Title: The Gifted: “eXtraction”; “X-roads”
Air Date: January 15, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller, Adventure
The season finale of The Gifted was comprised of two episodes, “eXtraction”, and “X-roads”. The 2-hour event did well to pick up the pieces that the rest of the season had been building up to. I think that Matt Nix and his team of writers did a great job to bring everything together, especially in regards to Andy and Polaris. Other characters made decisions in the finale that made a lot of sense, while the lingering issue of how the writers have been dealing with dialogue this season resurfaced only a few times in the span of the 2 hours. But the best part about this episode–as it’s been throughout the season–was the way that the overarching theme trickled down into the character’s choices with seamless balance.
So why did those involved in developing The Gifted decide to run the last two episodes as one, instead of not skipping a week and having them air on a normal schedule? One could say that these episodes weren’t complete yet, where an extra week would help get this remaining work done. I don’t think that was the case. I think that these last two episodes were put combined so that viewers could grasp the overarching theme running through both of them. In the beginning of “eXtraction”, a flashback of Dr. Roderick Campbell giving a lecture provided a look into his motivation for wanting to rid the world of the mutants. In his own words: “Mother nature shows us no mercy. She’s not our friend. We’re just another species on Earth forced to struggle for our survival.” With his dying brother at home, Campbell stated to the audience that genes didn’t have to be a curse, that humanity could prevail over any challenge genetics had to offer (mutants, his dying brother’s Cystic Fibrosis).
In this flashback, one saw that, although Campbell’s motivation behind hunting down the mutants made sense–him hating the bad genes that have affected his brother’s health–it didn’t make it right for him to begin his crusade against the mutants. Viewers saw this reasoning throughout both episodes as some of our heroes attempted to balance their personal wants with the needs of everyone that depended on them. Andy and Polaris wanted to protect their families, but just because their line of reasoning made sense didn’t mean that it was right to join up with The Hellfire Club and pursue a war against the humans.
Related: The Gifted Has Been Renewed For A Second Season by Fox
In other characters, like Jace Turner, the opposite effect maintained a steady grip on the theme of morality. As mentioned in one of my previous reviews, Jace began to feel a level of conflict in regards to how Trask Industries was drugging and manipulating mutants to track down others of their own kind. I liked how Jace was used as the human version of Lauren, Reed, Kate, and all the other mutants that decided to remain neutral in the upcoming war. Those at Sentinel Services and Trask Industries represented the mutants that signed up for war with the Frost sisters and the rest of The Hellfire Club. There are two sides to both factions. When Jace said he quit at the end of the “X-roads”, the pieces of past episodes and the theme of the season finale all came together when taking into account his character. But this is just an example of Jace; others had similar developments as well (Andy, Polaris, Lauren, Sage), and I thought there was beauty in it.
There were a number of other aspects from the season finale that I enjoyed watching as they unfolded before me. Andy’s lack of control came in a different form than I was expecting. Before, I had mentioned that Andy appeared to be too much in control of his abilities, but during the season finale I saw that Andy lacked control over his emotions. He was manipulated by the Frost sisters too easily. His abilities as a mutant didn’t matter, because–through his jokes–there was a lot of teenage angst waiting to be tapped into. The Frost sisters saw this and took advantage of it. After all that I said about Andy, I think that him lacking the control and patience to wait for a better, less violent ending with the humans made more sense than him not having control over his powers. I also liked when one of the Frost sisters alluded to Magneto by saying that all he wanted for Polaris was to be proud of who she was. This piece of advice remains true to Magneto’s character throughout the films and comics: mutants shouldn’t be ashamed to be mutants.
Although some of the dialogue felt a little off at times throughout these two episodes, like when Eclipse blows up on Polaris about her bad decisions, I thought that the writing was well-done. The overall feel of the series reflected this by leaving me feeling, well, pretty sad. There was irony when one of the Frost sisters told Polaris that “nothing brings people together like hate,” because that was exactly why they were working together in the first place: their hate for those hunting the mutants down. The parallels that The Gifted universe has with our own took my emotions about the current situation plaguing our world and ripped them up until they were shreds of glass, piercing through my skin. Hate. A disposition that shouldn’t be allowed to survive in our world because of the consequences it brings, yet thrives still today. Throughout the first season of The Gifted, viewers get a front seat to these consequences, and I thought it was a saddening, yet informing, method of showing the implications one must deal with if they decide to dabble in hate like Polaris (or her father, Magneto).
Verdict: The 2-hour season finale of The Gifted does an excellent job of doing what the series has done throughout its time on the air: presenting a theme and developing characters in a sensible fashion around that theme. With this being the last episode of the season, the writers used all they have been developing with each character and raised the stakes to ensure that viewers leave their TV screens shocked and wondering. Lingering issues with dialogue remain to be fixed, but these problems barely take away from the emotional resonance that the finale evokes.
- Developing characters around theme
- Emotional resonance
- Jace Turner's decision
- Loyalty to Magneto's character
- Leaving the series off at a good point for next season
- Shaky dialogue at certain points