tap into what she can do.  So I still don’t get why, at this point, Caitlin is still trying to shelter her.  She’s got to see at this point that her kids are going to keep working with the underground, even volunteering for missions.

She’s a protective mother, but she can’t be naive enough to believe that she can just shelter Andy and Lauren from the harsh realities they’ll face as mutants.  When she tells Lauren to go ahead with Polaris before she changes her mind…I thought, ‘It’s not your call, Caitlin.’  Be the Mom when it’s necessary, not when your kids are in the middle of their growth as mutants.

But I did like Lauren’s talks with Wes, who makes a good first impressive with an equally impressive ability.  Though she’s integrated more with the underground, she still laments keeping her ability a secret, as well as the moments from her normal life that she may not experience.  And then she gets a taste of that in a cute little moment when Wes takes her to Florence…er, Rome.

But it wasn’t just Lauren and Caitlin.  All of the Struckers got more time to shine as Andy and Reed finally got more time to talk.  We learned that it turns out Reed’s actions are the reason Andy ended up getting bullied at the dance and, as a result, unlocking his powers.  I can buy that, as bullies would retaliate against their target if they’ve been warned by a superior.

We also see the concern, though not to the same extent as Caitlin, Reed has about Andy’s extreme enthusiasm for tearing things apart.  He’ll let Andy get involved, but not too involved.  And like Lorna, Reed understands the merits of working as a team rather than just going at it alone just because you have great power.

There’s not a lot of time spent on it, but I hope we return to Reed’s history with the Baton Rouge building, given that we saw him eyeing a particular photo.  He did mention a judge earlier on, so that may come up later.  And it’s good to see him providing tactical knowledge to the underground when he suggests they search directives on avoiding the highway.  His Sentinel Services experience pays off here.

This also gave him more time to talk with Marcos as the two bonded over fatherhood, but also so Marcos could impart some advice about keeping at it.  They both have something and someone close to them to protect, so despite their differences from the onset, the two are finding more common ground as the series progresses.

“got your siX” was another strong installment for the series with great character development across the board, but also shows something sinister headed our way with Dr. Campbell working with Jace Turner, not to mention Carmen’s unexpected call to collect from Marcos.

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