The Gifted Roundtable: “eXploited” [Mid-Season Finale]

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The mid-season finale of The Gifted aired on FOX on Monday night, finding the truth being revealed about just who the new mutant Esme really is, seeing one of the mutants fall at the hand of demented Dr. Campbell and the Strucker kids exhibiting just a tenth of the power they hold between them.

Here is the official tagline for the episode entitled “eXploited“:

“Jace is forced to hand over something valuable to Dr. Campbell; the team is divided on what they should do next, so Reed and Caitlin take matters into their own hands.”

Please join Leah, Cay, Karen, Rueben and Roz as they talk about all that went down in this episode:

We knew there was more to Esme than her just being able to read minds; but did you anticipate her playing both the Struckers and the Mutants the way she did?

Leah: I knew she was shady, but I did not see a shadiness of this level happening. In a building filled with mutants she pulled this off too – impressive (in a super scary way)

Cay: Nope, I thought she was a hound initially. When the two sisters showed up – holy crap!

Karen: I’d hoped that her name would pan out, and WHOO BOY, it sure did. She’s one of The Stepford Cuckoos. I definitely knew she was trying WAY too hard to get the good guys to rescue her “family”. This could be a really awesome turn of events. Siblings with powers take two!

Rueben: I was floored by her playing both sides for her benefit; and how it all played out just blew my mind. I had to look up the Stepford Cuckoos after the episode aired – once I started reading other recaps – just so I could understand what was going on. It was definitely a “Holy Hell!” moment for me.

Roz: I’d expect nothing less from someone who should be related to Emma Frost, but the Cuckoos are some dangerous mutants if they go full tilt. I sort of want to watch them do more because this last scene was insane in a good way.

Did they expect Turner to actually follow through on getting the Mutants out of Trask Industries based only on Caitlyn and Reed’s desperate plea? If it weren’t for his wife, what – if anything – do you think Turner would’ve done?

Leah: Who thought that was going to work? Really? Turner has been on the war path since day one – even more so since Dreamer messed with his memories. Ill-conceived plan if you ask me. I don’t think Turner would have done anything if not for his wife.

Cay: Every time Turner starts to *maybe* feel a bit of guilt for what he is doing, something happens with the mutants which just strengthens his resolve to continue on. And he’s going to take it out on the Mutant Underground when all of it was Esme and her evil twins.

Karen: Too. Little. Too. Late. I just CANNOT EVEN with him. His wife had to intervene? The woman who had to TELL him that their daughter was dead? The woman that remembers? Dude. I have ZERO sympathy. #LockHimUp.

Rueben: To be honest, I was surprised that he even listened to his wife given how much of a war path he has been on since the very beginning. I didn’t expect him to demand they all be released, but with Esme and her sisters, any semblance of a decent man that might have been buried, deep, deep within him will be completely gone.

Roz: Yeah, he’s gone round the bend with his hatred of mutants for the death of his daughter, thing one. Thing two, he’s not willing to listen and blindly following one sad fact and that won’t end well even if his wife intervened. So yeah, he’s getting no love for me, just because he’s also horrid to people who have different abilities who can do sometimes awful things.

Just what did Dr. Campbell get from Lauren and Andy’s display of power that will help him to fix the mutant problem?

Leah: Did he harness their energy? I’m not sure.

Cay: I don’t think he did anything yet, but I think he has plans to do something with it now that he knows just how powerful they are. On the plus side, maybe it gave Andy and Lauren more practice using their power?

Karen: I think he’s going to use their DNA to make more powerful Hounds. (P.S. I want to see it)

Rueben: Karen has a good point, but I was freaked out by what he did to poor Sonia in order to spur Andy and Lauren on to use their powers together. And then we they released that power, holy crap! So much for an impenetrable room, huh? I’m really worried about whatever data he got from their display, and he plans to use it. He just creeps me out!

Roz: I hope he didn’t find a way to turn people with latent mutant potential into mutants that can be hounds, but who knows right now.

It was quite the bloodbath for Sentinel Services because of Esme. Just how dangerous is Turner going to become now?

Leah: I really want to see Turner and some of the Mutants teaming up against Esme. I don’t see Turner changing the way he thinks about Mutants completely but maybe this will give him some perspective in the not all mutants are bad.

Cay: As I said above, it’s going to be hard to change his mind now after he saw that massacre. And I can’t say that I blame him based on that incident – not sure how it could have been worse.

Karen: Look, can we just take him hostage at this point? Because I’m just tired of his sorry ass. He’s pretty much sold everybody out at this point, and it’s his fault that all of those good guys died. Yup. Track it back. Campbell’s to blame for the captives, so Turner has culpability. Hostage. Time.

Rueben: That whole scene was just startling to me. I did not see it coming at all until Esme’s eyes turned blue and the first Sentinel Services guy turned off the collars. I think Turner is going to be no-holds-barred on taking each and every mutant down no matter what. It’s going to be worse than that bloodbath at Trask Industries.

Roz: I want what Karen wants – let’s get the Cuckoos to hold him hostage and brainwash him. But, I can’t tell if Turner is really going to be dangerous or if that conversation with his wife and knowing that Campbell did something to result in Dreamer’s death will get him to break ranks. I doubt I’ll buy him as anything but the first of many villains (he doesn’t get anti-hero status at all to me).

How will the mutants react when they learn that Campbell killed Sonia in order to get the Strucker kids to display their powers?

Leah: I don’t see John taking it very well at all. The good and bad is that John is calculated. He will hopefully put an actual plan into play to get to Campbell instead of going in solely on emotion.

Cay: I was waiting to see how Tucker would react, but after the massacre, he’ll have little sympathy. Lorna will be all about revenge, I would think, but I think Esme changes everything – if Sonia’s death gets kind of lost in the whole trauma of the massacre, it might not be such a rallying cry when they need to go after Esme.

Karen: This is going to be a turning point. Her death will be a rallying cry if the writers do their job correctly, and I have faith that they will. We’re already seeing some fallout within the prison walls, and once the Sanctuary team finds them – whoo nelly – watch out Ahab.

Rueben: I think John is going to go ballistic at first, but then, like Leah said, he is going to calculate a revenge plan to get justice for Sonia. I also don’t really see Lorna reacting well to the news at all, and given her typical reaction, she’ll be sending every piece of metal at Campbell one way or another.

Roz: Everyone should be mad as hell! But John and Lorna most of all. Oooh, can Lorna just break something big?

What do you see happening in the few episodes that remain?

Leah: I have no idea. I feel like I did when I watched the first Harry Potter movie. I hadn’t read the book yet and I felt that the movie was amazing but maybe it would have been more amazing if I had read the book first. This show is great. I really like it but I also feel like I’m missing things because I never read the source material.

Cay: No idea, although I suspect that both the mutants and Sentinel Service are going to be going after Esme and her sisters.

Karen: Some meatier dialogue for Amy Acker in this ep, so let’s have more of that please TPTB? There’s going to be a prison break, whether it’s from without or within is the question. The Strucker kids can do it – they just need to *know* that fact. Else the Sanctuary peeps can go in with a strike team now that they’re in shambles from the Esme attack. More action, more mayhem, more mutants, I’m IN.

Rueben: I agree with Karen that I want to see more “meat” for Caitlyn. It’s a waste to have Amy Acker in the show if she’s not going to get more than just crying and being window dressing. I also want to see either or both of the mutants and Sentinel Services go after Esme because of what she and her sisters did.

Roz: Like I said, I want Turner to think that his job is not what it should be, but other than that, I just think that Esme will get some ish done.

What did you think of the mid-season finale of the Marvel Universe show? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.

The Gifted will return to FOX after a three-week break on Monday, January 1 at 9/8c.

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Blindspot, The Blacklist, Killjoys, The Brave, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Fosters. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at