Let me be upfront with you right now — I am going to spend the majority of this review raving about Sean Teale and Marcos Diaz. I loved the entire episode, but by far the stand out moments from the episode all belong to Teale as Eclipse. If you don’t love Marcos Diaz with majority of your heart and soul then this review may not be for you. Ready? Here we go.
A theme in this episode seems to be exclusion. Reed excludes his family from his issues with his powers; Lorna excludes Marcos from their family; Jace is excluded from investigating the mutant fugitives; and John excludes Clarice from the growing conflict in his head (and then she turns around and excludes him from her deal with Erg.) There is a lot of lying by omission happening this week on all fronts. Including, apparently, the Inner Circle omitting the truth to Lorna and Andy.
All of this lying and secrecy is going to come back to haunt our characters. Some in this same episode, like Reed and John, but others will undoubtedly see the effects of this play out as the season progresses. Clarice and Lorna will have to deal with the consequences of their actions. But for Jace, I feel like this is the beginning of his arc. I have no spoilers and no further information, but I feel like his exclusion will lead to his future inclusion in something else.
We keep hearing The Purifiers mentioned, but we’ve never truly seen them or the inside of their organization. The officer that Jace first spoke to seemed to be particularly interested in him when he was being thrown out of the station. Could this be the beginning of Jace being included in the Purifiers?
A constant theme in this show is family. Every episode we hear about all kinds of families: broken ones, found ones, blood ones. This episode covered all of those. Lauren telling Reed the story of the first time her powers emerged was particularly profound. I have been praising Natalie Alyn Lind all season so far and I won’t be stopping now. This season she has been impressing me with how grounded her performances are. They are subtle and full of humble realism, yet still heartachingly sad. That was definitely one of the more memorable moments of the episode.
Also, I would like to say…
Who was right about Reed? I was. His father’s “cure” had a shelf life and Reed has reached its limit. I was so proud of Reed when he decided to lean on Caitlin and finally let her in. He needs her. He needs Lauren. He needs people who will understand him, people who can help him. He has the right people around him, but that wasn’t going to do him any good until he trusted them.
Finally, we see him trusting his family. The Struckers may be missing a family member but they’re not done. They’re not giving up. I am excited to see how Reed’s powers change the dynamics of this family and what kind of adjustment period we’ll see. Already, the journeys of season two are proving to be very intriguing.
But the most soul destroying scene in the entire episode belongs to Sean Teale. I have adored Marcos Diaz from episode one. He is compassionate, strong, loyal, sensitive. He is never afraid to demonstrate his emotions. When he truly loves, he loves with his whole being. He burns bright and hot like the powers he possesses. Sean Teale is a huge part of why I love him. Teale takes this character to a whole new level of passionate emotions.
We saw that all the way through this episode. The first scene with his own father was devastating enough. He knows what it’s like to have a father who isn’t there for you and he never wants to be that kind of father. It is slowly killing him to know that his child is out there in the world and he can’t be there. You are as impatient as he is when you know he’s close to seeing his little girl. You simply want people to stop questioning him and take him to the child. Marcos deserves this. He deserves a chance to be a truly loving father. His character traits tell you that he is tailor made to be a dad and not just any dad. No, he is made to be an extraordinary one.
Nothing could have prepared me as a viewer for that emotional moment where he finally sees his daughter. The joy and relief shows in every bit of his being. But it gets better because then he gets to hold her. He gets to hold her and take care of her and that shot of him shining a light on his daughter as he cradles her was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I thought that this was the most crying I was going to do while watching this episode, but then the next time we come back to him he is speaking Spanish to his daughter and I am well beyond distraught.
Someone let Marcos be a father to this little girl. I am begging you, Lorna, let this man be the father your daughter deserves because he can do it. I have complete faith in him. The private little moment between father and daughter where he’s telling her who he is and promising her always nearly ended me. It nearly ended me because I know what’s coming next. I know that she will be ripped away from him in a moment or two and he will be forced to leave her.
Teale’s face when the doctor advises that he can “take it from here” pulverized me. I knew it would. I saw it coming, but I still was not ready. He just met her and he already loves her too much to let her go. What follows is a discussion between Lorna and Marcos about why she thinks they can’t be a family. I’m sorry, Lorna, but I’m calling bull on all of it. Emma Dumont, as always, performs the dialogue with honesty, but I can’t find reason in any of it. None of that is good enough to keep Marcos from Dawn.
I want to understand Lorna in this episode. I want to see her point about building a future for Dawn. But I can’t because all I can see is Lorna keeping her daughter away from a man that wants to be completely devoted to her as a father should be.
Letting Marcos hold his daughter was the Inner Circle’s first misstep. He knows how perfect she is. He knows what it’s like to feel her in his arms. He knows they’re deceiving the love of his life and keeping his family apart. Now, more than ever, he will fight them. He will fight them with every breath in his body until he has his family back. At the beginning of the episode Marcos was lost and drowning. Now, he’s renewed and ready to fight.
Look out, Reeva, Marcos Diaz is coming for you. You have the other half of his heart and he will not stop until he has it back.
My perspective on this show is different from most viewers, I believe. I am a long time fan of the X-Men, on the page and the screen. But I am not what would be referred to as a “purist.” I think the intention and spirit of the comic book should be honored, but I do not need a literal translation. This comic book fangirl perspective comes in handy, though. In season one I knew immediately that Esme was going to be trouble. I placed her instantly for what she was, a Stepford Cuckoo. The Stepford Cuckoos are minions of a powerful mutant named Emma Frost, who some may recognize from January Jones’ portrayal of her in X-Men: First Class, and The Hellfire Club. Due to this, I sat back and waited for the inevitable crafty doublecross. I was not disappointed.
Well, this episode I immediately noticed something else. Now, this could be coincidence. It could just be a creative choice by the show that is meant to pay tribute to something else or it could be a tease of a plot to come. In the comic books and any X-Men cartoon, the Morlocks are exactly what you see here. An underground society of mutants that prefers to dwell apart from the world. But what I’ve never seen the Morlocks do is mark themselves with “M.”
This mark is most well known on a mutant named Bishop. Bishop came from the future and his “M” was not a mark of pride. It was a mark given to all mutants who were then placed in concentration camps. It was a tragic sign of persecution. It is interesting to see this mark flipped on its head and turned into a badge of honor. But it makes me wonder if the writers are intentionally alluding to this bit of comic book canon and intend to use it to their advantage.
If not then it’s simply a nice easter egg for comic book diehards and one of the many examples of how well done this show actually is. I mentioned in my first review that it pleases television and comic book fans alike and it’s the details like the Morlock’s “M” mark that make that possible.
I’ve decided to try and make this section a staple in my reviews of The Gifted. I enjoyed highlighting a few killer moments last episode and this show is on a roll right now. So here, for your reading pleasure, is a few of my favorite lines and exchanges in quick succession with no context.
“What exactly are those options? I’m sorry. I missed your graduation from med school.”
“The next time you drunk dial your ex just make sure you don’t include the entire Eastern Seaboard.”
“Well, maybe Erg moved to the subErgs.”
“Please just…just give her to me.”
“Aren’t you bulletproof?” “Yeah, but there are five of them and you’re not bulletproof.”
“They fought for tolerance. Do you know what people tolerate? The things they hate.”
“I am your father, Dawn. Always. Come what may, I will always be there for you.” (translated from Spanish)
“Come with me. They’ve got money, they’ve got all this. But I love you. And I love Dawn. And you love me. You know it’s true.”
“I don’t want to rest. I want to hit them back.”
“We can put thoughts in people’s minds but it’s hard to overcome a feeling that strong.”
The Gifted airs on Tuesdays at 8/7C on FOX.