The queen has finally received her crown.
The episode begins seven months ago with Lorna and Marcos fooling around in bed, as Marcos shines a light on Lorna’s stomach. He speaks to her stomach, but gets no response. Of course. And Lorna already sees Marcos as a better father than either of theirs, and Marcos notes that Lorna barely talks about her father. And not the one who apparently died in a plane crash.
But Lorna doesn’t want to talk about him, so she asks Marcos to promise that they’ll never be like their parents.
In present day, Rebecca isn’t backing down from her actions at the bank, though Lorna tells her that she can’t just kill everyone who pisses her off. Andy tries to speak up for Rebecca, saying she lost control, but Lorna is convinced that Rebecca doesn’t belong here anymore. Rebecca agrees, as she exits the vehicle and flees on foot. There’s no time to go get her.
Elsewhere on the road, Lauren and Caitlin transfer Reed, who still cautions them from getting too close. Reed wants to go to this place alone, but Lauren assure him that she and Caitlin can get him out if something goes wrong.
Marcos, Clarice, and John debate whether they should pursue the Inner Circle, though Clarice knows that they’re outnumbered. John just wants to find out what they’re doing. If they don’t respond to this, the underground stations will continue to lose faith. He tells Marcos to alert the stations and tell them that they’re on this. Though Clarice isn’t on board, she’ll be going with John.
Someone has to keep John from doing something stupid, after all. May as well be Clarice.
The Struckers arrive at Charlotte State University to speak with a Madeline Garber in regards to a complicated private matter. As if on cue, Dr. Garber, played by Kate Burton, descends the nearby stairs and immediately recognizes Reed Strucker, who tells the doctor that he needs her help.
So she sits with the Struckers and tells Reed that Otto’s research started with him, as it laid the foundation for what she does now. She’s unclear on what happened, but she knows that he needs treatment, not advice. Good, because she’s able to help.
She takes them to the lab and discusses the X-gene. People who describe them as disabilities are helped at the university. The lab genetically tailors treatments for each patient. He shows them one mutant who stores energy in her body and releases it. It won’t remove her powers, but it’s more like insulin. The X-gene will be active, but she’ll be in control of her own body.
Another mutant, who has down syndrome, has abilities that promote plant growth. Oh, so like Pamela Isley in another universe, then. Her parents wanted her cured, but Dr. Garber said that there was nothing to cure.
For some, the X-gene is a blessing. When it’s a curse, the lab finds the answer. And while Reed’s prior treatments have failed, now Lauren can factor into this equation, as she’s inherited her father’s X-gene. They’ll stabilize Reed and then use Lauren’s genes to figure out what went wrong. And luckily, Lauren is willing to help.
At the Inner Circle, Esme, Andy, and Sage discuss the search for Rebecca, as her powers make her difficult to find. Not to mention anti-mutant sentiment has only gotten worse since the bank attack. To help the search, Fade and Bulk will also be sent out to find Rebecca. As for what happens when they do find her, that’s up to Reeva, who still needs Rebecca for her master plan.
On the streets, Clarice and John observe panic in the streets. John tries to sense the Inner Circle and he manages to lock on something strange that happened. Clarice figures that the Inner Circle is gone, but John knows that maybe not all of them have escaped.
Esme tells Lorna that they’re still searching for Rebecca, but Lorna won’t have her Dawn around with Rebecca still out there. Mutants are being attacked. And yes, the humans are being reactive, especially after the many people Rebecca killed. Lorna knows that Esme cares for Dawn and asks if the Frost can really look her in the eyes and make that promise. Naturally, she can’t.
Then we flash back to Smithville, Missouri, 12 years ago, as a younger Lorna, played by Susanna Skaggs, is found by her Aunt Dane, played by Kathryn Erbe, who warns her against messing with her powers to flick nails at a tree. Not that Lorna was in any hurry to be found. She already knows that everyone hates her. For example, no one at school would even touch the cupcakes that Aunt Dane brought. Now that’s just rude.
In Lorna’s mind, she’s already the bipolar girl with green hair and dead parents. People knowing she’s a mutant won’t matter much. Aunt Dane knows that it’s hard, but for her safety, she should stop. Either way, it’s time to go home.
When they arrive home, Lorna finds a small package waiting for her, along with a note that reads “To Lorna, My North Star.” Inside is a medallion- the same medallion we saw Lorna messing around with last season. An excited Lorna looks around, but doesn’t find anyone. As Aunt Dane heads inside, a disappointed Lorna tears the note to shreds.
We stay in the past, but jump forward to Marcos asking Lorna if she ever met her real father. But Lorna isn’t even sure who her biological father is. Marcos really does want to learn about Lorna’s relationship with her father, so she brings over her medallion and explains that this gift she got on her 13th birthday is all she ever got from him.
To Marcos, it’s still something, but to Lorna, it’s worse than nothing. She remembers watching the news and hearing about how her father being a part of the Brotherhood. The world may have hated him, but Lorna hates him even more.
In the present, Esme interrupts Lorna’s rage-filled target practice to tell her that she agrees- Dawn isn’t safe here while Rebecca is out there. As for why Esme changed her tune, it turns out that a mutant foster care facility in Georgetown was one of the targets of the anti-mutant attacks and set ablaze. As for the survivors, their statuses are unknown.
Esme may have found a home for Dawn: a school for mutant children that’s safe, hidden…and in Switzerland. Ah, there’s always a catch. Of course, Lorna won’t be able to see her, but until there’s a mutant homeland, there’s no other place where Dawn will be safe. Esme doesn’t want this, as she’s become attached to Dawn, but she at least wants Lorna to think about it.
Back at the university, Dr. Garber tells Reed that she was able to synthesize a batch of the original medication in order to stop the attacks while they work on something more permanent. She injects Reed and his powers begin to flare up again, but the treatment works as his heart rate begins to lower.
Lauren, meanwhile, meets Dr. Garber’s medical assistant, Noah, played by Ken Kirby, who is confident that Dr. Garber will be able to help Reed. After all, she already saved Noah’s life. He reveals a scar on his chest and explains that his X-gene causes him to create harmonic vibrations, tearing apart everything around him. He nearly tore down his house.
But Dr. Garber gave him the solution that helps keep him under control. He even called it Norm. Well, it’s better than “Dog,” but this gave Noah a normal life. Noah is perfectly fine with a normal life and then offers to show Lauren around the campus while Dr. Garber works with Reed.
John and Clarice do more exploring in the field, but the trail they’re searching doesn’t make sense to John. Clarice then removes her contact lenses and realizes that the energy she uses to portal is off. Twisted, even. She thinks that something bad happened here. John manages to track Rebecca, saying that she probably used her powers in this place.
But why here? That’s when they find a mangled body underneath some garbage bags. And it looks all kind of weird, as you can see.
We flash back again to six years ago as a guy chats up Lorna in a bar, as he’s familiar with her based on her mutant father from the news. He finds it cool and asks Lorna to see a trick. He’ll even get her a drink if so. She asks which vehicle outside is his and, like a moron, he points it out. You can probably guess where this is going.
Okay, so Lorna lifts his car into the air and smashes it on the ground. Lovely.
Hey, at least Lorna didn’t do what Clark did that one asshole’s truck in Man of Steel.
Anyway, when Lorna is later released, for the fourth time, even, Aunt Dane chews her out, though Lorna relishes in being a crazy bitch. You said it, not us, Lorna. She then talks about her parent, as she apparently got out of her cell because the captain got a call from a “substitute teacher.” Lorna just wants to know who her actual father is, but Aunt Dane does not give her an honest answer.
In the present, Marcos talks with another underground station when the electricity starts going on the fritz. Lorna lets herself in and asks if she and Dawn can enter. I mean, you’re already there. May as well let yourself in.
Dr. Garber is upset about the anti-mutant protests and sympathizes with the Struckers. As a doctor, she just wants to help. She apologizes about Otto, saying he cared about these issues. Though Reed is still sore about Otto never telling him the truth. However, it’d be a hard thing for any parent to discuss. The Fenris Twins themselves are still difficult to understand. They could even share dreams.
Reed gets it, but he feels he would’ve been better off knowing about his family. And that’s when Madeline gets a box that belonged to Andrea von Strucker. Inside is a music box. Otto didn’t want to destroy the one thing that he got from his family, but he couldn’t bear to get rid of it.
So now it will go to Lauren. Madeline again tells Reed that Otto loved him very much, so she hopes that they can succeed where he failed.
Lorna tells Marcos about the school in Europe where Dawn will be taken, but Marcos wants her to stay. Lorna isn’t giving up- she’s being realistic. The world is on fire right now, but that’s partially because of Lorna, Reeva, and what the Inner Circle has done. Marcos is livid that Lorna would only now be worried because Dawn is in danger. Nothing Marcos has said here is incorrect.
Lorna, realizing she doesn’t have a response, tells Marcos that she’s here so he can say goodbye. Marcos reminds Lorna that they promised not to be like their fathers. And now she’s asking him to do what their fathers did. She’d rather have her daughter hate her than not grow up at all. She asks Marcos if he wants to say goodbye to her daughter, but hey, he never exactly got to know her, so how can he even say goodbye?
Flash back again as Lorna and Marcos wonder about the gender of their child, as Marcos wishes for a girl. When his father kicked him out and he was left on the streets, he hung at a church where a priest would leave him leftover food from events. At First Communion, as Marcos waited across the street, he spotted a seven year old girl dancing with her father. The way she looked at him, Marcos wanted that someday.
In the present, Marcos holds Dawn as he prepares to say goodbye to the daughter he barely knew. He wonders who is going to love his daughter, but Lorna says that it’s time to go. Aurora Borealis returns once again as Marcos returns his child to Lorna, though he again tells her that Dawn deserves to be with her family.
As Lorna leaves, Marcos screams out in rage at the loss of his daughter yet again.
The next day at the university, Reed tells Dr. Garber doctor that he’s feeling much better. And there’s good news about Lauren- her X-gene is similar to Reed. By comparing the two, they should be able to come up with a treatment that will permanently stop the attacks, though it would mean Reed has to stay at the university. With all the stress Reed has been under, the dam may break again.
If Reed isn’t treated, he’ll die.
Meanwhile on the college campus, Lauren talks with Noah, who says that she belongs at a place like this. He tells her that she’s more than her X-gene, though Lauren feels it hangs over everything she does. How can she do normal things? Noah decides to show her by getting a Frisbee so the two can enjoy a game.
As panic continues in the streets, John and Clarice enter Rebecca’s trap. She warns them that if they want their organs to stay where they are, they’ll leave her alone. John tells her that the Inner Circle is looking for her, so he just wants to know what they’re doing. Then they’ll stop the Inner Circle once they know what happened at Creed Financial.
Rebecca tells them about the search for Regimen and how she was used as their weapon. She also warns them that they have no idea what they’re up against. With that, she leaves.
Lorna returns to Aunt Dane’s home, and Aunt Dane is surprised to see her after so long. She’s confused as to why she’s being asked to take care of Dawn, but Lorna needs her baby to be safe, even though Lorna hated being here at times. More than that, she hated being different.
She takes out her medallion and admits that her entire life, she thought they lived in this town because she was being hidden from her birth father. Lorna realizes that she was being hidden for her father. For so long, Lorna hated her father for not coming for him and she took it out on Aunt Dane. And now she’s asking Aunt Dane to do the same thing she did for him. With that, Lorna pleads with Aunt Dane to keep Dawn.
As Lorna leaves, she wants Aunt Dane to make sure that Dawn knows that she is special.
Back at home, John updates Clarice on Regimen, which turns out to be a tech company based in Washington, D.C. It’s not a lot, but it’s progress.
But not in Clarice’s mind, though. What happened with Rebecca scared her. John’s attitude is admirable, but crap because Clarice fears that John is putting too much on the line. He’s not immortal, after all, so Clarice wants him to stop acting like it.
Back at the university, Noah tells Lauren that he needs to draw more blood from her. Lauren’s just doing what she can to help her family, but then Noah opens up and reveals that Dr. Garber is on the verge of something with Lauren and Reed? What would that be? He reveals that if the process works, the solution could make it possible to permanently suppress the X-gene in everyone.
How’s that? Well, Madeline’s brother was Matthew Risman, who founded the Purifiers. Well, don’t that beat all? Anyway, Madeline despited her brother for hating mutants for something they couldn’t change. But with this work, mutants can change. Noah assures Lauren that she’s going to change the world.
Now for the montage. As Lauren has her blood drawn, Andy feels a stinging pain in his arm at the same time. Fade captures Rebecca. Lorna drowns in her sorrows at having given Dawn away, so she fiddles with her medallion.
Marcos, meanwhile, gets a text from an unknown number and it turns out to be a photo of Dawn. As John does his research, Clarice watches him from afar.
And while Reed and Lauren are happy now, Lauren seems to be having second thoughts.
And Lorna she steps into the light and, having manipulated her father’s medallion, dons a new, emerald green crown. She’s the spitting image of her dad, that’s for sure.
Sheesh. Every time The Gifted comes back from a break, they do so while firing on all cylinders. Sure, I enjoy The Gifted as is, but it feels like such a breath of fresh air once it returns to airwaves, and this episode continued that tradition of providing a stellar experience. Not as much action or mutant power displays as last time, but there didn’t need to be here. This was all about the fallout of several things.
Take this episode’s title, “the dreaM,” which didn’t have anything to do with Dreamer. Remember in the premiere when we saw that vision and dream of a new era of peace and prosperity for mutants? And in order to get there, Lorna would have to be a part of Reeva’s master plan. Well, now we saw the first steps to achieve that goal next week. And Rebecca’s actions have turned that dream into a nightmare for the Inner Circle.
Actually, before getting into the meat of this episode, let’s talk about Rebecca. She’s on the run and is a loose cannon. Her dream was being on the outside and away from imprisonment. She finally got it, but in a way she’s still being kept under control when the Inner Circle uses her for their deeds. She didn’t ask for that. And they couldn’t contain or squash her hatred for humanity.
Her killing the bank employees showed that she still has a bloodlust for taking revenge on the humans who look down upon mutantkind. Now that she’s on her own, she’s an uncaged beast who clearly leaves a trail of destruction wherever she goes, if this episode was any indication.
However, her bond with Andy as well as her conversation with John and Clarice hint that this mutant could still make a choice. She doesn’t have to go back to the Inner Circle of her own free will. Obviously she’ll be forced back, if the ending was any indication, but she could easily have defected. Not to the Underground or Morlocks, but just be free and chart her own path.
Speaking of the Underground, they continue to play catch up because, quite frankly, they’re ill-equipped to take on the Inner Circle. And Clarice knows this. It’s nice how outspoken Blink has become in pointing out the huge disadvantage the Underground has. What’s their dream? Rescue all mutants and get them to safety? Okay, and then what?
As the episode illustrated, anti-mutant sentiment is high and the mutant allies don’t have much enthusiasm right now. If anything, the Inner Circle’s actions right now may have done more harm than good for other mutants who aren’t as extreme as them. So when John does research into a tech company, it’s not enough to Clarice because anyone could’ve found that on their own.
It’s not much, but it’s enough. But in the grand scheme of things, what is “enough” to the Underground? They absolutely need to have these conversations rather than just talk about what they can do. At the same time, they are still being proactive. John, Marcos, and Clarice could’ve just stayed at base all episode long. Though that would’ve made Lorna’s unexpected arrival even more awkward.
However, the fact that John and Clarice hit the streets and run into Rebecca in the process to get some information shows that while they’re making minor progress, it’s still something. I agree with Clarice that they need a better vision, but they’re trying.
Sticking with the Underground and because I want to wait as long as possible before talking about Lorna, let’s talk about the Struckers, as this does have some similarities to Lorna. Reed hates his father for keeping so much from him, but as Dr. Garber indicates, it was for a greater good. Otto tries to suppress the X-gene, but it came back with a vengeance.
But rather than split the family apart, it’s drawn them closer together in the end, with Lauren doing whatever she can to help her father. But this is where things get hairy.
Reed would be fine if his powers went away altogether. But not Lauren. She dreams of a normal life, but she’s perfectly fine embracing her mutation. The thought of mutants losing their X-gene probably isn’t a future that she wants. This isn’t helped with the reveal that Dr. Garber’s brother founded the Purifiers. Suppressing the mutant gene may help those who don’t want it, but it’s also a way to control the mutant population.
In a way, this is very similar to the mutant cure storyline that we got in X-Men: The Last Stand. But while that centered more Rogue in the end, this gets at the heart of what this would mean for mutants as a whole. And it’s disguised as a way to make it seems like the doctors are helping them. Personally, I think Reed should just go back to training with John.
Now to the North Star herself. Polaris is by and large this series’ most compelling character, bar none, helped by a great performance in Emma Dumont. We in the know are familiar with her father, who is still just “him” since we can’t apparently say Magneto or even Erik. The flashbacks help show that Lorna has been sitting on a lot of rage, not just for how society treats her, but her father keeping her distance.
Screw it, we know who dad is. Erik keeping his distance from Lorna has a greater purpose. He’s not doing it to keep her away from him, but so she’s not in harm’s way. He’s her literal metallic guardian angel. He helped free her from the mental institution and got her out of jail early. Magneto might not be around, but his presence is definitely felt.
I want to use the version of Magneto established in X-Men First Class to talk about this, but Erik is quite good at bonding with mutants who have a similar world view to his, or whom he can draw to his side, like he did with Raven. Not so much with his own family.
Remember in X-Men Apocalypse, Peter told Raven that Erik left Peter’s mother before he was born. In Apocalypse, Peter stopped short of telling Erik that he was his son, so I’m curious if there’ll be any sort of follow-up to that in Dark Phoenix. Alright, back to The Gifted.
The reason I bring this is up is to say that, again, Erik is a distant father, but he does, in his own way, care for his children. He gave Lorna the medallion that would later be forged into her crown. He’s done so much for her without even being present. But that lack of a real parental figure in her life besides Aunt Dane gave Lorna a reason to hate him.
That anger festered in her for so long when she was already a rebellious spirit, made worse when Aunt Dane wouldn’t be honest with her or when people only recognized her because of her relationship to her father.
It’s no wonder why she’s avoided talking about him for so long, even though Marcos genuinely wanted to know about him. And it’s not like Erik is a deadbeat dad. He did things for Lorna. But he’s not around to foster a bond with her, which is what any child wants and needs from their parent. So of course Polaris would have this resentment towards him.
And now things have come full circle when she wants to leave her child in someone else’s hands. In a way, as Marcos said, this is entirely Lorna’s fault. She left the underground. She sided with Reeva. And when Dawn was in need, Lorna brought in Marcos, but didn’t allow him to spend as much time as he should have had as her father.
So when Marcos rightly chews her out for her decisions coming back to haunt her, Lorna has no answer. What can she even say at that point? The decisions that she’s made have led to this point where she must do what her father did and leave her child to be raised by another person.
The flashbacks help reinforce the rocky relationship that is Marcos and Lorna, as well as why Marcos is doing his damndest to keep them together. When Aurora Borealis comes back like that first kiss in the flashback last season, you see how strong that bond is and how it’s endured for so long.
Sean Teale and Emma Dumont normally have great chemistry, but this time they really brought their A+ game to the episode. You feel every bit of anger and frustration from Marcos when he yells at Lorna for her decisions, a sharp contrast to the warmth shown in flashbacks. More than that, you feel the rage when Dawn is taken from him once again after, as pointed out, he barely got to know her in the first place.
It’s a very powerful scene and is a reminder that the strength of The Gifted isn’t merely in power levels and special effects, but the interpersonal relationships.
And then we get the ending. So in a way, a part of Magneto will always be with Polaris now that she’s forged her comic-accurate crown from Erik’s medallion. When she walks into the light with it, I was immediately reminded of the end of First Class when Erik officially referred to himself as Magneto while in his comic accurate costume. Nice connection and a great ending.
With the midseason finale coming next week, what happens next? Rebecca has been captured, but will she go willingly? How will Reeva- who was nowhere to be seen this week- proceed with her plans? Will Lauren have a change of heart in helping her father now that she knows about Dr. Garber’s plans? We’ll hopefully find out this and more when we return for the midseason finale next week. See you then.