The Gifted 2×04 “outMatched” Review

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Another week, another frustrating fight for the Mutant Underground on The Gifted. “outMatched” was definitely a challenging episode for everyone involved. People were tested, and most failed. Let’s dig in and really talk about what happened this week.

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Let’s take a moment to talk about Amy Acker, shall we? I have loved Amy Acker for years. She is a very talented and versatile actress, and I think that, the longer she’s on The Gifted, the more she’s proving that. Caitlin started out as your average soccer mom, but now she’s been forged in the fire and has come out fierce. Amy Acker portrays the perfect level of balance for that character week after week. She is able to make Caitlin simultaneously tough and tender, and I can’t imagine anyone else doing that half as well as Acker.

Caitlin Strucker may not be making the best choices right now, but you’ve got to admire her guts and conviction. These mutants do not intimidate her. She’s a human in a world of super-powered beings, and she stands her ground. It would be easy to smile and nod just to stay in the good graces of those with abilities, but she doesn’t do that — she goes head to head with them. She will be heard. If nothing else, I can admire that.

Acker always performs honestly. You understand Caitlin even when you don’t agree with her. Let me tell you: That’s an accomplishment. If you can convincingly play a character who is regularly making horrible decisions and still have them be sympathetic, then you’re an actor who is doing your job to the best of your ability. 

Caitlin definitely makes the wrong decision in “outMatched.” She leverages someone’s drug addiction for their free will, and I was shaking my head at her the entire time. She’s worried about her son and wants him back, but this is not the way to make that happen. Caitlin is quickly following Jace down a dangerous path, where grief clouds your judgment and makes you believe that ends truly do justify the means. Let’s hope she corrects herself before it’s too late.

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Reed’s decision-making isn’t the best in this latest episode of The Gifted, either. John tries to tell him that he needs to train in order to control his abilities and stop the headaches, but Reed wants the quick and easy solution. He decides to try controlling his emotions instead of his abilities’ and even though this is just the beginning of his story, I can already tell that this road will not lead Reed anywhere good. Moyer’s Reed Strucker is layered and complicated, and watching him in a moral dilemma is always intriguing. This dilemma will hit close to home, and I have no doubt Moyer will make it compelling.

And then we have Jace, who is still reeling from being rejected by the local precinct. His marriage is falling apart because he can’t give up hunting the mutants, and he has nothing to show for it. Just as I predicted, the officer from the precinct meets up with Jace and tries to convince him to join the Purifiers. Initially, Jace turns the offer down; but the more desperate he becomes, the more tempted he’ll be to join the hate group. We’ll see if he can resist.

Coby Bell does an amazing job of showcasing Jace with all of his contradictions. He is capable of doing good; but like Caitlin, he is blinded by his grief and can no longer see why the road he’s on is harmful to himself and others.

The tension between Clarice and John is building, too. They are disagreeing on more and more of the mission. John’s need to make up for his perceived failures is going to cause more of these arguments to come up from here on out, and how they resolve them will be key.

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We all know I love Marcos, and I continued to love him in this episode. He is able to acknowledge that Lorna and Andy chose The Inner Circle; and while someone may be manipulating them, they still made a choice. Even so, he is prepared to fight them if need be. I loved his talk with Lauren to try and warn her about Andy.

I have always adored the way Marcos chose to bond with the Struckers. In The Gifted‘s first season, many characters were hesitant to accept them, but Marcos never was. It seemed to me that he decided to make them a part of his family; he decided to adopt them, not the other way around. The care and concern that Marcos has for the Struckers is clear, especially in that conversation with Lauren.

Speaking of Lauren, I loved how hopeful she was this week. She’s been very down lately, and it was a nice change to see. My appreciation for Natalie Alyn Lind continues to grow every week. Lauren doing her best to stay positive and hopeful about Andy is both encouraging and heartbreaking. But then, the moment where she stands up to him and doesn’t move out of the way had me cheering. What a brave warrior woman she is! I love thinking about how much she’s grown from the pilot episode to now. She started out as my least favorite character on The Gifted; but now, I spend so much of my reviews raving about her. Talk about growth.

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You’ll forgive me if this review is a bit shorter than normal. It’s because, for me personally, “outMatched” was the weakest of the four we’ve had so far in The Gifted season 2. I didn’t find the breakout particularly interesting, and I’m also getting a little frustrated with the sheer number of times the Mutant Underground can appear to lose. I understand we’re playing the long game here, but these poor people need a small victory, if only for a boost in morale. How about we give them one?

I would also like to see more of exactly what the Inner Circle is planning. I keep hearing about this grand plan, but I don’t actually know what any small part of it is yet. Right now, it just feels like Andy and Lorna gave up their families to hang out in a skyscraper all day and occasionally free an imprisoned mutant. Hopefully, there’s more coming in future episodes.

“outMatched” was still entertaining, but after the amazing emotional poignancy of the previous episode, it fell a little flat for me. It physically pains me to say that, but nevertheless, it’s true. The first three episodes of The Gifted season 2 were far superior to this one. Because of that I, unfortunately, do not have any particularly memorable lines of dialogue to share with you this week.

Hopefully, the next episode will bring back the excitement of the first three episodes. I anticipate that it will, especially with Lauren hurt and Andy being the one that hurt her. I’m already intrigued just thinking of all the potential repercussions. I can’t wait to discuss all of that and more after the next episode airs on 10/30! See you then!

The Gifted airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.

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