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The Gifted - no Mercy - Review: The Inner Circle Makes a Big Move



WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Going to start this review out with a sad note, but as most of you probably know by now, Stan Lee passed away. As he is the one of the main reasons this show even exists in the first place, it felt right to give my condolences to his family and friends and wish that he rests in peace. His impact will not be forgotten.

Previously on The Gifted, Esme took Lorna on a visit to Creed Financial to show her their next target. John and Caitlin discovered information about the mysterious mutant the Inner Circle retrieved from the asylum, Rebecca, from Michael, the mutant with acidic skin. Then Lauren and Caitlin tracked down one of the doctors that worked at the hospital and learned the extent of Rebecca's abilities - not to mention her dark and violent past.

Reeva has been texting a mysterious person known as "Q.M." who she seems to have romantic entanglements with. Erg enchanted Blink with his preachings of mutant transparency. The brave mutant Shatter was killed in the line of fire during a skirmish with the Purifiers, speaking of whom, Jace has officially joined up with the hate group. Reed has activated his powers but is having difficulty learning to control them.

THE STORY OF REEVA


Looks like it's time to finally delve into Reeva's past. "no Mercy" opens with a flashback to a much younger looking Reeva. During a meeting at a local community outreach center, she butts heads with the leader of the circle named Benny (Agam Darshi). This version of Reeva wasn't as vociferous as her present-day self. She doesn't agree with Benny's plans to go door-to-door kicking people out of their homes.

However, when the meeting adjourns, Benny is quick to meet up with Reeva and talk to her about their disagreement. It's clear these two care about each other, which makes the follow-up scene all the more tragic. A group of mutant haters approach the girls and antagonize them. Benny immobilizes one but doesn't catch the incoming attack from one of the flunkies until it's too late and she's been stabbed and left for dead in the street.

You can't help but feel for Reeva as she cradles her dying friend in her arms. This surely marks the beginning of her journey into becoming the woman she is today.

Sad this was the only flashback we got. When the episode opened with this I thought we would get several flashbacks throughout the episode about Reeva's backstory and was disappointed when we didn't. Would gladly have traded some Jace scenes for flashback-Reeva scenes.

THE INNER CIRCLE


It's time to put the plan to infiltrate Creed Financial into action. Reeva lays out her strategy to her team. Rebecca is nervous about her part. She is a key component to the entire scheme as it is her job to flip the vault inside out, thus granting them access. Andy has complete faith in her and attributes it to seeing her flip a cop car.

Apparently she's been flipping cars inside out since she was eleven years old. I mean I know Andy isn't that old and probably hasn't had many girlfriends but dude, the casual way she tells you she's been flipping entire vehicles inside out for fun since she was a kid is a major red flag. Especially since, given what we learned about her murderous tendencies, she doesn't specify that those cars were empty.

They share a kiss and I couldn't care less about this relationship.


Reeva looks on from the observation deck with Sage. She wants to ensure things go smoothly. She has a very important dinner to get to after all.

Fast forward to the dinner and we learn the mysterious "Q.M." she was texting in last week's episode was a bank employee she has been seeing romantically. Except, when the time for the check comes and Reeva escorts Quinn (Sharif Atkins) outside. They're confronted by the Frost sisters. Reeva was using him as a pawn in her plan.

Back at their headquarters, Quinn is confused as to why she would do this. I feel bad for the guy, especially because he has kids and he's distressed that they could come to harm. Reeva ensures him they won't, there is clearly an implication of that depending on if he cooperates and turns off the mutant detection system.

I didn't feel as emotionally charged during this scene as the writers wanted me to. I think it would have come off stronger and with more of an impact if they had introduced Quinn earlier. A random text exchange last week and a brief interlude between their characters this week wasn't enough to make the moment of Reeva's betrayal impactful or surprising. Not only that, but given the Frost's abilities, why did Reeva need to seduce anyone at all? Couldn't they have just tracked a random bank employee and told him to do it the day of or before?

In another surprising development, Lorna is willing to trust Esme with her child if she is to die in the bank heist. First she wants to change the plan, pull Esme off the field and keep her back as babysitter, and then suggests that Esme will take over as foster mom for Dawn.

What a turnaround from last week when Lorna threatened to kill Esme for so much as looking at her. I mean it's not believable Lorna would change her mind like that so fast after one heart-to-heart to me but that doesn't mean I don't like the development either. I've really been enjoying the growing bond between Lorna and Esme.

Here's the rub though. I find it strange how little Lorna cares about Marcos now. I mean she shifted allegiances to the Inner Circle and they had a few brief moments in an earlier episode but now ... what? She doesn't think he could take care of Dawn? I'm guessing contacting him wouldn't be easy but she doesn't even mention him. I wasn't a huge Lorna x Marcos shipper in season one but the way the show has sort of acted like their relationship was nothing has seemed strange to me.

Anyways, their plan is swiftly put into action not long after. Quinn gives one final plea to Reeva to change her mind. He believes she has a good heart and Reeva agrees, but in her mind, what she's doing is the right thing to do. She wants to protect her people and maybe she isn't going about it the right way but I actually do like Reeva as a character, even if I don't agree with her all the time. I like that she is complicated and not just a one-dimensional evil villain.

Esme is left with baby Dawn and Sage while Lorna is in full-on badass mode with her leather jacket and smokey eyeshadow. The Inner Circle is ready to rock and they bust into the bank like an edgy emo-punk band complete with a slow-mo walk inside. Have to admit it was a really cool sequence to see them all working together and using their powers.

Before any safe's get flipped inside out though, Reeva wants to ensure the whole world knows what Creed Financial is guilty of. The Frost's mind control the bank manager into admitting to everything they've done to harm mutants across the country on camera.

Meanwhile, Lorna has the two lovebirds in her arsenal headed towards the safe. Rebecca wastes no time in issuing her complaints about letting all the bank workers go, she wants blood. I knew this girl was going to go off the deep end sooner than later! She clearly has disdain for humans and Andy snaps at her that his mother is human. I can't see this ending well but maybe Andy will start to see the murder in her eyes.

The safe is tougher to crack than Rebecca expected and it takes a pep talk from Andy for her to be able to get it busted open for them. It's not hard for her to draw on rage, regardless of whether or not she's evil, she clearly went through hell at the hospital.

Also, not to poke holes but why couldn't Andy help her with the safe? Last we saw, his abilities were pretty strong too. Maybe not strong enough alone without Lauren but I assume he should have at least been able to assist.

Back in the bank lobby, Phoebe and Sophie wrap up their soon-to-be viral video and mind control everyone into a docile state.

At the headquarters, Sage and Esme watch as everything from the bank comes through the transfer. "It's your first bank heist." Esme whispers to Dawn, can someone put that on a onesie?

Once the job is complete, Quinn wonders if Reeva will keep her promise to let everyone leave without harm. She ensures that she will. Reeva is not murderous by nature, as evidenced by the opening scene, she's not even violent unless she needs to be. I never doubted she would keep her promise. Rebecca on the other hand... she's privy to the racist speech from the bank manager, who labels them all terrorists and hopes they rot in hell but Rebecca doesn't listen.

Okay honestly, that scene made my jaw DROP. I assumed Rebecca would kill someone, that much was obvious, but to mercilessly slaughter every person in that room? I didn't think the show would take it there. The look of sheer horror on the rest of the group's face is pretty heartbreaking, especially because you know this is going to lead to awful amounts of fall-out for mutants all over the world. It looks like Rebecca is the emerging final antagonist for this season and things will definitely come to a head with the Purifiers sooner rather than later once new of this massacre gets out.

Reeva's teary-eyed face versus Rebecca's creepy killer smile really says it all. I mean yes, it is partially Reeva's fault for breaking out a volatile mutant in the first place but I truly don't believe she wanted or intended anyone to die without cause. Rebecca's actions shattered her, both morally and in the grander scheme because her decision to murder those people will cause a ripple effect for every single mutant in existence.

THE MUTANT UNDERGROUND


Poor Reed. The guy has been immobilized in a corner ever since the violent outburst last week where he destroyed half the bedroom. He barks at Lauren and Caitlin to stay away from him. He's still destructive, his veins are coursing with power and his hands glowing red. Reed is willing to get himself arrested if it means keeping his family safe.

The rest of the group deduces that he needs to be moved somewhere. Blink offers the Morlocks but Caitlin shuts her down. She's a human and she doesn't want Reed to join a Mutant Separist group. Instead they decide the clinic would be the safest place for him? I'm not sure I understand that particular logic. I think Blink had the right idea and an underground facility would probably be the most sensible area for the time being but I can also understand Caitlin's hesitance, especially if Erg was insisting Reed get branded to stay there. But I can't see this clinic idea ending well, especially since the Purifiers are clearly aware of mutant presence in the area.

Morlocks are a hot topic for Blink lately and Marcos has taken notice. He confronts her about her growing allegiance to Erg and his sewer dwelling gang. I noticed this too last week. When Erg spoke of living freely and not hiding who you are, Blink was seduced by his philosophy and way of life. I think she longs for that kind of freedom, freedom she can't get up above in the surface world. Plus, she has a point about the Underground needing new allies and I think Marcos can see that too. Also think he wouldn't mind seeing Glow again.

The ambulance arrives they'll be using to escort Reed. Lauren wants to ride with Reed there but he's against the idea -- he's already caused one car accident with her in the car. They have another sweet moment where Lauren promises to protect him and an anguished Reed tells her that isn't her job, it's his and it's clearly killing him that he can't do it properly right now.

I've enjoyed getting to see Lauren and Reed grow closer this season and Lauren move into a leadership role in Andy's absence. Natalie/Lauren is one of my favorites on the show, I only wish she had a bigger storyline of her own that didn't revolve around her connection to Andy.

The Underground is cracking at the seams and Marcos has noticed John isn't doing so well. He's struggling with the death of Michael (the acid skin mutant from two episodes ago). Not only that but he can feel people losing faith. He's jealous of the Inner Circle's success, they're getting things done, even if not always in the right way.

Now probably isn't the best time for Marcos to mention what he thinks is shaky loyalty from Clarice given John's emotional state but he hedges his bets anyways and John handles it as well as you would expect. Right on cue, she walks in to help Reed get settled. I'm sure this is going to come to some kind of explosive confrontation between the three of them at some point if Marcos keeps poking.

Lauren and Caitlin are forced to sit by why they watch Reed suffering. I feel like Lauren is the glue holding her family together at this point. She has so much on her plate and it's easy to forget she's a teenage girl and she's truly trying to do what's right instead of just running away when it gets hard like *cough* her brother *cough*.


She has her doubts too, about her powers, about their family, what if they're cursed? When Andy and Lauren were joined at the hand and using their powers, she felt good. She felt powerful and it scares her because she doesn't want to end up like the Von Strucker twins. Caitlin points out they were doing it to save people but Lauren doesn't seem convinced.

Then Reed sits up, albeit shakily. He thinks maybe the attacks have passed and he's okay for now. We'll see how long that lasts. Caitlin and Lauren want to take him to meet with a mutant researcher, a woman who heads an entire institute they believe may be able to assist him in understanding and controlling his abilities. Reed clearly doesn't want anyone to get their hopes up but as Caitlin points out, he's getting worse and "the real risk is doing nothing".

He recoils from her touch, terrified of hurting her but also starved for the affection and the contact between them. Stephen Moyer plays desperation well. Reed is like a wounded puppy who you kind of want to give a hug to.

Elsewhere, it looks like Marcos left a mark during his conversation with John. He confronts Clarice about her growing connection to Erg and the Morlocks and things get heated. The Morlocks are doing more to help mutants than the Underground can afford to right now.

Things are falling apart for them, the Inner Circle is kicking their asses and they're in shambles with the remnants of their group. John doesn't respond well to learning Clarice stole for Erg and passed information about some of the mutants they helped.

THE PURIFIERS


Jace is trying to get in touch with his wife, soon to be ex-wife, but her lawyer is adamant he not talk to her. I don't blame her for wanting to cut Jace out completely. Given the fact he joined a literal hate group, he doesn't have a leg to stand on right now.

Next, he has to get tested for the X-gene. Wondering if the show is going to pull the ultimate irony card and make him a mutant. It'd be a little hilarious.

Benedict Ryan (Paul Gallagher) an outspoken television personality who speaks directly to the mutant-haters of the world, is inspired by Jace. He finds him a hero that could provide a form of enlightenment for his fans and viewers if he were to share his story with the masses instead of just the small group.

He's keen to recruit and wants Jace to come onto his show and out Sentinel Services, who have been lying to people about what happened to Atlanta. Jace doesn't want to throw them under the bus. He turns down Ryan's offer. So now he grows a conscience?

The leader of the Purifiers, the guy who brought Jace to meet Ryan in the first place, isn't happy with Jace's decision. He presses the button, Jace's family, and it looks like Jace's place in the Purifiers is fractured now. Too little too late for me.

Well, Jace decides he'll speak on Ryan's show. He doesn't want to name names specifically but he's willing to call out the issues he has with Sentinel Services. Of course, right before he goes on stage they get news of the bank job, we don't get to see what Jace says yet but I can only imagine, given the way the bank heist ended, it's not going to be good for the mutants.

EXTRAS


Mutant of the Week: Reeva. I'm glad we finally got to learn more about her and see some of her humanity. I never doubted there was more than meets the eye to her character and she's proved a great addition to the show and her complexity makes her a great antagonist, even though I think she and the other members of the Inner Circle will wind up working alongside the Underground if things with Rebecca get even more grim.

Best Scene: The Inner Circle's slow-mo walk into the bank heist!

Biggest WTF: Rebecca kills EVERYONE at the bank.

Performer of the Week: Natalie Alyn Lind. She hasn't been getting a whole lot to do these past few weeks but I think she deserves some credit for what she does with the few scenes she has.

I can understand how Lauren is feeling struggling to keep her family afloat while also experiencing her own internal battles. Natalie has a very expressive face and you can always sense what emotion is fueling her even in the briefest of sentences.

Her scenes with Amy Acker have been particularly poignant but I've also loved the growth between she and her father too. Natalie has been excellent at encompassing Lauren's maturation and developing character this season.

Favorite Line: "Our family is in this together. It’s time we start acting that way. We can’t keep running from what we are."

Inner Circle Who Rocked Their Leather The Best: Lorna! No question.

CHAOS ENSUES IN THE INNER CIRCLE'S WAKE ON AN ALL-NEW "THE GIFTED" TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, ON FOX.


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