Louis has a look at this weeks episode of The Gifted – “rX” ..prepare for many spoilers…

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Well, if the first week wasn’t enough then the second week should convince you that The Gifted is here to push things to the extremes in the Marvel X-Men universe.

This week starts with a flashback to a year before and sets up Reed as being sympathetic to the mutant cause, but only within the constraints of the law. It’s a scene that also shows us that Lauren already has subtle control of her powers at this point as she uses them to cheat at bowling. I had forgotten just how they worked at it was a reminder that she can manipulate the subtle flow of air as well as creating force field like bubbles with it.

This episode we also get to see how Amy Acker’s character will fit into the series. She didn’t have much to do except panic during the first show so it is great to see her kick ass as she is called upon to help save Blink. Blink is in a bad way after over extending her abilities during the last episode. She is close to dying and jumps between pain filled delirium and total unconsciousness. She starts opening portals to one location and ends up chopping a truck in half. Luckily, thanks to John, the truck is deflected away from the Strucker children. At random times during the show she continues to open more portals to the same location. Each time, the police presence on the other side of the portal gets larger. Every time Lauren is needed to save the day by squeezing the portal closed with her force field like bubbles. In the end she is unable to close the portal and a member of a SWAT team jumps through. He is summarily dealt with by John who disarms him and ejects him back through the portal. Unfortunately this causes everyone on the other side to raise weapons. At what seems like the last moment Andy strides forward and uses his power to blast everyone off their feet, and Blink off the table she is lying on. This closes the portal but sets off a chain reaction of mini portals opening and closing randomly, sending energy blasts flowing in all directions.

While this is all happening, Kate and Marcos have dashed off to a nearby hospital to see if they can get the supplies that they so desperately need to help stabilise Blink. When she arrives, the former nurse gets to see the other side of the mutant coin as she is exposed to how the mutants are treated. Using Marcos’s wound from the last episode as a ruse, they manage to get him seen ahead of the queue, (because light blasting from a wound makes things seem more urgent?). As he is being treated she is pulled aside and asked if she has been the victim of violence, (she has a cut on her head from the earlier truck incident), to which she responds coldly and seems to put the doctor in his place. It’s the first time you see the rage behind her eyes and is a great piece of character acting. She then sneaks of and manages to obtain the drugs they need by posing as a nurse. After rejoining Marcos in the car, they seem to start forming a bond. Upon arrival, she dodges portals and helps revive Blink.

Now, as if that wasn’t enough, we get all of this interspersed with scenes where Reed and Turner use wordplay to try and best one another. Turner uses heavier and continuously less subtle means by which to try and get Reed to do his bidding. This includes pulling in Reeds mother, played by the wonderful Sharon Gless, and questioning her as Reed watched through a one way glass. Reed holds his nerve though and finally figures out how to get Turner on his side. He agrees to take all blame for the incident as long as his children and wife are allowed to go free. He adds the icing on the cake by also agreeing to hand over the mutant underground as well. Just how or whether he will do this is up for debate. Could he be as naive as to thin that they will keep their word? Who knows, but it will play to the future tensions when he returns to the fold.

Lastly, there is the story line of Lorna Dane, or Polaris as she prefers to be called. We see her transferred to a normal prison wearing a collar that suppresses her mutant abilities. We soon realise that it doesn’t do a very good job of this, as when she angry enough, she is able to momentarily use her power to defend herself in a fight. Unfortunately, its not enough and she gets beaten then thrown in solitary. This is by far an oversimplification of the whole glimpse of her situation. We do see her revert to her natural mutant green colour and it also becomes blatantly obvious that her power is magnetic in nature. So who’s her daddy then? Read the many mutant based Marvel comics to see who this is.

There is obviously more going on in this episode, (that red haired woman who keeps challenging everyone’s ideas is Dreamer), and I have over simplified things. However, as a second episode it carries forward the momentum from the series opener and gives me hope that we are going to get a truly excellent X-Men / Mutant based show. There are a lot of subtle undercurrents and digs at many of the racial and ethnic inequalities that we currently see in the world around us and it works in this show. They may be disguised by the Mutant story, but they are obvious analogies to problems that are happening today and have happened in the past.

This series is relevant to today’s problems and could show us our worst future if we don’t heed the lessons of the past. This is why I like shows based on characters like these and is one of the many reasons I will be continuing to watch this series in the future.