This week on The Gifted, everyone follows a thread from their not so pleasant past. Carmen calls in the favor that Marcos owes her. Clarice discovers what happened to her foster family. Jace discovers the cost of doing business and getting revenge with someone even more unscrupulous than he is. And Reed is shocked, SHOCKED to discover that a homeless teen mutant had to turn to crime to survive. More classism and shaming ensues. I’m starting to wonder when they’re going to throw Reed out of the way station for harassment.
In an opening scene from 3 years ago, Marcos is meeting Johnny and Lorna in a rural diner to discuss the Mutant Underground. Marcos is dating Carmen and heavily involved with the Cartel, but he’s already smuggled a few truckloads of mutants across the border. Lorna and Johnny want him to come work with them full time in the Underground.
Marcos explains that he already has a job and a very demanding girlfriend. Lorna suggests that he get a new girlfriend. Sparks fly between Lorna and Marcos. Johnny reminds Marcos that the X-men are gone and it’s up to them to ensure that mutants survive.
In the present day, Carmen is ruthless with Marcos as she insists that he works for her tomorrow. He took the deal she offered, now he needs to make good on it. Marcos takes out his old metal of the patron saint of death to wear when he works with Carmen, just like he used to. In the morning, he lies and says he’s picking up supplies.
Wes brings Lauren up to the roof to show her an illusion that looks like they’re flying over a river. They’re about to kiss when Andy interrupt them for lunch.
At lunch, Caitlin harangues the kids some more about school work.
Sage and Reed continue to decrypt and sort through the files that Reed and Marcos stole last weekend. Reed comes across a file with a sketch instead of a photo. It looks a lot like a photo of Wes. He’s wanted for armed robbery.
Jace meets with Campbell and his pet mutant. Campbell has brought Jace some drugged coffee. Jace is so out of it he doesn’t figure out that his coffee is drugged, which is just really sad. Original Jace wouldn’t have drunk anything Campbell gave him, or trusted the guy at all. I can’t stand Jace, but it’s sad to see a worthy adversary fall so far. Campbell brings Jace drugged coffee every time they see each other, and Jace always takes it. It’ll be a big plot moment when Jace doesn’t drink the
kool aid coffee.
Campbell is putting pressure on Jace to find the Mutant Underground. He wants to know how the illegal surveillance is going. Jace explains that the mutants switch phones every day, use a cloaking device, don’t use names in phone calls…They’re hard to catch. Campbell is almost happy to hear this, because it means he can insist on the deployment of his super special mutant assets undercover in the field. They’ve been placed undercover in prisons, and when activated, killed other mutants quite effectively.
Marcos arrives at Carmen’s stronghold. Carmen suggests an ongoing partnership, since so many of the mutants’ and the Cartel’s interests align. Marcos generally grumbles at everything Carmen says. Carmen practically laughs with glee at how adorably grumbly he is. He might as well be Grumpy Cat.
Lorna continues training the teens by throwing bricks at their heads. Reed, to his credit, doesn’t complain when he shows up at training. He’s much more worried about finding Lauren and grounding her for dating a criminal, so he asks Andy where she is.
Johnny finds Clarice’s hideout. The portals make her tough to track. He briefly apologizes to her and asks her to come back to the way station, since she’s not safe out in the world right now. She’s questions whether that’s all he’s there for. Johnny tells her that the underground needs her. Clarice tells him she’s not interested. She’s on a mission of her own, to find the spot the she opened portals to when she was sick. Johnny offers to help. That’s the first non-boneheaded move he’s made toward her in a while.
She tries to refuse, but Johnny insists. He owes her for that time she saved his life and Dreamer tampered with her head without consent. He wants to help. Clarice agrees.
At first they attempt Johnny’s normal tracking methods, but that doesn’t work. Johnny questions Clarice about her past. Is there a place that she was most comfortable in? Animals tend to return to a nest when they’re hurt, maybe she was instinctively doing the same thing when she was sick.
We’re going to let the reference to the Asian woman as an animal with a burrow go by, because Johnny’s a tracker, and that’s the way he thinks. We know he likes Clarice, but is a socially awkward bonehead. Who of us hasn’t been there, done that? We’re also going to give the show the benefit of the doubt, and assume that Johnny goes to the animal burrow reference because he’s a tracker, and not because he’s Native American.
There was one foster home when she was a kid where she felt safe. The foster parents were kind and loving. They go to that house. Sentinel Services has already been there and murdered her foster parents. Clarice tells Johnny that the mutants’ fight is her fight now, too. Clarice and Johnny also snuck in a high quality hug.
In the most unrealistic subplot this show has ever done, a representative from the Department of Justice shows up at Sentinel Services to shut down Jace and Campbell’s operation. Their surveillance and undercover operations are illegal and DoJ can’t allow them. Bwahahaha! Right, let’s pretend Edward Snowden didn’t exist. Also the Patriot Act, and the entire Department of Homeland Security. Seriously, this is a supposed terrorist situation, SS can do whatever they want, especially if they have the same federal administration as we have in the real world.
Jace has a similar reaction to mine. Nobody keeps a black ops organization or a private contractor from their perceived mission. National security is always at risk, or so they’ll tell you, and the stakes are too high to let the information go public, or so they’ll tell you.
Later they have a department meeting with the DoJ rep. Campbell doesn’t like the way the meeting is going, so he signals to his pet mutant. The DoJ rep collapses with a stroke. Jace is spooked. He wasn’t prepared for the lengths Campbell is willing to go to. When he confronts Campbell, Campbell is unremorseful and dismissive.
Reed and Caitlin find Lauren and tell her that they strongly suspect that Wes robbed a jewelry store. Well, really they’ve convicted and sentenced him. Lauren doesn’t take it well.
Reed asks Sage how the Underground handles mutants who’ve broken the law. Sage says they don’t forgive murder, rape, and victimizing other mutants. They just ask people to tell the truth. If they don’t, they have to leave, since the Underground is built on trust.
I don’t have to list the lies that have been told by the Underground leaders over the course of the season, do I? That one is clearly more of a fictional guideline, but Reed has his hook for forcing Wes out of Lauren’s life. He gets all shifty eyed and starts plotting.
Lauren confronts Wes about his crime. He explains that he was a young teen who’d been kicked out of his home. He fell in with a bad crowd and was only the front man for the robbery. Lauren gets angry with him and walks out.
Caitlin finds Reed sitting alone, contemplating how their lives have gotten out of his control and his little girl’s grown up. Caitlin counsel’s him that Lauren doesn’t need a prosecutor, she needs a dad. Reed interprets this fairly decent advice in nearly the most patriarchal and controlling way possible.
Instead of talking to Lauren, telling her he loves her, is proud of her and the way she’s growing up, and that he trusts her judgement, which is what a mutant kid who could be on their own, fighting for their life at any moment, needs to hear, Reed goes to Wes. Wes proves he’s a decent guy by feeling guilty about the minor lie he told. After all, the theft was in the past, and has no bearing on the current situation. They’re all wanted fugitives now, no matter what else they’ve done, and he didn’t hurt anyone. He doesn’t owe anyone his entire life’s story.
Reed makes a speech to Wes about trust and society only working if there are consequences for rule breaking, and what a bad little boy Wes is, and how Wes has to decide what his punishment will be. Reed will leave it in Wes’s hands. He’ll just give Wes disappointed looks every time he sees Wes for the rest of their lives. Reed is the most manipulative *sshole in the entire mutant way station, and that’s saying something. But, he can now tell Lauren that he didn’t say anything bad to Wes, or make him leave. And he’s still gotten the unacceptable, homeless, Hispanic mutant away from his pure Aryan daughter. He’s putting the skills he used to convince juries of what to think to good use. 👿
(Why doesn’t Reed get the benefit of the doubt that Johnny did when it comes to racism? Reed’s actions were clearly intentional, even premeditated, and he has a Nazi last name. And Vampire Bill will never stop getting on my nerves. I don’t know how Anna Paquin can stand to raise kids with him. Team Erik 4Evah.)
Wes comes back later to let the family know that he came clean with the leaders. They understood and didn’t punish him, but he’s leaving to go to a different Underground facility anyway.
Lorna wonders why Marcos is taking so long to get supplies and calls the station in Marietta that he was going to. Not only do they say that Marcos wasn’t there, but they also say they haven’t had supplies in weeks. Lorna discovers that Marcos’ medallion is gone, and knows he’s working for Carmen again. She recruits Dreamer to help her get to the bottom of the situation.
Carmen wants Marcos to send a message to the Russians who are encroaching on their territory. There is a shipment of drugs that she wants him to burn. Carmen reminds Marcos about how exciting their jobs together used to be, and how much he loved to burn things. Carmen has another mutant named Lodo who will deal with the Russian’s guards, then Marcos will deal with the drugs. Marcos makes an outburst about Carmen having promised that there wouldn’t be any killing, and they all tell Marcos to lighten up.
Lorna and Dreamer get to the stronghold a little while after Carmen and Marcos leave. Dreamer uses her powers on a guard to find out where Marcos is.
Carmen and Marcos watch while the drugs are unloaded. Marcos gets impatient and fidgety. Carmen says it’s just like old times. When it’s time to go in, Lodo freezes the Russians in place somehow, no killing required, as promised. Marcos gets out of the car and sets the wooden drug crates on fire. He smiles and struts back over to Carmen, who’s gotten out to watch. She says, “That was perfect, mi amor.” Then she kisses his cheek and presses up against his front, just as the drugs and everything around them explode. Marcos is obviously excited by the fire.
Lorna and Dreamer pulled up while Marcos was setting the drugs on fire. They watch the whole thing. Lorna is angry, and leaves without saying anything to Marcos.
When Marcos returns to the way station, he tries to lie about where he’s been, but Lorna confronts him. Then he explains the truth. Lorna is still angry that he kept it all from her. Marcos says that he didn’t know how to tell her. She throws his medallion across the room and walks away.
The XX play over the end of episode montage. Caitlin and Reed have celebratory sex. Lauren and Wes kiss goodbye. Clarice and Johnny return to the way station. Carmen texts Marcos to tell him he did good work and it’s nice to have him back on the team.
Sage has finished decrypting the second drive that Marcos stole from the courthouse. It contains a record of the mutants chosen for the program. Pulse appears to have been one of the first. The drive didn’t contain any location information, but does say that the program is not a government program. It’s run by a private contractor, Trask industries. Reed says that Trask shut down in 2006. He knows because his father worked there for 35 years. He doesn’t know if his father had anything to do with this program.
Reed, who has no sense of either irony or fair play, lies to Sage about Wes while forcing Wes to tell the truth to Lauren about his past. Then he guilts Wes into telling Sage the truth.
Dreamer gets a name! She gets called Sonya twice during the episode. She also questions whether Johnny needs to find Clarice, despite Clarice’s value to the Underground, and the danger of her revealing their location if she’s captured and turned.
Reed figures out that Sentinel Services is cherry-picking mutants based on the powers they want. They aren’t worried about the legality of their activities at all. Then he see the wanted poster for Lauren’s boyfriend and all thoughts of his investigation leave his head. Harassment is a much better use of his time.
Sage decrypted that drive just in time. The Underground will know who’s part of Campbell’s program just in time for them to show up as his undercover plants. Saving Pulse has to become a mission sooner or later, right? Either when they plant him undercover, or during season 2? They mention the guy every episode. Only 3 episodes left in this season.
Next week we visit Reed’s father and find out about the mysterious twins that Campbell was so interested in. And probably also why the Struckers’ last name just happens to be Strucker.
Caitlin is desperate to restore some normalcy to her own life by insisting on educating some of the kids. Never mind that the way she’s doing it is useless, since there will be no continuity to their learning at all. She’d be better off encouraging anyone and everyone who enters the way station to help add to the way station’s library of nonfiction and classic fiction books, then set up a reading corner. Encourage everyone to read. Read to the littlest ones, have book discussion groups for the older ones. Get some decent graphic novels for the kids who don’t like to read as much.