When last we left our mutants, their mission to stop The Inner Circle was a bust. Lauren was hurt, Lorna and Andy got away with a patient, and the mutants had a public relations nightmare on their hands with the “rebellion” story the press was circulating. We’ve had a week-long break, and now we’re back. Let’s see if The Gifted can get back some of that emotional poignancy I said the last episode was missing, shall we? Here we go.
Oh Jace, Jace, Jace. You began your career so honorable and so good, and then you let your lust for vengeance get in your way. Listen to your wife, and move on. Or switch sides. I’d be okay with that, too.
But to run off and join the Purifiers is a bridge too far. You know they are not a viable option. You know they’re not reasonable. You know that it’s wrong. But there you are, attending their meetings and attempting to correct their public relations problems. There you are, letting them beat up medical professionals and hold them at gunpoint. Is finding the Mutant Underground worth sacrificing your human decency — your soul?
While Coby Bell performs Jace’s role in this plot admirably, as he always does with the character, it is entirely predictable. Jace is desperate for help, so he falls in with a dangerous group of people. He knows better, but he lets it happen anyway.
This story is making Jace less and less interesting. Last season, I enjoyed him because he struggled between doing his job and doing what was humane. Last season, you could understand his fear and anger, but you could still see the good in him. While watching The Gifted season 2, I am growing increasingly bored with him. That is no fault of Coby Bell, but rather, the writing. Maybe the writers will surprise me, and Jace’s time with The Purifiers will be mercifully short.
I was on board with Erg until this episode. Before The Gifted 2×05 aired, I genuinely thought he wanted to protect his people; but this week, Erg showed me his darkness. It was unfair of him to take advantage of the mutant refugees the way he did. They are fugitives who have nowhere else to go. Forcing them to be branded in order to have a safe place to live, free of persecution, is wrong. They are not choosing to be one of your followers, Erg — you are forcing them to make that choice. You are taking away their option to ever return to the surface should their breakout blow over. Someone who genuinely wants to help his fellow mutants would not do this.
It makes me suspicious of Erg and his true intentions. Is he really trying to build a safe haven for mutants? Or is he amassing himself a following for another reason? I am sensing there is more to this than he is letting on.
Also, side note: The promotional materials have been calling Clarice “Blink” for so long that I did not realize that no one had ever called her that on the show before, so the moment where Erg “names” her confused me for a second. If The Gifted‘s writers and producers wanted to give Clarice this origin moment and have it be impactful, they probably should have insisted that FOX not use it to promote the show; or maybe they could have somehow made the reveal in season one. But it felt out of place in episode five of season two.
As much as I did not like Erg, I loved the pairing of Clarice and Marcos. Clarice was doing her best to lead while John was busy, and I loved it. She was clear and concise with Erg, letting him know that she was displeased with how he was taking advantage of their situation.
I adored Marcos, as well. He knew Clarice was right, but that didn’t mean he had to be happy about it. I loved that they allowed him to have a connection with one of the refugees. Marcos, who seemed to be our idealist in The Gifted‘s first season, is losing some of his positivity in the light of the Inner Circle taking Lorna and his daughter from him. Watching him discuss hope with this refugee was a beautiful thing.
As always, Sean Teale steals my heart with his portrayal of Marcos, who tends to feel first and think later. The scene where he watches his new friend receive the mutant brand is poignant and touching. You can see how deeply he feels about the choice she is having to make. It’s unfair and unjust, and he wishes she would change her mind but knows she won’t. He does not agree with her, but is there for her anyway, because that’s the kind of friend Marcos is. Marcos is supportive, thoughtful and unselfish, which is why I love him so very much.
I want to like Andy Strucker — I really do — but I have such a hard time watching him. Percy Hynes White is a talented young actor, but the writers couldn’t give him more cliche teenage material if they tried. It’s the type of bratty, ungrateful angst that annoys me than engages. Again, once we actually saw the mutant the Inner Circle saved, Andy’s role in that storyline became predictable. Once we saw that Rebecca was Andy’s age, pretty, and seemingly wounded, I knew where this was going to go; and I was incredibly bored while Andy was on his “date.”
Entirely too much time has been spent on Andy’s angst, so I would like to request more focus on Lorna than Andy.
I am unsure why there has been so much focus on Andy’s struggle with fighting his family, yet so little on Lorna’s. I would like to understand Lorna’s decision to deny Marcos the chance to be a father; but so far, the writers have given me very little insight into that decision. It’s hard to be on Lorna’s side when you don’t really know what that side stands for. And I love Emma Dumont. She is an extraordinary actress, but her talent is being wasted at the moment. She is merely in the background of these scenes, raising a critical brow at everyone. It’s not enough. I need more.
Another irksome thing about The Gifted 2×05? The fact that we had so little time with Lauren and Reed. I had really enjoyed watching Natalie Alyn Lind earlier in the season. Lauren was one of my least favorite characters last season, but this season she intrigues me. I had one scene with her this episode. I wanted more.
Reed’s struggle with his powers is also of interest. Using mood stabilizers is going to backfire, and I am eager to watch his journey unfold. I want to see more of his power, and I want to see him starting to accept it.
Now, we get to John and Caitlin. I had such a war with myself over their plot. I adore John, and this episode illustrated why.
Normally, I adore Caitlin too; but in the last two episodes, she has made some truly maddening decisions. The brilliance of Amy Acker, though, is that every bad decision Caitlin makes is somehow sympathetic. Acker’s performance is layered and complex like Caitlin herself. I no longer adore Caitlin, but I understand why she makes her decisions. I understand her. She is motivated by protecting her family at all costs, something I can both respect and disagree with. I am still in awe of Caitlin’s ability to stand toe-to-toe with mutants, when she could easily be afraid of them like so many other people. That will never change, I suspect.
As for John, was he not beautifully heroic in this episode? The amount of pain he put himself through to help this one mutant stay alive just a little while longer was the ultimate example of compassion. Yes, John’s mutation makes him tough, but he’s not completely invulnerable. He still feels pain.
John is an empathetic soul, and watching him push his own limits over and over again for the sake of others just affirms how right I am to love him as much as I do. As a viewer, you immediately understand why he was chosen to be a leader of the Mutant Underground. He is a protector, and he will give his all for people in need.
Watching Caitlin and John while the clinic was being attacked by Purifiers was torture. It was a no-win situation. Hiding goes against every protective instinct John has, and you can see him climbing the walls in frustration. Blair Redford, like Amy Acker, is an actor that I can always relate to emotionally. I can see his heart and his headspace in every expression and little action. That makes these two actors an excellent pairing.
For all the things I wish were different on The GiftedI, I have to admit that I love the way they mix up our characters in each episode. They are putting our actors with different scene partners in nearly every one. That is a brilliant decision, both from a character standpoint and from a viewer standpoint. It showcases and builds the relationships between our entire Mutant Underground characters, and the variety keeps viewers interested. I hope they keep this up because I am loving it.
For me, The Gifted 2×05 was not a rebound from the previous one, and I was bored for half of it. The first three episodes of the season were much more engaging and emotional than “outMatched” and “afterMath.” I am still hoping that future episodes will get back to the earlier level of quality and that we learn more about The Inner Circle’s plan.
I am still waiting to see more of Lorna so that I may understand why she abandoned Marcos. I also still believe that, for balanced storytelling purposes, our Mutant Underground is due for a small, morale-boosting victory. Viewers can only take so many losses before they rage quit.
This week, I actually have a few favorite lines to share with you. I didn’t have any last episode, and I liked this episode less than the last. So I’m surprised, but here we are.
- “He wasn’t going to let anything stop them. Not even me.”
- “Maybe you should stop calling her a weapon? I mean, she is a person. You could try treating her like one.”
- “Doesn’t John have extra-powerful senses? How the hell did he stand the smell down here?” “He breathed through his mouth.” “Now, I can taste it.”
- “Want something done right? Ask a woman.”
- “You say that like it’s a bad thing.” “Yeah, well, Hitler had big dreams too.”
- “There’s always a bit of light, even in the darkest places.”
- “You claim to be some mutant savior; then, do some frickin’ saving!”
- “Eventually I realized, I could forgive them or I could spend the rest of my life angry. So, I forgave them.”
- “Never hide who you are, Blink. You are glorious.”
The Gifted airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.