WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Gifted Season 2 episode “unMoored,” which aired Tuesday on Fox.
One of the earliest elements of X-Men lore, the Danger Room has served as a training facility for Charles Xavier’s team of mutants from the very beginning, although its technology has vastly changed since its 1963 debut. What began as a space filled with obstacles, traps and projectiles to test the abilities of the young heroes and forge them into a team received a serious upgrade with the integration of advanced holographic technology from the alien Shi’ar. The Hellfire Club had its own counterpart, the Combat Room, used to train its young Hellions.
So, it’s only fitting that, on Fox’s The Gifted, what remains of the Hellfire Club — the Inner Circle — should have its own version of those facilities somewhere within its plush Washington, D.C., headquarters.
Although it’s not given a name in this week’s episode, “unMoored,” the training facility serves the same purpose as both the Danger Room and the Combat Room. With her rivals in the Inner Circle eliminated, Reeva Payge (Grace Byers) is prepared to move forward with the Mutant Homeland Project, beginning with an assault on a mysterious target. And for that, she needs young Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White).
The gymnasium-sized room is outfitted with a series of four walls made from the same materials as he’ll encounter at the target, each stronger than the last. It’s effectively an obstacle coarse, tailored to his mutant abilities, and to the mission. Reeva watches from the observation booth/control room, where Sage (Hayley Lovitt) is finally given something to do: monitor Andy’s power levels.
Using his telekinetic ability, Andy tears through one wall after the next, until he’s distracted by a flash of a shared, recurring dream of him struggling with his sister Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind). With that, he slams into the wall, triggering in Reeva doubts, both about Andy’s loyalties and the viability of the mission. After all, as she later explains to the Frost sisters (Skyler Samuels), if Andy can’t penetrate the boron carbide, “then this operation fails, and our dream dies.”
Homesick, Andy places a call to his sister, only to hang up after his father answers. However, the act doesn’t escape Reeva’s notice, which places Andy’s very life in jeopardy. If he doesn’t trust the Inner Circle, and is reaching out to the Mutant Underground, then he becomes a problem that has to be solved. “We can’t keep him here if he’s not ours,” Reeva tells one of the Frost sisters, “and we certainly can’t let him go.” But just as she’s about to unleash her mutant power on Andy, he comes clean, about the phone call, about the dreams, and about his fears; it’s enough to save his life, at least for now.
Harnessing his fears, just as Reeva suggested, Andy returns to the “danger room, and rips through that final wall as if it were paper, to the applause of his new mentor.
It’s doubtful that this facility will become a regular setting of The Gifted — who, besides Andy, would need to use it? — and even more unlikely that it will gain sentience and become a villain, like the Danger Room. Still, it’s a nice nod to the X-Men mythos, even if it lacks Shi’ar technology (for now, at least).
Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Fox’s The Gifted stars Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Eclipse/Marcos Diaz, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Emma Dumont as Polaris/Lorna Dane, Blair Redford as Thunderbird/John Proudstar, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker, Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker, Skyler Samuels as the Frost sisters and Grace Byers as Reeva Payge.
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