The Gifted: “eXodus” Season 1 Episode 3 Review

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There’s a really great moment in “eXodus” where Reed, playing like he’s on the run while being traced by Sentinel Services, encounters a mutant mother and daughter also in hiding. Beyond merely trying to keep his family together, this is the first time he really sees mutants as being innocent in their fight. The mother even uses her power to take away the pain he felt from the shot he took from Sentinel Services. Next he has to give them up to those who will lock them up forever.

“eXodus” is a tough sell in a lot of ways. Characters make a lot of silly decisions and one plot development toward the end forms a subplot that already looks to be annoying. But this episode succeeds in giving Reed pathos. The moment he jumps out of the van and mouths off to his captor was genuinely emotional. It’s just plain strong character work.

Sadly, the rest of the episode relies on Caitlin’s forced decision to take her kids out of the Mutant Underground and go hide with her brother, all because she doesn’t like how slowly the plans to rescue Reed and Polaris are moving. This also leaves us to deal with some unnecessary Strucker drama, as Caitlin’s brother had little interesting in risking his own family. But this storyline at the very least starts to develop Andy as an angry mutant who’s a little trigger happy with his powers (there’s a little Magneto in him, if you will). That’s an exciting prospect, as different sides of the same fight could emerge as the series goes on.

In saving the Struckers, Eclipse and Thunderbird find themselves in a jam, which takes a risky move from Dreamer, who inserts a memory of love into Blink’s mind so she can be emotional enough for her powers to resurface. While that makes sense in X-theory, prolonging Blink’s nonconsensual infatuation with Thunderbird any more than just the climax of this episode seems unnecessary. These mutant characters, save for the still-imprisoned Polaris, have yet to find a way to resonate. Giving them melodramatic personal drama that has little to do with the series or its themes is not the way to go.

And yet, The Gifted still remains reasonably enjoyable. Significant character moves for Reed and Andy save “eXodus” from being a complete waste, and we get some fun mutant action in the Struckers’ escape back to the mutant hideaway. But the show won’t get away with episodes focusing on questionable character motivations and actions for much longer. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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