‘The Gifted’ S1E10 Recap: “eXploited”

Last week The Gifted ended on a surprise cliffhanger.  The Strucker kids learn about the devastating “Fenris” powers after their father reveals to them about their mutant lineage.  Their first trial run at holding hands nearly brings the Mutant Underground headquarters to the ground and killing everyone in it.  Now Andy and Lauren are the de facto muscle for the group, and if left unchecked, could do a world of harm.  The Mutant Underground learned about Trask and stages a rescue operation to get mutants who will become “hounds” out of there.  Sentinel Service is hip to their plans and launches a full strike force against them.  In the end, Laura, Andy, Dreamer, and Blink are all captured while the rest of the Mutant Underground has to retreat in defeat.

This week was an interesting episode.  We finally got to see the “evil mad scientist” side of Doctor Campbell as not only does he experiment on Laura and Andy, but he is willing to torture/kill others just to get the young mutant’s compliance.  Reed and Caitlin visited Agent Turner’s house to appeal to his humanity with mixed results.  The Mutant Underground tried to launch another rescue attempt at Trask Industries, only for one of their own to have an ulterior motive.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from this week’s episode “eXploited:”


We’re now used to the show beginning with Flashback.  Much like Lost took some getting used to with how they incorporated flashbacks into the show, the same can be said for The Gifted.  This week’s flashback focuses on Esme, our favorite telepathic mutant who needs to rescue her family from Trask Industries.  Not so long ago, in the aftermath of the 7/15 attack, there was much of the same racial demagoguing we saw after 9/11 and in the age of Trump.  In fact, there’s a senator in the flashback who is giving his best “Latino Trump” impression, complete with demonizing mutants.  In the aftermath of his rally, he is treated by his new staffer “Stephanie” (who we know as Esme).  It’s clear she’s trying to get in to see how the other side is viewing, or perhaps to use her telepathic powers to influence policy for the racist politician.  However, none of that can come true as she receives a telepathic warning that Sentinel Services knows who she is, and they are after her.  She is forced to do a mad dash through the crowd at the rally and it turns out that it’s too many voices in her head to block out.  Although it’s painful, she powers through and escapes.

Doctor Campbell Experiments On The Strucker Kids:

Actor Garret Dillahun plays creepy well.  His stints on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The 4400 as well a Burn Notice show that he’s perfectly capable of snapping any given second.  His character, for the most part, has hidden behind either Agent Turner or behind his mutant hounds.  This week, he gets his hands dirty in order to try and discover the powers the Strucker children have and just how strong they are.  

He locks them in an adamantium room (nice call to the events of the Wolverine solo and X2 movies) and orders them to use their powers.  The siblings will have no part of whatever he has planned, so they refuse to hold hands.  Campbell then decides to use Blink and Dreamer as bait.  Still, the kids are hesitant.  However, Cambell the turns the gun on Dreamer and shoots her through the chest, our first casualty of the Mutant Underground.  With that, the two decide they have to oblige and hold hands.  While their power isn’t enough to destroy the unbreakable adamantium, the entire building feels the force of their power.

Reed and Caitlin Go to Agent Turner’s House:

Thanks to Esme’s planting the bug in their ear (more on that later), the Strucker’s head to Agent Turner’s house to have a “chat” with him.  Agent Turner has just arrived home and needs to unwind with his wife.  After all, he has a stress-inducing job.  Just as his wife is ready to pour him a drink, Reed and Caitlin come to the door with a gun in hand.  While this may seem at first like a threating visit, they actually do come just to talk instead of “talk.”  They try and implore him as parents to not let Trask Industries experiment on their children.  Turner, however, is headstrong and even when they leave is ready to arrest them.  However, their plan wasn’t to reach Turner, it was to reach his wife.  She is horrified by what her husband is doing to not only people, but children.  She tearfully pleads with his to look at what he is doing in the name of his deceased daughter.

This has a payoff as later on, Turner comes with an order to remove the mutants from Trask and place them back into Sentinel Service’s custody at a federal penitentiary.  For the last few episodes he has turned a blind eye to Doctor Campbell’s methods, but thanks to his wife talking with him (and him seeing what Campbell has done to Dreamer, he changes his attitude.  As a result, Turner has all mutants leave in his custody.  But it doesn’t go as neat as one would hope for….

Esme’s True Intentions Are Revealed:

For the last few episodes, Esme’s presence has continued to grow.  She went from a background mutant, to a new person who wanted to go to war with Sentinel Services in order to get her family back from their custody.  This week’s episode she finally makes her presence (and true intentions) known.  She was the girl from the flashback, whose telepathic powers seemed to overwhelm her at first.  In the present day, she’s in complete control over her powers.  This week’s episode, she’s manipulative.  She convinces Reed and Caitlin to go talk with Agent Turner, making them look like they are sneaking behind the Mutant Underground’s back.  

Her real plan was trying to get her family back by any means necessary.  After she uses a taser on Marcos, she enacts her plan.  Using her full telepathic powers, she forces the guards to turn against each other, shooting their fellow Sentinel Services agents.  As the mutants escape, we get to meet her family.  She has two other sisters that were in custody who have the same power.  Comic fans realize that she is one of the “Stepford Cuckoos,” a group of quintuplets who share a hive mind of telepathic powers.  While the Cuckoos are members of the X-Men in the comics, it looks like they are not on the good guys’ side (since they just murdered a bunch of people) and at odds with both the Mutant Underground and Sentinel Services.

Next week, Agent Turner once again goes on the offensive.