'The Gifted' Season 2 Episode 1, 'eMergence,' Feeds the Chaos

"It's time to make a new world"

Fox's X-Men series, The Gifted, doesn't have a single "big bad." The Season 2 premiere, "eMergence," sells itself as philosophically dense and eager to introduce the diverging sides to each mutant alliance: the Hellfire Club and its Inner Circle, and the Mutant Underground with its several divisions. New mutants are popping up everywhere, and the Season 2 premiere looks and feels more like a superhero show compared to the dated, yet admittedly enthralling, wild goose chase of a first season.

Polaris is the only character who at least attempts to transcend the idea of choosing a side, which is why she's still the most compelling part of the show. She sees potential in all the solutions to protect mutants (at least for now), but isn't naive to the influence of party agendas. How Polaris responds and reacts to the political debates swirling around her is the driving force of the show, and adds yet another highly emotional layer to a story already full of rage and dread.

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'The Gifted' airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Fox

The premiere skips ahead six months and centers around the birth of Polaris and Eclipse's child, but the labor doesn't go as planned. The telepathic Frost triplets manipulate Polaris with a vision of a future where the Inner Circle prospers. The slogan of their political campaign is "Dawn of the Mutant Age." The Inner Circle referred to that campaign as The Mutant Homeland Project in the opening moments of the episode, but Reeva, armed with a sonic scream, killed all the existing members (or at least everyone at the meeting) after they voted down the plan. Reeva is ready to do whatever it takes to create a new world for mutants.

The Mutant Underground isn't coping as confidently. They're doing their best to save families from the amped up Sentinel Services raids, but barely making a dent since Polaris and her impressionable protégé Andy (with a new blonde hairdo and looking much cooler) sided with the Hellfire Club. As for the show's designated human, Kate Strucker continues to rely on her medical skills to save mutants while her ex-lawyer husband Reed doles out fake IDs. There's general tension among the Mutant Underground, a byproduct of feeling like their fight is never enough.

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Polaris ran off with Eclipse's baby in the Season 1 finale. Fox

The episode introduces three new powered plotlines, including a brand new mutant who seems like he could become a recurring character. Wire is an enhanced computer hacker who helps Eclipse and Kate find a lead to track down Andy, Polaris and the baby, against the Underground's wishes. They find out the Inner Circle has an endless source of wealth—55 million—and anyone who messes with them disappears.

Meanwhile, Lauren has nightmares about her brother successfully persuading her to switch sides (she and Andy are mutant terrorist twins called Fenris in the comics). Reed's latent mutant gene is developing. We don't know what his powers are yet, but if getting mutant powers as an adult is anything like the chicken pox, it can't be all good.

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Right before Polaris went into labor, she told Andy to watch out for the Frost sisters. Fox

Once again, the X-Men are only briefly mentioned. The episode hammers the generational legacies home—Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, the Strucker twins are relatives of a powerful mutant named Baron Von Strucker, and the Stepford Cuckoos are just freaking crazy. Those references are a little deceiving since the show's narrative approach is only loosely canonical (the comics offer few clues about Wire, for example).

The Gifted has always been a bit clumsy with character development, which makes it feel more like a regular action show than an adaptation. It's deceptively hard to keep track of everything, which feeds the chaos. That being said, it keeps things mysterious, and it's fun nonetheless.