In The Gifted Roundtable 1X09 “outfoX,” we wanted to activate our latent (and probably nonexistent) mutant powers to help the MU
After the life-altering revelations his father Otto (Raymond J. Barry) laid on him before sacrificing himself, Reed (Stephen Moyer) is left to pick up the pieces of his broken life. His worry over Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) goes into overdrive over the possibility they could become the next Fenris. After revealing it to Kate (Amy Acker), the two decide to be honest with their children for once. Of course, Andy and Lauren have known about the unusual connection for over a year, but never spoke about to anyone, even each other. Now, a test of their abilities reveal that they do indeed share their relatives’ immense power, but also learn a terrible truth. The power is addicting…and very, very dark.
RELATED | THE GIFTED 1X09 “outfoX” REVIEW
The rest of the MU is busy planning for a surprise attack on Trask Industries, egged on by new refugee Esme (Skyler Samuels). Through a series of hidden manipulations, she plants the seeds to carry out her plan to rescue (we assume) her family and those imprisoned with them. Sage (Hayley Lovitt) uses the information gathered by Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Dreamer (Elena Satine) to identify a power station that feeds into the lab. The MU gathers two teams, with Andy and Lauren joining Dreamer and Blink (Jamie Chung) to take it out. Unfortunately, Agent Turner’s obsession has finally paid off, and he heads them off just as they are putting the plan into place. All four are captured, with the lab team, Reed, and Kate forced to retreat and regroup.
If you weren’t out of your seat and screaming at the television the entire episode, then you didn’t watch it. As for our roundtable guests…what did they think? Let’s find out:
Heather (@xoheatherkw) – Quality control scientist, dog mom, fangirl extraordinare
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut) – Senior Writer at Marvel Report and contributor to Screenrant
Jeff (@JeffHarris7) – School Library Media Specialist, Artist, Wannabe Author, and Major X-Men/Comics Nerd
Ander (@AnderWriter) – Co-host of Omni-Comics podcast and Aquaman super fan!
Scott (@Scareythoughts2) – Writer and Podcaster for the Pop Culture Café. Husband. Reverse Philanthropist. Watch far too much TV
1. Having now seen Fenris 2.0 coming to fruition, it begs the question. Were the von Strucker twins always evil, or did the power they share lure them into darkness?
Heather (@xoheatherkw): I’m wondering if it’s maybe a combination of both. Maybe the von Strucker siblings were less than perfect, and their powers pushed them further into the darkness. It certainly looks like it was starting to pull Lauren and Andy into the darkness, so I’m a little concerned!
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut): Is it weird that I’m hoping it’s the latter? We’ve never seen addictive powers before, at least from what I have read. It’d be very interesting if they were addicted. My first impulse is to say yes….but who knows?
Jeff (@JeffHarris7): If the original Strucker twins were anything like their comic book counterparts, they were always pretty horrendous people — full of themselves, completely uncaring about anyone else, megalomaniacal, and willing to commit all kinds of atrocities for personal gain. We can’t say for sure whether they were like that in “The Gifted,” but the one flashback appearance we saw didn’t necessarily paint them in a good light, nor did Andy’s research turning up the fact that they worked with the Hellfire Club (a known group of power-hungry baddies).
Ander (@AnderWriter): Oh boy, that’s a good question but ultimately I think it’s the power that corrupts them, kinda like the One Ring. We can see that Lauren begins to enjoy that power and slowly gets absorbed in it, so I’m thinking it has to be the power that negatively influences them.
Scott (@Scareythoughts2): It certainly seems like the intoxication of power has been leading them down this path. I think apart they are two (relatively) normal kids but together they become more mystical in nature. There were also some weird vibes there that were bandied about in the comics but I doubt FOX would go there.
2. Esme has turned out to be a manipulative little telepath. Are we worried about her willingness to intrude and manipulate for her own benefit?
Heather: She’s definitely been acting shady. It’s difficult to tell if she’s just overeager to save her family, or if she has a secret agenda (please don’t tell me she’s working with SS!). She definitely pushed the MU a few times this episode, so I’m keeping a look out for how this plays out in the next episodes. I think the MU should proceed with caution with Esme.
Carolyn: Yes. Hands down. Whatever she’s doing isn’t trustworthy, but I don’t think she’s a part of Sentinel Services. I think she’s a part of the Hellfire club since the coo-coos are Emma Frost’s children. It’d make sense and she seems to know the Strucker kids in advance…even if she’s a telepath, why is she so convinced that they need to work with them?
Jeff: Most definitely. I leaned towards trusting her in her first appearance, but her insistence on breaking into the lab immediately, without much planning or preparation beforehand, is really worrisome. I’d like to believe that she’s being so gutsy and manipulative predominantly because she’s desperate to get her family back and to keep what happened to the speedster Chloe in the last episode from happening to the people she holds dear. However, there’s a possibility that she’s a Hound with deeper programming than what Chloe had. But then why wouldn’t she have already turned the Mutant Underground over to their enemies? Unless she’s hoping that they’ll lead her to the X-Men, wherever they’ve gone into hiding… I still have hope for Esme, but her comic book counterpart was at times morally ambiguous, and at others sociopathic, so who knows?
Ander: Absolutely! I don’t trust her at all. She’s invading their minds and exploiting their thoughts to get an advantage, we saw her do that with Polaris. Yeah, I don’t know what her end goal is, but I do not trust her.
Scott: She seems to have little trouble going into someone’s mind to get what she needs. I suspect she is going to be nothing but trouble down the road. Playing one side against the other for her own gain.
3. We’re curious about Polaris’s reaction to her nightmare. Since Eclipse seems so surprised, do we think fear for her baby is what triggered such destruction?
Heather: I think it’s the fear for her baby, and the fear for the future of mutants and trying to avoid capture by the SS. Polaris has already been captured once, and now she has this little baby to take care of too, and that’s terrifying on its own! And she’s seen the lengths the SS will go to now to stop mutants, and she doesn’t want her baby to end up as a lab experiment or brainwashed. I am wondering, since Esme was hanging outside their bedroom, if maybe she can amplify thoughts and emotions of others? That Polaris’s fear was there, but maybe Esme amplified it and that caused the nightmare?
Carolyn: I was thinking the baby’s powers had manifested in the womb, but now I’m wondering if Esme had triggered them somehow. It was very tellingly cut back to the shot of her watching outside the door…
Jeff: It definitely could have been fear of what might happen to her baby that led her to unconsciously act out like that. We’ve already seen a hint of what lengths Lorna was willing to go to in order to protect Marcos. I think she’d be willing to do just about anything to save her baby. She may also be undergoing some sort of amping up of her powers — perhaps a secondary mutation. Or it could be linked to her already fragile mental state, as Polaris has been known to deal with some psychiatric problems in the comics, and who could blame her, considering everything she’s already been put through?
Ander: I think that’d be reasonable to say. She was obviously very frantic in the dream as she tried to find her baby and desperately tried to free the child.
Scott: I think Esme was poking around in her head. I’m very sure Esme is not who she says she is, but I doubt very much a mention of “The Hellfire Club” was just a coincidence. I think she amplified the nightmare.
4. Outside of causing strokes (obviously), what else do we think Dr. Campbell’s right-hand Hound can do with his mutant ability?
Heather: I’m thinking it’s a general biochemical manipulation, that he could do anything from altering someone’s blood vessels to shutting down all their organs. Either way, sounds dangerous! And you do not want to get on his bad side.
Carolyn: In the trailer for the winter finale (I’m not READY!) Campbell’s face is almost completely healed. I’m putting it at some sort of healing factor, perhaps using the life force he sucks out of people to force people to heal? Or doing something with super blood clots.
Jeff: Wow, I really wish that we knew a little more about him… He’s a big mystery, but I’m guessing that his powers are biological in nature. He probably has the ability to manipulate different bodily systems, which is how he triggered the stroke, and perhaps now he’s doing the flip side of such an ability — restorative abilities to bring Dr. Campbell back to some semblance of health. I’m not sure how much he’s going to be able to do, though, if they’re planning on turning Dr. Campbell into the Ahab-like figure I assume they’re gearing up for.
Ander: Hmm…I’m not quite sure what other abilities he might possess. Speaking of Hounds though…can we all agree that Esme might be one?
Scott: It looks like he can soothe pain from this episode. I would suspect anything of a physiological nature he would be able to do. If he can give a stroke, he can probably give someone a heart attack. Perhaps a panic attack?
5. Are we the only ones agreeing with Polaris that the MU might not outlast this war? They do seem to be coming apart at the seams…
Heather: I am a little concerned for the MU. SS has more advanced robotics and an evil genius behind them… so I think the MU has to get on the same page to make it through. It’s difficult because they’re all trying to do what they think is best, and sometimes that doesn’t go over well with everyone in the MU.
Carolyn: I hope not, but it’d make a lot of sense. I still think the Hellfire Club is a factor they need to consider, and if they’re engaging in them then the next season might be exploring the Struckers and the team engaging with them and the coo-coos. Go from evil humans to evil mutants and evil humans.
Jeff: I worry for them, especially with the heavy losses they’ve incurred, but I still maintain my positive attitude that their common goals and the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that many of them have formed will be enough to see them through these dark times. Getting some wins and recruiting some more help to their cause would certainly help, though. It WAS telling, at least, that Blink and Dreamer were willing to work together to protect Lauren and Andy in this episode. Lorna and Marcos have set aside their issues, too. If they can rescue their friends, I think that the Mutant Underground will come out of these problems stronger than ever, or perhaps transformed into something even better… something Uncanny, even…
Ander: Yeah…there’s definitely a possibility of that happening, especially now that a few of them have been taken by Sentinel Services. Perhaps THIS version of the MU might not make it, but I would hope that the MU ultimately survives the war.
Scott: I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. This faction of the MU seems very ragtag. I suspect there are more mutants that are better financed, a la Charles Xavier, and they may show up in the second half. I’m not sure if they are coming apart at the seams, but John does not seem to be as effective a leader he was in the first few episodes.
6. Color us shocked when it was Andy who stopped Fenris from happening today. Did that throw you for a loop too?
Heather: YES! If anything Lauren seems to be the more cautious and reasonable one, so I thought she’d be the one to put a stop to it. I guess Andy had a point that it would’ve ended badly, but I still can’t believe they were caught!
Carolyn: Yes. Hands down. I was very surprised, but that’s what having a positive father figure does for people. While other parents in other tv shows might struggle with their histories or being terrible parents, Reed has become so committed to making sure his children grow up healthy and sane, and it shows. Kudos to the writers for giving Andy a positive father and mother figure to look up to. He and Lauren will need it.
Jeff: A bit, yeah. He’s been so much more rash and impulsive than Lauren. To have realized the damage that they could cause, even in the face of mortal peril with the Sentinel Services crew breathing down their necks, really did stun me. Perhaps Lauren is enjoying the major boost to her powers that she gets when she’s in contact with Andy more than she let on earlier. I was half-cheering for them to let loose, but I was also very worried about what might happen to Blink and Dreamer in the process if they were caught in the blast.
Ander: That definitely surprised me especially since he seemed to be the one who enjoyed the power the most. He’s always been ready to fight and to see him pull away from that power shows some real maturity for him. He’s acknowledged the devastation that that power can unleash and he isn’t willing to kill everyone with it. I liked that a lot actually.
Scott: Yes and No. He seems the most innocent, if not hot headed of the two. I think he wants to learn how to use and control his powers, but he doesn’t want to hurt anyone.
7. Show of hands: who was hoping Reed would bust out in protective mutant father fury? Who expected his actual reaction?
Heather: Not gonna lie, I was hoping that would push him past whatever power suppression his father used on him… so that’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out that way. I am surprised that Reed (and Andy) were the voices of reason at the end of this episode. Now they need to figure out how to break them back out of SS!
Carolyn: I wonder if Reed is being more wary of his emotions, especially after his dad was like “It could come back.” I’m really hoping we see Reed struggle with this. In essence what his dad did to him was conversion therapy, denying him who he could be and as we know, that never works. I’d love to see Reed develop abilities.
Jeff: While I would LOVE to see him take down Sentinel Services single-handedly with his now nonexistent mutant abilities (thanks, Grandpa Strucker), at this point, I understand his need for caution. He was right in what he told Caitlin. Rushing in after the kids wouldn’t have done either of them any good. They had no real weapons to speak of, and no powers. They would only have gotten themselves caught along with Lauren and Andy. Staying in the van, safe, was the best decision they could have made, however heartbreaking, because now they at least have a later opportunity to assist Thunderbird, Eclipse, Polaris, Sage, etc. in saving their captured friends.
Ander: I thought he would in all honesty, so I was a bit surprised that he didn’t. Maybe he will next episode since it’s the fall finale! That’d be insane!
Scott: He still has some prosecutor in him. He knows going in there would have been suicide and made a calculated decision. Plus, he had his wife to think about. I would have been surprised had he made any other decision.
Final Verdict: The Gifted 1X09 “outfoX” outdid its predecessors by cranking the pressure on both sides, and we are ready to tear things to the ground
We have no idea if Agent Turner knows what he’s captured today, but we’re willing to be Dr. Campbell does. Having studied Otto’s work and spent all of his time in Trask Industries, you bet he’ll be thrilled to have Fenris 2.0 for his experiments. We’re still hoping that the (von) Strucker’s unique gifts means Reed will get a little mutant action of his own, now that he’s properly motivated. The MU has lost both Dreamer and Blink, and we know how Thunderbird is going to take that news.
We get it – Agent Turner is phenomenal at his job. However, what was the likelihood he would catch on to the single minute detail that would win the day for him? Are we assuming that the MU just got cocky and forgot to check in on Sentinel Services? What happened to Sage being the all-knowing eye? We’re shocked that she would take a backseat and not realize that the SS were on their way. We’re also very disappointed Reed didn’t bust out some serious latent abilities with his children in danger. Could Otto be right? Could he have actually suppressed his son’s X-Gene?
Will Esme’s deceptions be revealed? Was that cocky little smirk we saw because she’s working for the other side? What’s going to happen to Andy and Lauren with Dr. Campbell overseeing their imprisonment? Will Turner really turn a blind eye knowing what his sometime-ally is likely to do? What won’t Kate and Reed do to save their children? There’s so many questions, but luckily just seven day to wait until the next episode, so don’t forget to tune it with us. We’ll just be off trying to conjure up some latent abilities of our own…