The latest episode of The Gifted, “boXed in”, finally gives us a bit of plot development, at least in finally explaining — to a point — what the significance is of July 15 and giving some motivation other than job duty to Sentinel Services agent Jace Turner. In the last post, I commented that the series really seemed to be stuck in a rut with its storytelling and that it needed some kind of driving force similar to what the classic The Incredible Hulk series had with the reporter Jack McGee chasing David Banner across the country, or how Richard Kimble sought to prove his innocence by tracking down the One-Armed Man through four seasons of The Fugitive. And now we have it.
Four years prior to the setting of the story, on July 15 in Atlanta, there was a peaceful march for mutants’ rights. Turner, his wife and young daughter were in a nearby park enjoying the day. They, and we, could not see the march beyond the trees in the park (thanks TV budget), but there was an audible commotion and some type of bursts shot into the air. As things sounded like they were escalating, Turner (who had a day off) suggested it was time to leave but before they could reach their daughter a massive blast, apparently from a mutant, engulfed the park, killing Turner’s daughter. And now that is his motivation for going after any and all mutants.
That one little detail has finally made The Gifted interesting again, setting up more conflict and will most likely send our group of mutants running now that Turner is starting to get close to discovering their location. Luckily, they have Reed Strucker on their side now, a non-mutant who knows exactly what makes Sentinel Services tick. With his assistance, he was able to draw the agents in the opposite direction of the hideout, but being forced to work with that angry bartender almost got him captured again. Reed’s wife Kate was able to prove her worth to the MU by saving the life of Trader, who was shot in the previous episode. While they remain safely holed up at their Mutant Underground headquarters, at some point they’re going to have to start moving to keep the story from stagnating again.
While the detail about July 15th gave us some forward plot motion — without explicitly telling us what happened or who was responsible for the blast — there were a couple of moments that really ground this episode to a halt. The flashback to the park in particular. Jace felt something bad was about to happen, so instead of running to grab his daughter from the playground, he and his wife just sat there yelling for her to come to them. What parent is going to sit there for more than a couple of seconds calling to their child who obviously is not going to move? It was frustrating to say the least, and while the kid’s death gave Turner motivation, he could have been a little more motivated to grab his child and get the hell out of the park.
There was a similar scene later on when Marcos and Polaris, who had been trying to evade Sentinel Services, came upon Turner and a few other agents. Disarming them all, the pair took Turner in the hopes of getting information out of him as to how they were able to turn their friend Pulse against his brother and sister mutants. Knowing they had very little time, Marcos had Dreamer and Clarice come to their location where Turner was confined with a rebar collar around his neck, courtesy of Polaris.
With time NOT on their side, the four of them basically stood around talking and doing nothing instead of trying to get into Turner’s head, almost as if they were waiting for the rest of Sentinel Services to arrive. They had plenty of time to get the information, but as Marcos watched out the window and saw the other agents arrive, Dreamer finally went to work on Turner, probing his memories. But Polaris was then forced to fling more rebar out the windows, impaling the hood of a car (which actually did nothing to deter the agents), and then when they fired tear gas canisters into the warehouse, she just stared at them and waited for them to go off. I assume those canisters are made of metal so why not fling them back out of the room?
Too many plot contrivances, including the fact that Dreamer wasn’t able to finish what she was doing which left Turner’s brain a bit scrambled. When he went home to his wife that night, he was in a hurry to tuck in his daughter. His wife was stunned and had to make him relive the girl’s death all over again which was a bit heartbreaking but it seemed a bit of an unnecessary plot twist when he already had enough motive to go after the mutants.
Aside from this, there is a little conflict now between Clarice and Dreamer. While Dreamer was doing her thing with Turner, Clarice realized that her memories of Johnny were false. Dreamer said she could remove the memories but at this point Clarice is too angry and betrayed to want any part of it. Will this damage her relationship with the rest of the mutants?
What did you think of this episode? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.