Recap: The Gifted Season 1 Episode 12 Part 1: “eXtraction”, Part 2: “X-roads” by Aaron Coleman

‘I’ll fight my fight, you fight yours”

Andy Strucker’s (Percy Hynes-White) quote summed up the narrative of the season 1 finale. Everyone is fighting their own individual fights internall y and externally which made for a twisty albeit predictable ride.

The Gifted taps into what the X-Men universe has always done best, address civil rights issues and expose the destructive power of hatred for one’s uniqueness or individuality.

Dr. Campbell (Garret Dillahunt), truly shows us his segregated view of humanity. Although they tried to humanize him by showing his brother’s debilitating Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis… I didn’t buy it. I needed more heart and empathy if this is what drives him to dissect mutants like a science project. The “Humanity Today” rally headlined by Senator Montez (David Norona) was like watching a KKK rally which made me cringe and is the whole point I suppose. Those moments were a cringe-worthy serving of modern day society. In most cases, the mutants are more human than the humans. They do a good job of showing both points of view. But nothing can justify Dr. Campbell using innocent children to secure his own escape from Thunderbird (Blair Redford), Eclipse (Sean Teale) and Blink (Jamie Chung). I lost some respect for our resident “big bad” in that moment. Out of character and out of humanity even for him.

Although Dr. Campbell did not escape Lorna (Emma Dumont) bringing down his plane with her powers, I do hope he survived. As reprehensible as he is, this guy makes a great antagonist when used properly. I love hating him. Agent Turner’s (Coby Bell) hatred is fueled by emotion but Dr. Campbell is fueled by something else.

Something else The Gifted does well is introducing lesser known characters from the X-Men universe. In tonight’s episode, they introduced Evangeline Whedon (Erinn Ruth) from the X-Treme X-Men Team. She is an attorney with the mutant ability to transform into an enormous fire-breathing red dragon. So, yes, she will go “Game Of Thrones” on you if she has to. Her flashback moment with Lorna was a nice scene BUT ill-placed from a storyline standpoint. I understand it was supposed to be the start of Part 2 but Part 1 never ended. We cut from Thunderbird, Blink, and Eclipse being shot at by Sentinel services, to the flashback, then back to the action. I love a good flashback but only when effectively used. That great flashback took me out of the story for a moment.

Speaking of Lorna/Polaris- They have foreshadowed the growing conflict between her and Eclipse. His perpetual pleading with Lorna not to go rogue, has become a well acted broken record. I like watching Lorna morph more into this less restrained, rule breaking Polaris. Much like her comic book counterpart. Both are erratic, suffer from mental illness and will inevitably become daddy Magneto’s little girl. Watching Lorna pull a telephone pole down to block cars was a great effect. I thought she was going to crush the police cars like daddy did in the movies… but taking down a jet was probably enough vehicular slaughter in one episode.

Thunderbird is one of my favorites, yet he is continually misused in my opinion. As the leader of the underground, I want to see him actually lead something. Polaris is unstable, Eclipse is emotional, Thunderbird should be the moral compass but he seems more of an after thought to me. Everyone around him comes up with elaborate plans and he is relegated to executing those plans rather than driving them. When the Frost Sisters (my precious Stepford Cuckoo’s) put Clarice on blast about her past with the Brotherhood, I expected Thunderbird to demand answers but instead he silently walked away. With all of the moles that have come through the underground I would think knowing about his core team would be tantamount. The scene where Clarice tried to explain her past to him was underwhelming as was their unearned kiss. When Eclipse threatened one of the Frost sisters for manipulating Lorna, I was hoping Thunderbird would step up and calm the situation… NOT. Eclipse was the one who said “Let’s go” and Thunderbird followed. I hope to see him step up and take authority in Season 2.

The Frost sisters continue to serve up diva attitude on a proverbial platter but I didn’t expect to see a less than frosty emotion from them. They showed anger while torturing Mr. Bennett (Andrew Masset). I loved seeing that reaction from the sisters but need to see something redeemable in them. I do hope to eventually see their individual personalities. But in true hive form they did effectively get into the minds of Lorna and Andy without using a glowing blue-eyed psychic take-over. Unless they used their powers and I missed the blue-eye glow, they convinced them too easily.

Andy and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), a.k.a. Fenris, Jr., kicked some mutant bootie tonight, including their own. I liked their slow build disagreements finally escalating to a power-packed explosion. They both bounced off the asphalt. You gotta love sibling rivalry. In the end, they took out both sets of Hounds, which was cool BUT I felt robbed. I wanted to see the full devastating aftermath of the Fenris effect. I also wanted way more than just hearing the Strucker siblings survived. How did they survive? Why did they survive? What does the headquarters “just being gone” look like? Also I wanted more of how the Strucker kids felt after fully unleashing their combined power. In the past it seemed to thrill them but I didn’t get that moment. Did they feel the thrill and tug of using their power? What made them stop? I would love to have seen those character moments.

Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Kate (Amy Acker) Strucker have grown on me. I like them. I believe their parental angst. They showed good leadership chops tonight. When Fade (Jeff Daniel Phillips) snapped at Kate, “who put you in charge?” Kate snapped back “hate me when the kids are safe” in true momma lioness fashion. BUT this kind of showed the lack of leadership when the core team isn’t around. No one knew what to do so Reed and Kate saved the day. They got the underground out safe (gave them something to do) but where were the casualties? Everybody survived? I think losing someone would have been a great catalyst for the team split in the end. I saw it coming but wanted more of a gut punch to support why. The team split moves the story forward but could have been so much more.

Also I love when the Strucker’s go on a road trip because it never ends well for them. It was great to see grandma Ellen Strucker (Sharon Gless). The great Sharon Gless is always awesome but her storyline wrapped up too quickly and too neatly for my taste. Hopefully there will be more for her to do. She looks like a tough Momma and I want to see more of her.

All in all, I look forward to more mutant mayhem when The Gifted returns.

Let me know your thoughts.

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