Time to change the mutant world with the midseason finale of The Gifted. This is “gaMe changer.”
The episode begins with a flashback to Fairfax, VA, one year ago as Rebecca arrives to join her parents for breakfast. It’s pancakes day, and Rebecca uses her powers to turn her blueberry pancakes inside out…which is just rude. Rebecca turns inside out. Dad wanted to have breakfast as a family for once, and then the family realizes someone has arrived outside.
As if on cue, Sentinel Services enter, having been called by Rebecca’s parents, to arrest Rebecca. Mom and Dad say that Rebecca nearly killing her teacher gave them no choice. She’s given a collar and watches as her parents look away.
In present day at the Inner Circle, Rebecca screams from within her confinement chamber while Andy watches. He demands that Sage let her out, but Rebecca must be in darkness and constant motion. Andy maintains that Rebecca doesn’t deserve this, but Reeva said that they can’t risk having Rebecca escape again.
Speaking of, Reeva speaks with the Frost Sisters to talk about the information from the bank. The plan hasn’t changed yet, but the plan depends on Andy, who isn’t in a helping mood right now. Still, she tells the sisters to keep moving forward. She’ll talk to Andy.
Back at the university, Lauren reads some literature about the X-gene and talks with Dr. Garber just before they lock up for the night. When Garber leaves, Lauren tells her parents that Madeline’s plan is to suppress the X-gene in all mutants, whether they like it or not. Reed doesn’t believe it, saying that Madeline would tell the police if she had a problem with mutants.
Lauren will go to Noah tomorrow. She reveals to Caitlin and Reed that Madeline’s brother founded the Purifiers. She disagrees with him, but she wants to eliminate hate by eliminating mutants. Caitlin reminds Lauren that Reed needs this cure, but how long before parents use this on their kids or the government uses it. Madeline already has their DNA, so Lauren won’t have them use it.
Reed agrees, saying they must destroy the research. They can’t risk every mutant for his sake.
John checks on Marcos, who has seen better days. He tells Marcos that they need to move and informs him about Regimen Technologies. If they can find out why, then they can fight the Inner Circle. Marcos wants to know how they fight someone like Lorna, though. However, what choice do they have? With every move the Inner Circle has, allies become divided. If they don’t turn this around now, it’ll be too late.
Right now, John tells Marcos that he needs to do this for Dawn and for the world she’ll grow up in when she’s older. Eventually, Marcos agrees, but Marcos wants John to promise that if this leads them to Reeva Payge, Marcos get to take the first shot. Okay, that’s doable.
Elsewhere, the Purifiers assemble, with Ted introducing Jace Turner to the crowd. Jace discusses the mutant uprising and calling it what it is: terrorism. 37 humans died at the bank. It’s time for action right now. Today, even. The first thing to do is watch and report. He tells everyone to lock in a number and if they see any evidence of a mutant threat, call it in.
It’s time to take safety in their own hands, because the authorities aren’t getting it done. This means a citizen militia to stop mutant violence before it spreads. The mutants are about to find out who they’re dealing with.
At the Inner Circle, Sage tells Reeva that Rebecca isn’t growing attached to confinement. As in she won’t stop screaming. But Reeva will just have her scream. Though Sage is disappointed since Rebecca’s powers could come in handy. Still, Reeva knows that Rebecca will have a part to play.
Later on, Andy joins Lorna to ask if what they did with Rebecca was worth it in the end. He knows that Lorna sent Dawn to live somewhere else and he wonders if Lorna misses her. And yes, she does, but what Lorna’s doing is for her. Everything happening is necessary. When this is all done, Lorna is confident that she’ll be with Dawn. Andy doesn’t know if the mutant homeworld will happen, but Lorna wants him to have faith.
So John presents his research on Regimen Technologies to Clarice and Marcos. They’ll grab the systems analyst, Laurence Hayes, to question him. Clarice is skeptical, but they’re already here, so they have to get this done.
Back at the university, Dr. Garber speaks with the Struckers, with Lauren wanting to head to the lab. Caitlin agrees, as they’re anxious to get started. Garber is ready to finally finish the work that Otto started.
So Marcos is left sitting in the car when he gets a call from Clarice. He hears gunshots and Clarice orders him to open the trunk, and that’s when Clarice portals Mr. Laurence Hayes, played by Christopher Cousins, into the car. And it turns out that John and Clarice got shot at, so they had to improvise.
Caitlin got some of the medication and passes it to Reed when Dr. Garber arrives. Caitlin asks how long the temporary fix will last, as the treatment won’t last forever with his X-gene. This might be the last chance to find out about his condition. Garber shows a display of his X-gene. When it ceases to be effective, there’ll be a massive release of power. The work with Lauren is important.
By comparing X-genes, they can learn to not just block the gene, but turn it off entirely. Madeline knows how hard it is and remembers Reed’s younger, sicker days. She let him down all those years ago, but won’t let him down again.
Noah takes a blood sample from Lauren and talks about the breakthrough. Lauren asks where all of the blood is kept, and it goes to storage. Lauren wants to see it and insists to see the entire process, as it’s important to her, but Noah says that visitors might contaminate it. Still, Lauren is helping millions of people, so Noah agrees to take her, as long as he can also take her out to lunch.
So police are aware of two mutants kidnapping Laurence Hayes, and they also have their description. John is confident that they’re in the clear, but Clarice sees that this is now a mutant hunt. All anyone knows is that someone was taken by mutants. When authorities find out that he’s from Regimen, things will accelerate.
Clarice wants to know why plans are moving as fast as they are. She knows that John hates the Inner Circle, but this isn’t about him. This fight is bigger than all of them and it’s happening now.
So John goes to Hayes, who says that he’s just a simple security tech guy. Marcos talks about the mutant uprising and explains that their next target is Regimen. John just wants to make sure that no one gets hurt, but Hayes has to explain why Regimen is getting targeted.
John’s rage intensifies, so Hayes explains that Regimen runs the control systems of the mutant restraint collars. The same ones that mutants wear in the prisons. Which ones? All of them.
At the Inner Circle, the Frost Sisters watch Benedict Ryan speak with Jace Turner, who says that the mutants are more than welcome to join if they comply. They regret not killing him earlier, but then Reeva enters to discuss this citizen militia. People need to know where the battle lines are, and this makes them nice and clear.
Sage then arrives to tell them that someone is looking into Regimen and she’s trying to pinpoint them because someone is now onto them. So Reeva tells Sage to get on it. Side-note, this might be the most dialogue that Sage has had all season so far.
Caitlin and Reed wait for Lauren to get into the lab when Dr. Garber arrives to discuss Lauren’s sample, more specifically Andy. She knows about what happened in Atlanta and now realizes that Andy is too important. Lauren has two versions of the X-gene. Otto theorized that the von Struckers also had them as well.
But Andy hasn’t been around, so they wouldn’t have known this. It’s regrettable, as Dr. Garber could’ve used him in the research.
Downstairs, Noah brings Lauren to the lab with years of Dr. Garber’s research. This place means a lot to Noah. Before he arrived, his family was afraid of him, but Madeline made him feel like he belonged. And after she changed his life, he wants to change the world. Lauren wants to know if Noah really wants to be a part of something to eliminate the X-gene. But Noah is reminded of his prior pain and wants to be normal.
Lauren sees nothing wrong with that. As they leave, though, Lauren burns a hole in the door so it’s left ajar.
So John plays hard cop with Laurence Hayes when Marcos brings him out to tell him to keep his cool. Flying off the handle and bringing Clarice into this might not help, but this could be their best chance to combat the Inner Circle. Clarice arrives and tells him that there’s a six block radius expanded to arrest anyone with the X-gene. People are getting arrested because of them.
Clarice says that people need them, but John reminds her that she went behind their back to the Morlocks and did whatever she did down there. Not that John thinks he’s cheating on her. He doesn’t know what to believe anymore. Either way, Clarice goes off to fix this mess.
Reeva pays Andy a visit to tell him that his help is needed for the next operation. Rebecca’s mistake put them all in danger, but Rebecca did spend her last year locked up. Reeva agrees- what she did wasn’t her fault, it was the humans who did what they did to her. Turning her loose wouldn’t help, though. Reeva gets that this is difficult for him.
They’re making a world where Rebecca can get help, and the next step is a part of that. Reeva knows that Andy will do the right thing.
Later, Andy packs his things and heads to the chamber housing Rebecca. With all of his might, he destroys the chamber and frees Rebecca, who thanks him with a deep kiss. With that, it’s time to go. Rebecca decides to head up, since everyone will be there, but Andy spoke in her defense. Rebecca still did what she did on purpose.
Andy tells her that they can just run, but Rebecca tells him that Reeva found him once and she can do it again. They’ll have to take care of the others. She tells Andy to stay back and threatens to attack him if he doesn’t go along with her plan.
As the two arrive upstairs, before Rebecca can go on the offensive, Andy uses his powers to send her right into a wall. It’s a hard hit and she’s knocked out cold. Dead cold, even. Andy tries to awaken her, but she’s gone. Though Andy is apologetic, Reeva focuses on the fact that he saved them.
Back at the clinic, John tells Marcos that Clarice has left. Marcos doesn’t want John bringing up the X-Men, the point isn’t about fighting some big war, but for the people they love. Just as Laurence Hayes finds something, John senses that someone has arrived.
From invisibility, Fade arrives. John tracks his footsteps and tackles him into the wall. He’s just here for Hayes. A fight breaks out, with John and Marcos managing to overtake Fade. With the cops coming, they take Fade and head off.
Back with the Purifiers, Ted informs Jace about the attack near the clinic that they hit earlier. So it’s time to lock and load.
Lorna consoles a tearful Andy and tells him that she spent time in places where like Rebecca sent. If you’re not broken in, you are coming out. They made her into what she is, but now she’s gone. Andy no longer cares about the mission, and Lorna didn’t want to either until she found out about the mission. She brings up the collars and they’re going after the company behind them.
It’s not a factory- the facility in D.C. where all of the collars are controlled. Every mutant being tortured and abused, just like Rebecca, may be free. This is Andy’s chance to get justice.
Luckily, with the information from the bank heist, Sage was able to pinpoint the location of the Regimen server farm and penetrate its security. The anti-mutant defense will be down by the time the Inner Circle arrives.
At the location, Lorna dons her new headpiece and brought her steel toed boots for the occasion. Reeva reminds Andy that this is done for Rebecca. He starts working on destroying the door.
Lauren brings her parents to the lab, with Reed wanting everything destroyed just to be safe. Before Lauren can do anything, Noah and Dr. Garber arrive with two officers. Garber demands to know why Reed would do this. Garber realized something was off when Noah brought Lauren to the lab, but Reed knows that her work is wrong. Ending an entire race is wrong, though Garber is rescuing the human race.
Reed’s grandparents were monsters. Do the Struckers want that potential in their family? God didn’t make mutants. God wouldn’t curse a family with a son like Noah or Andy? Reed tells Garber that the world is a better place with mutants. When Madeline says that Lauren should never have been born, Lauren speaks up and says that this is her DNA.
Noah lashes out, having been called a curse by his family and now Dr. Garber, so his power activates. The Struckers leave the room while Noah begins destroying the lab.
Meanwhile, the uprising is about to begin. As Reeva and the Frost Sisters wait outside, Reeva is confident that Andy has chosen to side with them.
Near the clinic, John, Marcos, and Fade are immediately cornered by the Purifiers. Fade takes a bullet in the leg, but John tells Marcos to go on ahead. As John runs full force towards the car, he manages to stop the approaching truck dead in its tracks. At the same time, as Noah brings down the lab, the Struckers make their escape.
Lorna and Andy arrive at the central point and let loose to destroy the console.
As they do, various mutants, including Porcelain from Season One, are freed from their collars. Across the country, mutants free themselves and go on a rampage.
John does force the truck to a halt, and that’s where he comes face to face with Jace Turner, who promptly knocks him out as the first half of the second season of The Gifted comes to a close.
That certainly was a game changer indeed. A real barn burner, if you will. With the Inner Circle continuing to get shit done and the Mutant Underground limping along as best as it can, not to mention the Struckers meeting Dr. Garber, all signs pointed to something explosive going down with this midseason finale. And The Gifted did not disappoint in that regard.
It had a good amount of character moments between the various groups and a real surprise moment that helped spur the Inner Circle back into action.
Giving us some of Rebecca’s backstory and learning that her parents were the ones who turned her over to Sentinel Services helps the viewer understand her hatred for humanity. It didn’t start with the mental institution and torture, but at home from her mother and father. Tragic, but not uncommon in the X-Men universe for kids to be turned away from the people who raised them.
Combined with the torture and abuse she’s received, what choice is there for her other than to lash out? She’s a loose cannon that Reeva ultimately couldn’t control. And Andy’s bond with Rebecca certainly didn’t help. There was genuine attraction between the two that could’ve gone somewhere if Rebecca didn’t have that constant bloodlust.
And at the end of the day, she remained a tragic figure who, like Lorna said, came out broken. It’s unfortunate because Rebecca could’ve been a major asset to the Inner Circle. The death does serve a purpose in Reeva’s continued manipulation of Andy, though, saying that she Rebecca would have wanted him to do this in her name.
Lorna’s focused on the mission, too, but she’s more interested in freeing the mutants, not just to be a pawn in Reeva’s game.
By episode’s end, they’ve managed to achieve their goal. They disrupt the system and free an innumerable amount of mutants from their collars. This will draw more ire from the humans, sure, but it’s a great way to shore up interest in the Inner Circle’s cause. In particular Porcelain, who had an interaction with Lorna in the previous season. It was nice to see a familiar face among the now free mutants.
Now that the collars have all been deactivated, though, what’s next for the Inner Circle? I have to assume that Dawn might have factored into Reeva’s plans, but now she’s gone. Does this alter what was already an unsteady relationship between her and Lorna? Time will tell. But hopefully if they try to recruit another mutant, they have better luck than Rebecca and don’t just try to outright control them.
Again, I like seeing Andy and Lorna’s bond. Their connection has grown since they joined the Inner Circle and she helps bring out the humanity in him while still reminding him of their goal. The difference between Lorna and Reeva, I feel, is that Lorna isn’t out to persuade or manipulate Andy. She cares for him too much and knows that while he’s devoted, he’s not a monster who can be controlled, like Reeva tried to do with Rebecca.
Plus, I do love seeing Lorna not just wear the headpiece, but the steel-toed boots that allow her to levitate. Though I do wish The Gifted would go a step further and give Polaris a cape. This show clearly isn’t afraid to embrace the comic book-y nature by giving her a headpiece. A cape wouldn’t be too much to add, but that’s just me. But as far as the Inner Circle is concerned, the battle lines are drawn.
And that’s a nice way to sort of tie them to the Purifiers, not just with Reeva and the Frosts watching Ryan and Turner on television, but with how Jace is escalating things. Before, it was about just reporting the mutants and having them arrested. Now he’s calling for taking up arms and forming a militia. Such a paramilitary force can’t exactly be legal, but not like the Purifiers have been afraid to operate outside of the law.
But like the Inner Circle, the Purifiers score a major win this week by capturing John Proudstar. The man chosen by the X-Men to lead the underground. The one who has been doing his damnedest to keep everyone’s hope alive. Now he’s a prisoner of not just the Purifiers, but Jace Turner, who no doubt remembers the escapades from Atlanta. It’ll be interesting to see what the Purifiers have in store for Thunderbird.
As for the underground, though, I do appreciate them becoming increasingly more proactive. Clarice did suggest that John needed more than minor, piecemeal victories. So he decides to up the ante by kidnapping Laurence Hayes. John gets a bit hot under the collar, sure, but at the of the day, he did get results and learn about the collars. The Inner Circle beat them to it, but they did get information.
I’m not a fan of this spat between Clarice and John, though. The whole “cheating” allegation thing is completely out of nowhere and feels like forced drama on a series that already has plenty of drama. And it’s odd for Clarice to tell John to dial it back after she hoped that they would start thinking about the bigger picture. She’s the voice of reason, but week to week, it feels like she can lean one way or the other.
Oh, and since Marcos doesn’t get a ton to do this week- he did have a lot on his mind, after all- I did really get a kick out of him threatening to punch John in the mouth if he brought up the X-Men. Though I’m not sure Charles Xavier would appreciate that.
Then we get the game changer with the Struckers finding an ally in Noah. Dr. Garber’s true colors were revealed when she stated how God wouldn’t curse a family with mutant children, echoing Rebecca’s parents turning her over to Sentinel Services in the opening flashback. She tries to mask her deviousness under good intentions, which makes her just as bad as any Purifier.
At least the Purifiers will tell you to your face that they hate mutants. Dr. Garber is hiding behind science, but when backed into a corner, she reveals her true feelings about the “mutant problem.”
Luckily, Noah stepped up, after some encouragement from Lauren, to embrace his mutation and destroy the lab. My best guess is that, with him bringing down the lab, Noah and Dr. Garber are probably dead.
One detail I did like was the Struckers didn’t disagree on how to proceed with Dr. Garber. Yes, getting a treatment for Reed is important, but the needs and lives of mutants throughout the world outweigh his one issue. That can be solved another time, but they may never get another chance to go after Garber’s true intentions. Nice on Reed to put mutantkind before himself.
And so we’re left with mutants across the country now freed from their collars. The Inner Circle has a huge victory on its hands, despite Rebecca’s death, while the Mutant Underground suffers a major setback now that John is in the hands of the Purifiers. What will happen from here? We’ll hopefully find out when The Gifted returns in 2019. See you then!