Dumont is swimming in a sea of talent, but it’s her head that keeps bopping up from the water specifically to remind us of how darn good she is.
This is not to say that the rest of The Gifted cast are absolute dummies. As we mentioned in our season one verdict, we’d be hard-pressed to find a better ensemble than the one assembled by Matt Nix & co. With the show really having crept under the radar (until it inevitably exploded), just by flicking through the cast list you may not have recognised everyone’s names. Stirring in a heady mix of genre legends such as Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker, as well as drafting in some insatiably spot-on talent, The Gifted has done a brilliant job of truly creating the undoubted chaos within the MU.
There’s something inherently charming about the way Dumont plays her. She is a contradiction rolled into a lithe human body. And maybe it is her appearance (among other things!) that proves deceptive. Think about those block-headed henchmen you see in films. Dumont almost has an innocence to her face–that is, until we’re treated to a smug lip-curl before she kicks their asses. It’s sneaky, and it’s oh-so-very-Polaris.
Honestly, we could rave on and on about how cool she is. She seems fearless. And she will likely do anything to protect her own. What will be interesting is to see the lengths she’ll go to to protect her unborn child. Because the way we see it, every single kiddo within the MU seems like one of her own kids. Without a shadow of a doubt, she’d make a bloody good mother.
We’re calling it: Sunday nights are for sewing lessons with Professor Caitlin Strucker…
(Think of the comedy appeal! Someone pitch this!)
This was supposed to say Dumont has chemistry with Sean Teale, but actually, she has chemistry with everyone.
Admittedly, we cannot ignore the obvious. And to be honest, we cannot just blame Dumont and Teale. The cast are so tight-knit that the inevitability of Eclipse and Thunderbird being best friends is not something we’d even bother blinking an eye at. However, we have seen enough television (or Twilight films) to certify ourselves as reliable judges when it comes to romantic chemistry. Dumont and Teale’s relationship is sweet to watch because their ‘job’, so to speak, is so high-risk. 24/7. When we actually catch snippets of them simply conversing in bed or holding each other, it rings much truer than a hot-and-heavy make-out session. It’s almost domesticated. And yes, that can be a big deal–because here are two incredibly powerful mutants, displaying an almost chaste love.
We may not ask ourselves this question, but we’d imagine the Sentinel Services and their supporters would. Of course, as the audience, we know these guys are capable of great love. But when they have been so demonised by the general populace and hunted by the authorities, it can be extremely easy to overlook such relationships. And that’s such a small touch, but a hugely important one nonetheless.
Needless to say, other examples of Dumont’s unapologetic bluntness with others is when she begins–much to Caitlin’s horror–teaching the kids in the art of combat. By, er, lobbing heavy items at them. Caitlin may have jumped out of her skin. The beauty of this is that you can see the situation from both sides. Polaris is trying to toughen the kids up like she is today. Remember: nobody saw her simmering anger when she spotted Reed, towards the beginning of the season. We don’t know the full extent of Polaris imploding with bitter emotion. Like Andy and his temptation to the ‘dark side’, is Polaris another time bomb waiting to go off?
Either way: Dumont will kill it.
We’re not just talking leather, eye-rolls and over-the-top bad-girl behaviour.
Essentially, her character is not as flat as a pancake.
This might seem an obvious point, but it really is more prevalent than you think. Off the top of your head, how many female characters exist beyond:
- Being someone’s boyfriend
- Looking for a boyfriend
- Even worse: looking for a husband
Here, at TV After Dark, we have nothing against dating or marriage. That’s just a disclaimer. But if you’re writing a script and the only interesting tidbit to a potentially awesome female character is that they’ll be embroiled in a romantic pentagon this season, then something’s gone horribly wrong.
Not only does Dumont’s Polaris kick some serious ass by taking down about five million guards simultaneously, as well as giving Neo from the Matrix a run for his money by dodging bullets, that’s not all she’s there for. It’s great that Eclipse can, you know, shoot some sunlight from his hands in case you forgot to pre-tan for holiday. But Dumont’s rock-solid exterior is not impossible to crack. Even when we first meet her and Reed, and she’s in the back of a prison van, it’s impossible to not sympathise with her. Considering her style of training these kids is by literally endangering their lives, she does it because she knows they can overcome it. There is nothing about her that screams “I want to hurt these kids on purpose! Mwahaha!”
Think about it: she’s experienced first-hand the horrors of Sentinel Services. If she has to break a few bones (hey, they’ll grow) in order to avoid that fate, or indeed, help others avoid that fate, then let her be a snarky, blase, eye-rolling badass. It’s from a good place.
(She won’t admit that, though).
FINAL VERDICT: Emma Dumont may not be your cute-and-cuddly Care Bear, but the lesson here is that if you mess with her people, she will break your nose to a point where it does not stop bleeding. Have fun!
Was there really any other option?
Within the MU, Polaris carries a certain air of swagger and respect as she walks around. You don’t talk back to her. If you really are a fool, you will make eye contact even if she didn’t ask you to. And then you would come back one finger less. However, for all the big-talk, Polaris arguably has one of the biggest hearts. Dumont’s performance in the first season has been impeccable. And that’s difficult to say, because like we mentioned earlier, there really isn’t much of a weak link in this cast. Everyone has their own unique charm.
What is most exciting about Polaris is that where we left off, we had closure and then we had five different doors of possibilities open up. There are still so many questions we cannot wait for the show to uncover. How will they handle Ms. Dumont’s pregnancy? Where are Dumont and Eclipse on the relationship front? Will Polaris butt heads with the Struckers when it comes to training Andy and Lauren? Can she see the harm in this? Of all the people to bring Andy back from his sudden swerve into wanting to know more about the von Struckers, could it take someone like Eclipse–who’s “been there, done that”–to slap some sense into him? As large as the ensemble is, and as brilliantly as Matt Nix has ensured most people interact with different people, it will be really intriguing to see if Polaris’ storyline intersects a lot with the core family.
Either way, we’re already missing our favourite, sarcastic, fearless Lorna Dane–with eyebrows on point. Come back!