Things keep getting worse for The Gifted as the second season continues with “teMpted.” The opening flashback is set six years ago in Detroit, as we see why Erg is so fanatically distrustful of humans. Shifting to the present, the Morlocks prepare to go on another raid to steal more supplies. Glow and Blink trade banter about Blink going on so many runs with them.
Caitlin offers John some sympathy about Blink’s departure, but he doesn’t really want to hear it. Instead, they talk about the near-complete decapitation of the Underground leadership and Lauren’s increasingly desperate efforts to stay awake to avoid her dream visits with Andy. John wants to go on the offensive against the Inner Circle, but everyone else has a lot of reservations.
Speaking of the Inner Circle, Lorna watches Max and his fellow new recruits train, and fishes for some more clues about what they’re up to. Not getting much information, she stages a not-really-convincing accident for herself and uses the excuse to sneak away and search Max’s rooms. Not subtle, Lorna. She does eventually find something that greatly disturbs her. She meets up with Marcos to share the intel, and a kiss. Marcos really wants her out of there, but she won’t go without a good plan to foil the upcoming attacks.
The Morlocks treat their raid way too lightly, bantering about freeze dried ice cream. This cavalier attitude lasts until the police show up unexpectedly quickly and Glow gets shot, losing too much prettily glowing blood. They manage to get her back to the Morlock tunnels, but her wounds aren’t responding to treatment. Blink pushes for taking the bleeding mutant to the hospital, but Erg steadfastly refuses. John and Marcos try and get the remaining bits of the Mutant Underground to join with them against the Inner Circle, but they others have lost their will to fight and leave after making some snarky comments.
Caitlin and Reed worry about his condition and Lauren’s not sleeping. Lauren herself comes in and says there’s nothing they can do. Credit to the makeup department, Lauren looks horrible from her lack of sleep. She muses that Andy is different now, probing her mind for weaknesses. Their ruminations are interrupted when a desperate Blink portals in to beg for Caitlin’s help with the dying Glow. This seems to be a recurring theme: the women leave the group, go to their newly chosen people, and then come back for help shortly afterwards. There’s some Strucker family debate about Caitlin going, but she does at Lauren’s urging. Caitlin Rule 1- leave the main group whenever possible to go do something idealistic, naïve, and dangerous. It’s really impressive she’s lasted this long considering she’s the only leading character with no powers.
Lauren continues her caffeine marathon and music box obsession. Reed comes in to talk to her about both, and tells her a creepy story from his father. Gee, thanks, Dad. I thought you wanted her to go to sleep? They debate the music box, the family legacy, and what Lauren might do with her powers. Lauren talks about the shared power with Andy like an addict longing for their next fix.
Blink leads Marcos and Caitlin through the tunnels, sharing her grand theory on why she brought Marcos along, which doesn’t really impress either of them. Caitlin, impressed with the tunnels, finally gets to Glow and agrees her condition is similar to when Marcos was wounded a while back. Erg shows up and starts spewing his racist nonsense, and Caitlin calls him on it with some very well-chosen words. That might be my favorite scene of the episode.
Lauren struggles to stay awake, and inevitably loses the battle. She meets up with Andy again, and he is clearly trying to charm her into joining up with him. We see in the real world that Andy has some backup, and is definitely not playing fair. Lauren is tempted but manages to resist and force herself awake. Glow gets a transfusion from Marcos and is amusingly blasted on morphine. Caitlin comes up with a plan to treat her, which Erg objects to on several levels. Caitlin overrides him again, displaying determination, grit, and a pistol.
Reed goes to check on Lauren to find she’s following in her mother’s footsteps and has taken off on her own. A worried Reed gets John to help him go after her. John’s tracking power, a creation of the tv show and somewhat ill-defined, now seems to have changed to him getting visions of Lauren by touching things every few feet. That’s more like psychometry than tracking. Lorna fishes for more answers and evades an angry Max who comes in convinced that someone has been through his stuff in his room.
John and Reed talk a bit about Lauren’s issues as they trail her. Erg, Blink, and Caitlin get to the clinic to get supplies for Glow. Erg is shocked at the damage, and he and Blink swap a few good lines. Erg makes assumptions about what the place was like, and Caitlin sets him straight. He admits she at least knows more about medicine than he does, so there’s that. TV firebrand Ryan babbles on a tv at the bus station, and his hate speech angers Lauren. The cops, acting more like Gestapo thugs, haul people off a bus, and Lauren diverts their attention.
Marcos and Glow flirt a bit over blood transfusion, and she realizes Marcos is still really attached to his ex. Speaking of, Lorna calls Marcos and updates him on what’s going on. He again urges her to leave, and she again refuses. She has another idea on how to prowl for information, and goes off to do it. Personally, I’m both surprised cell phones work in the tunnels and that Erg allows them. That seems like a major security risk to me.
Caitlin continues her desperate plan to help Glow, and the Purifiers show up to screw up everything. Those guys are everywhere, and seem to have amazing information. It almost seems like they have their own mind-reader or something. After a minor fight, Blink gets them out. John and Reed watch the cops work the scene of Lauren’s attack, and John figures out Reed is holding some information back. Lorna uses a new facet of her powers to get some information on Max’s habits.
Marcos makes a dangerous offer which ends up not being needed as Caitlin returns with her new bag of tricks. Reed and John catch up to Lauren, who has a mini-tantrum that’s actually fairly understandable, and then Reed surprises her with some support and insight. Lorna and Max have a much less friendly run-in.
Caitlin saves Glow, who looks sad when Marcos talks about leaving to help Lorna. The girl is really smitten. Caitlin briefs the Morlocks’ far-less talented healer on how to care for Glow. Erg comes up to Caitlin and does several surprising things. There may be hope for the man yet. Caitlin and Marcos, who was just a moment ago so desperate to leave, refuse Blink’s offer of a portal home because… reasons. A very sad John goes to bed alone. Reed helps Lauren and somehow, his offer and sharing his meds help block Andy and his friends’ influence on her. A very worried Lorna looks out over the city as Marcos tries to act on some of her intel and there’s a confrontation that goes explosively badly.
What I liked: Caitlin may get her share of bad ideas, but she stood up for herself really well this episode. She doesn’t lack for courage or cutting words. Lorna is similarly brave, and is going to get in over her head soon if she hasn’t already. While I do like Marcos and Lorna as a couple, the scenes of him and Glow were nicely done. Any episode that lacks both Jace Turner and Reeva is something I support.
What I didn’t: Lauren made some really dumb choices, although with the mitigating factor of being so deathly tired. John’s power seems to be changing randomly. I get their point, but I’m annoyed that the rest of the Underground just wants to go run and hide. Cell phones in the Morlock tunnels seem both technologically unlikely and a big security risk. Poor Blink wants to save everyone, and risk no one, and she’s just not going to be able to do that. Marcos going alone at the end of the episode was a really, really bad idea. The Purifiers seems to show up everywhere far too quickly, taking the place of the now all-but-vanished Sentinel Services, who did that last season.
It was a decent episode. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5. I still feel the show lost a bit between seasons, and I hope they go back to great from their current good.