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The Gifted - eXit Strategy - Review: “eXtraction” + POLL

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The Gifted is moving fast and furious delivering yet another intense action-packed episode. That is one of the many benefits to short seasons is that there is no time to drag things out. The writers ensure that every episode hits the ground running and that’s because they understand the importance of getting through the story without compromising the integrity of the season with unimportant filler fluff. They seem to have crafted a strong first season for the show and every single second is being made to count. The performers have latched onto that and are doing proud by every exceptional script they have been given. Since the show doesn’t have much real estate to work with they don’t have the luxury to allow any storyline to be dragged out too long. As such this episode was all about getting Reed and Lorna back. Surprisingly, by the end of the hour, that’s exactly what happened.

A typical series with a full twenty-two episodes would have dragged something huge like this out for the mass majority of the season. In some ways, that’s what happened here too, but with only ten episodes to work with this episode took them darn near the halfway point of the season, so they had to act. Thankfully these short season shows make it so that fans aren’t left hanging for months on end. A few short weeks and the captured members of the team are free and the show is free to now deal with the aftermath of that. That’s a good thing because there is a lot of story in this show beyond a rescue mission. Now the fun can really begin as the targets on all of them just grew exponentially.

This mission only worked because of extreme teamwork. They had the odds stacked against them and the turning of John’s old friend Pulse (Zach Roerig) was a game changer. It certainly seemed like Sentinel Services did something to him after his apparent capture. Though, to be fair to John, Pulse did not look alive by the end of the opening flashback. He had no idea that his friend was still alive or there is no doubt that he would have found a way to get him back. When John encountered him again at the escape ambush, Pulse seemed to not want to do what he was doing, but he had no choice. There was definitely something not right about him. It was as if he had been brainwashed and controlled somehow. When John got to him, Pulse was holding his head as if he was in pain or trying to stop what he was doing. For the briefest of moments, he seemed to recognize John, but it wasn’t enough of a connection to pull him out of the situation he had been forced into. It was a little bit odd that John didn’t grab him and take him with them after he knocked him out, but not knowing what had happened to his onetime best friend it really was for the best that he left him behind. He couldn’t risk Pulse leading Sentinel Services to the headquarters no matter how much he cares for his friend. Too many lives were on the line and he simply didn't have the resources necessary. There will certainly be another opportunity to try and get Pulse back on the right side of the fight, but this moment wasn’t it. Things were already going badly enough for them without adding an extra unknown element. Though, by leaving him in play with Sentinel Services they do still have a powerful weapon to use against the mutants.

Even just to get to this point, where they were fighting to retrieve their captured friends, they all had to risk a lot. Marcos basically sold his soul to the Devil herself in order to get the information they needed to determine where the bus was going to be and when. Knowing this part of his story, his time with and connection to the cartel makes his backstory all the more interesting. How did he meet Lorna? When did he leave his life on the streets for a life with the cartel? How long did he work for Carmen's (Michelle Veintimilla) father? There is a lot more to his story and now that his past has come back to bite him in the butt it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot more about his cartel past and his time with Carmen. Given what he had to do to get the information about the bus it's no surprise that he wasn't leaving without Lorna. With her back in his arms again it’ll be quite interesting to see the inevitable tension that is put on the relationship between them with Carmen back in the equation. It'll also be interesting to see if he'll confess to Lorna or John the bargain he made. Surely they'll know something is up if he starts to up and disappear for long spans of time. This was a nice twist that will allow the writers to get more into his past and provide another element of danger besides just Sentinel Services.

This whole deal puts Marcos in a really bad position, but given that most of the other mutants bailed on the mission they needed that intel he got from Carmen. With only a very small strike team they needed every advantage they could get. As it was they even had to take big risks like relying on Andy and Lauren’s hardly tested united powers to stop the bus. These two could be a force to be reckoned with, but not quite yet, though they did come through in a pinch this time. They are only barely starting to understand exactly what they can do together. It was brilliant of Lauren to realize their united potential, but with hardly any time to train things could have ended very badly. As it was, the whole plan almost fell apart when Andy couldn’t get his powers to do what he wanted them to. Luckily Lauren realized that anger is her brother’s trigger, but that isn’t a long-term solution. It worked this time, sort of anyway since they didn’t get the bus where it needed to be, but at least they stopped it. Once the dust from this whole adventure clears they need to work with John on training together because united these two could be a powerful force for the underground.

The mission did lead to some really lovely moments between Caitlin and her kids. Amy Acker is an incredible actress and Caitlin has given her a lot of really great moments to play. In this episode alone Acker got to show Caitlin as a strong determined mom while also showing off her fear. Caitlin couldn’t keep her nerves under control when her children were at risk. Yet when it counted she stood strong and sent her children away to safety and charged headfirst into danger to keep her promise to her kids that she was going to get their father back. And that was after she took on an agent with nothing more than a drug-filled needle and her protective motherly instincts. The goodbye scene where she sent Lauren and Andy away was a powerful moment and all three performers nailed the deep emotion of the situation. Neither of them knew if they'd ever see either of their parents ever again and the intensity of that hug perfectly depicted that as they tried to hold onto their mom for as long as she would allow. It was a powerful moment all around and it had to be so hard for Caitlin to make that decision. She knew she had to go back to help the others, but she also knew she couldn't take her children with her. She was forced to send them off on their own hoping that they would safely get back to the compound. This is the perfect part for Acker and she is delivering some truly stunning and heartfelt moments and this was one of her best yet in this show.

While the Strucker’s were crucial every person there played a part. Clarice wasn’t able to do as much as originally intended because her powers were dampened by Pulse, but she did help Dreamer get Trader (Derek James Jones) to safety after he was shot. While the others made their getaway in a car it’s likely that Clarice got at least her group back to headquarters. That means that Clarice and Dreamer are now alone without John as a buffer. Now that Clarice knows that she and John didn’t share a moment outside surely she’ll start to wonder now. Having a vivid imagination fuel a dream is one thing, but it seems like Dreamer’s forced memory is really impacting Clarice. It’s time for Dreamer and Clarice to have a heart-to-heart and it’ll be interesting to see how Clarice reacts to the truth. Will she leave as Dreamer feared or will Clarice retaliate in some way? Or will Dreamer's punishment be that her actions force John and Clarice closer together? It’s clear that John and Clarice were forming a strong bond before the whole forced memory debacle, so could Dreamer’s interference actually have the unintended consequence of making John and Clarice into something more than just friends? Hopefully not yet, as has been noted before, there is too much going on for another couple on the show, but seeing a confrontation between Clarice and Dreamer would admittedly be quite fascinating to watch. Can Dreamer take away memories as easily as she gives them? She might want to work on figuring that out if she hasn't already. A very interesting showdown seems like it could be brewing.

While that part of the team seems destined for a potential fracture an unusual and much-needed alliance formed as Reed and Lorna finally joined forces. Now, understandably, Lorna spent most of the episode giving Reed the cold shoulder and making it clear that she wanted nothing to do with him, but when it counted he was there for her. They came to an unspoken understanding in the bus and each of them did what they had to in order to ensure their mutual escape. Reed even sacrificed the screws in his leg to give Lorna something to work with given her limited options thanks to their plastic cages. Also, worth noting, Reed must have one seriously high pain threshold because not many people could be up on their feet that fast after having screws ripped out of their bones and through their flesh. Ultimately it was a nice throwback to the premiere episode and Reed is likely very grateful right about now that his wife is a nurse.

Lorna spent the entire episode wanting to be respected by Turner who refused to call her Polaris and by the end of the hour she schooled Turner in why you should never disrespect someone, especially an expectant mother. She took those screws from Reed and blasted there way right out of that transport bus. It was an impressive sight and it was beyond amazing to have Polaris back in full fighting form. The way she disarmed the agents with a flick of her wrist was epic. Emma Dumont has mastered the art of bringing Polaris’ powers to life and it is a beautiful thing to watch. The fierce determination in her eyes and the little smirk of defiance added even extra intensity to what Polaris was doing. Sentinel Services never had a chance once she had her powers back.

Now, the reunited team is on the run. Andy and Lauren are hopefully back at headquarters. Dreamer, Trader and Clarice are likely already there as well. The big question is what will become of Caitlin, Reed, Polaris, Marcos, and John? Trader could certainly use Caitlin's help after being shot, but the last we saw of them they were very much so out in the open in the car speeding away likely being tracked. Will the next episode open with them conveniently back at headquarters or will they show the struggle for this group to reunite with the others? When Caitlin sent her children away they didn't want to leave her. If they make it back to the compound and neither of their parents do it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll want to go charging back out after them. It could be an intriguing story to watch those two struggle alone without their parents. On the other side of things, what if they don’t make it back to the compound? All that was shown at the end was these three scattered groups heading off in different directions and things were left up in the air for all of them. That’s one of the great things about the structure of this show in that they don’t end every episode on a nice happy ending with everything perfectly tied up. Each episode leads into the next which keeps the story flowing nicely. It’ll be fun to see where the next episode picks up.

Reed and Polaris are back where they belong which leaves Turner empty-handed. That will likely leave him open to some serious judgment by his superiors. It also will likely make him more determined than ever to bring down the underground. The fact that they got bested will not sit well with him and if he gets in trouble for the whole debacle he’ll be even angrier. If they thought Turner and Sentinel Services were a problem before they likely haven’t seen anything yet. Even as the episode drew to an end he was already rallying the troops to bring them down.

This was an intense episode that didn’t stop from the first moments of the flashback intro to the intense action-packed ending. It was an intense thrill of a ride that never let up. We got to meet some new mutants like Trader, Pulse, and Sage (Hayley Lovitt) all of whom were very intriguing characters and it'll be interesting to learn more about them as the story goes on. The plot had a terrific flow and the acting was some of the best yet. That’s saying something because this cast has consistently delivered. We learned that the underground started with Lorna, but that John was her first recruit. There is sure to be a lot of interesting stories to come on how they came to be a team. Now that the team is united again, or at least free, the writers can move onto the next stage of the story. What that holds is anyone’s guess, but it likely will heavily involve Dr. Roderick Campbell. It's very likely he was involved in whatever happened to Pulse and that could very well be the fate he has planned for Lauren and Andy if he can get his hands on them. Hold on because the action and intensity doesn’t seem poised to slow down anytime soon as this epic show keeps charging forward.

Don’t miss the next episode when it airs Monday, October 30th at 9/8c on FOX.

Hit the comments with your thoughts on this episode. Are you glad that Polaris and Reed are free? Do you think everyone will make it back to the compound?

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