Face it, the X-Men are hot. And I’m not talking comic sales, I mean, physically, they’re truly Homo superior. If Rogue, Colossus, Angel, Psylocke and the rest of the gang ever get tired of protecting a world that hates and fears them, they could easily become supermodels.But, other mutants, like those who populate the world of The Gifted, don’t have it so easy. In “rX,” the second episode of Fox’s new X-Men series, we really get to explore how crappy life with the X-gene can be.
The episode begins by flashing back to one year ago. Our protagonists, the Strucker family, is enjoying a night out at the bowling alley. This is before parents Reed and Caitlin knew their children Lauren and Andy were mutants. But all bowlers quickly take notice of a young mutant in another lane who can’t stop vibrating. Ignorant teenagers are laughing at her, as the mutant’s father’s agitation increases. The situation eventually goes south and the mutant’s power wreaks havoc on the facility.
Reed instructs the father to take his child and go, rather than confront the bullies who taunted his daughter and pushed her to inflict so much damage. Lauren, disgusted, asks Reed why the victims in this situation were the ones who had to run.
I agree, Lauren–it’s bullshit.
From there, we flash forward and catch up with where we left off last week. Sentinel Services has taken Reed into custody, while his family is with the Mutant Underground. This episode is very much designed to develop Caitlin’s role as she and Eclipse infiltrate a hospital to secure drugs that can help get Blink’s powers under control.
That’s right, in typical X-Men fashion, we’ve got a mutant with powers on the fritz. It’s okay, though, as it allows for some pretty cool visuals. What would happen if an unconscious Blink opened one of her teleportation portals in the middle of street–in front of oncoming traffic?This week, we also get to spend more time with my favorite character (on The Gifted), Polaris. Now in a women’s prison with a power-dampening collar, Lorna’s looking for friends in a very hostile environment. Yep, it’s X-Men meets Orange is the New Black!
But seriously, I like what they’re doing with Polaris in this series. The more they push her into a corner, the more I root for her to go full Magneto’s daughter on all those who wronged her.
For X-Men fans, there are more clues as to what happened to the team. Based on what we learn of the “July 15 incident,” it sounds like there was some type of Civil War-level battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood that lead to multiple casualties. Certainly enough human casualties to shift the laws in the U.S. to totally screw over innocent mutants.
As Eclipse tells Caitlin, all it takes is for someone to prove mutants are dangerous and those civil rights they thought they had just disappear.
Overall, we’re two episodes into this series and I’m not bored yet, despite the lack of major X-Men characters. That’s because it’s clear this show’s creators have so much to say about being a mutant. No matter what decade it is, Marvel’s mutants remain relevant. Living in the Trump era may suck for pretty much everybody, but hey, it’s good for X-Men stories!
Also, based on “rX,” the Mutant Liberation Front exists in The Gifted universe. So many fans of Forearm are losing their mind right now.