In The Gifted Roundtable 1X05 “boXed in,” the lines are blurred between good and bad, and we’re not sure what to feel anymore
This week opened with a blast from the past, as we finally see the event that triggered Agent Turner’s (Coby Bell) vendetta against the mutants. During the July 15th protest, his daughter is caught in a crossfire of sorts and dies before he can get to her. Flash forward and we see him doggedly pursuing Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Reed (Stephen Moyer) as they escape with the others. Polaris and Eclipse (Sean Teale) lead Sentinel Services and their forces away from the rest of the group before evading capture. However, after being cornered at an intersection, she decides to take Turner hostage to gain information about Pulse. When their initial tactics don’t work, the two of them bring in Dreamer (Elena Satine) to gain access to his memories. Unfortunately, they have to escape and leave behind a half-dazed agent.
RELATED | THE GIFTED 1X05 “boXed in” REVIEW
The rest of the group arrive at the MU way station, where they are confronted by Tex the bartender (Jeff Daniel Phillips). Reed’s prior collaboration with Turner is revealed, forcing Thunderbird (Blaire Redford) playing referee between them. The former is desperate to prove he’s changed and offers to use his knowledge as prosecutor to help redirect the police forces away. While he’s doing that, Kate works frantically to save Harry’s (DJames Jones) life after he was shot. With the help of Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White), they are able to stabilize him. That isn’t the only drama that goes down there, as Blink (Jamie Chung) finally figures out what happened to her and confronts Dreamer.
There were highs, there were lows, and there were plenty of moments that left our hearts pounding. Let’s check in with our roundtable and find out what they thought of this week’s episode:
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!
Scott (@Scareythoughts2) – Writer and Podcaster for the Pop Culture Café. Husband. Reverse Philanthropist. Watch far too much TV
1. Now that we know how his daughter died, do you think it’s fair for Agent Turner to jump to blaming the mutants?
Lydia (@lydia_sharp): Nope nopity NOPE with a side of Nope Sauce. Yes, mutants were involved. But all mutants? NO. And declaring war on all of them, including innocent children, is taking it way too far. Polaris called it genocide, and she isn’t wrong.
Jeff (@JeffHarris7): Understandable? Perfectly so. Fair? Not if he’s willing to lump all the mutants together into one category and lump the innocent and the guilty together. His desire to protect people from the dangers that specific mutants pose has become a general vendetta, and a very dangerous one.
Carolyn (@CarolynsGeekOut): Two wrongs don’t make a right. Fundamentally he’s motivated by pain and grief and revenge. Perhaps stopping mutants would be okay, but enforcing awful policies, brainwashing, and torture? Just following orders is never a defense but at least he’s willingly embracing it. It’ll be interesting to see where he’s going. Since he knows what they do to hounds, he’s willingly committing a war crime and a major human rights violation. Does he deserve the crazy he got at the end? …just desserts.
Ander (@AnderWriter): Turner clearly blames mutants for the death of his daughter and that’s what motivates him. However, it isn’t fair to place the blame on ALL mutants for what was most likely an accident. The way Sentinel Services has treated mutants has been horrible and there’s no excuse for the inhumane treatment of them. Now we see that Sentinel Services (and Campbell maybe) are using “hounds” which are brainwashed mutants that track other mutants. I think it’s understandable that he’d blame them, but the way he’s enforcing control is completely unethical.
Scott (@Scareythoughts2): I would not have said it was fair in the beginning of the episode but the Mutant Underground didn’t do themselves any favours by what they did to him at the end of the episode. You’re definitely seeing the “Magneto effect” coming to light in a few of the characters.
2. Blink’s caught on to what’s happening to her. How do you think that will affect her cooperation with the MU?
Lydia: She told Sonya to stay away from her. That implies Clarice will still be around for her to stay away from. So I’m pretty sure she’s staying. I don’t think she would turn her back on everyone just because one person messed up. This could create a big problem for the MU, though, if Clarice and Sonya need to work together on something and Clarice refuses.
Jeff: I can’t imagine it’s going to help morale in the Mutant Underground one bit. She’s going to want to keep Dreamer as far away from her as possible, and if she gets close to her again, I can’t imagine that the results are going to be pretty! I’m actually a little more curious as to how she’ll react to John from here on out. Will she want to keep him at a distance, too, or will her feelings, possibly partially manufactured by Dreamer and maybe there a bit already, bring her closer to him? I just hope that she stays loyal to the team in general, even if she isn’t okay with Dreamer’s motives and methods.
Carolyn: It’s going to be pretty intense. Blink is officially a wildcard. It’s nice to see that tension but she seems committed to the cause. I still ship her and thunderbird though, It’s a testament to how committed Blink is to the fight that she isn’t directly leaving, however. She knows this is a safe place and wants to keep helping develop that. Hopefully that memory will become something real.
Ander: Things are definitely going to get interesting with Blink and how she’ll fit in with the mutant underground now is a mystery. I definitely think that she and Dreamer will be at odds with one another that’s for certain. However, I think she understands the situation she and the rest of the mutants are in and the only way to survive is to stick together.
Scott: I’m not sure if it will affect her cooperation, but she’s going to be even more distrusting then she was before. I think she’s on her way to becoming the “Wolverine” of these X-Men. A loner in a group setting. She still hasn’t really confronted Thunderbird about knowing about this the whole time. I already like her a lot better then the X-Men: Days of Future Past Blink.
3. Polaris is definitely veering down the same path as her father. Do we think Eclipse or their baby can bring her back from the brink?
Lydia: I don’t think Polaris is on that path yet. Is there potential? Definitely. But her anger in this episode felt somewhat justified, given the situation. We are seeing these episodes with a week in between them, but the timeline is much more condensed for these characters and emotions are still hot from stuff that happened. Lorna could have done a lot worse, but she held back. She slipped a little but then got herself under control. It’s when she completely loses that control and is unable to pull herself out of her anger that I will start to really worry, but we haven’t seen that happen yet. Right now she’s temperamental and too quick to act. She can get so so so much worse…I’m waiting for it. And when it happens, I’m not entirely certain *anyone* will be able to help her but herself.
Jeff: If anyone can keep her on the light side at this point, I think it’s Marcos and her baby. She has the potential of being every bit as diabolical and devious as Magneto ever was, but we’ve also seen great heroism in Lorna Dane. She’s fighting for a just cause alongside noble friends, so I am hopeful that she’ll stay on the side of the angels (for now)!
Carolyn: One of the things I love about Polaris is that she’s canonically bipolar. I saw a lot of that in her reactions this week, mostly in her fluctuating moods and willingness to lash out rather than solve problems. She was able to bring herself back however, and I think given how devoted Eclipse is she’s not in any danger of falling super far. If something happens to baby Aurora or Eclipse, however, I don’t put any faith in her staying decent. There’s going to be a lot of metal flying.
Ander: Hopefully Eclipse and her baby will be able to calm her! I think one of the interesting things about Polaris is her connection to Magneto and it’ll be exciting to see whether she wants to escape that infamous reputation or if she’ll fall into the same path as her father.
Scott: I’m not sure if she is veering down the same path, or just becoming very protective of the child growing inside of her, and reacting to the threats from the hostile non-mutant environment. Eclipse, on the other hand, may be bringing a darkness into him by trying to simply protect his family. Polaris for now just wants to be left alone. She definitely has a growing edge to her though.
4. We’re more and more impressed by Lauren and Andy every week. Who else has impressed you during their journey?
Lydia: Caitlin Strucker. Can she be my mom, too?
Jeff: Caitlin, or as I refer to her on Twitter, Mama Strucker! Over and over again, even though she’s only human, she’s proven herself to be every bit as much a hero as anyone else working with the Mutant Underground. She’s selflessly aided in the team’s rescue efforts, she staged the risky medicine-grabbing op in the hospital, and she upped her surgical game to save Harry’s life tonight, too. I wonder… could she be the mutant gene carrier of the family? Maybe she has latent powers that will manifest at some point? That’d be pretty spectacular.
Carolyn: There is something REALLY important to be said about allyship from the parents. In 5 episodes they’ve been deconstructed into accomplices to the mutant underground to protect their kids. They do their best to respect and help and listen. In another life, Moyer would be leading this show and playing Eclipse. The fact that he’s a second banana character even if he gets top billing is really important. Both Caitlin and Reed are showing people how to be allies to marginalized communities. You sit down, you don’t take charge, you use your skills to help people who need it.
Ander: I’m just really liking Thunderbird! He’s a smart, determined, and strong leader for the mutant underground. He understands when risks are too great and when they’re worth taking. Eclipse tends to react a bit more on his emotions without really thinking things through all the way, and that’s why he’s lucky to have Thunderbird there with him.
Scott: For the record, I’m not much of a fan of Lauren and Andy so far. I’d go so far as to say Andy is a weak link in the series at this point. Kate Strucker, played by Amy Acker (who I have been a fan of for years since watching Angel), is doing well in this series and her acting is actually better then I remember. Polaris (Emma Dumont) has become a star with this show, and she has been head and shoulders above about half the cast in grasping the nuances of her character so far. Everything from her playful snarls, to her defiant rage has been spot on.
5. With Turner’s memories now incomplete, what else do you think he might be missing and how will it impact him from now on?
Lydia: THAT ENDING. GOD THAT ENDING. If anyone says they didn’t cry at the end of this episode, they’re either lying or they’re lying. Emotional impact aside, though, Agent Turner losing his memories is a game changer. Anything can happen now. That ending was utterly BRILLIANT.
Jeff: That was a real heartbreaker! It was like he had to relive his daughter’s death all over again! I have no clue what other memories might be jumbled or on the fritz. I’m hoping that he doesn’t recall quite as much about the people he was hunting specifically, but I’m even more worried that he’ll now be that much more determined to capture every mutant he can. Dreamer inadvertently may have turned Jace Turner into an even more dangerous opponent than he already was, and that’s saying something!
Carolyn: VENGEFUL. Man I am loving Coby Bell every week! I’m not loving Turner but this episode really made me question my hatred for a hot minute. There are no winners or losers and unlike a lot of TV this show is illustrating that beautifully. There is no good and bad, no matter what Turner has done (knowing about mutant brainwashing for one thing) he’s still a person who suffered an incredible loss. I’m living with rooting for Coby Bell and then poking Turner with many metal sticks, especially since he’s probably going to become unhinged.
Ander: Man it was hard to see Turner having to learn about his daughter’s death again and his reaction was genuine. While I can’t stand the character, it made me feel for him. Perhaps they messed with some of their identities? While I hardly believe it’ll keep him off their tracks for long, perhaps they bought themselves a little time to regroup and escape.
Scott: If he is missing the memory of his daughter dying, I think the anger he feels towards mutants will be even more amplified. He not only lost his daughter to mutant powers, he also has had to relive that painful experience because of more mutants interfering in his life. I can’t see it making his outlook any better, and it will probably make his resolve stronger.
6. We still don’t have answers about Pulse’s situation. Do you think Dr. Campbell is involved?
Lydia: The Hound theory was confirmed during Turner’s memory sequence, and it’s likely Dr. Campbell is directly involved. I don’t care who it is, though, as long as they get to dramatically shout “Release the Hounds!!!” at some point.
Jeff: I would not be surprised one bit, especially with the Hound Program name showing up in the memories Dreamer was sifting through. Dr. Campbell, as Ahab, was pivotal in turning mutants into hounds in Rachel Grey’s dystopian future. This could be the first step in heading toward that horrible era. I think he did perform some kind of medical procedure and brainwashing on Pulse. Can it be reversed? Let’s hope so, for our Mutant Underground friends’ sake!
Carolyn: In the comics, Campbell created the hounds, using mutants to hunt mutants. there’s some sort of brainwashing and re-conditioning involved I’d bet (it’d be terrible if there wasn’t). He’s gonna be a big big bad.
Ander: Dr. Campbell is DEFINITELY involved with Pulse. I mean in the comics (as Ahab) he was responsible for creating the hounds that hunted mutants down. This makes me wonder if a certain red-haired female character will show up on the show.
Scott: It would make sense, though I think it will play out more in the back end of the season leading up to the finale. Ahab is far too complex and dangerous a character not to give him a proper build during the season. I’ve been very happy with the relatively slow burn on character development that this series has had to it.
7. We feel like we need a drink after all this! If you could come up with a drinking game for The Gifted, what would the rules be?
Lydia: Take a shot every time someone says “mutant.” I wouldn’t last half an episode.
Jeff: Hmm…well, so long as it’s just pop for me, I’d say take one swig every time Andy whines or complains, two sips every time Lorna says something threatening, and refill the glass whenever they mention impending war. See you next week, friends!
Carolyn: Drink when there’s an awesome special effects scene. Drink when Turner takes charge, drink when Andy says something teenage boy-ish, and drink when Caitlin has to save a life.
Ander: Oh boy, I’m terrible with drinking game rules haha! How about no messing with player’s heads! *Glares at Dreamer* I’m sure Blink would agree with me.
Scott: Can’t speak for over time, but for the duration, everytime Blink looks wistfully off into space and understands a little more what’s been done to her – you take a drink. If you can call her “Thunderbird wet dreams” a few seconds before she has them, you get two drinks.
Final Verdict: The Gifted 1X05 “boXed in” reminded us that we have to learn to let go of the past to make a better future for ourselves
We’re not going to lie. Agent Turner’s back story this week nearly killed us, and he’s supposed to be the bad guy! When he didn’t remember that his daughter had died, we all cried with him. We have so much love for Coby Bell’s turn this week, because his performance just blew us away! On the other hand, we are very worried about Polaris’s turn to the dark side, because we’ve all seen what can happen when you let hate rule you. Writer Jim Campolongo challenged us to think outside of the box when it came to defining good versus evil, showing us that life isn’t always black and white.
While this episode was near perfect, we do have a bone to pick. Someone with Kate’s medical background would never have the skills needed to cut into someone and remove a bullet safely. Yes, we get that she was trying to help, but in the real world, that would have likely killed Harry. We definitely had to suspend a whole lot of skepticism to get over that piece.
Nonetheless, this is not a medical drama, so we’re going to let it slide and say that we loved the progression of everyone’s stories this week. Lauren is really coming into her own, and we think Andy will step up to the plate soon too. We wonder if Blink is going to be able to get over what happened to her, because the MU really needs her help. Dreamer’s in a tough spot, but we can’t forget she put herself in that situation willingly. Things are going to get way messier before it gets better, and we’re all in for the ride!