The Gifted: 1.08 Threat of eXtinction
After treading water last week, the latest episode of The Gifted emerged as the strongest instalment of the season yet. There was some intriguing revelations and a healthy mix of action and drama that started to finally deliver on the potential this series has had since day one.
Garret Dillahunt's Doctor Roderick Campbell has been a shadowy player so far, experimenting on mutants to turn them against each other and then whispering in Jace Turner's ear to corrupt Sentinel Services even further. This week we learned that he was part of the infamous Trask Industries - as too was Reed's father. This was perhaps the most surprising twist of all and gave something decent for Stephen Moyer to get his teeth into as he visited his estranged father with John Proudstar / Thunderbird and learned some uncomfortable secrets.
Was Reed a mutant himself? The irony was certainly not lost as his father Otto (Raymond J. Barry) confirmed that he injected him with a mutant 'cure' as a child. But more intriguing was the revelation that Reed's grandparents were mutant terrorist siblings Andreas and Andrea von Strucker (the children of HYDRA commander Baron Von Strucker from the comics and played by Thomas Kretschmann in Avengers: Age of Ultron). Together the Von Strucker's combined powers - by a simple holding of hands - wrought devastation and now that threat is real again in Reed's children Lauren and Andy.
The series has addressed the raw power of these kids before, but this hints at something far more dangerous at play. Just how Reed deals with this remains to be seen. This on top of losing his father just as he reconnected, will be sure to cause an emotional blow. Otto going nuclear to stop Campbell and Sentinel Services was a tragic moment; for John too, who saw his best friend Pulse killed in the explosion.
Pulse hasn't been the only victim of Campbell's experiments; the rescue of mutant refugees revealed Sentinel Services' sleeper agent Chloe Tan (Michelle Kim) who brutally assaulted the team when new refugee telepath Esme (Skyler Samuels) uncovered her intentions. The opening battle was another great example of mutants working together, Thunderbird jumping through the portal Blink had created to take Chloe down. Later on we saw the Strucker siblings working together to subdue Chloe, enabling Kate help treat her addiction.
It is clear that the horrors Sentinel Services / Trask Industries are inflicting on mutants are getting worse; Chloe had her husband killed, child kidnapped and was then forced to work for the enemy through drugs and experimentation. Blink too, learned of the terrible fate befalling her previous foster parents in the sweet scene where she connected with mutant orphan girl Norah (Liza Fagin). What is clear is that the threat is escalating and these new revelations are sure to raise the stakes further as The Gifted heads into the second half of its run.