A Look at The Gifted- Season 1 Finale: “X-roads”

The Gifted will return…right now!

The episode begins with a flashback at Lakeview Mental Hospital as Lorna stews on her bed and plays with an object she got from someone that her mom knew.  An orderly tells her that she’s got a visitor- an attorney named Evangeline, played by Erinn Ruth, who knows that Lorna was involved in a Purifier counterprotest that turned violent.

In Lorna’s case, she was given psychiatric care as an alternative to jail.  Luckily, the judge’s sister had bipolar disorder as well.  But if that judge knew how half a dozen anti-mutant protesters accidentally fell off an overpass, Lorna would be in a maximum security facility.  See, Evangeline here knows a lot about Lorna.  Since July 15, things are changing and life for mutants is about to get harder.

She asks if Lorna knows about the X-Men, who Lorna considers an urban legend. Turns out they left behind a network to help mutants and they wanted Lorna to be one of the leaders.  Lorna scoffs at that suggestion, but Evangeline shows her arm to Lorna and reveals that she’s not the only one with demons- her arm soon reddens and nails elongate.  It’s what you do with them that matters.

In present day, Esme and Lorna wait for the others, who soon emerge from Clarice’s portal…without Campbell.  However, Esme doesn’t care about the fact that Campbell used children as a shield.  She’s worried about the people who will die if the Hound program continues.  She won’t leave without Campbell, but she’s not given much of a choice.

The mutants flee with officers in hot pursuit.  Lorna emerges from one of the sunroofs and manipulates a telephone pole to fall in the road and block the authorities, while at the summit, Campbell tells Montez that the mutants are being pursued, and this attack is the perfect opportunity to strike and make their case to the world.  It’s time that they head for the airport.

Over at the underground, Sage and Shatter talk with Reed and Caitlin, who tell the kids that things didn’t go well at Charlotte.  Andy wants to help, but the mutants are two states away. The parents tell their kids to be strong since they must remain united, but Andy agrees with the Frost sisters, saying that the humans are coming after them.

Reed takes offense to that, as he and Caitlin are human, after all.  Are they coming after Andy?

Jace Turner arrives at Southern Insurance Worldwide with a new pair of Hounds.  One is clairvoyant and the other can detect organic molecules.  Together, the two track the area and piece together when the mutants escaped.

The other mutants arrive back at the safe house, with Esme still pissed that the others let Campbell escape, even if capturing him meant attacking children.  Now Campbell is on his way to Washington, D.C. with Montez at his side, and both have a reason to expand the Hound program.  The mutants must now find Campbell and finish this.

Lorna thinks back to all she’s been through when Marcos approaches and tells her that the Frost sisters are checking all the airports in the area, but Campbell will now be expecting an attack.  He wants to stop, but Lorna’s focused on how happy the humans were at the summit.  However, Marcos reiterates that running in and attacking humans isn’t the answer.

Plus, between Lorna’s powers lately and how she hasn’t been sleeping, Marcos is worried, but this isn’t another of Lorna’s manic episodes.  Her issue is with humanity. She thought her child would grow up in a better world where they wouldn’t have to hide. Marcos is confident that they are still building that world, but it’s taking some time and they must have faith.

Lauren finds Andy packing to head upstairs away to crash with Naya and Skyler, as he needs some space.  He heads up and asks the two if they know about Dr. Campbell, not to mention he wishes that Lorna was around to train them some more.

Lauren joins Andy and says her life has changed from all of this, too.  She can’t get the deaths out of her head, but they have to focus on making things better.

It felt good to save people, sure, but they’re not kids playing X-Men anymore, and Andy knows he has the power to stop those who want to hurt them.  Though Lauren believes that Andy would rather destroy those people.  He reminds Lauren that she hid her powers and almost destroyed the family, so why would she wants to do that again?  Lauren, giving no answer, leaves.

Turner updates Dr. Wolcott from a gas station and learns that Campbell is working on getting political support in D.C. to expand the Hound program.  The Hounds, meanwhile, picked up two trails: one with Ellen headed to the highway and the other following the Struckers to the city outskirts.  While local authorities will handle Ellen, Turner will follow the family to the mutant underground.

Esme joins Lorna, telling her that the others aren’t seeing this situation for what it is: Campbell has to die and someone has to make the hard choices.  Esme is adamant that Lorna is like her father, but Lorna doesn’t want to acknowledge that or the Brotherhood.  Esme knows about Lorna’s medallion, which her father gave her on her 13th birthday.  He wanted her to be proud of who she is.

On the road, Turner learns that a trail has hit a toxic waste contamination site, thus off-limits, but Turner still wants to head on the trail.  He calls Wolcott about the headquarters, though Wolcott tells him to use the assault team from the Fairburn attack to apprehend the mutants by any means.

Pedro, keeping lookout, uses his abilities to distract the squadron, but Turner tells the agents to fight through what they’re feeling.  So Pedro radios to the underground and alerts them that Sentinel Services is coming.  It’s time to evacuate.  While Caitlin enlists Fade to help her evacuate the children, Sage starts burning all hard drives and communications devices.

Lauren tells Andy that they’ll do what it takes to protect the underground, but Andy, naturally, wants to stay and fight.

Back at the safe house, Marcos tells John and Clarice that he can’t find Lorna.  John senses that she’s not the only one missing.  They go to one of the Frost sisters, who tells them that Lorna and the other Frost sisters are going to assassinate Campbell.  Life is already bad for mutants anyway and while this won’t help, Marcos and John have no intention of letting Campbell get killed.

On the road, one of the sister tells Lorna that they’re trying to rebuild the Hellfire Club . Sooner or later, the other mutants will realize the greater cause at hand and join them.

As the underground is evacuated, Fade wishes Caitlin good luck.  However, Reed rushes up and tells Caitlin that it’s too late: Sentinel Services is coming.  Barriers are set up in order to hold off the soldiers, though Reed suggests making an exit through the vault since it’s partially underground.

Reed addresses the remaining mutants, telling them that they’re going to fight.  He didn’t start out as one of them, but now they have a chance to win the day if they work together.  Caitlin calls for those who have been in combat training.  Everyone else will head to the vault.

Outside, as Sentinel Services prepares move in, one mutant tries to break through the vault walls, but the foundation is reinforced, so he can’t destroy it without potentially bringing down the building.  And this is where Shatter finally gets to do something, as he uses his power to manipulate the wall enough for it to be broken.

Reed tells the mutants that their job is to hold off the officers.  If they watch each other’s back, they can win this fight.  Andy and Lauren are forced to work together, but while Lauren is focused on saving the underground, Andy just wants to fight.  As the officers approach, Reed and the mutants begin their assault and keep the officers at bay.  Soon enough, Turner orders the officers to fall back.

On the road, John, Clarice, and Marcos talk of how different Lorna’s been acting, though Marcos is adamant that Lorna knows exactly what she’s doing.

In fact, Lorna is near an airstrip with two of the Frost sisters, but she tells them to leave so the others don’t get the idea that she’s doing this for the sisters.

On the plane, Montez asks Campbell how he got into this, and it turns out that Campbell’s brother had cystic fibrosis.  He saw firsthand the horrors of genetic disease and he feels it’s his cause to ease suffering, whether it’s one person or all of humanity.

At the underground, Turner tells another officer that they won’t be taking prisoners.  The officers prepare to make another go, but this time, they’ll have help from the Hounds.

Inside, Caitlin tells Reed and the others that they’re close to getting a hole big enough for the others to escape, but the conversation is interrupted when the Hounds attack.  Their blows rattle the mutant underground, so Reed orders everyone downstairs.  And this is when Turner realizes that the mutants have stopped resisting.  Victory is not far.

The mutants finally start escaping through the vault.  Andy and Lauren area ready to fight if it means keeping everyone safe, and they tell their parents.  This isn’t goodbye, but Caitlin and Reed are forced to part ways with their children for now.

The Hounds enter the underground and start tearing it down when they confront Andy and Lauren, who have joined hands.  With their powers combined, the Struckers go on the offensive.  Turner orders everyone to fall back as a brilliant light begins to break through the windows.

Back at the airstrip, Lorna keeps the approaching John, Marcos, and Clarice from stopping her.  Marcos implores Lorna to stop since not every human is trying to kill mutants, and John reminds Lorna that she’s not a killer, but Lorna tells them that the X-Men made a mistake.  She is a killer.  Marcos doesn’t care anymore about the X-Men or Brotherhood anymore, just his family.

Lorna, though, is tired of hiding.  They have to take a stand.  Marcos reminds Lorna that this will change her and their child will have to live in this world.  So Polaris decides that now is the time to make a new world.

On the plane, meanwhile, Montez and Campbell exchange favors.  The plane begins to rock as Polaris exerts all of her power to pull apart and destroy the plane, which explodes in a spectacular fashion.  And Lorna is then nowhere to be seen…

In Nashville, Tennessee at Mutant Way Station, Sage tells Marcos, John, and Clarice that Andy and Lauren saved them all, but the headquarters is all gone.  No one got out but the Strucker kids.  It’s shocking, as John reminds everyone what they’ve sacrificed.  As for Lorna, Sage hasn’t heard from her.

Inside the new hideout, Lauren and Andy talk with their parents about what happened.  It was hard, but Reed reminds his children that they rescued everyone.  He’s very proud of his family.

Director Wolcott chews out Jace Turner on the assault, as the instruction was to apprehend the terrorists.  And this is bigger than the underground, as Montez is now dead.  Turner fights back, saying that he sacrificed everything for Sentinel Services.  He calls Wolcott a coward, saying that real people are dying and humans are under attack.  Turner hands in his badge and officially quits Sentinel Services.

At the new underground, John tells the mutants that the plan going forward is to rebuild, even though the other location was disintegrated, meaning that they have to start from nothing.  It will be hard, and their enemies may destroy this hideout too, but Reed points out that he and both of his children are mutants.  If Sentinel Services comes for them, they will fight.

Oh, but not everyone is warming to the Struckers right now.  Sage points out that ever since the Struckers arrived, half of the mutant stations have been destroyed.  Though Caitlin doesn’t accept the blame for that since the Hound program was coming anyway. Marcos reminds everyone that the X-Men didn’t do this because it would be easy. It takes struggle and sacrifice to overcome obstacles like this.

And then Lorna arrives with one of the Frost sisters.  To her now, sacrifice is a pretty way of saying losing.  She proclaims that the Mutant Underground is dying and now is the time to build a world where mutants don’t have to hide.

Fade and Sage take up Polaris’ offer, Sage saying that since the Hound program is dead, this is now about survival.

But when Andy also rises to answer the call, his parents stop him.  He tells them that no one’s making him do this, it’s his choice.  After all, if the von Struckers were once part of this Hellfire Club that the Frosts want to rebuild, it makes sense that he would want to join, even though Caitlin reminds him that a war between mutants and humans won’t help anyone.

Lauren tries appealing to Andy, reminding him that they used to play X-Men when they were young because the X-Men were heroes.  But the X-Men are gone and it’s time to grow up.  When Reed attempts to stop Andy again, Andy accidentally uses his powers to keep them at bay.  He loves his parents for sure, but he won’t let them stop him.

With that, the brand new Hellfire Club is born and the splintered mutant underground watches some of its former allies leave them as the first season of The Gifted comes to a close.

Well, didn’t call that one for sure.  But here we are at the end of the first season of The Gifted and rather than the mutants remaining united in the face of the huge setback and disaster they’ve faced, they are further divided than ever.  While it was clear not all of the mutants saw eye to eye, in particular when it came to the Struckers, I didn’t expect some of them to go rogue by season’s end.

But we’ll get to that.  Let’s address the metal elephant in the room that is Lorna’s father. Not sure why The Gifted can’t just say Magneto, but hey, aside from I think maybe one actual name drop of Captain America and Iron Man, the Marvel Netflix shows refer to the greater heroes as the green guy, the flag waver, or the guy with the hammer, so I suppose it’s not completely out of the question.

Yet dancing around Magneto seems like a ploy when we know who Lorna’s father is. But moving past that, we see Polaris, unlike Blink, embrace her mutant heritage for what it is, thus becoming her father.  As Evangeline said, what matters is what you do with your demons, and Polaris is using hers to help start a better world she knows the humans can’t or won’t build.

While Marcos may choose to hold out hope, Polaris is past that point.  She’s giving into her darker desires.  I hesitate to call her destroying the plane as drawing first blood since Campbell did shoot and apparently kill Dreamer, but going after both the man behind the Hound program and a United States Senator has larger ramifications for both humans and mutants.

The slight difference between this and, say, Erik killing Shaw or willingly sending missiles back to American and Russian ships in X-Men First Class– seriously can’t stop talking about this movie- is that Polaris isn’t doing this from a place of vengeance. At least, not altogether.  She’s seen the joy humans take in wanting to eliminate the mutant race.  In her eyes, humans can’t make a better world for her.

So what choice is there but for her to make the first step to start creating that better world?  Not just for her, but for the future of her child and family.  Sure, it took some prodding from the Frost sisters, but like Andy, this felt like the inevitable path for Polaris to take, even if that meant leaving the underground that she’d come to call home.

And like Magneto’s speech to mutantkind in Days of Future Past, Polaris declares that mutants stop hiding.  No more sulking in the shadows, but come out and help build a better world for mutants.  It’s all very well done and very tragic, but necessary for Polaris to take this step.  She’s not making this decision just for evil’s sake or create division, just do what’s necessary to ensure mutants have a better future.

All in all, Polaris truly is her father’s daughter.  Like Erik, she disagrees with the philosophy that the X-Men, and underground by extension, adopt in their willingness to work with humans.  But Polaris doesn’t go as far as the Frost sisters in that she doesn’t condone the murder of children just to get Campbell.  Though there were others on that plane that weren’t Campbell or Montez, so she’s not off the hook.

But it’s not just the mutants that are divided.  Andy joining the new Hellfire Club makes the most sense for his character.  From the beginning, we’ve seen that Andy has a lot of pent-up rage that’s built as the season progressed.  He’s wanted to take revenge on humanity for so long and has lashed out many times.  Even attacking the Sentinel Services officers at Ellen’s office was a sign that he was too far gone.

The fight between him and Lauren showed that there was no turning back for him.  And why would he?  He’s accepted his heritage as a von Strucker and has gone as far as blaming all humans for coming after mutants, never mind the fact that both of his parents are human.  Well, Reed did have the X-gene, but semantics.  He’s done playing X-Men.  Always wanting to be the first to fight, Andy had to take this step.

It would’ve been too easy for him to have a change of heart.  He couldn’t at this point. There have been too many instances to indicate that he wound wind up down the path of becoming a villain.  He still has some humanity in him, mind you.  After all, he didn’t want to use his powers in Trask with Lauren because others could’ve been hurt.  And he apologized when he used his powers on the family before leaving.

So at the very least, there is a possibility that Andy could return, but for now, this makes the most sense for his character arc.

And it adds more tragedy to the Strucker family.  They’ve been caught in the middle of this and it’s hard to see them divided, but honestly…Sage had a point.  Since the Struckers arrived at the underground, there’s been nothing but trouble for the mutants. Not that they were doing well on their own, but the Struckers seemed to bring mayhem since Sentinel Services was always pursuing Andy and Lauren.

Sure, the mutants point out that Andy and Lauren did save everyone and they should be applauded for that, but at what cost?  Their powers caused the destruction of the underground’s base.  All the work and effort that went into this location is now gone. Everyone’s alive, but now the mutants have to start from scratch.

So I can’t blame Sage and Fade when they decide to join Polaris and Esme for the sake of survival.  For one, I’m just glad Sage got a lot of dialogue here, but this division shows the mounting frustration against the Struckers and humans in general.  Mutants don’t believe that humans can relate to their woes, and they’re not entirely wrong.  This couldn’t have been an easy decision for them to decide and leave, but I get it.

I also get Jace Turner’s decision to resign.  After all, he’s been the scapegoat for his superior officers even though he’s already had so much ripped from him, and then taken again when Dreamer manipulated his memories.  So what’s his next move?  Does he become a Purifier?  Maybe a mutant bounty hunter?  Does he try to find Donald Pierce and help lead the Reavers?  Maybe not, but I’m curious to see Turner’s arc continue.

All in all, The Gifted had a very strong first season with plenty of conflict and drama in regard to the mutant question.  It explored aspects of the divide between humans and mutants that we haven’t seen in the X-Men films while also giving us complex characters to watch develop.  And with losses on both sides, the war for a better world is far from over.

With the mutants divided between the underground and the new Hellfire Club, the ideological divide between Charles and Erik continues as the mutants are splintered.  How will these two sides hash out their differences going forward? And what consequences will Polaris’ actions have for the rest of the mutants?  Hopefully we find out the answers to this and more when The Gifted returns for Season Two.

See you then.

PS: Also, in the meantime, had a bit of fun making something- an intro for The Gifted that uses the theme from the 1992 X-Men animated series. Have a look.

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One thought on “A Look at The Gifted- Season 1 Finale: “X-roads”

  1. Pingback: A Look at The Gifted- Season 1, Episode 12: “eXtraction” | What Else is on Now?

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