The Gifted: 1.11 3X1
After a short Christmas break, The Gifted kicked off its final three episodes with an episode that expanded the mythos of the show, with familiar references to the wider X-Men universe. Not only did we see Trask Industries up their game plan by merging mutant powers to create super weapons, the infamous Hellfire Club made its first appearance, rising from the ashes to forge an alliance with the Mutant underground against Trask and Sentinel Services.
3X1 didn't quite have the emotional punch of the previous few installments, though the opening scenes cutting between the funerals of Dreamer and Chase's partner did show the cost of this on-going battle. Instead it served to move pieces in place for the season's end and presumably set up season two (following its recent renewal) through the eyes of the three Skylar Samuel's clones Esme, Sophie, and Phoebe Frost.
The surname itself is familiar to fans of powerful psychic Emma Frost, who there three certainly seem to share a connection with (I'm less familiar with the comic book origins here). Samuel was clearly having a blast in this episode, playing three very similar versions of herself, strutting around in matching outfits and heels as her true identity (or identities) were revealed. Working for the mysterious William (Ray Campbell), we saw her manipulate an alliance with the underground for the Hellfire Club's own nefarious means, while tossing some potentially explosive revelations into the mix. It was pretty obvious who Polaris's real father is, something that continues to tie the The Gifted to the more well known X-Men mythos. Their plan to obtain the Strucker siblings cannot end well either.
As for the Struckers, their plan to escape to Mexico amounted to nothing, finding sanctuary along the way in a mutant halfway house only for it to be attacked by the mutants under the control of Trask Industries. At this stage in the season, it felt like a waste of time plot wise, though it did cement the need for them to take the fight to the enemy. The attack and subsequent rescue was exciting though. It was also an episode that saw Blink step up too, the flashback showing the persecution of mutants through her eyes, which led to her role here. Polaris too was ready to join with the Hellfire club by the end, setting up what is sure to be an explosive finale.
Ultimately, not a lot happened, but the character stuff was fun to watch; The Gifted has taken its time building up the new war between humans and mutants, another reason I am glad it has been renewed for a second season. The change of allegiances and group dynamics feel earned at this point and it's great to have a decent villain in Garret Dillahunt's Dr. Roderick Campbell. With his face all disfigured, he looks far more a villain than Coby Bell's Jace Turner who I am convinced will see sense and join the Mutant Underground with the Struckers by the season's end.
I'm intrigued, though not perhaps excited for the finale of season one. The Gifted has taken things slow and steady with a few exciting moments used sporadically over the course of the season. It is not edge of your seat drama by any means, but I'm optimistic for where the show is going next...