The start of Fox’s The Gifted, where a family is on the run when it’s discovered their two teens are really mutants, accomplished a lot more than ABC’s Inhumans did in its two-hour pilot last week. Right off the bat, viewers understand they’re in a world where mutants are fighting for their lives against people who fear them because of a major disaster.
The show centers on the Strucker family, who live in Atlanta. Reed, the dad (Stephen Moyer), is a prosecutor who deals with mutants and seems to be sympathetic towards them. Caitlin (Amy Acker) is a loyal mom who, along with Reed, is worried that their son, Andy (Percy Hynes White), is being bullied. His sister, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), is just concerned about a dance that night.
Meanwhile, a green-eyed girl named Clarice (Jamie Chung) is being chased by the cops. She has the ability to open portals to other places. She’s saved by Marcos (Sean Teale) who can manipulate light, but his girlfriend Lorna (Emma Dumont) is captured after she tries to hold off the cops. She seems to have powers similar to Magneto, but it’s not certain if she’s related to him.
The school dance winds up revealing a lot about the Strucker kids. Andy gets bullied by three guys, and they torment him with hot and cold showers. His anger unleashes a power that nearly wrecks the entire school. Falling pieces force Lauren to reveal her power of manipulating the air as a force field.
Caitlin is stunned to learn her kids are mutants, and wonders what Reed will think. So does Lauren, since she knows Reed arrests people like her.
Then the real bad guys show up: Sentinel Services, a federal agency tasked with capturing mutants. They come after the kids, but Caitlin will not have it. They leave quickly, and tell Reed what happened. They all decide they have to find the Mutant Underground to stay safe.
It’s great to see Acker again, a familiar face in the Whedonverse from Angel and Dollhouse. She’s excellent as the mom whose maternal instincts to protect her mutant kids will evolve into a formidable force. Moyer is also good as Reed, who is determined to keep his family together. Lind and White are also very believable as the siblings, as they help each other understand their powers. Andy, though, may have the tougher time.
As for the mutants, Chung is very good as Clarice, while Dumont as Lorna has a lot of potential. In the quick preview for the next few episodes, she and Reed may team up to battle Sentinel Services.
It has some interesting Easter eggs, too. Marcos’ phone has a ringtone that may be familiar to people who watched cartoons on Fox 25 years ago. There’s also a cameo that usually happens in Marvel movies.
The first episode ends with most of the Strucker family in hiding, while one member is left behind. It’s a situation that will keep fans very interested in what happens next.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 PM Eastern and Pacific on Fox.