WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of The Gifted, "eXtreme measures," which premiered Monday on Fox.
The gradual introduction on Fox's The Gifted of the Hound Program, a top-secret initiative that turns mutants into the pawn of Sentinel Services, came as little surprise to Marvel Comics fans, most of whom foresaw the development with the casting of Garret Dillahunt as Dr. Roderick Campbell, better known as Ahab. However, this week's episode added a couple of twists to the revelation, while further ingraining the drama in X-Men lore.
Following the Mutant Underground's burglary of a federal building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it was left to "human computer" Sage (Hayley Lovitt) and former district attorney Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) to scour the stolen files and encrypted hard drives to learn more information about the Hound program, which had somehow transformed former ally Pulse into a weapon of law enforcement. Sage ultimately discovers the Hound Program isn't a government operation, but rather run by a private military contractor.
The company's name is recognized immediately by Reed, and by X-Men fans: Trask Industries.
Its founder, Bolivar Trask, was introduced in 1965 in Marvel Comics' X-Men #14 as an anthropologist who became convinced that mutants would one day supplant humanity. In hopes of preventing that, he helped to develop the Sentinels, the enormous mutant-hunting robots that have dogged the X-Men and their allies for decades, across comic books, film, animation and video games. Even viewers who aren't immersed in comic book lore will no doubt know the name Trask from 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, in which he was played by Peter Dinklage.
The mention of Trask Industries on The Gifted is more than an Easter egg, however, as Reed divulges that his father worked for the company for 35 years. What's more, it was believed to have shut down in 2006. But as we see in the very next scene, in which Campbell walks down a hallway carrying a Trask-branded briefcase, the contractor is very much operational, and plotting to use its Hounds to infiltrate the Mutant Underground. "Don't think of them as spies," he tells skeptical Sentinel Services Agent Jace Turner (Coby Bell), "more like weapons. All we have to do is get them inside; the Hounds will take it from there."
Aside from injecting paranoia and uncertainty into the Mutant Underground headquarters -- which refugee is a Hound, just waiting for the signal? -- the Trask development adds to the mystery surrounding the lineage of the Strucker family, and their potential connection to the Von Strucker twins, the mutant terrorists better known in Marvel comics as Fenris. The Gifted already hinted strongly at such a link with an old newspaper clipping, and the synopsis for next week's episode confirms viewers will meet the Von Struckers, in one form or 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 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, and Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker.