The Gifted – Season 2 Overall Review

The Gifted S2

Well, I’m tackling the endless parade of US comic adaptation TV shows at a slower pace this year, but I’m happy I still gave Gifted a second go-round, as it was once again a fun show. While not without its faults, at least all the establishing of setting and lead characters was out of the way, and we got a good central antagonist and a bit of a twisty plot. Let’s have a closer look…

Synopsis:

After recruiting the mutants Lorna Dane/Polaris and Andy Strucker for the “Inner Circle” of the Hellfire Club, Reeva Payge stages a coup and takes control of the organization. Six months later in Washington D.C., the new Inner Circle buys a large munitions factory to clear out so Polaris has a place to safely give birth.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Gifted S2 1

I used the overall cast promo pic in the headline picture, so this will have to do…

Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) – Reed is suffering from one thing after another. First one of his children willingly joins the dangerous Inner Circle, and now he’s melting walls and chairs by just touching them… Two very odd reasons to be stressed, I’ll admit, but still good reasons!

Caitlin Strucker (Amy Acker) – Caitlin is the only member of her family that doesn’t have mutant powers, but she’s still sticking to the mutant underground for the sake of her children, even if one of them isn’t there any more…

Lauren Strucker (Natalie Alyn Lind) – Lauren is missing her brother, but the pure destructive power they had as a duo unnerved her, and now she’s having dreams about her brother making her join the other side of the conflict…

Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) – Andy has become disillusioned towards humanity and how they treat mutants like himself, so he willingly accepted a role within the Inner Circle, a radical group for mutants that may be more radical than Andy had bargained for…

Marcos Diaz / Eclipse (Sean Teale) – Marcos has had to sit back and watch the love of his life join the more villainous Inner Circle, despite being pregnant with his child. To say he’s a bit down in the dumps would be an understatement…

Lorna Dane / Polaris (Emma Dumont) – Lorna has joined the Inner Circle because she’s afraid to raise her child in an anti-mutant environment like present day society. In order to do this she has had to put aside her love for Marcos, or at least try to…

John Proudstar / Thunderbird (Blair Redford) – John is trying to hold together what’s left of the Mutant Underground, but he’s struggling after so many left for the Inner Circle. Still, at least he has his relationship with Clarice to comfort him…

Clarice Fong / Blink (Jamie Chung) – Clarice is happy in life, being in love with John and everything… well, okay, that’s pretty much it, everything else about her current life leaves a lot to be desired…

Reeva Payge (Grace Byers) – Reeva is the head of the Inner Circle, and soon becomes the head of the Hellfire Club proper. She wants to start a new nation for mutants everywhere, and doesn’t mind cracking a few eggs to make the omelet.

The Frost Sisters (Skyler Samuels) – Triplets that have decent psychic and mental abilities individually, but become extremely powerful when acting as a group. They’re key members of Reeva’s Inner Circle, though one of them might not be as dedicated as she once was…

Jace Turner (Coby Bell) – Jace lost his daughter in a mutant-related incident, and has been manipulated and tormented by mutants ever since, at least in his mind (though sometimes he was legitimately manipulated, to be fair…) This desire for revenge has cost him his marriage, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to achieve it.

Erg (Michael Luwoye) – Erg is the leader of the Morlocks, a group of Mutants that have hidden in the sewers beneath the city, rather than facing the prejudice from the humans above.

Plus more!

The Good:

The Gifted S2 3

“What do you mean “why didn’t we move into the deep woods or mountains rather than sewers?” It’s because… erm… Shut up!”

Looking at the series as a whole, the main thing I’ll give it credit for is actually making me give a crap about the Strucker family. One of my main complaints about the show was how they were the centrepiece and were boring, so props to the creative team for addressing that. The background of the family was further explored, including the powerful siblings from the family’s past that had the same destructive powers as Lauren and Andy, and Reed’s direct family and their attempts to stop his mutant power and how it had failed, as his abilities began manifesting itself again. Lauren and Andy being on opposite sides of the battle between the Inner Circle/Hellfire Club and the Mutant Underground was a good story too, the two of them communicating through dreams, with Andy wanting to use their combined power to help free mutants, where as Lauren was afraid of it… until a hypnotic music box started making her more aggressive, which was an odd side-story… Anyway, for the most part, the family was more interesting.

Once again though, the stars of the show have to be Marcos and Lorna. Their romance is really believable, they both get across how hurt they are to be apart, but Lorna’s determination to give their son a better world to grow up in overrides her wanting to go back to him. Lorna slowly realises that the Inner Circle is getting more and more extreme in their actions and eventually wants out, rejoining her love for the final battle. I was genuinely happy to see the series end with them together again…

Another good side story is the Morlocks, who instead of trying to fight against the racism they faced, they ran underground and started a mutant-only society. John and Clarice disagree on their methods of hiding in peace rather than fighting for freedom, which is always a great debate, and eventually the latter joins the Morlocks and leaves John, which sends him on a bit of a spiral. Mr. Proudstar’s run ins and arguments with both the Morlock leader Erg and former Sentinal Services agent Jace are great, they show a more complex and angry side to his character rather than the straightforward good guy he seemed like in Season 1.

The finale, which saw the remains of the lead cast (Clarice was seemingly killed a few episodes before the finale) all assault the main Hellfire Club building while John faces down Jace and the Purifiers with the help of a remorseful Erg was great. It had some good action, some great character development for some characters, and the ending, which saw Reed intentionally explode himself to take out Reeva, was a great scene. The actual cliffhanger teases a Days of Future Past story with an apparently alive Clarice, but I don’t think we’re getting a third season by the sounds of it, so… That’s a shame.

Other side stories of note were a mutant who could turn things inside out but who was mentally unstable, leading to Andy (who had fallen in love with her) to accidentally kill her when she went too far, and one of the Frost Sisters slowly becoming nicer, and a bit of backstory too them.

The Bad:

The Gifted S2 2

“Oh great, Reeva’s doing her scary mouth thing again…”

Jace eventually joining the anti-mutant extremist group The Purifiers was sadly very topical, but so topical that it made me somewhat uncomfortable. It got too real for my comic book show, which I know X-Men has always been an analogy on racism in society, so it makes perfect sense to look at extreme white supremacy groups given the sad world we’re living in, but it was kind of killing my mood at certain points. It was well handled, but I just didn’t like it for the same reason I don’t watch serious dramas, I tend to lean towards escapism rather than mirrors into our own society…

As much as the Strucker children were improved, and Reed at least had an interesting subplot (even if his acting was still on the dry side…) I have to say that Caitlin was still an annoying character. Whiney and anti-violence, then pro-violence and anti-peace, then back and forth, all the while just wanting to have her children back together and screw anything else. Worried mother willing to do uncharacteristic things for her children? Makes sense as a plot, but it didn’t work for me here…

Overall Thoughts:

The Gifted S2 4

“Look, I’m going to live in the sewers with a bunch of strangers instead of with you, what is so hard to understand about that?!”

The Gifted’s second season was a really great ride. It’s taken some new or lower-tier X-Men characters and created a really interesting and dramatic world, full of good plot twists and character development. One or two annoying characters or uncomfortable moments brought the series down a peg for me, but overall it was a really strong season, and if it is indeed the last, it went out with a bang (quite literally!)

4 Star Watch

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