In the latest episode of The Gifted, titled, “Threat of EXtinction,” Reed Strucker heads with Thunderbird (Blair Redford) to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to visit his estranged father, who worked for the Trask company for three decades. They are going there to try and find out what Trask is up to by using mutants as weapons. It is a difficult visit for Reed since he hasn’t spoken with Otto Strucker (Raymond J. Barry) in 20 years.
Before leaving, Reed explains to his family that his father was a cold man so devoted to his classified work that he didn’t even visit young Reed when he was hospitalized with a serious illness. Still Reed decides he has to go see him since he realizes that it’s vital to learn what Trask Industries is up to. He knows that he must protect his family and their new allies at the Mutant Underground and this could hold the key.
After meeting his Dad again, he learns that Otto isn’t at all what he seems. He has been living below the radar as an antiques dealer in Chattanooga, but he holds many secrets that will help Reed understand more about his family. When the two meet, at first it is tense, weighed down by decades of unresolved issues, but it’s also filled with revelations.
Otto tells Reed about his grandparents and the history of his family. He also sheds light on why he left the family with no contact for so many years.
Otto doesn’t know the latest about what Trask is doing, but when Reed tells him what’s been going on, he is alarmed. Otto confirms his father was Andreas Von Strucker, one-half of the twin mutant terrorists better known to Marvel Comics readers as Fenris. He even refers to Andreas and his sister Andrea by that name.
Then he reveals the biggest secret that he has been keeping from his family that he himself is a mutant.
He explains that he was raised by Andreas and Andrea, but became determined to never endorse their actions. In order to keep them at bay, he began research into suppressing the X-Gene, which became the focus of his work for Trask Industries. He created a serum that he used not on himself, but on his son Reed.
Earlier in the episode, Reed disclosed to his family that his father didn’t care for him at all saying that he didn’t even see him when he was deathly ill as a child in the hospital. It turns out that Reed’s hospitalization as a child, during which he nearly died, was because his father had given him the serum he had created. The results of Reed’s illness reveal that Reed also was a mutant and now, because of the serum he’s not (or is he?).
Otto asks Reed about Lauren and Andy’s individual powers and whether they’ve held hands since their abilities emerged. When Reed replies, “yes,” Otto says “Protect them, son,” before going downstairs to stall Sentinel Services. “Protect the world from them.”
Otto too is a mutant and displays his own destructive power in a confrontation with Dr. Roderick Campbell (Garret Dillahunt) and Sentinel Services. He sacrifices himself so Reed and Thunderbird can escape.
Reed buries his father while Thunderbird buries his friend who was used by Trask Industries as a weapon. Reed puts down the family photo he had showed to his Dad earlier in the episode on his grave.
At the end of the episode ends we see with a closeup of Andy and Lauren clasping hands, suggesting that the two children, although not twins, have the extraordinary powers that Otto suggested. The question is, will they use them to benefit good or evil?
This was a very Reed centered episode which I really enjoyed. It was fast paced and yet gave time for detail, which is sometimes lacking in current TV shows. Stephen Moyer as Reed showed great emotion and empathy for his long lost father. I was glad that he was able to resolve their relationship and understand that his father really did care for him.
Note: In the comics, the Fenris twins could only use their destructive powers when they made contact with one another, but it’s suggested on The Gifted that Andrea and Andreas had individual abilities like Lauren and Andy. However, when they held hands, Fenris were capable of leveling buildings.