This week’s episode of The Gifted, ‘eXtreme measures,’ continued the show’s slow-burning main narrative, while also teasing a few potential future arcs. The most intriguing moments, however, came towards the end of the episode. As Reed and Sage work to decrypt the hard drives the Mutant Resistance stole last week, more information on the Sentinel Services' extra-legal operations came to light. The most intriguing of those - at least, for any fans of the X-Men movies or comics - was the reveal that Trask Industries exists in The Gifted.
While the relationship between Dr. Roderick Campbell and Sentinel Services has remained vague so far, this week brought both forces together as a nefarious plan against the MU began to take shape. As it turns out, that agenda involves Trask Industries, who appear to be the company for which Dr. Campbell works. Not only are they behind the brainwashed Hounds, mutants made to hunt their own, but Reed reveals that his father actually spent decades working for Trask.
Fans of the comics will be well-versed in Bolivar Trask and his Sentinel program, but X-Men movie fans know his work as well. Played by Peter Dinklage in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Trask’s Sentinels mark one of the biggest threats the mutants have ever faced. By bringing his company into the world of The Gifted, the MU now face that same potential for danger. What’s more, but the series may be even more tied to the films than many previously believed.
While the movie tweaked and condensed things a bit, the basic beats of Bolivar Trask remain intact. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for 1965’s X-Men #14, Trask is one of mutantkind’s oldest foes. Once an anthropologist, Trask fears for the future of humanity as mutants rise in the world. Eventually, he helps create the Sentinels, ostensibly built as peacekeepers but designed to detain and even kill mutants. Trask appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand (played by Bill Duke) in a very different role, and his company was referenced in The Wolverine. Days of Future Past, however, finally brought the mutant-hating technologist to life and his deadly Sentinels with him.
In the film’s original timeline, Trask’s rise and that of the Sentinels leads to a dystopian future for mutants when Mystique kills the genius scientist. The film shows Wolverine and the X-Men work to stop this event, and Trask is eventually detained and the Sentinel program is ended. X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t touch on the fate of Trask, his company, or the Sentinels, so it’s not clear what the new timeline holds for the character. There are some clues in the previous version of events, however, that may be relevant to The Gifted.
During the viral marketing for Days of Future Past, a site was launched showing great moments from the alternate history. After the rise of the Sentinels, 1989 saw Trask and the FBI team up to help solve crimes using DNA evidence. Trask, however, used the initiative to secretly create a database of mutants. In 2009, Trask Industries created a power-inhibiting collar, while the next year saw the company turn the Xavier School into a mutant research lab.
While it may be tempting to assume The Gifted takes place in this timeline, given the existence of both a database and collars similar to what Trask created, the lack of giant Sentinels would seem to rule this out. Still, the similarities and the existence of some iteration of Sentinels do make it seem as if some version of Trask or his company exist in the world of The Gifted. And given we don’t know what happened to the character or his work following Days of Future Past, there’s still a strong chance The Gifted is part of the main X-Men timeline. After all, the disappearance of the X-Men strongly mirrors Logan as well.
Dr. Campbell and the Hounds
The idea that Trask exists in The Gifted isn’t the only thing tying the show to the varied events of Days of Future Past. A few episodes ago, we met Pulse and learned that someone was brainwashing mutants and placing them with the Sentinel Services. This week, we finally met some of them and they seem to share a lot in common with their comic book counterparts. In the Days of Future Past story from the page, the Hounds are indeed mutants who have been experimented on until they becomes hunters for the government. In fact, their taskmaster is Ahab, the cyborg villain whom Dr. Campbell eventually becomes.
While some streamlining has been done, the inclusion of Dr. Campell, the Hounds, and the ties to Trask Industries and the Sentinels seems to point at a connection between The Gifted and one of the X-Men’s most famous dystopian futures (there have been a few). By tying Reed’s father into the story, meanwhile, it seems that the von Strucker family from the comics will also have ties to Trask.
We’ll be learning more about them next week, and the examination of Reed’s parents and possible siblings should also shine more light on the role of Trask in The Gifted. When it does, we may see some of the X-Men’s biggest villains brought to life on the TV series. We may also finally learn just how connected The Gifted is to the X-Men movies.