Up until this point on The Gifted, the Mutant Underground has been trying to survive — but that's all about to change. In Monday night's episode of the Fox series, "got your siX," they begin training mutants to fight. For Lauren Strucker, it's about damn time.
Since making her introduction in the pilot episode, Lauren hasn't had a chance to truly flex. Sure, she stepped up to close the portals Blink haphazardly created in her comatose state, and helped her younger brother Andy control his volatile powers during the mission to save her dad from Sentinel Services, but she has yet to fully explore the depths of her growing force field abilities. Much like her powers, she's been stuck in defense mode. That is, until now.
"Being trained by Polaris gives Lauren the edge that she's been fighting for," Natalie Alyn Lind told MTV News ahead of the action-packed episode. Time with an experienced, albeit deeply cynical, mutant like Polaris also gives Lauren the opportunity to see things from a new perspective.
"She sees that humans aren't always in the right," Lind said. "She starts getting more of an anger towards humans."
This new philosophy will undoubtedly affect her relationship with her very human parents, Reed and Caitlin. Remember: Lauren kept her powers hidden from her parents for over two years because she was terrified of what they would think of her, and, more importantly, how those around her would react. After all, her father prosecuted mutants for a living, so she saw first-hand how mutants were often marginalized and discriminated against on a daily basis. And she's done being silent.
"She grew up resenting her family, especially her father, which makes their relationship a little bit rocky," Lind said. "She's the opposite of her family. She had to hide from them for a really long time, and now she's over hiding... That's what our goal for this character was, seeing her go from a teenage girl who was unsure of herself and not really proud of who she was to a strong woman who is extremely proud of who she is."
But learning to channel all of that pain and resentment is the next step in Lauren's journey from homecoming queen to full-blown mutant badass. She's had to be strong for everyone else — her brother, her mom, and her dad, whose presence in the Mutant Underground already has everyone on edge. Now, it's time for her to go on the offensive and unleash everything she's kept bottled up inside with a little help from Polaris and a young mutant named Wes (Danny Ramirez).
"He helps Lauren not just develop her powers but to also develop herself as a mutant," she said. Aside from his "cool" power, Lind can't reveal much about Wes and his kindred connection with Lauren, but in The Gifted, "romance is always a possibility." Though, it's not advised, especially with an all-out war on the horizon.
"It's hard being a mutant!" she said. "You have to fight for yourself, and when you have to worry about somebody else, it doesn't always work out." (Sorry, Wes.)
Not to mention, there's a lot of other things to worry about, like Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt), the mutant researcher contracted by the Sentinel Services who has shown a mysterious interest in the Strucker children. Perhaps he sees just how powerful Lauren and Andy could be together, which means Lauren's training is probably going to come in handy sooner rather than later.
"After Episode 9, everything changes," Lind said, explaining that they're currently in production on Episode 11. "Shit's about to get crazy. Everything that we put together in the first eight episodes falls apart and everyone is left not knowing what to do... Lauren and Andy are going to need to rely on each other to survive."
But at least one thing is certain: Lauren Strucker's hero's journey is only just beginning.