A Look at The Gifted- Season 1, Episode 7: “eXtreme measures”

Sometimes the right thing is doing the wrong thing.  At least, in certain circumstances. This is “eXtreme measures.”

The episode begins three years ago as Marcos meets John and Lorna at diner for the first time.  The two want Marcos to join the Mutant Underground, as they know his situation of helping mutants cross the border.  John tells Marcos that he can do more than deliver drugs across the border- he can make a difference.  However, Marcos is in deep with Carmen.

With the X-Men gone and the government tracking mutants, it’s up to them to help each other.

In the present, Marcos appreciates Carmen’s help, so she wants him to honor their deal in exchange for helping find Polaris.  She expects him tomorrow.  Marcos goes through a case and finds a particular medallion with the symbol of death on it.

Next day, John informs Polaris, Dreamer, Marcos, Sage, and Reed that that Sentinel Services has ramped up surveillance.  Food is running low, so Marcos offers to go to Marietta for supplies.

Sage and Reed, meanwhile, will continue going through the hard drives while John attempts to track down Clarice.  If Sentinel Services captures her, she could be tortured on finding the location of the compound.  Lorna offers to go with Marcos on finding supplies, but Marcos opts to do it alone.

Outside on some scaffolding on the roof, Wes and Lauren hang out, with Wes being the textbook bad influence that Lauren can’t help but like.  The two approach the edge of the platform and Lauren closes her eyes.  Wes then creates a vision of them floating across an open lake in the mountains.  Maybe Wes really liked the 1978 Superman film.  Percy interrupts an almost-kiss, as it’s lunch time.  Tough luck, Wes.

As Caitlin prepares lunch, Lauren tells her mother that she just lost track of time.  Caitlin wants the kids to focus on their homework because if they’re going to train, they also have to study.

Sage and Reed are still working on the hard drives- admittedly, Sage has an advantage with her powers- and the first drive is all police files on mutants, but the information on Sage’s file is much deeper.  The Sentinel Services program is based on cherry-picking mutants based on the abilities they want.  Then Reed stops on a particular file…

At Sentinel Services, Jace meets with Dr. Campbell to discuss the surveillance program’s progress.  The underground, though, is staying ahead of the program, so Campbell wants a more direct approach.  Surveillance alone doesn’t work, so he brings up being more aggressive with mutant assets, like placing them in the field.  Turner doesn’t feel such subjects are suitable for undercover work.

But Campbell has done so with several mutants already that have remained undetected.  When activated, they turn out to be quite effective and Jace can start immediately if he agrees.

Marcos indeed meets up with Carmen, who tells him that their reunion can be good for everyone, as both groups have a lot in common- hiding and fighting.  They can help each other, with Marcos’ power and Carmen’s money.  Though Marcos is hesitant, Carmen just wants Marcos to hear her out.

Caitlin teaches some kids about plants and genetics, and how a monk used them to pass down genes, kind of like the X-gene.  Reed tells Caitlin that Wes is in the mutant criminal files, having been involved with robbery in his past, but Caitlin doesn’t want to overreact yet because Lauren really likes Wes.  She advises Reed to talk to Lauren so she doesn’t go on the attack.

Having upgraded from the hallway, but still without a Danger Room, Polaris trains some blindfolded mutants, Andy included, in what I’m guessing is an basement when Reed enters to talk with his son about Lauren.  Andy covers for his sister, but Reed continues to look.

John manages to find Clarice, who can’t escape from Dreamer’s alterations.  John wants Clarice to come back, as the underground needs her, but Clarice feels that isn’t her battle. She wants to find that particular road from before when she got sick as it must mean something to her, so she wants to know why.  John offers to help, as he tracked her and can hopefully track what she needs.

Back at Sentinel Services, an agent, played by Christine Dumford, from the Department of Justice arrives to talk with Jace about this field operation, which she says is a legal nightmare.  She then brings up Dr. Campbell’s program that officially doesn’t exist.  The legal ground is too shaky and the agent tells Jace to shut down, but Jace refuses.  He promises to fight with everything he has if the agent fights, so Jace better suit up.

Polaris asks Shatter if he’s seen Marcos, but he’s still gone.  So she decides to call the spot where Marcos supposedly went, and the spot hasn’t had any supplies in awhile.  And Marcos hasn’t been at this location.  Whoops.

Dreamer hands out blankets and advises the mutants to share, as they’re short.  Polaris then brings her aside to tell her that Marcos lied and didn’t go to the spot where he said.  With Marcos’ Santa Muerte medallion gone, which Marcos wore for luck during his cartel days, Polaris realizes that Marcos has gone back to his former work.

Carmen informs Marcos that the job involves sending a message to the Russians coming into the area.  There’s a shipment going up north tomorrow.  All Marcos has to do is shine some light and job’s done.  Marcos agrees to the job.

Lauren joins her parents, who need to discuss Wes.  They show her Wes’ criminal file.  Lauren says the photo could be of anyone, but the power is also image manipulation.  Wes conned the owner of a jewelry store.  Lauren, not buying this, says that her father hasn’t changed at all and storms off.

On the road, Clarice doesn’t recognize a particular stretch of road and tells John to leave, but he insists that he’ll help her with his tracking power.  He says that she could have a trail inside of her, saying that when animals are scared, they go to a particular spot or burrow.  Clarice’s burrow is where she felt safe.  Now where is that spot?

Back at Sentinel Services, the agent tells everyone to stop using the program, but Turner is confident that the program, being used to hunt terrorists, is worthwhile when they’re hunting people who aren’t even considered Americans.  The agent will request a court order when she suddenly gets a nosebleed and collapses in pain.

Dr. Campbell sees that the agent is apparently having a stroke, but Turner can’t help but notice one man in particular just watching…

Later, Campbell receives a call from a suspicious Agent Turner, who wants to know what the hell happened.  Campbell calls the incident a mere medical accident, but Turner doesn’t buy it.  The DOJ will send someone else, but for now, the work can proceed as planned.

Back at the underground, Sage continues to work her power on the algorithms.  Reed then asks Sage if she’s in charge of evaluating mutants and what the protocol is.  There are some things that aren’t forgiven, like murder, rape, or victimizing other mutants. But basically, anyone just has to tell the truth.  If they lie, they have to leave, as the compound is built on trust.

Lauren approaches Wes and brings up the police file.  When Wes doesn’t answer, Lauren realizes it’s true.  Wes explains that when he was kicked out by his parents, he was on the run and found by a group of guys.  He became their front man.  So in fact, him being out and proud was using his powers for the wrong reasons.  Now Lauren can’t believe anything Wes says, saying he’s no different than his mirages.

Over at Carmen’s, Marcos suits up while Carmen reminds him of the good old days when he was just a guy who liked to burn things.  She then taunts him, saying that all Marcos ever believed in was Polaris.  They’re going to Forest Hills to access the Russian hill.  Someone else will handle the guards, but Marcos will deal with the cargo.

Clarice tells John about the mutant foster home where she spent some of her life- she was only there for a few years and left because she wasn’t a fan of the couple that ran the home.  She then approaches a familiar gate and recognizes the farm house, but John, sensing some recent activity, tells Clarice to wait, as something bad has happened.

Indeed, they approach the house and find Sentinel Services stickers plastered on the door.  John breaks in as Clarice calls out for Carl and Denise, but receives no answer.  And the telltale bullet holes and blood on the ground indicate that the worst has happened.  A now distraught Clarice embraces John.

Dreamer and Polaris prepare to take on the cartel, Lorna realizing that Marcos must be in serious trouble if he came here.  They approach the gate just as Polaris uses her power to hold up a guard by his gun, deflect some bullets, and pull a guard towards her.  She asks if he knows about Marcos, but when he doesn’t answer, it’s Dreamer’s time to interrogate…

We return to the compound as Caitlin joins Reed, who tells her that Lauren is apparently avoiding him.  The two reminiscing of simpler times before this, but they didn’t see this coming.  With all that’s happened, it feels like time has stopped, but the kids keep growing.  The two just want to protect their kids.  Reed can’t change the past, but right now, Caitlin tells him that Lauren needs a father, not a prosecutor.

Reed then speaks directly with Wes, who figures that Reed hates him, but he doesn’t.  What matters is what Lauren thinks.  To him, in his profession, society worked if there were consequences for breaking the rules.  Reed’s feelings on society have changed, but he still believes in it- even a new way.  It’s about trust.  He says that what Wes did was wrong, but he then says that he didn’t inform the higher-ups of the underground.

He tells Wes that he can hope they don’t find out or he can tell them himself.  Either way, he leaves it in Wes’ hands.

Clarice blames herself for the deaths at the home, saying all the kids she brought were through her portals, but John reminds her that Sentinel Services is to blame, not her.  As for what she said earlier, Clarice is confident that this is now her fight.  Maybe before it wasn’t, but that’s changed.

At the Russian lab, Carmen and Marcos stake out the shipment just as it’s finally time for them to move in.  They burst through the gates as one of the mutants in Carmen’s group freezes time.  Marcos then uses his ability to burn the shipment.  Lorna and Dreamer approach just as the shipment explodes and they see Marcos with Carmen.  Lorna opts to leave, saying that Marcos can save himself.

She awaits Marcos’ return at the compound, and he comes with supplies and says that he went where he claimed to go.  But he also got some extra cash from an old contact who is a supporter of the cause.  But Lorna isn’t buying it- she retrieves his medallion and asks about Carmen, but Marcos explains that when Lorna was in jail, the only way for him to free her was going to Carmen for information- in exchange for working for her.

He planned on telling her, but didn’t know how to tell her.  After all, he did this for Lorna and the baby.   Well, now that she knows, she storms off.

The Struckers have dinner when Wes arrives to announce that he spoke to Sage and admitted what he did.  It’s all behind him and he said that he’ll be better from now on, so the higher-ups decided to cut him some slack.  However, he’s still leaving to join a group going to Augusta station.

Meanwhile, Clarice returns to the compound while Marcos receives a congratulatory text from Carmen, who is glad to have use of him again.

Later on, Wes packs up for his reassignment, but not before getting a goodbye kiss from Lauren.

Sage explains to John and Reed that she’s still going through the files, but most of the information is indeed about mutants who were sent into this program- and Pulse was one of the first.  The records, though, don’t indicate anything about the location- just the courthouse records of who was selected, not where the mutants were sent.  Reed feels that since Sentinel Services is a government program, there must be records.

But Sage says that isn’t the case.  This isn’t run by the government, but a private military contractor by the very familiar name of Trask Industries.  Well, damn.  In this world, though, Trask Industries was shut down in 2006 according to Reed, whose father worked at Trask for 35 years.  As for whether Reed’s father might know about this, that’s the big question mark.

Jace, meanwhile, shows Dr. Campbell to a room housing plenty of mutants who are fresh for the picking.  Campbell, who informs Jace that they’ve started with the assets who can target the Underground, tells Jace not to think of the mutants as spies, but weapons.  All they have to do is get inside and the Hounds will take it from there. they may finally be in a position to win this war.

Another solid installment of The Gifted right here, filled with good character development, action set pieces, and quieter moments to balance against the more hectic ones.  And as has been the case before, we have another nod to the X-Men. For real, someone get a counter and indicate how many times the X-Men have been name-dropped in this series.

But onto the episode itself, it’s interesting finding ways the title ties into the episode’s various conflict plots and threads, as characters take and are confronted with taking extreme measures for either their own purposes or to assist someone else.  Often, but not always, these measures can have consequences, as seen mostly with Marcos and Jace.

I’m glad that Carmen called to collect as soon as she did so that plot threat wouldn’t be left dangling, but it also gave us a glimpse into Marcos’ past life before he officially joined the underground when John and Lorna tried to recruit him.  Carmen can manipulate and get a rise out of Marcos in ways that Lorna can’t and part of me wonders if there’s a tiny bit of Marcos that likes what he did.

He already took the extreme measure of going to Carmen for help to free Polaris, but that help is taken to a new level when she needs him to send a message to the Russians.  And Eclipse doesn’t seem disturbed by what he did, burning the shipment. Or if he is, it doesn’t show on his face.  Could be putting on a front so Carmen doesn’t question his loyalty, but I like seeing this darker side to him.

Darker or not, again, this isn’t done with malicious intent.  He did eventually get some supplies, and he did get some money for the compound since it doesn’t look like anyone here has a job.  He knows his limits and I doubt this will set him on the path towards going back to his old ways.  Lorna has a baby on the way and Marcos is trying to do what he thinks is right in the long term, even at the cost of working with Carmen.

But that’s not good enough for Lorna.  Before getting that, I’m glad that she’s graduated from training mutants in the open to a larger room.  This underground doesn’t have an equivalent of a Danger Room, as far as I know, but Polaris needs her own dedicated spot to train before someone ends up accidentally destroying the hideout.

Or maybe a bunker like what Charles used for Havok in X-Men First Class.

Back to the plot, though.  I’m glad she doesn’t just sit around and wait for Marcos to return.  She’s proactive enough to call and takes it upon herself to trail him.  It’s a bit easy that she and Dreamer located Marcos just when he was in the middle of attacking the shipment, though.  But at the very least, it gave her and Dreamer a moment to work together.

Polaris’ anger is justified and I’m left wondering where this relationship goes from here, given how it’s been one of the strong points of the series.  Marcos did come clean about his intentions and saving Lorna, so I don’t think they’ll just break up over this, but right now, they’re on rocky ground.

Wes is another example of a mutant who took an extreme move, but it was more to get by, not to cause harm.  I’m glad his exit is graceful, but it seems rather quick, given how we just met him in the last episode and Lauren gravitated towards him, so ending it here feels abrupt.  At the very least, it allowed Reed to discuss his evolving attitude on consequences for breaking the rules.

After all, the Struckers have technically broken various laws in order to stay together and keep away from Sentinel Services.  In the eyes of the law, that’s still wrong, but like Wes, they’re doing what it takes just to survive.  And this wasn’t an instance where Reed needed to be the authoritative figure- just the father, as Caitlin suggests.

Speaking of, Caitlin really needs something to do.  It’s strange that she’s instructing Andy and Lauren to focus on their studies when she knows very well by now that their priority is working on their powers.  It’s nice to see her taking initiative and educating whomever she can, so it’s not like she’s just walking around, but I’d like her to play a more vital role, as Reed is now with his background in Sentinel Services.

And that’s where I transition onto that little subplot, because I want to talk about Sage. Hayley Lovitt, the actress who plays her, is very enthusiastic about the character and talks on Twitter often about how she’s enjoyed this role.  But like Shatter, Sage was often kept in the background or only appeared to give a line or two.  She’s slowly gotten more to do and this week was her best moment as of now.

Remember, Sage has the mind of a supercomputer and has perfect memory.  In essence, she’s the brains of the underground, but aside from the occasional statistic, she hasn’t had a chance to show that.  Until now.  Watching her eyes fly through all information is a nice, subtle way to show off her powers, but also, for once, make her feel key to an ongoing storyline.

It’s ultimately not much.  Unlike Dreamer, she’s still relegated to the compound, but it’s baby steps I appreciate and hope that we see more of her and the rest of her powers.

Blink is brought back into the fold in a believable, yet tragic way as she learns the fates of those at the mutant foster home, which she blames on herself.  But of course, it isn’t her fault and I like how John is there to comfort here while they come to terms with what happened to her memory.  It’s a nice way to put them on good terms but also return her to the underground since she accepts that this is now her fight.

Then you’ve got Jace Turner, who realizes quickly that taking the extreme measure of working with Dr. Campbell has immediate consequences now that he’s seen what the mutants at his disposal can do.  His justification by going after people that aren’t even American is a timeless argument, but easily applicable to the X-Men world.

But, as established last week when he didn’t want a warrant for the tracking, he’s already in hot water that’s heating up even more with Campbell’s involvement. Turner has every reason to hate mutants and more so after Dreamer messed with his memory, though Campbell is taking measures that I assume eve Jace would not have considered.

Almost everyone took “eXtreme measures” on this fine installment of The Gifted.  But with that final tease of Trask Industries and Reed’s father having been involved with them in the past, coupled with Campbell set to unleash the Hounds, the measure don’t just stop getting extreme yet.

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