Now that the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series, let’s return to The Gifted and find out about our mysterious new mutant friend. Time to deal with the “afterMath.”
The episode begins with a flashback to Dallas, Texas twelve years ago with Officer Jace Turner and another officer spotting a mutant standing outside a convenience store. They head towards and question him. He’s just waiting for a friend, but Turner’s fellow officer decides to tase him when he refuses to comply.
To him, he made a move. Jace isn’t a fan of this treatment, but his partner tells the rookie a story about a mutant driver who hit his partner with a poison dart. So he’s got some bad experiences with mutants. Jace gets the mutant to his feet and arrests him, but he’s not a fan of what he sees.
In the present at the clinic, John arrives with Lauren and he’s got more mutants on the way. Caitlin and Reed examine their daughter, and for the most part, she’s fine. It may just be a mild concussion. Lauren tells them that she tried to get through to Andy, but he wouldn’t listen. She’s upset for failing them, but they don’t blame her. Reed offers to stay by her side while Caitlin cares for the other incoming mutants.
John brings in a mutant that secrets acid. He tells Caitlin that there was too much chaos to try and follow Andy. Not to mention they don’t know who the Inner Circle took, but John isn’t giving up on Andy or Lorna. They may be able to talk with one mutant who can help them, so right now, it’s a matter of salvaging what they have.
In his hotel room, Jace looks over divorce forms and listens to a news report that brands mutants as terrorists when he gets a text message invite to a meeting of Purifiers. He scoffs at it, but he doesn’t exactly turn it down. In fact, he’ll be there.
One mutant thanks Marcos for the rescue, but according to Clarice, there are roadblocks everywhere. There’s not enough room or supplies to house the mutants, so Clarice suggests the underground Morlocks. It’s not ideal, but it might be the only thing that keeps the mutants safe.
Andy, Lorna, and the Frost Sisters watch news reports of the mutant uprising, though Andy is distracted by his recent battle with his sister. He doesn’t see how this is a good thing, especially when he could’ve killed Lauren. The others tell him to be proud because their work was a success, but there’s still the matter of the new mutant.
Turns out she hasn’t spoken since she arrived. She’s been locked up for years, and the Frost Sisters have examined her mind to see what she’s endured, what with being restrained and tortured. This new mutant does have a name, but we’ll get to that later.
Reed tells Caitlin that Lauren is just resting now. At the clinic, the other mutants from the hospital don’t know anything about Andy. Caitlin is upset about almost losing both their kids, but to Reed, Lauren’s safe and that’s what matters. He tells Lauren that her mother blames herself for what happened, but Lauren is overwhelmed by how strong Andy was. He’s a believer won’t let anything or anyone, not even her, stop them.
Speaking of, Andy joins one of the Frost Sisters as Lorna and another Frost speak with the new mutant, Rebecca, played by Anjelica Bette Fellini. Lorna explains that she was also in a mental hospital and treated like an animal, but Rebecca can be used as a weapon. Right now, the Inner Circle just wants to see what she can do. She’s reluctant and still won’t talk, so Lorna thinks she’s too far gone, but this plan needs Rebecca.
Unfortunately, Reeva isn’t around to see her new weapon. Andy suggests treating Rebecca like a person instead of a weapon, but to Lorna, there may be no coming back from what happened. Andy volunteers to talk with Rebecca himself. Hell, what’s he got to lose?
Clarice and Marcos arrive with the escaped mutants at the Morlock Tunnels, though Marcos knows he won’t be able to use much of his powers due to the lack of light. The new mutant friend- who goes by Glow, played by Laysla De Oliveira- generates her own light energy. It works, but it also gets the attention of Erg and the Morlocks. Nice going, Glow.
Caitlin can’t stop the bleeding of the acidic mutant, as it turns out that his lung might be damaged. The humans can’t touch him, but John can, so he presses the needle within the mutant’s skin and manages to stabilize him. To him, if the mutant can talk, that’s all that matters and it shouldn’t be long before he awakens. Caitlin still wants to help John’s burns, and he allows her to do so.
She admits that she’s never seen John like this before, but she needs no lesson in mutant medicine. He admits that he lost the Atlanta station, not to mention Andy and Lorna, and he hoped that he could redeem himself with this recent mission. Caitlin insists that none of this is his fault. True, but he still wishes he could’ve done more.
Luckily, the mutant, Michael, played by William Mark McCullough, awakens. He notices that John served in the army, as did he in the Mutant Corps. John asks Michael who the mutants that came took from the hospital, and he confirms that they took a woman named Rebecca. They were down there because doctors worked on them, but Rebecca was locked up tighter than anyone.
There was at least one doctor who was kind to them all, though, so there’s that. Michael soon passes out, so that’s as far as they’ll get for now.
Back underground, Glow asks Marcos what happened at the mental hospital and who came after them. He explains that the Inner Circle is building something to help mutants, which isn’t as enticing as it sounds. He then reveals that his daughter and girlfriend are with them. Still, to Glow, the Inner Circle freed them. It was hard living there, but they got Jello, so there’s that.
She creates some light and explains that light can be found even in the darkest places.
Erg isn’t pleased with the new arrivals that Clarice has brought with him, as this wasn’t part of their original deal. He’s not like the Inner Circle, but Clarice wants him to help the refugees. He concedes and will take them, but Clarice is going to help him first.
At the Inner Circle, Andy goes to Rebecca’s room, knowing that she hasn’t spoken to anyone yet. He’s unaware of her powers, but he knows what it’s like to be used for his abilities, as he demonstrates by shattering a tennis ball. He tells Rebecca that at least here, she doesn’t have to apologize for who she is. He tried to get this through to his family, but Lauren wouldn’t listen.
This place, though, is like his new family, and Rebecca could be part of that. Rebecca then turns the tennis ball inside out and finally introduces herself.
Jace meets up with Officer Wilson and meets Kyle, played by Lowrey Brown, at the meeting of the Purifiers so he could check out what’s happening with this group. As the meeting commences, Wilson discusses the recent mutant terrorist attack. Word is, the mutants will arrive nearby tomorrow. The Purifiers will be ready to meet them in the streets with force.
Then Jace stands up and says that fighting the mutants will make them look like victims and martyrs. The mutants that escaped are fugitives, so how about rounding them up? Sentinel Services just covers its own ass, and someone needs to get the mutants off the streets.
On the news, it said that some mutants were injured, so if they go to mutant-friendly clinics and then turn in the mutants, people will see that the Purifiers are part of the solution. And Jace knows that this will work.
At the Inner Circle, Andy shows Rebecca around, and she’s surprised to see outside because she’s been trapped for so long. He offers to take her out on the town, and luckily, she’d like that very much.
As they prepare to leave, Mama Lorna arrives. Andy tells her that Rebecca hasn’t been outside in over a year, so he just wants to show her around. Lorna pulls him aside and thanks him for pulling Rebecca out of her shell, but it still takes time to adjust. But Andy argues that if Rebecca is to fight for mutant freedom, she needs her freedom as well.
To my surprise, Lorna doesn’t give Andy any sort of curfew.
Underground, Clarice asks Erg about his eyepatch and he explains that he lost it when his powers manifested as a teenager. He was beaten not by mutant haters, but good old racists. And he learned that the can absorb radioactive energy through his eye. But if no one attacks him, then he’s got nothing to throw back at them. Again, he reiterates that the Morlocks want to be left alone. That’s it.
He then asks Clarice to create a portal to take the two of them fifty feet upward, and she does. They end up in a storage facility to raid it for food and supplies. Clarice isn’t a fan of stealing from people, as she used to be a thief, but the mutants already hate them. Erg doesn’t care about the hatred of humans. Nor is he a fan of either the Inner Circle or the Mutant Underground. Rather, he’s a fan of corn flakes.
Forget Charles Xavier or Erik Lensherr. Or even Reeva Payge. Erg is the true mutant leader that we all need.
As Caitlin and John check on Marcus, John senses that Purifiers have arrived at the clinic. They get what mutants they can downstairs, but Jace asks a receptionist to let them in, as they aren’t looking to hurt anyone. With no cooperation, the Purifiers enter, and both John and Caitlin watch the footage and realize that Jace Turner is indeed among the Purifiers.
So back underground, as the Morlocks and refugees eat, Glow assures Marcos that Clarice and Erg will return. Marcos can’t stand being here, but to Glow, after being a mental hospital, underground is better. As for how Glow got caught, she was at a concert and then started dancing, which created the orbs. People panicked and she was charged with inciting a riot.
But one juror wouldn’t convict, so she was diagnosed with a manic disorder instead. Marcos admits that he would’ve been furious about that, and to be fair, she was, but she realized that she could forgive them or spend the rest of her life angry. So she forgave them. Marcos isn’t sure he could do that.
Clarice returns and tells him that Erg has agreed to let the mutants stay, but he wants to address them first. He tells them that underground, mutant powers are accepted and celebrated. The refugees stay under one condition: if they remain, they must take a mark.
Those with visible mutations are exempt, but this is a mark of pride. Marcos isn’t a fan of the mutants being burned, and he doesn’t see why Clarice is on board, but hey, the mutants have a home, so they’ll take the brand.
Andy watches Rebecca consume a burger in record time and he volunteers his frosted shake. He asks about her powers, and she demonstrates them again to show that yes, she can turn things inside out. For her, there’s another direction besides up and down or right to left. As she writers Andy’s name on the glass in ketchup, she turns it around to show it the correct way.
Andy explains what the Inner Circle is trying to do, but Rebecca doesn’t need convincing. He had her at milkshake. Andy Strucker, Master Player.
Spotting some officers, Rebecca decides to have some fun, as she hates police. She turns their police cruiser inside out, much to the fear of the officers, and Andy reluctantly makes it worse by pulling the cruiser apart, causing it to explode.
At the clinic, Jace and the Purifiers search for the patients and arrive at Michael’s room. They remember that one of the mutants secretes acid, and since the chair has a hole in it, Jace realizes that the doctor is lying. Kyle, less patient, decides to attack the doctor.
John wants to go out and save him, but Caitlin stops him, saying that the mutant underground needs them now more than ever. Michael’s condition is worsening, and Caitlin warns John that going up and attacking the Purifiers in a mutant-friendly clinic will make things worse. Michael agrees that the mutant comes first, so Caitlin gets to work on him. Checking his condition, she realizes that he’s going to pull through.
Back upstairs, the doctor refuses to hand over the mutants. Jace tells Kyle to back off, though Kyle sees him as a traitor to the humans. At the sound of police sirens, the Purifiers head off, though Jace takes off with some files.
Downstairs, Caitlin tells John that Michael has died. Both she and Michael knew his condition was worsening, and while John is understandably upset, Caitlin tells him that Michael knew that this was the only option. Plus, Michael did tell them about Rebecca, so it wasn’t all for nothing.
Still underground, Clarice tells Erg that they’ll stick around in case someone changes their mind, but he’s confident that they won’t. He asks Clarice if she wants to join, since she hides herself among the humans. Plus, Clarice is a name used for the mutants. He wants to know what she can do, and she explains that she Blinks from place to place. You get it? Erg likes that name and tells Clarice to never hide who she is
An elated Andy and Rebecca return to the Inner Circle, with Rebecca curious about the big mission now that she feels like herself. And the two almost kiss, but stop short. Not the worst way to end a first date, right?
As mutant protests break out across the country, Reed and Lauren watch the footage while Rebecca finally gets to work training with the Inner Circle. And it’s successful.
Underground, Marcos helps Glow through the Morlock ritual process as she receives her branding while the others look on.
Meanwhile, Jace looks over the files he received from the clinic and makes a call to discuss that he may have found out a way to hit the mutants where they live.
After that break due to the World Series of Baseball, we return to the X-Men world with “afterMath” in an episode that’s less action packed than what came before and is more of an opportunity to regroup and catch your breath. That’s fine. With the Inner Circle finding its new mutant and the underground trying to get back on its feet while dealing with several problems, it helps to take a step back and reevaluate.
In fact, it was the Purifiers that got things done because the hospital attack has spurred them into action. And with Jace among their ranks, they have someone who knows how the mutants operate, but also has direct experience based on his work with both the Dallas Police Department and Sentinel Services.
It’s nice to get a bit of his backstory and see how other officers around him dealt with mutants compared to his, at the time, more hands-off approach. It doubles as a way to work in the police brutality angle and see what events set Jace on the path that culminated in the loss of his daughter during the incident. Now he’s still on the mutant warpath, but not to the extent that the Purifiers go.
What makes Jace being among the Purifiers interesting is that he’s not out for blood like they are. He wants to work within the letter of the law. And as real life incidents show, when you meet your opponent with violence and go on the offensive, you turn your opponent into a martyr. The last thing the humans want is even more sympathy for mutants. So Jace’s plan makes sense from that point of view.
Instead of attacking the mutants, just arrest them. Look like the hero for getting mutants off the streets and putting them behind the bars, rather than television cameras capturing images of beaten and bruised mutants and making humans feel bad for them.
I don’t think Jace will ever go as far a the Purifiers want, and that’s good because he’s sticking to his convictions. He may hate mutants, but he’s not going to stoop to the level of the Purifiers when he can go by the same principles that guided him at Sentinel Services and as an officer of the law. I could easily see the show painting a scenario where he’s forced to decide whether he’s ready to cross a line, though.
Plus, because Jace isn’t so prone to violence, he’s using his head when necessary. Things like grabbing the files and noticing the burned chair when he’d heard about an acidic mutant are things that aren’t on the Purifiers’ minds because they just want to commit violence, but Jace is more level-headed, so he’s the sort of person that the Purifiers need.
Caitlin continues to serve her role well not just as a doctor, but the voice of reason. She helped Marcos before, and now she’s stopping John from blaming himself. Like Dreamer said in the first season, there’s a reason the X-Men chose John. And even though he’s faced some setbacks, he has to take solace in the victories achieved. Mutants were saved. They will get Andy and Lorna another time.
John putting his body on the line to help Michael further emphasizes why he’s a great leader. He will do whatever it takes to help, even at the cost of his life. He could be upset about Michael dying, but that wasn’t his fault. Plus, he and Caitlin did all they could with what resources they had and they remained hidden from the Purifiers.
And I’m glad that Caitlin also doesn’t wallow in her own pity. She wants Andy back just as much as Lauren and Reed, but she can’t beat herself up just because Lauren got hurt. Lauren made a choice, just as Caitlin did when she chose to drug Graph so he could help. The bigger mission this week was helping the escaped mutants.
Thanks to Clarice- nay, thanks to Blink and her connection to the Morlocks, the refugees have a new home. I enjoyed Blink’s conversations with Erg not just to learn more about Erg’s early mutation, but to better understand his perspective. The Morlocks prefer to be left alone and won’t interfere with what’s happening above. They may despite mutants, but they probably wouldn’t be on board with Professor X’s philosophy.
He’s doing whatever it takes to keep his people alive. Stealing from mutants isn’t a moral dilemma for him because humans are going to hate him no matter what- if not for his mutation, then for the color of his skin. He wants mutants to embrace who and what they are, so I buy him telling Clarice to stop being Clarice and embrace Blink instead.
That conversation, by the way, reminded me of Erik’s talk with John in X-2, when he asked his real name was, and John then referred to himself as Pyro. Erg doesn’t call Blink a god among insects like Magneto does with Pyro, but he does want her to stop hiding. See, it’s very subtle the way this show, while not tied directly to the X-Men films, can still pull from and acknowledge that mythology.
Sticking with the Morlocks and the underground plot, I do like Glow a lot. She develops an instant friendship with Marcos not just due to the similarities of their powers, but she remains ever optimistic in a pessimistic world. Living underground isn’t ideal, but it’s Heaven on Earth compared to the mental institution. And her willingness to take the brand shows that she’s accepted this as her new home.
I hope we see more of her again in the same way I would like to see more of the Morlocks’ world. Glow would be another connection that the underground has through the bond she develops with Marcos. That he holds her hand when she receives the mark shows that while he’s not fond of the Morlocks, he’ll do what’s necessary to make sure Glow knows that she’s not alone in this.
Then we have Andy and Rebecca, and I found myself enjoying this more than I thought I would. Andy is just as much an outsider to the Inner Circle as Rebecca is. Sure, he and Lorna arrived at the same time, but Lorna isn’t distracted by a link she has to someone in her family like Andy does. He’s committed to the mission, but he’s still trying to find his place and his fight with Lauren still bothers him, which I like that we see this.
If he’d felt no remorse for what he would done, then he would be too far gone, but this shows how he could still be pulled back to the underground. But he has a more humane approach to dealing with Rebecca compared to Polaris and the Frost sisters. Just treat Rebecca like a human instead of a weapon. It allowed Andy to open up about his time with the Inner Circle and this, as a result, got Rebecca talking.
And I liked seeing her friendship with Andy blossom. Admittedly, she’s a bit reckless and has a taste for danger with how she just uses her powers in the open on a police cruiser. Plus, she dragged Andy into it as well. I’m surprised Lorna didn’t inquire, but maybe that incident wasn’t big enough to be considered newsworthy. But if she did find out, well Andy’s grounded, mister.
Though in my dream canon scenario, Rebecca was housed in the same facility we saw in the trailer for The New Mutants movie. And I don’t know why I can’t stop talking about The New Mutants.
Sticking with the X-Men films for a moment, Rebecca reminds me a bit of Laura from Logan. Quiet for the longest time and kept in a facility that focused on mutant powers. But once you get her to open up and start talking, she can be a useful asset in battle. The same no doubt applies here with the Inner Circle’s plans for Rebecca.
“afterMath” was a good breather episode. With so much time last episode spent with the underground pursuing the Inner Circle, it’s nice that we get more of the Inner Circle’s plans this week with Andy and Rebecca bonding. The underground took a loss, but now they’re regrouping. Because of Blink, the refugees have a new home.
But after the hospital attack, the mutants may have to fight a battle on two fronts with both the Inner Circle and the Purifiers. We’ll find out next week. See you then.