‘The Gifted’ 2×05 Review: Only Love

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” Doctor King said, and though real life surely has many more instances that reinforce this message, “iMprint” does a great job of it, too, as we examine what we are, what we become and what we need to do, to be, to actually change the world.

The message is first sent out by examining the background of the Frost sisters. Were they always what they are now? The answer to that is always no. We are the sum of our experiences, good and bad, and the Frost sisters have a lot of bad to sort of explain where they’re coming from in their desire to create a place that’s safe for mutants and devoid of humans. But explanation isn’t the same as justification. Are we justified in doing bad things if other people push us to it? They’re certainly not to blame for the things they did under coercion, but they are responsible for every decision they made after, and a terrible past isn’t an excuse.

Just as it’s no excuse for Jace Turner, and the Pacifiers. Now, there isn’t much to depth to anyone in that group other than Turner, they’re just your run-of-the-mill Nazi metaphors, but at the heart of everything they do, at the heart of everything Jace does, there are two things: anger and a desire for revenge, and fear.

But then again, isn’t that always the same? Isn’t that why the X-Men were always such a powerful metaphor for hate in the world?

Rhetorical question. We know the answer.

The Gifted has always done a great job at sending this message in the same way the comics did, with very little subtlety. That’s always been one of my favorite things about it. What the show hasn’t always done well is sell the plot they need to sell to make that message work, and though Season 2 started very strong, it’s kind of fizzled – and the reason it has is something we should all have seen coming: separation.

 

Blink and Thunderbird, Polaris and Eclipse, the Struckers, the whole of the Mutant Underground, those people work best when they are together, the scenes are more interesting, they have more gravitas, we care more. As individuals, their characters work well, and we’re invested already. So much. And we haven’t in Rebecca, or Reeva, or the Frost sisters, not really. So every second Lorna and Andy, who we care about, spend away from the rest of the Mutant Underground, training, or doing inconsequential things, that’s  a second lost. We need to see them moving towards each other, or feel like the resolution to this separation is coming. If not, we can just check out.

And we shouldn’t, because the message of hope this show is sending is sorely needed. And not just hope, no, the Mutant Underground going to battle, so to speak, even when battle seems lost, is another powerful reminder that, sometimes, we have to keep fighting even when it seems like our voices are doing nothing. Because sometimes, we don’t fight to get immediate results, sometimes we fight to make our voices heard, to let others know that things can change, and that we don’t – we shouldn’t – remain quiet when we see injustice.

So, for that message, I stick around. For that message, we stick around. We need more than filler episodes, though. We need some real, actual change. And we need to go back to the thing that separated these characters, and in a way, still keeps them together.

Love.

That’s what made the first few episodes of this season so powerful, this idea that these people with markedly different ways of seeing the world still loved each other, despite that. Yes, Lauren and Andy are still navigating that, but we need more. We need Lorna and Marcos and baby Dawn. We don’t need subtle nods, we need to be struck again and again by how difficult this is. We need a sledgehammer.

The Gifted has never been subtle with it’s messaging, it shouldn’t start now.

Things I think I think:

  • I’m more interested in the backstory of Esme and Co. than I thought I would be.
  • Oh, all you needed to forget about almost killing your sister is a girlfriend. Good to know, Andy.
  • And I actually need even MORE background on Esme and Co than I have, okay?
  • Lorna has HAD it, at last. She doesn’t like being controlled, and she realizes that, without information, that’s exactly what’s happening.
  • This Lauren/Andy dream thing is going to come to head at the end of the season, and as interesting as that is, it seems like too long a buildup.
  • Make Your Neighborhood Great Again, really?
  • Reed has some anger issues he needs to work on.
  • Makes sense.
  • Lorna, never dye your hair black, please.
  • So, Lorna is going rogue soon, right?
  • Lauren too.
  • And probably Marcos.
  • EVERYONE GO ROGUE.
  • Fuck Jace Turner.
  • Fine, I sorta like Esme. FINE.
  • And I really like Caitlin these days.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

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



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