The Gifted: 1.05 boXed in
Well the good news is that, despite IMDB previously listing The Gifted season one as six episodes (and no other sites confirming otherwise) the superhero TV drama will actually run for ten weeks. The show certainly has its problems, but coming into this episode knowing its the halfway point and not the penultimate episode makes all the difference.
After the rescue of Lorna and Reed last week, the fallout of the skirmish between the mutant underground and Sentinel Services provided the drama behind boXed in, while brining some well-needed character development. The most interesting moments surrounded Coby Bell Jace Turner, as the episode flashbacked to the day his daughter was killed in the battle between the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants. Yes, it was a little disappointing - the battle no more than a flash of purple light beyond the tree line - but the subsequent devastation was evidence enough of how much of an impact that battle had had.
And it continues to make Jace a much greyer character. When he was captured in the battle with Polaris and Eclipse and had his memories manipulated by Dreamer, he was very much the victim and you couldn't help but feel for his relieving the trauma of losing his daughter. As a viewer, you're certainly meant to feel for the persecution of the mutant characters, but Jace's actions are utterly understandable and I will be intrigued to see where this experience takes his character next.
It was also the episode that had to prove the Struckers' worth to the rest of the mutant underground. Reed was naturally met with distrust and anger and had to fight to gain their trust by becoming bait for the authorities and leading them away from the underground even as Sentinel Services closed in. I was actually worried for Reed, particularly when Tex / Fade's hostility made it seem like abandoned Reed to his fate. It was great to see Kate and the kids in action too, Lauren making great use of her powers to help save Harry / Trader on the operating table as he looked set to bleed out.
Lorna / Polaris was finally back in action finally, exploring her relationship with Eclipse while taking on Sentinel Services and blurring the line between hero and villain in the brutality of her actions. She is certainly the strongest character in the mutant cast, if a little underdeveloped at times. The trouble is that, while there are no bad characters of performances, there aren't many great ones either. Perhaps there hasn't been the opportunity to explore just how far these characters will go, but at this stage it's all fairy decent without being terribly exciting.
At least there are five more episodes to explore this new world. The Gifted continues to sit in the interesting category but as a viewing experience, it's not exactly setting the world alight. Some cool skirmishes aside, it still feels as if not much has happened since the dramatic events of the opening episode. Let's hope that changes in the back half of season one...