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06 декабря 2018, 01:09

‘The Gifted’ Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: Coming Together and Falling Apart

Stay on target

The midseason finale is the perfect time to draw the disparate storylines back to a single focus. That’s something The Gifted needed as it approached its short winter break. It’s going to be taking the next few weeks off, it needed to leave us eager to pick it back up in 2019. It does a pretty good job of it too. A few of the show’s recent episodes have felt a little disjointed. With characters going off in different directions, not every story felt like it had the same momentum behind it. The midseason finale fixed that, leaving the show in an exciting state before taking a short holiday break.

Much of the action this episode focuses on Rebecca. We even begin with a peek into her past for the opening flashback. It’s kind of a letdown to return to the flashback-opening-as-present-day-setup formula after last week’s fun time-jumping episode, but this one’s good enough to make up for it. Like any good X-Men story, even the evil mutants aren’t truly bad. They have legitimate reasons for doing what they do. We see Rebecca as a teenager whose parents are so afraid of her, they flinch when she uses her powers to mush up her breakfast. Apparently she almost killed her teacher at school, but the scene makes it sound like an accident. This was before years of torture and imprisonment made her homicidal. Even knowing what she goes on to do, it’s genuinely sad and affecting to watch her parents call Sentinel Services on her. The scene does such a good job communicating her sense of betrayal.

Anjelica Bette Fellini and Percy Hynes White (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)

She’s experiencing that betrayal all over again in the present. Reeva re-captured her and now imprisons her in a dark, constantly moving metal box. The people who saved her are torturing her all over again. Even Andy, blinded by angst though he is, sees the hypocrisy here. He’s disgusted by it, and takes the first opportunity to break his girlfriend out. His fantasies of two young lovers running away together are short-lived, though. She’s already been recaptured once, and she’s not going to let it happen again. When Andy mentions the Inner Circle is all in a meeting together, she immediately goes to kill them all. That’s where things cross a line for Andy. He was able to justify her actions at the bank. She was emotional, it was her first mission, that kind of thing. But this is premeditated murder. Andy sees the choice laid out in front of him and he chooses to protect his friends. They’re goals may be questionable, but Andy doesn’t see that yet, and they’ve generally tried to avoid killing innocent people. So they’ve got that going for them.

Andy saves the Inner Circle with a blast that sends Rebecca flying across the room… and landing against a corner hard enough to break her neck. Andy screams in horror when he finds out she’s dead, and for some reason, the emotion doesn’t really land in this scene. It feels a little too rushed. The show nailed the hurt and betrayal of the cold open, but Rebecca’s death, while certainly shocking, didn’t quite land the way it should have. What’s more interesting is the sense that Reeva may have planned this whole thing. She needs Andy for her big security firm hit, and Rebecca’s become dangerously close to stealing him away. Before her death, Reeva ominously talks about a part Rebecca still has to play. Did she set this up? Did she know the torture would cause Andy to free her, while making Rebecca mad enough to kill? She may not have planned for Andy to be the one to deliver the blow, but it’s certainly possible she intended to drive them apart one way or the other.

Percy Hynes White, guest star Anjelica Bette Fellini and Grace Byers (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)

Either way, it worked. Andy, convinced by Polaris that the world they’re fighting for is worth it, goes through with the attack. He destroys the servers controlling every mutant prison collar currently in use. That was the goal here. To free every imprisoned mutant. And it looks so cool. It’s a powerful image to leave us on for a few weeks. Not only do we get to see Polaris looking exactly like her father (whom the show still won’t name), we get to see a mutant-powered prison break, complete with a spontaneously combusting prison guard. Should I feel guilty for finding that image so satisfying? Probably. But he was a tool of fascism and thems the breaks. Watching a newly freed mutant light a dude on fire is just cool. Not sorry.

What makes the midseason finale work so well is how every story builds to its conclusion at the same time. In the case of the Underground, that led to some unecessary filler drama that I just didn’t care about, but that’s basically where this story’s been all season. It’s a lot of fretting about methods, with Blink justifiably worrying that Thunderbird’s recklessness is putting other mutants in danger. It demonstrably is. That leads Thunderbird to accuse Blink of cheating on him with the leader of the Morlocks for… some reason. Yeah, this feels like it was shoehorned in there because the writers wanted the midesason finale to feel like everything was going wrong. In this case, it felt forced. What worked was the Underground finding out exactly what the Inner Circle’s plan was just as they were carrying it out. And just as a militia of Purifiers led by Jace Turner starts bearing down on them. Yeah, Turner is full a full on supremacist now, which makes it incredibly tense when he finally catches up to the Underground in this episode. Thunderbird draws him away long enough for the others to escape, but Turner pins him to a wall with a truck, and captures him. This ending is a downer, but it saved the Underground story for me. I’m so much more interested in where it goes from here than I was at the start of the episode.

Coby Bell and Blair Redford (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)

Even the Struckers’ storyline, which is the most divorced from the others, is intriguing and action-packed. Remember all those uneasy feelings we had last week about Dr. Risman’s research? Surprise! They were totally justified. The words “final solution” are even on her literature. Well, it’s not like X-Men has ever been subtle about its allegories. Reed and Caitlin don’t want to believe it at first, but the doctor starts showing a creepy amount of interest in the connection between Lauren and Andy, and how it relates to the Von Strucker twins. When finally confronted with the truth, the Struckers decide to destroy all the research, and I frankly can’t think of a better family bonding activity. Risman isn’t under any illusions about what she’s doing, either. She certainly thinks her goals are noble, but she knows she’s trying to wipe out mutants from the Earth. What she didn’t take into account was how many of her employees, whom she’s “helped,” wouldn’t agree with her solution. Her lab assistant rips off his inhibiting device and his screams bring down the lab while the Struckers escape.

Ken Kirby and Natalie Alyn Lind (Photo Credit: Annette Brown/FOX)

Not every moment of the episode was great, but each story came together so well, I’m a little sad we have to wait even a month for more episodes. What really made it work was how the episode cut between the climaxes of each story right at the end. Yes, we’ve seen this exact trick used before in countless shows, but it still works when it’s pulled off right. The stories are drawing back towards each other, and they all have momentum behind them now. It’s looking like that’ll carry through into the season’s second half too. With all the imprisoned mutants free, The Inner Circle’s real plan is about to commence. We’re all going to find out what that is in 2019.

The Gifted airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Previously on The Gifted:

Source: https://www.geek.com/television/the-gifted-season-2-episode-9-recap-coming-together-and-falling-apart-1764215/?source