This article does contain SPOILERS for Episode 2 of The Gifted: “rX”
After an X-citing premiere on the FX network last week, some fans were left wondering if the momentum would continue in the coming episodes — thankfully, its second outing, “rX,” is just as spectacular. The episode begins one year prior to the events of the series, and we join the Struckers having a night of family fun at a local bowling alley. Not all of the alley’s patrons are having a good time as a group of teens begin to pick on a younger girl. Her powers cause her face to shift in and out with a blur; think of The Flash, and how he would deliberately obscure his identity, only at random. The child’s father intervenes on her behalf, causing her powers to surge outward in a telekinetic flare. Before the authorities could be called, Reed (Stephen Moyer) takes the frantic father aside, introducing himself as a Federal Prosecutor, and convinces him to leave the alley for his daughter’s sake. This infuriates Lauren Strucker (Natalie Alyn Lind) who felt as though the teenage offenders should have been made to leave, not the victimized family.
In the present day, and picking up after last week’s cliffhanger, The Struckers, minus Reed, are in the headquarters of the Mutant resistance. The family was able to escape Sentinel Services thanks to Clarice (Jamie Chung) and one of her portals. Opening so many portals across so many distances placed a physical tax on the mutant, so not all of them were able to make it through in time. To make matters worse, she soon collapses, and goes into shock. They are completely cut off from their Patriarch, which doesn’t sit well even considering the circumstances, bringing us to Reed’s current predicament.
Reed Strucker is being carted away on a gurney. Though he was shot at the end of last week’s episode, it was only with an immobilization round, making it impossible to use his arms and legs. “Life’s going to suck for the next few hours,” warns Sentinel Services Agent, and series ‘villain’ Jace Turner. Coby Bell (Burn Notice, The Game) smoothly plays the agent as not much more than that, a man trying to accomplish a task. We find out his motives later, and learn that his daughter was killed in a mutant attack, but honestly that development was kind of unnecessary, and a little trite as well. It doesn’t take away from the characterization at all, but it’s just window dressing. Jace Turner works just as being determined to a fault, akin to Tommy Lee Jones’ Deputy Marshal Gerard in The Fugitive. If Turner’s backstory was revealed this early, I’d hope it had been more inspired. Before Reed is placed in the Ambulance, Agent Turner tells him to look forward to a talk about his family when the round wears off.
At Lakewood County Jail, Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont) is being escorted down the halls, and minus the obvious blue jumpsuit, there’s something else different about her. She’s wearing a restraint collar that limits the use of her powers, tailored towards each mutant detainee, as explained by one of the other inmates. The mutant is known as Polaris, and even refers to herself as such. She learns about the collar the hard way after receiving an electrical shock while attempting to use her powers to escape. The jolt of electricity causes her to stumble backward, hitting her head and eliciting laughter from the on-lookers. There are other mutants here as well, though no one is too keen on befriending Lorna; on the inside, there exists a whole different kind of power, one that isn’t dependent on special abilities. Fans had questions last week after noticing tinges of green in Lorna’s hair, and after a brief shower scene, we learn that her natural color is green, like her comic counterpart, but in The Gifted she dyes it black, presumably to stay off the radar. Things don’t get any easier from here on out, as a prison yard altercation leads to an attempt on Lorna’s unborn child via a kick to the prisoner’s stomach. Though audiences learned of the pregnancy last week, new travels just as fast on the inside. Lorna Dane is eventually locked in Solitary Confinement as a punishment for her involvement in the scuffle.
Back at the headquarters of the Mutant resistance, the situation worsens as Clarice’s health does the same. Now fully in shock, her powers are now completely out of control, causing portals to open at random, but seemingly to the same location. On the other end of the portal, a concerned populace has gathered to confront a potential threat. The portals of course work both ways, so now the entire resistance is at risk. Lauren’s able to use her forcefields to close the portals when they do open, but it’s only temporary until Clarice is back to health. Amy Acker’s Kate Strucker has some brief training as a Nurse, but as the resistance doesn’t have much in aid beyond Aspirin, she and Marcos venture out to a hospital for actual medicine, bringing us to the episode’s title. The waiting room is full, but with no time to waste Kate suggests Marcos pretend to be her boyfriend, and use the gunshot he’d received earlier as a reason for an ER admission. The attending physician mistakes an injury Kate had suffered earlier as a sign of Domestic Abuse, and while he does treat Marcos, off-screen, he calls the Police. The doctor, though acting with good intent, was acting additionally from a place of Bigotry, “Some people think it’s exciting to date a Mutant, but it’s no secret there can be incidents of violence.” They escape thanks to Kate’s quick thinking, with medicine in tow though not before the Police are notified.
The two arrive back at the headquarters, but at this point, it may be too late as there are multiple portals opening up on site, causing the others to evacuate the premises entirely. Kate forgoes the immediate concerns and goes back inside, finally administering the medicine to Clarice, while things finally return to relative normalcy for our merry band.
In another part of Atlanta, things are’t looking so great for Reed Strucker. As a Federal Prosecutor, he’s able to maintain his composure during Agent Turner’s interrogation, resisting his efforts, and even pointing out some of the less savory tactics employed by the agent, such as using his own mother (seen during the bowling flashback) as leverage. Jace persists however, successfully calling out Reed’s presumed loyalties. He mentioned that while he may be currently loyal to the Resistance, it’s superficial as just the day prior he was looking to prosecute Lorna under the same laws he’s attempting to subvert. This episode has quite a few instances where the viewers are asked to question their loyalties, even moral stances. During the Hospital excursion, Marcos implies to Kate that she only cares about the Mutant plight after finding out her children were mutants, but up until then had chosen to remain ignorant. Though steadfast, and determined to see the matter of his interrogation be handled by his presumed rights under the law, ultimately, Reed is given a choice that may bring him at odds with the resistance. The Struckers go free, with no legal repercussions on one condition — Reed Strucker must turn on the resistance, and allow Sentinel Services its biggest score since inception.
Meanwhile, at an unknown laboratory location, a “Dr. Campbell” asks his assistant to locate all information on file involving mutant siblings. He mentions an incident taking place in Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s, then asks if the Strucker children had been found. Not satisfied with the response, he requests to be in contact with the Sentinel Services agent handling the case before the scene fades to black.
The Gifted is shown on the FX network, Mondays this Fall at 9:00 pm Eastern. Keep it tuned to FanBros.com for more as it develops.
Read more from Dom Watkins, right here