In The Gifted Roundtable 1X04 “eXit strategy,” we’re reminded that sometimes the strongest bonds aren’t created from blood
Picking up from where we left off last week, Marcos and the rest of the MU are brainstorming ways to rescue Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Reed (Stephen Moyer). While the mutants consider battling their way through, Kate (Amy Acker) suggests that they consider a less risky approach. The group agrees to take the shot while the two are being transported from their holding facility, and a team is put together to do the job. However, Marcos (Sean Teale) is only able to retrieve the route through an ex-girlfriend who now heads the drug cartel he used to work for. In exchange, he agrees to do her dirty work. Meanwhile, a newly enlightened Reed tries to make amends with Polaris, but she refuses to forgive him.
RELATED | THE GIFTED 1X04 “eXit strategy” REVIEW
Later, Thunderbird (Blair Redford) confronts Dreamer (Elena Satine) again about influencing Blink’s (Jamie Chung) memories of him. She reminds him that in times of war, sometimes ethics have to be ignored. Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hines White) convince Kate to give them a chance to save their father after realizing their gifts are complimentary. The group heads to their rendezvous point but find themselves trapped when they discover that a fellow mutant is blocking their powers. Thunderbird manages to knock him out in time to put their plan back on track. When the time comes, Reed manages to convince Polaris that he is serious about helping her when he offers up the pin in his knee to use for escape.
This week’s episode had us right on the edge of our seats from the beginning minutes to the final moments. There was so much to learn and surprises around every corner! To give us a rundown, here’s our roundtable:
Lydia (@lydia_sharp) – Author, Editor, and Marvel addict
Jeff (@JeffHarris7) – School Library Media Specialist, Artist, Wannabe Author, and Major X-Men/Comics Nerd
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut) – Senior Writer at Marvel Report and contributor to Screenrant
Ander (@AnderWriter) – Co-host of Omni-Comics podcast and Aquaman super fan!
Heather (@xoheatherkw) – Quality control scientist, dog mom, fangirl extraordinare
1. We know that Marcos is desperate to save Polaris and their baby, but selling himself into his ex’s employment seems like a very bad idea, don’t you think?
Lydia (@lydia_sharp): A very bad idea on so many levels. But as I said last week about what Dreamer did to Blink, he had to act quickly and this felt like his only choice, so it was understandable. I wouldn’t say he regrets what he did, because he’d do anything to protect his family, but this is already causing him inner turmoil. And when Lorna finds out what he tangled himself into—of course she’s going to find out—the good ship Eclaris will be headed for stormy seas.
Jeff (@JeffHarris7): Um, yeah… That deal is going to come back to bite him, big time! Carmen could easily turn right back around and tell Sentinel Services all about Marcos and everything she may know about the Mutant Underground! Eclipse has himself in deep at this point, and the second he doesn’t do what Carmen wants, she’ll turn on him. I hope there’s some way to extricate himself from her grip!
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut): It’s cheap. We’ve SEEN this plotline before and I’m upset it’s coming from a person of color. He’s the “kid coming up off the street trying to make a better life”. Then again, this is the first time we’ve seen it in the X-Men universe and I appreciate that Marcos is going through his own sort of redemption arc trying to be a freedom fighter and a father. The fact that he’s willing to go so far shows how dedicated he is to Polaris. Honestly, though, I was hoping that Carmen would be a mutant as well giving us a villainness, or an anti-villain (even better) for Marcos to team up with or struggle against. More women with superpowers!
Ander (@AnderWriter): It seems like a VERY bad indeed. I get that Eclipse is desperate to save Lorna but this is going to be a hefty price to pay. You can tell Carmen definitely hasn’t forgotten their past together and you can bet she’ll be calling on Marcos’ services in the near future.
Heather (@xoheatherkw): Yeah, that was a pretty bad idea. I hope it’s just a one time use of his powers, and not a “whenever she needs you” sort of arrangement. Sounds like it took Marcos a while to get out the last time, and I don’t want to see that happen again!
2. This week, we delved deeper into Dreamer’s justifications. Do you agree with her that in times of war, these things are necessary?
Lydia: I believe she feels her actions were justified, and I respect her for not sugarcoating it, but I still don’t agree with what she did. In times of desperation, our true selves are revealed, and we saw how far she’s willing to go to save someone. That part of her is admirable. But we also saw that she’s okay with manipulating people without their consent and then not telling them about it. If I were in the Mutant Underground, I’d stay out of breathing distance from her.
Jeff: Yes and no. It wasn’t right for her to mess with Clarice’s mind and then not tell her about it. Blink totally deserves the truth. Dreamer could’ve just said, “Hey, I’m going to do something with my powers to give you the strength you need to save everyone,” and then tell her afterwards what it was. Blink may not have liked it, but at least she would’ve been given some warning and explanation as to why it was happening. With the way things are going with Blink’s dreams, this is going to end up blowing up in everyone’s faces.
Carolyn: Its kind of funny because while she seems to be turning into more of a soldier, Thunderbird is asking himself if he can do these things, particularly in regards to his buddy Pulse. I love that reversal. I’m on the fence at the end of the day but in a pinch I’d say I have to agree with her. Thunderbird knows a lot about the mutant underground. If he’s captured and tortured it could really mean the end of the group at large and he’d end up giving in in the end. If they have mutants working for them like Pulse there are a few brainwashed psychics.
Ander: She does make a valid point about this being a time of war. Do I think something like this is necessary in times of war? It’s really difficult to say…but I guess I can understand her. While we talked about how unethical it was before, they were really left with no other choice.
Heather: I still think it’s for the greater good, although a little bit selfish for Dreamer to make sure Thunderbird got out safely. If Dreamer didn’t use her powers, Marcos and Thunderbird might not be here anymore. I do wish we’d get a flashback to see more of the side effects of Dreamer’s powers.
3. We had a chance to see Lauren and Andy work their powers as siblings. Could this be what Dr. Campbell is so interested in?
Lydia: Possibly! It’s interesting that Andy and Lauren’s powers are opposites (Andy blasts things apart while Lauren pushes them together) but they can also complement each other. I loved seeing them join forces in this episode.
Jeff: Quite possibly. The twins’ abilities in concert made them much more focused and powerful. Perhaps, like Mr. Sinister, Dr. Campbell is interested in finding the perfect combination of mutant genetics to create the ultimate weapon — or the ultimate hound to use to bring all of the mutantkind under his control.
Carolyn: Absolutely. In the comics, Fenris become twice as powerful when they join their powers, so much so that Andy actually takes a piece of his sister’s skin (she dies in some capacity before coming back because hey, comics) and tans it, using it to form the hilt of his sword when he briefly becomes the swordsman. Hopefully, that won’t happen, but their relationship and how much she’s trying to take care of him is sweet to see, and their powers are even sweeter. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it’s going to go poorly, Lauren seems very Xavier and he seems very Magneto if you catch my drift…
Ander: I can definitely see Dr. Campbell taking an interesting in Lauren and Andy, especially since both of them can strategically use their powers together. I’m still very curious about Dr. Campbell and what his ultimate plan is.
Heather: Yes! I definitely thought that was one of the reasons Dr. Campbell was so interested in the Strucker siblings. I wonder what the previous case was from the 1960’s, how those sibling’s powers combined to be more effective together.
4. With Blink unable to sleep and questioning herself already, do you think this is what Thunderbird was worried about?
Lydia: Partly, yes. But I think there is something even worse coming with all this that has Thunderbird worried. He’s a deep thinker, and I believe his ability to track can also, in a way, be used on people, to see all the possibilities of where a situation might lead based on who is involved and what’s happened already. He’s following the tracks of this mess and he doesn’t like where it’s heading.
Jeff: I imagine it’s only the tip of the iceberg. We need to learn more about what happened to that mysterious “Walker” that John referenced to Dreamer in the last episode. Obviously, something she did to his mind messed with him in some kind of irreparable way or it led to a major tragedy. So yeah, these are just the early symptoms of something worse that could happen if what was done to Blink isn’t reversed somehow or she isn’t told the truth about what really happened to her.
Carolyn: Absolutely. She might drive herself crazy and her powers are already on the fritz. When you can’t trust reality or your team that’s a bad place to be in.
Ander: I think this is exactly what Thunderbird was worried about. He warned her how it would mess with Blink and it’s doing exactly that by keeping her up at night and confusing her.
Heather: Yeah, I’m worried about Blink! We haven’t seen the full repercussions of Dreamer’s powers, and it’s not looking good. I am curious to see how that will affect Blink long term, if it escalates to going back to that memory while she’s awake, or only being able to focus on that memory?
5. That was quite a twist to see Pulse being used against the other mutants. What do you think SS did to him?
Lydia: Well…he didn’t look quite alive, did he? Pasty skin? Stiff movements? Absolutely no recognition when he saw Thunderbird? They turned him into a mutant zombie.
Jeff: Considering the way he was doubling over when John first approached him and his lack of any verbal response, he’s been conditioned, brainwashed, or he’s being technologically controlled somehow. That tattoo on his arm has to mean something. It reminded me of the symbol on the chest of the future Sentinel Nimrod from the comics. Perhaps it’s like a brand? Or he’s been turned into something of a “mutate” slave-like what happened on Genosha? Possibly he’s been converted into a Prime Sentinel or a hound of sorts already? There are so many possibilities, but I highly doubt that he allowed himself to be turned into this of his own free will.
Carolyn: In the comics, Campbell creates “hounds” that are basically mutant hunting dogs. Pulse’s tattoo (which I want man. It’s a dope tattoo) looks almost dog-like. I have a feeling he’s been brainwashed either via psychic abilities or torture and forced to hunt down his fellow mutant cohorts. It’d be interesting if it wasn’t brainwashing, if he was just convinced, but it’s probably brainwashing or some sort of implant.
Ander: Yeah! I wasn’t expecting to see Pulse used like that at all. Sentinel Services have definitely brainwashed him somehow. I wonder what the significance of the tattoo is though. I feel like I might know what it is, but I’ll wait and see!
Heather: There are two options I’m thinking that SS could get Pulse to work with him. First, it sounds like Pulse was thought to be dead, so maybe he had memory loss and they were able to paint a picture of Pulse helping them in the past. The second option is they’re keeping his family out of prison in exchange for his help with SS.
6. Agent Turner was dangerous when he was just following orders. How dangerous do you think he’ll be now that he’s been bested?
Lydia: If this is war, then Agent Turner went all-out nuclear at the end of this episode. I still want to believe he has a heart in there somewhere, but it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets even a little bit better.
Jeff: He’s going to be exponentially more dangerous. He’s furious, and he’s bent on revenge, which will cloud his judgment and lead him to make more rash and harsh decisions. I’m really looking forward to learning more about his history in next week’s episode’s flashbacks. I still think that he probably believes that what he’s doing is justified, but he’s let his own personal experiences turn into a complete anti-mutant vendetta. The Mutant Underground will have to watch their backs, now more than ever before!
Carolyn: More mutant hounds! I hope he pulls out all the stops! I am loving Coby Bell’s performance. I love how the cast is embracing him as a villain and still chilling with him despite the fact that his character is so rotten. The respect they show to Turner is awesome. I have a high hope for a redemptive turn (even if it ends in the dude’s death.) I won’t hold my breath though. It’s neat seeing him and reed across from each other and makes a person appreciate just how far Reed’s come.
Ander: You know Agent Turner is going to be more dangerous than ever now! Not only did he lose two prisoners, but Sentinel Services were bested by the Mutant Underground. That has to sting for him. He’ll be out for some payback now and he’ll do whatever it takes to take out the mutants.
Heather: I think we’ll see a whole new side of Agent Turner. He’s likely in trouble with his superiors, and I bet he will stop at absolutely nothing to get back at the mutants.
7. There’s been a little joke going around about the use of the letter “X” in all the titles. If you had to come up with a title for one of these episodes, what would you call it?
Lydia: Next week is “boXed in” so how about… routine eXam, veXed, jinX, toXic, miXed up, viXen, easy fiX, piXilated, miX and match, eXpat, maXed out, betwiXt, eXtreme measures… I could do this all day!
Jeff: I’ve really liked that touch! I’m going to have to go with eXtreme Measures or eXtreme Prejudice.
Carolyn: HMMM. eXtinct. eXtinguished. That’s all I’ve got so far…
Ander: Oh man that’s a good question! Hmmm, I would call it “eXtinction” or something along those lines. It sounds ominous but it would also fit in my opinion, especially given the reputation mutants have among humans in this show.
Heather: Ooh, interesting! Maybe eXplosive, for a big battle between the mutants and SS. Or eXceptional, for a badass mutant episode.
Final Verdict: The Gifted 1X04 “eXit strategy” had us forgetting about the X-Men and cheering our new favorite team
We had a chance to visit both the past and present with the MU this week, and it gave us so much insight into each of them. Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin did a phenomenal job showing us how the experiences that Marcos and Thunderbird had affected their actions in present time. We also saw Lauren and Andy take control of their gifts to give us a peek into who they will be in the future. Director Karen Gaviola’s pacing of the episode kept us glued to the screen and screaming warnings at our favorite mutants for the entire hour.
If there are things to pick at, these are it. First, if Reed had a metal pin yanked out of his body, we highly doubt he could hobble effectively to escape. Not only did it likely hold bones together, but the bleeding and pain would be enough to cause you to pass out. Secondly, we’re surprised that Lauren and Andy didn’t work on their joint powers a little more so that in the heat of the battle, they didn’t choke. Still, those are very minor details that didn’t detract much from the episode itself.
“eXit strategy” was gloriously entertaining and has us salivating for more! Now that the Struckers are reunited, what will their next move be? Can Lauren and Andy convince their parents to stay and fight with the MU? What is going to happen to Marcos now that he’s back under his ex’s employment. Worse yet, how will Polaris react to finding out he went to her? We’re also really worried about how much worse Dreamer’s manipulation on Blink will get. Will we get answers to all of these questions in next week’s ep? We certainly hope so!