'The Gifted' Introduces The Stepford Cuckoos

Last night’s fall finale episode of The Gifted finally revealed Skyler Samuels’ Esme as the character fans have suspected she was all-along, Esme Cuckoo, one of the Stepford Cuckoos.

In the Marvel Comics universe, the Cuckoos are clones of the powerful telepathic mutant Emma Frost. Frost took the Cuckoos under her wing and trained them to use their abilities, which can combine into a kind of telepathic hive mind.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Samuels says she hopes X-Men comics fans are pleased with the big reveal.

“I hope they’re happy!” she says. “We spent a lot of time and effort on it. I’ve had my hair cut, and my wardrobe and everything is supposed to be a replica or homage to the comic books, so it’s a very true representation of the Stepford Cuckoos and the Frost sisters, which is pretty cool. The hive mind definitely carries on in the show, which is kind of insane to film.”

Esme proved to be a major wild card and instigator in the fall finale, murdering several Sentinel Services agents and possibly kicking off a full-blown war between human and mutants. Samuels remains secretive about the Cuckoo’s goals.

“I can’t say specifically, but it becomes apparent that there’s no such thing as coincidence when it comes to the Frost sisters, and every choice that’s been made is agenda-driven,” she says. “They are working up towards an idea of their own, but they also do need the help of the Mutant Underground. They’ve definitely got something up their sleeves, all six of them.

“So, like the comics, the Frost sisters’ lineage does sort of inform what their agenda is when it comes to engaging with the Mutant Underground, but they’re not associated with Sentinel Services or Trask; they’re definitely mutants who are fighting for mutant rights. They just have a slightly different take on it than everybody else, so that becomes a point of contention moving forward, and of course Campbell is still out there, so we have to figure out what to do with him. I don’t know that I can say much more…”

As for whether Emma Frost herself will show up on The Gifted, Samuels is hopeful but uncertain.


“To be totally honest, that’s still up in the air,” Samuels says. “I feel like that may very well be something that happens further down the line — however, I will say that the Frost sisters and the Frost family runs tight, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t meet Mama Frost at some point down the road. I think that would be awesome. [Laughs] I absolutely adore the X-Men world, and I’m just having so much fun being in a world where we get to kick ass and do really cool things.”

The Gifted returns to Fox on January 1, 2018.