Andy and Lauren’s banter continues to be brilliant. In fact, Caitlin, Andy and Lauren should just always be in scenes together.
Coby Bell was insane. So, so moving--that end scene was by far one of the best all season.
Polaris hurling a bunch of javelin-like poles to buy time. Equally, her body-slamming a soldier into a car. Magneto would be proud.
The moral murkiness of all this. Honestly, it’s completely unclear right now. Not all humans. Not all mutants. Argh, it’s good. It’s good.
Jamie Chung got to deliver some rightful snark and finally move on in a stagnant storyline.
Come on, guys. Where’s Roderick Campbell?
As much as Coby Bell was superb, story-wise, the flashback did nothing to move Grace up from a plot-point.
Reed still isn’t convincing as a character. Moyer is, but not Reed. Even after effectively rescuing the headquarters’ location.
A bit more interaction, as much as I love Caitlin/Andy/Lauren, between the kids and the other mutants would be welcome!
The Gifted has always shown us the plight of the mutants–and now it’s the non-mutants’ turn.
That’s The Gifted’s 9/11. Via flashback we see the beginnings of Coby Bell’s Turner’s hatred towards mutants. In a peaceful protest turned violent, his daughter Grace was killed. 7/15 drives him to aggressively hunt the newly-reunited Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Eclipse (Sean Teale). Meanwhile, Reed (Stephen Moyer) receives a cold welcome to the mutant headquarters as he offers his help in intercepting the Sentinel Services’ coded radio messages.
Operating in Sage’s (Hayley Lovitt) control centre–the coolest ever–Thunderbird (Blair Redford) and hostile Fade (Jeff Daniel Phillips) work with Reed to help Polaris and Eclipse evade the services. It gives way for a brilliant team-up between the duo in shooting down a drone. Their kid, mind you, may possibly be the best-looking kid ever. Elsewhere, Fade is reluctantly paired with Reed to distract the hunt for their headquarters.
Meanwhile, events grow darker and Caitlin (Amy Acker) is a genius once more. In conjunction with Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) they operate on an injured, bullet-ridden Trader (DJames Jones). Saving his life, Andy’s doubts about non-acceptance fade quickly.
However, it’s not that simple this episode. Polaris and Eclipse toe the line of moral ambiguity by torturing Turner. It’s clearly driven by Polaris’ vengeance, but they also need to find out how the ‘SS’ turned Zach Roerig’s Pulse. Clarice (Jamie Chung) and Dreamer (Elena Satine) arrive to assist in forcefully retrieving the memories, but the mutants come under attack and flee. Horrifyingly, it causes Turner’s mind to practically fry, whilst Clarice begins to understand why her dreams of her and Thunderbird are so troubling and vivid.
As Reed is reunited with his family, the questions only pile up. Is he trustworthy? What will Clarice do? And Turner–how was that justified? Box yourselves in, folks…
The personal touch is the slowdown in pace we needed for The Gifted.
Sean Teale and Emma Dumont’s romantic chemistry is absolutely insatiable. And what The Gifted excels at is offering character-centric moments in potential plot-heavy scenes. Shooting down a helicopter should’ve been a spectacle–and they would’ve had the budget for it. But it’s not supposed to be a visual treat. It’s a show of intimacy and teamwork between Polaris and Eclipse, intertwined with their talk of their child. They know each other inside-out. And moments like that, rather than impressive action sequences, make these pairings worth rooting for.
We’ve generally loved the fast-moving The Gifted, but this episode prevents the season from hurtling along too fast. As much as we enjoy watching the mutants’ abilities (especially Polaris’ nonchalant “I’ll handle this” attitude) our stars remain the Struckers.
What works about Caitlin, Andy and Lauren is that when they team up, they make the best team. Andy and Lauren’s banter is ceaselessly smile-inducing. But in proving to the doubtful mutants that they’re truly loyal by saving Trader’s life, it’s an important step. Not only does it take another giant stride in showing us Caitlin’s talent and the kids’ healthy encouragement of her badassery, it also allows them to work together. Lauren instinctively using her powers to close the artery leak was ingenious, whilst Andy’s blood donation and Caitlin’s surgical skill all saved Trader’s life. It’s more foreshadowing that Andy and Lauren in particular are far more powerful when together.
The only frustrating aspect thus far is Reed. He’s obviously useful and obviously the question of loyalty dangles. But in all scenes involving the Struckers, it’s always been more moving when it’s just Caitlin, Lauren and Andy. It’s nothing on Moyer. There’s just something off, and it almost ruins the happy, deserved family dinner at the end.
“Not all mutants”, right?
Good science-fiction can be a portal into reality, and The Gifted deliver in spades. But Eclipse and Polaris’ capture of Turner was a legitimate surprise. Watching the lividity fester within someone we adore like Polaris is disturbing, and Dumont masters the art of exhibiting cruelty and extorting pity from us. We can’t condone torture. So why is it so hard for us to fully side with Turner?
Eclipse: “Do you think he’s gonna give us any information now?”
Polaris: “If he’s not gonna give it to us…We’ll have to take it.”
Like Emma Dumont needed to prove it, she’s sensational. It’s a warped world of The Gifted. Thousands of mutants died, allegedly. But how many humans? “Not all mutants” is uttered, but it’s hard to take a side when you could just as easily say “not all humans”. Phrases used all the time by narrow-minded individuals. In this case: the attacked, or the oppressed. Rather than forcing us to choose a side, The Gifted lets that ambiguity sit uncomfortably as we watch Eclipse, Polaris, Dreamer and Blink torture Turner. And we do wonder whose side we’re on.
Polaris isn’t a bad person. Can she be cranked up with malice, hatred and cold retribution? Absolutely. If anything, Polaris’ sinister turn shows that X-Mutation or not, vengeance leaves morality in the dust. You should think Polaris is a monster for instigating this–same as Turner for his rabid generalised hatred. But you can’t. Good and bad or black and white–it’s too easy. And when lives are at stake, should that moral line be crossed? The Gifted won’t answer that for you. However, with the strife in the world today, the question is universal. What is right, and wrong, anymore?
Finally, Blink has the guts to question Dreamer–but what will be the consequences?
This storyline was on the verge of puncturing The Gifted’s tyre and sending it sprawling. The slowly drawn-out, lukewarm storyline of Dreamer’s invasive manipulation of Blink’s memory was disturbing enough. Even more disturbing was watching the consequences, and knowing Blink couldn’t figure it out. Knowing that Dreamer probably wasn’t going to tell her–and neither was Thunderbird.
So to see Jamie Chung leap into action, finally, and confront Satine’s Dreamer was immensely satisfying. It was so unnecessarily lengthy that it bordered on the line of “if this goes on for one more episode…” Yet what we do see of their brief confrontation is hopefully a promise of what’s to come. We know Blink is insanely powerful, as gleefully exhibited by this:
Blink: “Dude, FYI, it’s more taxing tearing holes into space than it is…turning your hands into flashlights.”
Eclipse: “Point taken.”
Likely, it’ll lift a great weight off Thunderbird’s shoulders. But he has as much responsibility in this as Dreamer did. How their confrontation will unravel is an exciting prospect. And keeping in theme with the episode, it shows (and Dreamer does it again with Turner–to devastating effects) that yes, #notallmutants are bad. But by no means does the X-Mutation exclude you from exhibiting the same crookedness as the mass crowd of hate.
FINAL VERDICT: A nice break and change of perspective from The Gifted. Still topical and relevant, the show is a reminder of the power of television done correctly.
For the tragedy that kickstarted the episode, the shot of Grace on the roundabout was beautifully done. Kudos, Matt Nix and Jeremiah Chechik’s dreamy direction. It’s such a vivid, horrible contrast of peace to the destruction that ensues. The juxtaposition of love versus the aftermath, breeding hate, is a timeless triumph.
After huge hints (again from Polaris) last week in her conversation with Reed, we’re hitting heavy material. The Gifted will undoubtedly remain a fun show with the fast-paced, frenzied action we know and love. These five episodes have been superbly enjoyable. But it’s difficult to forget how closely we can relate to those a fictional universe away from us.
Humanity will never be a boring story. The issues we possess will always be worth telling. Trust: do we trust Reed? What about Polaris? How did the extent of her imprisonment truly, truly change her? We’ll never balance the seesaw of right and wrong, because even in the X-Men universe, we can’t. The Gifted will never try to make you ‘see a light’ in terms of sides. And it’s cliched to say, but maybe there are none. Maybe, just like the world as we know it, we’re watching as people–just people–scramble for love, justice, revenge, forgiveness–and more.
Thankfully, it wasn’t pretentiously told. The Gifted never gave us a side to root for. It tells us: “it’s up to you”. Honestly, we’re still fighting for an answer to that–and always will.
Right, boXing you guys in with a few questions & comments:
- I’ll scream it from the top of my lungs: Caitlin Strucker is a badass. Amy Acker’s chemistry with Stephen Moyer is great, but actually, I daresay I think they’re better apart.
- Despite some flaws and definitely some drawn out zzzzz’s, I’m really enjoying this so far.
- Do you think Dreamer is justified? It was discussed in our episode four roundtable, but…Both Blink and Dreamer have very valid points.
- Who’s so insanely powerful that they could’ve conjured up what happened in Central Park?
- How–how–is Reed able to run with a metal screw dislodged from his leg?
- It’s a darker episode, but the fondness with which Polaris talks of their baby and the way she can feel it inside her, like metal, electricity…it’s a beautiful line and beautifully delivered.
- Yo, Polaris, how’s Storm for a baby name?
Catch ‘The Gifted’ on FOX, Monday 6th November, 9/8c
In a vicious swerve of moral ambiguity, The Gifted finally retaliates with ‘not all mutants’--except it’s not what we expected at all. Slowing down the pace of episode four, ‘boXed in’ allows us to explore the mentality and history of each character. So far, we’ve been fully Team Strucker and Team Mutants. Maybe we still are. But The Gifted refuses to let us ignore their questionable actions. X-Mutation or not, you aren’t exempt from the grotesque flaws of humanity. Follow more of our The Gifted thoughts with our weekly livetweets and roundtables.
‘The Gifted’ Review [1×05]: “boXed in”