‘The Gifted’ Season Finale Recap: “eXtraction and X-roads”

Even though Fox has been very successful with their X-Men films, I gotta admit, The Gifted really works well as a series.  With the Disney merger about to go into effect (barring anyone in the government stopping it), it might be a good idea to keep the trend of having mutants on the small screen.  Both The Gifted and Legion have shown that the X-Men universe can thrive on the small screen.  The first season of The Gifted gave us a very interesting race/immigration parable, as Stan Lee intended when he first created the X-Men back in 1963.

Focusing on the Strucker family, whose life got turned upside down when they discover that their young children Lauren and Andy have manifested their mutant powers.  The family patriarch Reed, having been a prosecutor who investigates and imprisons “dangerous” mutants, he knows his children don’t have a chance and goes on the run with them.  They joined the Mutant Underground, a new network of mutants who help protect mutants who just want to be free of persecution.  As we discover throughout the first season, they are the heirs to the X-Men, who are mysteriously absent from the show.  Perhaps in the second season, we’ll see some fan favorites (who won’t be in any future X-Men movies).  They are continuously hunted by Sentinel Services, a government agency dedicated to stopping dangerous mutants.  The Sentinel Services have partnered with contractor Trask Industries, who have their own nefarious means of hunting down mutants, by using brainwashed mutants against their own kind.  Recently, a new player was introduced to the mix: The Hellfire Club and their most active (and murderous members: the Stepford Cuckoos, leading to the explosive season 1 finale.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from this week’s two-parter “eXtraction/'X-roads:”


The flashback for the finale focused on Trask Industries’ mad scientist, Doctor Campbell.  Campbell has spent most of the season working with Agent Turner and Sentinel Services, blending government with the private military company Trask Industries in the name of stopping mutants.  Trask had created a drug which turned mutants into “Hounds:” brainwashed mutants who then would hunt other mutants.  Thanks to the flashback, we learn a little bit about his motivations against mutants.  Turns out Campbell had a brother who was dying of cystic fibrosis.  This led him to be motivated to study genetics.  Later on, during a conference by Humanity Today, a “humans only” conference.  During his lecture he commented on genetics and how even though the Neanderthals were stronger than their human counterparts, they did not survive because of humans ingenuity, something he wants to do to the mutants.

Mutant Underground Try To Stop Campbell:

Knowing that at the conference, Campbell would be meeting with politicians with the intent on taking the Hound program national, even global, the Mutant Underground knew that they would need to stop him.  Working with the Stepford Cuckoos, they hatched a plan to infiltrate the conference, get close enough to Campbell, and stop him.  After the Cuckoos brainwash a politician for access, they go to the conference to confront Campbell.  

Things don’t go according to plan though.  Even though they manage to infiltrate into the conference, they don’t get the drop on him.  Eclipse, Blink, and Thunderbird goes on the offense and takes out his security detail.  Campbell manages to weasel his way to grab some young children and holds one as a hostage, forcing him to escape.  

The Strucker Children Are At Odds With Each Other:

While some of the Mutant Underground is trying to pull of their kidnapping, the Struckers have their own side mission.  Reed finds out that his mother is still in danger thanks to their Mutant Underground activities, and he goes to try and find his mother, as well as try to find any information about his late father’s research surrounding the X-Gene, since the bad guys need that info.  As Reed and Caitlin find Reed’s mother, the kids are to stand guard for anyone from Sentinel Services.

As Sentinel Services arrive, they confront the two children.  Remember when I said that Andy seemed to have a bad streak when the season first started?  Well, it looks like that has completely come to fruition.  Andy wants to take on the agents, basically being the Magneto of the siblings.  His sister Lauren is fulfilling the Professor Xavier role and doesn’t want any violence.  After Andy easily subdues them with his telekinetic powers, Lauren has to use her powers against her brother to stop him from killing them.  The two briefly engage in a fight before their parents return, none the wiser.

Polaris Has Her Own Mission:

In the aftermath of the botched conference mission, Polaris escapes with the Stepford Cuckoos.  Turns out, there was an additional mission that the rest of the Mutant Underground was not aware of.  They realize that now that Campbell is on his way to Washington DC and the most recent “attack” by the Mutant Underground, he’ll have all the political capital to launch the Hound program nationwide.  The only recourse they have left would be to kill him.

Polaris at first seems like she doesn’t want to go through with such a bad thing, but the longer she spends with the Cuckoos, the more she warms up to the idea.  Blink, Eclipse, and Thunderbird manage to catch up to them just as she’s about to use her magnetism powers to bring down Campbell’s plan and try to talk her out of it.  Unfortunately, she’s too far gone at this point and she brings down the plane, not only killing Campbell, but also killing an anti-mutant senator at the same time.

The Showdown At The Mutant Underground Headquarters:

Agent Turner (with the blessing of his agency) is tasked with launching an attack on the Mutant Underground headquarters.  Not only does he have Sentinel Service agents ready to shoot first, he also has a few Hounds, who are using Campbell’s device to combine their powers to attack them.  Reed gets his children, as well all able bodies mutants to stage a last line of defense, so that the other mutants can find a way to escape out of the back.  While he and everyone are able to put up a fight for a while, the Hounds start overpowering them.

Lauren and Andy realize that the only way to ensure everyone can get away is for them to use their Fenris powers and completely destroy the Mutant Underground headquarters.  Just as the Hounds are closing in on the headquarters, they lock their hands and activate their destructive might.  They kill the poor brainwashed mutants and level the place.  Of course, they are the only ones to survive.

Agent Turner is to fall on his sword and take the blame for the agency being unable to catch the Mutant Underground.  Fed up with the bureaucracy, Agent Turner screams at his superiors and resigns.  Is he going to replace Campbell at Trask Industries now?  For a while, I thought he would “see the light” and realize he’s on the wrong side, but it looks like he’s too far gone and will continue his Captain Nemo quest.

The Mutant Underground Splits:

Disheveled, the Mutant Underground regroups in Tennessee.  Now they don’t have their vast network and are holed up in a warehouse.  Eclipse and Thunderbird want to start all over again.  However, there’s now concern growing throughout the Mutant Underground.  Some are sick and tired of running and know that Sentinel Services will just find them again.

That’s when the Stepford Cuckoos and Polaris crash the party.  At the right time, when the group is divided on what to do next, they manage to continue sowing seeds of discontent among the ranks.  A few mutants decide to go with them.  We now have an X-Men/ Brotherhood of Mutants rivalry going on between the Mutant Underground and the Hellfire Club.  Not only did the Hellfire Club manage to divide the Mutant Underground with their new philosophy, they have divided families.  Polaris (who was revealed to be bipolar also through a flashback, along with her captivity explains her new about face) and her boyfriend Eclipse are on different sides.  The Struckers are also divided as Andy leaves his mother, father, and sister to join the Hellfire Club.  As Reed tries to stop his son, he uses a telekinetic push to keep his father away.  Yeah, he’s officially gone to the Darkside as predicted.

One hell of a first season for The Gifted.  See ya next year!