WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Gifted Season 2 episode “coMplications,” which debuted Tuesday on Fox.
Months after the first tease by showrunner Matt Nix, and a week after a cryptic reference to a mutant who lives in the tunnels beneath Washington, D.C., Fox’s The Gifted finally introduced to the underground society of outcasts, the Morlocks. Although they appear relatively briefly in this week’s episode “coMplications,” they promise to play a larger role in the second season, as both a help to the Mutant Underground and a hindrance, not unlike the role the Morlocks have traditionally played in Marvel’s X-Men comics. But who are the Morlocks?
Introduced in 1983 in The Uncanny X-Men #169, they’re mutants who, because of physical deformities tied to their abilities, are unable to pass as human. Rather than face fear, hatred, arrest or even death in normal society, they went, literally, underground, establishing a subterranean, initially at least, in the tunnels beneath Manhattan. Other, similar groups later appeared in London and Chicago.
The X-Men first crossed paths with the Morlocks when their leader, Callisto, kidnapped founding member Angel, intending to make him her mate. Another Morlock, Caliban (who appeared in 2017’s Logan, played by Stephen Merchant), similarly sought to make Kitty Pryde is bride, while others kidnapped the children of Power Pack. However, during the 1986 crossover “Mutant Massacre,” most of the Morlocks were slaughtered in their tunnels by the Marauders, mutant assassins employed by Mister Sinister to exterminate other mutants.
Ironically, perhaps, The Gifted introduced Morlocks long before Clarice (Jamie Chung) and John (Blair Redford) headed into the tunnels this week to uncover information about the Inner Circle: Shatter, Trader and Dreamer, featured in the first season, are Morlocks in the comics, if not on the television series.
But this week, viewers meet the real deal as Clarice and John head into the sewers, following up on a tip from X-Men ally Evangeline Whedon, in search of Erg. They find him of course, but only after they become lost and disoriented in the tunnels, where John’s tracking abilities inexplicably fail him. With the help of Clarice’s teleportation powers, they at last break free of the maze, only to be apprehended by a group of well-armed Morlocks and then taken to the mysterious Erg, played by Michael Luwoye of Hamilton fame.
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