We’re back for another week of mutant goodness. This episode gave me something I felt like the premiere lacked, conflicted John. I am so ready to talk about him and many other things that I loved about this episode. Let’s get started!
Oh man, what an episode. So many emotions and internal conflict. There seemed to be a theme of family playing out this week and we’re starting to see cracks on both sides. My favorite crack in the Inner Circle so far is Skyler Samuels’ portrayal of Esme. I did not talk much about the Frost Sisters in my last review simply because they seemed unchanged in attitude and situation. This week they completely derailed my assumption. Whether she likes it or not, Esme has softened just slightly. I’m intrigued to see where this thread goes from here. A conflict within the sisters would be an interesting shake up.
But then, within the Mutant Underground, you also have Reed and Caitlin. Disagreeing over finding Andy and going to see Evangeline. The admissions they threw back and forth will likely have consequences we haven’t seen yet. I can’t imagine Caitlin won’t internalize Reed’s “living with a ghost” comment. Now Reed also knows that his strange behavior isn’t going unnoticed.
Caitlin knows something isn’t right and she knows he won’t tell her what it is. Which, by the way, he needs to consider because he’s going to need her help. I have no way of knowing for sure but I suspect Reed’s mutation is back and it looks terrifying. I kept trying to figure out what was happening to the things he touched. Were they burning from heat? Crumbling from acid? Disintegrating from age? I’ll be needing answers soon, The Gifted Writers Room. I can’t wait to see the story they have in mind for Reed unfold.
Besides the relationships that are actively breaking, we have our relationships that are currently torn apart. We have two pairs that are split between Mutant Underground and Inner Circle right now and watching them struggle is truly painful.
I said last week that Lauren can only improve for me from here on out and I was delighted to see that continue to ring true. Her admission to knowing the names of the people that were killed and their children felt like a knife to my heart, and then her conversation with Reed earlier in the episode, where she tries to assure him it’s okay not to be okay, was a stand out moment for me. Lauren struggles with this as well, clearly, given what she has been hiding from her parents regarding her concerns about Andy and her fear of him coming back.
She seems to me to be yearning for someone else in her family to acknowledge weakness directly to her. She overhears the imperfections of their lives but no one will honestly admit to it. She wants that admission. She wants someone to ask her how she feels. Natalie Alyn Lind once again impressed me with her portrayal of how Lauren is growing as a person and a leader.
Andy missing his sister was a pain point for him this episode. We found out that he and Lauren are having the same dream and, while the dream makes Lauren afraid to be reunited with Andy, it leaves Andy feeling guilty and worried about abandoning his sister. I immensely enjoyed Andy’s conversations with Reeva and Lorna. Very different conversations with their own unique tones, but the same basic message. Get it together, use your emotions to fuel your power, fully invest in the Inner Circle or be removed.
Then we come to Marcos and Lorna. We did not see much of Lorna this episode apart from her big sister role to Andy and a few precious scenes of her with Dawn. But we did see a fair amount of Marcos and that man’s love, for Lorna and his child that he hasn’t even met yet, floors me. He wants to be with them more than anything. Being denied of that is allowing him to slip into the depths of his darkest emotions and it is heartbreaking to watch.
The moment at the end where he remembers Lorna asking him what was the first thing he did with his powers for the joy of it was stunning and Sean Teale plays tortured man in love fantastically well. His face as he holds up the glass and sends a signal into the sky is simultaneously anguished and exuberant. I honestly did not know that the human face could wear those two emotions at once until that moment.
He was matched by Emma Dumont’s wistful expression as she spots the signal. Lorna knew immediately who was sending that light into the sky. She went to get Dawn with the phrase “Daddy’s saying hi” and I made the most inhuman pained noise I believe I have ever made in my life. I am definitely a viewer who needs this family back together as soon as possible. Can someone make that happen for me?
Along with our fragmented families, we have our healing ones. Jace returned in tonight’s episode and I was waiting for him to give up his new life and run headfirst into hunting mutants. I was holding my breath the entire episode and, honestly, I still am. His wife is a saint in my eyes for being as patient as she is with him, but I do not for one second believe that destroying those files signifies the end of Jace’s involvement with the anti-mutant cause. For now, he and his wife are healing, but I am holding my breath as I wonder just how long it will last. I also want to add here, that though we don’t see her often, Frances Turner as Paula Turner is always a joy for me to watch. I love how expressive she is and the rapport she seems to have with Coby Bell in every scene.
And, while this pair wasn’t really a focus this episode, do you have a moment to talk about ThunderBlink? I hope that was a yes because we’re going to talk about them right here and right now. The way John looks at Clarice is breathtakingly beautiful, isn’t it? In my notes I have literally written in all caps “John loves Clarice!” You can’t dispute it. You can’t even try. The easy way they open up to each other, tease each other, admire each other is the epitome of “goals.” I adored them this episode.
Although, the part of me that has been watching television religiously my whole life is gritting my teeth while I wait for some sort of fall out or set back for these adorable lovebirds. I have a hard time getting attached to relationships when the nature of modern television is to constantly tear down all my favorite characters. I am crossing my fingers that this couple stays united and strong.
In my opinion, the standout star in this particular episode was Blair Redford. His performance this week was layered and measured and subtle, which to me is the best type of acting. John Proudstar really shined this week. From the flashbacks to the last few moments, he was stalwart and genuine and increasingly complicated. There was so much to be thrilled about in Redford’s scenes with Erinn Ruth. His antagonistic disbelief of her at first and then, later, his guilt over Atlanta gave these actors so many emotions to touch on and it was phenomenal. Particularly poignant for me was the short scene at the end of the episode where they show John thinking about all that he’s lost and expressing it in punches and dents late at night while the others are asleep. He is bottling it up and trying to be clear headed and strong for Marcos and Clarice and the Struckers. He is hiding his fear and his grief from those he loves. The pain in Redford’s performance is clear and powerful.
This week more so than last week, I felt slapped in the face by a few truly moving or amusing lines and moments. So in closing, I wanted to highlight those here in quick succession. No context involved. Thanks for walking through this episode with me! See you next week!
“We know who you are capable of being.”
“Hope is a strong thing, brother. You hang on to that.” “Hope is what’s been killing me, man.”
“I mean, I love you more than anything, Cait. But since Andy left it’s like living with a ghost.”
“That’s what you get for calling me soft.”
“Lady, we are out there fighting every day, losing people, while you hide in here like the frickin’ Lizard of Oz!”
“You didn’t just lose your daughter on 7/15, you lost your husband too. I see that now.”
“I gave you a cause. I didn’t know that cause was doomed.”
“Don’t you dare give in to despair. It’ll eat you alive.”
The Gifted airs on Tuesdays at 8/7C on FOX.