THE GIFTED: “eXodus” roundtable

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The Gifted showed us more of the hate and fear the mutants face when Caitlin, Lauren, and Andy left the underground in search of help from outside. Meanwhile, Reed was almost reunited with his family before realizing the cost. Join Melissa, Roz, Rueben, and Karen as we discuss “eXodus”.

Caitlin decided to be proactive and find someone who could help Reed, giving her and the kids a harsh lesson in the reality of what it means to be a mutant in America today. The allegory is obvious, but let’s discuss Caitlin’s actions – and the consequences – anyway.

Melissa: While the results weren’t what she expected, I am glad that Caitlin is DOING something as opposed to sitting around, wringing her hands. I have to assume Amy Acker wouldn’t have taken the role if she was going to be reduced to a damsel in distress, so I’m betting that the more Caitlin realizes exactly what her kids are up against, the more badass she becomes. This glimpse of the prejudice and hate being directed at Lauren and Andy was hard to watch, but I’m actually glad that they experienced it. Although they are on the run, they were still operating within a framework of privilege. That’s been ripped away, for all of them.

Roz: I feel like Caitlin is sort of bringing a human face to the ideas of both Professor X and Magneto – she wants to  talk it out with the powers that be, but also knows that violence might need to happen for them to achieve their goals when push comes to shove. For me, it’s fitting that without the big guns (at least yet), the show finds a way to bring in both of their views, even if Magneto would dislike someone who’s sometimes advocating for violence.

Rueben: Caitlin has had her eyes opened radically since learning the truth about her kids; and given that she was holding that very large knife while inside Danny’s house, she’s obviously not afraid to defend her kids or herself so she’s not going to be a damsel at all – just look at how she went into the Mutant Underground headquarters to help Clarice. But she’s going to have to realize that the battle between Mutants and Humans is not going to be won with words.

Karen: It goes with her character, but it was really wrong. She jeopardized every life in the underground by leaving, with very little hope of success. It wasn’t a solid win move, and with that – comes consequences.

Cay: I definitely like her taking charge, although I’m not sure that her action was necessarily wise, although maybe her brother’s cabin could prove useful. As a philosophical aside, if we take the metaphor of race relations in the US a bit further, then with regards to Rueben’s comment that “the battle is not going to be won with words”, then where does that leave our country? While I agree that *right now* in the show they need more than words, I’d love to see Mutants and Humans learn to live together…but that won’t sell as many comic books as long-term epic battles.

We learned what Dreamer’s power is in this episode: the ability to plant memories. While this helped in the moment – Blink was able to open a portal – is this really a “good” power in the long term?

Melissa: We already saw how this is Not a Good Idea – how will Johnny explain to Clarice that, no, actually, we aren’t in love and we never made out, but thanks for the rescue? Also, how can anyone trust their memories with Dreamer around? How can they trust her? The more I think about it, the more twisted her super power becomes.

Roz: So I guess Dreamer is the show’s representative for the brain powers – and I think no matter who has the ability, mutants who can control your mind (even a little) are always seen as a negative. There should be a time and a place to use a power like Dreamer’s and I think this moment was the right one. But now that Blink thinks she and Johnny are an item, what next? Is there a way to unplant that memory? If so, can we do that soon so we don’t have an awkward love triangle floating around.

Rueben: I have to agree with Roz, that Dreamer using her ability on Blink at that moment in time was necessary, but I don’t think Blink is going to appreciate Dreamer planting that memory in her mind. I have to wonder just how would that memory be unplanted? Hopefully that will be explained in future episodes?

Karen: Dreamer is such a misnomer for her. They’re memory implants, plain and simple, and her power is an invasion every time she uses it. She has “supervillain” written all over her. I definitely get why she used it on Blink – with good intentions, but how long will that last?

Cay: It served the plot at the time and could have interesting and potentially comedic repercussions. Dreamer does strike me very much as a “if the end justifies the means” kind of person, and that makes her dangerous.

Reed almost betrayed the Mutant Underground to “save” his family, before having a change of heart. Discuss.

Melissa: I appreciate that Mr. Prosecutor of Mutants didn’t instantly become an advocate for everyone with the X Gene just because his children have it. That’s realistic – first you protect your own, you advocate for your own, then, ideally, you begin to have empathy for others and recognize their value and vulnerability. And who better than an adorable child and a kind mother to start Reed down the path of advocating for all mutants? (He does have a plan, right? For escaping the Sentinels?)

Roz: This moment always feels like it happens in these shows (or movies) where someone who’s not with the mutants becomes one (hello Senator Kelly in X2), but I think that here he’s slowly learning that while some mutants are dangerous, there are some with benign powers that are still useful. I certainly hope that he and Lorna get a plan together on how to escape that detention center because I think the show will suffer from split attentions soon.

Rueben: I couldn’t have said it any better than what you said Melissa. Roz also has a point that these “aha” moments always seem to happen, but it’s kind of hard for it not to happen in these types of shows (and/or movies), right? I believe Reed and Lorna just might come up with a plan or at least a “late to the game” plan in order to escape.

Karen: I think Reed was flying by the seat of his pants here, and was looking for a way out the entire time. I know he only looked hesitant – I’d like to think he was trying to extricate himself at some point before actually giving up the underground. That would make more sense to me.

Cay: I like that he’s not totally all pro-mutant immediately. But, even if he was, he’s in a no-win situation – he’s still asked to hurt other people and families to save his. I feel like he can’t be reunited with the family too quickly. I’m betting midseason at the earliest.

Once again, Garrett Dillahunt was on screen for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment; however, we did learn a little more about what his character is doing. Why do you think he wants the Strucker kids in particular?

Melissa: Is it because they’re siblings? The mutation that results in super powers is genetic, so he must be interested in what sparks the mutation and why it manifests differently, especially within families. I don’t think his motivation is pure, however. What if he’s trying to alter his own DNA to have all kinds of different powers?

Roz: Last week he had that article about the siblings with powers so he really does want to study families with powers. But we all know that genes can be passed down or not so I just see him as the mad scientist right now. I want his gross lab away from the Struckers.

Rueben: No matter what he wants the Strucker kids for, it is going to be bad! I can’t see him relenting, either, on wanting those kids; it’s just going to be a matter of time before he pulls some kind of strings – above Turner’s head – in order to get those kids – once they are captured that is; and I really don’t want to see that happen.

Karen: Yup, he’s a bad guy alright. Their powers are strong, and he knows that. He’s going to become REALLY interested in Polaris too. I can’t wait until we learn more about her.

Cay: yeah, I’m with Melissa – I’m thinking more Nazi twin studies (even though they’re not twins) than I’m thinking legitimate science to help all. Can’t see anything good coming of his interest in them. Although I do wonder if his interest is just because they are siblings, or if it is for another reason that we don’t know yet.

Additional comments?

Roz: Can we see more of the Aurora Borealis? I always love that from the potential list of things Magneto (and Lorna) can do.

Rueben: I loved that whole flashback scene. It not only put Emma Dumont’s (Lorna) actual, real-life ballet training into the spotlight – even if only for a moment – but gave us a really cool, albeit short, glimpse of their backstory. Also, how about Andy using his powers on the front door of that house. That was a pretty cool special effect, right?

Karen: So, Aurora… pretty cool name, huh? I’m in awe of the SFx on this show – especially when compared to The Inhumans. The Gifted looks like an IMAX movie when you look at both shows, so it frustrates me that they’ve taken such a great subject and made a mediocre show. The Gifted illustrates how easy it is to give a high-quality product on TV.

Cay: Can I just say how nice it is seeing Amy Acker back on TV every week? She always plays great strong and capable women but makes them feel so ordinary.

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

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