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The Gifted - eMergence - Review: "A New Dawn" + POLL

26 Sept 2018

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After an explosive season finale, The Gifted wastes no time in setting up some of the larger story arcs for the season. Viewers are immediately introduced to a new mutant named Reeva Page, who is impeccably played by Empire’s Grace Byers, and things get to a rather murderous start, essentially cementing the view that this new character is not be trifled with. Instead of coasting on the series’ opening shocker, the episode continues to gain steam as it jumps six months forward. The rift that formed at the end of last season’s finale has only solidified during those six months. Polaris and Andy are still firmly on Team Hellfire Club Inner Circle, although they haven’t reached the point of no return. The remnants of the Mutant Underground have essentially done only two things during the time jump: Unsuccessfully search for Polaris and Andy and attempt to rescue mutants targeted by Sentinel Services. Of course, some of these characters are having a tougher time than others, but it’s safe to say no one’s particularly fond of the missing members of their team. The premiere does a great job at setting up the divide, which will eventually come to a head around the midseason finale. If this episode is any indication, this series might just avoid the sophomore slump and continue onward and upward.

So as we fast forward six months, Polaris is ready to pop. However, giving birth isn’t going to be as easy as 1, 2, 3. As we saw in the previous season, Polaris’ pregnancy magnified her powers, with them only continuing to intensify as her due date approaches. She had no problem moving a 6,000-pound car during a pre-term contraction; only think of the damage she could (and does) when she goes into labor. With so much that can go wrong during a non-mutant birth, it’s no wonder that Polaris is afraid something might happen, even making Andy promise to put her daughter first. All of the horrible and morally questionable things Polaris has done – aligning herself with the Frost sisters and the Hellfire Club; blowing up the plane and presumably killing everyone on board; and leaving behind Marcos, her friends and family – has been to protect her child. She is literally willing to do anything, even sacrificing her own life, to ensure that her daughter will be born into a better world, a world where mutants aren’t persecuted and don’t have to hide who they truly are. It’s a beautiful sentiment on paper, but the reality of how far the Inner Circle will have to go to achieve the “vision” Reeva and the Frost Sisters showed Polaris during birth is still unclear. I’m not entirely sure that what Polaris saw during labor is actually what the Inner Circle has in mind for the planet. As viewers saw in the opening scene, Reeva is a ruthless, conniving mutant who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She didn’t even bat an eyelash when she and the Frost Sisters killed all the board members of the Inner Circle, simply because they disagreed with her project for a mutant homeland. That’s certainly one way to push your agenda through, but I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her.

As for Polaris, she is definitely aware of how of the lengths Reeva will go to get what she wants but is willing to side with the newly introduced mutant if it means her child is safe. While Reeva told Polaris she would sacrifice everything for what they’re building, Polaris would do the same for Dawn. Right now, Polaris and Reeva have the same goals, but sometime in the near future, there will definitely be an incident that pits the pair against each other, which I’m hoping is sooner rather than later, but it probably won’t happen. So in the meantime, I guess we should just sit back and enjoy the ride, because while I want Polaris and Andy to reunite with the Mutant Underground, I am enjoying their new dynamic. Polaris has always been fond of Andy, but the pair has really gotten close over the past few months, with Andy even calling them family. Along with having similar personalities – they both take pride in their mutant abilities and are willing to use force against those who oppress mutants – they find themselves in the same boat at the start of the season. They both left behind their loved ones to join the Hellfire Club, but they’re not 100 percent on the same page as the rest of the Inner Circle. They don’t really know the mutants that they’ve aligned themselves with, except that the Inner Circle will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Polaris and Andy may be open to more extreme measures to ensure a better future for mutants, but how far are they willing to go? Are they willing to sacrifice themselves for the Inner Circle? Would they be willing to kill their families for the cause? There will come a point during the season where Polaris and Andy will have to make this determination for themselves, but for now, the only people they can really rely on and trust is each other.

Along with the new group dynamics, one of the biggest changes is Caitlin. While she’s still using her medical expertise to help mutants, she’s also not the same person she was when the series began. She has spent the past six months desperately trying to find Andy, following every lead, no matter how improbable, and shows no signs of stopping. While Reed understands they can’t spend every free minute looking for Andy, who left on his own accord, Caitlin isn’t as willing to accept the truth and stop searching for her “kidnapped” son. So when Eclipse mentions a mutant hacker named Wire who may have some information about Andy and Polaris, Caitlin jumps at the possible lead. Despite the group’s decision to not follow up – the only reason their safe after all is because the government thinks they’re dead – Caitlin still thinks it’s worth pursuing, going behind everyone’s back, solely based on Lauren’s dream that Andy is nearby. Granted, there appears to be some truth behind the dream as Lauren saw an Andy with blonde hair, but no rational person would go down the rabbit hole, but as we see Caitlin isn’t up to listening to reason. She is being driven by one thing alone: A desire to find her son, and there isn’t anything she won’t do to get him back. Case and point, when Caitlin stupidly grabs a loaded gun, when Wire refuses to give her and Eclipse the information the mutant hacker learned about the Hellfire Club, and ends up getting shot. At no point during her and Eclipse’s encounter with Wire was she thinking rationally, solely acting on the desire to find her son. She didn’t even let a bullet graze stop her from pointing a gun at Wire’s head. I get that Caitlin is dealing with a lot and losing Andy has been hard on her, but she’s not the only member of the Strucker family who is suffering.

Caitlin’s sole focus on finding her son has created visible cracks within the family, with Struckers reaching their breaking point. She is so consumed by her desire to “rescue” her son that she has completely checked out of the issues her husband and daughter are facing. The patriarch of the Strucker family is manifesting mutant abilities for the first time, and Caitlin has no idea. Granted, Reed hasn’t exactly been forthcoming about what he’s going through – he did try to confide in Caitlin toward the end of the episode – but it’s pretty obvious he’s going through something. While Caitlin’s first thought probably wouldn’t have been that her husband is no longer suppressing the X gene, which if we’re being completely honest we all figured out the second Reed started having those headaches, she should have noticed that something was off. However, if she didn’t notice something as life-altering as that, there’s no way she would have picked up on what’s going on with Lauren. While Lauren seems fine-ish on the surface, it’s clear she’s having a really tough time keeping the family together. She’s stuck in the middle, essentially having to prioritize her parents’ needs over her own. The only social life she really has is “hanging out” with Blink, and it’s not really hanging out if all they do is rescue mutants. She can’t get a job and meet people her own age because most of the information the Mutant Underground receives if from the shelter. She can’t really talk with her parents about how hard it is without Andy because her mother’s operating under the conviction that Andy was taken. She’s just being pulled in some many directions and her perfect fa├žade will eventually crack. We got to see a little bit of that this episode, but I’m assuming there’s much more looming beneath the surface. From what we’ve seen, the Struckers will really be put through the wringer this season, which I’ll selfishly enjoy as it’ll definitely lead to amazing performances and storylines for the family.

Some stray thoughts:

- It seems the only good thing that has happened during the time jump is the solidification of Thunderbird and Blink’s relationship. After a few missteps and off timing, it seems the pair is finally on the same page, and what a fun, new, sexy page it is. I mean, who knew there could be so much foreplay involving dirty dishes? I’m really looking forward to seeing where their relationship heads and hope they’ll get a little bit of happiness before they encounter some obstacle that tries to tear them apart.
- We were briefly introduced to a mutant named Christine this episode, and I really hope she finds her sister soon and then leaves forever. I’m sure she’s a very nice person character, but I’m having flashbacks to season two of Heroes where the showrunners introduced a bunch of new characters with superhuman abilities that no one cared about, so I really hope the show doesn’t head down the same path.
- Ever since learning Reed had the X gene suppressed as a child, viewers have eagerly been waiting to see when he would start displaying mutant abilities, and it looks like that time is now. It’ll be really interesting to see how a man who grew up believing the government’s mutant propaganda will react with his newfound identity. It’s one thing to support his children, but it’s another to identify as a mutant. Also, does anyone have any guesses what his abilities are?
- I felt so bad for Eclipse this episode. He has literally spent the past six months not knowing where Polaris and their unborn child are. Then he gets this brief glimpse of hope that he might finally be able to find them, only to have it taken away, as the episode ends with him not knowing if they’re alive or not. If any of these characters deserved a hug, it would be him.

So hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. When will Polaris and Andy rejoin the Mutant Underground? How far is Caitlin willing to go to get Andy back? How powerful will Reed's mutant ability be and how much will it derail his life?