This Week on TV, Oct. 20, 2018

Spoiler Alert!

So, still haven’t worked out how to follow the rest of my weekly lineup. As such, it’s just The Gifted for now. Not that they need much help, of course. They delivered one of the most intense episodes yet, and they’ve barely scratched the surface of the impending conflict.

The Gifted

2.03 “outMatched”

The heaviest blows fall between family members.

A Reeva said, anyone can stand against an enemy. It is much harder to stand against a friend, and even harder to stand against family. Brother against brother is the worst of wars.

Though things haven’t really come to a straight-up confrontation between the Underground and the Inner Circle yet, it has now come to family members standing on opposite sides, refusing to yield to each other, and first blood has been drawn.

Moving to the outskirts of the conflict for a moment, Turner is living in a motel, trying to reach out to his wife, Paula. He’s thinking about marriage counseling as well, but for now, it’s too little, too late. Paula can’t be part of what he’s doing, and she’s not going to wait around for him to come back to her. It’s heart-breaking, albeit the least part of what we see in this episode, but Turner is simply too driven. He can’t turn back or turn aside, he has to keep going forward, so much that he’s going in circles, and he’s long since left what matters most behind. So, Paula leaves him.

And Turner goes even deeper into the swirling vortex of the abyss.

I forget the man’s name, but the cop at the desk who greeted Turner gives him a call. They meet, and get straight to the point. The man is a Purifier. You know, the guys who’ve been giving honest, innocent folks a hard time because they happen to be mutants. We have very little knowledge of their numbers or their resources, but they hate mutants, labeling them a threat to the human species, and they clearly have some weight of numbers on their side. So, they’re not entirely unlike the Inner Circle and Hellfire. Of course, the Underground turned those groups down, outside a few of their members, and Turner does the same, at first. He may supposedly see the mutant threat for what it really is (actually, no, he doesn’t), but that doesn’t mean he’s eager to sign up with a hate group.

That is, not until he sees the fallout of events elsewhere, which brings us back to center stage.

The Underground is investigating the Inner Circle, looking to get their loved ones back and/or stop whatever catastrophic plan they’re setting in motion. They don’t have much in the way of intel, but they’ve gotten a few nuggets of information. Evidently, when they tapped into the grid underground, they were looking for something at a mental asylum called Lynwood. Evidently, they specialize in containing and “treating” mutants.

Which, that at least calms one fear I had about what the Inner Circle was doing. Apparently, they’re not doing something even worse than war… at least, not at the moment. They want someone who happens to be held in Lynwood, so they were getting info to plan that operation. They’re still arming up, it seems, bringing more dangerous mutants into their fold.

And they’re recruiting from an asylum. Not a good sign.

Admittedly, there’s a whole racket with condemning mutants to asylums instead of prisons. Lorna was on the receiving end of that as a teenager. But, still, not a good sign. Especially considering some terrible things Lorna has done since her time in one, and they are getting someone out after they’ve been in there for some time.

Desperate for information, John, Marcos, and Clarice head to try Wire again, hoping his mutant hacking abilities will shed some light on things. They arrive to find Wire’s brother, Griff (I think), ready to shoot them for getting his brother killed. It turns out, Wire’s intrusion and sniffing around after them did not go unnoticed after all, so the Inner Circle sent the Frosts to make him “commit suicide.” As such, Griff is not keen on stepping on their toes in like manner. But they did kill his brother, and Cait proves very “persuasive.” This being a polite euphemism for first tormenting Griff with withdrawal and then bribing him by getting him high again.

That is a very dark corner she’s gone into. It’s to get her son back, certainly. Never ever underestimate what a mother will do for her children. There are all sorts of things that people normally of honor will do for their children that they would never considering doing for themselves. That’s what this is. But it’s a slippery slope, too, all too easily taking the protective parent straight into the abyss as well and turning them into a monster.

Reed has exactly the right of it when he questions how far they should go for this. If they’re willing to do anything, then what’s really the difference between them and the Inner Circle, or any of the other monsters in the world? There must be a point where it stops, a line that they do not cross, no matter the nobility of their cause. Heck, Lorna’s vision, when she birthed her child, was of something magnificent and powerful and safe for her daughter, and look where that’s taken her. And now Cait is so driven that she didn’t even notice when Griff’s heart stopped and he collapsed. They save him, but… the words “He’ll be ok,” ring just a little hollow now.

It’s almost an impossible task, but it’s essential: one must decide how far is too far. Preferably before going there.

Fortunately, and that is something of a light usage of the word, it works. They manage to catch on to what the Inner Circle is doing: they are invading Lynwood at that very moment. Sage the computer girl is watching the field team’s back online, providing Griff some fierce competition, while they’ve disabled the alarms and are rounding people up. Between two Frosts, Lorna, and Andy, I doubt they had much trouble getting people to cooperate.

The Underground is moving and just barely gets there before things finish up. John and Clarice go inside while Marcos and Lauren, set on saving/stopping Andy, guard the only drivable way out.

It’s a creepy, silent, occasionally bloody mess inside. Clarice has been the one trying to slow things down, questioning what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and now that it’s coming to a confrontation, she’s afraid they can’t do what they’ll need to. She’s afraid they have to kill their friends, but can they? They manage to come up on Lorna and Andy’s tail as they’re escorting their prize out of the building, and John calls out. He and Lorna go way back, to the start of the Underground, so he just wants to talk with her. Just talk. That’s all he asks.

She responds with silence, and unleashing the inmates around them, forcing John and Clarice to focus on saving lives instead of stopping them.

Outside, Lauren barely talks Marcos into letting her try and talk Andy down, as Marcos is ready to fight. He may have been right about that. Lauren stops the vehicle they’re in, and Andy steps out. Lauren appeals to him, including mentioning their dream, but he refuses to budge. He just tells her to get out of the way. Lauren refuses, making her stand.

Brother vs sister.

Andy does not hold back, breaking her barrier and sending her and Marcos flying. She hits her head hard when she lands.

That moment, I think, is a defining one for Andy and his family. He actually seems a little horrified, I think, when he sees her hit the ground and not get back up. She’s his big sister, a strong, unassailable force in his life, who protected him, taught him, and everything else. He’s fighting in part for her… but he just hit her. How does that fit? How did he reach this point? Who is that boy staring back at him from his reflection?

Who has he become?

He gets back in the van and they drive away. Two Frosts, one Polaris, one half of Fenris… and one small passenger in the back.

Just one person.

I’m not sure what I would have preferred, the one person or if they’d recruited a number of asylum inmates, but the Inner Circle just poured a lot of resources into this, they covered it up with a mass jailbreak and a coerced confession from the staff hitting the media, and they had Lorna and Andy run roughshod over their own family… all for one mutant.

Just who is it, and what can they do?

I’m going to just toss out the possibility of it being the Scarlet Witch or something like that. Probably not really, but it would be cool, it would explain everything, and it would even fit some iterations of the character’s history. 😉

So, as the latest mutant-related crisis steals the spotlight, Turner calls the Purifiers, suddenly more interested in joining them, the Underground licks its wounds and takes as many wounded patients with them as possible, the Strucker family is dealt a debilitating blow, having to reconcile the idea of Andy with the idea of an enemy who struck their daughter, which brings them to tears even while Reed, unable to control his powers, can’t even hold and comfort his grieving wife, who just did a Devil’s own deed for nothing… and all of this while the Inner Circle drives off, triumphant.

I would ask if things could really get worse, but I already know the answer is always “yes.”

About the only thing left is how Reed is responding to his powers. He’s going through the usual stages of wanting them gone or dealt with or whatever, trying to reject them on some level, while John, very experienced in this, knows the only way out is through the problem. Reed needs to train with his powers, not self-medicate his emotional state. His powers are part of him, albeit a part that has long been suppressed artificially. He needs to accept this and learn to control his powers, instead of trying to be rid of them.

All things considered, this was a pretty bad day.

And another excellent episode! 🙂

Hm, small wonder storytellers need to be sadists in order to entertain us. 😛

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