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Last week’s episode of The Gifted was an anomaly in what is a great inaugural season so far. Episode four, ‘eXit strategy,’ has a lot of the things that has made the series really fun to watch. There’s a proper build-up to the big action scenes. Great character development, world-building, and there’s the introduction of Pulse in FOX’s X-men universe.

The Gifted Introduces Pulse

The beginning of the episode is a flashback of John, Marcos, and Pulse rescuing mutants from a mutant compound. The Sentinel Services shoots Pulse while he saves John and Marcos from gunfire. John believed that Pulse dead, but in the present day he’s still alive serving Sentinel Services as a mutant weapon. Now Turner and Sentinel Services use Pulse’s powers to make other mutants powerless when they go in to capture them.

Pulse working for Sentinel Services The Gifted
Pulse working for Sentinel Services

The Gifted’s introduction of Pulse is a clever move. Pulse comes in as an interesting plot device for our mutant heroes who constantly rely on their powers. In this episode, he takes away the mutants powers when they were trying to rescue Polaris and Reed. The Sentinel Services will use Pulse again against his will. His introduction also reveals how sinister Agent Turner and Sentinel Services are hunting mutants. So don’t think you’ve seen the last of Pulse, he’s likely to be Turner’s x-factor when he goes up against the mutants again.

Marcos’ Cartel Backstory

Episode four, ‘eXit strategy,’ dives deeper into Marcos backstory giving us a new perspective of the character. It goes back to before he met Lorna and before he started saving mutants. Marcos was basically a member of a family-owned drug cartel moving drugs from Mexico into the US. However, the show makes it clear that Marcos wasn’t only just a part of a cartel-like he was some random gang member. The Gifted made it clear Marcos was apart of a family before he joined the underground mutants.

Carmen, Marcos' ex-lover and leader of the cartel The Gifted
Carmen, Marcos’ ex-lover and leader of the cartel

Carmen, Marcos’ ex-fiancé and Queen of the Cartel, is Marcos’ connection to the underground of the drug world. Although much of his backstory is unknown before he joined the mutant underground Marcos has deep ties the cartel he almost married into. Furthermore, Carmen still holds her breakup with Marcos against him as a sign of betrayal. This isn’t good news for Marcos considering Carmen is introduced as another antagonist in the series. She’s vengeful, cunning, and the moment Marcos walks into her club asking her for help she gets one up on him. Whatever help Marcos received from Carmen was worth it, but in the long run, his reconnection with his Queen-pin ex-girlfriend will certainly raise the stakes for the mutants.

Reed and Polaris’ Big Breakout

There was a great build-up to the final scenes of this episode of The Gifted. It wasn’t completely predictable, it had some nice surprises, and the final action set was great. The show used some character troupes from the last episode to build up the anticipation. We didn’t know if Andrew’s powers were going to work when it was time for the plan. We didn’t know if Blink’s powers were going to work with considering her love triangle is turning sour. Finally, the twist with the introduction of Pulse gives more reasons to care about how the characters will get out of a situation without their powers.

Reed and Polaris in Sentinel Services custody The Gifted
Reed and Polaris in Sentinel Services custody

The best part of this episode was Reed and Polaris working together to breakout. Reed is telling Polaris to take the screws out of his leg in a saw-like peace offering, and Polaris being a badass. Polaris is definitely the strongest mutant on this show, and the final scenes reveal why. The parallels between Polaris and Magneto become more obvious when she stops the bullets with her powers. All cool things aside, the entire build-up to this week’s episode paid off big time when Polaris using her powers to save herself and everyone else. The action set is great so far all around.

Get Ready for Turner’s Backstory Next Week

Everything worked well in ‘eXit strategy.’ The pacing built a lot of tension leading up to the climatic ending. The series expands on John’s backstory by introducing Pulse. Marcos’ past comes back to haunt him with the introduction of Carmen and the cartel he almost married into. Marcos and John had a lot of great character work in this episode. The Gifted snuck in some character work for Agent Turner as well.

At the end of ‘eXit strategy,’ Agent Turner seem unusually desperate to catch the mutants when they escaped. His desperation came across as unusual because he seemed uncharacteristically frightened. The reason for his uncharacteristic fear and panic at the end of ‘eXit strategy’ must be the July 15th incident. In a preview for next week’s episode “boXed in”, The Gifted is going to explore the July 15th incident. The July 15th incident is the inciting incident for the hostility towards mutants in the world of The Gifted. The preview also makes it clear that during the July 15th incident Agent Turner’s daughter died. This is probably his motivation to capture mutants for the series, and it gives us a better understanding of the work in The Gifted.

The Gifted aires Mondays 9/8c on FOX.