This The Gifted review contains spoilers.
The Gifted Season 2 Episode 15
At this point in The Gifted‘s life cycle, the show is what it’s going to be. By that, I mean we’ve settled into our rhythym – the pace and characters are familiar. We know what it does well and what it doesn’t, and we can usually see what’s coming (at least from a character progression point of view) from a mile away. This is a long way around saying “Jace Turner sucks and I hope they kill him off because they don’t know what to do with him but I’m over it because he’s the only drag on the show.”
“Monsters” is place-setting for the season finale next week. Lauren and Kate need rescuing. John’s powers don’t work because of grief*. Lorna has to keep being a terrible spy and get Andy out of the Brotherhood. Reva and the Brotherhood have to keep going over the top so we know they’re actually bad too. And the Purifiers have to do…something. Probably be militia cartoon stereotypes, maybe shout about muties taking their jobs? I don’t know.
I bet you can guess which of those four storylines I’d ditch. The soap opera stuff is pure, uncut X-Men gold and MUST stay for this to continue to be a successful show. The clash between the mutants is nuanced and layered, even without Lorna and Andy (who leave the Brotherhood this episode, by the way). “A separate mutant homeland” is an interesting end goal, even if Reva’s plan to get there is to blow up the Lincoln Memorial. But even as we head towards the inevitable clash of the three sides of this argument, the conflict between the Purifiers and the mutants is tedious and rote, and if there’s a season 3, it can probably be relegated to background noise. Likewise Jace, a character who I’m now convinced only exists to give us a way into the Purifiers and to angst about whether he’s doing the right thing before doing the obviously not right thing. This group traffics in a well populated dystopia nowadays, and if I’m looking for a conflicted, drifting moral center in the middle of a human rights hellscape, there are plenty of more compelling places I can find it. Jace Taylor ain’t it.
Meanwhile, this episode cranked the melodrama to a billion. It felt like every interpersonal interaction between our beloved Underground was emotionally loaded past capacity. Marcos was the anchor for most of the episode, as John fell apart over Blink’s apparent death from last week and Reed’s powers came back after his decision to go off his meds. He also helps Reed harness his powers so they can save Kate and Lauren. Lauren is learning a bunch about her mom, like how she’s willing to go all Jimmy Cagney on the cops so Lauren can get away, and also how her mom sacrificed a bunch of Morlocks so they could escape. Kate got ruthless. Lorna finds out from Andy that his heel turn came when she killed Roderick Campbell by ripping his plane from the sky last season. Then Andy has to get talked into coming home by Reed, who convinces Andy he’d be coming home to a judgement free zone by telling Andy about the time Reed killed a Purifier and oh god this sentence is so much soapy bullshit I love it.
To me, the episode hinged on a throwaway line from Reed. Kate and Lauren are trapped in an abandoned factory, surrounded by cops and down to three bullets. So Marcos uses his powers to absorb the light from their path to a brick wall that he can bring down to save his family, and then when they’re all out, Marcos does his light pulling thing again. Reed looks up and says “that is pretty cool,” and in that brief moment of human awe, this show reminded us that as angsty and melodramatic as these stories are, they’re still pretty damn cool. Can’t wait for next week’s finale.
LOOSE GENETIC MATERIAL
– This doesn’t seem like the show to do a ton with the fictional geography of the Marvel Universe, so this is probably not the endgame, but the “separate mutant homeland” thing was tried in the comics. Genosha, an island off the northeast coast of Madagascar, originally used mutants as mindless slaves for infrastructure projects, and then after a bunch of crap, it was given to Magneto by the UN as a mutant homeland. Then all the mutants were killed by Cassandra Nova’s sentinels.
– So Blink’s almost certainly still alive. The cold open flashes back to her talking with John about how she would want to just port into everything when her time with the Brotherhood got unbearable, which is almost certainly how they get her back at some point next episode. That said, John’s grief (and its expression through his powers getting hijacked by his memory and emotions) is way more effective if you don’t know she’s coming back. So let’s all pretend for another week!
– The Lorna-Esme thing is still pretty fun as an inversion of comics Esme’s last relationship with a master of magnetism – that time when she was pumping Magneto full of MGH and convincing him to slaughter all the humans in Manhattan.
– Reed tells Andy he killed Purifier Not Steve Zahn because he wanted to, and God bless Kate and the writers for not letting him get away with that garbage for more than one scene. That dude was nuts and would have killed Reed on the spot by any means necessary. Killing him was the appropriate decision.
– Part of me knows it couldn’t have gone down any differently, but I’m still disappointed that Lorna didn’t pay any price for what a terrible spy she was. TERRIBLE. All caps doesn’t emphasize how bad she was at it. Imagine a building sized gif of Charles Barkley saying “TURRIBLE” and you have an idea for just how egregiously bad she was at opsec. But she made it home safe and sound.