WARNING: This article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of The Gifted, “eXodus,” which debuted tonight on Fox.
Like most of the members of the Mutant Underground, Dreamer had so far drifted through The Gifted without even being named onscreen. But that changed with this week’s episode, “eXodus,” in which she helps to save the day, but in the process creates a longer-term problem in arguably the most X-Men-like way possible.
In a property in which telepaths and empaths are relatively commonplace, one would expect a certain amount of mind control. But in the heyday of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants, in the early to mid-1980s under writer Chris Claremont, it became a fixture of the series. Mesmero, Selene, Karma, the Shadow King, Mastermind, Rachel Summers, Professor Xavier … all of them (and more) mucked with the minds of others, wiping out or implanting memories, altering perceptions and manipulating behavior. So it’s only fitting that Fox’s X-Men drama should reach into that well-worn bag of tropes for its third episode.
Played by Elena Satine, Dreamer was introduced last week (although not by name) as a lieutenant to Thunderbird (Blair Redford) at the Atlanta-area safehouse of the Mutant Underground. Based on that episode, it’s certainly understandable if viewers surmised her mutant ability is to make Thunderbird spew exposition, but that’s not the case. In tonight’s episode, it’s revealed that, like her comic-book counterpart Beautiful Dreamer (created not by Claremont, but by Louise Simonson and June Brigman), she can implant or alter memories using “dream smoke.” She’s absolutely itching to use that power, too, despite reminders from Thunderbird about previous occasions when things maybe didn’t end so well.
But Dreamer views it as a shortcut to freeing her best friend Lorna Dane (aka Polaris, played by Emma Dumont) from jail before she’s transferred to a mutant detention facility, likely to never be seen again. The Mutant Underground’s latest rescue, the teleporting Blink (Jamie Chung), is the most obvious solution to the problem, except that after she overexerted herself while helping the Strucker family, Thunderbird and Eclipe to escape Sentinel Services, and nearly died in the aftermath, she’s unable to focus to properly use her powers. Thunderbird attempts to coach her, suggesting she concentrate on someone, or something, she feels strongly about (she opts for a warm jelly doughnut), but their training is placed on the back burner when it’s discovered Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) and her two children have sneaked off, placing themselves and the Mutant Underground at risk.
In Thunderbird’s absence, Dreamer initially resists the urge to manipulate Blink (perhaps by making her think Polaris is her best friend), but finally gives in when she receives a frantic call from Thunderbird that they’re being pursued by an anti-mutant militia, and are in desperate need of rescuing. With that, Dreamer implants Blink with her own memories of her former romance with Thunderbird, giving the mutant all the motivation she needs to teleport a moving SUV from a nearby road to the Mutant Underground’s compound. Ah, well, the ends justify the means, right? Well, not so fast.
A relieved Blink embraces a confused Thunderbird, whom she apparently now believes to be her boyfriend; it doesn’t require enhanced senses to detect that something doesn’t smell right. “What’d you do?” he asks Dreamer, although he almost certainly already knows the answer. “Do you realize what you’ve done — what that could lead to?”
The answer, in the short term, is an uncomfortable love triangle, as Thunderbird attempts to gently rebuff Blink’s advances. (It should be noted to that, according to Dreamer, she and Thunderbird only ended their relationship because of their duties with the Mutant Underground; the flame still flickers). However, once Blink learns what Dreamer did to her, the ramifications could have larger, and potentially disastrous, ramifications for the group. Someone — whether that’s Blink or Dreamer — will undoubtedly turn her back on the group, or worse. After all, one betrayal may invite another.
Airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, The Gifted stars Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker, Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz/Eclipse, Coby Bell as Jace Turner, Emma Dumont cast as Lorna Dane/Polaris, Jamie Chung as Blink/Clarice Fong and Blair Redford as John Proudstar/Thunderbird, Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker and Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker.
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