TV Review: The Gifted S1E7 eXtreme Measures

One of my favorite episodes so far. Thunderbird starts by hunting down Blink, feeling she is unsafe with the SS crackdown on mutants. This leads to…well some sad stuff, but Blink is back!! She seems to be the character with the most logical head on her shoulders. Not that the Strucker kids are bad, they are just, well, kids and not yet disillusioned in the ways of life. Claire is disillusioned, but still functional. This girl can’t help but sympathize with that.

Meanwhile Eclipse’s ex calls in her favor. This plot line was more interesting than I expected it to be. Apparently the issue isn’t that Eclipse doesn’t want to kill people and now wants to be a good guy. It’s that he genuinely enjoys being the bad ass tough guy that the cartels make him out to be. While he doesn’t have to hurt anyone, it becomes clear that destroying things and scaring people engages him in a way that working with the Mutant Underground doesn’t. He might want to be a good guy, and might not want to kill people. But clearly there’s that part of him that revels in the actual fight, especially when he gets to justify his behavior by going against bad guys, and gets more cash to help with the MU. This is an interesting twist on his character.

Also a plot that made me happy, we learn that the kid flirting with Lauren Strucker might just be a criminal. Now, that’s not hard in this world, because the public criminalizes just being a mutant. But he may have actually made the choice to be involved with unabashedly criminal activity, in this case robbery. While this plot line was a little expected, I’m not upset to see it because I felt that Lauren wasn’t quite as engaged with Wes, the “romance” that was blossoming was simply because he was there, available, and trying to charm her. But Reed finds evidence on the drives they stole that Wes was less that honest when he sought MU protection. Happily, the MU has policies on actual criminals. And even more happy-making is the whole scene with Reed and Cait, where she tells Reed not to do something utterly stupid, like report Wes to the MU to get him away from Lauren. Instead, Cait encourages Reed to tell Lauren, and have some faith in his daughter’s ability to make good decisions.

In older shows this never would have happened. Instead we’d get a ton of drama from “Dad is making assumptions about boy to protect daughter”, “daughter trusts boy over dad”, “oh look, dad was right.” I’m not sure teens today will understand what a huge change that is for us older folk. I’m ecstatic to see that whole father undermining his daughter’s decision-making skills trope go very far away.

Furthermore, when Wes admits his bad choices (uh huh, Reed understand those). Reed shows some really awesome qualities by giving Wes the opportunity to come clean instead of just telling the MU and poisoning the only safety this boy might have over stupid choices. (Wes got involved with a gang and helped them steal from stores. Not smart, and he knew it, and regretted it. But mistakes, the lessons says, should not sentence a person to the kind of persecution mutants face in this world, with no help, no protection.) The MU agrees to keep Wes safe, for now, but opt to remove him to a different location.

Again, mixed feelings here, because I thought the blooming romance was a little forced, and I don’t like the idea that the MU might be moving him to protect him from Reed. (One would assume Wes would have a higher priority spot over Reed, given that Wes is probably more trustworthy to the mutant cause. In fact, one could also argue that the MU’s policy of not helping any mutant who hurts other mutants is being broken by keeping Reed protected.)

Finally, OMG Turner. Turner, Turner. You can see on his face that he KNOWS his witch hunt against mutants is wrong. And he chooses to seek justification of his actions instead of restraining himself. You can tell he is terrified by these weasels from Trask Enterprises. I was totally cheering for the Department of Justice when they swung in and tried to check the crazy, horrible violations of privacy Turner is engaging in. (Hey, other viewers, you do understand that they are using the idea of terrorism to listen in to ALL phone calls in the area, of private citizens, and are raiding all kinds of homes of people even suspected of being mutant sympathizers on the idea they might know something about the Mutant Underground, right? I mean, the show isn’t being subtle about that, especially in this episode, but I feel like there isn’t a level of terrified feedback coming back about this.) Creepy Dr. Campbell is pushing to put sleeper brainwashed mutants into spy positions all over the city to try to break the MU. At least Turner is against that.

Honestly, though, if this episode with the understated reveal of the bullet-ridden door of Blink’s safe house, and the fate of the DOJ warrioress who dared to stand up to Turner about his human rights violations (OMG that line about mutants not deserving human rights because some of them consider themselves a separate species, is that not a terrifying moment!) doesn’t chill you, then you aren’t paying attention, to either the show, OR the in real life ICE campaign against illegal immigrants these days.


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