The Gifted: 2.02 UnMoored
The second season of The Gifted feels like the show has really hit its groove after the strong but sometimes slow build up in season one. It was keenly felt in the introduction of The Inner Circle last week and now we continued to delve deeper into the motivations of all the mutant characters - good and bad. Interestingly though, the show hasn't brushed them with being fully good or bad - there's a lot of conflict from within the ranks on both sides.
Even the Frost sisters; there were strong hints that Esme, the woman that infiltrated the Mutant Underground last season while her sisters were locked up, may have gone a little 'soft'. Esme and Phoebe remained as ruthless as ever, eagerly adhering to Reeva Payge's demands that everyone involved in the facility where Lorna gave birth be eliminated. Esme's decision to drive the poor warden into a truck rather than the propellers of a nearby plane showed that she can still be dangerous without enjoying it. Her sisters on the other hand seemed almost disappointed not to see the bloody act take place. The Frost sisters have certainly made an impact since their joined the show with their sexy, styled looks, cold demeanours and deadly psychic abilities, Skyler Samuels doing a terrific job this week of showing the subtleties between sisters. Conflict from within will only make them more interesting.
Grace Byers as Reeva Payge is also another strong presence this season; the first episode did a decent job of establishing her motivations and we saw this week just how determined and dangerous she is. With Andy trying to reconnect with his sister Lauren after the same shared dream, Reeva was ready to execute him for his flaws when he refused to adhere to her manipulative attempts to be his confidant. It was suggested last week that anyone not useful to her would be killed and this week we saw how true that was.
Interestingly, the move to the Inner Circle and motherhood has softened the edgy demeanour of Emma Dumont's Lorna Dane / Polaris. She was a somewhat unhinged, violent character in season one but there has been a greater deal of maturity to her so far. As Andy's real confidant, she's become somewhat of a mother figure to him as well as baby Dawn and - coupled with her abilities - suggests that she's the one chance to stop Payge when the tide inevitably turns against her, her child and Andy.
Andy isn't the only member of the Strucker family struggling though. The events of season one have really taken their toll. Reed called out Kate for being so distant in her pursuit of Andy that their marriage feels completely empty. Amy Acker has really embraced the tortured, impulsive side of her this season. Reed meanwhile was called out by Lauren for his own actions, not even realising that he is hiding his own destructive abilities, something we glimpsed for the first time this episode. Adding to Marco's own grief at losing Lorna and his baby (though her reaction to his light show at the episode's end hints that a reconciliation is possible) and the Mutant Underground losing more than ever after Atlanta and there is enough tension here to sustain the series for some time.
Admittedly, the exploration of John Proudstar / Thunderbird's past didn't offer much new, except to establish his connection to Mutant Rights lawyer Evangeline (Erinn Ruth) who tried to help an imprisoned Lorna in season one. Her own past was a bit more interesting though; sharing a connection to the X-Men before their disappearance and being a guiding light in setting up the Mutant Underground. The fact that present-day Evangeline was all but ready to admit defeat shows just how desperate their situation has become.
And desperation is the key word right now. There is a real sense that the events taking place are a powder cake ready to explode. As for Coby Bell's Jace Turner, now no longer working for Sentinel Services, I'm intrigued to see where he will fit in and whether he will be an ally or enemy. He was ready to give up his quest by the episode's end, though I'd pay good money there's still plenty more story left in him.
unMoored was a solid episode of The Gifted, building on the tension of the current situation even if there's still a lot more action and drama needed to drive the conflict forward. The show has done a good job of building this world in season one and with the increased confidence of these first two episodes, I'm hopeful that there is some thrilling stuff about to take place this season.