Practically every teenager thinks they have it rough, but in the Marvel Universe, it's hard to have it tougher than a teenage mutant.
That’s the experience Natalia Alyn Lind is learning about as one of the stars of The Gifted, the X-Men television series that premiered earlier this fall and that will air its sixth episode, titled “got your siX,” tonight.
In “got your siX,” Lind’s character, Lauren Strucker, tries to do something entirely natural for a teenager when she starts a friendship with another teen mutant in the Mutant Underground.
“In the next episode, Lauren meets this new character, Wes, who is somebody who's more of her age in the Mutant Underground,” Lind tells ComicBook.com in an interview. “I think that it's kind of the first time where she starts feeling comfortable and kind of starts making a new friend that's not part of her family.
“He's played by Daniel Ramirez and he's an awesome guy. I don't know if I can really tell you what his power is but it's something that's extremely interesting and adds such a cool element to the show. I think that it's definitely the first time where she starts feeling comfortable and kind of starts developing more friends Underground. It's definitely going to be really cool for fans to see what he can do.”
Of course, friendship isn’t the only thing teenagers are after. They’re also looking for love, and Lind didn’t rule out the possibility of Lauren and Wes’ interest in each other being something other than platonic.
“I don't know if you guys have noticed, but anything can happen in the Mutant Underground,” she says. “There are a lot of love triangles going on.
“I think that it's somebody her age and definitely looks human. But, I kind of still feel bad for Jack,” Lind continues, referencing Lauren’s human high school boyfriend from the pilot episode of The Gifted. “I kind of left him in episode one. I think that she's definitely in a neat stage of her life right now, so that's definitely always a possibility.”
Lauren is moving on with her life in more ways than one. In the previous episode, her father, Reed, was finally rescued and reunited with her family. Reed has decided to stay and make himself useful to the Mutant Underground, and Lind says that Lauren is going to start moving in the same direction.
“I think that she’s definitely in a middle place right now,” Lind says. “I think that episode six is definitely going to help her develop. She starts training with Polaris, which I think really helps her find her place in the Mutant Underground. She starts developing her powers and really understanding exactly what she can do, especially when Wes' character comes. Polaris kind of helps her develop her powers and Wes kind of helps her develop her mindset.
“She starts really appreciating all the mutants who are underground and what they've been through. I think she starts really seeing herself as a mutant instead of a human. In the long run, her parents are still human, so I'll think that she'll always find a secure place with her family. At the same time, she's not normal and she can't keep on pretending like she is.”
Lind goes on to say that, even if going back to the life she had before the incident with her brother outed them both as mutants was an option, Lauren would pass.
“At this point in the series, I think that she was so unhappy with who she was for so long until she got into this interesting place,” Lind explains. “She felt alone for a really long time. Now that she has this new family and people understand who she is, I think she likes who she is now. I don't think she'd trade if for anything.”
As a member of the Mutant Underground, Lauren is spending more and more time with people who call themselves things like Eclipse, Polaris, and Sage. Lind doesn’t know if Lauren is going to get a new mutant name, or what that name would be, but she has some fun ideas about how her name should be chosen.
“People keep on asking me this, and I hope that Matt Nix sees these interviews because I want a code name so badly,” she says. “That would be so cool. People ask me what my code name would be; what my option for a code name would be. I can't think of anything for the life of me. I kind of leave it up to the fans. I feel like the writers have the best option. Our characters are new so we don't have anything that we have to stick by. For the writers, I feel like it would be really cool if a fan came up with a name. That would be my choice. If any fans have any ideas of a cool nickname, I'd love to hear it.”
Lind is even open to the idea of leaving her code name up to a vote among fans on the Internet.
“It would be so awesome,” she says. “I would love that. If it were my choice, then 100 percent. Honestly, we should make a petition and start that. A fan-based mutant name. That would be really cool; though I want to be the one who picks it.”
With Lauren’s father back in the fold, the Strucker family had a rare moment of peace, eating dinner as a family, at the end of last week’s episode. While it was a nice moment, Lind knows it won’t be long until family drama creeps back in.
“If you know anything about The Gifted, it’s that we might be happy for five seconds but the next day, with Sentinel Services constantly after us, everything changes constantly,” Lind says. “Anything that you see happening now, it could be completely different next episode.
“There's a lot coming and I think that it's going to be an interesting part of seeing Lauren develop her relationship with her father. I think for a long time she was hiding who she was because her father was a prosecutor. So, she kind of resented him. I think it's definitely interesting to see them together again. It's kind of the first time that he's really seen her as a mutant. After the pilot, he went to jail for a long time. I think it's also an uncomfortable feeling for her because one of the first things she discovers when he comes back from jail is that one of things that he did to get out was ratting out the Underground and this is her new family.”
Lind herself has been struck by fans’ reaction to the character of Lauren’s brother, Andy, who is still coming to grips with the fact that he’s a mutant. That struggle manifests as anger at times, which illuminates Lauren’s own point of view.
“There are certain little comments that Andy makes about him just having certain aggressiveness towards the human race,” Lind says. “I think that it is interesting because fans gravitate toward the fact that I'm very neutral. I'm not really a fan of mutants. I'm not
“I really appreciate that the fans are starting to see that in my character, that she's very protective of everybody. I think that she's trying to fight for a world where both humans and mutants can come together and be one. Some mutants end up fighting for mutant, mutant, mutant because so many mutants have been taken advantage of, and so many mutants have been put in jail, and so many families of mutants have been separated, so they're fighting for payback.
"My character is more fighting for equality. I think that fans are starting to see that in my character. That's what I wanted from the beginning is to create a character where anybody can relate to her. I like that fans are starting to notice that. It makes me feel good.”
"It gives you the motivation to see the fan response and see the numbers at the end of the night. Every Monday we get together and we live feed together. To see everybody having so much passion towards the show makes it so cool to go to work every morning. To be able to do that for another season and kind of create these character, because I feel so close to Lauren Strucker.
"Even if we don't go for season two, the memories that I've created on this show will last me a lifetime and be able to be close to this character, I'll always hold on to her and season two would just be the icing on the cake.”
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.