For the mutants living in the world of The Gifted, there are three options that could potentially keep you safe from the humans who hate and fear you. But of those choices, the Mutant Underground might be the worst one.
Fox's X-Men series has done a stellar job realizing what the films have only touched on by depicting the harshness of a world where millions possess the X-Gene and must survive in a society structured against them by prejudiced people who fear the human race is on the verge of extinction. The Gifted season 2 has expanded the world even further by making the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club equal players to the Mutant Underground and also introducing the Morlocks. Between the three factions, the series ponders the moral and ethical choices mutants are faced with, and there are no easy answers.
In The Gifted's universe, the X-Men foresaw the political tide turn against mutants and established a nationwide network of resistance cells called the Mutant Underground, modeled after the Underground Railroad of the Civil War. Soon after, the X-Men disappeared (along with the rival Brotherhood) after the 7/15 incident; mutants were then labeled domestic terrorists and were hunted down and incarcerated by Sentinel Services. Five years later, the Mutant Underground labors to protect and hide mutants from persecution and, if possible, smuggle them out of the country to Canada or Mexico - all while Sentinel Services hunts them, sometimes with mind-controlled mutants called Hounds. Worsening matters, more and more humans are subscribing to a hate group called the Purifiers who want to eliminate mutants altogether.
No matter what, there are no good options for mutants, which is what the Strucker family discovered when their children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) manifested mutant powers. The Mutant Underground rescued them from Sentinel Services, but their former lives and careers were instantly over; now, they had to hide with the Underground while trying to help other mutants in need. The Gifted season 1 ended with a schism where the Hellfire Club, represented by the Frost triplets (Skyler Samuels), recruited key members of the Mutant Underground, including Andy Strucker and Lorna Dane/Polaris (Emma Frost) into their Inner Circle. The Hellfire Club promised comfort, resources, and a plan of action to secure mutant freedom the Mutant Underground lacks.
While villainous and fighting for mutant domination, the Inner Circle shines a light on the limitations of the heroic Mutant Underground, who still believe in the X-Men's dream of integration and coexistence. The series then intriguingly complicated this binary worldview by adding the Morlocks, who want a total separation from human society. So if you lived in The Gifted's world and woke up one day with mutant powers, you have a choice to make for your future. Here's why you shouldn't go with the Mutant Underground
- This Page: Why The Gifted's Mutant Underground Are The Worst
- Page 2: The Gifted's Other Options For Mutants Come At A Huge Cost
The Mutant Underground Offers No Viable Long-Term Solutions
The Mutant Underground is a ragtag nationwide network but since the destruction of the Atlanta HQ at the end of The Gifted season 1, the Underground has suffered heavy losses and are labeled domestic terrorists by the U.S. Government. The Atlanta cell led by John Proudstar/Thunderbird (Blair Redford) secretly relocated to Washington, D.C. and continue their efforts to save and protect endangered mutants. The Mutant Underground strive to be heroes and are admirably fighting for a world where humans and mutants can co-exist in peace, though this fight appears to be futile. The Gifted's world is stacked against Charles Xavier's dream ever being fulfilled, especially without the world-saving X-Men to serve as an example.
The problems with the Mutant Underground are that they are barely surviving and they're essentially a dead end. The MU regularly lack resources and are constantly having to find ways to acquire food, medical supplies, and basic necessities for the ever-growing numbers of mutants they take in. For a mutant fugitive, to join up with the Underground means living in hiding, usually in whatever abandoned hospital or facility they are able to find and turn into a makeshift headquarters. As for political pull, the Underground's influence is non-existent. While there are mutant-friendly lawyers like Evangeline Whedon (Erinn Ruth) who work with them, the Underground doesn't offer any means to find mutants jobs or legal status in society. As Andy and Lauren have discussed, oftentimes the best the Underground can do for a truly endangered mutant is smuggle them to Mexico. While it's certainly better than incarceration, forced genetic experimentation, or being made into a zombie soldier for Sentinel Services, joining the Mutant Underground is a far cry from studying at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, where a young mutant can live in a comfortable mansion and can train to be a superhero with the X-Men.
One of the nagging questions with The Gifted is why the X-Men left such a shoddy operation behind before their disappearance. Professor X seemed to have foreseen what the future would entail for mutants before the X-Men mysteriously vanished, but the Mutant Underground just isn't set up to fulfill his mission to create a world where mutants and humans can live together. At best, the Mutant Underground is a stopgap solution, but one forced to exist longterm - and the dam is about to break. However, if nothing else, a mutant in the MU can at least still cling to a higher moral ground. The same can't be said for their other options.