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More Marvel Mutants with ‘The Gifted’
October 2, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 
 
There’s a strong story at the heart of Fox’s The Gifted, the latest beachhead in Marvel’s invasion of television. You just have to wait for it.

The Gifted premieres Monday at 9 p.m. ET and the first episode feels like it comes in two pieces.

One part takes us to a classic Marvel world in which some of the characters are mutants with singular supernatural powers. That includes things like magnetism, teleportation, and what seems to be a really powerful loud voice.

This leaves the mutants individually limited and more powerful as a group, which is a good thing because the American government is trying to track them all down and lock them away.  

It isn’t that they’re bad people, though they’ve stretched a few laws. They’re mostly just different, and being different can trigger fear and loathing in others.

So yes, following standard Marvel practice, this comic book tale has metaphoric elements.

Still, the opening of The Gifted will likely bewilder many viewers who aren’t already immersed in the Marvel universe, preferably the X-Men part.

The long opening riff of The Gifted is, frankly, hard to follow, and only partly because much of it is filmed in dark shadows.

The second part, which shows up partway through the opening episode, gives us a more familiar drama involving seemingly ordinary people. To be frank, again, this comes as a relief even when it’s grim stuff.

Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) is a district attorney whose job includes prosecuting mutants. He’s under some pressure in that position, which has contributed to his recent split from his wife Caitlin (Amy Acker).

They remain cordial, and they’re both devoted to their children, teenage Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and her kid brother Andy (Percy Hynes White).

Andy, a small, shy kid, is getting bullied at school. He seems to be coping with it, sarcastically calling the bullies “my fan club,” but then the bullies push him too far and we learn that Andy has a secret.

So does Lauren.

And suddenly the Strucker world has been turned upside down and inside out.

In the space of a few minutes, Reed goes from someone who executes the mandate of the system to someone who suddenly understands how the system looks from the other side

Hint: not great.

This brings us back to the mutant crowd, which includes leader John Proudstar/Thunderbird (Blair Redford), teleporter Clarice Fong/Blink (Jamie Chung), troubled Lorna Dane/Polaris (Emma Dumont), and Marcos Diaz/Eclipse (Sean Teale) who does do something illegal.

He smuggles mutants into Mexico, where they will not be subject to Yankee justice. No word on how he plans to deal with the border wall.

The Gifted runs for 10 episodes, which will largely trace the journey of the Strucker family while touching on other issues faced by those who are different.

The creators have said viewers might want to pay particular attention to the journey of Caitlin from suburban Mom to a soldier in a war she never saw coming.

Maybe she can compare notes with Madison from Fear the Walking Dead.

The Gifted should get easier to follow as it goes along, though it promises to feature a lot of electromagnetism and menacing special-effects events caused either by mutants or people hunting mutants.

A predisposition to understanding the Marvel world will help.

 
 
 
 
 
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