Mutants. Genetically gifted with powers far beyond human comprehension, they live in a world that will forever fear and hate them. Some use their abilities to defend the world; others strike back at the humans who have mistreated them.
It sounds like I’m talking about the X-Men, Marvel’s band of merry mutants. And you’d be right… in a way.
This is the world of The Gifted, a joint endeavor between Fox and Marvel Television. Created by Matt Nix (of Burn Notice fame), the series takes place in a world that has suffered a 9/11-esque calamity. The X-Men and their rivals, the Brotherhood of Mutants, have mysteriously vanished. Anti-mutant hysteria is at an all time high. A mutant underground helps their persecuted brethren flee, but the appearance of the Strucker family soon complicates their lives. The Strucker children are fledgling mutants, and their father Reed was once a prosecutor for the government, helping to incarcerate mutants.
The Mutant Underground take the Struckers in, dealing with the U.S. Sentinel Services and the Hounds—mutants brainwashed and transformed into killing machines—but a rescue mission brings a new mutant—and a new wrinkle—into everyone’s lives, leading to an explosive finale.
Andy and Lauren Strucker (Percy Hynes White and Natalie Alyn Lind)
At first glance, the Strucker siblings look like your normal teenagers. Lauren is popular and outgoing, Andy sullen and withdrawn. Yet, when their mutant abilities manifest, their lives are turned upside down-in more ways than one. It turns out Lauren’s ability to create force fields had manifested earlier in her youth, and she made the choice to keep it from her family (given her father’s profession). Andy, on the other hand, revels in his ability to telekinetically rip things apart; for once in his life, he doesn’t feel like an outsider. The siblings then learn that they are the descendants of the mutant terrorists Fenris, and when their powers are combined, it unleashes a destructive force like no other. Eventually, Andy leaves to join the inner circle of the Hellfire Club while Lauren stays with her parents.
Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale)
Much of The Gifted also focuses on the relationship between Marcos Diaz, aka Eclipse, and Lorna Dane, aka Polaris. Marcos was a former enforcer for a drug cartel, whose abilities to maniplate solar energy are only dwarfed by his sense of duty to the woman he loves. Lorna, on the other hand, struggles with multiple issues—her pregnancy with Marcos’ child, living with bipolar disorder, that she is the daughter of the X-Men’s most hated foe, Magneto, and even inheriting Magneto’s magnetic abilities. The escalating threat of the Sentinel Services, along with the Frost sisters—a trio of hive-mind telepaths—drive a wedge between the two, and Lorna eventually leaves to join the Hellfire Club.
Thunderbird (Blair Redford)
A former soldier, John Proudstar was drafted by the X-Men to lead the Mutant Underground. His superhuman strength and tracking ability, combined with a fierce sense of duty, makes him a formidable opponent. His leadership is tested several times, but in the end, he manages to stay one step ahead of Sentinel Services. Unfortunately, he loses many of his friends to the Hellfire Club’s machinations.
Blink (Jamie Chung)
Sarcastic and free spirited, Clarice Fong never imagined she’d be on the run. Life had other plans, setting her on a course collision with Sentinel Services, and the Mutant Underground ended up taking her in. Her powers of teleportation came in handy a few times. Through unforeseen circumstances, she developed an attraction to—and later, a relationship—with Thunderbird.
Esme, Phoebe, and Sophie Frost (Skyler Samuels)
The Mutant Underground thought they had rescued a hostage when they met Esme Frost. They were wrong. Esme started sowing seeds of discord within the group, convincing them to help liberate her sisters Phoebe and Sophie from Sentinel Services. It was then that Esme’s true goal became clear. She intended to revive the Hellfire Club—a secret society of mutants whose sole goal was to exert their influence on the world. Using a combination of her psychic powers—and other mind games—Esme managed to convince Polaris and Andy Strucker to join her.
What Happens Next
Season Two will open with our characters feeling lost. Eclipse and Polaris are at a crossroads in their relationship. Thunderbird feels like he failed the Underground. The Strucker siblings struggle to fit into new roles. Coupling all of this is the Hellfire Club, which is making moves to “ensure the future of mutantkind”—no matter how much blood they have to shed to do it. There is also the matter of Sentinel Services still being active.
I am looking forward to the new season. Hopefully, with a slightly larger episode order and a new conflict, the show should hopefully avoid the “sophmore slump” that often plagues shows.
The dawn of the Mutant Age is coming… whose side are you on?
Collier, or CJ as he’s known to his friends, is a screenwriter and blogger residing in Seattle. When he isn’t at his laptop or at work, he loves to read comics, watch movies, play card games, and hit the local arcade. Spider-Man is his favorite fictional character of all time.