The Gifted: eXtraction; X-roads

So, we reached the season finale, which was really just two episodes that aired one after another. Why do shows do that? We had a week break. "eXtraction" could have aired then.

The back half was much more exciting than the first. I think that kind of goes without saying. "eXtraction," unfortunately, just got bogged down by too many issues that are fairly standard on this show. Did we need to suddenly learn that Clarice was kinda not really a part of The Brotherhood? If the writers wanted that to help make a point that the past doesn't have to define a person, surely there was a better way to drop that bit of exposition. Or even if it did have to be in this episode, did we really need the silly melodrama with Johnny that then lead to an inevitable kiss? Don't get me wrong. I don't mind the romance. There just had to be a better way of handling that.

Still, I would have let that pass if it wasn't for yet another pointless Strucker family excursion. Seriously, what did that accomplish besides reiterating that Andy is a little too focused on the "us vs them" mentality, and that he thinks that force is always the answer? We've had this discussion countless times, except for the one time when Andy actually advocated against killing, but I honestly put that down to inconsistent writing. But Grandma went off the Florida to never be heard from again, and whatever information that they did get from her was never mentioned again. I guess there's always next season, now that we know that we have one, but it makes me question the placement of this particular arc.

The assault on the Humanity Today summit was much more successful. Man, watching the Senator give his speech about ending political correctness and how the Constitution was a "human" document was uncomfortable to watch. They really didn't pull any punches when it came to drawing from some real world influences.

I was surprised when Dr. Campbell drew a gun on the kid. I understand that he was in self-preservation mode, but it still felt a little evil, even for him. He knew that it would be enough to stop our heroes. You would think that that would be a wake up call as to what side of the moral spectrum you're on. I am glad that they didn't humanize him, though. When we got the flashback of his sick brother, I thought for sure that they were about to make Campbell seem more human. Instead, it helped to explain why he's so focused on a genetic solution. He saw what one gene did to his family. It makes sense that he would hold a hatred towards any other kind of mutation that could threaten "normal" everyday life.

Not that it really matters. I really thought that Dr. Campbell would continue into the second season, but I guess not! Once we got to the standoff at the airport, however, it was obvious how it was going to end. Lorna has slowly grown more and more aggressive, and the Frost Sisters' not so innocent suggestions only pushed her further.

I'm pretty excited to see how the split between the Hellfire Club and the Mutant Underground plays out next season. Honestly, the more interesting characters are with the Club, and I can very easily see myself rooting for them instead of the "heroes." Lorna and Esme/Sophie/Phoebe made some good points. Sacrifice can be construed as a pretty word for losing. The X-Men are gone, and with them, their brand of hope. I can see why the Hellfire Club would be appealing, ties to the Brotherhood or not.

I'm less excited for whatever the future holds for Agent Turner. My guts says that he's going to join the Purifiers, if only because they've been name dropped a few times recently. But honestly? They could very easily write him out, and I wouldn't mind. I barely noticed that he wasn't in the first half of the episode until he showed up in the second. He's just seriously lost his way since the beginning of the season. He's been stagnant.

That brings me to a good closing point. What do I want to happen next season? I want arguments to be less repetitive. I want all arcs and plots to make sense, nothing that ends with our cast in the exact same spot as when they started. I want characters to not feel pointless (looking at you, Wes). I want the mythology of the series to be expanded upon. Give me more X-Men, more Brotherhood, more of whatever it was that Grandpa Strucker was doing. That's the fun stuff, and it's stuff that The Gifted can actually do pretty well. We shall see.

Random Thoughts

Everyone looked very fine in their security suits.

So, do we think that Dr. Campbell is dead? Or shall we apply Josie's Law and wait for a body? Same goes for the Senator.

I see that the trend of turning evil = a new, sexy wardrobe is alive and well.

I'm actually really sad that Sage went over to the Dark Side. She's one of my favorite characters, especially out of the more minor ones.


An uneven first season to be sure, even if it did get better towards the end. I'm not sure if I'll be back for Season 2 or not yet. That's still a while away.
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An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies. And sometimes she writes about them.

12 comments:

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

So, what did I just watch?

The Chekhov handhold went off in this episode, and the net result was... Nothing.

By that I mean, the impact on the narrative was exactly that, Nothing. It would have worked out exactly the same if they'd just managed to escape through that tunnel. All the others were like "ooh aah" over it, but in the end Lauren and Andy only wasted four brainwashed mutie thugs. Not a single human was killed or apparently even seriously injured during their assault on the HQ.

This really is a shame. When you spend a whole season building up to something you'd expect it to have an impact when it happens other than some FX. Lauren didn't change. Andy didn't change. Seeing that the guy who plays Turner has apparently left the show, it would certainly have made more sense to have him go out in a blaze of fire at the hands of the von Strucker kids than that weak sauce write-out we were subjected to at the end. Plus he's an hypocritical little prick who needs to pay for his war crimes.

Lorna tearing up that plane, that was good. If they'd managed to talk her out of it I'd thrown something at the television. Andy coming with the Brotherhood, also good. Overall the split was good.

The problem is that the Hellfire Club is right and the "Mutant Underground" is coming across as a bunch of ineffective, sanctimonious morons. They're trying to play hippies in the midst of a civil war, apparently oblivious to the fact that the kids on the other side are murdering them left and right. They aren't being hunted by average Joes here, these are soldiers who get paid to kill them. "There are innocents on that plane!"?! Not too bloody likely. "Terrorists" are what the big army always calls the little army.

Rather than spending the next season with Lauren convincing Andy to come back, it would be much more fun and unpredictable if he'd be the one convincing her to join him.

Elissa Yorgey said...

1) I definitely don't believe that Campbell is dead. I could totally see the Senator being dead as that would give momentum to the anti-mutant people, but I don't see any benefit to killing Campbell at this point. I'm wondering if maybe he is a suppressed mutant himself and his powers will save him?

2) I'm nervous for season two because they have split up the two pairs that I have most enjoyed watching: Marcos & Lorna and Lauren & Andy.

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

Additional thoughts: The Blink/Thunderbird kiss was weak af. They really botched that and I was actually on board with that couple, they're cute of sorts.

And thank you, Fangirl, for all your reviews of this. I'm forever amazed at your work capacity. If you decide to drop this for season two, I would be fine with picking it up, especially if Gotham gets cancelled.

An Honest Fangirl said...

Elissa, at this point, I'm more attached to Marcos and Lorna, but yeah. I was sad that they ended up on opposite sides, especially since it's clear that they still deeply love and care for each other. I haven't even considered that Dr. Campbell would be a mutant. Would that be a bit too cliche?

Thomas, yeah, I was also expecting something more to happen to Andy and Lauren during the fight at HQ. Maybe they would get captured, maybe the rubble would crush them, but something. Their parents were very freaked out for them to just escape offscreen. Also, when they were talking about innocents on the plane, I think they meant people like the captain and flight attendants. I mean, they could absolutely hate mutants and want them all dead, but in the context given, they were just doing their job.

And thanks! I think if anything, this just proves that I spend far too much time watching tv! ;)

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I didn't want them to get captured and I didn't want the rubble to crush them. What I wanted was for the experience to change them.

Imagine how much more powerful the ending scene would have been if Andy and Lauren had "merged" and they both went off to join the Brotherhood.

Elissa Yorgey said...

Oh yes, Marcos and Lorna are the ones I am most attached to by far. I just have always had a soft spot for sibling relationships (probably because of my own), so Andy and Lauren also catch my interest.

I honestly hadn't considered Campbell being a mutant until I was typing that comment! It would be cliche, for sure, but I don't feel like the show has made a point of shying away from cliches. I guess I was more just positing a believable way he could have survived, since I am entirely unconvinced that he is dead.

BlueLights said...

Wow okay. I might be one of the few actually supporting the mutant underground. I don't get all the dissing honestly.
And knowing from the comics that the Hellfire club is shady af and is more interested in playing people off against each other for their own benefit , well we shall see how "right" they are in season 2.

As for Blink/Thunderbird, They are by far my favorite characters. I wanted them together since the first episode and I agree the writing was not really good with these too and the kiss felt rushed. But I guess they put it in since at that point it wasn't clear if the show would get a second season. In any case, I still think they were cute and that scene with John protecting her from the bullets was awesome. I hope that in season 2 the writers will develop them and their relationship better and built them up nicely.

Also, Lorna went from a character I liked to a character that started to annoy me. Her constant pouting an eye rolling, than the "i am so bad, I wear sexy clothes"..... I loved the four mutants (Marcos, John, Clarice, Lorna) working together. I don't like the splitting and all the Magneto vs. Xavier vibes. It's something we've seen before and I thought this show would go a different route. I thought it would be about friendship and sticking together. anyway, I will wait for season 2 and what they will do with the storyline.

Anonymous said...

First comment said everything i was going to say about this episode and series in general..Inhumans got alot of criticism and this show has all the same failings with slightly better cgi and a few more interesting characters. But it still has a certain potential that a major overhaul could allow the show to grow into something great.
Polaris is amazing i would have been extremely disappointed if they made her not go through with it.
I think because of rhe terribly rushed Blink/thunderbird hook up people forget Dreamer just died and was closest with Polaris. I felt the Strucker siblings bond for the first time in this episode just as it broke apart.
Considering the powers they have at their disposal i found the attempt to kidnap Campbell a terrible fail in every way. It wasted time then wasn't worth the time it took planning it.
Still enjoy the deviouness of the Frost sisters..
Its fitting they are so 'close' with Polaris. Although not really related I remember in X men first Class it was Magneto who saved their 'Mother' Emma Frost at the end of that movie.

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

By the way, did anyone else find Jace's cowardice especially loathsome in this episode? First send in the soldiers, then when that fails all he does is hide behind a car and bark orders at his pet mutants telling them to kill everything they see.

Scum.

An Honest Fangirl said...

I didn’t really get the feeling that he was acting out of cowardice. Maybe this is lingering affection from when he was an interesting character who potentially offered a more sympathetic look at “the other side,” but I mostly just saw his actions as the writers knowing that they had to use him somehow, and not deciding to do anything more creative.

I will say that the “I already faced my worst fear twice” was a nice detail, but at that point, all of the nice details in the world couldn’t save him.

An Honest Fangirl said...

Okay, writing more because now I'm thinking more about Agent Jace Turner as a character as a whole throughout the season. The writers seriously dropped the ball on him. I think that Jace was supposed to be a more sympathetic face on the human side of the divide, a counterpoint to Campbell's unflinching moral certainty and general evilness. Jace was supposed to have doubts, he was supposed to struggle with his place in the conflict.

Taken from Wikipedia's description of the character on The Gifted's page: A man struggling with the cold-blooded requirements of his job. Turner is a Sentinel Services agent, trying to find the Struckers and the other mutants. Nix said the character is "more than just a villain hoping to round up every last superpowered human," but is instead trying to find the balance between protecting society and taking away the rights of mutants.

We stopped seeing that in any meaningful way around the same time that Dreamer/Sonia messed with his memories. Besides his brief resistance against the HOUND program that ended in the Cuckoo Sisters massacring everything, we never saw him trying to find a balance. He never once appeared to consider mutant rights.

This discrepancy has caused an issue because the writers continued to position Jace as a more sympathetic character when it was clear that he was not acting as such. He didn't want to capture anyone. He wanted to kill them, even after they stopped resisting.

However, I think that this will change in season 2, and that that can only benefit the character. I don't think he's being written out. I think that he's going to be our link to The Purifiers, who have been mentioned far too many times in the past 3 episodes to not play a substantial role in the next season. My hope is that by having him join a very clear and obvious hate group, the writers will stop trying to write Jace as a character that we're supposed to root for in some capacity and turn him into a full on villain. Of course, we could get the same exact song and dance as we did this season of him waffling over whether or not extreme measures against mutants are warranted, but his speech at the end seems to indicate that that won't be the case.

That's kind of my thoughts on the issue.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

I really wanted to like this show, since so many elements I loved were there. I've seen all the X-Men movies (though I do plan to skip The New Mutants since I don't like horror) and love this show's connections to them. I liked Matt Nix's show Burn Notice (and The Gifted had two actors from it as well) and I was excited to see Amy Acker in something new.

The effects are great (I think the creepy effectiveness of the Sentinels alone sold me on the pilot), and the show has an array of interesting characters - but the writing/plotting is just sooo bad. I was actually a little disappointed the show got renewed. For me, it's somewhere between Iron Fist and Inhumans among Marvel shows. The question is, will season 2 get any better? I do know I won't be in any hurry to get to it. This year it had the benefit of the Marvel show I actually cared about, Agents of Shield, starting late, so I was looking for something to fill that gap (though, interestingly, a show I wasn't even going to try, The Orville, did a better job).

Pros: I like Marcus and Lorna better when they are apart. I also don't think Turner was being written out, so I'm curious where his character goes. Hopefully Andy and Lauren will develop more as characters since they won't always be interacting with each other, and their parents will have more to do with rebuilding the Underground.

Cons: I thought Campbell was good as a villain, but he (apparently) won't be around for season 2. I'll miss Dreamer. I was also expected a bigger twist at the end of the season. If it had been canceled, I wouldn't have liked additional hanging plot threads, but as it is, just Turner quitting his job and some of the Underground joining the Hellfire Club, it felt rather bland.