Your regularly scheduled recapper Kayti Burt will be back next week!
Fox’s The Gifted has been a nice surprise this TV season. Granted, the fall crop of new shows was far from inspiring, but now that we’re a few weeks into it, the shows with a future are starting to sift themselves out. That’s tougher than it used to be for superhero shows which, just a couple of years ago, were given chance after chance to find an audience and a following. Hopefully the numbers and the fandom for The Gifted reflect the show’s quality, ambition, and compelling story, because it’s one of the better superhero series on the air and one of the best new shows of the year.
If you haven’t been keeping up with The Gifted (and you should be), the story centers on the Strucker family who find themselves caught between the Mutant Underground resistance fighters and the Sentinel Services tasked with hunting them down. It’s a very well-done superhero story set within the X-Men universe, and as if that wasn’t ambitious enough, it’s tackling a story on three levels: the adolescent mutant Strucker children and their fellow mutant friends, the super-powered young adults attempting to lead the resistance, and the human adults on both sides. The war is heating up, but “got your siX” used its time to deepen character development and relationships while letting the all-out conflict simmer a little longer.
And like the episode’s opening flashback led me to believe, I thought this hour was going to be all about John Proudstar. It wasn’t, not exactly, but Blair Redford made the most of his screen time. Whether it’s four years earlier in Phoenix where he and his fellow military veteran friend are raising funds for the victims of the 7/15 Disaster in Dallas (and defending innocent bystanders from pipebomb-throwing rednecks) or in the present day reinforcing the Mutant Underground amidst swelling refugee numbers and dwindling resources, Thunderbird best flexes his mutant muscles when it’s in service of others. He may be clutch in a fight, but “got your siX” opted to show us the psychological struggle John’s dealing with in quieter moments. That’s something you don’t find in too many modern action series.
But if there’s one theme running through this episode, it’s the father/son relationship. Marcos was apparently supposed to run the family business but his father kicked him out once he found out he was a mutant. Now that he’s an expectant father himself, he’s learning to balance his field work and responsibilities to the Underground with care for Lorna and their unborn child. Reed, meanwhile, is making up for time lost with his family due to his former job, and he’s getting the opportunity to do that with both Lauren and Andy in a very unexpected way now that they’re on the wrong side of Sentinel Services. Even John mentions his father in this episode, both in listing his family’s proud history of military service and in talking to Dreamer about living up to his father’s legacy. On the darker side of things, Turner has had his fatherhood taken away from him, and the pain of that irreversible event now serves to focus his efforts toward bringing mutants everywhere to what he rationalizes as justice.
The Mutant Underground and Sentinel Services don’t get to cross paths this week, but it comes close. On Reed’s intel, Marcos plans to lead an op into a Federal facility in Baton Rouge in order to obtain documents related to the processing of mutants. One mutant in question, Pulse, is the object of their search, especially where the guilt-ridden John is concerned. It seems that the mutant pal that John unwittingly left behind during a raid on a relocation center is not the only super-powered person working with the enemy.