The Gifted Season 2 Episode 6 Review: iMprint

The Gifted dives into Esme's backstory, as Reed struggles to control his powers.

This The Gifted review contains spoilers.

The Gifted Season 2 Episode 6

The Gifted has employed an effective prologue flashbacks this season to give us more backstory for its main characters. Mostly, the flashbacks have been informative, but all-too-brief, beginning the episode but not necessarily having much relevance in this ensemble-driven show. In “iMprint,” however, we get Esme’s backstory, which continues throughout the episode, and it makes for the strongest flashback-driven story yet.

As the Frost sister we met first, Esme has always been the one we’ve felt closest to. Unfortunately, The Gifted hasn’t done enough to articulate between the three sisters and, often, we are left guessing which one of the interchangeable characters is the conflicted Esme. In “iMprint,” we don’t have to guess. She’s finally given her own character arc, trying to convince Lorna to join the Inner Circle’s latest mission.

Further reading: The Gifted Season 2 Episode 5 Review

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Esme takes the path of emotional honesty and vulnerability, telling Lorna (and therefore us) the story of how the Frost sisters were made and were forced to do terrible things. Eventually, the three sisters broke out, but, plot twist, there were originally five sisters, and they lost two in the escape. It’s tragic and traumatic, and obviously still affects Esme deeply to this day.

On the one hand, it’s surprising to see Esme open up to Lorna. On the other hand, Esme is a character who seems a bit desperate for a friend. She has her sisters, sure, but they often tease her for her “softness.” They don’t even try to understand Esme’s criticisms of the Inner Circle’s more cruel methods. Lorna may not be a cuddlebug, but she’s incredibly loyal to the ones she loves, and is also just cool. I want to be Lorna’s friend, too.

Ultimately, Esme’s bonding with Lorna seems sanctioned by Reeva and the other sisters as part of their attempt to get Lorna on board with the mission, which takes a bit of the drama out of it. It would have been nice to see Esme seek Lorna out more explicitly for personal reasons, because she needs someone to talk through her trauma, too. She needs a friend outside of her sisters. She needs someone who understands being conflicted about the Inner Circle’s methods. Hopefully, this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Lorna and Esme’s burgeoning relationship.

Further reading: The Gifted Season 2 Episode 4 Review

While the Esme plot was the strongest flashback-driven plot we’ve seen thus far this season, the rest of the episode left a lot to be desired, retreading familiar narrative ground.

For Jace, this meant using his powers for evil again as part of a Purifiers mission. The group attacked a Mutant sanctuary church, drawing out the Mutant Underground, who arrived on site to help those Mutants who were injured or left sanctuary-less. Then, when they were all gathered, the Purifiers struck, capturing many Mutants and killing a Mutant Underground leader named Shatter.

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Jace is still hardcore drinking the Purifier Kool-Aid. Worse than that, he’s mixing it. He’s making new flavors. He’s found more efficient ways to get it out to others. Yes, that’s as far as I’ll take the Kool-Aid metaphor.

The situation would have ended a lot worse for the Mutant Underground if not for Reed. (Not something I am used to typing.) He used his powers to create an escape route and get at least some of the Mutants (mostly, the main characters) out.

While Reed may have saved the day in the heat (get it?) of the moment, the calling up of his powers has had unsettling long-term results. Come the end of the episode, he’s unable to turn off his powers, which means he’s basically in a King Midas sitch, but without any gold to show for it, only furniture with burnt-off corners. 

It’s definitely scary, but also feels kind of necessary in the progression of Reed’s powers. Dude’s been in denial about his inability to control them for far too long and, even with John’s tutelage, he’s not fully faced the reality of the situation. Looks like he’s going to have to face the reality of the situation now. This is going to make a lot of everyday routines very difficult.

Additional thoughts.

You know the rules, Esme. Do you care about his family or yours?

Oh god. Rebecca and Andy basically spend the episode giggling in the background, giggling together, but we learn from Caitlin and Lauren’s information-gathering mission that Rebecca up and murdered her family. This sounds pretty bad, and I am pretty sure Rebecca is a psychopath, but I also would do some follow-up research before writing Rebecca off as a monster entirely. Like, maybe her family sucked?

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Lorna freaks out when Esme starts humming her lullaby which, first of all, is a rookie mistake on Esme’s part, and, second of all, seems like an over reaction. If I were Esme, I would have been like: Um, I heard you humming it as I came into your room earlier? It’s not like Lorna lives in a soundproof box.

Reeva’s making dinner plans with someone with the initials Q.M. Who could it be??? I hope it’s just some random she met on Tindr.

Doctor Casey is OK, you guys. I, er, definitely care about his character.

I need a montage of Reed going through training like yesterday.

“You need to deal with it, not just… drug it.” — Caitlin, on Reed’s powers

Jace argues that they can do a better job than Sentinel Services because they don’t have any limits or accountability. It’s very scary. This is exactly why they should not be doing the things they are doing.

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The hate group pep talk Jace gives is unsettlingly accompanied by uplifting music. Did anyone else notice that?

The Inner Circle is targeting Creed Financial, a bank that has funded some evil, anti-Mutant stuff since the 1950s. They are the worst, and it sounds like a good idea that they are planning on taking them out in some way… but also something tells me the Inner Circle may have ulterior motives? Again, I would like this show even more if The Inner Circle was given more narrative stability and credence. Like, some of their points aren’t wrong?

“We’re the good guys here. Remember that.” — Jace, really losing his grasp on reality.

“Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re the ones that need to be saved.” Dude, is Lauren going to join the Inner Circle? Probably not, but that would be a twist.

Shatter was supposed to have died in Atlanta. Will Jace figure it out?

Lauren will bring Andy home, whether he wants to come or not. This is gonna get ugly.

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2.5 out of 5