Title: The Gifted: “rX”
Air Date: October 9th, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller, Adventure
After last week’s episode of The Gifted, I was curious to see how the show would progress with its second. I didn’t particularly enjoy the pilot of the series, as it rushed the beginning a bit too much for my liking. But, with “rX”, this unusual band of X-Men heroes has launched into what many would consider “safe territory.” I thought this week’s episode was a lot more developed, placing characters in situations they had never experienced before. Ultimately, this resulted in a suspenseful ride to the end.
“rX” begins with a flashback, dating one year before the current events going on in The Gifted. The flashback reveals some information about the family on the run–Reed, Kate, Lauren and Andy Strucker. They’re enjoying a fun game of bowling with Reed’s mother when a young mutant girl begins to shake uncontrollably as she’s taunted by a group of humans. After she uses her powers in anger, Reed goes up to them and says that they should leave before things get worse. I liked how this flashback set up the overarching theme for the rest of the episode: mutants may have rights, but they are treated unfairly. It also showed that Reed, deep down, wants nothing but the best for the mutants.
Reed’s kind-hearted nature towards the mutants is tested, though, near the end of the episode when Jace Turner–the Sentinal Services agent in charge of the Strucker family case–offers him and his family a way out. All Reed has to do is give up the Mutant Underground, those responsible for saving the Strucker children in the first episode. The conflict going on inside Reed is shown clearly during this scene, and I thought that that helped the episode come full circle from the flashback. Eclipse makes a good point to Kate Strucker as they’re returning from getting the serum to save Blink (more on that in a little bit), asking her if she and Reed would still be helping the mutants if their children were normal. I can see this question popping up throughout the rest of the season, as both Reed and Kate’s loyalty will be tested. Is it just their children that matters? Or will they advocate for all mutants because it’s the right thing to do?
The consequences of Blink overexerting her powers are devastating, to the point where the Mutant Underground must abandon their headquarters for safety. I thought this element was the highlight of the episode. Blink is an unknown mutant in the X-Men universe, but with “rX”, viewers are able to delve into the true nature of her power and how being a mutant has shaped her life.
An aspect of her character is revealed by Thunderbird: he says that when mutants can’t pass as human (they don’t look human), they’re discriminated against and can’t find work, essentially setting them up to become criminals. The statement is proven true once we see Lorna, aka Polaris, inside the prison interacting with a mutant prisoner who wouldn’t pass as human. I liked how Matt Nix–the writer for this episode–intertwined these themes of mutant discrimination throughout the episode by showing it from the different perspectives of a few characters.
“rX” did a great job in the development of characters. Polaris, Eclipse, Blink, and the Strucker family were all given some depth. They were placed in situations they hadn’t experienced before, which helped viewers place them in the grander scheme of the show. But the development that I enjoyed the most was on Thunderbird, the leader of the Mutant Underground. he was placed in a tough situation with Blink on the verge of destroying their base, but he kept his cool and made the right decisions. Viewers were able to see why the other mutants respect him as their leader, because he keeps calm, is wise, and makes smart choices in regards to their safety. My only issue on this front is with Andy, who acts like a dumb teenager (granted, he is a teenager) and somehow has a grasp of his powers already. As I had mentioned in my review for the first episode, I don’t think he should be able to control his abilities quite yet, as he still doesn’t even know what they really are.
The characters weren’t the only aspect of The Gifted to be expanded in this episode, as the universe in which they live was also given some life. An antagonist was solidified in Jace Turner, while some snippets of information spread throughout the episode revealed a puzzling history. What mutants were a part of the Brotherhood? This knowledge could help fans place The Gifted within the X-Men universe. Also, at the end of the episode, viewers see Dr. Roderick pull up a news clipping from the 60’s saying that a “brother-sister team” had destroyed a building. Roderick is a character I don’t have too much information on at the moment, except that he’s searching for Andy and Lauren in some capacity. What does this old news clipping have to do with them? A lot more starting to go on, and I like it.
Some of the dialogue felt a little forced, in my opinion. For example, when Jace is interviewing Reed for the first time or when Lauren is talking about how she closed the portal with her powers. Not that big of a deal, but it brings up a point I made about the pilot: some aspects of the writing need a little work. I think, mostly, that these problems lie within the dialogue.
By the end, though, none of the issues with dialogue or Andy’s progression outweighed the good in this episode of The Gifted. The story began to slow down–which was something I had a problem with when I watched the pilot–and focus its attention on the important elements viewers will see pop up as the story progresses, and that made for a great episode. If you weren’t sure about the show at first (like me) then I think it’s safe to say that The Gifted is heading in the right direction.
Verdict: The second episode of The Gifted is a suspenseful ride into the wide array of characters that make up the story. Blink’s powers going haywire provide an objective for the Mutant Underground, while Reed and Polaris must come to grips with their current situations as prisoners. All done with the underlying theme that mutants may have rights but are treated unfairly regardless. Kate and Reed’s loyalties are tested in an effective manner as well. Although some hiccups surfaced in regards to dialogue and Andy’s progression, “rX” was still superior to the pilot, and I recommend watching now before you get too behind.
- Develops characters, like Thunderbird, effectively
- Sets up an underlying conflict
- Antagonist in the Sentinal Services becomes directed at Agent Jace Turner
- History of the universe in which The Gifted takes place was expanded
- Consistent theme throughout the episode
- Spotty dialogue in some situations
- Andy's progression is too rapid