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The Gifted - eXodus - Review: “With Friends” + POLL



The Gifted continues to deliver quality storytelling and action week after week. Each episode continues to build up the universe in which the show exists while not leaving any character behind. So far, every series regular character has received quality time on screen and even characters like Dreamer are starting to get fleshed out further. New shows tend to suffer at first to find their footing and that just hasn’t happened here. This episode even began to shed a little light on the background of a few of the characters.

At the very start, they dove into the background of Marcos and Lorna. Simply put, they were meant to be. When two powered beings can join their powers to create something as beautiful as the Aurora Borealis that says a lot. It’s so sad that people in this world of the show can’t see the good and beauty in what these special X-gene powered people can do and create. They should be utilizing what makes them special to better the world and society instead of ostracizing them. That is the beauty of the X-Men franchise, is that it is symbolic of what is happening in the world. From its inception, the X-Men universe has always confronted the inequality and prejudice of real life. That is something that The Gifted seems more than happy to continue doing as they carry on the legacy of the X-Men franchise they were birthed from. Through these stories, they show the ugly side of society, but they also show the beauty in people coming together under extraordinary circumstances to survive together. And the fact that Caitlin, a human, has been so openly welcomed within the underground shows how two opposing sides can unite for a common goal regardless of genetics, gender, or class.

The Strucker’s are a family willing to do anything for one another, but they are also starting to see the bigger picture of what is going on around them. In separate encounters, both Reed and Caitlin learned very important lessons. No matter how badly they wish to get back to one another their actions have huge repercussions because of those they are now bound to. They each wanted to put reuniting their family as their top priority and go it alone to accomplish the reunion and that approach caused things to go sideways in both cases. Reed realized that no matter how much he wants to be back with his family he can’t risk compromising the underground network that is so vitally critical to so many people. That little girl and her mom that Reed met could have as easily been his family and he realized that he couldn’t risk innocent lives just to get back with his family. There is a way to freedom and back to them, but not at the cost of his soul or innocent lives. That woman didn’t know Reed yet she helped him by taking his pain without even being asked to do so. She did it out of the kindness of her heart. That mixed with what he young daughter told him caused him to have a grand epiphany. As Reed noted, he almost made the worst decision of his life, and had he gone through with it there is no way that can be imagined that his family would forgive him. Yes, they are now back in a position of danger because they are no longer protected by the deal, but Sentinel Services was never going to really abide by it if they got their hands on Andy and Lauren. Caitlin would surely be proud of her husband if she knew what he ultimately did for the greater good of the entire underground.

Subsequently, while Reed was off having his grand revelation, Caitlin learned a similar lesson as she defied John and Marcos by running off and making contact with her brother in hopes of using his contacts to free Reed and Lorna. She was acting for noble reasons, and as Marcos noted, it’s something he himself would do and has done for those he loves, namely Lorna. Caitlin wasn’t doing anything malicious and just desperately wanted to find and save her husband. In the process, she put the entire network in danger because if she and the kids were caught they could easily use them to get to the others. Still, her love for her husband left her, in her mind, with very few other options. Up until this episode she really truly believed in the system and in the good of people. That is until she saw people she’s known for most of her life turn against her family. Caitlin and Danny clearly have some issues dating back to when their mom was sick, but they still love one another. Danny’s first reaction was to embrace his sister and even though he didn’t want to let them stay more than one night he was willing to at least financially help them. It wasn’t ideal, and he was a bit of a jerk to his sister a couple times, but he eventually came around. He too was trying to protect his family, but as Caitlin pointed out she and the kids are his family as well. That seemed to have a profound impact on him to the point he was even willing to put himself between them and danger. He took a beating to try and protect his family and that says a lot about him.

What Caitlin learned in all this, is that while she can count on her brother in a pinch, it was her newfound friends that risked everything to come after her and her kids to protect them. Granted, they were doing it to protect the underground, but at the same time they seem to have already personally invested in the wellbeing of the family. Even with that in mind they took great risks beyond what they should have had to. Caitlin, as a mother, likes to believe she can protect her children from any sort of harm, but this episode made her and the audience very aware of how human she is. It took Caitlin a moment to accept that he children were coming with her for the sole purpose of protecting her, which had to be a hard thing for her to accept as a mother. The fact that when John and Marcos found her she was sleeping with a butcher knife speaks volumes to her wanting to be the protector of her children. That is clearly a burden that she doesn’t want on them even though they’ve chosen to take it on anyway. She can only do so much for them when they are out in the world on the run alone. It seems like her eyes were opened in regards to just how badly they need to work with and remain united with the underground network. By the end of the episode, it seems like she fully accepted that she and her kids were forever tied to the underground. She had the choice to take Danny’s cabin key and run or stand with Marcos and John as a symbolic gesture of her readiness to fight for the group and those that they’ve all lost. She picked the latter because she knows that she can help them and they can help her not only protect her children but get her husband back as well. The Strucker’s are more a part of the underground family now than ever.

In regards to the underground, this episode dove a bit more into the background of it. At the same time that Lorna and Marcos were making their beautiful connection, she was also explaining how they came to call that facility their home. It was condemned and abandoned following a mutant incident where a young mutant was threatened and he reacted by lashing out effectively destroying an entire block leaving their building condemned and a perfect hideout. After the area was abandoned, Lorna then occupied the building and began building up the underground network. It is through her work that Marcos was brought into the fold. This whole sequence was a nice way to open the episode and the three-year time frame was a nice reference point. Knowing that these two have been romantic for that long helps the audience understand just how much she truly means to him beyond the fact she’s carrying his child.

This episode also gave some more insight into John. He and Dreamer had a thing at one time. They called it off when she decided to stay and work at the compound as well. She clearly still harbors feelings for him but does her best to suppress them, albeit not very well, so they can get their work done without that burden of romantic entanglement. Apparently, they couldn’t juggle work and romance as well as Marcos and Lorna did. Dreamer is also the only one that can get away with calling the former Marine “Johnny”. There was clearly some heavy romance between them at one time as evident by the memory she forced upon Clarice. John, unlike Dreamer, is more focused on his work than romance. Perhaps that is why he is so perplexed at what Dreamer did to motivate Clarice. Now, to be fair, Dreamer was just trying to help save John, Marcos, Caitlin and her kids from the “mutant welcoming committee” chasing them, but she did effectively open Pandora’s Box with Clarice. It was evident that Clarice and John had already developed a solid friendship and feelings could have one day formed, but Dreamer went and messed with Clarice resulting in who knows what consequences. It is safe to say that Clarice will likely not be happy when she learns that Dreamer messed with her memories. John sure does have his hands full trying to deal with his ex and undoing what she did to Clarice. Though to be fair to Dreamer, her forced motivation did give something for Clarice to anchor to and she did successfully rescue all of them. That sort of focus could prove useful in a future rescue mission of their captured friends. Perhaps, however, next time she can give Clarice some say in the situation instead of forcing things upon her. The outcome was a good one, but Dreamer could have taken a more open approach to helping Clarice channel her power.

As has been said before, the show doesn’t need to add any additional romance to its ranks especially this early on. There is enough drama with the two main couples that there isn’t need for an additional one right now. Hopefully, Clarice will find out her new memories about John were forced upon her and for the time being will just remain friends with him. The odds are that there will be another couple to form and it’ll likely involve John, but for right now they need to shy away from that. There is enough tense drama in this show without having to add any additional romantic drama and this particular situation is ripe for love triangle which just isn’t necessary at this stage of the show. They are still in the world developing stage of the series and that is simply too soon, especially in a show like this, to start adding in additional couplings. That’s not to say that Clarice and John wouldn’t make a terrific couple, but just not yet. The writers need to let the friendship develop and if a romance is in the cards they need to let it happen more organically then forced memories being the launching point for them.

This whole debacle did really enlighten viewers into who Dreamer is. She just sort of appeared last week without any background or real introduction at all. There is an interesting complexity to her. She does seem to care, perhaps too much, and when push comes to shove she will do whatever drastic thing that needs to be done in order to save people. It’s easy to see how she has come to justify her actions, especially in the situation from this episode, but it’s also easy to imagine how she got herself in trouble that forced her to go to the underground for protection in the first place. It will be very interesting to see how the writers further develop her. Elena Satine did an amazing job in this episode finding these quiet moments of reflection where the deepness in her eyes said almost as much as the words that were spoken. Satine might just be recurring this season, but if the writers keep developing Dreamer as they are and she keeps delivering these strong performances it’s easy to imagine a future where she is a series regular in a future season.

There was another interesting development in this episode in regards to another mutant and that was Andy. He clearly has a very powerful ability and is still learning how to use it, but with each passing episode, he is becoming more and more of a loose cannon. First, he basically wanted to rob a bank, which his mom clearly did not approve of, then he went all super powered on the parking meters, also not approved by either his mom or sister. Then he was more than happy to launch a war on the mob that had formed around his uncle’s house. Granted, he was still likely steaming from the image he saw of an old friend standing in front of their defiled house. After all it was his outburst after that which provided his cousin with something cool to show to his friend that led to the mob.

Andy even proposed bringing the fight to them knowing that they would likely decimate the mob surrounding them. He’s been bullied for so long that now that he has the power to protect himself he’s willing to do whatever is necessary despite the consequences. It’s this mindset that could lead him down a very dark path unless Caitlin and Lauren can get through to him. Caitlin needs to act fast and get him training with John so that he can get his powers under control and learn how to do good instead of wanting to take the fight to everyone. John only acts only when absolutely necessary then he does so in a way to avoid major injuries. That’s the kind of discipline that Andy desperately needs right now. This episode was a great showcase for Percy Hynes White who made Andy a seriously scary character this week. A power fueled by anger and with destructive force can be very dangerous, but at the same time gives the performer a lot to play with. There are several characters that are walking the line between good and evil and Andy is definitely one of them. Will he use his powers for good or will he one day be swayed to darkness? It’ll be interesting to see how he’s developed as the season progresses especially with Dr. Roderick Campbell (Garrett Dillahunt) taking a special interest in him and Lauren.

Regarding Dr. Campbell, it does say a lot that even Turner doesn’t like him. It seems like Campbell and his organization might have a reputation that even the mutant-hating Turner can’t standby. Which, given the hard run that Turner had in this episode it speaks volumes that he didn’t want to accept Campbell’s help. Turner was riding high for a bit when the thought Reed was going to give him what he wanted. Then that all crumbled around him when Reed jumped out of that van to protect the underground. Realizing that Reed was willing to put everything on the line and void the deal that protected his family really screwed with his plans. He still thinks he has the upper hand by moving Lorna and Reed to the same detainment facility to interrogate them further, but that is likely to backfire on him. Neither Reed nor Lorna is going to give up the underground, but they will both fight with everything they have to fight their way to freedom until the others can get to them. Lorna more than proved that when she destroyed that jail cell door just to prove a point and Reed proved it when he launched himself from a moving van. Turner might be dooming himself by uniting them in the same facility. That makes it easier for them to conspire together and easier for the others who will only need to launch one rescue operation to retrieve them both.

This show only has ten episodes and that is clearly a good episode count because it allows them to just hit the ground running like they’ve been doing. Not a single second in any of these first three episodes has been wasted. Far too many superhero shows have unnecessary filler episodes just to fill in their episode count and that’s a problem that this show simply doesn’t have and that’s a very good thing. Every episode is going to count and not a moment will be wasted as has been made evident by these first episodes. Ten episodes is a small count, but perfect especially given that this is an expensive show to produce and the ratings aren’t quite as high as anyone had hoped for. This small count will hopefully ensure many future seasons. The show still needs fans to spread the word about it, so keep telling others about this amazing show. Once you do your part to spread the word settle in and prepare for the next action-packed episode.

Don't miss the next episode on Monday, October 23rd at 9/8c on FOX.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about the episode. Do you think Andy will turn dark or be convinced to use his powers for good? Will Reed and Lorna be able to find a way to survive and escape the detention center they are being taken to?








 
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