WARNING: This article contains spoilers for this week's episode of The Gifted, "boXed in," which premiered Monday on Fox.
Although series creator Matt Nix long ago clarified that The Gifted exists in its own "stream," separate from X-Men movie chronology, the urge to try to wedge the Fox television drama into that timeline is difficult to resist, particularly for continuity-conscious comic book fans. So perhaps we can be forgiven for seeing in the show's mysterious July 15th incident echoes of Logan's Westchester incident, in which 600 people were hurt and seven killed as a result of one of Charles Xavier's seizures.
Sure, the connections were tenuous at best, although both had been described as tragedies that shared the same result: the end of the X-Men. However, as this week's episode of The Gifted makes clear, any similarities end there.
The drama previously only referenced the July 15th incident in vague terms, linking it to the disappearance of both the X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood, the crackdown on mutant activity and, on a far more personal level, the death of the 7-year-old daughter of Sentinel Services Agent Jace Turner (Coby Bell). But in "boXed in," the audience is taken back to that day, four years ago, in Dallas, as Turner enjoys a day in the park with his wife and child, seemingly far removed from the mutant-rights protest at city hall.
However, a family outing quickly turns to tragedy when violence breaks out at the protest and spills into the park, along with uncontrolled mutant powers, resulting in the death of young Grace Turner, and presumably others.
Later in the episode, when Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale) abduct Agent Turner, in hopes that they can learn what happened to one-time Mutant Underground member Pulse, he's reminded that 7/15 began as a peaceful protest. "Your peaceful protest killed my little girl," Turner responds. "She was 7 and didn’t even know what a mutant was."
Presumably details about 7/15 and its connection to the disappearance of the X-Men and the Brotherhood will come into focus as The Gifted's first season unfolds. (Were the groups in Dallas, and somehow part of violence, or did the national mood shift so abruptly in its aftermath that they were forced to go into hiding?) But we can say with confidence that the inciting event of The Gifted's world had nothing to do with an ailing Xavier and a tragedy in Westchester County, New York.
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.