“X-Roads” is the second half of The Gifted’s season one finale. Things have been action packed up until now, and they keep going. The opening flashback features Lorna in a mental hospital. What’s more interesting than that is she’s playing with a purple and red piece of metal, which looks a lot like it came off Magneto’s costume. They still haven’t directly mentioned him, or any of the other really big names in the X-Men universe, directly, but that’s a pretty big hint. Lorna then gets a very surprising visitor and gets a demonstration that she doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does.
Back into the present, the Frosts and Lorna are getting worried as police start rolling up. The others appear via one of Clarice’s portals and the Frosts are furious when they learn Campbell hasn’t been captured. They don’t care about the reasons why, they just think the others should have gotten Campbell no matter what. The team flees, and Lorna ends a brief car chase. Back at the rally, Campbell manages to spin the attack as something that’s a good sign.
Back at the Refuge, the bad news starts spreading that Campbell got away. Andy wants to go help the others who are still on the run, but Reed points out they are two states away, and no one left at the headquarters has any kind of movement powers. Andy’s snark and bad attitude hits new lows, and Reed calls him on some of it.
Back at Ellen’s (possibly former) work, Agent Turner shows up and gets briefed about Andy attacking the Sentinel agents. Of course, there’s no mention of Lauren stopping him from doing worse. Campbell has brewed up a new Faux-ris, this one combining clairvoyance and the ability to track organic molecules. Put them together, and it’s a good bet that the Refuge is about to get some unwelcome company. At the Charlotte safe house, the Frost collective keeps lecturing the Mutant Underground team, and insists they go after Campbell again.
Lorna and Marcos debate this point. Lorna still can’t get past all the people at the rally smiling while hating and plotting against mutants. Macros points out another attack isn’t going to stop hatred. They come down on very opposite sides of the issue, but it’s still done with obvious mutual affection. They make a great couple.
Andy keeps finding new ways to be a sullen teen, now moving out of the family’s nook at the Refuge. Caitlin isn’t happy about this, but Andy does, rarely enough, make a good point that until recently, he had his own bedroom with a door and some privacy. He finds some young mutants using their powers creatively, and starts talking with them about Dr. Campbell getting away and the need for more direct action. Lauren walks up during this and the siblings have another disagreement.
Agent Turner calls in from his tracking detail, and the Director tells him that the summit was attacked. None too subtly, the Director tells Turner they need a win now, and to keep pursuing the Struckers. Finding the point where the family parted ways, Turner pawns off tracking down Grandmother Ellen to the local police, who I’m sure are thrilled with this, and keeps going after the others with his team.
Lorna is shaping herself some armor when one of the Frosts (Which one? Does it matter?) comes in and starts up trying to drive wedges into the team again. Frost isn’t pulling any punches with her demand that they eliminate Campbell, and wants to drag Lorna into the dark with her. Frost also talks about Lorna’s father some more, which doesn’t thrill the green-haired mutant.
Sentinel Services are closing in on the Underground, although the team gets skittish when they find out they’re heading into what’s officially labeled as a toxic waste site. I guess that’s a great way to keep folks from wandering in. Director Wolcott tells Turner to use whatever force is necessary, so both sides are upping the stakes. The lookout uses his fear power, but Turner fights through it and rouses the troops. As the warning goes out, Reed and Caitlin help get the evacuation organized. Why there’s never been a plan for this until now, I don’t know. Bad planning on John’s part, I guess, since he seems to be in charge. Surly starts snapping at Caitlin again, and she tells him to hate her later, get the kids out for now. Andy complains about running away from the fight while Sage desperately trashes all the computers in the base.
The team in Charlotte can’t get through to the Refuge, and then realize that Lorna and at least one of the Frosts are gone. They confront the others, and get told that Lorna is out doing what the others won’t. None of the team are happy about this development, and Marcos actually threatens one of the Frosts. The Frost with Lorna tells her she’s being noble and makes another pitch for the good intentions of the Hellfire Club. Most of the non-combatant types get evacuated from the Refuge, but a few, including almost anyone whose name we know, get trapped there as Sentinel closes in.
Reed helps Mark, a huge guy with great strength, reinforce the walls, and then Reed gets an idea of how to get them all out after talking with Caitlin. Reed gives a pretty good speech, and the remaining Underground gets divided between getting their way out ready and holding off Sentinel Services, which Andy is more than happy to do. Even as Sentinel closes in, Andy and Lauren find time to bicker more. The heroes manage to hold off the agents, and even Reed picks up a rifle and starts blazing away. I recall Caitlin saying she had firearms training; this is new for former attorney Reed as far as I know. Turner and his minions get driven back by a volley of bullets and powers.
The team rushes to try and intercept Lorna, with Clarice remarking that assassination is not a symptom of being bipolar. That might be the best line of the episode. Lorna, meanwhile, gets set for her attack and then shoos the Frosts away, so it won’t look like they influenced her to do this. Unaware of what’s coming, Campbell and Montes toast their future of mutant hunting and hating.
Things take an even darker turn when Turner brings up his Faux-ris team. Turner tells his agents no prisoners, which I’m fairly sure is illegal, and instructs them to end resistance if they meet it. The defenders do what they can, but the odds are against them at this point, and we’ve already seen how good Faux-ris is at destroying buildings.
Two of the plots hit their climax at about the same time, as the scenes shift back and forth. The mutants have finished their escape plan, and Lauren and Andy stay behind to bring the house down and cover their tracks. The Strucker parents don’t like this plan, but even Caitlin eventually realizes there’s not another good option here. The Struckers’ power, fully unleashed in an uncontrolled environment, is spectacularly impressive. Elsewhere, the team arrives to find that Lorna is not only not listening, she’s keeping them away with her powers. She does something definitive that’s going to make things a lot worse for everyone in season two (which yes, has been confirmed).
In Nashville (I guess they’ve been driven out of Georgia entirely), the mutants reunite for the most part. The Frosts and Lorna are conspicuous by their absence. In a shocking development, Andy and Lauren argue some more, although I admit I can see both sides of this one. Marcos and John are stunned to hear that headquarters is just… gone. Fearsome people, the united Struckers.
Turner finds himself in an unenviable position after his mission’s failure. Director Wolcott needs someone to blame, because that’s how the game is played. Turner isn’t standing for it, though. He goes off on the Director and then does something that’s going to have some interesting repercussions next season.
The dispirited Underground tries to work out what they should do next. John makes vague statements about rebuilding, and Sage, fairly enough, asks from what? As the group grumbles, this is when the Frosts and Lorna return. A lot of words are exchanged, and the fractures that have been building develop into fault lines. Things are going to be a lot different next season, with more factions involved. The last thing we see is a flag with an M on it and: THE MUTANT RESISTANCE WILL RETURN.
What I liked: One of the places this show excels is the combination of showing creative uses of powers and teamwork with powers. They did that a few times here. The great escape was handled as well as it could be, and the final Surly/Caitlin scene was a nice touch. The big nasty split at the end was sad to see, but believable. Kidnapping Campbell for information made some degree of sense. I admire Turner for his final scene. Who hasn’t been in that kind of position and wanted to do just what he did?
What I didn’t: The Refuge not having an escape plan made no sense at all. They were relying entirely on the fake toxic waste signs and Fear Boy? Lorna staying outside during the grab for Campbell also made no sense, unless someone really clever was trying to engineer a failure. I’m not quite sure why they keep hinting at Magneto and the big guns, but never mentioned them by name. There shouldn’t be a rights issues between different Fox sections, but then, stranger things have happened.
It was an action-packed ending to a great first season. It’s going to be a long wait until Season Two. I’ll give this episode a 4 out of 5, and the season itself the same rating.