The Gifted: outfoX


Man, I Hate These Roaming Charges

This week’s opening flashback on The Gifted is set one year ago. The Struckers are having a family picnic. While Reed and Caitlin talk about their busy schedules, Andy and Lauren are off down the path a bit. Andy is trying to teach Lauren to skateboard, and it’s a nice little brother/sister scene. Up until she almost falls, anyway, and, when he grabs her, there’s the weird energy build up and gravity-defying hair we’ve seen happen before with these two. Andy looks a bit freaked out by the experience.

With that out of the way, the episode “outfoX” begins. Reed is reflecting about his recently-deceased father, recalling a few key incidents. Caitlin finds him and commiserates on his loss. The conversation then turns to the subject of mutation in the family, and Reed tells her what he learned from his father before his death. She’s shocked about both learning Reed was (?) a mutant, and what his father did. They agree that those kind of secrets helped destroy Reed’s family.

Esme is pressuring the other members of the Underground to raid Trask and free the other mutants. She’s really pushing for this, and not liking that the others just don’t instantly agree with her. While Sage is getting a layout of the building together, Esme tries to play on John’s guilt over what happened to Pulse. Marcos, meanwhile, comments that if they go in blind, they die, which ends the discussion for the moment. John and Dreamer later talk about what happened to Pulse, and John comments he never told Esme about him. They agree they won’t let what happened to him happen to anyone else.

Andy and Lauren are off talking about some things they’ve learned. Lauren is amused Andy even knows where the library is at the Refuge, and he finds a lot more about their relatives, the Fenris Twins. They also find a mention of the Hellfire Club, a group of powerful mutants who are usually shown as enemies of the X-Men in the comics. Andy is intrigued that, despite their great power, they disappeared just like the X-Men, but Lauren doesn’t want to know anymore.

Lorna has some really twisted nightmares that make her trigger her powers in the real world. When Marcos finally manages to wake her up, she talks about dreaming their baby was being held at Trask Industries. Lorna, half panicked, says they have to go help those people. Esme lurks just outside their room, and the implication at least is that she’s using her telepathy to screw with Lorna.

Agent Turner talks to Dr. Campbell in the hospital, recovering from the burns he suffered when Otto attacked Campbell’s interrogation team. Campbell mentions he’s recovering with help from one of his assets. Turner and Ed then argue about going after the mutants. Turner is his usual borderline obsessive self and wants to go off the books to get some units together, convinced the mutants will go after the Trask building.

Sage finds very little on the actual building but comes up with another lead. Caitlin and Reed talk, Caitlin wondering if things would be different if either Otto or Lauren had told them the truth earlier. Lying about mutant powers does seem to run in the family.

Undercover, Lorna and Dreamer are at a bar getting info from a hapless Trask guard. I suspect Turner wouldn’t be pleased at the man breaking security the way he is. Dreamer is a lot better at flirting than the always-angry Lorna, and they learn a good bit. Dreamer uses her powers to cover what happened after Lorna punches the guy out with an assist from her powers. Lorna calls it the best girls’ night ever.

The next scene has to be the stupidest of the episode, if not the series as a whole. Reed and Caitlin tell Andy and Lauren everything Otto told them about the Fenris Twins. Caitlin wryly points out that discovering powers accidentally hasn’t been ideal, and I’ll give her that one. But then, the parents not only have the kids practice inside the building (I’m amazed that place is still standing by now) but stand right in front of them as they power up. The kids discover at least some of the potential of this new ability, and no one seems comfortable with it.

Dreamer shares her intel with the team. Esme keeps pushing to go in and rescue her family, which everyone (me included) both sympathizes with but is sick of hearing about. It’s not like they don’t want to help her, they just need to be really careful about how they do it, which John and Marcos both explain. Again.

Andy and Lauren try to explain what they experienced to their parents. There’s a lot of talk about what to do next, and then Andy surprises the others by wanting to practice with their powers. Reed doesn’t like this idea, and Andy storms off in a fit of adolescent rage. Lauren goes after him and they talk about the outing in the park that was the opening flashback.

Marcos and Lorna plan out what to do next. They’ve determined that they need to take out a nearby power station to have a chance of getting inside. Their strategy session gets interrupted by Esme, who Lorna snarks at. Esme comes with a suggestion; use the Strucker kids to take out the power station. She’s been a busy little eavesdropping telepath.

Turner checks in with his wife, who thinks he went back to work too soon after the trauma from Dreamer’s powers, and with his assistant Ed, who has a whole other set of worries. Back at the Refuge, Marcos goes to the Struckers about the kids helping with the power plant. Caitlin, continuing her dedicated role as protective mother, asks if blowing up a high voltage station is the safe job, and Lorna snaps that yes, it is. The kids and Reed all agree, while Esme smirks in the background. They really need to get rid of that girl.

The team is finally ready and heads out, with Esme worming her way into the group. She uses her powers to know just what to say, what approach to take with whoever she happens to be talking to. John and Marcos set up near the fence, looking at all the really impressive defenses Trask Industries has. John comments they knew it wouldn’t be easy, and Marcos jokes, “Says the bulletproof guy.” They both miss Pulse and feel bad about leaving him behind. Sage hacks into computers to give them security footage of where to go, and Clarice uses that to portal them inside. Going in is Clarice, Andy, Lauren, and Dreamer (why, I don’t know). Riding herd on comms are an increasingly worried Reed and Caitlin. John and Marcos wait for the others to take down the power before they storm in.

About the only thing to come from the team wandering around the power station is Clarice explaining in detail why she can’t port in blind, and us finally learning Dreamer has a name: Sonya. Dreamer does manage to get them past a guard, so maybe I was wrong about not bringing her.

The rest of the team waits for word to go inside. Esme keeps pushing to just go in, free the prisoners, and destroy everything. Reed and Caitlin talk about their nerves, and what it was like for Reed to go in his first few raids. In a classic piece of bad staging, Reed gets out the line that their job is to watch the kids as they stare at each other and ignore the monitors.

Things go to hell as Sentinel agents and robots start turning up at the power station. Caitlin and Reed freak out as they watch Dreamer and then Clarice get captured. Andy and Lauren almost use their new power, but realize the consequences and ramp it back down. Turner captures them, too, and places power damper collars on them. It’s a rough place to end, and things aren’t looking good for the heroes.

What I liked: Over and over on this show, they show creative use of the various powers. Using Sage to hack them a monitor feed for Clarice to portal to was brilliant. I’m sorry we never got to see the attack, as I’m betting Marcos, John, and Lorna make a hell of a team together. Hitting the power station first makes sense, and I liked the undercover mission at the bar.

What I didn’t: Turner and his troops showing up just as the mutants are getting ready to go in is a bit coincidental, and they did this before with Campbell at Otto’s place. Mostly Caitlin, but Reed a bit also, have to get their feelings under control, especially when there’s a mission going on. The scene of practicing with the kids’ powers inside was just dumb all the way around. Esme creeping around is making my skin crawl.

This was an uneven episode, and probably the weakest in a strong season. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. Whatever they do for a rescue better be damn impressive.