The Gifted: got your siX


I’m not sure this is the best time for Charades, son…

This week, The Gifted’s beginning flashback is four years ago in Phoenix. John is working with Pulse, trying to raise funds for relief from the big 7/15 disaster that, among other things, cost Agent Turner his daughter. Even at that point, there’s a fair amount of anti-mutant prejudice, and some of it spills over into badly thought-out violence, which shows how rabid the bigots are and how heroic John is. With John’s sense of honor and military background, “got your siX” is a perfect title for this episode.

Back in the now, John and Marcos compare notes on what they’ve been finding out about missing mutants being turned against their own kind. Sentinel Services is doing a great job of making captured mutants into terrible weapons. Finally, they determine the Federal Building in Baton Rouge may have the answers they need. As much as John is opposed to launching offensive action, he agrees they need answers.

Andy, Lauren, and Caitlin keep helping with the flood of incoming refugees. One of them, an illusion caster named Wes, is quite obviously interested in Lauren, and she’s not really returning the attention. Caitlin is doing a good job of stretching the limits of her medical training, but isn’t quite grasping the reality of their situation, as seen in her frequent clashes with Lorna.

John tries to recruit Clarice for their mission to Baton Rouge. Thanks to Dreamer’s playing with her head, Clarice isn’t really interested in helping. They have a brief, impassioned discussion, and then she leaves the compound, with a frustrated John taking it out on the poor vault door.

The mutants and friends hold a council of war, comparing notes and planning for their raid. Lorna is surprised and not pleased to hear that Clarice left, but no one tells her what’s going on. Andy offers his powers as an alternate way to get inside. When Reed objects, Andy correctly points out that, if Sentinel Services shows up, the kids are just as screwed as the adults. The team leaves, amid disapproving looks from Caitlin. Reed, trying to find a bright side, says it might give him a chance to reconnect with Andy. Caitlin also notices for the first time that Reed’s wedding ring is gone, now somewhere in the property collection of Sentinel Services. Even a lot of jails let inmates keep wedding rings. Taking them, to me, conjures up images of the hordes of confiscated possessions at Nazi concentration camps. Maybe that’s what the writers were going for. Wes uses the departure as another excuse to talk to Lauren, whether opportunistically or because he actually likes her, I’m not sure.

Turner returns to work, despite the fact that everyone in the building seems to be telling him he’s still supposed to be on leave. He’s going through the pain of, for all intents and purposes, losing his daughter a second time. He snaps at his coworkers and bullies his way to his office, where he calls Dr. Campbell, whose help he earlier refused.

Andy and Reed spend some awkward moments in the back of the truck, talking about their recent past. I can only imagine it was even more awkward for Marcos, who is back there, too, in the same large open space. For reasons that are utterly unclear, the truck gets pulled over by the police. The driver bluffs his way through part of the stop, and then Marcos gets really creative with his powers to help with the rest.

Back at the headquarters, John is reinforcing their defenses by effortlessly moving sections of Jersey barrier around. Dreamer comes to find him and they talk about Clarice. They also talk about the vanished X-Men, and John coming to doubt them being right in selecting him to work with the Underground. When Dreamer counters the mutant heroes said a war was coming, John darkly answers her, “They didn’t say we’d win.”

Stopping for the night, the away team has a talk about the nature of their powers. Reed has a lot of questions, and not necessarily good answers when Andy shares how he feels. Things get very tense before the nameless driver (who feels like he should be wearing a red shirt) pulls Reed away with a series of questions.

Caitlin is trying to put together some kind of school program for the kids among the mutant refugees. She gets some bleak answers when she asks how they ended up with school books in the refuge. Elsewhere in the building, Lorna is training a few of the kids in the use of their powers. Since the run-down building lacks things like the X-Mansion’s Danger Room, she’s improvising the training sessions. Once again, she clashes with Caitlin, who really seems to have her head stuck in the sand. Or elsewhere.

Marcos and Reed have a chat that ranges from talking to someone about powers to being a dad. Marcos has a lot of doubt and questions. Reed, to his credit, gives realistic answers, but is encouraging anyway. I think the scene actually makes both of them look good.

Campbell and Turner have a meeting where Turner starts to realize he may well have made a deal with the devil. Campbell isn’t shy about showing how much clout he has. Reed and Marcos’ away team scout their target, and Marcos chats with Lorna. I get they miss each other, but remember that whole bit about Sentinel monitoring phones? Lorna and Caitlin have yet another barbed exchange. Caitlin needs a big cup of “Wake The Hell Up” in my humble opinion.

Wes and Lauren chant more, and he does seem to be actually interested in her. They talk about her mom, and what Lauren wanted to do with her life. Wes does something kind of cool and nice with his powers for Lauren, even if he screws a bit of it up. Their interlude is interrupted by, you guessed it, the apparently omni-present Caitlin.

The entire snatch and grab team seems to be Driver, Andy, Reed, and Marcos, which to me suggests Lorna is not only right about training the new recruits as fast as possible, but that they are severely lacking in mutants with useful powers. Eventually, they get inside, send Andy back to the truck to wait, and find the hard drives they need to steal. Reed and Marcos debate methods a bit, but make it out.

John gets and shares the bad news that another of their bases has been hit, and the survivors from that debacle are on the way. Sage offers unwelcome details on how screwed they are. John and Dreamer talk a bit about the mission and the success of it. Their talk doesn’t go how Dreamer wanted, and she walks off as the away team reports they are being followed. The team, mostly through Lauren’s ideas, comes up with a plan to save them. Even Caitlin agrees, although I wonder how much of that is the fact that Andy and Reed are in danger.

Pushing their powers to new limits and with some really creative teamwork, the mutants save the truck and ditch the pursuing Sentinel team. I really like how they did that. One of the things I’m really enjoying about this series is the creative use of their powers. Turner takes news of the setback with his customary even temper.

The Struckers get some family time together, or most of them do. Lauren is off with Wes, John and Dreamer are working the stolen computers, and Marcos and Lorna get some rest. Or they do until Marcos gets a phone call he was hoping wasn’t coming. As he deals with the aftereffects of his own decision, we see Clarice off on her own, not really enjoying the high life.

What I liked: The characters are very creative with their powers, both alone and as a team. John is finally remembering something they should have taught him in the Marines: no one ever won a defensive war. The flashbacks on this show are short and actually relevant. I like how hard Reed is trying to keep his family together and the risks he’s willing to take. Lauren is showing a lot of potential as both a fighter and a leader.

What I didn’t: Andy seems to me like they’re setting him up for a major tragedy, a fall to the dark side, or both. Caitlin needs to realize that some of her preferences don’t work in the situation they’re actually in. The Underground needs more fighters, or more useful powers, or something. The team they sent after the hard drives was ridiculously small, undermanned, and under-powered. I don’t get why the cops did the initial traffic stop.

I’m really enjoying this show. I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5.