ELN: ‘Gifted’ – “eXit strategy” sets up war to come

the-gifted-exit-strategy-comicbook.comFox’s The Gifted saw our mutant rebels risk it all for a rescue mission.  Lorna and Reed form an unlikely alliance while Marcos visits someone from his past.

The episode opens in a flashback: Marcos, Johnny and others attempt to free prisoners from Sentinel Services. They barely escape, with one mutant – Josh – being left behind. He’s shot in the back. Another casualty in the fight for justice.

Fast forward to the present, our team faces the same dilemma: infiltrating the Sentinel stronghold. Then it was only a detention center. Now it’s a maximum security facility. Marcos recruits volunteers for the mission, but many doubt its success.

Katelyn has an idea. Knowing Lorna and Reed will be moved soon, they’ll have a higher success rate at ambushing the caravan. They just have to figure out the route. Luckily Marcos has a way to gather this information.

Before he fought for mutant rights, Marcos used his abilities to assist a notorious drug cartel. He visits his former employer, which is now run by his ex-lover Carmen. She’s willing to give him the intel under one condition: he must become her errand boy.

It’s interesting to see Marcos in this light. His noble path now, how dedicated he is to the cause and others, is a stark contrast to the life he once led. But Carmen makes him see they aren’t much different – they both seek to protect their family.

The-Gifted-S01-E04-05Meanwhile Reed is reunited with the mutant he imprisoned – Lorna. He does his best to gain her trust, sighting that they’re each others only hope to get out. She rejects his advances until he mentions Marcos and the deal they had. Lorna finally agrees to the truce.

I think it’s great a female is portrayed as the Magneto character in this narrative. Yes, Polaris is his daughter in comic noir, but it’s still interesting to view the normally male-dominated role filled by a woman.

Back at the ranch, Johnny is concerned about Dreamer’s effects on Blink. He wants to correct the memory manipulation, but Dreamer tells him it could do more harm than good. When alone Blink asks Johnny if they shared a moment when she first arrived. He retorts they didn’t, gently denouncing the memory. No telling what this process will do to Blink later.

It’s mission day, and the team is anxious. Katelyn forbids Alex and Lauren from participating, but they convince her otherwise. The rescue team consists of Marcos, Johnny, Dreamer, the Struckers and some invisible black guy. If they said his name, it didn’t matter. We’ll get to that later.

The plan is to immobilize the vehicle containing Lorna and Reed – Alex & Lauren’s job – while Marcos and company handle  the more lethal threat. But things go awry when everyone’s mutant abilities suddenly stop.

BLACK MAN. BLACK MAN, WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? Courtesy of fangirlish.com

The abrupt interruption leaves the entire team vulnerable. Including the nameless black guy who’s invisibility fails. Once he’s spotted by authorities, he’s shot multiple times. No need to name this character, because HE WASN’T GOING TO BE AROUND MUCH LONGER IN THE FIRST PLACE. But I digress.

Johnny recognizes these abilities. They belong to his former friend – Pulse – who has the ability to disable processes including mutant powers. He assumed Pulse perished, but Sentinel Services recruited him. Changed him.  In order to complete the mission, he has to take out this power source.

The-Gifted-S01-E04-25During the skirmish Lorna and Reed incapacitate the guards on their convoy. Once Lorna feel sher abilities return, she searches for something metal to manipulate. The bus had been covered in plastic. Reed sacrifices the metal screw in his leg – the very one Lorna threatened to destroy when they first met.

A gruesome choice, it proves Reed’s dedication to Lorna and the fight. She’s unable to break their restraints with the screw, and subsequently disarm Sentinel forces. Forced to retreat the families are finally reunited as they race back to the safe house.

Another solid episode of the surprise hit this fall. Many questioned whether Fox could get this right, given their films have left a legacy of inaccuracies since the early 2000s. But The Gifted’s choice to focus on less known mutants in the same universe has worked.

Oh and the black guy miraculously survives.

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