Jeremy Stokes

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TV REVIEW: ‘The Runaways’ – ‘Kingdom’

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

Spoiler Warning for Season 1, Episode 4 of Hulu’s “The Runaways”

The recent episode of “The Runaways” is by far the best one yet. No more secrets are held and everyone lays their cards out on the table. We start off this episode with a flashback from 18 years ago. We see Geoffrey Wilder in prison with a friend named Darrius. They are talking when a guard tells Geoffrey that his lawyer is here to see him. Then Geoffrey is lead to a room where a well groomed white man is waiting for him. A few seconds later, his lawyer Catherine Wilder shows up. Although they are not married at this time in the show, it does reveal any early part in their relationship. The well groomed man remains unnamed through the show, which is annoying, but he tells Geoffrey about a piece of land in the hood that his uncle left him before he died and wanted to buy it from him for five million dollars. Geoffrey tells him he wants to be a partner in the business that he has planned for that property, but the well groomed man tells him it wouldn’t work if he’s locked up. Catherine then proceeds to tell the man that he can be free in a month if Geoffrey can be a partner. Geoffrey returns to the prison population and tells Darrius that he will take care of his family if Darrius takes the fall for Geoffrey’s crime so he can get out and Darrius agrees.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

We return to the present, where Nico has called Gert, Karolina and Molly to meet her at the coffee shop where Alex was kidnapped. She reveals to them the magic staff she stole from her mother and lets them know it can lead them to Alex. Karolina volunteers to drive and Gert says she’ll call Chase on the way. We are then taken to inside the SUV of the people who kidnapped Alex. It’s Darrius and two of his friends. One of which is a boy named Andre, who is the same age as Alex. Darrius tells Alex about the deal his dad made with him in prison and how he promised he would take care of him and his family when he got out, but Geoffrey lied about the promise. Darrius calls Geoffrey to let him know that he has his son and he wants one million dollars for his safe return. Geoffrey leaves the house clearly angry and calls an unknown contact and tells him he needs three guys and an unmarked car. Meanwhile Chase is with his dad as they work together to build a better version of the fistoguns. In the previous episodes so far, Victor Stein has been portrayed to be a jerk and a man to be feared and avoided in the house, but seeing him and his son bond together while building the fistoguns shows that he does have a human side to him. It is during this time that Chase finally checks his phone and sees the missed calls. He calls her back and Gert tells him that Alex has been kidnapped and they are chasing the car and she will text him the address.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

Geoffrey shows up at the assigned location to do the trade for Alex along with the three guys he brought. A shoot out ensues, leaving many dead or injured. Andre is about to shoot Geoffrey, but Alex still has the gun he took from his dad’s office and shoots Andre to protect his dad. Darrius sneaks up from behind and takes Alex with him. The gang finally catches up to the SUV and Nico gets out of the car and tries to use the Staff of One to immobilize it, but for some reason it doesn’t work. Molly gets out and the shock of everyone reveals her super strength ability by lifting the SUV off it’s back tires. Darrius and another gang member get out of the car to investigate. Darrius is about to shoot Molly when Karolina takes off her bracelet and fires her solar beams at him, distracting him and making the other gang member flee. It doesn’t last long, most likely because its dark, but right at that moment, Chase arrives with the fistoguns and fires laser beams at Darrius knocking him down. Darrius gets back up and starts firing at them, but Nico uses her magical staff to cast a barrier of protection around them. Darrius sees that he is clearly out matched and flees.

Alex returns to his dad and sees him trying to help Andre. Andre is dead, but he is bleeding bad and needs medical attention. Alex wants to help, but Geoffrey demands he goes home. Geoffrey then gets on his phone and tells them he has a live one, but he is fading fast and they need to call an emergency Pride meeting. Alex rejoins the group at the coffee shop as they are discussing how awesome their abilities are. He convinces them to help him save Andre, who was one of the men who kidnapped him because he is pretty sure that their parents are going to use Andre as a sacrifice. The gang returns to Alex’s house and go through the secret passage only to find that the Pride is not there, which means they took Andre somewhere else to be the sacrifice. Alex is pissed and storms off to his room with Nico following him. Alex and Nico share a moment and start making out until Karolina interrupts them to tell them that Chase found a hidden camera in Geoffrey’s office. There is no actual footage on the camera, but Alex finds out that all the footage that was recorded on the camera is being sent to a server inside the company the Minoru family owns.

We are then taken to the Church of Gibborim, where the Pride is performing the sacrifice. The Sacrifice is a success and Leslie Dean (Karolina’s mother) informs everyone that they can leave. Nico returns home where her mother sees her with the Staff of One. Tina is not mad and is actually happy that Nico found out about the staff. She tells Nico that she is the only other person on the planet who the staff will work for. Back at the Stein household, Victor shows Chase an old invention he was working on a long time ago. It’s supposed to be able to show images of the future. Victor says he thinks he finally got it to work and tries to get it to show Los Angeles of the future. When the machine appears not to work Victor lashes out and throws the machine on the floor. Victor reveals to Chase that he has brain cancer, and that he hasn’t told his wife aka Chase’s mother. Chase and Victor leave the lab, and we are shown that the machine does work and it shows a future Los Angeles being destroyed. In the last part of this episode, Leslie Dean returns to the room of the Gibborim to find the man they have been sacrificing teens for is back to full health. Even more surprising is this is the same nameless man who visited Geoffrey in prison eighteen years ago offering him money for the land he owned. He and Leslie start hugging and kissing showing that they are very much in love.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

This was the best episode so far. The battle where everyone reveals their powers was super awesome and at this point in the series, everyone knows their parents are up to no good and know that their parents doing illegal things on the side or have secrets about their family. The show is taking a big turn away from the comic books, which is not bad, but it is making it hard to track where it is going or heading to. The team pulling together to help one another is a big character development from how they started the series when they hated each other. In this episode, we also get more of a look into the lives and problems the parents are facing. I am hoping they keep up this character development and excitement in the next episode.

“The Runaways” is currently streaming on Hulu with new episodes debuting on Tuesdays. 

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘outfoX’

Spoilers Ahead for “The Gifted” Season 1, Episode 9

Photo courtesy of 20th Television/FOX.

This week’s episode starts off with a flashback to about a year ago of the Strucker family at a park having a picnic. Andy tries to teach his sister Lauren how to skateboard, but she looses her footing and falls off. Andy grabs her hand to catch her and in that moment, they already sense a connection and see a aura of light around their hands. The parents don’t see it and the kids brush it off as a weird phenomenon.

We jump back to the present, where Reed is upstairs at Mutant Underground at HQ reflecting on his dad, who he lost in the last episode. Downstairs, the others are discussing going after the Trask lab that is turning mutants into weapons. The team doesn’t want to rush things and want to take it slow and make sure they have a plan before rushing in, but Esme, the team’s new telepath, is pushing the team to move now and tells them that her family is locked up inside that building. Later that night when Lorna (aka Polaris) is sleeping, Esme uses her powers to give Lorna a nightmare about Marcos (aka Eclispe) and her baby being locked up in the facility. On a side note, Esme acts really weird through this whole episode and I don’t think she has the group’s best interests in mind. At Sentinel Services, we find out that Dr. Ahab, who is also know as Dr. Campbell, is in the hospital from the blast of Otto Strucker in the last episode. Jace Turner has a strong feeling that the Mutants now know about the Hound program and might soon attack the lab. It’s pretty convenient how he now has this feeling and has no evidence to back this up, but I am pretty sure the show just put this in to help move the story along.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

The Mutant Underground does their research and learns that a lot of the employees of Trask hang out at a nearby bar, and Lorna and Sonya (aka Dreamer) go to the bar to see if they can pull any information out of a guard about the security the facility has. They tell the group back at HQ that they learned that the facility runs on a lot of electrical security. The building that provides them power is a few miles away and if they want to knock out the security, they are going to have to attack the power station first. Again, Esme begins pushing them to go in blind, but Johnny (aka Thunderbird) calms her down. Catlin and Reed tell Lauren and Andy about the power their grandparents possessed when they held hands and want to test it out to see if they possess the same ability. At first, when Andy and Lauren hold hands, it doesn’t work; the second time they try, their bodies start to glow slowly and they get brighter. Their parents separate their hands before they can cause any serious damage, but describe the experience like they became one and if they had continued, they would have brought down the whole building, killing everyone. Esme convinces the group to use Lauren and Andy to attack the power station while another group attacks the lab.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Lorna, Esme, Marcos and Johnny go to attack the lab facility while Andy, Lauren, Sonya and Clarice (aka Blink) go to attack the power station. Jace once again magically suspects that the mutants are attacking the lab the same day they are putting together a tactical team. The operation for the Underground is going well at first, but then the team gets lost in the power station and Sentinel Services shows up. They start to run and get picked off one by one. Blink is the first to get captured, followed by Dreamer until only Lauren and Andy are left. Lauren suggests they use their combined powers to escape and Andy agrees, but he stops at the last minute, saying he doesn’t want to kill innocent people in the process by bringing down the whole building. The show ends with them getting captured by Sentinel Services.

This episode was good and ends on a big cliffhanger, but I don’t like how unrealistic it is in Jace getting lucky and just happening to know when and where the mutants were going to be. I also would have liked if we got to see how it would have looked if Andy and Lauren went through with it and used their powers combined. I now wonder what sinister plan Dr. Campbell has for the Strucker kids since he wanted them specifically. It’s a strong episode though, and we are nearing the season finale, so things are only going to get better from here!

“The Gifted” airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.

TV REVIEW: ‘The Runaways’ – ‘Fifteen’

Photo by Marvel Television/Hulu.

Spoiler Warning for Season 1, Episode 4 of Hulu’s “The Runaways”

I would have to say this week’s episode of “The Runaways” was the best one yet. So much happened and we got a mini fight scene in this episode, so it’s really good. This episode starts off with a flashback of the day Nico’s older sister Amy died. Nico walks in her room to wake her up for school only to find her sister unresponsive. She notices an empty pill bottle next to her and starts screaming, which makes her parents run in. Nico freaks out and runs to her room to grab her cellphone to call 911, but as soon as she dials, her mom walks in with the staff of one and uses her magic to deactivate the phone and put Nico to sleep. Nico then awakes to find herself locked in her room. She uses the house’s video monitoring system to see into her mother’s office. Her mother hands a white man with a bald head an brown envelope filled with money and all he says is that he’ll take care of it. We later on find out this man is the chief of police showing that the Pride owns the cops.

When they switch to the present day, all six of The Runaways are video chatting, talking about how it’s weird the cops found the body of the girl at the beach that they saw their parents murdered. They all start arguing and jumping to conclusions until Chase ends the video call with “I’m going to protect myself, I suggest y’all do the same.” It’s in this scene we can see Chase building the iconic Fistoguns from the comic books series. We see Alex go to his father’s office only to find that his father has moved the switch that opens the entrance to the secret lair. While poking around to find the new switch to open it, Alex finds that one of the drawers in his dad’s desk has a false bottom. When he opens it, he finds a lot of cash and a pistol sitting on top. This scene was done very well as we can see a little bit of his dad’s personality come out in Alex. We are then moved on to the Yorkes family household where Stacey and Dale are discussing them finding the missing dinosaur (aka Old Lace) that got away in the last episode. In the meantime, the rest of the Pride members have called for an important meeting to get a replacement sacrifice. We see Victor Stein pulls up at the Geoffrey’s home with Robert Minoru beside him. Victor is driving a van and claims to have snatched a young teen girl to use as a sacrifice, but when he opens the van it is empty, pissing off Robert and Geoffrey. This is a very important scene as it shows us that Victor is slowly losing his mind and his grip on reality.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

Nico has been reading her late sister’s diary and is pretty sure now that her parents killed her like the Pride killed that girl they saw. She approaches Alex at school and informs him that she is going to the police station after school to tell the police everything she knows. She asks him to come with her for support and as a witness. Alex tries to warn her that they don’t have enough evidence so the police won’t believe what they tell them, plus it will only reveal to the parents about what they saw. Nico is displeased with Alex’s response and tells him she is going to the police with or without him. In episode 2, Chase got into a fight a few fellow members of his high school lacrosse team after he saw them try to have sex with a passed out Karolina as a party. The lacrosse team approaches him asking for an apology and end up insulting Karolina and spreading rumors about her around school, causing Chase to get into another fist fight with the team, which makes Karolina suspicious. At the Church of Gibborim, Karolina’s mom Leslie Dean is shown having an intimate relationship with the Gibborim as she undresses and has sex with him. Her husband Frank has been suspicous of her activities for the last few weeks now and when he sees her, he calls her out on having an affair. She lies to him and tells him that she has been praying for him because she feels he is ready to go Ultra (which is the highest level in the church, but really it’s a code word for he is the next one to be sacrificed).

After school, Karolina and Gert team up at Karolina’s house to see if they can find a connection between church members going Ultra and the sacrifices their parents are performing. Karolina finds a file on Ultra members on her mom’s computer, but it is encrypted. Gert copies the file on a flash drive so she can pass it on to Alex, who might be able to break the encryption. Chase comes by Karolina’s house later on and tells her what happened at the party and how he saved her, for which she is thankful for. She also removes her bracelet and her body starts glowing to her and Chase’s amazement. At the police station, Alex meets up with Nico to confront the police when they see the same man who appeared at Nico’s house the day her sister died.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

Nico’s mother Tina Minoru is up to no good at this point. We see her back at her office meeting with a white guy with a full beard covered in tattoos. We find out his name is Kincaid and that he has brought her some information that she has paid him to find for her. It is not clear what that information is or who the information is about yet, but that will become clear soon. Back at the Yorkes household, Molly is home alone when she is alerted by strange noises in the house. When she goes to investigate, she is startled by the dinosaur Old Lace. A mini fight ensues with Molly using her gift of super strength along with a kick to send Old Lace flying into the ceiling. Molly makes a run down stairs to get out, but Old Lace has regained composure and has cut her off before she can reach the front door. They both stare each other down for a moment, both sizing the other one up. Molly clentches her fist and both her and Old Lace charge at each other right when Gert bursts through the front door screaming stop, instantly freezing the fight. Gert barks a few more commands at Old Lace and notices that the dinosaur actually listens to her every command. Just as they are figuring this out, Stacey and Dale return home to see their big secret has been found out. They lock the dinosaur back into it’s cage and are about to explain to Molly and Gert why they have a dinosaur and what has really been going on, but they are interrupted by a surprise visit from Tina. Tina informs them that she knows about their plans to run and get away from the Pride. She lets them know that if they attempt to run she will find them and that the punishment will be fatal.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television/Hulu.

While things are turning upside down for the Yorkes, Chase is at home in his father’s lab working on the fistoguns. He is caught by his father, who is surprisingly not mad at all. In fact he wants to help his son build and improve on the current model. Alex and Nico sit at a coffee shop waiting for Alex’s laptop to crack the encryption on the Church of Gibborim files. When it finally does, they find a file called Runaways and learn that their parents have been kidnapping runaway teens off the street and using them as sacrifices and have been doing so for 15 years. Alex hears his car alarm go off outside and goes to turn it off while Nico calls Karolina to tell her the news. Nico hears a scuffle outside and when she goes to check she sees Alex disappear into a black SUV that speeds away and tells Karolina that Alex has been kidnapped.

This was a really good episode. I have a pretty good bet that the guys who took Alex are those vampires the teens met up with earlier in the comics. I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t doubt it the way the show is going. Finding out the Yorkes were planning on running was a big surprise, one that wasn’t in the comics. I loved this episodes mini fight between Molly and Old Lace and hope we can get more full on fights as the series progresses. So far Hulu has not dissapointed in presentation with graphics and settings and the writers have not dissapointed with story telling and plot details. I think its safe to say The Runaways is a winner!

“The Runaways” is currently streaming on Hulu with new episodes debuting on Tuesdays. 

TV REVIEW: ‘The Runaways’ – ‘Reunion,’ ‘Rewind’ & ‘Destiny’

Spoiler Warning for the first three episodes of Hulu’s “The Runaways”

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

The Runaways recently dropped on Hulu and man let me tell you it was so much better than I expected. Hulu only dropped three episodes on Nov. 21 with the promise of more episodes being dropped again next Tuesday, so it kind of sucks that they aren’t dropping the whole season like Netflix, but I’ll take my Runaways binge-watching anyway I can get it. I have a lot to tell and a lot to cover in terms of the changes they made from the comic books so what I describe won’t necessarily be in order, but you’ll get a basic sense of what to expect.

The show opens up with a teenage girl who has surprisingly ran away from home. As she is making her way through the streets, it appears she is being attacked by two guys who only speak Spanish. Just when it seems like they have the upper hand on her, a white van pulls up and two women wearing all white step out and subdue the men with tasers. They lead the girl back to the van, where it seems other people they have picked up are waiting. The women tell the girl they have food and shelter and can help. At first the girl is hesitant, but then reluctantly gets in the van. As the van pulls away, you can clearly see the title “The Church of Gibborim” plastered on the side of the van. It is then revealed that the two men were trying to save her, not harm her.

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

The show then fast forwards six months later and takes us through each of the main cast of characters, one by one, showing us their personalities and the relationship they have with their parents. Strangely enough it seems like the relationship everyone has with each other centers around a character that has never appeared in the comic books and was completely made up for the TV series. This character is Amy Minoru. She is the daughter of Tina Minoru and Robert Minoru. She also the older sister of Nico Minoru. So far in the series, the character is only mentioned by word of mouth and is only seen through pictures. It is shown that at the time when we are dropping in on these characters’ lives that Amy has been dead for two years now. It also shows that this character was so important that her death has changed the kids and the parents lives permanently. The parents of course still get together once a year for their Pride meeting and that the kids would all hang out together, but after Amy’s death, the kids don’t hang out, let alone talk to each other anymore. The show has so far not revealed how she died or anything else about her character other than she was a star tennis player when she was alive. I am not sure yet, but for some reason I think Amy might have been used as one of the Pride’s sacrifices. I am not sure yet and I am pretty sure the show will tell us later on down the line, but I am just calling it now ahead of time.

After Amy’s death, it seems Nico has taken on a goth personality in every sense of the word. She is wearing the clothes, listening to the music and even performing magic rituals. You could say its because of Amy’s death, but then you could argue that it’s in her bloodline since her mother is a witch. In the comics, her father was also gifted in magic, but that aspect seems to be absent here. If his is a master in the arcane arts, it has yet to reveal itself in the show. Speaking of which, her parents are quite interesting. Nico’s mom (Tina Minoru) is a tiger mom down to the literal T. She is a brilliant innovator, a ruthless CEO and a perfectionist. Nico’s dad Robert Minoru seems to be a man who works for the company that Tina owns. The death of Amy has strained this family the most. So much so that it seems they don’t really talk to each other anymore. It seems like even though they all live in the same house, they go on living their separate lives and live more like they roommates rather than a family.

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

Chase Stein and his family is another story. Chase is a lacrosse-playing jock, who shows brilliance in engineering, but is coming up short in other subjects academically. Chase’s father is Victor Stein, an engineering genius and from what we’ve seen of the household, an abusive father. Chase’s mom Janet Stein seems to be a stay at home mom. It is clear that Victor is an abusive father and husband and both Chaze and his mother are afraid of him.

One of the most interesting changes to the show from the comics is Gert Yorkes and Molly Hernandez, who are both being raised by Stacey Yorkes and Dale Yorkes, bioengineers that have sort of a hippie personality. Gert is a social justice warrior, while Molly is a carefree spirit. We learn that Molly was adopted by the Yorkes after her parents died in a fire. This is definitely not in the comic books where both of her parents were alive, but I guess this strengthens the strong bond she has with Gert that she had in the comics. I’ve also learn due to Fox owning the X-Men that Molly is not a mutant in the series. Molly has hit puberty and these changes to her body have activated her powers of super strength, which makes her super tired after she uses it. Since Molly isn’t a mutant, the show has not yet explained what is happening to her and how she is getting these powers, although the producers have said that this will be explained later on in the series. We are shown the funeral for her parents though and it seems that they have not died in a simple fire. It is speculated that the fire was no accident was caused on purpose and set up by the Mionru’s for what reason is unknown yet, but I am sure that it will be delved into more as the series continues.

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

Karolina Dean is the daughter of Leslie and Frank Dean. She is your picture perfect good grades and well behaved child who is burdened by her privileged upbringing and wants to pursue her own desires. Leslie runs and owns The Church of Gibborim along side her husband Frank, who is trying to pursue a career as an actor. The Church is a front to lure in desperate people who the Pride can use as sacrifices. Leslie is an alien and so is her daughter. A major change they made from the comic book was Frank was also an alien and he was a member of the Pride, but he is a human in the show and has no knowledge of the Pride’s true purpose. Also in the comic book there is no Church of Gibborim and both Leslie and Frank are successful actors in Hollywood.

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

Last, but not least is my favorite character Alex Wilder. Alex is the leader of the group and despite having no powers, he is a tactical genius like his mastermind parents. His parents are Catherine Wilder, who is a successful lawyer and Geoffrey, a successful business man. Those professions are really a front though as Catherine and Geoffrey are shown to be the heads of a mafia organization. In fact it was Geoffrey who was the first to suspect the Mionru’s for setting up the fire that killed Molly’s parents.

The show starts off with a Pride meeting at the Wilder residence. While looking for liquor in Geoffrey’s office, the kids stumble upon a secret entrance and witness the Pride murder the girl that was taken by the Church of Gibborim at the beginning of the show as a sacrifice. They have all decided to investigate what their parents are really up to and why are they killing people. In the comic book, the Gibborim were these deities that needed human souls to make them more powerful, but in the TV series, the Gibborim seems to be one person who needs human souls to heal himself. This person seems to be in a secret room in The Church of Gibborim, which only Leslie knows about. At the last Pride meeting, the one the teens witnessed Victor Stein was having trouble with the machine that is suppose to kill the sacrifice and transfer her soul to the Gibborim. Fearing it would make him look weak in front of the other Pride members he kept it a secret. When the sacrifice lived, he also kept that a secret and killed the teen and disposed of the body himself. After finding out that the soul transfer did not work, the Pride settles on the solution that they are going to need another sacrifice.

Photo courtesy of Marvel/Hulu.

I love how this shows takes a drastic shift from the comic book to make the show fresh and interesting. It seems like the woman of the Pride organization are the ones who are in charge and calling the shots running on a matriarchal system. In the comics, everyone was equally powerful, but it was Geoffrey who ultimately led the Pride. Another big change that never happened in the comic book is Robert Minoru and Janet Stein are having an affair. No one else in the story knows so far, but it looks pretty clear that they plan to divorce their significant other and end up with each other. The show doesn’t just show the circumstances the teens are going through, but the problems and situations the parents have to face as well, something that wasn’t touched on in the comic book. The show like the comic book is a perfect blend of humor and seriousness, where it feels like death and exposure is around every turn.

“The Runaways” is currently streaming on Hulu with new episodes debuting on Tuesdays. 

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘threat of eXtinction’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Spoilers Ahead for “The Gifted” Season 1, Episode 8

Put on your big boy or girl pants and strap yourself in, because we have a lot to cover in this episode of “The Gifted,” but you probably already knew that by the name of the episode. So first off I want to name “The Gifted” as the “King of flashbacks,” because this episode started off with a flashback that takes place in London, England in 1952. The flashback shows a guy sitting at a desk in a high rise apartment surrounded by newspapers with titles such as Mutant Terrorists, Evil Twins and Mutant Terror Attack. A female character enters the room just as Interpol breaks in to arrest the two. The two hold hands and smile as a bright light blocks the view of what’s making the officers scream out in terror. Flash-forward to the present, Reed sits down with his family to tell them that from the information they have gathered, they have learned that Sentinel Services is working closely with Trask Industries, and that Trask Industries is doing experiments on mutants and turning them into weapons. Reed tells his family that his dad used to work for Trask Industries years ago and that he is going to seek him out to get some answers. This comes as a shock to the family since he told them for years that his dad was dead, but that was a lie. Reed’s father never showed love or affection to him and his mother treated them badly until his mother finally left him. Reed hasn’t spoken to his father since, but now he needs to talk to him to get some answers. We transition to Johnny (aka Thunderbird), Marcos (aka Eclispe) and Clarice (aka Blink) heading out to a church that is hiding mutant refugees for them to pick up and take back to base. Lorna (aka Polaris) was supposed to come but, she is still mad at Marcos for working with the Cartel in the last episode.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

When they arrive at the church, one of the refugees talks with Johnny. Her name is Esme and she is a telepath and she has been getting some weird readings from a mutant refugee among them. She points out a quiet Asian female in a grey sweatshirt named Chloe. Johnny goes to confront her, but realizes she has the same tattoo on her arm as his old friend Wes had. At that point we learn that her power is super speed and she has some kung-fu skills to match. She starts freaking out and attacking any and everyone. Marcos traps her with his solar powers while Clarice opens a portal for Johnny to attack from a blind spot and knock her out. Back at HQ, they have her locked up in a cell and figured out that she is a spy sent by Sentitel Services to find the Mutant Underground and expose them. Johnny leaves with Reed to help him track down his father to get answers about Trask Industries. Johnny leaves Marcos and Lorna in charge of interrogating Chloe for information. We move over to Clarice, who in this episode develops a relationship with a little girl with blue skin named Nora. We later learn that Nora was living at the foster home that Clarice used to live at before it was raided by Sentinel Services. Nora saw all of her friends killed in front of her and she is the only survivor of the attack. Clarice learns that Nora is having problems sleeping, because every time she sleeps, she dreams about the attack and sees her friends dying over and over again. Clarice decides to put personal feelings aside and goes to Sonya (aka Dreamer) for help by asking her to use her powers to take the memory away so she can sleep peacefully, which Sonya agrees too.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

The team has trouble interrogating the speedster Chloe, so Lorna takes drastic measures and uses her powers to hover knives over Chloe, threatening to use them if she doen’t start talking. Marcos jumps in and starts arguing with Lorna about how she is going to far. Lorna backs off, but reminds Marcos that he used to do the same thing for the Cartel and from which it seems he is still doing. Marcos figures out that Chloe is on Kick. Kick is a drug specifically designed for mutants. It boosts their powers for awhile, but it’s super addictive and hard to quit. They use this info to help them get her to talk. Andy and Lauren work together to use their powers to restrain her while their mothers injects her with a drug to make her sleep. Afterwards, Polaris straps Chloe down to a table with metal bars. Catlin then injects her with some medicine to help wear off the effects of the drugs. They hope that after the drugs wear off, she will be willing to talk. When Chloe awakes she is in a clear state of mind and willing to cooperate, but can’t talk. It is believed that they did something to her at Trask to keep her from talking if she was ever captured. Catlin remembers the telepath Esme and how she can read minds and goes to get her assistance. Esme uses her powers and finds out that Trask Industries killed her husband and took her baby. Esme is also able to pull up the location of the lab that they used to turn her and other mutants like her into weapons. Chloe then dies shortly after that.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Reed and Johnny arrive in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Reed’s dad has opened up an antiques store after he stopped working at Trask Industries. After a very uncomfortable reunion Otto, who is Reed’s estranged father, talks about their family tree and how it ties into the events that are happening today. Otto tells Reed that his his father Andreas Strucker and his sister Andrea Strucker (which is Otto’s mother…yeah I know…incest) were terrorists and they were mutants. He tells Reed that Lauren and Andy have the same powers as they did, but when they hold each others hands and use their powers they became known as Fenris, meaning The Wolf. Otto then tells Reed that he himself is a mutant and he didn’t want burden his son when he was a mutant so he worked at Trask Industries to develop a cure for the mutant gene. All of his experiments failed but only one was a success and that success was a serum that only worked on Reed suppressing his mutant gene. Otto was hoping that the effects would be passed down to his children, but now he knows that failed.

As they continue talking they are interrupted by Johnny who informs them that somehow Sentinel Services has tracked them down to the shop and that they brought Wes. Otto goes downstairs to see if he can hold off Sentinel Services, but before he does, he tells Reed to protect Lauren and Andy and to protect the world from them. Sentinel Services want to search the building, but Otto won’t let them. He starts using his powers (which it looks like the same powers that Eclipse has) on them to get them to leave. For some reason it seems that Wes’ power to suppress other mutant powers does not work on him. Sentinel Services resort to gun violence and shoot him twice in the chest. This causes Otto to use his powers at full blast, blowing up half of the building. Sentinel Services leaves in retreat, leaving Johnny and Reed their chance to escape. As they leave out, Reed is in grief over seeing his dead father’s body on the ground, dying to protect him. Johnny also takes a loss as he sees his friend Wes was caught in the blast and dies in Johnny’s arms.

This episode was really good. We got learn about the Strucker family tree even though is was gross for involving incest, but we also got to see Esme, who is a telepath from the comic books and the mutant drug kick, which is also from the comic books. Esme was able to get the location of the lab, so I am pretty sure next week’s episode is going to involve an attack on the lab, which will be really cool. There should be much more action to come in the next few episodes since we are nearing the end of the season. This was episode eight and season one has a total of 13 episodes.

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘eXtreme measures’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Spoilers Ahead for “The Gifted” Season 1, Episode 6

This week’s episode of “The Gifted” is a little slow, which is inevitable because at some point all shows have that one episode that has more talking than action to build up to a much bigger point in the story. This week’s episode was that point for “The Gifted,” but by the way the show is going, I think it will be worth it to see how it plays it in future episodes. This week’s episode started off with another flashback. I’m not going to lie, I don’t mind the flashbacks as they gives us insight into the story and why some characters are the way they are and so what they do, but I will say this show has more flashbacks than any other show I have seen before.

Anyhow, this week’s episode started off with a flashback from a few years ago of when Marcos (aka Eclipse) first met Johnny (aka Thunderbird) and Lorna (aka Polaris). Marcos walks into a diner, and Johnny and Lorna are sitting at a booth waiting for him. They tell him that they heard about the smuggling work he has been doing for the Cartel and want to know if he would be interested in using his skills to help the Mutant Underground. It is in this scene that we see Lorna’s hint of attraction to Marcos and how he went from cartel smuggler to mutant freedom fighter. We then are taken back to the present day, beginning where we left off in the last episode of Marcos’s ex, Carmen, threatening to him of the consequences of going back on his deal to work for her. He reluctantly agrees and tells her he will meet her tomorrow. In the morning, the team is gathered to discuss the various things they are working on. Johnny talks with Sonya (aka Dreamer) about how even though they are packed to the max, they will have to expect more refugees in the coming weeks since Sentinel Services are on a full-blown hunt for mutants.

He also talks with Reed about the files he and Marcos stole from the government building in the last episode, the paper files do show that they are capturing certain mutants, but what for and how they are brainwashing them, that information is on the hardrives which are encrypted. Reed is confident he will be able to break the encryption, but it will take some time. Marcos uses a cover story of going out to gather supplies as a cover story to go meet Carmen. Lorna offers to go with him, but he says that she must stay behind to continue her training of the mutants they have to be fighters. We see Lauren and her relationship with Wes building in this episode. It is clear they are not hiding their attraction for each other as her whole family can see it; but as Reed is going over some of the files they gathered from the government building and he finds Wes has a criminal record. Now on a personal note, I feel like this is the weakest part of the story.

It is stated that the Mutant Underground doesn’t forgive certain things like unnecessary murder, rape, and big crimes; other than that, they ask you just to be truthful, but Wes’s file show petty theft and breaking and entering. Reed being a father, I guess, now has ammunition to use for his daughter not to see Wes anymore. Which he does bring up, but Lauren points out how everyone at the base is categorized as a criminal just for being born a mutant, which I totally agree with her on. It makes it even weirder when she confronts him about it and he admits they are true and she acts like he is such a liar. He even tell her that his parents kicked him out when they found out he was a mutant and he was living on the streets eating out of dumpsters. The only people who would take him in was this gang that he joined so he helped them with some of their crimes for a place to eat and a warm bed to sleep in. Which I think anybody can understand, but Lauren and he father still act like he is a bad person.

Johnny goes on a little mission of his own in this week. In the last episode, Clarice (aka Blink) ran off because she was mad that Dreamer put a memory in her head without her permission and everyone was keeping it a secret from her. Johnny decides to track her down before Sentinel Services finds her. He does find her, but she makes it clear that she is not coming back. She also brings up the fact that when she was having her seizure in Episode Two, she uncontrollably kept opening up a portal to a certain dirt road, but she can’t remember where it leads to. Johnny offers to help her, which she at first refuses, but after he points out the obvious (which is she would find it quicker if she accepted his help), she gives in.

We cut to a scene at Sentinel Services, where it is shown that Jace and Dr. Ahab are in full swing with their new partnership, but a female representative from the DOJ (Department of Justice) has come in to shut it down. She claims that Dr. Ahab’s Hound project (which is the name of the project Dr. Ahab gave his project of gathering specific mutants) and his partnership with Sentinel Services was illegal and was about to pull the string on it. But one of the mutants Dr. Ahab has working for him used his powers to give her a stroke to keep her from finishing. Jace is aware of this and is not entirely comfortable with it, but he can’t do anything about and is happy with where their partnership is going to actually criticize it.

We fly back to Marcos, who is talking with Carmen at her mansion. She mentions how the Russians are moving in on her territory and she wants his help in destroying their warehouse where they are storing their drugs. Marcos agrees to help with this as long as there is no killing and Carmen agrees. It is in this scene we can see that Carmen still has feelings for Marcos and is happy to have him back under her thumb. It is around this time that Lorna, back at Headquarters, figures out that Marcos has lied about the supply run and asked for Dreamer’s assistance in tracking him down. We rejoin Johnny and Blink, who figure out that the dirt road she kept seeing leads to a little home owned by a couple who use to take in mutants that had no where else to go and she used to stay there from time to time. They enter the house to find out the Sentinel Services had raided the house and killed everyone inside. Stricken with grief over the death of her friends, Blink decides to rejoin the Mutant Underground to get revenge for her fallen friends. Marcos, Carmen, and her team, which includes a nameless mutant man with gills on his face, raid the drug warehouse. The nameless mutant has the power to stop time and uses his to stop the guards in their tracks while Marcos uses his solar powers to burn the drugs. This is probably the most important scene of the whole episode.

While Marcos is doing his job there is a clear smile on his face showing that he loves it and he misses doing stuff like this for the Cartel. Lorna and Dreamer manage to track him down in time to witness the scene for themselves; there is a very clear change in Marcos’s body language and attitude as he is doing the deed. He was totally a different person from what we are used to seeing in the show. Most heartbreaking of all for Lorna must have been seeing his ex, Carmen, giving him a kiss on the cheek after the deed was done. In anger, Polaris tells Dreamer to forget about him and they head back to HQ.

Back at the Mutant Underground, Wes interrupts the Strucker family during their dinner to inform them that he has come clean to heads of HQ about his past wrongdoings and that because of his honesty, they decided to go easy on him, but to make up for it they are sending him with a team to set up a base in Augusta. Marcos returns and Lorna tells him that she knows where he was the whole time and how he lied to her. Marcos tries to explain how he needed to make this deal with Carmen in order to break her out of prison, but Lorna is still pissed. This episode ends with Wes helping load up a van with the rest of the team heading to Augusta and Lauren runs out to give him a farewell kiss.

There’s not really much to say about this episode. As I stated in the beginning, every show has that one episode that’s a little slower than the rest and this was that episode. Episodes like this are not always bad though. Episodes like this are used to develop the storyline a little more and help you connect with the characters and their emotions and motives for why they do certain things. For Jace, he has a vendetta against mutants for the death of his daughter. Even though it’s wrong to place the blame on an entire group of people, that’s his motive. For Marcos, even though he doesn’t like it, he does whatever he has to to protect and provide for Lorna and their soon-to-be-born child; even if that means he as to work with his ex to do it. Slow episode this week, but I assume that will lead into bigger and exciting things next week.

“The Gifted” airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘got your siX’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Old and new demons rear their ugly heads in the sixth episode of “The Gifted.” The war between Mutants and Sentinel Services intensifies in this week’s episode. An angry Jace Turner, head of the Sentinel Services Investigation, returns to HQ with a chip on his shoulder after Sonya (aka The Dreamer) accidentally removed the memory of his daughter’s death. He takes his anger out on fellow employees throughout this episode and makes a call to Dr. Roderick Campbell (aka Ahab). We met Ahab in the first episode of the series. He is a scientist who owns a facility where they experiment on mutants and are believed to turn them into weapons. Ahab called Jace in the first episode wanting his facility and Sentinel Services to have a partnership, but Jace initially refused. After his encounter with Dreamer, however, it seems that he now has a change of heart. Jace and Ahab make an agreement to work together, and part of that agreement is that Ahab gets the Struck twins if they are ever captured. It is not revealed yet why he wants them, but he does show a general interest in them and their powers specifically.

Back at Mutant Underground HQ, Johnny (aka Thunderbird) wants to assemble a team to break into a government facility in Baton Rouge to steal the files the facility has on mutants. Johnny is hoping that somewhere in those files lie the secrets to the techniques they used to brainwash his friend Pulse and possibly other mutants into working for them. Johnny knows he needs Clarice (aka Blink) to open a portal that will put his team inside the facility. Her powers will be their ticket into getting in quietly and getting out fast. Blink is still not happy about Dreamer using her powers on her and Johnny keeping it a secret from her when he found out. Blink and Johnny have an argument about the situation and Blink storms off, leaving Johnny to find a different solution. Johnny is talking with his team at the round table (which I am officially now calling the war room) about an alternate route to get into the building. Andy steps up and offers to help them. It is in this moment and many more moments throughout the episode that he shows Magneto-like tendencies into how he is developing as a character.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Originally, his dad Reed is, of course, against the plan as he doesn’t want any of his children in harm’s way, but Andy makes the point that he is a mutant and that this is his fight, too. Lauren is shown helping her mom with the relief effort of the new mutants that are arriving at HQ after Sentinel Services hit the city hard looking for any mutant hideout they can find. While gathering supplies, she encounters one of the new members, a boy named Wes who has the power to make illusions so that you see what is not actually there. It is clearly shown that a love interest between her and this new character is blooming and will play a role in future events down the line. Lorna (aka Polaris) is shown gathering mutants she thinks show promise and can be helpful in battle. This makes her and Caitlin bump heads as Caitlin doesn’t believe in violence and Lorna trying to explain to her that the only way they will gain freedom is if they fight for it. The two can’t come to an agreement, but Caitlin makes it clear that she does not want Lauren as a part of combat training.

Marcos (aka Eclipse), Reed and Andy hitch a ride in the back of an 18-wheeler for their ride to Baton Rouge. It is during this ride that Reed and Andy get to have a heart-to-heart moment and talk about Andy’s powers. Reed is not as comfortable with Andy’s power unlike his sisters, because Andy’s power is used to destroy and tear things apart, but Andy is proud of his power and is proud to be a mutant. In Baton Rouge, Andy uses his power to tear a hole in a parking deck wall closest to the building. Marcos and Reed go inside and quickly locate the  target office. Reed grabs the files while Marcos gets the hard drive off the computer.

We cut back to Mutant Underground HQ, where Johnny is fortifying defenses just in case. He and Dreamer start and he vents his fustration about being the leader and trying to hold the place together on limited space and supplies. It is here that you can see Johnny and Dreamer have feelings for each other. It is also revealed that Johnny used to be a member of the X-Men and it was the X-Men who put Johnny in charge of the Mutant Underground before disappearing.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

The story cuts back to Marcos, Reed and Andy who have gotten the files and are hitching a ride back home on the 18-wheeler. The police are onto them, though, and have a road black set up ahead with Sentinel Services waiting. Marcos calls in for help and Polaris, Lauren and Wes arrive on scene, watching from the roof of a building. Polaris uses her powers to stop the bullets being fired by Sentinel Services while Lauren uses her’s to make a ramp for the 18-wheeler to drive over the barricade, and Wes finishes it off by using his illusion powers to lead the cops on a wild goose chase in the opposite direction of the truck. Back at HQ, Reed has one last heart-to-heart with his son, letting him know that he is proud of him and his powers. Dreamer and Johnny look over the information that was gathered together to see what they can find. Marcos gets a call on his cellphone from Carmen, who he is not happy to hear from. He tries to get rid of her, but she reminds him that him working for her was part of the deal for her helping him bust his girlfriend out of jail, and if he doesn’t obey she will make a phone call to Sentinel Services letting them know where the Mutant Underground HQ is. The episode ends with him saying “I’m on my way.”

I love the way the story is developing so far, as I am a big fan of storytelling. The plot and direction are believable, as well as the relationship each character has with another. I think the producers might have been reading my articles, because last episode, or the one before, I complained how they slacked off on the graphics, but in this episode they really improved. I am interested to see how this triangular relationship between Thunderbird, Blink and Dreamer turns out. I am also interested to see how well the warriors Polaris is training turn out to be and what evil intentions Ahab has for the Strucker kids. Hopefully most of these questions, if not all, will be answered in next week’s episode.

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ‘Deadly Class’

Photo courtesy of Image Comics.

Forewarning Deadly Class is a comic book, not for the weak of heart

“Deadly Class” is a horror action genre series written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Wesley Craig, colored by Lee Loughridge, and lettered by Rus Wooten. It was published by Image Comics and it’s first issue was released in January 2014. The story takes place in 1987 and follows Marcus Lopez Arguello a homeless and orphaned Nicaraguan teenager living on the streets of San Francisco. Day-to-day life for him seems to be hopeless until one day he is randomly chosen to join Kings Dominion School of The Deadly Arts. A secret high school where the world’s next generation of the best assassins are trained. With little to nothing else going for him, he chooses the most obvious choice that will give him even a slight chance at a better life. Even if this choice comes with deadly consequences.

As stated before this comic book is not for the weak of heart, this is also not a comic book you give to your little sibling to read. This comic book is purely tailored to adults. There is strong language, violence, gore, sex, drugs and nudity throughout the series and although it has all of those M for mature features, it’s those same features that make the series so good. This comic book pulls no punches and sticks to facts and realism. It’s these realism features that will leave you with moments where you will laugh, cheer, applaud and maybe even cry. The only time this is bad is when a character you love dies, because you know there is no magical potion to bring them back. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the most underrated comic books out right now. Most likely its not under the two big banners of DC or Marvel, but it looks like that might change pretty soon.

Recently comic books that have been overlooked are starting to get their chance to go mainstream, even if they aren’t back by Marvel or DC. The most notably mention is “The Walking Dead,” which was originally a comic book, but is now a hit award-winning TV show on AMC. Another worthy mention is “American Gods” which is a comic book that got the big screen treatment when they were approached by Starz. It is confirmed that a “Deadly Class” TV series is in the works by the TV network Syfy and co-produced with Sony Pictures. No information yet on a release date or even a cast since it’s still in the early stages, but I predict an early or mid-2019 release date or at the least the first release of a trailer for the series. Even if you aren’t into comic books, I would definitely check out “Deadly Class.” I cannot stress enough how this is not your normal superhero save the world comic book. This is a “they are so fucked, damn that was cool, I can’t wait for the next issue” comic book!

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘boXed in’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Spoilers Ahead for “The Gifted” Season 1, Episode 5

This week on “The Gifted,” the war is on and prisoners are being taken on both sides. Just like last week, we start this episode off with a flashback to four years ago on July 15. Jace Turner, the head investigator for Sentinel Services is at the park with his family having a picnic. Across the street from the park, a mutant rights rally is taking place. It is clear that things are starting to get out of control, and Jace and his wife are packing up ready to go. Their daughter Grace is still playing, unaware of the danger that is looming in the air behind her and before they can grab her, a blast of energy rips through the whole park, killing numerous people, including Grace. The show switches back to the present day, with events taking place just moments after the daring prison break that happened in the last episode. The Team is switching cars to throw off investigators, when Johnny (aka Thunderbird) senses a Sentinel drone sweeping the area looking for them. Marcos (aka Eclipse) and Lorna (aka Polaris) agree they will throw off the drone while the rest of the team heads back to base.

Back as the Mutant Underground headquarters, there are more people there than when they left and most of them need medical attention. The team is informed that Sentinel Services has been raiding every mutant safehouse in town and this is the last safe place for any mutant at the moment. Catlin Strucker agrees to help with the wounded, but everyone is not happy with the return of Reed Strucker. Fade; a mutant bartender who can turn invisible has informed the whole base about Reed’s temporary involvement with Sentinel Services and people are not comfortable with him being there. Back on the road, Marcos and Lorna have the drone following them and use their powers to destroy it. After that, they think they are home free and have a heart-to-heart moment about Lorna being pregnant and they even start talking about names for the baby. Unknown to them, Jace has made a small blockade up the road anticipating their arrival. When they do reach the blockade, Lorna uses her powers to easily take out the guards and ignoring the advice of Marcos, take Jace hostage.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Back at base, people are on edge about Sentinel Services closing in on the headquarters. To gain their trust, Reed agrees to act as a decoy to throw them off with the help of Fade who still doesn’t trust him. Marcos and Lorna hold up in an abandoned warehouse with their hostage, asking him questions about how they turned their friend Pulse against them and how many other mutants they have working for them. Jace lets them know that he will never give up that information and that the death of his seven year old daughter by the hands of mutants is his whole motivation for his job. At the Mutant Underground, Catlin is struggling to save the life of Trader, a mutant who was shot in the attempt to help them with the prison break in the last episode. The bullet is still lodged in his side and he is losing a lot of blood. Andy realizes that he has the same blood type as Trader and does a blood transfusion to save his life. Due to the minimum number of health supplies that are available, Catlin is forced to operate on Trader while he is wide awake to remove the bullet. Lauren uses her powers to contain the bleeding and keep him from losing anymore blood. Together with their efforts combined, they are able to save Trader.

Back at the warehouse, they continue to grill Jace for information which he is keeping his lip zipped about. Clarice (aka Blink) and Sony (aka Dreamer) show up through one of Blink’s portals, informing them that police have the warehouse surrounded and police are ready to move in. Lorna uses her powers to keep them at bay and to give Sonya a few minutes to use her powers to probe his mind for the information on how they turn mutants against them. We switch back to the to Reed, who is being dropped off on a street by Fade, who says he will be waiting up the street with the car two blocks away. Reed walks around within full view of surveillance cameras so police will pick up on him and go in the opposite direction of the Mutant Underground. After he has gained their attention, he runs for his life. He manages to reach that agreed upon meet up point, but it appears Fade has left him for dead. Reed continues to run and collides right into the get away car that Fade has used his powers to hide. After they get away, Fade explains that he just had do make sure of which side Reed was on.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Back at the warehouse, the police are moving in despite Lorna’s efforts to hold them back. Sonya’s powers are working, but not fast enough. Police use tear gas and start to move in, they grab Sonya before she can get the information and use one of Blink’s portals to escape. Back at the Mutant Underground, things seem to have calmed down and Reed returns to his family safe and sound. They ask him if they are going to continue with their  original plan to flee to Mexico, but Reed has a change of heart and decides that they should stay and help the Mutant Underground in their fight. Blink realizes that Sonya put fake memories of her being in love with Johnny to get her powers to work and she is not happy about it. Sonya tries to explain to her that lives were at stake and they needed her powers to them, but Blink doesn’t care and warns Sonya so stay away from her. The episode ends with Jace being dropped off at home with his wife Paula waiting for him. She is glad that he is safe and unharmed. He asks about is daughter Grace and if she is already asleep. His wife is shocked at first and then they both realize that while he was being held hostage, he lost of the memory of his daughter being killed four years ago and now has to relive the whole pain of her being gone all over again.

This was another good episode by Fox and the writers of “The Gifted.” The episode seems to focus on Jace and his past as to why he is so determined to take down the Mutant Underground. It this episode, for some weird reason the graphics seem to be a little sloppy than compared to other episodes, but still doable. Nothing really eventful happened this episode, but I get the feeling that Blink’s discovery of Sonya using her powers on her is going to cause a strain in the group. I also feel like since Sonya’s powers took away the memory of Grace from Jace, he is going to be even more determined to catch the Mutant Underground. I’ll be here next week with Episode 6 and let you know how the story develops.

“The Gifted” airs Monday night’s at 9 p.m. on FOX.

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘eXit Strategy’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Spoilers Ahead for “The Gifted” Season 1, Episode 4

The Mutant Underground finally takes the fight to Sentinel Services in this week’s episode of “The Gifted.” This episode opens up with a flashback, dating two years ago, of John Proudstar (aka Thunderbird) and a new mutant Gus (aka Pulse) on the outside of a mutant detention center fence. It seems like they sent in Marcos (aka Eclipse) and Lorna (aka Polaris) with several others to help free a few captives being held inside. Pulse automatically thinks this is bad and he should have been sent in first instead of being back-up since his powers can disrupt electrical systems and deactivate the alarms. Right after pleading his case with Thunderbird, Marcos and Lorna come bolting out of nowhere informing them that the plan has gone south and that the rest of the team that went in with them is dead. They all agree it is time for a retreat, but Gus hangs back a little bit to use his powers to disable the turrent guns to give them some cover. His plan works, but at the cost of him being shot in the back.

Flash forward to the present day and The Mutant Underground is sitting at a round table at their headquarters planning to break out Lorna and Reed Strucker (who were captured in the first episode) out of their current holding facility before they are moved to a prison that is described to be an impregnable fortress, but as a good man once said “Give me ten good men, and I’ll impregnate the bitch!” Unfortunately for them, they will have to do with eight, since the rest of the group thinks it is a suicide mission just to save two people. Catlin Strucker has come up with a plan though, instead of attacking the facility they are in they will attack the convoy that will be transporting them. It is a good plan, but they will need to know the route of the convoy.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

The show switches to Polaris being moved to a cell that is right beside Reed’s cell. The two have a heart-to-heart moment where Reed apologizes to her for what he has done in the past and that he is a different person than the one she has known from a few weeks ago. The show switches again to Marcos on a mission to get the information the group will need to attack the convoy, but to this he will need to go to a source he was hoping to never see again. He goes to a night club run by the cartel (who he use to work for) to see his ex-girlfriend Carmen, and to his surprise is now running the cartel. He tells her that he knows the cartel has informants everywhere and that he needs the information on the convoy. Carmen seems reluctant to help him until she figures out he needs the information to help out his current girlfriend, who he left her for. She does decide to help him, but for the information he must now become a lap dog for her. Basically anytime she calls, day or night, he has to answer and do whatever task she asks. He tells her he’s not that person anymore, but she puts her foot down, letting him know that this is the only way, and his new job starts now.

She takes him to a room where a man is tied up and by the look of his condition has also been roughed up. She tells him that this guy has stole drugs from her and that she wants him to use his powers to get the information out of him on their current location. Marcos doesn’t want to hurt him so he uses his powers and threatens to blind him for life if he doesn’t talk. The man gives in and reveals the location. Fast forward to the convoy and Andy and Lauren do a sibling duo combining their powers to immobilize the bus. As Sentinel Officers are rushing to fix it, Jace Turner (head officer in charge) suspects something is up and orders a full sweep of the area. Reed also suspects something is up and pleads with Polaris for her help if they get a chance to break out and she reluctantly agrees with a nod. Trader (a mutant who has the ability to turn invisible) uses his powers to get closer to the bus. As he gets closer, his powers start to glitch and turn off making him visible again and he is shot, but still alive.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Everyone else also learns that their powers aren’t working and can’t figure out why. Marcos provides cover fire with a pistol while Sonya aka Dreamer) goes in to retrieve Trader. John quickly finds the source of the problem. He see’s Gus, who he thought was dead, but had apparently survived his capture two years ago and has been brainwashed into helping Sentinel Services. He remembers that Gus’ powers not only disrupt electronics, but also can block mutant powers. John manages to get close enough to talk to him, but he is too far gone so he chooses to knock him out to save the team. Polaris and Reed see an opportunity to escape, but the inside of the bus is mostly plastic and there is no metal for her to manipulate. Reed tells her that he has a metal screw in his leg and gives her permission to use it. She painfully rips the screw out of his leg and uses it to take out a guard and bust out of the back of the bus. Catlin manages to secure a jeep for them to escape. The episode ends on a cliffhanger of a pissed off Jace ordering a lock down the city and to raid every safehouse, and home of anyone who even has the slightest connection to mutants. He officially declares war on the Mutant Underground!

This storyline for this episode is phenomenal and everything fits together to make perfect sense, and I am starting to think the show is more about the mutant resistance against oppression as a whole instead of the challenges of Andy and his sister Lauren becoming mutants. This episode is definitely action packed and the graphics they used to mimic the powers of the mutant characters were really good. I also like how they are showing the past of various characters and how they are tied into their present situation.

“The Gifted” airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.

TV PREVIEW: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’

Photo courtesy of Marvel Television and Hulu.

Minor Spoilers Ahead

I don’t know about y’all, but I am super hyped for Hulu’s “Runaways” series. This was the first comic book I ever picked up and it’s the series that got me into comic books. The comic book series was created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona and first hit comic book stands in July of 2003. The series follows a group of six teenagers, also with different personalities, who don’t really like each other at first. Their parents are all successful, ranging from movie stars to scientists. Every year, their parents get together to talk business and raise money for a charity event. One year, the group captures their parents performing a ritual ceremony and sacrificing a young girl. The group runs away and finds out that they have inherited abilities and tries to use them to take down their parents. They’ll have to get past each others differences and haunted past to work together if they are going to stop their parents.

That was just a short basic summary of the “Runaways,” but this comic and this show is so much more than that. The series touches on relationships, discrimination, gay pride and much more. The series is a new take on superheroes and vilians. Making a group of super powered teenagers is not new, what is new and also surprising is that half of the group doesn’t even have powers! Alex Wilder (who is also my favorite character) is a normal human being, but what separates him from the rest is he is super intelligent. He was actually ranked as one of the top ten smartest minds in the Marvel Universe and he has a knack for strategy. Even without powers, he becomes the de-facto leader of the group and there are moments throughout the series where he proves that the mind is just as dangerous as super powers. Chase is another member with no powers. He is more of a jock who is into sports. He is a disapointment to his parents since they are scientists and he is failing school. Chase is smarter than he looks though and is very resourceful. He manages to steal a pair of gloves that were an invention of his parents that give him super strength and acts as a flamethrower. The last non powered mutant in the group is Gert. Her parents have a time machine which they use to go back in time and steal rare antiques and sells them. Her parents give her an inheritance, which is a velociraptor (that is not a typo, you read that correctly) that is telepathically linked to her. Not a lot of back story is given on how this is possible, but the series rolls with it.

The other members of the group are Nico Minoru, who finds out that she and her parents are sorcerers, Karolina Dean who finds out that she is an alien from another world and Molly Hayes who is mutant and who’s x-gene activates during the series, giving her super strength that rivals the Hulk. “The Runaways” has won many awards (Eisner Award, Harvey Award and Top Library Award to name a few) for its art and story telling. It is the perfect blend of action and humor with seriousness and heartfelt moments. The only thing I am worried about for the TV series is how the special effects are going to look since the show was only given a $400,000 budget, but hopefully with enough viewers, Season 2 will have a higher budget to improve on that. The last tidbit I got since I am a super fan on the series is in the comic book, Molly Hayes is nine years old, but is being portrayed by an actor who looks like she is 14 or 15. It’s not a big deal and won’t affect the story that much, I am just real big on sticking to the original story. I wish I could tell more , but I don’t want give aways spoliers, but if you’re dying to know, you can pick up copies of “the Runaways” from local comic book store. In the mean time check out the Hulu “Runaways” trailer below and I will see you Nov. 21 when the series airs!

TV REVIEW: ‘The Gifted’ – ‘eXposed,’ ‘rX’ & ‘eXodus’

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Spoiler Warning for the first three episodes of “The Gifted.”

Fox has made Mondays popular again with a new show called “The Gifted.” The show takes place in the Marvel X-Men Universe and follows two teens, a brother and sister duo Lauren and Andy Strucker. It seems like in this timeline, mutants are beginning to pop up more than normally and humans are afraid for their safety. A new program was put into place by the government, called the Sentinel Program. This law enforcement division’s purpose is to round-up and keep tabs on any and all mutants, whether they are dangerous or not. The show follows the Strucker family and their involvement in all of this. The father Reed Strucker is a district attorney and most of his cases deal with prosecuting mutants who have committed crimes (mostly of just being a mutant) and sending them off to a special mutant concentration camp. The mom is Catlin Strucker, who is a nurse; there is not really anything interesting about her character at the moment, but the producers promised that will soon change as the story progresses. Lauren is the daughter and the oldest sibling; she is the beautiful, popular straight-A student at her school and has a very protective nature when it comes to her brother. When her mutant powers manifest, she has the ability to create somewhat invisible force fields, which she can use to push and move things if need be. Keep in mind that these are mutants in the X-men Universe, so these powers can grow and become something more as the show progresses.

At the start, Lauren seems like a natural; she can control her power and knows how to manipulate it in different ways. The son Andy is the youngest and attends the same high school as his sister Lauren. Unlike his sister though, Andy is portrayed as an average student in terms of grades. He is not popular and mostly sticks to himself because of constant bullying. When his powers manifest, he has the ability to channel concussive blasts from his body towards targets. As of the moment this ability seems raw and is out of his control, in fact it seems like this ability derives off emotion and can only be used when he is angry. Unlike his sister using his power makes him weak and tired afterwards so he is not able to use his ability as much. It is expected though, that as the series continues he will learn to gain more control of his power and be able to use it more often.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

The show starts off with a popular character that is known in the comic books, as well as the movies, as Clarice Fong aka Blink. Blink is shown to be running from authorities after her escape from a mutant concentration camp where she was being held. Blink has the ability to open portals to transfer herself from one location to another. Unlike her counterpart in the “X-Men” movies, it appears that her power is still new to her and she in not able to control it as well. She even states in the show that it is dangerous for her to transport to a location she can not physically see or to a place she has not been before. Meaning that if she does, she and anybody else who travels with her could end up in a totally undesired location, whether it be some random person’s how or even just have them floating in the middle of space. Blink is saved by three mutants who are members of the Mutant Underground. Marcos Diaz aka Eclipse, a mutant that was never in the comic books and was created specifically for the show. This character is a rebellious mutant with the power to absorb and manipulate photons. John Proudstar aka Thunderbird, a strong-willed Apache Indian who is leader of the underground community. His power allows him to harden his skin, allowing him to be invulnerable to almost any damage. The last one is Lorna Dane aka Polaris who is in a relationship with Eclipse. A brave and loyal mutant who has the ability to control magnetism. She has a bipolar disorder and is the daughter of Magneto. By the way the show is going it seems like she is aware of this, but Magneto himself is not aware of his daughters existence.

During Blink’s rescue, Polaris is captured trying to protect Eclipse from being captured after he is shot in the arm. Unable to save her without endangering their own safety, they are forced to make an escape without her. Once they make it back to their hideout (an abandoned church) they introduce Blink to the Mutant Underground, which is a secret organization helping mutants against the oppression of law enforcement. During this time, Lauren and her brother decide to attend prom at their school. While Lauren is distracted, her brother Andy is attacked by bullies. The stress of the attack activates his mutant powers and starts to tear the school apart. Lauren uses her powers to protect people from falling debris as she makes her way to her brother to calm him down. They make it back home to tell their shocked mother that they are mutants. Sentinel agents attack them at their home but they are able to escape and meet up with their dad Reed, in which they all decide to run.

Photo courtesy of 20th Television and FOX.

Their original plan was to get to Mexico, but with Sentinel agents cracking down on them, Reed makes the choice to use the information he has gained from prosecuting mutants to contact the Mutant Underground to protect his family. At first Eclipse refuses to help but then changes his mind when Reed promises him he can help get Polaris out of prison and that she is pregnant with his baby. Eclipse later meet up with the family, but they are followed by Sentinel agents. They try to run and are cornered, but with the help of Blink they manage to escape, but lose Reed in the process as he is captured. Back at the Mutant Underground base, Blink is suffering a seizure from using her powers to make the farthest jump she has ever made in her life. This causes her powers to go out of control and random portals start opening up. Lauren is able to use her powers to close them, but says she won’t be able to keep this up for long. With the portals risking the location of their secret base being discovered and Blink’s life hanging in the balance, Eclipse and Catlin go to the hospital where Eclipse distracts a doctor so Catlin can grab the medicine she needs to save Blink’s life.

A lot went down in Episode Three and let me tell you it was the best episode of “The Gifted” to date. The show starts with a flashback to exactly three years ago to when Eclipse and Polaris met, and we get to see their romantic relationship take off. This scene was fleshed out pretty well and you can really feel the chemistry between the two actors. The show takes us to the present day where Eclipse is talking with Thunderbird and other members of the Mutant Underground to use Blink’s powers to bust his pregnant girlfriend Polaris out of Prison. They talk about how it’s dangerous and Blink’s powers have not been working right ever since her seizure, but Thunderbird agrees to train her to help her control her abilities. It is here we are introduced to a new mutant named Dreamer. So far all we know is that she has the power to give people memories and make them think they are real. She offers to help Thunderbird with Blink’s training by giving her new memories to give her something to fight for and to focus on when using her powers, but Thunderbird strongly declines. We also learn that Thunderbird and Dreamer used to be a couple before the Mutant Underground. The next day, Thunderbird helps Blink by trying to get her to focus on happy thoughts to get her to control her power. The training proves to help, but it will be a while before it’s perfect. The show then transitions to Reed, who is still talking with Sentinel agents. He misses his family and doesn’t know if they are safe or not. In his desperation he agrees to help them find the Mutant Underground in exchange for his family’s freedom. We are shown Polaris, who is in prison. She has a collar on her neck that appears to zap her with electricity whenever she tries to use her mutant powers. Despite the collar, Polaris uses her powers to bust her cell door open fighting through the pain of the collar. She is successful, but at the cost of her well being and is shown to be passed out bleeding from her nose and mouth.

We pick back up with Catlin waking her kids up to inform them that she is going to try to seek help from her brother and their Uncle, Danny. The kids insist they come with her for protection and she agrees. Reed goes through with helping authorities track down the Mutant Underground. He meets up with a contact who agrees to take him later that night. While he is in the room waiting he meets a mother and little girl who are also waiting to get to the Muntant Underground so they can be safe. The mother has the power to take away pain and takes away the pain of the injury Reed sustained when he was captured by the Sentinels, although he told her he got it escaping them. Later on, Reed realizes just how much the Mutant Underground means to scared mutants everywhere and comes clean and abandons the mission. Uncle Danny isn’t happy to see his sister Catlin and his niece and nephew at his front door. Catlin came looking to him for help, but he lets her know that all he can do is provide them a place to stay for the night and then they have to leave. Thunderbird and Eclipse find out that Catlin and the kids snuck away and track them down to Danny’s house. A group of mutant haters have also found out that mutants are there and have come with there guns looking for a fight. Andy show a little of a Magneto side in him as he thinks they should fight them. Although the rest of the group doesn’t want to fight they ultimately have to to escape. As they are in their jeep, they are being followed and Thunderbird calls up Dreamer to think of a plan to help them escape. Blink is still not confident enough yet in using her powers, so Dreamer uses her power on Blink to give her a memory of her and Thunderbird kissing to make her think that they are in a relationship. She tells her that he needs help and she uses her power to open a portal and get them out of danger. Dreamer tells Thunderbird what she did and he is clearly not happy. Even though he said he wouldn’t help, Danny eventually tells Catlin that her husband is being transported to a mutant detention center, and the episode ends there.

So far I think this show is really good. The graphics, CGI work and special effects are shown to have some thought and work put into them. At times they can look a little cheesy, but they are better than what most shows have today. The actors are spot on in the performance of their characters and the emotions they portray are believable. The storyline seems to flow very well and everything fits right into place. The world itself that the story takes place in leaps out from the screen and can be felt by the audience. From the first episode, you are aware that it is a time where mutants are being persecuted and just by being a mutant you will be targeted. The X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants have both seemed to have gone underground to avoid any conflicts, leaving any mutants not already apart of those groups to fend for themselves. The creator said he chose the name Muntant Underground because he wanted it to depict the Underground Railroad from the days of slavery. I think Fox has made a good choice with the cast, directors and writers for this show and I can’t wait to see where it all leads too. Also on a small note, Stan Lee made a cameo appearance in the first episode. That may not sound like big news, but in the past, Marvel and Fox have been in a battle over the rights to “X-Men,” so maybe by him making this appearance, they have been able to find some common ground on the issue. But like I said can’t wait to see where this show leads!

“The Gifted” airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.