‘The Gifted’ 2×02 Review: Hope Is A Strong Thing

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The Gifted is always at its best when it focuses on big themes, and ties those with the characters we already care about, and in the case of “unMoored,” this is truer than ever. There are no big battles in this episode, unless you count training scenes, and characters spend a lot of time just talking to each other, and yet the tension never lets down, and we’re never bored, because the show is weaving it all seamlessly and because the characters are never static, they’re growing, they’re learning, they’re getting through things, and they’re taking us along for the ride.

And boy, are they delivering some stand-out performances in the meantime.

Emma Dumont is always brilliant as Polaris, so good that there have been many times where I’ve actually considered just titling my reviews Polaris’s Show, episode so and so, and yet this hour, she isn’t the one stealing the spotlight, at least no more than usual. It’s Sean Teale’s turn to break our heart as Marcos mourns, not just Lorna, but the possibilities, the missing moments, the certainties.

To be fair, Teale has been consistently good all along, as has most of this cast, but the rawness he displayed in this episode, the absolute heartbreak, not just in his voice, but in his eyes, and in his entire posture, brought tears to my eyes. It’s hard for an actor who plays a character with the intensity level that Marcos always displays to turn it up a notch, and yet, somehow, Teale manages that this episode, and shatters our hearts in the process.

And that’s without even going into Lauren and Reed.

Yes, I’m saying Lauren and Reed, not Catilin. And this is no knock on Amy Acker, who we all know is a tremendous actress, but in a way, the pain of Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), loving her brother and yet being afraid of what they could be together, and Reed (Stephen Moyer), so scared of who and what he is, and yet trying to be strong for his family, gives this episode a depth of feeling that very few others episodes of this show have managed.

And, throughout it all, there’s a common theme to all the stories, a common theme to this season:

Hope.

Destiny.

Love.

Those are the three basic pillars of this show, and in so many ways, the pillars of life. We live off of hope, hope that we can be better, hope that we can be happy, hope the people we love will stay with us, hope that we can, somehow, change the world for the better. The Mutant Underground also lives off hope, and sometimes, it might feel to them like living off hope is a bad idea. Hope can hurt, after all, especially when you don’t see that hope realized, especially when you run into obstacle after obstacle and you start thinking things are never going to get better.

But it’s so much worse to life without hope.

On a show like this, this ties in with the idea of destiny. Are Andy and Lauren destined to wreck havoc if they’re together? Are mutants destined to rule? Are Marcos and Lorna destined to be on opposite sides? Is destiny anything other than a collection of choices? For a moment there, Reeva presented a choice that was very, very tempting for both Andy and Lorna, and yet, is that idea even real? And, even if it is, are they willing to pay the price?

 

Because, the more this shows goes on, the more it becomes clear the choice might be about love. Andy loves his sister, and he loves his family. Lorna loves Marcos, and she loves their daughter. Would either of them be willing to give those things up, really and truly give them up?

You could say they already have, but have they really? Walking away is one thing, but as hard as that is, it’s in no way permanent. It’s a cop-out. If, and when, they’re asked to make a real sacrifice, that’s when things will get real. And, considering what we’ve seen of Reeva, that might come sooner than we think.

How freaking exciting.

Things I think I think:

  • It’s kinda funny that, even as a supposed rebel, Thunderbird is still very much Thunderbird.
  • Okay, The Gifted, at some point you’re gonna have to give me more on the X-Men, like some kind of explanation. Are they dead? Because the X-Men I know wouldn’t just disappear and let the world to fend for itself.
  • “I’m an attorney, not a therapist, I’m not here to give you a hug, I’m here to give you a chance.” Okay, that’s a good line.
  • Okay, the whole deal with the champagne and Marcos talking about Lorna gave me FEELS, and the end of the episode abso-freaking-lutely broke me, but I can’t sustain myself on just 15 seconds of feels an episode. I need more of these two – and that doesn’t necessarily mean together, but for a couple that has spent now 15 episodes  loving each other, we really haven’t gotten enough of that. I ship them, I do, but I want to be absolutely in love with them as an unit, not just as separate characters.
  • Of course, next episode might be the answer to all my dreams. It might also be the stuff of nightmares.
  • The fact that one of the three wicked sisters is having second thoughts just made ALL of them more interesting. I wasn’t even sure they were capable of thinking differently.
  • I don’t like Reeva. The end.
  • Machiavelli and I have never seen eye to eye.
  • Andy and Lauren’s whole dream sharing thing feels like the kind of thing that’s gonna end up being important at the end of the season. Just saying. Especially because, as far as Reeva is concerned, it’s just a dream.
  • Oh, Agent Turner! I have not really missed you. Or, have I?
  • Everyone’s shoe game is ON POINT this episode, I have to say.
  • Reed’s scruff game is working for me. Really working. Like, I’d never thought Stephen Moyer was hot till this moment working.
  • If I hadn’t been sold on The Gifted before this episode, the fact that Lorna looks like SHE JUST HAD A MOTHERFUCKING BABY, would have done it for me. We love realism. We love it so much.
  • Emma Dumont has talked about how she gained weight to play pregnant Polaris, and there was a definitive attempt in this episode to portray that having a baby doesn’t mean the belly disappears in 2.5 seconds.
  • As much as I understand that we’re going for two sides of the coin with Lauren and Andy, I kinda hope the show gives both of them real and clear moments of leaning towards the other side. Some of the realism we were talking about before.
  • Like Andy absolutely not talking about the dream, but more.
  • Does Reeva really think Lorna is going to let them hurt Andy? DOES SHE?
  • HAHAHA REMEMBER WHEN WE THOUGHT BOTH SIDES HAD A POINT? I don’t either.
  • Reed’s powers do add a fun wrinkle to all of this. And by fun I mean scary.
  • The nod to continuity with John, near the end, is one of my favorite things this show has done.
  • Still not in totally in with Thunderblink, though. The way it started still kinda bugs me, because I don’t think they have addressed it properly. But, I’m trying to keep an open mind.
  • I need no open mind to have FEELS about Marcos and Lorna, though. Next week is probably going to murder me.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Gifted airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.



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