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The Gifted - outfoX - Review: “eXit Blocked”



The Gifted delivered an intensely powerful episode that hit all the right marks. They built on the big reveals from the last episode and ended with some really big cliffhangers as half the team is left in peril. There were also a lot of emotional moments that really aided in elevating the episode to something special. It did start out a bit slow on the action side, but that actually served the story well to build up the emotional side before diving into the intensity of the action that ended the hour with the team scattered. It also gave the Strucker family time to process everything Reed learned from his dad and to figure out what Andy and Lauren are capable of. All of that would prove important as the story raced towards the big intense cliffhanger ending the likes of which we haven't seen since the pilot. This was a really nice continuation of last week and it’s quite obvious that the writers are setting up some big massive moments in the last handful of episodes.

From the first moments the Strucker name was revealed in the character bios fans immediately began to speculate about their relation to the notorious comic book characters Andrea and Andreas von Strucker. That relation was made very clear last week leaving the family to struggle with what that all means and it was a lot for them to process. Caitlin and Reed made the right decision to come clean with Andy and Lauren, even though they’d already more or less figured it out themselves. Telling them took away the secretive element that usually causes issues in television families. Though, the drama to come from their combined powers is likely to cause way more drama than anything a secret could have. It was interesting that in the opening flashback they showed that Andy has actually had his powers longer than he realized. And it was a nice touch that they developed their powers by Andy saving Lauren from a fall.

In many ways, Andy and Lauren are very much like their great grandfather and great aunt, but they have a huge support system behind them guiding them down a better path. Knowing what they are capable of has given them some serious perspective. They enjoy the feeling of invincibility, but the fact they fear liking it is actually a good thing. That fear and restraint show that Caitlin and Reed have truly done a fantastic job raising their children despite these troubling circumstances they find themselves in. They have set good examples for their kids and ensured that at every turn they know how much they are loved and trusted. However, while being afraid is good, it did ultimately cause them to be captured when they could have escaped. Though, granted, that escape would have come at the cost of a great many lives including two of their friends.

This was a big episode for Andy who has easily been the biggest loose cannon since the series began. The writers made it seem like given the chance he would gladly go supernova to kick some butt, but when it came down to it he chose the higher road. He made a very grownup decision to sacrifice himself and Lauren to Sentinel Services rather than committing mass murder by bringing the building down around them. In that moment a lot of Reed was visible in Andy and it shows that Reed’s various talks with his son did not fall on deaf ears. It was a terrific moment of character growth and Percy Hynes White did some of his best acting yet in this episode. When Andy broke the hold with Lauren, effectively condemning them, there was such incredible depth in White’s eyes that really sold everything that was happening. Natalie Alyn Lind was equally as impressive for her side of the duo. These two performers have consistently delivered strong and impressive performances, but this episode gave both of them some of their very best moments yet and they nailed every one of them. White and Lind have proven a very strong acting duo and are doing incredible work showing the steady growth of their characters individually and as siblings.

Their sacrifice was powerful and poignant all in its own right, but Caitlin’s reaction to it was heartbreaking. Amy Acker fully committed to that moment and she made Caitlin’s maternal anguish palpable. That moment right there was the birth of a force the likes of which Jace Turner and Sentinel Services never accounted for. Mutants have nothing on a mother whose babies are in danger. Turner has never seen anything like what will be coming his way when Caitlin and Reed track him down. These two will move Heaven and Hell to get their children back.

It’s not just Andy and Lauren in trouble though, they were taken into custody with Dreamer and Clarice. The promo for the Fall Finale makes it seem very ominous for one of them and odds are sadly against the one of that group that isn’t a series regular. Dreamer did make a big bold move by sacrificing herself to try and buy Andy and Lauren more time to escape. It ended up not being enough, but no one can say she didn’t give it her all. If Dreamer ends up not surviving the next episode then at least she’ll have gone out in heroic fashion. With that said, it would be awful for them to kill off Dreamer because Elena Satine has been absolutely fabulous in this role. Losing Dreamer would be a big blow because there is still a lot of story potential in her. Since Satine is just a guest star, sending her character into serious peril alongside three series regulars would make killing her off a very cliché red shirt moment. Given how predictable it would be one can only hope the writers chose a different unique choice that allows all four of them to survive this ordeal alive.

One very interesting moment with Dreamer is how distraught she seemed to be when Clarice was captured. It seemed like she was losing a lifelong friend given the depth of pain and anguish she had in her eyes and on her face when she had to leave Clarice behind. It would have been nice to see a moment in this episode where these two had a meaningful scene together before all the chaos. We got that moment at the end of the last episode, but something more to show their renewed attempts at friendship would have helped this moment feel more organic. It still played beautifully thanks to some terrific acting, but it could have been even more impactful if they had just given these two some nice moment of connectivity in the first half of the episode. Hopefully, they’ll have some sort of heart-to-heart next week while they are imprisoned together. There are still some things for them to deal with.

With four members of the team in custody, the others on the outside have their work cut out for them. They won’t stop until they retrieve their lost friends and loved ones. And the writers smartly setup each character to have their own reasons to risk everything to get them back. Reed and Caitlin are obviously not going to leave their children behind. John cares about all of them, but especially Dreamer and Clarice. More than that, he saw what happened when he left someone behind before and it doesn’t seem like that is an option for him again. He will go in full charge to help get them back. Marcos was friends with Pulse as well and much like John doesn’t want to see that horror repeated again. And thanks to Esme, Lorna has a feeling of personal motivation to take down Trask to protect her own child.

To that last bit, Esme is one shady character and clearly a lot more powerful than was originally evident. It sure seemed like she caused Lorna’s nightmare to give her some motivation to move forward on supporting the plan to target Trask. But how exactly did she do it? We know she is a telepath and can read minds, but controlling dreams isn’t normally a telepath type of thing. That seemed more like something Dreamer should be able to do. And Esme went all in with that nightmare she gave Lorna. It served its purpose by seriously motivating Lorna to get behind the strike mission. What Lorna saw in her dream hit her hard as was evident by the damage she inflicted on their room.

It’s easy to not trust Esme, but at a basic primal level, she’s really not all that different from any of them. She is motivated by trying to get her family back. She’s not exactly going about any of this the right way, but in her mind, she’s doing her best. Still, there is a much better way than using her power to manipulate people. Dreamer could tell her how well that doesn’t work out in the long run. Esme has quite a unique comic book background, so it will be intriguing to see how closely the writers stuck to that in regards to her family. She certainly didn’t want to leave them behind when they had to abort the Trask raid. John had to physically carry her away as they ran for their lives. She is motivated by the most powerful motivator, family. That makes her almost as dangerous as Caitlin and Reed when it comes to the upcoming rescue mission.

Someone who needs to be seriously concerned is Jace Turner. As a father who lost his child he knows just how dangerous a scorned parent can be. He surely must realize that the Strucker’s and their mutant friends will stop at nothing to rescue their own and when they make their move he will be their prime target. There will be nowhere that he will be able to hide from them. His involvement in all this is made all the worse by the fact that as a father he is going to hand over two teenagers to a madman who wants to use them for nefarious things. How can anyone who considers themselves a decent person fighting for good justify putting innocent kids through such horrors? He is essentially condemning Andy and Lauren for even being born since it’s their inherited powers that he hates so much. Everything they’ve done has been to survive and he forced them into this whole situation. Hopefully, he’ll realize all this and aid in rescuing the kids from Trask and Roderick. If he doesn’t help them get Andy and Lauren back then there is very little the writers can do to redeem him. That would be a darn shame since he is ripe for a great redemption arc. One positive note is he didn’t seem to take any pleasure from arresting Andy and Lauren, so there might still be hope for him yet.

Speaking of Trask, we learned an interesting tidbit about Andrea and Andreas thanks to Andy’s research. As it turns out they disappeared while the X-Men were on their trail. Granted that was a very long time, but does anyone else get the feeling that one or both of them is going to make an appearance? Could they be the force behind Trask? If anyone could defy the confines of aging it would certainly be them. And it would make sense regarding why the point of Trask’s resurgence seems to center around amplifying the X-gene. Without a doubt they’d want a way to be even more powerful and what better enemy for the Strucker family than their own relatives? They would be very old by now, but, again, age doesn’t seem like a thing that could stop this powerful duo. Roderick is one sick power crazed man so he would fit right in with them. Once he recovers from the wounds Otto inflicted on him he’ll be thrilled to finally have his hands on Andy and Lauren. Whatever he does with them is sure to be awful, but they are strong and will hopefully be able to hold on until their parents and new friends come for them.

This was one heck of an episode and set up an intense Fall Finale next week. With so many members of the team captured the race is on the get them back. There are a lot of Type A personalities in the remaining group and that is likely to lead them all running in different directions until they finally realize they will only succeed if they work together. The fact that Trask and Roderick have the most powerful mutant duo alive in their custody doesn’t bode well for anyone. Curiously, last week, we saw Otto overcome Pulse’s power outage. Given how powerful Andy and Lauren are we can only hope they also inherited that ability from their grandfather and can help bust themselves out of this situation. It could be an interesting twist if either Clarice or Dreamer end up subjected to Roderick’s mutant control process. Seeing the team have to deprogram one of them could be quite an intense story. Though, that’s just wishful thinking providing the writers with an option other than death for any of them. One thing is almost certain, the next episode is going to be the highest stakes most intense one of the series yet.

Don’t miss next week’s fall finale when it airs on Monday, December 11th at 9/8c.

Hit the comments with your thoughts about this episode. Do you think Dreamer will survive this whole ordeal? Did you like that Andy chose to not destroy the building? Will the team be able to unite to save the four that were captured?





 
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