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The Gifted - gaMe changer - Review: This is For the People We Love + POLL




Well we've reached the fall finale of The Gifted's second season and several things come to a head this week. I do feel this episode failed to reach the heights of last week's stellar Lorna-centric episode, but it does succeed in setting up the back half of the season. I can also safely say I was shocked by one of the deaths that occurred this week.

"gaMe changer" was written by Melinda Hsu Taylor and directed by Allison Liddi-Brown.

A TWISTED FAMILY BREAKFAST


An idealistic family breakfast. Fluffy pancakes perch atop nice china dish-ware, a pristine catalog-worthy arrangement. This is the former home of Rebecca (Twist). Ornate framed portraits of twin blonde girls hang on the walls (wondering who those girls were or if they were meant to be or if they were just a random set decoration) this appears to be the home of a family who values appearances and wealth.

At this point in time, Rebecca is comfortable with her abilities. She turns her pancakes into pancake mush just to see there were blueberries within. Yet even amidst the poise of the room, her parents look guilty and apprehensive. The reason for this becomes clear when this picturesque breakfast is interrupted by a visit from Sentinel Services.


Yes, Rebecca's parents have called them on their own daughter. Though her father points out she gave them no choice after she "tried to kill her teacher". Either way, as we know, this must be the first in a chain of fallen dominoes leading Rebecca to eventually murder her own family.

Given the fact Rebecca dies in this episode, this scene felt kind of pointless to be frank. If we were going to get into Rebecca's backstory it should have happened earlier or she shouldn't have been killed off in such an anti-climatic way. I didn't like her character all that much, but I expected her to stick around longer or become more of a viable threat for mutants with the way she was built up. Her unceremonious death, while shocking, was also a confusing move on the writer's part given the treatment Twist had been given up until now. This is a pattern with Rebecca's character whose personality has been wishy-washy from week to week based on what the writer's need her to be for each episode.

MUTANT HOMELAND


After Fade got his hands on Rebecca at the end of last week's episode, she has since been contained in a dark, slow-moving, cell of sorts in order to keep her contained and prohibit her from "twisting" her way out. While I admit it doesn't look like the most pleasant of experiences for Rebecca, whose screams can be heard echoing throughout the compound, she did brutally massacre 30 unarmed civilians - a fact Andy appears to have forgotten, or he's thinking too much with his downstairs brain to see clearly. "She doesn't deserve this at all." Uh, is his short-term memory alright?

The triplets and Reeva are well-aware of Andy's hesitance, a problem for them as they need his abilities to get them into the target - based on information they gathered from the bank heist. Reeva has a plan for handling Andrew, hopefully she can knock some sense into this kid.


Rebecca's screams continue to trouble others at the compound, like Sage, who brings it to Reeva's attention. "So? Let her scream." Cold, Reeva. But Rebecca is a violent, sadistic mass murderer! Did everyone else forget that? It's hard to have sympathy for her here even if the treatment she's receiving is inhumane. Either way, it looks like Reeva still has plans for her and her abilities anyways since she claims Rebecca still has a part to play in their grand scheme.

Bank heist, mutant break-outs, hardcore training sessions, all of it is finally taking a toll on Andy, who is finally voicing his doubts about the Inner Circle's goals. He goes to talk to an emotional Lorna while she's in the middle of packing up Dawn's things. "Is it worth it?" Lorna's passionate response is yes, because they will make the Mutant Homeland happen. But what I hear is desperation. If this doesn't work out, then Lorna has given up everything, her own daughter, for a failed plan. She needs this to happen, she's depending on it.


Andy, ever the idiot, releases Rebecca from her prison expecting her to run away with him. But that's not who Rebecca is. She has a vicious streak a mile long as he realizes quite quickly (finally) after refusing to go quietly into the night. No, she wants to slaughter the Inner Circle "like the bank". She's not remorseful whatsoever for her actions and intends to kill Reeva, Lorna, and the triplets. At the last second, Andy stops her, killing her in the process. Wow, wasn't expecting her to die so easily. Reeva is a surprisingly comforting presence at his side, he did just save all their lives (after putting them in danger in the first place).

It doesn't take much for Lorna to get Andy back on board with their plan though, and it is through their combined efforts they are able to destroy the Regimen technology and therefore unlock mutant collars all around the world.

SCIENTIFIC GENOCIDE


FINDING SOLUTIONS TOGETHER - THE X-GENE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A CURSE. Risman's marketing team has created pamphlets to entice mutants struggling with abilities, a pamphlet Lauren is eying with a mixture of curiosity and horror.

We learned last week that the good doctor has ulterior motives, I knew she was too good to be true. As Lauren points out to her parents, if Madeline is able to create a cure for the x-gene, then it could be used on a global scale to eliminate all mutants - against their will. Caitlin is having a more difficult time grappling with this revelation. She already lost Andy, and now she's facing the possibility of a future without her husband if what Madeline says about his impending death is true. She's desperate for an answer that will save her family.

But Reed agrees with Lauren. He's not selfish enough to let this cure be made when it could come at such a devastating cost for all mutants. They have to destroy their DNA samples before they can be put to any further use.


Lauren is quite sly when she wants to be. She politely declines Madeline's insistence she learn more about campus in favor of returning to the lab, and then charms Noah into letting her into the blood storage facility to find out where her and Reed's samples are stored. In return, she accepts a lunch invitation from Noah (or second breakfast if you prefer! Nerd humor, cute.)

Meanwhile, Reed and Caitlin learn more specifics from Madeline about Reed's X-gene. Apparently, it gives off complex proteins which then release energy, and the medicine halts the proteins, but since it is a temporary fix, once it wears off, it releases mass influxes of energy, thus creating Reed's spontaneous steering-wheel-melting ability. I know nothing about science so let's pretend the TV science is real for now!

After viewing Lauren's DNA more closely, Madeline deduces the shared genes between her and Andy. She's practically salivating to get her hands on him, too bad for her since he hasn't been home in months.

Lauren is able to get into the storage facility where all of Madeline's research is being housed. Except Noah isn't as weak-willed as he looks. He wastes no time in informing Madeline who arrives just in time to witness Lauren about to destroy it all.

Her veneer of kindness is ripped off as she's confronted about her nefarious plan to commit "scientific genocide" and end an entire race of people, even telling Reed that "his daughter should never have been born". WOW.

But Madeline's glib comments backfire on her, she calls her once confidant Noah a "curse on his family" and he doesn't take too kindly to that. Ripping off the device that stabilizes his powers, he allows the Struckers a chance to escape before releasing his abilities and destroying everything.

A NOBLE CRUSADE


Marcos is still reeling from having his daughter taken away from him. A photo of Dawn is frozen on his phone screen. You have to wonder how many hours he's spent staring at it, your heart can't help but break for him. While in the midst of his self-imposed isolation, John pays him a visit, both to offer a few words of comfort but also to plead with Marcos to come around and help them in their next plan of attack against the Inner Circle.

Now that John has discovered the Regimen Technology information, he believes they have a better chance of tracking them down. Things are only going to get worse for them if they don't do something soon. Their human allies are too scared to get involved, mutants are becoming increasingly desperate, willing to turn to violent ends to find solutions. He needs Marcos on his side and Marcos eventually relents but only if he gets to take the first shot at Reeva - who he clearly blames for everything despite Lorna being a grown woman who made these choices of her own volition.

Turns out, John's big plan involves kidnapping. Hm, what other group of mutants do we know has also kidnapped in the name of helping mutants? I mean this Laurence Hayes (Christopher Cousins), a man who works at Regimen and assists in creating anti-mutant security, "is no saint" as John puts it, but it looks like maybe the Underground and Inner Circle have more in common than they'd like to think. Clarice isn't okay with it, for the record, but Marcos doesn't take much convincing.


Cut to Marcos waiting in the getaway car (scrolling past an important radio broadcast about the Purifiers organizing he probably should have listened to a little longer) and Clarice portalling Laurence into the trunk. Things went sideways and Clarice is pissed since she and John were forced to escape in a wave of gunfire.

There's officially a BOLO out for the two mutants who kidnapped Laurence. John isn't worried. Clarice, on the other hand, has had it up to here with his attitude. It's clear she's been getting frustrated with his reckless decisions and impulsive, dangerous, choices. Last week she voiced her concerns about him acting invincible and John has clearly not taken them to heart. We haven't even seen the two of them be affectionate in a while, which may just be due to the writing not having room for it but there is distance between them. If John doesn't start listening to her, he may lose her for good.

Upon questioning Laurence, Marcos and John discover Regimen is in charge of the mutant collars, like the one we saw Sentinel Services lock around Rebecca's neck in the episode's opening. More specifically than that, they deal with the the collars utilized at mutant prisons. All of them. Prison break incoming!

Trouble in paradise is only continuing as Clarice points out people are being arrested for having the X-gene after their kidnapping gone awry. John can't get it through his head that he's taking things too far and his stubbornness won't end well for his relationship, especially when he implies Clarice might be cheating on him with Urg.

A PURIFIER SHOWDOWN


Well, any misgivings Jace Turner had about the Purifiers and their agenda has gone out the window en lieu of Rebecca's bank attack. He's become the face of the group, rallying the charges with an impassioned speech about mutant violence and terrorism. They plan to organize a citizen's militia in order to stop it before it spreads, which can only be code for attacking all mutants on site given their new "watch and report" hotline number.


After Fade's clinic attack, they're put on the radar and forced to run - directly into the Purifiers. John tells Marcos and Fade to run, Clarice has already disappeared after her fight with John, leaving him a one-man army against Turner himself who is downright gleeful when he pinions John to a wall with his car and proclaims "I got you", followed by a fade-to-black and one of several cliffhangers.

EXTRAS


Mutant of the Week: This was a tough choice but I decided to go with the Strucker family and Noah as a unit. Reed is risking his own life and forgoing a possible cure, which could result in his death, in order to save mutants as a whole. It was great to see them all working together, especially Lauren who really took lead on this and manipulated Noah into getting her into the storage room. But Noah surprised me with his willingness to betray Madeline for Lauren and in turn, destroying years of research for the betterment of mutantkind. Though his quick heel-turn change was a little hard to believe given all we knew about his character up to that moment, it was still nice to see them all work together against her. Turns out, she really isn't much better than her brother.

Best Scene: Lorna and Andy destroy the technology controlling mutant collars around the world. While this is clearly going to have consequences, both good and bad (good because I'm sure hundreds of mutants were wrongfully imprisoned, bad because... well likely some deserved to stay in a cell until the end of their days) but it's an excellent writing technique that should shift the entire course of the show going forward. I'm excited to see where The Gifted goes from here.

Performer of the Week: Blair Redford turns in another fantastic performance as John. His barely constrained rage coupled with the final decision to sacrifice himself to allow Marcos and Fade to escape, all indicative of a multi-layered performance and character dealing with complicated feelings.

Snarkiest Exchange: Clarice: Petite female with the ability to make purple hoops. - John: You know, I always thought they were a bit more lavender.

Favorite Clarice-ism: "You've got some serious balls cracking wise right now."

Worst Cliffhanger: UGH I HATE JACE TURNER. John better be okay.

THE GIFTED WILL RETURN WITH ALL-NEW EPISODES ON TUESDAY, JAN. 1ST ON FOX.



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