Thanks to the latest episode of The Gifted, we now have confirmation of something that’s long been teased on the show: mutant siblings are more powerful together. From the moment The Gifted named its lead family the Struckers, it was clear that some allusion to the Von Struckers from the comics would be made. Sure enough, the introduction of Dr. Campbell introduced the idea of a pair of mutant siblings tied to terrorism during the ’50s and ’60s, teeing up the villainous duo Fenris from X-Men and Avengers lore.
As The Gifted heads towards the finale of season 1, more and more is being pulled from the page as Andy and Lauren Strucker become Fenris 2.0—but they’re not alone. From Esme and her psychic sisters to Polaris’ baby amping up her abilities to the ultimate goal of Campbell’s Hound program, The Gifted is demonstrating the unimaginable power that mutants of the same bloodline share.
The von Struckers
It didn’t take long to realize the Struckers are actually descendants of the von Struckers, the twin children of Marvel villain Wolfgang von Strucker. While Andrea and Andreas were powerful on their own, holding hands allowed them to access monumental abilities. Though the show deviates from the comics, it adapts the twins (collectively known as Fenris) fairly faithfully, before providing them with a lineage that’s destined to repeat history.
We first saw Andy and Lauren use their powers together as a way of stabilizing each ability. But once Reed learned the truth about his father and family, the Strucker children discovered that by holding hands they had the power to tear whole buildings apart. Once in the hands of Dr. Campell, The Gifted‘s version of Trask Industries was able to study their power and finally use it to advance their endgame. It seems that Reed’s father, in attempting to prevent Fenris from ever returning, helped to create something even more deadly.
Created by Grant Morrison, the Stepford Cuckoos in the comics are a group of five identical sisters cloned from Emma Frost. Eventually, their numbers were whittled down to three, and that’s the version we’ve met on The Gifted over the past couple of weeks. Like in the comics, the three have a psychic hive-mind and wield immense telepathic abilities. We’re not told on the show if they’re the offspring of Emma Frost (or if she even exists), but both the White Queen’s last name and Cuckoo are used as their surname in the show. And along with their outfits, overlapping way of speaking, and their runway-like entrances, the sisters are pulled straight from the comics.
Originally imprisoned in Campell’s Hound program, the Frost sisters are yet another example of the power of shared blood on The Gifted. While the trio don’t need physical contact to increase their abilities, it’s clear they’re infinitely more powerful when they’re together (though they’re plenty strong alone, just like the Strucker kids). While Campbell needed the Struckers to complete his work, it’s likely that holding the Cuckoos helped him to refine his plan before he’d capture Andy and Lauren.
Deviating from the idea of siblings by tying into mutants with blood ties strengthening each other, this week’s The Gifted added yet another wrinkle to the mysterious abilities of Polaris and Eclipse’s child. Lorna actor Emma Dumont has teased Polaris’ child may be a changeling, a powerful subset of mutants that gain powers at birth rather than during puberty or a moment of trauma. Even before the kid is born, however, it seems its unlocking some new abilities.
We know Polaris and Eclipse have a way of combining their powers, proving it’s not just blood that lets mutants grow stronger together. But this week showed Polaris’ abilities growing exponentially because of her pregnancy. Likely, the same thing that powers the Struckers and Cuckoos is at play here, with the blood of Polaris’ child feeding into her powers and increasing them. With the shared blood of Polaris and Eclipse and the lineage of Lorna’s father Magneto (finally hinted at by Esme this week), there’s no telling how powerful the child will be when it’s born.
Trask’s New Weapons
While it’s seemed like Dr. Campbell’s work at Trask Industries has been varied, he’s actually been working towards one goal this whole time. From studying Fenris to seeking the Strucker children to brainwashing and drugging mutants for the Hound program, everything has led to what we saw this week. Proving the Struckers and Cuckoos aren’t just a fluke, Campbell found a way to link the blood, and thus the powers, of mutants with no previous relationship. Combining two random prisoners, he was able to create a duo with powers similar to Fenris’, which they used to tear down the mutant safehouse in which the Struckers were hiding.
It’s never been clear what the endgame was for this season of The Gifted—or the show in general—but it seems the focus on the Struckers wasn’t just about grounded the show in family drama. Andy and Lauren have just been the tip of the iceberg, as the idea of mutants with shared blood has evolved from disparate elements in the comics to become both a boon and threat to mutantkind.
With only two episodes left in the first season of The Gifted, and no announcement of a renewal yet, the idea of mutant siblings is unlikely to be resolved. But it’s opened an exciting new chapter in the world of mutants that could easily factor into future films, comics, and TV. For now, though, it seems the fates of the Struckers, the Cuckoos, and Polaris’ child are all wrapped up together.
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