This The Gifted review contains spoilers.
The Gifted Season 2 Episode 13
The Gifted needed an episode like this. After a couple of okay to fair episodes where the plot piled crap around everyone’s ears, the show was running out of time on the season for anything other than wrapping up the season’s story arc and drifting a little bit from their core talents. “teMpted” brought us back to where the show should be as it set up the season’s endgame, and just in time.
I think the episode benefitted from a pretty tight focus. Or at least what felt tight – we have an A, a B and a C story, but we’ve been getting to mid-alphabet on story level a couple of times this season, so this one felt streamlined and simple by comparison. We completely cut out the Purifiers, and the Inner Circle is almost an afterthought. We are looking very narrowly at Reed trying to help Lauren fight off Andy (and the Cuckoos) attempting to entice her into the Inner Circle; Eclipse, Blink and Kate trying to save Glow from bleeding to death; and Lorna being an utterly terrible spy at Inner Circle HQ.
Lorna’s spy game is the weakest part of the episode because she’s just obviously awful at it. Like “How do you do, fellow kids?” bad. She’s trying to suss out what the three new recruits, the Cruise Ship Maulers, are going to get up to during Reva’s endgame and asking really obvious and direct questions about it before breaking into Max’s room and finding blueprints for the Pentagon, the White House and the Capitol.
Her espionage incompetence would be much more frustrating if it wasn’t intentional and made sense – she’s not a spy and she’s in over her head, and even though she’s a badass with knives (and a moderately successful hacker apparently), seeing her get flustered and trip over herself trying to ingratiate to a group of murderers feels right.
Speaking of feeling right, Kate is a fantastic character when they don’t have her doing crossfit in the Underground’s hermitage. Glow gets shot while liberating some supplies for the Morlocks, and Blink teleports back to Underground HQ to grab Eclipse and Kate because Glow’s bleeding won’t stop. So Eclipse gets set up for transfusions while Kate, Blink and Erg head back to the clinic to spin up some of Marcos’s blood to help with Glow’s clotting.
Kate is smart, authoritative, competent, and freaking STRAPPED. The Purifiers catch them at the clinic, and there’s a mutant and Momma Bear Strucker shootout where she gets a kill and Erg gets two, then they bail with the coagulant they need to save Glow.
Lauren can’t keep herself awake for the entire episode despite drinking enough coffee to barely keep me awake at 5 PM, and when she falls asleep, Andy and the Cuckoos go to work on her brain, trying to convince her to join the Inner Circle. This scene is genuinely creepy and hammers home what despicable people the Cuckoos are. Eventually she bails on the safehouse, and John and Reed track her down. Reed opens up to her about his powers and their family’s creepy ass music box, and he gets her to come back with them rather than defect.
“teMpted” clicked for me at the scene where they saved Glow. After weeks of crap piling on the Underground, they (and we) needed a win to prove their mission wasn’t hopeless and the show wasn’t pointless. This week, all the good guys were good guys and did their best to help people. When Kate and Blink were walking back into their makeshift ER as Marcos was trying to jam in an unauthorized transfusion because Glow was fading (DAMMIT that pun), I thought “this right here is what the X-Men would do.” It felt right and hopeful and earned. It also helps that Marcos and Glow have better chemistry than Marcos and Lorna do.
This week’s episode of The Gifted is a solid return to form and a great reminder of who the X-Men are as we round into the final couple of episodes of the season.
LOOSE GENETIC MATERIAL
-Erg gets the flashback this week, and while it was fluff to set up his eventual turn towards Kate, it was still well done. Michael Luwoye does a good job of making old and young Erg different people and helps you feel him when he is processing his girlfriend’s betrayal.
-Line of the night goes to Kate for “I’m guessing you’re not a pharmacist AND a post-apocalyptic pirate” to Erg, but Lorna’s “I don’t know, dessert pizza?” is a very close second.
-Kate and Reed tell Lauren she can’t survive waking herself up every 20 minutes, but Batman survives just fine on 10 minute microsleeps a day.
-This music box is annoying. It feels way more magical than the show has admitted exists.
-Missed this last week, but the music in the music box is the Erlking by Schubert.
-The Cruise Ship Mauler plan was actually a nice little fake out. They were practicing their explosion choreography in the Inner Circle’s danger room on little miniature Washington Monuments, not tiny Pentagons.
-I like how the Inner Circle’s plan is to cause season 3 of Designated Survivor. Mission accomplished!
-Kate’s gun is Liefeldian in how oversized it is compared to her physical presence. It’s a ridiculous prop and I love it.
-The Strucker family powers metaphor got super gross this episode. I mean, they’ve already played the expression of their powers as something vaguely, loosely sexual, so let’s add to that metaphor Lauren’s dad giving her a shot to suppress her powers. That scene was like watching that documentary on purity balls again.
-Next episode: Looks like a ton is about to happen, actually. Keep it here in two weeks for more of Den of Geek’s coverage of The Gifted!