This article does contain SPOILERS for Episode 5 of The Gifted: “boXed in”
Blink confronts Dreamer? Check. Shatter speaks? Check. More powers’ synergy? Check. Best episode of the season? Possibly. Flashbacks? You know it…
Four years ago in Dallas, on July 15th the world changed. Jace Turner, wife Paula, and daughter Grace are at a local park. Grace is playing on a merry-go-round and couldn’t be more content as the proud parents look on from afar. “Officer” Turner, we discover, was asked to work crowd control at City Hall for today’s Mutant Rights March, taking place off-camera, but within earshot. Jace promised his girls a picnic however, so here he is. Sounds from the march change in, as chants for Equality grow. Police engage the crowd, and the situation escalates. This is all happening in the background, while the Turners are preparing to leave. The surrounding sky is ablaze with Mutant powers’ activity, while colorful bursts of energy go off in multiple directions. The scene reaffirms Jace’s decision to leave, and while he’s quick to think, his actions weren’t fast enough to save Grace. One of the blasts detonates near the merry-go-round, killing Grace. All that’s left is a smoking hole, while Jace and Paula call out for their daughter in vain.
We need more stories centered around Coby Bell. Period. The decision to have Bell’s Agent Turner bookend the fifth episode, entitled “boXed in,” was a good one, and I hope the first of several. The Gifted may have come from the world of comics, but this isn’t as simple as “Mutants are Good, and Humans are Evil.” Without a compelling human antagonist, the show may as well veer into such extremes, tossing nuance out the window. Seeds had been planted throughout the last few weeks, and while I deemed his backstory initially trite, it takes on a different level watching it play out.
Disclaimer: Jace has you catching feels again by the end of the episode, you’ve been warned.
In the present, and immediately following last week’s episode. Jace is regrouping Sentinel Services to continue their pursuit. Rescuing Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Lorna (Emma Dumont) worked out, but there’s still the matter of making it back to the Underground base. After ditching the van they “borrowed” from Sentinel Services, the group splits up in two vehicles to divide the attention of a nearby drone. Polaris and Eclipse (Sean Teale) make short work of the drone in one of the more creative uses of powers so far. Polaris takes the rear-view mirror, using her powers to levitate it outside, while Eclipse focused his beams from inside the car, using the mirror’s surface to take out the aerial drone from below. Really cool stuff.
At Underground HQ, John (Blair Redford) and the Struckers arrive to a full house. Thunderbird looks to Shatter for answers, and get this, my man actually responds! It seemed at first as though Shatter was destined to simply “show his good side” then exit the shot, but not this time. Shatter, played by Jermaine Rivers (MacGyver, The Haves and the Have Nots), directs John to Sage (Hayley Lovitt) for answers. Sage tells John that Sentinel Services has performed unwarranted raids on anywhere suspected of Mutant activity. After last time, Jace had vowed to “get them all” and is off to a fervent start.
The Struckers unite at long last, as the family enjoys an overdue group hug. The celebration is short-lived when Reed runs into an old friend. Remember the bartender in episode three? Played by Jeff Daniel Phillips (Westworld, The Lords of Salem), the mutant known as “Fade” last recalls Reed as a Sleeper Agent for Sentinel Services. He warns the others they’re at risk, though Reed insists otherwise. Reed chooses to plead his own case while Kate (Amy Acker) gets called off-screen for an emergency. The rescue was successful, but not without incident as one lays bleeding.
D. James Jones (Shots Fired, Rampage) plays Tracer, a Mutant with the unique ability to be Black AND shot on sight by an officer. (If you think I’m kidding, re-watch “eXit strategy.”) Tracer usually becomes invisible, but his power set had been changed slightly after Pulse (Zach Roerig) disabled them. Kate is the only person with medical training, and removes the bullet, while the children assist. Kate retrieves the bullet, while the family celebrates prematurely. Blood pours from Tracer’s abdomen, though quick thinking by Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) saves the day this time. Lauren uses a forcefield to pinch the artery enough for Kate to suture the wound. Andy (Percy Hynes White) lends a hand as well – his Blood Type is Universal.
Shatter doesn’t say a whole lot, but this time his words have an unintended effect. Dreamer (Elena Satine) and Blink (Jamie Chung) are gathering medical supplies when Shatter enters. He asks Dreamer to consider using her powers on Reed, to get him to forget in case he’s not welcome. She tries to dismiss the subject, but Clarice has heard enough. When Shatter leaves, Blink asks about Dreamer’s powers and she explains that she can manipulate memories “for security purposes.” Dreamer, sensing those hands coming, left the room before Blink could probe further. Blink has another memory of John when she sees him speaking to Reed outside…
Reed and Fade are still not seeing cooperating, though an opportunity to prove useful soon appears. Sage tells John that Police chatter about the manhunt had decreased. Reed explains that it’s a decoy tactic to flush them out into the open, and extrapolates Sentinel’s plan to capture Lorna and Marcos, still not back after the drone chase. Reed offers himself as bait, planning to draw attention to another location using streetlight-mounted cameras. Sage is worried Reed could be caught and reveal the location. John suggests sending Fade along to ensure an escape plan. While Trader can make himself invisible, Fade’s ability extends to other objects, including vehicles and people! The two are ultimately successful but we’ll see if they exchange cards later.
Eclipse and Polaris reflect on Parenthood, discussing baby names when they run into Jace. Polaris reminds everyone who her Daddy is, making short work of the officers non-lethally. Lorna Dane then kidnaps Jace at gunpoint, later to be taken to a nearby warehouse. If Pulse can be turned on the others, any one of them can. Lorna is determined to get answers, or revenge from Jace. Polaris pulls some rebar out of a nearby wall with her powers, binding Jace by the neck. Outside the warehouse, a group of Sentinel Services officers gathers. One officer asks them to surrender, saying they know about the hostage. Jace is steadfast, refusing to divulge any info causing the Mutants to change tactics.
Dreamer arrives at the warehouse with Blink through a portal. The plan is to use her ability to sort through Jace’s memories. Sentinel Services prepares to engage the building, but Polaris uses her power to halt their approach. Realizing that going inside the building was too risky, the forces use a tear gas grenade to for the Underground outside. Dreamer is still sorting through Jace’s memories, but the group’s forced out by the tear gas. She warns they can’t leave him the way he is, but it’s too late. The Underground escape through a portal leaving behind a bound and screaming Jace Turner.
Collected back at Headquarters, the team peruses some drawings made from Dreamer’s memories of Agent Turner. The group is unable to discern much, but do recognize a symbol that was tattooed on Pulse’s arm, and a Louisiana Federal building. Reed recognizes the building, but doesn’t know where anyone he’s prosecuted goes after arriving. While sharing a dinner of rib-shaped Pork, the Struckers decide to stay with the Underground, calling off their plans to move to Mexico.
Clarice finally confronts Dreamer about what happened. She handled the situation with a bit more restraint than I’d have guessed, considering. Blink makes a case as to why what Dreamer was wrong in what she did, even though she had good intentions. Dreamer offers to remove the memories, but Clarice just tells her to stay away.
In the final scene, Jace is dropped off at home, and greeted outside by Paula (Frances Turner). Jace says he’s a bit scrambled after his check up, but otherwise okay. As he walks towards the house when asking if Grace waited up for him. Paula looks puzzled as eventually she has him relive his worst memory. Coby Bell perfectly captures that feeling of dread that would befall most when hearing such news, sending this episode out on a power final note.
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.