The Gifted: 1.04 eXit strategy
This week's episode finally built up to the assault on Sentinel Services and the breakout of Reed Strucker and Lorna Dane / Polaris from imprisonment. It was a thrilling payoff and made good use of mutant powers in the attack but I also left the episode with a lacklustre feeling. As enjoyable as it was, there was nothing that surprised or kept the audience on edge. Two thirds into the (very short six-episode) season and I find myself wondering just where The Gifted is going.
In fact, the mutant underground seemed to have little to no direction at all, Amy Acker's Kate Strucker being the one to come up with the sensible suggestion of attacking the armed convey rather than the prison itself. But perhaps that is the point; these mutants are so hopelessly overwhelmed that even a small victory like this episode's breakout is a huge step.
We got more backstory to Sean Teale's Marcos Diaz / Eclipse as he was forced to return to his criminal roots to seek the aid of former flame and crime boss Carmen (Michelle Veintimilla). The shadier side of mutant life was explored further when he was manipulated into using his abilities to get information from a prisoner in exchange for the transport route. But, despite exploring Marcos' motivations further, it also took up too much time on the episode that was focused on building towards the final fight.
Perhaps more interesting was seeing the Strucker siblings working together to combine their abilities, while their mother realised that she couldn't protect them from harm forever. I continue to enjoy the maturity of the performances by Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White as Lauren and Andy. These aren't two teenage hotheads fuelled by their emotions but fully formed characters with a strong bond between them.
I also really liked the exploration of the relationship between prisoners Reed and Lorna; old disputes were forced aside as they had to work together to aid their escape. Lorna using her magnetic powers to pull the metal pins from Reed's leg and attack the guards to break free was pure Magneto in X-Men 2.
The rest of the assault on the convey was cool, but lacking in the spectacular. As great a twist as it was having a mutant working for Sentinel Services and blocking the abilities of other mutants, it did speak of drawing in the budget purse strings a little. Some of the characters, like the invisible mutant who was exposed and shot, have not been given any depth to really make the audience feel for them. Marcos being pinned down and John Proudstar / Thunderbird rushing to save him under a hail of bullets added a bit of tension, but I'm not sure how much of an impact there would have been had they died.
There continues to be some really interesting ideas at play, from Blink's manipulation of her memories by Dreamer, to the perversion of Marco's powers for bad and the grey morality of the actions of hunter Jace Turner. But four episodes in out of six and that is all it really is...interesting. I'm waiting for something big to happen; to really warrant a second season, The Gifted needs to pull something out of the bag for the last two instalments.