The Gifted: rX

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Maybe just knock her out? Valium?

Gifted definitely isn’t going lightly on Marvel’s anti-mutant prejudice. The opening scene of “rX’ is set a year ago, and shows the Strucker family, with the addition of Grandma, out for a night of bowling. Lauren subtly uses her powers to cheat, which is entertaining. Then the night gets grim when a father and daughter are harassed because she’s a mutant. She gets goaded into her powers going off, and Reed sort of subtly threatens them into leaving before things get worse. Lauren wonders why they have to be the ones to leave, since the jackasses making comments started the problem.

Back in the now, they pick up where last time left off. Blink just teleported most of them to safety, passed out from the strain, and left Reed behind when the Sentinel Services agents shot him. No one is happy. The Struckers are all worried about Reed, and Marcos has to remind them that, since he was going to use Reed to get Lorna out of prison, he’s not happy about any of this, either.

Back at the warehouse the good guys fled from, the Sentinel Services agents are mopping up. The main agent finally gets a name, Turner, and cautions the agents to be careful in their search since mutants are involved and, “Just because it doesn’t seem possible doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” Turner also tells Reed he was hit with an immobilization round, will be fine later, and makes some not so veiled threats against the rest of Reed’s family.

Lorna gets a scene in the prison that essentially shows she’s in for a really bad time and a demonstration of how her power-inhibitor collar works. Back at the Mutant Underground’s base, they’re trying to find a doctor for Blink/Clarice. When Kate asks if their network doesn’t have any medical people, Marcos snaps that they’re on the “Blue Cross Mutant Plan.” Kate being a nurse, she does her best guess as to what’s going on with Blink. Just about when Kate tells them she thinks Blink’s going in to shock, the girl goes into spasms, her hands start glowing, and she opens one of her portals just long enough for a truck, or part of one, to skid through.

In the aftermath, everyone crawls out of the wreckage in shock and surprise. Blink does it again, opening a portal to the same remote road. This time, one of the locals has picked up a rifle and starts walking towards the portal. Lauren gets clever with her own powers and manages to shut the portal. They hurriedly come up with a desperate plan, which is most of them watch over Blink and deal with the portals, and Marcos and Kate go raid a hospital for the medications Kate thinks Blink needs.

While Agent Turner threatens Reed with various charges, Kate and Marcos drive to the hospital. Marcos gets in a few zingers about the state of affairs for mutants, and makes Kate start reevaluating what she “knows” about how things work. The show checks in briefly on Lorna, showing the seemingly mandatory womens’ prison shower scene, but they answer one question I had about a difference from the comic book version of Lorna.

Back at the base, John gives Andy a lecture/lesson about how desperate some mutants get on their own, and why Blink was in prison. Another portal opens, this time showing that police are gathering on that spot. Lauren manages to close it again, but it’s clearly getting harder for her. John’s enhanced senses give him more bad news.

At the hospital, Marcos and Kate are playing boyfriend/girlfriend. She wants to use Marcos’ earlier injury as their cover to get into the ER, but we see that Marcos’ blood isn’t exactly normal. The doctor patches him up, and then pulls Kate aside for a semi-legitimate, semi-prejudiced talk about domestic violence. Back at base, John pulls aside a so-far nameless redhead and warns her about a new problem.

Reed and Turner spar over what’s going to happen to Reed. Both of them seem very confident about what’s going to happen. Lorna tries to make a friend in the prison, and it doesn’t go like she’d hoped. At all.

Kate proves that she’s pretty clever and cool under fire as she manages to get the meds they need, but then sees the doctor talking to some cops. She and Marcos beat a hasty retreat, and I have to say Marcos is very restrained in the use of his powers as they escape.

At the prison, out in the yard, Lorna has a run-in with the local tough girls. Lorna shows she’s tougher than anyone thought, but she’s not at her best without her powers. She gets beaten badly, with a nasty threat, and whoever wrote this either has no idea how jails and prisons work or wants to show everyone who’s not a mutant as a bad guy.

Back at the base, there’s another, and worse, portal incident. Lauren’s power doesn’t do the trick this time, and Andy steps in to buy them some time. John gets to show his fighting skills with the one officer who makes it through before throwing him back like a fish that’s too small.

Reed and Turner swap threats, and we learn some of Turner’s motivation on the job. We also see him being a dick with a lot of wide-ranging threats, but one of the people he’s after shows some real courage.

Marcos and Kate talk about how bad things are for mutants, with Kate getting her eyes opened even more. We also see one of the more clever defenses the mutants have around their base of operations as they get back. The portal problem is getting a lot worse, damaging the building and a lot of the surrounding area. Kate displays more bravery by rushing in to try and stabilize Clarice. The immediate crisis passed, everyone back at the base resolves to work together to get back Reed and Lorna.

After Reed gets threatened more, and pressured in several different ways, we get a look at a new threat. In a lab somewhere, a Dr. Campbell is getting interested in the Strucker family’s current problems. The doctor does some research, and they at least hint at some other Marvel mutant characters. Just what the good guys need, more threats.

What I liked: Almost everything. The writing and special effects are great. Kate’s got a lot of guts, and is going to be useful to her super-powered friends and children. They’re painting a dark picture for mutants in that world, but doing so in believable ways. I like the concern most of the characters have for each other. Agent Turner is still a dick, but at least we have an idea why now.

What I didn’t: Personal bias, I admit. I’m in law enforcement. The way the prison is being shown is not remotely how it actually works. It’s like they staffed the place with mutant haters on purpose, which seems unlikely at best. My only other gripe is we keep seeing a few mutants in the background over and over, but they’re not giving them names or powers or anything at all about them.

I thought this was really well done. I’ll give it a high 4.5 out of 5. I’m really impressed by this show.

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