Amy Acker has followed me into so many TV shows I watch that it was about time for me to dip into one she stars in from the outset. Her inclusion in the cast was my principal attraction to THE GIFTED, which should suggest to you that I'm unfamiliar with the world in which the series is set.
The Gifted tells the story of a regular suburban family (rife with school issues, stressful jobs and an inability to have a normal conversation at the dinner table) whose children transpire to have mutant powers. Set in an alternate universe where the X-Men have disappeared and mutants are hunted with deadly force. Thus, the family are forced to go into hiding with the Mutant Underground.
This episode was really all about set-up: sending the Strucker family (mum Caitlin [Amy Acker], dad Reed [Stephen Moyer], son Andy [Percy Hynes White] and daughter Lauren [Natalie Alyn Lind]) into hiding, and providing them leverage to negotiate support from the Mutant Underground.
In a normal scenario, such as showcased in the opening six minutes - the Mutant Underground would not hesitate to shelter mutants, but the Strucker family comes with the unfortunate hitch of Reed being a prosecutor of mutants. It takes a lot of trust for the mutants, Marcos [Sean Teale], Lorna [Emma Dumont], Clarice [Jamie Chung] and John [Blair Redford] to agree to help. That's where Lorna's arrest in the opening sequence comes into play: it gives Reed something to leverage for his family's safety.
When the two plotlines converge, the family and the mutants aiding them are cornered in a multi-storey car park by the mutant law enforcement agency Sentinel Services, and hunted by some high-tech spider-like machines.
While Clarice succeeds in opening a portal to escape, Reed is struck by a bullet and unable to follow his family and the rest of the mutants through. Leaving the audience on a significant but interesting cliffhanger going into episode 2.
This was an excellent episode which for all its set-up and slow pacing early on, didn't feel overwrought or underplayed. I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing Lauren and Andy's unchecked mutant abilities evolve as they learn to harness them properly, while Caitlin's separation from Reed will offer both characters some excellent storylines this season - and that's without wondering how the Mutant Underground characters may be involved either.
There's some great stuff in The Gifted and great graphics yet to come from this new 10-episode FOX series. Don't think I missed Stan Lee's cameo. I saw you, Stan. We all did.
- Aired on Syfy, October 8 2017 at 21:00.