The Purifiers, an anti-mutant hate group, finally proves useful for something on The Gifted. Their extreme methods help make a temporary reunion among some of the various members of the Mutant Underground. One of their own is in trouble, and, as the saying and title go, different forces can unite to deal with the “eneMy of My eneMy.”
The now-traditional opening flashback is set three years ago in Atlanta, home of many movies being filmed now, and DragonCon. John, Lorna, and Marcos are out playing pool. John tells them he knows the other two mutants are getting involved, thanks to his enhanced senses. They admit it, and he tells them with all the danger they’ll be facing in the future, they need to not have secrets between them, and they all toast on that thought.
In the present, Andy and Lauren meet up again in their dreams. Andy is still shaken after Rebecca’s death, but Lauren, not knowing about that, isn’t feeling forgiving. They argue, and she wakes up in the car with her parents driving them back to the Underground. Reed gets a call from Marcos about John being captured, and they get back as fast as they can. Personally, I’m wondering why Reed of the destructo-hands, is driving. Even with the meds supposedly keeping his powers in check, they’ve been told that won’t last forever. Why take that chance?
When everyone’s back at their hideout in Washington DC, they pool their information to find out how much they don’t know. None of the Mutant Underground stations have heard anything, and Blink’s check-in with the Morlocks also doesn’t turn anything up. Marcos comes up with an idea no one really likes; exchanging Fade, who they captured after he assassinated their Regimen insider, for information about John. The Inner Circle does have resources the Underground doesn’t at this point, like a lot more money and Sage’s computer skills.
Speaking of the Inner Circle, Andy and Lorna are watching television. Andy is offended that the Ryan report is lying about mutants in general and the recent escapes in particular. Lorna is a lot more cynical and tries to get Andy to see things as they really are. The power Andy has, his naivety, and his rage are a really terrifying combination. Lorna gets a call she thinks is from Fade, but it’s Marcos using his phone to set up a meeting. It’s unclear of Lorna knew about Fade’s assassination mission or not, but she eventually agrees. When they meet, Lorna assumes he wants to talk about Dawn again, but Marcos fills her in about John’s capture. Marcos makes an appeal to her based on promises from the past.
At a new Purifier base, John, heavily chained and hooded, gets brought inside. Jace is there, smirking and condescending, very much enjoying having the upper hand. Between the scene with the truck at the end of last episode, and the chains in this one, this version of Thunderbird is a lot weaker than the comic book one. They argue with each other, sort of debating their respective philosophies, and John tells Jace the Underground had nothing to do with the slaughter at Creed. Jace takes advantages of John’s enhanced senses to torture him with loud headphones. Jace and the very corrupt Officer Wilson argue what to do next.
Clarice/Blink and Lauren (who needs a codename aside from “Half of Fenris”) meet on the roof and talk about the mess with John, the Purifiers, and the Inner Circle. Lorna and Andy go over what Sage has been able to dig up on the Purifiers and where they took John. They agree that what’s left of the Underground doesn’t have a great chance of getting in and out alive. Andy reminds Lorna of everything they both owe John.
Lorna and Andy go to meet the others at the apartment Andy and Lauren co-dreamed about earlier. It’s an odd reunion, with mixes of tension and delight. The adult Struckers are thrilled to see Andy again, and he them, while Lauren is less excited. The other adults are restrained. Lorna and Andy offer to either help with the mission or just provide intel and leave, and eventually, it’s agreed that everyone is going. On the street, Andy and Lorna show they come with gifts, which include body armor, weapons, and armored vehicles. Reed makes a joke about how he used to get ties from Andy.
At the Purifier compound, John tries to persuade Jace that the Underground and the Uprising are two different things. There’s a lot more argument, and John finally tells Jace about the Inner Circle, and that the reason no one knows about them is that everyone who looks into them get killed. Jace has descriptions from the Creed attack matching Lorna and Andy. Putting the headphones back on John, Jace and Wilson debate what John has told them.
The trip out to save John is a tough one with some understandable but questionable travel arrangements. Lorna and Marcos bicker until Clarice calls them both on it and tells them to shut up. The Struckers, in the other car, talk about Andy coming back, which he isn’t going to listen to. Lauren is just quiet. They also tell Andy about Reed’s powers, which I think is a tactical mistake, but I get trying to build rapport with Andy. Jace and John have another session and Jace, typical for people blinded by hate and/or self-pity, blames the mutants for the loss of his child, wife, and job. The last two he unquestionably did to himself, and the first, as far as I know, we still don’t really know what happened that day. Jace finally starts to believe a tiny bit about the Inner Circle, and John says Andy and Lorna left because he couldn’t make them believe in the dream of the X-Men.
The rescue team scouts the compound out, and it looks bad. There are a lot of armed men and different defenses. Eventually, they come up with a plan, or the bare bones of one. Jace and Wilson debate the existence of the Inner Circle while Andy and Lauren talk about Rebecca. Blink comes back and tells them that where they are is about as good as it gets, and hopes the distraction is going to be good. Said distraction, Marcos and Lorna, bicker a bit and then talk about her new headpiece. We still haven’t learned how the red disc turned into green headgear, but that’s a minor detail.
Marcos and Lorna make a very dramatic entrance, and we again see how Eclipse and Polaris make a very good team. The Purifiers are outmatched, and it’s probably along the lines of what they’ve been afraid of this whole time. Blink gets herself, Andy, and Lauren inside, and the Strucker kids swat aside the Purifiers they run across. Jace sees Lorna and Marcos working together and turns on John in a fury, shooting him several times. Wilson says they need to get going, and Jace’s rage delays them just long enough that Wilson gets taken down when Laruen blows the door in. During the fight, Blink pulls off a really cool trick with her portals that opens up a new way for her to be useful in combat, not just as transportation.
The escape doesn’t go quite as smoothly. For reasons that make no sense, instead of just portalling out, the team runs across the yard. One of the Purifiers comes up behind them and almost shoots Lauren in the back. This lets the Struckers see who Andy has become as he vents his rage on the gunman in a particularly cruel way. The parents are appalled, and Andy is smiling, which should scare everyone. The boy is a supervillain now, and could be one of the biggest threats to peace down the road.
Jace didn’t run that far after all, and comes back to the compound to get a report of their losses just in time to see Ted Wilson die, which I’m perfectly fine with. Jace is in a cold rage at this point, and I suspect isn’t going to be listening to anyone in the future, just killing. Blink apologizes to John for not being there, he thanks her for the rescue and asks about Andy and Lorna being there. The Struckers try and have a talk with Andy, but gradually realize he’s gone to the dark side. Later, Caitlin tells Lauren the only way they will get Andy back is to destroy the Inner Circle, and Lauren agrees. Caitlin later checks her weapon as part of her determination/obsession to get Andy back. Lorna and Marcos have a conflicted good bye.
The episode ends with a disturbing sequence. Andy goes to the Inner Circle training room while Lauren is in a junkyard. Both of them start training, using their powers, apparently at the same time. The strange wind effect we’ve seen before when they used their powers together starts up, even though they aren’t in the same place. If their link is getting that much stronger, that bodes ill for the future.
What I liked: The rescue mission was good for the most part. John’s determination is impressive. It’s a good touch that Lorna and Andy still have feelings for their friends, despite the current divide. Blink’s new power use was really cool and nicely done. I very much enjoy the creative use of powers.
What I didn’t: There was a lot that didn’t make a lot of sense here. I mentioned Reed driving earlier. There’s no reason for him to be doing that. Caitlin’s obsession with Andy is growing increasingly strong, and I’m really worried that’s going to cause a big problem for everyone down the road. The escape across the yard made no sense. It’s a bit odd that Lorna and Andy managed to pull off getting all this stuff and going out with alerting control-freak Reeva or intrusive telepaths Sophie and Phoebe. And their arrival just happens to be one of the things making Jace not believe John. Very large coincidence, all this.
I loved the first season of this show, and the second just isn’t quite measuring up. I’ll give this a low 3 out of 5.