‘The Gifted’ stars reflect on the show’s sinister second season

A country is divided and hate groups are on the rise. One group fights for unity while another thinks it’s a lost cause.

Sound familiar? The fictional United States portrayed in “The Gifted” is feeling more relevant than ever. And that’s no coincidence.

“Traditionally, the world of the X-Men is something that reflects a lot of the issues that are going on in our own world,” showrunner and creator Matt Nix told an audience at New York Comic Con on Sunday who joined cast members Emma Dumont (Polaris), Amy Acker (Caitlin Strucker), Coby Bell (Jace Turner), Jamie Chung (Blink), Sean Teale (Eclipse) and Grace Byers (Reeva Payge).

The show, which launched its second season last month, features a grim world where mutants are hunted, imprisoned and even used as weapons.

The mutant community is split as well, with one group — the Mutant Underground attempting to save mutants while fighting for co-existence with humans — at odds with The Inner Circle, a powerful group of mutants who have their own plans.

Where last season introduced the Struckers, a seemingly ordinary nuclear family forced on the run when their youngest son manifests his mutant powers, this season will focus on that divide and delve into character backstories.

Key to that plotline is the mysterious mutant Payge, who can create some havoc just by exercising her vocal cords.

“What I love is that she is not a one-dimensional character,” Byers said at the Comic Con panel, noting Payge grew up poor and bi-racial on the South Side of Chicago.

“Now she has clawed her way to the top, she is powerful and wealthy, she has position,” Byers said. “She is tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching mutants be slaughtered. …You get a chance to really understand where she is coming from, what she stands for and why is so passionate to take the route that she is taking.”

Dumont said new mom Polaris has no regrets leaving the Mutant Underground to join up with Payge.

“Polaris is an alpha female, she wanted to join a group of other strong woman who are not afraid to take action,” said Dumont, “And I see no problem with that.”

Both factions will face a threat from the Purifiers, a violent, anti-mutant group. Former Sentinel Services agent Jace Turner, hell bent on getting justice for his young daughter killed during a mutant uprising, will see them as allies.

“Along come the Purifiers and things get really racist really quickly,” Bell said. “He goes down a dark, dark path.”

ON TV: ‘The Gifted’ airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX