Our heads are spinning after seeing triple the mutant power in The Gifted Roundtable 1X10 “eXploited”
In the fall finale episode of The Gifted, we find Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) jailed together after the former stopped them from becoming Fenris. While they both know that it was the right decision, they are terrified of what’s to come. After Agent Turner (Coby Bell) revealed to Dreamer (Elena Satine) the unintended effects of her manipulation, he agrees to give all four prisoners to Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt) at Trask Industries. Back at the compound, the loss of their friends and family creates a rift between the Struckers and the rest of the MU. With a well-placed suggestion from Esme (Skyler Samuels), Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Kate (Amy Acker) strike out alone to try to save their children. With them gone, Esme drives the wedge further by telling Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale) where they’ve gone.
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While waiting for rescue, the Strucker children find themselves facing an impossible decision – give Campbell what he wants or watch their new friends die one-by-one. After he shoots Dreamer right in front of their eyes, he threatens Blink (Jamie Chung) next. He gets what he wants, and Fenris 2.0 nearly destroys the adamantium lined cell he put them in. Fortunately, after a tense standoff Reed and Kate manage to convince Turner to retrieve their children from Campbell, but that’s when everything goes up in flame. Esme reveals her ultimate plan after tasing Eclipse – she manipulates the Sentinel Services agents to turn on themselves and kill each other off before releasing her family…her identical triplet sisters. Turner is wounded in the process, and Eclipse wakes in time to try to go warn the others.
Apparently, seeing Fenris 2.0 crank the power up was not the most shocking moment of the episode. Now that our roundtable guests have picked their jaws off the ground, let’s sound off!
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!
L (@KitsunenoYoukai) – Artist, writer, comic book geek
1. Let’s take a moment to mourn the loss of Dreamer. Do you think this will turn Thunderbird towards Polaris’s vengeful way of thinking?
Heather (@xoheatherkw): Not Dreamer! I knew Dr. Campbell was shady AF, but that was just ruthless. I could see Thunderbird turning vengeful. However, I think he can put his feelings aside and focus on leading the MU in order to deal with it and survive, and get their people back. Because of that, I think he’s a bit less likely to react impulsively in retaliation to the SS.
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut): I’ve been super wrong before (I was on team “It was okay to have Dreamer manipulate Blink” initially, and I do not forget.) but it’s possible. He’s kind of gradually going more metal less – mutant underground in terms of dress so maybe that’s a clue? I don’t quite know. Maybe they’re setting up Eclipse to be the Xavier to Polaris’s Magneto but Thunderbird is the odd man in the mix. I don’t think he will. Let’s leave it at that, but I’m very prepared to be jossed on this.
Jeff (@JeffHarris7): I don’t know that it’ll necessarily steer him THAT far in Lorna’s direction. I’d like to think that he’s level-headed and has a strong enough code of ethics that he wouldn’t do anything for vengeance sake alone. Of course, everyone deals with grief in different ways, so with the way Dr. Campbell fatally shot Dreamer like it was nothing, if he and Thunderbird were ever in the same room together… well, let’s just say I would NOT want to be Dr. Campbell. Eek!
Ander (@AnderWriter): Honestly, I really need to take like a day off to properly mourn Dreamer. She slowly turned to be one of my favorite characters on the show, and her death was the biggest punch in the gut. I really hope Thunderbird can keep his composure following her death, but I wouldn’t blame him at all for going down a darker path for awhile after this.
L (@KitsunenoYoukai): I think we’ll definitely see a different side to Thunderbird that’s for sure. I’m already enjoying the dark side make-over we’ve seen.
2. We really saw how Blink and Dreamer developed as closer friends this episode. While it’s too soon, do you think this was mean to open the door for Thunderblink?
Heather: I thought that they were starting to become friends, although I’m not sure they were BFF’s just yet. It’s definitely possible to open the possibility for Thunderblink, although I may be biased because I prefer Thunderblink. They’re all going to need to deal with the loss of Dreamer before they can move forward, and if Thunder and Blink move forward together and maybe find comfort with one another, then I’m here for it.
Carolyn: I think that it was less close friends and more “being bonded by a terrible tragedy” now that I have some time to process. You make friends in jail. It’s not gonna be like when Polaris finds out, but Blink probably felt something based on the adrenaline. It does open the door for Thunderblink but is that such a bad thing? He might need someone to turn him to the light if he decides to go all revenge-y.
Jeff: I think it’s a stepping stone on the path to a stronger relationship that could be formed between John and Clarice. They’ll be able to bond over more than just the false, implanted memory that Sonia originally used to help Blink fully access her powers to save their teammates. Sharing their mutual pain over the loss of someone they both cared about is bound to draw them closer together, and point them toward a common enemy at the same time. Again, Dr. Campbell, watch out — the Mutant Underground’s going to be coming for you!
Ander: I think it could lead to Thunderblink but I can’t even think about it right now because I’m so sad, and just thinking how Thunderbird is going to feel when he finds out hurts my heart.
L: Oooh, good question. I really don’t know where I stand on this pairing. I like them both so much as individuals, but I wonder if that wouldn’t be too obvious of a set up. There has to be some TV trope for “date my boyfriend when I die” also.
3. We’re definitely seeing a lot of Magneto in Polaris this week. How dangerous do we think this could be for Eclaris and the MU?
Heather: Overall, I think Polaris’s actions are to protect her, her family, and the MU in general. There’s a fine line between being too aggressive against the SS and being defensive to protect the MU. She has the possibility of being very dangerous for the MU! But I actually think Marcos and Polaris are a good balance, and they kind of keep each other in check. So she’ll need Marcos to talk some sense into her and remind her to be practical.
Carolyn: Pretty dangerous! I’m going to be talking forever about how Eclipse and Polaris ended up feeling like Xavier and Magneto. I don’t know if the MU is going to survive but we need a good mutant organization since I’m VERY sure they just introduced the Hellfire Club and they’ll need to battle against that. Hopefully their baby might keep them close. Which makes any Xavier/Magneto similarities very interesting…
Jeff: It could cause a major fracture — or dare I say a SCHISM (X-Men pun intended) within the group over their methods and motives. Polaris seems more and more willing to take an “ends justify the means” attitude, which is definitely something that Magneto was all about, while other members of the Mutant Underground are looking toward a more hopeful future — the one Charles Xavier envisioned in which humans and mutants could potentially one day live together in peace. Lorna’s actions could endanger their chances of making that happen if she isn’t able to control her darker urges. I still hope that Marcos and her baby will help her retain the goodness that I know is within her.
Ander: I think it could be very dangerous indeed. She’s definitely out for blood just like her father was and it could definitely put more people in harm, even those they care about.
L: Well, Polaris does have a bit of the M-family temper, but I think thus far she’s been the only realistic one of the bunch. I don’t see her going full Magneto. Eclipse still seems a bit too naively optimistic, even after what they’ve all been through. So, there should be a good amount of drama coming between them.
4. While we seethe with hatred for Dr. Campbell, what exactly do you think he’s trying to do with the biometrics on Fenris 2.0?
Heather: Ugh! Dr. Campbell is the worst. I’m wondering if they absorb energies, or maybe mutant powers to an extent, which they can channel and amplify their powers. Since they discovered some amino acid, I’m wondering if it relates to absorbing or otherwise counteracting mutant powers. Maybe by isolating that amino acid, a direct dose of it would permanently eliminate another mutant’s powers. And I wonder if that’s how Reed’s father was able to deactivate Reed’s X-gene.
Carolyn: Something about the ability to fuse people together? Is he planning on fusing the mutants into a solid mass? I have no idea but we need to talk about how he had adamantium from the weapon X program. Somewhere I hope Logan was severely annoyed.
Jeff: He used the word “weapon” when describing the readings they’d gotten from the tests they’d performed on the Strucker twins. What KIND of weapon, though? With the destructive powers that Lauren and Andy can unleash when they use their powers in unison… if Campbell was able to harness that, he could single-handedly wipe out the entire Mutant Underground with just one strike. Thank goodness Agent Turner’s conscience led him to get the prisoners out of that lab before Ahab could turn his new favorite lab rats into his top Hounds!
Ander: I’m still trying to figure that out, and we know that it’s supposedly some type of cure for mutants? Either way, it’s not good for mutant-kind, and hopefully he’s stopped. Man I hate this dude.
L: Combining powers seems likely, or possibly a “cure.” Both are equally likely in my opinion.
5. The standoff between the Turners and Struckers was tough to watch. How do you think the episode’s events will affect Jace in the future?
Heather: Jace is trying to balance his work obligations, the deal he made with the devil (Dr. Campbell), and general human decency- which thankfully his wife reminded him of this episode. I certainly hope that he’s done dealing with Dr. Campbell, but as for letting all mutants go? Not so much. The end of the episode very clearly demonstrated how dangerous they are, and Jace isn’t likely to forgive and forget.
Carolyn: Any good that the Struckers might have done was probably undone by the mutants escaping. Especially since mom and dad indirectly promised they wouldn’t escape. Jace is out for Strucker blood and everyone needs to be careful.
Jeff: The Struckers’ truth bombs, and Turner’s own wife’s reaction to what was revealed, are bound to deeply rattle him, and I think it’ll lead him down more of a “middleman” path. I don’t think he’ll see things in quite the same black-and-white way he was for a while there, blinded as he was by his need to avenge his daughter and the reopening of his emotional wounds brought on by Dreamer’s mental manipulations. He’s not going to be willing to blindly go along with what Dr. Campbell is doing in his lab any more. That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to become fast friends with the Mutant Underground, though. His is a journey that I’m really looking forward to watch, as I believe this was a real pivotal turning point for his character.
Ander: I think he has a better understanding of what the mutants are going through now, especially after his wife brought up their daughter. Kate brought up a great point that must have stuck with him too. What they’re doing to the mutants is worse than death. Drugging them, brainwashing them and then sending them out to kill their loved ones? I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, that’s just horrible.
L: I think Jace still has some unaired issues. His wife seems to be far more level headed despite the shared trauma of their daughter’s loss. I don’t think Jace has turned over a new stone by any means. I found Mrs. Turner’s quote pretty powerful – “Baby, what are you doing in our little girl’s name?”
6. We saw the pause at the guard station. Do you think that Campbell really would have let Turner and the SS drive off with all of his mutants?
Heather: Absolutely not! If nothing else, Dr. Campbell wants to do more research on Fenris 2.0, and he wouldn’t give that up willingly. I’m sure he would have stopped Agent Turner one way or another. I wouldn’t even put it past him to take out Agent Turner and his men, maybe using the Hounds to do his dirty work?
Carolyn: Of course not. Campbell has other mutants and hounds at his disposal. Would Jace have gone through with it? Also an important question. Probably not. He might have had second thoughts. He’s not fully convinced or a decent guy yet.
Jeff: Not a chance. He definitely wasn’t going to let them leave with the Strucker twins, at least. With what he did to Sonia, and the torment he’s put his other prisoners through, my level of hatred toward Dr. Roderick Campbell is about as off-the-charts as those readings that Lauren and Andy showed during this evening’s experiment! That just goes to prove that he can’t be trusted, and that he won’t let anything, especially not a Sentinel Services team, stand between him and his diabolical endgame.
Ander: There’s no way Campbell was giving up those mutants, but luckily they’ve escaped his clutches for now. I wonder how this will affect Campbell and Turner’s partnership moving forward though.
L: Definitely not. Or if he did it would be with some devious plot to round them up again or acquire new mutants to experiment on.
7. That ending! We can now confirm Esme is definitely one of the Stepford Cuckoos – specifically Three-In-One. Reactions?
Heather: My reaction – WHAT?! I’ve been weary of Esme with her slight manipulations and sneaky mind reading. I just want to know so much more! What are they planning to do with the mutants they freed? Plus it’s another look at siblings amplifying their powers- so just don’t tell Dr. Campbell! Although Dr. Campbell wouldn’t stand a chance against them, so maybe he should go after them so they could take him out.
Carolyn: I. am. so. excited. We don’t see evil telepaths! We don’t see evil telepaths EVER. We’ve only seen Xavier, I cannot wait for them to dig deep into them, I hope they’re with the hellfire club, between Frost’s kids and Magneto, if The gifted kept bringing in the descendents of the major X-Men players I’d be JUST FINE and dandy for multiple seasons.
Jeff: Stunned. Thrilled. Amazed. And more than a little bit nervous! I think it’s an exciting new twist for the series, and I’m pumped to see the Cuckoos brought to life on my TV screen! The real question for me is… are they working alone, or are they a part of some sort of larger, more nefarious mutant group, like the Inner Circle or the Mutant Liberation Front? Esme and her sisters clearly have no compunctions about getting blood on their hands to save mutant lives, or manipulating everyone around them to get what they want. This spells big trouble for pretty much everyone else on the show… but it’ll make for fascinating and fun-to-watch television drama!
Ander: I KNEW it had to be one of the Stepford Cuckoos and honestly, that just made the show even better. I’m loving all of the connections to the X-Men comics from Sentinels, Trask, Hounds, and now the Stepford Cuckoos!
L: I, for one, welcome our new Emma Frost clone overlords… but honestly, I do have to say they did such a masterful job with the aesthetics that I pretty much guessed who she was from the start. The Cuckoos are wonderfully wicked.
Final Verdict: The Gifted 1X10 “eXploited” peeled back another layer in the onion of conspiracy that keeps us glued to the TV
This week’s fall finale of The Gifted was like riding a rollercoaster – a continual climb in suspense until we were thrown over the edge in a drop that had our hearts pounding and our mouths screaming. We watched Esme expertly manipulate all those around her to set her plan in motion, something revealed only in the last minutes of the episode. We cheered the Struckers on for their bravery, but even more so for Jace as he lived up to his ethical reputation. Unfortunately, Campbell now has what he needs, Three-In-One has risen, and the MU will be scrambling to pick up the pieces of what happened tonight.
On the one hand, we know that Esme has clearly had practice manipulating people. On the other, it’s hard for us to believe that with this many people, no one was suspicious of her. After all, she always seemed to be at the right place at the right time, and with all the right words said. Who is that perfect?! If one of her is that capable of playing puppet master, we’re worried about the MU with the triplets back together…
We have no idea what Esme and her sisters have planned now, but it’s nothing good. Polaris is already stepping into her father’s footsteps, so we wonder if these women will lead the MU down a much darker path. What will that mean for Eclaris? Will Marcos finally hit his breaking point? What about John? How will he take Dreamer’s loss? Then, there’s the Struckers. Will they stay with the MU, or will they try to pave their own way? We have three weeks to wait until the season picks back up again, so the countdown starts…now!