A new mutant, you say?
The episode begins with a flashback to Atlanta, six years ago, as a doctor gives Reed and Caitlin some bad news. Such is their life. See, Caitlin is five months pregnant, but the prognosis is worse than expected. Caitlin’s liver function is seriously affected and the only viable option is termination. In 20 weeks, the baby isn’t viable and carrying it to term is risky. The pain Caitlin is experience can and will get worse.
A successful pregnancy is possible, but there’s a greater chance of death for Caitlin, the baby, or both. In the hallway following this, Caitlin tells Reed that, despite the warnings, she won’t lose this baby. She still has to consider her health, as well as Lauren, but she’s already made up her mind. She won’t give up on their son. As far as she’s concerned, their son will be as amazing as their daughter.
Just a hunch, I’m sure.
In present day, the Struckers have a moment. Reed tells Lauren that, after discussing it with Caitlin, he’s going to come clean to John about his powers. Caitlin realizes that she’s been too focused on finding Andy, and neither she nor Reed really considered what finding Andy would mean to Lauren. And Caitlin knows about the reality of what Lauren can do together with Andy.
The situation with Reed’s powers has opened his eyes to how terrifying this can be for Lauren, so all in all, this is an apology. Lauren apologizes as well, admitting she’s been scared about the dreams and what she thinks they meant. But she may have been wrong. She thinks that the dreams were telling her that she needs to be the one that brings Andy home.
At a junkyard, Marcos informs everyone of his trip to the Inner Circle, in particular Reeva’s powers and the hold she has on Andy and Lauren. While Caitlin might believe that this Reeva woman has a stranglehold on her son, Marcos is confident, having spoken with Andy, that he’s doing this of his own volition. And Lorna told Marcos that while she loved Marcos, what the Inner Circle is doing is more important.
Okay, so time to find out what that important thing is, but after six months, all the mutants know is that the Inner Circle is well-funded and hidden. Since they know that the Inner Circle is hacking into data cables and because Wire helped them before, Marcos suggests going to him again to maybe hack the Inner Circle’s system. Never mind that Lauren nearly both hates Marcos and nearly killed both him and Caitlin.
If he’s not convinced, they’ll have to make him help. But hey, no one has a better idea, so Wire it is.
Following this, Reed tells John about his father’s attempts at suppressing the X-gene in him, and how it didn’t go so well. So yeah, John realizes that Reed’s powers are manifesting, and he explains that when he touches things, they crumble and fall apart. He has no control over it and has no time for training- he just wants it to stop. But as John says, he can’t. His powers are a part of him and linked to his deepest emotions.
And John has seen people try to use medicine to suppress their powers. It works for a little while, but John advises Reed against a temporary solution. He needs training. Anyway, they’ll have to continue this conversation later.
See, John, this is why the X-Men chose you to be the leader.
Marcos, Clarice, and John arrive in Columbia Heights. You know, I live in Columbia Heights. And this area, ladies and gentlemen, is not what Columbia Heights looks like. Okay, off of the soapboX. Marcos is confident that if Wire won’t cooperate, maybe one of his hacker buddies will.
Clarice reminds Marcos that he did say Andy and Lorna don’t want to be rescued, but the Inner Circle still has his daughter, so he still has a stake in this. It’s a long shot, but it’s all they’ve got. Marcos finds the doors locked, but through John’s tracking, he senses that someone is indeed inside the shop. Suddenly, gunshots ring as John takes a few bullets. It’s not enough to keep Thunderbird down- he bursts through the doors.
Inside, he takes a shotgun blast to the chest by someone who isn’t Wire. He’s pissed about his brother getting killed as a result of the underground’s involvement, but before he can fire off another shot, Marcos shines a bright light, giving John enough of an opening to punch out the man. This guy, turns out, is Wire’s brother. And since the three must flee, they decide to take the brother with them.
Let’s see if Jace Turner is having a better day. Well, for one, he’s not staying at home anymore. And Paula isn’t responding to any of his text messages. Before he can send off a snarky text about the silent treatment, he searches on the world’s most generic search engine for marriage counseling. Luckily, he gets a phone call from an Officer Ted Wilson- the same officer who first spoke to Jace at the precinct.
This isn’t about Jace not being allowed at the precinct. See, Wilson overheard some of what Jace said to the sergeant and believes that the two have a lot to discuss when it comes to the mutant problem. So Wilson invites Jace to join him at a diner at 1:00 p.m. Not that Jace has anything else to do.
Meanwhile, a shotgun at point blank range still hurts even with John’s strength, so he has the bullets removed by a doctor while Clarice observes. She’s still not a fan of this idea in the first place, but they did go through a lot of trouble to get information about the data cables, speaking with Evangeline, and going to Erg. Fair enough. Clarice just doesn’t want anyone who isn’t bulletproof getting hurt.
Not too far, Marcos brings Wire’s brother, who turns out to be named Graph, played by Adam David Thompson, to Reed and Caitlin. He explains that he hacked Wire’s security cameras to find out what happened: seems that Wire got a visit from some triplets with a very familiar description. And then, after a moment, Wire stuck a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Luckily, Wire and Graph have similar abilities and Graph can break any door at the code level. However, Graph isn’t willing to help. He knows about what Reeva Payge is capable of, and to prove this, he hacks into the computers and brings up photos of deceased Hellfire Club members that Reeva killed. Anyone who gets in the way of her project will die, so he doesn’t need a visit from, as Graph calls them, the Suicide Girls.
And Graph isn’t concerned when he learns that the Strucker’s boy has been kidnapped, so this is when Marcos decides to get rough, threatening to melt Graph’s eyes out of his skull. But hey, Graph can’t hack without eyes.
Well, time to play hardball. Caitlin heads out to get some drugs. She tells Lauren, who conveniently enters the scene, that Graph is a junkie just like Wire. So since playing nicely didn’t help, Caitlin figures that a junkie will do anything for a fix. That’s not un-true, and while Lauren is concerned about her mother’s intentions, Caitlin will do whatever it takes for the family.
That’s fair. Graph offers to keep his mouth shut if the Inner Circle come asking about the mutant underground, but Caitlin takes charge and presents a bottle of hypertrexone. When addicts come in after overdosing, this counteracts the drug and brings them down to Earth in seconds. Addicts hate it because they go into immediate withdrawal. So yeah, Mama Strucker isn’t fucking around anymore.
She instructs Marcos to hold Graph down. Reed is left to watch as Caitlin injects a now frantic Graph with the drug.
Following this, Marcos informs Lauren, John, and Clarice that according to Graph, the Inner Circle is searching for a particular mental facility in Bethesda, Maryland. This facility, called Lynwood, is, according to John, more of a prison than hospital. Mutants there are declared mentally unstable and detained without trial. And as luck would have it, Lorna was imprisoned in one of these hellholes when she was young.
As for what the Inner Circle is doing, it must be important if they convinced Lorna to set foot in a place like that.
Inside, Reed and Caitlin continue their usage of a very shaky Graph, asking him to access the hospital’s network. Despite Graph’s condition, Caitlin urges him to keep hacking to figure out what’s happening at Lynwood Hospital. He can get into the hospital, but he can’t promise that he can find anything that the two need.
The data presented is, initially, unimportant, but then Graph realizes that someone built a backdoor to the hospital’s SCADA system. So all communications systems are down- nothing in or out. It went into emergency mode about 12 minutes ago, so whatever they’re doing is happening right now.
So Reed and Caitlin share this news with the others, who are now en route to the hospital. Clarice, being the logical one here, asks if there a solid plan beyond just going to the hospital. Unfortunately, there isn’t, but it’s the best lead they’ve had in months, so it will have to do. Lauren, sensing that Andy is at the hospital, decides that she’s also going on the mission.
After all, if anyone can get through to Andy, it’s her. We’ll see about that, Lauren. Oh, and Reed is popping pills. You probably should’ve listened to John, Reed.
As Jace prepares to head out for his meeting, he calls Paula and, to his surprise, gets an answer. She wants him to stop calling, but he knows that she’s upset. He tells her about his meeting and the progress he’s making, saying that he won’t give up. To Paula, it’s less about giving up and more about moving on with your life.
And indeed, Jace is doing this to see it through so he can move on and be the husband that Paula needs. When the job is done, he can be there. But as far as Paula is concerned, the job will never be done. She needs a husband who is really with her. Jace isn’t doing this for himself, but for Grace and other kids. Paula will always love Grace, but she’s gone and Paula has to live again. Again, she tells Jace to stop calling.
Over at the clinic, Caitlin orders a puking Graph to get them into Lynwood’s security system, but he’s in the middle of withdrawals right now. Reed believes that this has gone far enough, but Caitlin now offers to make Graph better. She presents Hypercortisone D, the pharmaceutical version of Kick. She offers to give some to Graph if he gets them into the system. So yes, Caitlin took Graph down, only to get him high again.
But right now, Caitlin is desperate. She’s a nurse, but she’s a mother first and has been fighting for Andy since before he was born, as the opening flashback showed us. She injects him and the kick is strong enough to get Graph back into the game. With his back on the mainframe, he can feel the entire system. He accesses the live security system as Reed and Caitlin see security fleeing in what looks like a lockdown.
And then they spot Lorna and the Frosts…
Meanwhile, the mutants arrive at the overrun Lynwood Hospital and are informed via Reed that the Inner Circle has taken over the facility. They’ve taken out the guards and are rounding up staff members. Since Graph can’t pinpoint where the Inner Circle members are, Reed is only able to tell the mutants that he at least knows Lorna and the Frosts are here.
With only one entrance in, Marcos and Lauren will guard the front, while John and Clarice head inside. Sensing what’s inside, John realizes that most of the activity is on the east side. But not in a deluxe apartment in the sky. With his tomahawk at the ready, John and Clarice enter the facility, which looks like it’s just survived a horrible, bloody battle. More depressing than Clarice imagined, to be sure.
Most of the remaining patients look sedated, and this is indeed just like the place where Lorna spent some of her teenage years. It might have been for good, but someone made a call. And apparently it was her birth father. Ha! Magneto takes care of his kids, that’s for sure. And wherever she is now, Clarice is sure that Lorna is all kinds of triggered.
Back outside and on the other side of the hospital. Oddly enough, no police have arrived on the scene, and Marcos figures that the Inner Circle had Sage kill the alarms while Lorna just jammed the phones. Marcos warns Lauren that they need to be ready for a fight, though Lauren is confident that Andy won’t hurt her. Then Marcos reveals something he didn’t tell the others.
When Reeva attacked him, it felt like he was dying. It was a pain unlike anything before and he couldn’t control his powers. Andy just stood there and watched. Lauren refuses to accept that, saying that Andy was scared. She thinks back to when his powers first manifested and how terrified he looked. But that stopped when he saw her. As far as Lauren is concerned, she can always get through to Andy. Yeah, good luck with that.
Jace meets with Officer Ted Wilson, who apologizes for what happened at the precinct. He’s here to recruit Jace, saying that more people like him are needed, especially after what the mutants did to his daughter. They need that. Wilson believes that Jace realizes the mutant threat for what it is, and he then reveals a tattoo identifying him as a Purifier. To Wilson, the Purifiers aren’t a hate group.
They’re regular people who love their species and country. Although Jace isn’t big on the idea of joining a secret society- and I can’t say that I blame him- Wilson writes down a number just in case Jace changes his mind.
Back at the hospital, John senses what happened and pieces together that Lorna aided in taking prisoners. Clarice wants to admit that Andy and Lorna are past the point of no return, given that they’re with the Frost Sisters and the Inner Circle, but John, given how Lorna has been with him since the beginning of the mutant underground, isn’t ready to cross that line just yet.
Even after what Evangeline said, he can’t accept the possibility that he might have to kill Lorna. Then the building rumbles from blasts, but not conventional explosions. Outside, Lauren realizes that this can only be Andy’s doing.
Back at the clinic, Reed asks Graph to access the security on the lowest floor. As a prosecutor, he used to go to places like this. Mutants who can’t be kept under control are kept in secure rooms underground. If the Inner Circle is blasting something or trying to free someone in particular, it could only be on the bottom floor. There’s a problem, though. All of the data Graph encounters is encrypted. At last, Graph hits a firewell.
He’s being blocked by a hacker that only be Sage. Reed radios to John and Clarice to inform them that since the Inner Circle is aware of them being in the system, they also know that they’re in the hospital. He then instructs the two to head to the basement.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Caitlin asks Graph if he can fight off Sage with the usage of more drugs. Hell, she’ll throw in whatever’s left in the clinic if he agrees. Soon enough, he does. It succeeds and Graph is able to bypass Sage, so now he just has to get ahead of the encryption. Finally, the basement cameras are live and both Reed and Caitlin are surprised to see their son on screen. And he’s smiling.
At the same time, John and Clarice arrive at the basement just as Graph gets them through a secured door. Reed and Caitlin guide them through just as they see Andy and Lorna securing a particular mutant who we don’t see.
John and Clarice finally catch up to the two. John calls out Lorna’s name and she does eventually show herself. He tries appealing to her, saying it must hurt for her to be in a place like this, but all she has to do is talk to them.
She says nothing, though.To provide enough of a distraction, she uses her powers to free the basement prisoners from their cells. The mutants begin going haywire and attacking one another. Lorna is literally steps away, but Clarice says that it’s too dangerous to let the mutants just kill each other. Okay, so Clarice starts creating a portal.
As Graph continues hacking into the cameras, Reed and Clarice update Marcos and Lauren, telling them that the Inner Circle is freeing the prisoners in order to cover its tracks. As for Andy and Lorna, they’re at the loading dock out back and are getting into a silver Hummer. Then Graph starts to overdose from the…well, over-dosage, as he starts having a heart attack.
While John and Clarice have their hands full inside, Marcos and Lauren see the Inner Circle approach. Marcos is prepared to blow the car up, but Lauren reminds him that Lorna is inside, so she’ll handle this. She instead creates a barrier to stop the truck and it’s enough to force Andy into the open and demand that Lauren and Marcos get out of the way.
Lauren tries to get through to him, saying that he must have been having the same dreams as her. This must mean they’re destined to be together. She’s here to take him home and refuses to face off. So brother and sister face off, but Andy’s training pays off and he’s able to send both Lauren and Marcos flying. With the two knocked out, Andy falls back into the vehicle and escapes.
Back at the clinic, Caitlin and Reed manage to resuscitate Graph, with Caitlin confident that Graph will be fine. Though Reed is still concerned about Caitlin’s actions. How does this make them any different from the people from which they want to save Andy? To Reed, Andy is past the point of no return. He was smiling, so nobody made him do anything.
As Caitlin heads off to get some saline, she oversees three other doctors watching the news, where the doctors at the hospital admit to willingly participating in the unlawful torture of mutants. Oh, and they’re guilty of war crimes on top of that and don’t deserve pity. Go figure. Sounds like a lot of forced shit to spew, but it’s apparently catching on and trending over the internet. There’s even a hashtag for it: #MutantUprising. I like it.
Oh, but the bad news continues for the Struckers, as John radios in to let them know that not only are they trying to escape with as many injured as possible, not only have Andy and Lorna escaped with a prisoner, but Lauren is unconscious.
And Reed’s powers pick this time to manifest. He even destroys the pill bottle, but manages to snag a few.
Jace also watches the news of the doctors confessing to their “crimes” against mutants and remembers the paper he got from Officer Wilson. Time to make a call.
On the road, while the Frost Sisters are proud of a job well done, Andy and Lorna eye their new mutant friend in the backseat…
One criticism I’ve heard tossed towards The Gifted is that, for a comic book show and an X-Men show, there’s far too much drama and character interaction and not enough action. I’m not a fan of this criticism not just because I enjoy the show, but because there’s plenty of enjoyment and character development that can come from slower-paced moments.
And when the action arrives, it arrives when it’s necessary, not just to show off a display of powers and special effects.
Hell, Legion, by far my favorite comic book adaptation on television right now, has next to no action. Granted, show like Legion and a mind like Noah Hawley don’t really call for that. But when the action arrives, it’s worth the wait. Same with the Marvel Netflix shows. Jessica Jones and Daredevil, for example, have a lot of buildup. Now the first season of Iron Fist, this argument has weight, but that’s another conversation.
What is the Inner Circle’s ultimate goal? How deep do Reeva’s connections go? How deeply involved are Andy and Lorna and are they truly past the point of no return? Will the underground be forced to fight against them? These are questions that we’ve been wondering for the past three episodes and they come to a head here with what’s essentially a race against time in a very strong hour of mutant mayhem.
Of the two warring factions, the mutant underground is, for lack of a better word, outMatched by the Inner Circle. They’ve been following a trail of bread crumbs for the longest time with trying to find Andy and Lorna, but also in trying to help other mutants while staying out of the spotlight, which may not be possible for long now that Jace has them on his radar again.
It was all about building the tension, from the opening flashback further showing Caitlin’s undying determination for her son, the family discussion following that, and John’s talk with Reed about his powers. Notice we never got any scenes with the Inner Circle exclusively or even see them until they’re on surveillance footage.
It helps paint them as a shadowy organization that always appears to be a few steps ahead of those onto them, as seen with Wire’s death. We spend all of our time either with the underground or Jace Turner and that allowed for some very good emotional moments that also built on where the characters are right now with their respective dilemmas.
Actually, I’ll start with Jace because we see him the least and he doesn’t interact with the mutants. He’s a man on a mission, but that’s alienating him from Paula. It’s nice that he’s this determined and I appreciate that the show didn’t take the easy route of having Jace go on some alcoholic bender or show him off the beaten path. He’s still very level headed and determined to solve the mutant problem, but not at the cost of his sanity.
Just maybe his marriage. But even though Jace may have a problem with mutants, he’s not at the point of crossing a line into hate territory. At least, not initially. He’s got some semblance of an idea of going too far when he rejects Wilson’s offer to join the Purifiers. While he’s not working with Sentinel Services, he at least wants to operate within some form of law and order. Otherwise, why would have gone to the sergeant at all?
A group like the Purifiers is a different route altogether, but by episode’s end, it seems like Jace may be ready to make that leap. He asks Paula whether she believes he’s just doing this for himself, and at this point, he may be doing just that. But with his hunch, he’s desperate for a lead and, like Caitlin, will take whatever measures are necessary.
Speaking of Caitlin, this was top notch acting from Amy Acker this week. From the start, we see that she’s willing to do anything for the sake of her children. She warned Marcos against falling into despair and she’s trying to hold onto that by not giving into the possibility that Andy is acting of his own volition. But unlike Marcos and Lauren, she hasn’t witnessed him for herself since he left.
So when there’s an opportunity for her to see him, what option is there for her but to use her knowledge as a doctor to her advantage? This is where her medical expertise pays off in knowing just what drugs will give Graph the push he needs for him to do what she wants. It flies in the face of her telling Wire just a few episodes ago to stop doing drugs. Now she’s drugging Wire so he can hack into the hospital’s system.
Acker is great at showing Caitlin’s mounting desperation, and this also applies to Stephen Moyer showcasing the horror on Reed’s face when his wife continues to drug Graph in order to take advantage of him. It’s a different sort of torture because she knows what kind of fix Graph needs and forces it into him to get him to comply. And just when he’s crashing, she gives him another hit.
In her mind, she’s doing nothing wrong if it potentially means reuniting with her son. But at what cost? As Reed tells her by episode’s end, how does this make them any different than the Inner Circle? Graph didn’t ask to be put into this situation and Wire certainly didn’t ask to be killed by the Frost Sisters. But now Graph is forced against his will to do Caitlin’s bidding.
It’s maddening to watch Caitlin go down this darker path, and it ends up being for nothing by episode’s end. Not only does Andy escape, but she also learns that he was responsible for knocking Lauren unconscious. All that optimism and using Graph’s abilities may have helped the mutants locate him, but it wasn’t the kind of reunion that anyone wanted.
It paints a real moral dilemma for Caitlin. How far is one person willing to go to save someone close to them? And to what extent? Caitlin basically became a short term dealer, offering Graph as much as he wanted in exchange for his help. Her desperation makes sense. After months of getting nowhere, this is the best lead they had, but what does this say about Caitlin?
Could she go to even more extremes when the next opportunity presents itself?
None of this is bad characterization, mind you. I’m very happy that Caitlin is getting more to do this season. Yeah, she and Reed stay behind and don’t go on the mission, but they’re more involved with the day-to-day happenings with the underground and they do manage to guide the others through the hospital. I hope Reed and Caitlin remain this involved throughout the season.
And talking about the Struckers for a moment, I really enjoyed John’s words of wisdom to Reed about trying to suppress his mutant abilities. This is why the X-Men chose him as a leader. He’s wise, has years of experience, and has seen friends trying to stamp out their powers, but he knows that they’re a part of who you are as a mutant. You can’t just take a cure and hope it goes away. This isn’t X-Men: The Last Stand.
Plus, while he recognizes that Andy and Lorna could be a threat, he’s not ready to just leap in and decide that they have to die. He’s more reserved and restrained as a leader, but will make the tough decisions when the time calls for it, such as when his friends are in danger. I mean, he took how many gunshots this week? And he’s still on the frontlines helping out and making calls. That’s a leader for you.
Not to say that Clarice is wrong for thinking “Hey, we may actually have to kill Andy and Lorna.” It makes sense, especially after Marcos’ encounter with the Inner Circle. She’s a bit impatient, but also very practical. She’s the one who asks if they have a plan or strategy before they go to the hospital.
She and Marcos consider the very real possibility that Andy and Lorna are too far gone. She’s vocal and asking the questions that the others may not want to ask.
And Marcos, after his encounter, is right to vocalize his concerns about just everyone might be dealing with when it comes to the Inner Circle. After feeling like he was going to die, he won’t take any risks, even when it comes to Andy and Lorna. He’s hopeful that Lorna turns around, sure, but right now, that’s not possible, which is why he’s willing to attack the vehicle she’s in if it means stopping her.
Plus, it’s his connection with Wire that leads them to Graph, but that ends up being a consequence because, as Graph points out, Wire is dead because he helped out the underground. Like Caitlin giving drugs to Graph, what does it mean for the underground if they take advantage of other mutant resources, and then those resources go up in smoke?
At least the Morlocks are away and out of sight for the Inner Circle to do anything. At least for now they are.
When we arrive at the hospital, all bets are off on what will happen. That so much carnage takes place off-screen just leaves it to the imagination of what Lorna, Andy, and the Frost Sisters did while freeing the mutants and taking the doctors hostage. And to get the doctors to “admit” to their crimes on television helps build a case for the mutants who are fed up with how mutants treat them.
It was probably coerced, but as far as sending a message, it worked.
Oh, and side-note, Erik was the one who got Lorna free from when she was imprisoned? Wow, Magneto was a king in the Hellfire Club and he’s looking out for his kids, too. That’s a dad who cares for his mutant children. But was it McKellen or Fassbender? Like Deadpool said, the timelines are so confusing.
It felt like watching a horror film, with how desolate the hospital looked and with the mutants attacking one another. Hopefully when The New Mutants hits theaters, it has this level of horror. I said the same thing about a particular episode of Legion, but still remaining very optimistic that Josh Boone brings that sort of suspense and horror to that X-Men film.
And it’s also telling that Lorna doesn’t say a single word this episode. She’s a woman of action, not dialogue. As her talk with Marcos indicated, she’s not turning back. At least not now. And what better way to escape than to free all of the crazed mutants? It’s like Bane freeing all of Arkham’s prisoners during the events of Knightfall.
Then we get the showdown. It’s not as long as it probably could have been since we were at the end of the episode, but for what it represents with the months of searching, as well as Andy and Lauren further realizing their bond, it’s a very powerful moment. Especially since Lauren now sees for herself that Andy isn’t hesitant about fighting her. And his training has paid off since he dispatched of her and Marcos with ease.
But then you see that look on Andy’s face where he looks concerned, maybe even shocked at what he did. We haven’t seen him training with actual people, so perhaps he’s surprised not just that he managed to knock out his sister, but how well Reeva’s training has proven for him.
So the mutant underground is at its lowest point right now and the Inner Circle has managed to walk away with a new mutant face for their cause. Who is it? How will they fit into Reeva’s master plan? And how does the underground regroup from here? Hopefully we find out this and more when The Gifted returns in two weeks- damn World Series.
Anyway, see you then! And here’s the preview for the next episode: