Title: The Gifted: “eXit strategy”
Air Date: October 23rd, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller, Adventure
“eXit strategy”, the fourth episode of The Gifted, started right where “eXodus” left off. Given the new intel from Danny that Reed and Polaris will be transported to a highly secure prison designed for mutants, the Underground began to formulate a plan to break them out before they even get there. To find out the exact details of the relocation, Marcos (aka Eclipse) asked the Cartel for information regarding the Sentinal Services’ plans.
Fans discovered this week that Eclipse has a history with the new boss of the Cartel, Carmen. It was revealed that he was previously involved with not just Carmen personally but with the Cartel as well. From the information that the episode gave, it could be presumed that Eclipse was the Cartel’s man to go to when they needed information out of a prisoner. I liked that Marcos’ backstory was revealed to viewers, as it added more depth to his character. He isn’t just fighting for the good of mutants everywhere because of his love for Polaris, but I think he also does it because of a dark past that he feels like he needs to redeem himself for.
Viewers have seen a bunch of random mutants hanging out in the Underground’s HQ as The Gifted has progressed, without really getting to know many of them. In “eXit strategy”, some of these minor characters were revealed for the first time. There were the precise calculations made by Sage; a mutant that can go invisible named Harry; more close-ups of Shatter’s traumatized face; and an additional look into Thunderbird’s past with the Mutant Underground. The introduction of his best friend, Pulse, a mutant that was previously thought to be dead by Thunderbird, will prove a worthy adversary or a lost friend. The inclusion of more mutants adds to what makes anything X-Men so great: there are a lot of unique characters. The Gifted continues to expand on who is going to be relevant as the show progresses. It was done smoothly this week.
Pulse, Thunderbird’s best friend, made an appearance two years later after he was presumed dead by his friends at the Underground. He has the ability to inhibit other mutants’ powers and can also act as an EMP. When Thunderbird confronted him to stop him from blocking their powers, Pulse showed that he was not the same as he was before (when comparing to the flashback in the beginning of the episode). I thought that this scene showed a lot of what fans can expect to see moving forward: the Sentinal Services’ ongoing retrieval and brainwashing of mutants. That adds another level of conflict for the Underground to resolve. The story is branching out into different areas with each episode, creating a large canvas necessary for the survival of a long-running show. But the more branches, the more likely one of them will snap.
As more characters and subplots are introduced into a series, sometimes the showrunners can struggle with balancing everything in an efficient manner. For The Gifted, I noticed that “eXit strategy” presented more depth to characters and the story in general, but with it came an episode of bad acting. I made this observation in the first episode as well, while I thought the last two episodes had great acting (not perfect, but still better). For example, the introduction of Carmen and Pulse put Thunderbird and Eclipse–more specifically, the actors portraying these characters–in an unknown situation. The actors hadn’t had to deal with showing how their character felt in regards to Carmen or Pulse, so maybe it affected their performances once they got to those scenes. The issue could be resolved once the actors become more comfortable portraying the emotions that are associated with these certain elements of the show, and the directors of each episode see that.
Another problem with this episode was the music. There was a shift of music when Thunderbird was talking to Dreamer about Blink’s situation (her having the memory of Dreamer and Thunderbird kissing) that felt too rapid. At one point, the music was soft and dramatic, then, a second later, it was intense. There were a few instances where this rapid shift in music happened during “eXit strategy”, and I can’t say that I’m a fan. Past episodes have shown that the music has usually been mixed together in a way that made the transitions from slow to intense feel more natural. Hopefully, it isn’t a phase that lasts long.
Andy even revealed (finally) that he doesn’t have full control over his abilities. That still doesn’t help me understand how he has been able to manipulate his powers with such prowess. The whole thing hasn’t felt like a natural progression. Sometimes I can’t take Andy seriously because of it, which in turn makes him less of a necessity and more of a burden.
What I liked the most was the ending. The Sentinal Services will now have to rethink their strategy in regards to the Underground, making Jace Turner a more realistic threat to the mutants. Plus he had Pulse all brainwashed like it was nothing, so, clearly, there’s something the audience is missing about his past. It was revealed that his daughter was killed in a mutant incident in “rX”, so that is most likely his motive for hunting down the mutants. But to what extent does he believe that his cause his justified? To the point of brainwashing?
Verdict: While there were major issues with this week’s episode of The Gifted in regards to acting and the pacing of music, “eXit strategy” did a good job of introducing new characters and threads for the story to pull on. Viewers were left wondering about Jace Tuner’s threat level to the Underground. I also thought that Andy revealing to his sister, Lauren, that he doesn’t have full control over his abilities was needed, although it didn’t completely get to the root of the issue: how was he able to control his powers so easily after the school dance incident in the first place?
- Eclipse's backstory
- Introduction of more mutants
- Story is branching out
- The ending
- Acting felt off in some situations
- Pacing of music
- Andy's development