‘The Gifted’ 1×10 Review: Hello Stakes

When Marvel announced a new TV spinoff, and introduced the idea for The Gifted, a show about the mutants we don’t really know, about the non-famous X-Men, as it were, it sounded intriguing. But, unlike DC, which has made DCTV into a profitable juggernaut that somehow keeps on growing on the CW, Marvel’s TV forays have been – hit or miss, with the balanced tilted to miss more often than not.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been up and down, good, so-so, great, but the ratings don’t seem to be there either way – at least not anymore. Inhumans was so horrible I’m not even going to waste words on it. Marvel’s Runaways seems to be doing well, even if it’s clearly geared toward a different audience than this show. Legion was a critical success.

Then there’s The Gifted, whose super-charged Pilot was directed by heavyweights (no need to go on a Bryan Singer rant here, but fuck Bryan Singer) and a show that, has, in general, turned out strong outing after strong outing, without ever going light on the political commentary, and yet a show that, if we’re honest, never truly scratches the surface of what it could be.

Because there’s just so much potential here. For spin-offs. For 20+ episode seasons. For an epic romance that gets a chance at the spotlight. For the Polaris show to be a weekly thing because Lorna Dane is just that amazing and Emma Dumont is my favorite and I will fight anyone who tries to say I’m wrong. And, as the show takes a break for a couple of weeks before ending the season with three more episodes, I think it’s time to examine what the show is – and what it could be.

Is the show good? Mostly, yes. Is it fun? At times, though to be honest, considering the subject matter, it’s easy to understand why they don’t just go for pure, unadulterated fun. Is it topical? Hell yes. Do the messages it’s sending resonate? Definitely.

But, is the show as good as it could be? No. At times, it comes close – The Pilot, and the last two episodes come to mind, but at other times it spends too much time on storylines that make my blood boil (that whole Dreamer/Blink/Thunderbird love triangle shit) and characters we’re never gonna see again (like Lauren’s friend/boyfriend/whatever) and not enough time on the characters that actually make us feel things.

The Struckers, for one, whose family angle has been one of the highlights of the season, and who work way better when they’re together, or fighting for each other, instead of keeping secrets and doing stupid shit (like in this episode).

Lorna Dane and Marcos Diaz, not just as a couple, but as two separate characters, because there’s so much to explore there, not just with Lorna’s mental issues, but with Marcos’ background and how they got to where they are.

And, though my dislike of the love triangle shit has sort of soured me on them, even Thunderbird and Blink, because this could have/should have been the diverse couple we were rooting for from the beginning, and ugly detour notwithstanding, if the show still intends for them to be, I’m gonna need a lot more.

Why did I start with this rant about what the show could have been, you ask, after an episode that was, probably, on the best the show has given us this season? Because I want this all the time. Because I think the messages the show is trying to send are not just important, they’re essential in this world we’re living in, and I want the show to have a chance to keep sending them.

Morality is not a zero sum game. Fear doesn’t make hate right. An us vs. them mentality will never, ever lead to lasting peace.

Tonight, The Gifted had to lose Dreamer to send that message, and a large part of me wishes they hadn’t done it, but a larger part of me understands. For all that this show has done, or tried to do, the stakes have never been as high as they are after this episode.

We hadn’t lost anyone we cared about. We didn’t really fear that we could lose someone else.

Now we do – and with three episodes to go, that’s exactly where the show needs us to be, especially as we focus on Lauren and Andy.

As the show already explained Fenris, aka Andrea von Strucker and Andreas von Strucker (yeah, I know. You don’t have to say it. The joke almost makes itself) are the German children of super villain Baron von Strucker, who most of you probably remember as the HYDRA Baddie in Captain America: The Winter Solider and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Talk about worlds colliding.

Are they supposed to be the good guys? The bad guys? Can they control their powers enough to actually decide? Last week I was sure the answer to that was yes. I’m still firmly in the they can camp, but I’m starting to think it might not be as easy as it sounds.

But hey, this is probably all Season 2 talk. Right now, it’s all about Esme – and about the fight to create a better world.

I think that’s a fight we can all get behind.

Other things to note:

  • “Human Choices for a Human Future.” For real? And from a latino?
  • They’re all our people now. *CRIES*
  • I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Thunderbird is the Red Power Ranger.
  • “If we have to shed blood sooner or later, I say sooner.”
  • First time I have actually, really and truly liked Dreamer. “We were looking for the Aquarium.”
  • The best part about The Gifted is that yes, this is about prosecuted people, but it’s also about people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Not because of their secret trauma.
  • Talking to Agent Turner, that seems like the best plan you two can come up with? SERIOUSLY?
  • Also, I don’t get how Trask thinks letting Andy and Lauren “test” their powers is gonna go right for him.
  • WHY HASN’T ANYONE PUT A TRACKER ON THE STRUCKERS? They’re bound to do stupid shit.
  • Fuck you, Esme.
  • The moment I started to feel actual good emotions for Sonia I knew she was a goner.
  • Esme’s plan was actually as bad a plan as the Struckers, it’s just that she has actual cool powers.

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

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