The Gifted: eXtraction


It’s a tense family reunion…

The Gifted wraps up their first season with a two hour finale, eXtraction and Xroads. Things have been getting bad for both sides as the season has gone on, and events build to a head as the Mutant Underground and Sentinel Services head for a major battle. Somehow, it seems like the kind of clash where no one is exactly going to win.

The flashback, set four years ago this time, shows Dr. Campbell caring for his ailing brother. The brother has Cystic Fibrosis, and is suffering horribly, but encourages Campbell to go give a lecture. Campbell does, and it’s a talk comparing the current situation with mutants and humans to the distant past with homo sapiens and Neantherthal. It sounds like a scientifically based hate speech to me.

In the present day, the Cuckoos are arguing with the Underground, well aware that, while they are notionally on the same side, they are far from friends. Tensions are high, and the Cuckoos’ suggestion that they grab Campbell from a big anti-mutant rally called Humanity Today doesn’t exactly reassure most of them. But, as they’ve been sliding towards for a while now, there are fractures building up within the Underground. This isn’t helped when the Cuckoos hint they know secrets from Clarice’s past.

Having returned from their most recent attempt at running away, the Struckers are unpacking. Caitlin isn’t sure how to feel about being back, Reed seems to be in more or less permanent laid-back mode, and Andy’s in full-time sulk. The team is going over the research they got from Otto, Reed’s father, and not making a lot of progress. None of them are scientists, and Sage, while she has a computer-like mind, doesn’t know everything. Clarice tries to explain the secrets the Cuckoos were hinting at, but John isn’t in the mood to listen and storms off in a huff.

Things aren’t going well for Marcos and Lorna either. They’re getting ready to go off with the Frost/Cuckoos, and Marcos is really not doing well with any of this. Lorna is doing her best to talk him around, but I have to admit I’m kind of on his side. Storming a conference to kidnap a man so you can interrogate him is kind of hard to defend. As they try and talk this out, Campbell talks with his assistant about some missing research.

Andy is re-reading the book about Fenris, when Lauren finds him. He’s getting really into the legacy of his great-grandfather, which is worrying Lauren (and me). He’s really talking them up, while she points out they were murderers. Andy isn’t going to listen to anything approaching calm or reason, and Lauren isn’t getting anywhere with him.

In Charlotte, Dr. Campbell and Walcott, Director of Sentinel Services, arrive at the Humanity Today rally. While they get settled in among their own hate-filled kind, things keep getting hotter at the Refuge. Caitlin doesn’t have everyone on her side, and Surly the former bartender isn’t shy about letting her know that. Sage and Reed are trying to make something of Otto’s work, and then they figure out Sentinel is going after Reed’s mother, Ellen. Does Caitlin even have parents? I’m really starting to wonder.

Round whatever of Lauren and Andy arguing gets broken up by their parents arriving to tell them about Ellen being in danger. Well, the Struckers have a family tradition at this point. When something comes up, they run away and don’t tell anyone. So, we know where this is going…

Elsewhere in Charlotte, the Frost Cuckoos bring the Underground elite to a safe house, which is a very nice mansion. There are snarky comments on both sides as the Cuckoos show John, Clarice, Marcos, and Lorna around. One of the Frosts tries and plays games with Lorna, and that ends badly for a perfectly innocent bedroom set. Frost also drops more hints about Lorna’s father, who at this point is supposed to be Magneto.

The Struckers arrive at Ellen’s work. The parents go in, leaving the kids to play lookout. All things considered, this seems like a bad idea to me. The parents go inside, bluff past an office worker, deal with Reed’s worry this will turn out like the visit to his father, and finally find Ellen. She’s shocked and delighted, but worried, to see them. The kids get out of the car, which is an iffy move, and keep arguing. Andy is spoiling for a fight, and Lauren really isn’t. Inside, Ellen makes me wonder if she’s related to Caitlin, not Reed, as she, too, just doesn’t manage to understand how serious things have gotten. Things start finally sinking in when she learns that Sentinel Services shot and killed Otto.

At Humanity Today, Campbell continues collecting members for his Axis of Evil when he starts talking to Senator Montes. The Senator is willing to listen, although his aide isn’t very happy. Campbell at least manages to get Montes interested in the Hound program being expanded.

The away team is now out in the woods, enacting the next part of the Frosts’ plan. They’re going to kidnap Bennett, a wealthy contributor to anti-mutant causes. The ambush goes well, so at least something does this episode. Lorna is definitely getting a bit more militant as time passes. She has a great way of stopping the man’s car. When Bennett tries to lock himself in, he finds out how strong John is.

Ellen is almost as surprised to hear that Otto was a mutant as she is to hear he’s dead. They ask if she knows of any place Otto might have hidden his work or notes. Reed also tells her about his own power being suppressed and the real reason he was so sick as a child. Ellen is still refusing to leave when the kids call up a warning that Sentinel Services is here. As the adult Struckers leave with Ellen, the kids argue more. Andy steps out to confront the agents, they pull guns, and Andy uses his power to slap them back several feet. When it looks like he’s not done, Lauren steps in. Know how their power gets so much stronger when they’re together? It doesn’t do too well when they oppose each other. The rest of the family gets outside in the aftermath and they all pile in the car and get away.

Campbell is showing Senator Montes footage of his Faux-ris troops, and the Senator is impressed. Campbell pushes the Senator for support to expand his Hound program. The Senator is waffling a bit on the issue of the Hounds, but Campbell comes up with some good, if very self-serving, arguments.

The away team gets ready for their mission, and they’re not really united in their feelings about what they’re getting ready to do. John, a warrior by former profession and culture, is all for going after the people who killed Pulse and Sonya, among others. Marcos has a lot of doubts, both because of how Lorna is acting and his own experience with the Cartel. John gives the very good advice of keeping your eyes on the fight in front of you. Clarice and Lorna are also getting ready, and compare notes on the Frosts trying to get in their heads. Clarice also tells Lorna DNA doesn’t determine who you are. The Underground unite long enough to stop the Frosts from torturing their captive.

The Struckers call in to the Refuge to bring them up to date. Ellen finally remembers another scientist Otto worked with at times, who she used to think Otto was having an affair with. Ellen actually handles all this remarkably well, and shows she’s a pretty damn good person. She’s also a realist, and knows she’s not up to going on the run or into combat. She has a plan, and leaves the family after parting on good terms.

The rally is getting more and more like a giant fascist hate meeting as Senator Montes gets introduced. As he blathers on, the Bennett party arrives, with our various heroes hidden away. Montes gets worse and worse as the team gets into place. Apparently, the plan is for Lorna to use her powers to scramble communications while Clarice portals John and Marcos inside to grab Campbell. Why you’d leave someone as powerful as Lorna outside with people you don’t trust, I’m not sure, unless they hoped she’d keep an eye on the Frost group. We also see that John has gotten over his reservations about Clarice.

Sage and Reed follow up on the clue they got from Ellen. Caitlin, meanwhile, is trying to find out what’s going on with her kids. Andy and Lauren are getting along less and less, which isn’t good either for the family or when your most powerful weapon depends on the two of them working together. Andy storms off, after expressing disturbing sentiments about his family, and Lauren warns Caitlin Andy has changed a lot.

The rally takes a break, and Lorna is repulsed by all the people looking so happy while plotting the end of her kind. Bennett is taken care of by the Frosts in a way I was surprised by. The snatch team gets into position, using John’s tracking power to find the right place, but Campbell pulls something low even for him and they have to let him go. Security shows up and starts shooting, and the team has to retreat.

Believe it or not, all this was just part one, eXtraction. X-roads will be a separate post.

What I liked: They upped the action on this one, and the team clicks well when they manage to work together. They could be a very formidable squad if they’d get their collective act together. Campbell is slime, but he’s good at what he does, I have to give him that. I’m glad John and Clarice have gotten some of their issues worked out.

What I didn’t: Andy is being a punk kid, and he could be better than that. He showed potential a few episodes ago when he refused to bring a building down on top of people. I’d hoped that would progress, but he seems to have slid back instead. Ellen needs to stop sticking her head in the sand, as does Caitlin. The Struckers as a whole need to stop running off on their own. That’s not how a team works, guys. I find the Frosts’ loathsome, as is Montes.

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. There were some good moments, but some less than good as well. It’s building up for a hell of a second hour and a season finale.