It’s a science fiction double feature! I was on a business trip last week, so I didn’t get the chance to recap the sixth episode of The Gifted, “got your siX.” Which means for this week, you get two times the mutant mayhem in one post: “got your siX” and this week’s episode, “eXtreme measures.”
First up, let’s talk five thoughts on “got your siX.” When we last left Strucker and Company, we got the origin story of Sentinel Agent Jace Turner, the kids got a very hands-on health class, and the mutants, with a little help from Reed, who is slowly earning the camp’s respect, get some very vital intelligence on plans that the government has for them.
1. Fleeting Moments of Normalcy
After several weeks of running against time and growing up faster than they ever expected, it’s nice to see a few moments of normal teen angst for Andy and Lauren. At the new refugee center, Lauren meets a new mutant Wes, and from the looks on Wes’s face, he’s certainly smitten with our blond airbender. using his powers of illusion to take him and Lauren on an impromptu trip to Italy. And while traveling to Baton Rouge in the back of a truck to attempt to infiltrate one of the federal mutant centers (the new father-son fishing trip!) where many of Reed’s cases were sent, father and son enjoy some beatboxing, wishes of going camping together and some real talk about Andy’s bullying issues. It’s a refreshing reminder that deep down, this is still a family, and they still have your run-of-the-mill family and life issues to handle, even in the most extreme of overall situations.
2. Caitlin Strucker, Fretter-in-Chief
Caitlin just loves to worry about everyone, doesn’t she? From a mutant kid with high blood pressure to Polaris teaching the kids in the detention center how to fight to letting her son go off with Dad to break in to the federal government, the first two acts of this episode are just Caitlin playing helicopter mom to anyone remotely shorter than her. We saw back in the second episode that she is capable of much, much more. With that, and her background in medicine, it’s a waste to see her relegated to just playing doctor and concerned mom, including pulling Lauren out of Polaris’s mutant training.
(And not to be outdone, Reed Strucker gets in a bit of helicopter parenting of his own with Andy. I’m just about done with these parents still trying to be typical parents in these very atypical times.)
3. You Can’t Save Them All
In the flashback that started this episode, we discover that Pulse, the mutant from “eXit strategy” that Sentinel Services used to fight the mutants, and Johnny served together in the armed forces, working together in the aftermath of the Dallas incident to raise funds for mutants. Johnny, still feeling the guilt over his friend defecting to the other side (though it’s not clear yet if this was a voluntary choice), has all this guilt come to a head when a confrontation with Clarice about her false memories from Dreamer of their romance ends with her leaving the group for parts unknown. The fact that he has now lost two friends leaves Johnny depressed and wondering if the human-mutant war is one that the mutants can win. Will he let this despair turn him over to the other side and make him the next government weapon?
4. Switching Sides…?
Johnny isn’t the only one conflicted with his loyalties. Remember that in the previous episode’s final moments, Jace had to relive the trauma of losing his daughter all over again, thanks to Dreamer’s manipulation of his memories. The trauma put him on forced administrative leave, and the leisurely life isn’t one for Cory Booker’s Evil Twin. He pulls some strings with Dr. Campbell to get him back on the job, but it comes with a price: the files on the Strucker kids. It’s the briefest of looks, but you can see a fleeting moment of doubt on Jace’s face, the concern of a father weighing over his duty to federal service.
5. Teamwork Makes the Dream WorkContinued below
I love watching how these mutant powers come together, and this episode provided another one of those sublime moments. Reed and Andy’s father-son government burglary bonding moment gets interrupted on the drive back to the refugee camp by…the government. Polaris, Lauren, and Wes team up to execute the first flawless mutant counterattack and it’s a glorious synchronized ballet of genius. Polaris first deflects the bullets fired by Sentinel Services. Lauren bends the air to provide one very large speed bump over the blockade. And Wes provides an illusion of the truck going both left and right at an intersection, sending Sentinel Services on a wild goose chase…but in two completely wrong directions.
And now let’s dive in to “eXtreme measures.” With a title like that, you don’t expect this to be a quiet, filler episode. Especially since Carmen’s back!
1. Revenge of the Ex
Like the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe that you can’t get rid of no matter how much you scrape….Carmen is back! And when she comes a calling, Marcos has to come answering, at the risk of lying to Polaris about his mission. Carmen puts forth another indecent proposal – “you have power, I have money.” He’s back in the drug trade fighting some Russians behaving badly, and very reluctantly. I have a strong feeling the mutants are not going to come out on the right end of this offering, no matter how much money Carmen throws at the problem. Polaris was on to something three years ago when she sniffed out Marcos’s then-girlfriend as trouble.
2. He’s a Rebel and He’ll Never Be Any Good
Lauren is head over heels over mountains and a river in love (or like) with Wes, but the course of teenage lover never runs smooth. Reed drew the overbearing parent straw this week when he finds someone who kinda looks a lot like Wes in the Baton Rouge files who was in trouble with the law for being a slick con artist and a mutant, the former crimes being serious enough for him to be kicked out of the refugee camp. Personally, I’m not buying it, especially with the track record of overprotective parent that both Reed and Caitlin have had of late. Half the fun of your teens and early 20s is dating the wrong people — it’s how you find yourself. Lighten up, Struckers.
Fortunately for everyone, Lauren has the sense to confront Wes on her own about his past crimes, and to walk away when she doesn’t get the answers she likes. And Reed, after a heart-to-heart with his wife, doesn’t turn Wes in to camp leadership but encourages him to tell the truth, even though it means he will have to leave and break Lauren’s heart.
3. Coincidence or Convenience?
Seems that the Department of Justice is sniffing out the more radical elements of Dr. Campbell’s program; namely, planting mutant assets covertly in the field. They don’t find it to be 100 percent constitutional, citing everything from panic over Catholics during the Inquisition to Muslim prejudice of the 21st century. They’re ready to take the program to court, until the main DOJ attorney starts choking and bleeding from her nose. Dr. Campbell attempts to convince Jace that it was a horrible brain aneurysm, but Jace isn’t buying that. Now that he’s seen one of these covert mutant agents in motion, maybe striking a deal with a shady doctor just to get back on the job wasn’t worth it.
4. Road Trip Wake Up Call
We catch up with Clarice on the road after her argument with Johnny, who also catches up with her. She was hoping to find the foster home that took her in as a teen with the hopes that she can stay there to start over away from the underground. Johnny senses the place isn’t safe — and he’s right; Sentinel Services have been to visit and they didn’t clean up after their stay. The sight of bullet holes and pools of blood may have just scared Clarice into coming back to the underground, which she does at episode’s end.
5. Circle of Trust
Just when Reed was making inroads with some of the more militant mutants who still think he’s a government stool, the hard drives from Baton Rouge reveal that most of what happened there was not direct government action, but through a private contractor. Who happened to employ Reed’s father for 30+ years. AWKWARD! From the previews for next week, it looks like we will meet the elder Strucker, but what side will he end up on?Continued below