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The Gifted - afterMath - Review: There's Always a Bit of Light + POLL



WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

We open to a flashback, Jace's early days a rookie on the police force. He's dealing with a cop who doesn't abide by protocol and is quick with the taser when he see's a "mutie" loitering outside of a storefront. Jace doesn't understand the reckless usage of force. His training officer tells a sob story from his past where his partner was killed on the job due to mutant violence, as if that gives him permission to react violently to any mutant he sees in the present.

We're reminded of the volatile forces at play here. Jace is not only a black man on the force, therefore drawing disturbing parallels with real world police brutality, but he too has become jaded and outwardly cruel towards mutants like his TO.

JACE TURNER


Paula is filing for divorce. More power to her. Jace is going down a terrible path. It's impossible to ignore the references to our current political landscape as Jace sits in his hotel room mulling over his invitation to a Purifiers meeting while a news segment filled with anti-mutant and racist rhetoric plays on in the background.



Well Jace has truly made himself into a villain. I guess any misgivings he had about being anti-mutant last season are totally out the window now. He wants the purifiers to raid hospitals for sick and injured mutants to round them up like animals and turn them over to the government. How do these people sleep at night?

Except, when they actually do wind up breaking into the hospital and one of the purifiers gets violent with a human doctor, then suddenly Jace wants to stop it and protect him. Not unlike what happened in the opening scene but what the hell did you expect Jace? These guys are unhinged racists, clearly they're destined for extreme violence so I'm not buying the act.

At the end of the episode, Jace is doing research and makes a phone call to an unnamed source, likely someone in the purifiers. He's got patient files and he wants to hit the mutants where they live. Ugh.

MUTANT UNDERGROUND


Lauren's okay! Thank god. Not that I ever thought she was going to die but you never know nowadays. Caitlin diagnoses her with a mild concussion and when she comes to she's upset and clearly devastated over the way her confrontation with Andy turned out.

Several other injured patients are brought into the hospital, one in particular being the mutant with acidic blood. At least he gives us a reason to see Blair Redford shirtless given John gets some of his blood on his shirt so no complaints here. John comforts Caitlin, who is frustrated by the fact they couldn't retrieve Andy. Methinks she's in denial. Andy clearly has no plans to return to the Mutant Underground any time soon. I don't think Caitlin understands how difficult it can be on the frontlines, especially in this case, where as John points out, there was way too much going on with screaming, fleeing mutants and cops for him to get an accurate trace.

Meanwhile, back at the bunker, Marcos and Clarice are overwhelmed by the amount of new mutants incoming from the mental hospital fallout. Clarice mentions the Morlocks, maybe they'd be willing to help. I had to laugh when Marcos scoffed at the notion of hanging out with sewer people and Clarice's simple retort was "that's what air freshener is for!" You're going to need a lot of Febreeze to deal with sewer stench.

Reed is put on caretaker duty while Caitlin deals with the influx of patients. She admits over the phone she blames herself for Lauren getting hurt. It's hard to watch her suffer like this. Caitlin is truly doing her best to get her son back no matter the cost but obviously she still cares deeply for Lauren too. Trying to find the balance of caring for her daughter while devastated over the loss of Andy is not easy.

I've liked being able to see Reed and Lauren become closer this season. Lauren opens up to him about what seeing Andy was like. Her hopes have been crushed. She thought Andy would come around if he actually saw her face to face, realizing he truly believes in the Inner Circle's agenda has hurt her more than any physical wound. You can see the defeat in her eyes, which is a testament to Natalie Alyn Lind's acting, Lauren doesn't think Andy is ever coming back. It broke my heart to hear her say "not even me".

Clarice and Marcos bring their group of patients down to the sewers to find the Morlocks. We get to see one of the new mutants cool ability to release orbs of light, a great asset as Marcos is unable to absorb any since they're in utter darkness. He wonders aloud how they're supposed to find the Morlocks, but they've already been found.

Acidic mutant, whose name we soon find out is Michael, is in distress, John volunteers to help against Caitlin's advice. Watching his fingers literally melt as he tries to find the right place to push the needle in to relieve pressure on the mutant's lung was surprisingly gruesome. John's motives are murky though, is he saving this guy because he cares or just because he needs answers? Signs point to the latter.

While Michael rests, Caitlin sets to work on John's acid torn hands. Props to the make-up department on this one because they truly look gnarly. Everyone is feeling guilty this week. John wishes he had done more, like he didn't save tons of people, guy needs to cut himself some slack! Caitlin offers a few words of comfort and then Michael wakes up. Finally they get some answers. Mainly that whoever the mysterious Rebecca is, she's incredibly powerful. She was locked up tighter than any other mutant in the wing. Before they can learn more about the psychiatrist that tended to them, Doctor Taylor, Michael passes back out.

Marcos learns a little more about what it was like for the patients at Lynnwood. Let's put it this way, they started looking forward to eating jello. But nameless light-orb mutant is an optimist and acknowledges "there's always a bit of light even in the darkest places." Aw.

Clarice might be in over her heard with Erg, who isn't thrilled about taking in mutant refugees. In exchange, she's going to have to do something for him. Cue ominous cut to black.

Actually, turns out Erg really isn't a bad guy. He doesn't believe in the pipe dreams of the Mutant Underground or the sinister agenda of the Inner Circle, he believes in cornflakes, aka survival and peace. All he wants is Clarice's help breaking into a Costco-like warehouse to get supplies and he has a fair point, she brought them more mouths to feed the least she can do is help them gather food. Clarice doesn't like the idea of stealing from humans but I'm with Erg on this one. They're not really hurting anyone and odds of them getting caught there are slim. If all the Morlocks want is to stay out of the line of fire, more power to them.

Unfortunately, things aren't going so well back at the hospital. The purifiers have arrived, lead by Jace Turner of course, and they're not taking no for an answer. After the nurse refuses them entry they decide to break in. Luckily, John is able to sense them ahead of time and they get time to hide the patients.

Back in the literal underground, Marcos is learning more about the still-unnamed light-orb mutant. She tells him how she wound up in the mental hospital. At a rave, she was dancing and her euphoria caused her to produce the orbs. People panicked and she was charged with inciting a riot, but when the jurors decided they weren't dangerous, they diagnosed her with a manic disorder instead. An incurable one that would see her locked up forever. Marcos is devastated for her, especially as she goes on about forgiveness and refusing to be angry forever. I have a feeling the notion of forgiveness is going to come back later for Marcos. Perhaps in regards to Lorna.

Clarice returns with a message, Erg is going to allow everyone to stay, but only under one condition. They must take the brand and label themselves as proud mutants, unless they already have visible mutations. Marcos is rightfully outraged. How can Erg demand these people mutilate themselves against their will? But as Clarice points out, "it's their house, their rules." Still, it's taking advantage of mutants who have nothing, who will be forced to permanently scar themselves just to have food and shelter. This episode has really painted a horrific portrait of mutant lives, so many have so few options and are suffering greatly even at the hands of their own kind.

Jace and the purifiers have no intention of going quietly. They came for mutant blood and they're determined to get it. But while John, Caitlin, and Michael are waiting, Michael's acidic body eats through another needle. He needs proper medical care and fast. John is willing to go out swinging but Michael gets Caitlin to lie about the status of his lung so they can stay hidden. Mission comes first and none of them want to get discovered, least of all Caitlin, who is supposed to be dead.

The end is nigh for Michael and he dies soon after. John is upset that Caitlin lied but there really wasn't much they were going to be able to do about it without risking the hospital, their lives, and the lives of countless others. It wasn't all for nothing, they did discover more about Rebecca and that will be integral to learning more about the Inner Circle's plans.

Back down under and Erg is telling Clarice how glorious she is. She should use her name, Blink. She should be proud of her abilities and what she can do. I may not agree with Erg's forced branding methods but I do find his pride admirable. There is nothing wrong with being a mutant and they should be allowed to be true to themselves.


THE INNER CIRCLE


Draco Malfoy Andy is dealing with the aftermath of wounding Lauren. There is plenty of guilt to go around this week and Andy is feeling it too, as he should be. I can't bring myself to feel that sorry for him, this was his choice. He knew the consequences going in.

We get a glimpse of the mysterious mutant Reeva wanted them to retrieve from Lynnwood. The Frost sisters are able to get into her head to see what has traumatized her. It's not pretty. Clearly the conditions at Lynnwood were horrific. The poor girl was brutally tortured to the brink of insanity, even the Frosts are unsettled by what they see.

Rebecca, the new mutant, has mysterious powers that are pivotal to the success of Reeva's plans to cripple their enemies. The only problem is, she doesn't seem keen on demonstrating them. Andy believes it is because they're treating her like a weapon, a thing to be covered in wires and toted from point A to point B. He wants to try talking to her and see if he can get through.



Andy gets a chance to have a mini heart-to-heart with Rebecca, who has shades of Stranger Things' Eleven. Andy calls the Inner Circle his "new family". This kid irritates me. I don't understand what the Inner Circle has really done for him that his own family didn't. I mean not that long ago Reeva was literally considering killing him off because he couldn't adapt to her rigorous obstacle course fast enough. But sure Andy, they're your new and improved "family".

We do get a brief visual of Rebecca's mysterious powers. She turns a tennis ball inside out with the flick of her wrist. Frightening implications abound.

Andy gets the opportunity to take Rebecca out of the compound for something to eat - after cajoling Lorna, who warns him that this could be overwhelming for her. I'm getting the feeling a potential romance might be blossoming between Rebecca and Andy, if the look he gave her when he saw her in a dress was any indication.

This new pairing gets a couple of burgers and Andy is impressed with the way Rebecca wolfs hers down. "I hate it when girls eat, like, salads and stuff." What does that even mean, Andy?

I knew something bad was going to happen with these two painting the town red. Rebecca continues demonstrating her powers, flipping a soda can inside out and a ketchup painting of Andy's name on a window, but she wants to have more fun and torment some nearby cops. Soon their entire vehicle is flipped inside out and she encourages a reluctant Andy to participate too with the entire thing exploding in mere seconds.

So much for keeping a low profile.

Just as expected, things are getting romantic between this new coupling. They share a kiss in the elevator as they're heading back down into the compound and Rebecca is in much better spirits. She's ready to learn more about this "big mission" and it's clear the Frost sisters are impressed with Andy.

Lorna looks a little more apprehensive, I think she knows that something is blossoming between them and can smell the complications from a mile away. After all, she had a similar experience with Marcos.

EXTRAS


Performer Standout: Blair Redford as John Proudstar. I really felt for John this week. His struggle and strife over the fallout of the mental hospital, his willingness to damage himself in order to get information and save the life of Michael, the mutant who secretes acid, and his guilt over not being able to save everyone made him the easy choice for me. Although Amy Acker as Caitlin was a close second choice.

Mutant of the Week: I had to pick Michael (William Mark McCullough). I mean this poor mutant secretes acid from his skin, can't be touched, and must have lived a pretty lonely life. Not only because of his ability but due to being locked away in an asylum. Then, even at the end of his life he was still putting the safety of others above himself and willing to die to ensure they didn't risk getting caught by the Purifiers if Caitlin and John tried to bring him somewhere for medical attention. Plus, he provided them valuable intel on Rebecca and a lead on a doctor who may be able to help them. RIP Michael.

Best Pairing: John and Caitlin because we really hadn't gotten to see the two of them work together before. I've enjoyed how The Gifted has given us different character match-ups this season it has been fun to watch and I think Caitlin and John were able to offer each other the support they both needed this episode.

Best Scene: John trying to save Michael's life with the needle at great personal injury to himself.

Most Heartbreaking Revelation: The mutant who can produce light orbs detailing how she wound up locked up for the rest of her life for simply having fun and dancing.

Funniest Moment: Definitely Clarice insisting that air freshener is a suitable way of dealing with sewer funk.

THE FROST SISTERS' PAST IS REVEALED ON AN ALL-NEW "THE GIFTED" TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, ON FOX.


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