‘The Gifted’ 1×08 Review: The End Justifies The Means

I have two questions for The Gifted. No, actually, I have like 45 questions, but I only have two really important ones that, with two episodes till the end of the season, I need the show to answer right now.

(Yes, this is a 10 episode season. Yes, there are only two episodes to go. No, I don’t have a good feeling about this)

Why did it take you so long to get here?

How does this season end anything but badly?

Actually, only the first one matters. We already sorta know the answer to the second one. It’s common sense. This is going to end badly. We’re gonna be left begging for a season 2.

Joy of joys.

“threat of eXtinction” is the kind of episode The Gifted excels at, and yet also the kind of episode I wish we’d gotten three full weeks ago, not only because this ties the Struckers to the bigger picture, but also because it ups the stakes exponentially, and somehow ties all the emotional threads of this show together.

Yes, this is about different people, and no, they’re not all related, not all friends, but they are, nonetheless, the same, they face the same persecution, the same fear, the same prejudice.

Because yes, this show is about how people treat others who are different from them. It’s never hid from its message, on the contrary, it’s proclaimed what it is loud and clear, and now, with a much clearer goal and with much bigger stakes, this all feels, at the same time, like it’s going to end terribly wrong, and like we really, really would give anything for it not to.

There’s Johnny, the leader, the friend, the man who wants to do right by everyone and whose shoulders are almost buckling with the weight of the responsibility someone placed on him. At times he’s so good that you just want to shake him, and yet, somehow, someway, he gets to you. You end up caring.

The Gifted: The End Justifies the Means
THE GIFTED: L-R: Sean Teale and Emma Dumont in the “threat of eXtinction” episode of THE GIFTED airing Monday, Nov. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Eliza Morse/FOX

There’s Marcos and Lorna, leaders, yes, but a couple in love and parents-to-be first and foremost, with an arc that’s infinitely powerful and real, because yes, there are a thousand of reasons why Lorna should can could continue to be mad at Marcos, but there is one very important reason not to be: life is too dangerous and complicated to be alone. They’re the backbone of the show, the one thing we’ve always cared about and the relationship we most root for.

There’s Clarice, and Dreamer (it pains me to put them in the same sentence, I swear), and new faces that come and go and all remind us of the same thing. This is not the glamorous side of having powers; this is not a mansion with a benevolent and powerful man in a wheelchair. There’s no spandex here, no lessons, no saving the world. There’s only living to fight another day, and then another.

Finally, there’s the Struckers, more at the center of this tale than we thought they could be a few weeks ago, and there’s the rub, isn’t it? They love each other enough that Andy and Lauren’s destiny seems written in stone. Of course they’re going to fight together if that’s what the Mutant Underground needs, if that’s what their parents need.

And, then, there’s the wildcard, Reed Strucker himself – the ex-mutant, if that’s even a thing. Can the X-Gene really be suppressed? Chances are the answer to this question is no. So, when do his powers come out? Why haven’t they before? What needs to happen – what’s going to happen?

See, this is what I needed from last episode. I needed a reason to invest again. I needed a reason to care. I needed the overreaching picture, not the tiny little dramas, because, in the end, those are not important.

This is.

Just two episodes to go and now I’m excited again. I’m invested. I’m ready to go. This, of course, is why I have to wait two weeks for a new episode that looks like it’s going to blow my mind.

Well done, The Gifted. Well done.

Other things to note:

  • The von Strucker twins, at last! The real ones.
  • I don’t really love angst, but it makes sense for Lorna to be angry.
  • Clarice an John being sort of friends, okay. BUT YOU STAY AWAY FROM HER, DREAMER. STAY AWAY FROM HER.
  • “You don’t turn your back on desperate people because one of them might be dangerous.”
  • And no one considered there might be telepaths among the mutants? NO ONE?
  • I’d be the last person to ask for more Agent Turner, but there’s been a distinct lack of balance in the last few episodes.
  • Stephen Moyer’s performance is either super emotional or mega dry, depending on if he’s with/talking about his kids/wife or anyone else.
  • Oooh, so the Von Struckers are related to the Struckers. What a surprise. NOT.
  • Caitlin Strucker is the most badass woman without powers.
  • “Protect them. Protect the world from” TALK ABOUT FORESHADOWING.
  • Also, manipulating people’s memories is BAD. We are who we are, good experiences and bad experiences. Yes, in the now it might help that girl not to remember the end of the people she really loved, but in the long run, does it? Is she the same person without those memories? And who are Clarice and Dreamer to decide?

The Gifted airs Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.

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