Warning: SPOILERS for The Gifted season 1, episode 4 ahead
FOX’s new Marvel Comics-based TV show The Gifted has kept up a relentless pace since its premiere, with tons of action and amazing VFX, and episode 4, “eXit Strategy“, is no different. The end of the episode features another showdown between the Mutant Underground and Sentinel Services, but this time the good guys are finally victorious, allowing for a reunion between Caitlin (Amy Acker) and Reed (Stephen Moyer) Strucker and Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale).
However, this happy ending almost didn’t happen thanks to the mutant Pulse (Zach Roerig). In the cold open we see that Pulse and Thunderbird (Blair Redford) were actually friends who served in the Marines together. Two years ago they attempted to break into a Mutant Detainment Center alongside Eclipse and Sage (Hayley Lovitt), but Pulse was shot and presumed dead by his friends. Somehow he survived, and is now using his powers to aid the Sentinel Services against his fellow mutants.
Pulse is a relatively new comic character, created by Peter Milligan and Salvador Larroca and first appearing X-Men in 2005. In the comics Pulse (real name Augustus), is a mutant with connections to both Professor X and Mystique. He served as an underground agent for Professor X, before getting roped into helping Mystique break up Gambit and Rogue who he later developed feelings for.
Pulse has the ability to create disruptive pulses with his eyes. He can use this power to disable both systems and people, including mutants and non-mutants. In the episode of The Gifted we see him using both versions of these powers – first to help his friends escape Sentinel Services by disarming the weapons systems, and later as a weapon against his former friends.
As the members of the Mutant Underground are trying to rescue Reed and Polaris, they realize they can no longer use their powers. This is due to the presence of Pulse, who acts as a damper – suppressing the other mutants around him. When Thunderbird approaches him, Pulse seems to be in a kind of trance that is only broken when his former friend punches him in the face, allowing the rest of the group to get their powers back.
How Pulse is still alive and why he is working for the Sentinel Services remains a mystery for now, but as long as he does, he remains a threat to his fellow mutants. The look of panic on the mutants’ faces when they realized they could not use their powers shows just how much they have come to rely on their gifts. Even a relatively new mutant like Andy (Percy Hynes White) seemed to be at a loss without his abilities. However, it did allow a moment for non-mutant Caitlin to step up and save the day in her own way.
The cold opens of The Gifted are a great way to expand the backstories of all the mutants, gradually sharing new pieces of information about each of the members of the Underground. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of the relationship between Pulse and Thunderbird, and the two characters will get to meet again under better circumstances.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 PM on FOX.