The incorporation of social media, teenage idiocy and Andy’s anger towards the revealing post all reflects today’s screen-obsessed society. It felt very relevant and real, compared to the fantastical element of the rest of the story!
Clarice stepping out into the road and creating that huge portal. We dare you to think of a more badass moment in that episode.
Lorna showing off her powers in the opening sequence was gorgeous and sweet.
Aside from Chung’s Clarice, the mutants aren’t...that interesting. Moyer and Acker’s characters are endlessly more watchable, so the point of having a series about ‘The Gifted’ seems a bit useless. Lorna, however, is awesome.
As great as Caitlin was this episode, her hopping off to pay Danny a visit was needlessly careless.
Yes, we know Roderick Campbell. Yes, we will feel suspense. But as of right now? Nope Nothing there yet.
So...are Dreamer and Clarice gonna have a bit of a chat soon, or something? Some tea and a biccie?
Andy from The Gifted reminds us that that a) robbing a bank is no biggie, and b) “normal is gone! Normal doesn’t exist anymore!”
After the horror last week, the gifted mutants try to find some sort of new normal. Clarice (Jamie Chung) in particular attempts to gain her huge portal powers back. Meanwhile, Caitlin (Amy Acker) and her kids (Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White) attempt a botched return to normality by visiting Danny (Jeffrey Nordling).
Typically, it goes pear-shaped. Whilst Eclipse (Sean Teale) & co immediately resort to the idea of violent vengeance for Lorna/Polaris’ (Emma Dumont) imprisonment, it’s actually Caitlin who fights against it. When you’re all superpowered, it’s easy to overlook wise words such as:
Caitlin: “There are ways to fight that don’t involve battles!”
But Reed’s (Stephen Moyer) in trouble. He refuses to cooperate with the Sentinel Services who want to lure mutants into custody. If Reed’s motives were doubted last episode, it could be consolidated now he tells the agent to “shove his deal up his ass”.
And then the, er, excrement really hits the fan.
The underground movement frantically move to save the Struckers after their location’s been revealed. Lorna screams and bloodily rips out of her imprisoning collar. Clarice, for the second episode running, is so unbelievably epic that she rattles all of them out of trouble’s way. Except it’s the result of emotion drawn from a false memory–placed by Dreamer (Elena Satine). For such a gradual set-up, the resolution gives us whiplash.
Again, Roderick Campbell (Garrett Dillahunt) appears to quiz the services about the Struckers. But if you think he’s having a second badass ending of an episode, like Danny, “you’re wrong”. It belongs to Caitlin Strucker, arguably the glue of this story so far. What next? Who knows? But so long as Caitlin remains strong, so will everyone else: that much is evident.
For Caitlin and Reed, have they finally reached their respective breaking points in terms of trust–outside the mutant circle they know?
It’s a strange situation Caitlin is in. Surrounded by mutants, she’s the oldest, a mother, and a perfectly normal human. Upon instilling so much confidence that her human ‘safehouse’ of sorts was secure, she was betrayed not intentionally but by pure human idiocy. There’s a slap of irony there somewhere. On paper, Caitlin Strucker didn’t sound like the kind of role you needed someone of Acker’s calibre to fulfil, but on the show, her complexity can really only be depicted so effectively by Acker herself.
Meanwhile, Reed is faring much worse. Imagine working for the government only to be hauled away and interrogated by essentially those same people? Reed’s sense of betrayal is not more justified than Caitlin’s but it’s certainly much closer to home. It’s evident Reed cannot trust the services anymore, which presents trouble reuniting with his family. If he’s on the run forever, would he truly expect the Struckers, with Andy so volatile, to run with him?
Even if they wanted to?
The betrayal done onto Reed doesn’t make him immune from betraying anybody else. It was briefly hinted at (and rejected) this episode. His family and the mutants die, or the mutants die and so do his family anyway. Whatever Caitlin and Reed encounter separately, their agony smothering us with a reminder of why we treasure Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer so greatly, there’s still one unlikely yet niggling question. Say Reed comes back. After how much change, exactly? And how much of Reed Strucker remains in the one who they lost through the portal? Betrayal is rife in the world of The Gifted, but between Caitlin and Reed seems almost impossible. Almost.
The best story and connection isn’t between the mutants, but between the immediate family: Caitlin, Andy and Lauren.
For a show that’s marketed about mutants, the best group on The Gifted is the Struckers by far. Moyer and Acker obviously shine as Reed and Caitlin, but impressively, the kids are holding their own too. Natalie Alyn Lind in particular seems to appear older than she actually is. However, it really does suit her character.
It’s time we really gave these kids some appreciation. Considering Natalie’s been suddenly shoved in a position where she can control force-fields or generate them, could you imagine the horror when she first experienced it? Yet it almost represents her nature. Of the siblings, she’s the calmer one. She, sometimes even more so than Caitlin, represents reason and truth. Natalie will find a–natural–way to calm everyone down and rationalise.
Natalie: Mom, accept it. Andy is a mutant. That’s how mutant abilities first appear – it’s moments of stress or danger. Dad talks about this all the time.
Conversely, Andy’s the inevitable loose cannon of the family. We’ve got to give it to him: he’s barely hit puberty. His emotions would already be out-of-control, so when they physically manifest, it only contributes to the vicious cycle. Coupled with teenage problem such as his social media obsessed ‘friends’, it’s natural Andy feels brash and lonely. A solution could be Caitlin; a better one would be Natalie, who knows his experience.
Refreshingly, Caitlin does remain at the core of the family. Her kids are powerful mutants but she’s the mother and though we’ve seen her nearly crack, she never does. The question begs: will her kids grow up quickly enough to be there for her when she inevitably falters? Acker and her chemistry with the kids has been stunning–and such a scene would be nothing but a winner.
The over-reliance on Clarice starts the debate the mutants are supposed to quell: treating their own like lab rats, even if it is for the greater cause.
What’s the consensus on this one? Was Dreamer right in implanting a false memory to save the rest of the mutants, or was it just ethically wrong?
The most interesting part about all of this is the bare mention of the word ‘ethics’. You’d think, naively, in a mutant underground haven, that such quarrels would not occur. The whole point of hiding from the humans who want to control and suppress them is so they can’t be used. And they can’t be unethically experimented upon as if they’re lesser humans. Yet what Dreamer does, despite John’s (Blair Redford) protests is falsify an emotion of love within Clarice, that’s actually formed from a memory between herself and John.
That’s a blunder, right? Mutant or not, it should be quite apparent it’s never right to even consider the idea of probing and manipulating someone’s memory without their consent. It’s plain invasion of privacy and body. But in this case, could it be argued they had no other choice? Truly? Or rather, would Clarice herself have allowed it? And in that case, why did they not just probe further?
Undoubtedly, there are too many questions considering the time-frame the gang were stuck on. But an aftermath of such an incident has limitless time. Now, it isn’t so much about what happened, but if the truth will ever surface. And what will happen if it does?
FINAL VERDICT: ‘The Gifted’ is most decidedly not just an X-Men spin-off. It holds its own, and it’s raucous, boisterous fun.
Oh come on. That scene with Jamie Chung standing in the middle of the road, about to rip a gigantic hole into time and space with a super-cool portal was like watching Darth Vader’s “I am your father” scene for the seventh time. Giddy. Scott Peters’ excellent direction of the episode felt cohesive, cramped and chaotic. Everything boiled down to the last act, which is a huge nod to Rashad Raisani.
There’s a thin line between cramming too much in too little space, and then the opposite: not taking a big enough risk so the episode feels somewhat lazy. Matt Nix overseeing this wonderfully individual adaptation of the X-Men world (note: not the films!) worked from day one. With a stellar cast, a solid script, decent dialogue and a compelling family story in the middle of it–the effects, explosions and craziness around it is all gloriously extra.
Amy Acker, Stephen Moyer and Jamie Chung are all reliable (we suspect they always will be) in holding the fort. With the trio laying strong foundations, the talented supporting cast can build on their experience and genius. Acker and Moyer aren’t exactly genre newbies, after all. But it’ll be interesting to see if young Percy Hynes White can maintain a believable level of acting. Emotionally unstable and brimming with potential to wreak havoc, he could well be an unsuspecting star. Unfortunately, we’re not so sure yet.
And we don’t know about Campbell, either. It’s early, early days–yes. But has he been scary? Not really? Threatening? No, not that we recall. Intriguing? Maybe if you knew him from the comics–but as a standalone character, he needs a chunk of the story. Soon.
A few questions we should probably eXpress…
- Polaris is still the best. Break out of a collar once? Not enough! Break out of it again!
- My soft spot for Caitlin is because she is genuinely just a worried mother doing her best (and she does well, especially with medical knowledge) for her kids. But jibbing off to Danny’s to chill for a bit? Even that raised an eyebrow or two…
- Hopefully, we’ll see more than two minutes of Campbell next episode. He hasn’t particularly convinced me, so I’m not that keen, to be frank. But he’s a necessity.
- I wonder if they’ll shove Campbell in with Reed? That would be one heck of a sparring match. I’ll bet on Reed.
- Can Polaris forge a mega escape now? I enjoy seeing her yell the living daylights out of her chains, but I’m ready for her to kick some serious ass.
- So…you’re all getting some sketchy vibes off Dreamer right? Am I reading this correctly? Why that dream? Ooh, history…
- But anyway, is anyone going to join me in the “Give Clarice Some Darn Peace” corner over here? I’ve got prosecco and a portal to an alternate universe where ABC’s developing a Marvel programme, and we must stop it.
THE GIFTED airs MONDAY, 24th OCTOBER, at 8/7c on FOX
We’ve Strucker-ed gold again as The Gifted wins us over with yet another strong outing.Compared to the past two episodes, The Gifted slumped. But with an introduction of a huge villain still looming, and Stephen Moyer’s Reed in an impossible situation, there can’t be anything other than utter craziness to come…right? Keep up with our weekly reviews, live-tweets, news and roundtables to stay in the know!
‘The Gifted’ Review [1×03]: “eXodus”