WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of The Gifted, "outfoX," which debuted Monday, Dec. 4, on Fox.
In the Nov. 20 episode of The Gifted, Reed Strucker's estranged father shared some difficult truths about their family -- not the least of which is that they're descended from the infamous mutant terrorists Fenris -- before leaving him with a plea, and a warning, about his own children: "Protect them, son. Protect the world from them.”
The Fox drama couldn't very well ignore that as it focuses on the growing threat of Sentinel Services and the Hound Program, which transforms captured mutants into weapons of the U.S. government. After all, young Andy and Lauren Strucker have mutant abilities identical to those of their great-grandfather Andreas Von Strucker and his twin sister Andrea, who could unleash unbelievably destructive power whenever they clasped hands. So, instead, The Gifted weaves together those plot lines, testing how far the Strucker kids can -- and will -- go.
As Reed and Caitlin Stucker (Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker) come to terms with what they've learned about their family, they decide it's in the best interest of everyone to learn whether their children actually possess powers on the magnitude of Fenris. They take Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) into the vault of the abandoned bank that serves as the Mutant Underground's Atlanta headquarters, and ask them to hold hands. While the first attempt results in nothing but sweaty palms, the second alarms both the parents and their children, first with a display of light and energy, and then with the description of what Any and Lauren felt.
"We were about to bring down the entire building," says a startled Lauren. "We would've killed everyone here."
Later, as the family probes deeper into the experience, Andy reveals, "Everything around us kind of ... just disappeared. And it's like there wasn't two of us anymore -- there was just one." Lauren explains the differences between their powers -- "Andy pushes things apart, right; I do the opposite, I can pull them together" -- but when they held hands, Andy says, "Combined, it was what we could do whatever we wanted," including vaporizing the wall of the vault, or leveling the entire building.
As chilling as those revelations are, the Struckers have little time to process them, and Andy and Lauren are needed for an ill-advised two-pronged assault on Trask Industries to free mutants held as part of the Hound Program: The kids are to join Dreamer and Blink in taking out a nearby power station, allowing the others to infiltrate the top-secret, high-security facility. The operation doesn't go as planned, however, leading Sentinel Services to capture first Blink and then Dreamer, who tries to get the Strucker children to safety.
Trapped in the power station's basement, Lauren tells her brother, "We can get out. We can get out if we do what we did before, like Fenris." They clasp hands, activating their combined abilities, until Andy breaks the link, much to the surprise of his sister.
"We can't! We're in the basement of the building!" pleads Andy, who previously displayed few qualms about using his mutant powers. "If we do it, everyone's gonna die!"
Lauren realizes Andy's right, of course, even as Sentinel Services agents pour in and fit the teens with power-dampening collars. There's no last second-rescue from Blink, who's also in custody, or from Thunderbird and Eclipse, who are miles away. Andy and Lauren certainly could have saved themselves, but at the cost of dozens, if not hundreds, of lives. As desperate as their situation is, they aren't willing to cross that line. They may be related to Fenris, but -- despite their fears and those of their parents -- they're not about to become them.
However, it raises the question of just how powerful the Strucker children really are. Among the Mutant Underground they've been viewed as heavy-hitters, keys to the success of more than one mission. But that's as much of a plot device as anything else; The Gifted can't sideline two of its primary protagonists, even when there are more-established adult mutants in play.
That said, the glimpses of their combined abilities in this week's episode, and the sparse details about those of Fenris, suggest they could be "Omega-level mutants," a term used in X-Men lore to designate those capable of large-scale destruction; they're viewed as major threats by government agencies. In Marvel comics, such mutants as Magneto, Quentin Quire, Iceman, Legion, Franklin Richards and Jean Grey are considered Omega-level mutants. And judging by the suggestion that the Strucker children, as young as they are, could vaporize walls and bring down entire buildings with little more than a thought, we can probably include them in that category as well.
We're then left to wonder whether Sentinel Services' collars, or any detention facility, is capable of holding them.
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.