Again, Andy and Lauren are really coming to their own. Percy Hynes White and Natalie Alyn Lind are proving to be quite the duo.
Amy Acker’s heart-crushing moment as she breaks down after seeing her kids at Turner’s mercy, on-camera, was brutal and acting perfection.
Polaris and Dreamer: Metal for Brains. Coming to a Broadway theatre soon!
Eclipse and Thunderbird talking of Pulse, fondly. You really do feel the brotherhood there.
The pulsating action at the end of the episode, mirrored tragically with loss and horror.
This isn’t even a case for comic-book fans or pure television fans. This was almost an insult to the audience. We’re nine episodes in and does the script seriously feel the need to explain, plainly, in dialogue, to us, that for the thousandth time, Blink cannot portal everywhere?
The fact that the action we knew was coming saved the entire episode of its monotony and plot-voids is not good news.
Does anyone, literally anyone, suspect Esme at this point?
The plot-twists were more plot-squiggles than twists.
The Gifted propelled to promising heights but found itself ultimately outfoXed by its ninth episode.
It’s difficult when you’re impressed with a show’s run and an episode like this comes along. The Gifted has a spectacularly exciting mission this week–the biggest one yet. That’s to break into Trask Industries and free the imprisoned.
After some serious Esme pressure (Skyler Samuels), the team head off to find ways of breaking into the lab. Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Dreamer (Elena Satine) again make a dream-team by redefining the term ‘girls’ night out’.
Meanwhile, Reed (Stephen Moyer) mulls over his parentage to Caitlin (Amy Acker). Finally, it drives them to ‘test’ the powers Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) harbour. Combined. However, fear of Fenris and misunderstood distrust lodges deep within the twins. And it’s not just Andy lashing out. Eventually, Lauren confesses she too felt powerful. A good kind of powerful. It’s that very confession that almost leads her to losing control of the power she feels until Andy stops her. By now, they know the greatness they can achieve. But the symbolism of Andy wrenching them apart even if it means risking capture shows that they aren’t Fenris. At least not yet.
Most of the episode has the mutants on the back-foot. Surely, they’re all being outfoxed by Esme anyway, because she is the most obvious slab of shadiness ever. Furthermore, Turner (Coby Bell) outfoxes the power-station sub-team.
Ultimately, it leads to four huge potential casualties: Andy, Lauren, Dreamer and Blink. It might seem like bad news now. But what about when they’re delivered to Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt)? And how, unless the inevitable happens and Andy and Lauren ‘do a Fenris’, will they save Dreamer and Blink?
Esme, you’ve got some answering to do…
The Gifted actually outfoxed us because we thought they’d leapt over the ‘let’s dumb down the audience’ trick, but instead they body-slammed us with it.
This is something a couple of fans have complained about a few times. Yet it never truly came to fruition. From a certain perspective, choices the characters make are understandable. They still are. However, there comes a turning point within a season. And The Gifted have not turned that point yet.
To have the mutants still question Blink’s ability to create a portal anywhere is like screaming at us: “remember last episode when she said she couldn’t just create a portal from nothing?” We have Caitlin, proudly teaching kids about mutations in pea plants, suddenly forgetting that mutations may not just be random. Instead, Reed’s the one explaining to her basic biology.
And then we have the real big gun. We’re not entirely sure if Esme is working for the Sentinel Services. If not, then we’re sorry buddy: we clocked you wrong. But having an episode of Samuels stomping around and screeching at everybody to hurry up whilst smirking non-sneakily in the background is as obnoxious to the viewer as the screeching likely is to Polaris. We get it: we’re supposed to suspect her. Honestly, after this episode, how could we not?
We’re not sure if we’re supposed to just ignore this because it was a weak script. But Turner cannot simply just ‘feel’ that a random security guard who called in sick would’ve accessed the specs for the power-station. Unless he has some mutation himself that allows him to catalogue every single duty of every single guard, then okay, we’ll let you run with it, The Gifted. If not, then please let us fight in your corner because we’ve spent about nine weeks applauding your lack of–well–this!
Two duos shone this episode: Polaris and Dreamer, and Andy and Lauren.
Andy and Polaris may be slowly competing for the best character award (Polaris is just ahead). We see only one way out: sticking the two together on a tag-team mission. Alas, Andy and Lauren are fated to be bound together. And that’s not a bad thing: the chemistry between the duo crackles with every episode. There’s just the right amount of sibling tension that bubbles over into mutual understanding. Just like when they join their powers and become one, it truly does feel as though the characters are merging into a single entity.
Andy, unlike how he was first presented, isn’t just some angry kid. This episode offered a solid explanation. But Lauren is the surprise to us–and Andy–this time:
Lauren: “You think I hated that? I’ve never felt so powerful. It scared me…Because it felt good.”
The shaky admission is sensitively played by Lind, who’s been one of the quietly impressive constant performers of the season. This episode allowed for the Strucker kids to truly shine. And whilst their potential to become Fenris 2.0 remains, when Andy yanks them apart from bringing down the power-station, you know they are morally miles away from Fenris.
And look, when you pair Dreamer and Polaris together (aka the two characters who talk sense) it’s just grin-inducing. Dumont and Satine bounce brilliantly off each other. The comedic touch was desperately needed. Hilariously, whilst Dreamer tried the ambiguous but less hard-headed approach of seducing the guard, Polaris stole the scene of the season and turned a spoon into knuckle-dusters before knocking him out.
Polaris: [after punching the guard] “What? I’m just teaching him to respect the genetically different.” [Dreamer groans] “Quit crying. Nobody saw. Just do your thing.”
As Polaris dubs it, smugly, it’s the “best girls’ night ever.”
If Esme is really working for the Sentinel Services, then she is a bomb waiting to go off.
By losing Dreamer, we’ve lost the only mutant we know of so far capable of reaching into memories. And thus the truth. Esme is the only mind-reader in the MU, and that is surely going to manifest itself into a real problem. Unable to be read by others but able to manipulate using past memories (as she did with Polaris), Skyler Samuels is a late introduction to a sinister could-be double-agent. Worryingly, it doesn’t seem like Pulse’s case, either. She isn’t controlled or doing it against her will. If she is truly working for Campbell, it’s seemingly voluntary.
Unless The Gifted falls down another plot-hole, the shambles of a story about Esme’s family in the facility seems like a dud. Why would it be the truth if she needed to invade Polaris’ memory in order to speak of doing ‘anything’ for the people she loved? Nothing adds up about Esme. However, we get the sense that nothing should, just yet. What would’ve been interesting would’ve been Samuels as a season regular. A mole from the very start. It’d certainly write off Turner’s sudden ‘instinct’ that the guard Polaris and Dreamer knocked out had been a target.
Samuels has played it low-key so far. But when the truth is revealed, hopefully it’ll be big either way. Maybe we were too suspicious and The Gifted really did outfox us! Or maybe we get a more sinister link between Esme and Campbell. Frankly, Samuels is wasted a little as the too-earnest squeaky-clean young’un. Andy and Lauren have ostensibly made their mark there. But as a fresh-faced puppet pulled along by Campbell? That’s juicy material. And we really don’t want to waste Skyler Samuels here.
For the comic-book fans, you could say the MU would be Cuckoo to trust her…
FINAL VERDICT: The Gifted offered us a lukewarm, clumsily paced episode saved only by a small margin. It’s not an episode that should happen this late into a season–first one or not.
Brad Marques’ episode really hit the bottom of the season this time. Plot-wise and pacing-wise, both were duds. Saved by impressive performances from Dumont, Acker, Lind and White, as well as some brilliant snippets of dialogue, this was treading water as opposed to an adrenaline-kick of a dive. And kudos to Satine, too, because her face of horror after Polaris punches the guard in the middle of a crowded bar was laugh-out-loud funny.
This shouldn’t be happening now, in the season. We shouldn’t have to have obvious plot-points explained dully and plainly in the dialogue to us when it’s literally shown three minutes later. Furthermore, they seem to have run out of things for Reed and Caitlin to do, with the kids taking over. Caitlin’s humanity and medical intellect saved a lot of criticism for her. But now, she’s suddenly forgotten all about the biology she taught. Still, she lacks Reed’s frustrating incapability to just be a parent. And despite the annoying aspect of creating conflict between these two out of nothing, Amy Acker is the pure picture of sheer devastation at the end. Her acting, in this case, is unrivalled.
Kudos to the visual effects department, too. Every week there’s something brilliant. Be it the glowing bond between Andy and Lauren, symbolic and physical, or the little things. We’re still extremely fond of Polaris’ makeshift knuckle-duster. Liz Friedlander’s direction of the chaos within the power-station was expertly handled. As Blink and Dreamer and finally the Strucker kids fell stage-after-stage, it felt like individual punches had just smacked into us. Among the chaos Friedlander’s depiction of tragedy and desperation summed up the sequence that saved the episode.
And it clung us on for next week’s, too.
If you think we’ve run out of X-puns, we’ve outfoXed you (no, really–we’re running low):
- I won’t stop stomping around (well it worked for Esme!) about how ridiculous Reed is as a parent. Yes, we get it, you were a busy prosecutor but come on! How about trying to be a human instead?
- Oh, wait, and how about trying to be an okay husband? You know instead of dropping a heckuva bomb on your wife, you stage the bombs in two parts because, oh, “yeah, I forgot to mention, babe, those twins that may be like Andy and Lauren, well, they were terrorists”…?!
- Polaris and Dreamer need some kind of spin-off. I love you, Eclipse, but the good cop/bad cop routine with the security guard was too funny. Dreamer’s face!
- It’s so interesting that Andy was the one to haul Lauren from full-on crushing the power-station. We’d been so invested in him being the loose cannon that when Lauren nearly lost it, it’s powerful that Andy was the one to pull her back.
- Blink needs to walk around with a sign saying “I can’t just portal to anywhere, you morons, otherwise I would’ve portalled myself to the moon and away from you all.”
- Whatever Campbell/Turner do to the Strucker kids–surely it’ll endanger everyone. We saw the look in Lauren’s eyes as the collar was fitted around her neck. These two won’t go down easy…Even if they have to take inspiration from Fenris.
Catch ‘The Gifted’ on FOX, Monday 11th December, 9/8c
If you thought the mutant underground had its head just above the water, the Sentinel Services prove they’re ripe for dunking their operation into failure. It’s a messy affair with a haywire script and clunky plot-twists, but The Gifted has enough questions unanswered and potential ‘oh my god’ moments to keep us riveted. It hit a low this week. So let’s hope the only way is up. Continue to follow us for our weekly roundtables, reviews and livetweets!
‘The Gifted’ Review [1×09]: “outfoX”