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"This is a burden. It's also a gift."
Caitlin Strucker
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The Gifted is a 2017 superhero Science Fiction series airing on FOX, based on the Marvel Comics X-Men franchise. Created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice), the show is a co-production between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Television, with a pilot directed by Bryan Singer of the X-Men film series.

Set in a Bad Present where the X-Men are gone and anti-mutant sentiment is rampant, The Gifted follows a family on the run from a hostile government agency after parents Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Kate (Amy Acker) Strucker learn their teenage children Lauren & Andy (Natalie Alyn Lind & Percy Hynes White, respectively) are mutants themselves.

With the help of an underground network of mutant rebels —which include Thunderbird (Blair Redford), Blink (Jamie Chung), Polaris (Emma Dumont), and Eclipse (Sean Teale)— the Strucker kids will need to learn how to master their "gifts" and protect themselves from a world that hates and fears them... or else.

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The Gifted is notable for drawing inspiration from deeper dives in X-Men lore than have previously been seen in live-action.

The show was cancelled by FOX in 2019 after two seasons.


The Gifted contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandon the Disabled: One of Dr. Garber's patients is Shawna, a young mutant girl with Down syndrome whose parents left her at the clinic because they didn't want to deal with a daughter who was both developmentally disabled and a mutant.
  • AB Negative: A gunshot victim needs a blood transfusion but being a fugitive cannot go to the hospital. Helpfully, Andy remembers that he is O-, the universal donor, and can be safely used for a field transfusion.
  • Absolute Cleavage: The outfit Lorna wears at the end of the first season has this.
  • Abusive Parents: Like in other X-Men properties, it's common for mutants.
    • Marcos's father kicked him out when he manifested as a mutant and he refused to hide his powers. As a result he spent some time homeless.
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    • Clarice seems to be in a similar situation—she describes her family situation as "complicated", and firmly states that they're not an option when asked if she has anyone besides the underground who'd help her. Later, it's revealed she was also homeless, as she couldn't get a job because she's not human-passing, and her family was apparently just fine with this state of affairs.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Polaris in the comics had entirely green hair while Emma Dumont's Polaris has dark hair that's green at the ends...at the start of the series. It turns out to be a literal dye job; her hair is naturally totally green, but she dyes it black to blend in.
    • Blink's hair is entirely purple in the comics, but her series counterpart still has black hair with purple highlights in season one. In the second season, it's all purple.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Blink's real name is changed from Clarice Ferguson to Clarice Fong to reflect her Race Lift from Bahamian to Asian in the Fox continuities.
  • Adult Fear: Reed and Kate don't care that their children are mutants — they're more concerned with their safety in a world that hates and fears their kind.
  • Alternate Universe: It has been stated that in this universe, the X-Men and the Brotherhood disappeared/disbanded after the U.S government started hunting mutants after an unknown incident years before the events of the show.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses a song called "End Gone" as the theme song by Kyte, a UK artist, instead of a Japanese artist.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In the Season 1 finale, Sentinel Services finally track down and assaults the Mutant Underground's headquarters. Andy and Lauren end up having to destroy the building to buy time for everyone to evacuate.
  • And the Adventure Continues: What the season finale-turned-series finale ends up being as almost all loose ends have been tied up and Blink returns apparently from the Age of Apocalypse and portals the rest of the crew in for help.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Marcos has one for Caitlin in the second episode; she's too stunned by it to answer.
    Marcos: If it wasn't your kids in that gym, would you be standing up for them? Would your husband?
  • Asshole Victim: The bullies who harassed Andy.
    • Dr.Campbell and Senator Montez.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The one time Andy wants to go to a school dance, his mutant powers finally manifest, resulting in massive damage to the school gym and boys' locker room.
  • Bedlam House: The mental institution where many mutants were held, drugged, restrained and in shock collars. It was used instead of prison, with them often being given false diagnoses (one psychiatrist there hated this, but the rest went along with it). It's stated there are many used this way.
  • Beehive Barrier: Lauren's force shields are depicted with a mesh of transparent hexagons.
  • Big Bad:
    • Season 1: Dr. Campbell
    • Season 2: Reeva Payge
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dr. Madeline Garber, who worked with Otto Strucker to suppress the mutant gene in Reed. She was very helpful when she met Reed once more and was delighted to learn that Lauren's X-Gene in her blood will help cure Reed. Until Lauren discovers that Dr. Garber's research on the Strucker genetics will be used to eventually purge the X-Gene from all mutants. When Garber learns that her plan was revealed, she calls mutants a curse from God who should never have been born. Her brother was even the founder of the mutant-hate group Purifiers, so she wants to end the human-mutant violence by wiping out the mutant gene.
  • Board to Death: In the opening scene of the Season 2 premiere, Reeva and the Frost sisters wipe out the rest of the Inner Circle leadership for refusing to go along with their extremist actions.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Andy and Lauren. Also their great-grandfather and his sister, Andreas and Andrea Strucker, a.k.a. Fenris.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Unwittingly on the part of Andy's high school bullies in the first episode, "eXposed". The stress when they corner him in the locker room at the school dance triggers his powers for the first time, causing massive destruction. It's the idea that any kid could be a mutant that makes it this trope.
    • Mirroring many similar situations in the comics, the people at a bowling alley decide to mock and harass a girl with powers until she unintentionally causes a shockwave that knocks over everything in front of her. This is in a setting where mutants having dangerous abilities is well known about.
    • Even though Lorna has an inhibitor collar on, it doesn't block her powers, only puts her in severe pain if she tries. One of the inmates tries kicking her in her stomach and forcibly aborting her child, mocking her for being unable to fight back, and Lorna powers through the pain and hits her with a nearby table.
  • Cain and Abel: As of the end of season 1 Lauren and Andy, whose powers are two haves of a single whole, are on opposite sides of the mutant conflict. Andy wants to strike back at humanity, Lauren wants to work with them.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's a few characters not in the comics:
    • The Strucker Family shares a surname with former Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, but they all appear to be original characters created specifically for this show. Andy and his sister were widely theorized to be based on the Fenris Twins, who are the comic book Strucker's children, but were solidified as true Canon Foreigners when the actual Fenris Twins were announced to appear. Episode 8 reveals that they really are descendants of the Fenris twins.
    • Marcos Diaz (Eclipse) is also an original character, but note Composite Character below.
    • Season 2 introduces Twist, a new mutant who doesn't come from the comics.
  • The Cartel: Colombian native Marcos used to work for one, using his powers to act as an enforcer.and torturer. He was high up, sleeping with the boss's daughter Carmen. When he goes to the Cartel looking for information, she's the one he has to talk to.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Amy Acker was previously in Fox X-Men's rival Marvel franchise as Coulson's love interest in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Her latest prominent TV role also had her as a member of La Résistance fighting against an oppressive government within the US.
    • Stephen Moyer learns he is a mutant and goes on the run, much like his wife's previous role.
    • Elena Satine and Jeff Daniel Phillips portray Dreamer and Fade, both heroic mutants and collaborators of the protagonists, respectively. Previously, they appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Lorelei and David Angar, both superpowered minor antagonists to the main cast.
  • Casual Kink: Lorna and Marcos apparently use powers in their sex life.
    Blink: How about your girlfriend? You ever burn your girlfriend with that?
    Eclipse: Yeah, but she doesn't care. That's why she's my girlfriend.
    Blink: ... Kinky.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Polaris being aware of the screws in Reed's leg and telling him she could use them as a deadly weapon if she really wanted to. When that moment arrives, she doesn't initially remember, but Reed does, and encourages her to do it so that they have a weapon to escape with.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The character portraits for the second season feature two background colors, depending on their affiliation — the Mutant Underground has gold, while the Hellfire Club has blue. Jace Turner's portrait noticeably features both.
  • Composite Character:
    • Eclipse exists in the X-Men comics as an alternate-universe version of Sunspot, real name Roberto Da Costa; here Marcos is more clearly a straight expy. In addition, like Cyclops's brother Havok, he can project light as plasma waves and focused beams, and has a relationship with Polaris.
    • Erg is a combination of Callisto, the eye-patched leader of the underground mutant group Morlocks, and has M facial brand and energy-absorbing powers of Bishop.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Most of Season 1 is the humans doing this. By persecuting and experimenting on believed-weak mutants with the general approval of a society that fears what stronger ones could do, they directly cause a rebirth of Fenris and get a renewed Hellfire Club centered on a new Magneto - his daughter. The final episodes show how badly underprepared Sentinel Services et al. are for this.
  • Creator Cameo: A staple for a Marvel series, Stan Lee makes a quick appearance, exiting the diner Reed arrives at to meet Marcos.
  • Deal with the Devil: After being pushed too far, Agent Turner agrees to work with Dr. Campbell whose specialty is brainwashing mutants. He almost immediately sees the violations of human rights that entails.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have both disbanded and their members have gone into hiding. As both groups had some of the most powerful mutants alive in their ranks, the human vs. mutant conflict would be rather lopsided in favor of the latter if either group was still in operation.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Parents kicking their kids out for coming out as what they've always been, people who can't get jobs based on how they look, racist lynch mobs, all sounds very familiar. Reminiscent of what goes on in this world, even.
    • "rX" brings the Mutant Metaphor fully to the forefront. The erosion of peoples' Constitutional rights in the interest of "public safety" not only mirrors the War on Terror era, but the targeted and institutionalized persecution of mutants, (where even accidentally causing damage to property is enough to land a mutant in jail) the overreach and unconstitutional methods of Sentinel Services in attempting to force Reeds' cooperation, and the implication that jailed mutants are "disappeared" or otherwise quietly killed and disposed of strongly evokes the persecution of the Jews and other undesirables by Nazi Germany.
    • The Purifiers, a militantly anti-mutant hate group, echo the "You will not replace us" chant used by Neo-Nazis in the US at the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia rally.
    • Benedict Ryan's show strongly echoes that of Bill O'Reilly, with basically the same symbols and colors on the backdrops, though he's more low-key.
  • Empathic Healer: Of a sort. The woman Reed meets in "eXodus" can remove others' pain, at the cost of suffering a certain amount of pain and fatigue herself. While she specifically mentions that she can't actually physically heal him, it's enough for him to function as if he wasn't hurt.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Esme makes Ryan confess his crimes to reports with her mind control powers, starting on his secretly being the leader of the Purifiers.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: While Marcos' family kicked him out when he was 13 for being a mutant, The Cartel he found work with not only couldn't care less, they liked that his powers could be used on regular humans. His ties even extended to having a relationship with the boss's daughter and being able - with certain "conditions" - to come back for help when in deep trouble with the US government. Not the usual cartel retirement plan...
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dr. Campbell took care of his brother, who had cystic fibrosis. This apparently was why he got into genetics, hoping to find cures for such diseases. However, even then he viewed mutants as a threat and that they were also a "disease" to be "cured".
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "iMprint", the Mutant Underground are wondering why the Purifiers hit a mutant friendly facility only to avoid actually hurting any of the mutants present. Then they look around their packed-to-capacity safe house and realize the Purifiers were using the other mutants as a means of finding them. Cue the heavily-armed Purifiers rolling up outside the building.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Mutants are referred to as "more evolved" than regular humans. In real evolutionary terms, that's nonsense, but a common theme in the X-Men stories.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Andy, Lorna, and Sage all end up defecting to the Hellfire Club in the first season finale.
  • Fantastic Racism: Persecution of mutants, naturally, and this being based on Marvel comics, they've got it pretty bad. Mutants can be detained without due process or any rights, use of powers generally escalates the severity of a punishment for any crime regardless of mitigating circumstances like self-defense, and there's apparently a new law in the works that would make testing for the X-gene mandatory in schools.
    Andy: [speaking about a classmate being against gene-testing] His cousin's a mutie or something.
    Lauren: Mutie? Racist much?
  • Flashback: Each episode after the first one opens on a flashback.
  • Fugitive Arc: The premise of the series: a family discovers their children are mutants and goes on the run from the government and their Sentinels.
  • Guilt by Association: Reed and Kate, for harboring their mutant children. As a city attorney for 15 years, often prosecuting mutants, Reed's office is shocked that he'd abet this sort of crime. Turner isn't.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Kate and Reed visit Turner in his home and convince him that the mutants held hostage in Campbell's facility are just innocent children who've done nothing wrong. Then Esme forces his entire convoy to murder each other just as they're bringing the children out of Campbell's facility.
  • Heel Realization: Kate and Reed's opening story arc. Exemplified here in Episode 4.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Reed goes after Reeve even while knowing it would likely lead to his death. This quickly becomes taking you with me.
  • High-School Dance: Andy, sick of hiding from constant bullying at High School, convinces Lauren to help him sneak off to the dance. Even then, his tormentors are there waiting for him, kicking off the chain of events that lead us to the premise of the series.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Reed Strucker, the prosecutor who specialized in mutant cases, is forced to go through what he put other mutants and their families through and watch his family suffer under the laws he supported.
    • Lampshaded by Polaris in Episode 4.
    "The same son-of-a-bitch who tried to use my unborn child to get me to turn against my friends is going to prison with me? What is it, my birthday?"
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Newly-manifested mutants experience this problem as they try to figure out how their powers work. Andy and Blink both struggle to use their powers initially (Andy simply doesn't know how to activate his abilities, and Blink has significant trouble opening her portals and keeping them open), but Lauren lets Andy know it gets easier with practice and offers him help in learning to use them.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Invoked by Polaris once she escapes custody and power restraints. Down to a payback of using a piece of rebar as a painful collar on one of her adversaries.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is spelled in all lower-case with the exception of a single letter, 'X' for the first season and 'M' for the second.
  • Internal Reveal: The Wham Line from "eXploited", when the audience has already learned that Esme is not trustworthy.
    Trader: We're done here! Esme already told us what you did!
    Reed: (confused) But it was her idea...
  • Invisibility: Reed's first contact with the Mutant Underground turns out to have this as his power: he can quickly make himself and anything he's touching invisible, including an entire van. His power also masks any sound made by the things he cloaks.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Dr. Campbell, in the image of Bolivar Trask, views Mutants as either lab animals or weapons, things in other words, and specifically encourages others to think of them as such.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: After John is captured by the Purifiers, they start torturing him for information. Still, Jace keeps them from bringing out the power tools, sticking with loud rock music over headphones (as John has very sensitive hearing).
  • Legacy Character: The Struckers share the last name with a prominent family of villains in Marvel comics, but for the most part of the first season it is nothing more than another Mythology Gag. Episode 8 however, reveals that Andy and Lauren are great-grandchildren of the original Fenris twins and share their powerset, which leads to a massive Oh, Crap! to Reed when he learns it.
  • Make Them Rot: Reed Strucker begins developing this power, formerly suppressed by his Mad Scientist father, in season two.
  • Meaningful Name: Dia is the Spanish word for day. Marcos Díaz has heat- and light-based powers (differences in etymology aside).
  • Mugging the Monster: In a Carrie-esque way. It's actually stress resulting from the constant bullying that triggers Andy's out-of-control powers for the first time.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title of the show references the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, and the way in which mutants in general were sometimes euphemistically referred to as 'gifted' children.
    • Polaris, a mutant whose power is Magnetism Manipulation, confronts a large number of police and squad cars with her team behind her, similar to Magneto in the first X-Men movie. Polaris is Magneto's daughter.
    • Marcos's ringtone is the 90's X-Men Animated series theme.
    • Much like in X-Men: Days of Future Past, we have a group of mutants being pursued by the Sentinel program. The group is even made up of Blink (played by Jamie Chung instead of Fan Bingbing), Warpath's brother Thunderbird (with Thunderbird actually being replaced by Warpath in the comics), Eclipse as an Expy of Sunspot, and another mutant with magnetic powers, in this case Polaris.
    • The prison where Polaris is sent resembles Genosha from the comics. The Shock Collar worn by Polaris is similar to the electronic slave collars worn by the imprisoned mutants, which activates (or even explodes) if the mutant uses his powers or tries to escape.
    • In the second episode, there's a reference to the Mutant Liberation Front, recurring villains from X-Force.
    • The "July 15th Incident" wherein a mutant-caused explosion in a populated area dealt a lot of casualties (and led to anti-mutant laws being passed) is also reminiscent of Civil War.
    • In "eXploited," Campbell mentions that his men recovered some rare adamantium from a defunct military instillation in British Columbia. This is a nod to Weapon X, the program responsible for the adamantium in Wolverine's body.
    • When Reed's powers begin manifesting, his arms glow red hot that they could disintegrate anything which he touches, referencing Satan's Claw, Baron Strucker's signature gauntlet in the comics.
  • Nazi Grandpa: The Strucker family used to be the Von Strucker family. Including members of Hydra and the Nazis.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "outfoX" the volatile Andy is naturally the sibling most eager to experiment with their dangerous combined powers. But the powers are so seductive, the more controlled Lauren admits she loved the feel of them, and she's the one who wants to use them to escape the Sentinel Services trap— leaving Andy to be the one who breaks that off realizing it would kill everyone in the building.
  • Perception Filter: Harry, a member of the Mutant Underground, can make living beings perceive him as invisible, but can't hide himself from electronic surveillance.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Many mutants are feared because their powers could easily make them this, following a backlash in the wake of the destruction wrought by the fighting between the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants. Andy practically brings down a whole gymnasium with his powers, and that's just in the first minute of having them.
  • Personality Powers: Several examples:
    • Andy and Lauren demonstrate Sibling Yin-Yang: Andy is a frustrated, angry kid, and his newly discovered powers are barely controlled destruction, flirting with Bad Powers, Bad People. Lauren is much more together, and uses her powers to create protective shields and even uses them to heal. Partially justified, since the older mutants discuss that it can take time to learn to trigger powers out of anything but anger and fear. Andy's just discovered his (see Traumatic Superpower Awakening), while Lauren's had hers for three years (though she's managed to keep them hidden the whole time).
    • Blink is a troubled foster kid who describes her teleportation powers as only ways to get away from bad places.
    • Polaris is bipolar, and her powers have to do with magnetic polarity.
    • Esme is a telepath with a knack for non-psychically manipulating people. Invokes the chicken/egg question about this: did being a trickster make her a telepath, or has mind-reading simply made deception the easiest strategy for her?
  • Police Brutality: We see mutants often suffering from this. Before he hated them due to mutants inadvertently killing his daughter, Jace actually opposed it as a cop (his partner tased a mutant for simply not providing ID).
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: It turns out that Esme not only has telepathy, she's also (combined with her sisters) capable of causing Turner's entire convoy to kill each other/themselves through strong mental suggestions.
  • Race Lift: Blink is Asian in this continuity, as she was in Days Of Future Past, rather than the original character, who was Bahamian.
  • Recycled Premise: Before The Gifted came to fruition, FOX announced development on a series based on the Hellfire Club, which was ultimately scrapped and replaced by this show. It seems elements of that Hellfire Club series have been adapted here, with the Cuckoos working for (or with) them.
  • Shock Collar: The prison where Polaris and other mutants are held uses these to inhibit the mutants' ability to use their powers.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Andy is brash, impulsive and impatient, with his powers more focused on destruction; Lauren is more collected, level-headed and uses her powers for defense and support such as shields, closing portals, and plugging up wounds.
  • Sigil Spam: The Sentinel Services tattoo their logos on the wrists of each mutant that is working for them. So far, the only use for that is that other mutants can easily identify them.
  • Superpowered Date: "eXodus" begins on a Cold Open Flashback of how Lorna and Marcos first met, with Lorna asking him about the first time he ever used his powers for the sheer joy of it. She demonstrates her ability to fly using her magnetic powers to levitate her chunky metal bracelets and steel-toed boots; Marcos picks up several shards of glass and melts them in between his hands, putting on an impromptu light show. Finally, when the two of them hold hands, the combination of solar and magnetic energy creates a miniature Aurora Borealis effect.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: After John gets captured, Andy and Lorna join up with Marcos, Clarice and Lauren to free him. Naturally, things are pretty tense between them since they went their separate ways.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In "eXodus", Andy's first suggestion when the family needs money is that he and Lauren use their powers to rob a bank, and when he can't convince them to go along with it, he fitfully destroys a row of parking meters so they can grab the change for quick cash. He's also increasingly quick to suggest fighting their way out when a mob of gun-wielding neighbors surround his uncle's house, knowing that they'd easily win and reasoning that if average people hate and fear mutants so much that they're willing to hurt or even kill them just for being there, there's no reason why the Mutant Underground shouldn't treat them the exact same way.
  • Tracking Device: Reed agrees to wear one in "eXodus" as part of his deal to lead Sentinel Services to the Mutant Underground. It works — right up until he throws himself out of a moving van after he has a change of heart.
  • Trash the Set: In the Season 1 finale, the Mutant Underground's headquarters gets wrecked by the fight with Sentinel Services and their Hounds and Andy and Lauren end up vaporizing the whole building in order to cover their escape.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: In the first episode, Andy's powers activate while he's trying to fend off a gang of bullies. Lauren's powers manifested themselves three years earlier, when she stopped a car from striking her and her mother on their way home from church.
  • Wham Shot: The end of "eXploited" where Esme unites with two women who look exactly like her, revealing they are the Stepford Cuckoos.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: The Strucker twins can combine their disparate abilities to unleash enough power to drastically warp thick adamantium walls and the Stepford Cuckoos powers increase exponentially when working together. Roderick Campbell and Trask Industries are working to study and replicate this phenomenon to combine the abilities of their Hounds into more devastating ones.
  • Worst Aid: We Have to Get the Bullet Out variety, performed by a nurse on a deep torso wound with no general anesthetic or attempt/ability to create a sterile operating environment. That's about as good an idea as it sounds. Subverted in that the amateur surgery removing the bullet from wherever it is plugging does cause an artery to hemorrhage and would have been certain death if not for Lauran's ability to improvise use of her powers as a surgical clamp.

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