The Gifted’s mutants add richness to the convoluted live-action X-Men universe.
For X-Men fans, The Gifted is the show we have all been waiting for. It expands on the existing X-verse, giving us mutants we know from the comic book series, as well a couple of new ones.
Some of the mutants we see on the show have mastered their powers while others are still learning. They begin to master their abilities as the first season progresses. Their powers inform their decisions and their interactions with others.
Despite the impact their mutations have on their lives, the mutants are not defined by their abilities, and there certainly isn’t a pecking order dictated by the usefulness of their mutations. They are more like puzzle pieces that fit together to create a whole picture.
But, how useful are the mutants in a fight? Here is my ranking of the top seven mutants we encounter in The Gifted. Spoilers for some of the characters and plot points below so, if you haven’t watched the show, best do so now!
7 – Eclipse
Marcos Diaz, a character created specifically for the show, is a mutant with the ability to channel the sun and project powerful light beams and lasers through his body. Aptly codenamed Eclipse, Marcos is strong and comfortable with his powers. The reason he is at the bottom of this list is because he rarely uses his abilities during the first season. When he does use his powers, it is primarily as a torch. Not very impressive.
The destructive ability of his mutation is hinted at when Marcos is blackmailed into torturing someone, but apart from a couple of instances, he does not use his lasers in combat situations. One can only hope that we get to see more of Eclipse’s powers in season two.
6 – Blink
Clarice Fong was on the run and injured when she, quite literally, ran into Thunderbird, Eclipse and Polaris. Her mutation, to create portals between places, helps to get the mutants out of several sticky situations, which is pretty handy in a fight.
However, as powerful as Blink will eventually be, as we witnessed in X-Men: Days of Future Past, she is still learning to control her abilities in this show. At one point, she completely loses control over the portals, putting the entire underground in danger. She ends up needing some serious intervention to get her mojo back.
Plus, her powers are limited. Similar to Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, Blink needs to be able to know where exactly she needs to portal people, to otherwise she could end up portalling people directly into a wall. Not the smashing end anyone is looking for.
5 – Dreamer
Sonia is based on the character Beautiful Dreamer in the Marvel comics. Dreamer’s mutation allows her to read, create or alter memories in people. Very handy when you need information.
In the first few episodes of the show, the audience has no idea what Sonia’s powers are as she is mainly in the background, but once the show introduces us to her gifts, Sonia comes into her own. Dreamer’s powers are used for a variety of reasons – to coax Blink’s powers back, to steal information and to hide painful memories.
The reason why Dreamer is low on this list despite having full control of her powers is that she sometimes does too much damage, usually unknowingly. This has less to do with Dreamer’s intentions and more to do with the imprecise application of her powers, but still, she does get the mutant underground in a scrape because of it which eventually leads to her untimely demise.
4 – The Strucker Siblings
Lauren and Andy Strucker may have thought they were part of an average American family, but that was before Andy lost his temper at kids bullying him and proceeded to rip the school apart. Andy’s actions prompt Sentinel Services to come after him but turns out he isn’t the only Strucker mutant; Lauren has been hiding her mutant powers for a while.
Lauren’s power is to create shields, and with practice, she is able to create larger and more durable shields. Andy has the ability to create seismic shifts around him, so he is good at ripping places apart. Despite lessons from the mutant underground, Andy struggles to control his powers, which go completely out of whack every time he is angry. And, he is angry most of the time.
As strong as the Strucker siblings are on their own, they are formidable together. We learn in the episode ‘threat of eXtinction’ that Lauren and Andy are direct descendants of Fenris, the villainous twins Andrea and Andreas von Strucker, mutant terrorists with the same abilities as Lauren and Andy. When the twins’ power combined, they became the indestructible, all-powerful Fenris.
We see the aftermath of Lauren and Andy’s Fenris capabilities in the season finale when they defend the underground headquarters. One can only hope we get to see their full potential on display in coming seasons.
3 – Thunderbird
The co-leader of the mutant underground, along with Polaris, John Proudstar is a war veteran who has been fighting for mutant rights long before anyone knew he was a mutant.
Thunderbird is loosely based on the mutant of the same name in the X-Men comics, but unlike in the comics, he is alive and well. The show’s Thunderbird has powers similar to Warpath from the comics and X-Men: Days of Future Past. His mutations are numerous, giving him superstrength, invulnerability, foresight and enhanced senses.
John is also a great leader, maintaining the mutant underground with empathy and a firm hand. He constantly gets his fellow mutants out of scrapes with his abilities. Even when he suffers incredible losses, he always manages to come out on the other side stronger and raring to go. He is definitely the kind of mutant you would want on your side.
2 – Stepford Cuckoos
Nobody likes being played but you have to hand it to Esme Frost; she played the mutant underground really well. Esme was part of a group of mutants under attack when the underground swept in to rescue them. Esme’s telepathic abilities seemed to be just what the underground needed to help them find and end the Hound programme and she soon become part of the team.
Unbeknownst to the characters, but clear to the audience, Esme’s telepathy was much stronger than she initially let on and she was soon reading everyone’s minds and manipulating them accordingly. When she finally got what she wanted, all-out assault on Trask Industries, we saw what her endgame was – freeing her sisters, Phoebe and Sophie. Together, the triplets wreaked devastation on anyone in their path, human and mutant alike.
The Gifted marks the Stepford Cuckoos’ first live-action appearance but what is even cooler for X-Men fans is that they are also part of the Hellfire Club. Clearly, this infamous X-Men foe will have a larger part to play next season.
1 – Polaris
Magneto’s children, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, have been making their mark in the X-Men films and the MCU but one child has almost always been left out – Lorna Dane, aka Polaris. Lorna’s powers are almost identical to Magneto’s but, unlike Magneto’s penchant for evil, Lorna usually straddles the fence between good and bad, usually falling on the side of the good guys.
In The Gifted, Lorna has seemingly no connection to her father and thus, has chosen to side with the good mutants. As co-leader of the mutant underground, Lorna has a great deal of responsibility, which is doubled when she learns that she is expecting a child with Marcos. The world isn’t the safest place to bring a child into, which makes her even more determined to make things better, and sends her a bit off the edge.
The extent of Lorna’s powers become obvious with each passing episode and by the end of the season, we get a demonstration of just how powerful, and deadly, she can be. Our only question is: how far will she go in her quest for a better world?
Season one of The Gifted was short but chockful of mutants with powers we loved seeing on the small screen. Since most shows follow the ‘bigger is better’ formula for succeeding seasons, we can expect to see more powers and more mutants next season. We cannot wait!