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24 октября 2017, 22:59

Heists Are Cool, Mutant Heists Are Cooler on The Gifted


Stay on target

Who doesn’t love a good heist story? You spend the entire episode (or movie) building up to a massive multi-front set piece. Usually something goes wrong, and how easily the team adapts depends on what kind of movie it is. Heist stories are exciting, and the presence of X-Men superpowers makes this one even better. The Gifted tries to raise the stakes of its big rescue by opening with an earlier mission gone wrong. In a flashback, we see the team trying to break people out of a Sentinel Relocation Facility. The dialog may not always be great, but The Gifted nails its Orwellian naming conventions. And hey, who’s that with them? It’s Pulse! He uses his ability to disable the turrets, but is immediately shot. This is supposed to drive home how dangerous the episodes’ big rescue mission is. But since we didn’t know anything about this version of Pulse, it doesn’t really do that. It sets up a reveal later in the episode, but that’s about it.

Most of the episode deals with the Underground figuring out how they’re going to rescue Reed and Polaris. They’re being moved from their cell at Sentinel Headquarters to a secret prison no one ever comes back from. We’re not told what happens there, but we know it’s nothing good. This show is almost certainly going to take us to one before the season is out, isn’t it? Not today though, because Kate comes up with a plan: Rescue Reed and Polaris while they’re being transported. Because what’s better than a superpowered heist? A superpowered armored car heist! It’s amazing how much corny dialog you can sit through when something that cool is promised at the end.

Jamie Chung and Blair Redford (Cr: Eliza Morse/FOX)

The big theme of this episode was characters having to put themselves at risk and undergo personal sacrifice for the cause. For Eclipse, that meant getting in touch with his ex, whose father he used to work for in the drug cartel. Now she’s in charge, and she can find out where exactly the mutant transport bus is going to be. That information is going to cost Eclipse. She wants him back in the cartel. When she calls, he comes and tortures someone for her. With this storyline and Blink’s sudden love for Thunderbird, The Gifted has now set up a couple of long-term arcs that will add some tension to the rest of the season. We know both of these choices are going to blow up at some point. We just don’t know when. It’ll be interesting to watch how these stories play out. Especially because Eclipse didn’t tell anyone else at the Underground exactly what he agreed to.

Kate, with the help of her kids, learns that she has to accept great personal risk if she really wants to be part of this cause. One of the big problems with attacking the convoy is they have no way to stop the bus. Eclipse could hit the tire with his hand-laser, but that’s not exactly subtle. That’s when Lauren and Andy come up with an idea. Andy can tear pretty much anything apart, but his power is unfocused. It hits everything around him. Lauren comes up with the idea to use her bubble shield to direct his power to a more specific target. This show keeps coming up with more creative uses for her bubble powers. When they bring up the idea to Kate, she doesn’t want her kids put in danger. It’s understandable, but if they’re going to be part of this group, they have to help out when they can. She agrees, on the condition that her kids are never in harm’s way. To her credit, as soon as things go bad, she makes sure her kids get to safety. She doesn’t even have superpowers, but she rushes into the middle of the action to get the Mutant Underground out. She even knocks out a Sentinel with… an EpiPen? Does that mean she killed that dude? I did love the Strucker sibling stuff in this episode. Their powers always complimented each other in the comics, and it’s cool to see the show bringing some of that in, even if they aren’t exact copies of their comic book counterparts.

Percy Hynes White, Natalie Alyn Lind and Amy Acker (Cr: Eliza Morse/FOX)

Reed has the best story arc of the episode. He sees that Polaris is put in the next cell over and tries to convince her to help. She’s less than receptive. This is the one scene in the whole episode where you can forget about the bad dialog because it’s so well done. Polaris rightfully calls him out for only caring about mutants now that the law affects him. Yes, he recognizes that he used to be the bad guy, but now he’s asking the people he oppressed to do all the work for him. That’s not OK and yes, this whole scene is a direct metaphor for the attitudes of self-proclaimed “woke” white dudes in the real world. X-Men stories will always be used to talk about the political climate in which they’re written. The Gifted has been hitting that element especially hard in these last two episodes. In the end, Reed only gains Polaris’s trust by sacrificing something pretty major. When she’s able to use her powers again, he tells her to use the metal screws in his leg to get them out of the bus. What follows is a mutant powers scene that looks awesome and unfathomably painful at the same time. It’s shocking he can still run to the getaway car after that. Also, having Polaris blow the back door of the bus right as Eclipse is about to rescue her was a great, fun touch.

All of this leads up to another fantastic action scene to end the episode. That’s the one thing The Gifted consistently knocks out of the park. The action is the most fun of any episode, and the mutant powers always look so cool. This particular scene kept things interesting by taking away the powers at the worst possible time. Remember that Pulse was in the flashback? He’s still alive. He’s been brainwashed by the Sentinels, who are using him to dampen all mutant abilities in the area. Eclipse once again in this episode puts himself at risk, drawing Sentinel fire so his friends can get to safety. That gives Thunderbird the chance to get close to Pulse and punch him real hard. Can’t dampen that. With the help of Kate Strucker’s getaway car, the Mutant Underground escapes with Reed and Polaris. The whole family is back together again, and Jace Turner is pissed. He goes full-on fascist in the final line of the episode, promising to hunt down anyone who harbors mutants.

Coby Bell and guest star Joe Nemmers (Cr: Eliza Morse/FOX)

The Gifted remained consistent for another week. It’s a show that sets achievable goals for itself and pulls them off with some amount of style. The consistently well-directed action keeps things from getting boring, and there’s enough meat to the family drama to get us invested. The real downfall is the dialog. Amy Acker gets it the worst because she hasn’t been allowed to be anything but a worried mother yet. Eventually, you run out of ways for her to express that. Fortunately, she’s a good actress and does her best with what she’s given. The same goes for Emma Dumont, who has the unenviable task of adding edge to lines like “what is it, my birthday?” She’s also given over-expository lines explaining concepts that the show really should have trusted us to figure out for ourselves. She at least manages to make them entertaining. That’s what the show is really good at. Even though the dialog can be really bad, everything else is so much fun it really doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s the show’s superpower.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/television/heists-are-cool-mutant-heists-are-cooler-on-the-gifted-1720562/?source