Television The Gifted

The Gifted – S02E05 Review

The episode begins with a flahsback to 12 years previous, a look at the cultivation of the treatment of mutants then and in the present. Dehumanization is the theme of this weeks episode, analysed in many different varieites and characters. And a very surprsing character becomes the voice of reason in the episode.

We begin with a memory/ flashback to twelve years ago, in Dallas Texas, some sub-plot for our lovely character whose becoming indoctrinated into the hate-group (effectively symbolic of any oppressive regime/ Nazi-esque..) We see him and his partner (at the time) harassing a young man, who’s mutant gene is visible and unmissable, for nothing other than standing outside a shop, waiting for a friend and drinking a can of soda. This comments sociologically on racism at every violating institutional level that is possible within power-regimes (ie. Governments…/ totalitarian societies, or a mix between) Unlike todays-version of Jace Turner, this one actually questions his partner/co-worker, protesting the innocence of the mutant who they’re blatantly harassing and physically assaulting (with the use of a stun gun) for absolutely no reason…. Other than being a mutant. However, although he ethically disagrees with the actions of his fellow policeman, he obliges him and gives in in his despite against the use of force and unlawful arrest of the citizen.

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This can be extrapolated to be a commentary on how any group of people, either through ethnicity, appearance, race etc.. are still violated and abused by officers of the law. Many links here to the Black Lives Matter campaign that’s prominent in the States. The fight for justice and equal treatment for all, regardless of skin-colour or any other divisive categorization.

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“It was a violent and unprovoked attack, that left the staff of Lynwood hospital, beaten and bloody.” Is our first introduction to the media reception of the attack or assault on the hospital that were mistreating, torturing and abusing the rights of mutants held there against their will. The changing of the narrative in order to suit a propagandistic purpose is pretty evidently clear here..  in the end, attaching the term “Mutant, Extremist Terrorism” enunciated with heavy underlying implications.

Gifted S02E05 Blondies andy lorna watching news
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We then see the struggle with all the new ‘adoptee’s, the mutants that Clarice and John rescued from the institution in last week’s episode but they’re unable to house them. Clarice suggests using ‘Erg’, reaching out and seeing if the Underground* could take them in, since they don’t have the supplies or capability in their current premises. Marcos is hesitant, not fully trusting of the Underground and their leader.

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The revelation of the mysterious freed prisoner from the institute – one of, if not the main reason they led the charge into the building and set free the mutants, in a, multiple-birds with one stone situation, but also an impeccable example of perfectly utilized misdirection. Whilst the inevitable chaos of the event is ensuing, they escape out the back with their prize. The reveal is somewhat hampered by the fact that she is enduring severe psychological and physical PTSD and appears to be potentially beyond help. The blonde trio take a peek inside her head to get an idea of what the past few years of incarceration have been like for the girl, and come out of it horrified at what they’ve seen.

the gifted s02e05 blondies look inside rebeccas head
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Their approach to attempting to indoctrinate her and (effectively use her for their own ends) is flawed and only makes her feel a continuation of the dehumanization, only with no physical abuse, but still all the trimmings of what appears to be a better decorated less violent cage, but a cage nonetheless.. Their wording alone in how they phrase their goals, effectively objectify and subjugate the girl further. Telling her she should want to become a “weapon” for the cause without any attempt to alleviate her current mental state. Blondie and Lorna talk, about how they don’t have time for her not to get onboard immediately, how Reeva’s plan to cripple their enemies doesn’t or cant happen without the girl.

Blondie and lorna pressuring rebecca
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Andy interrupts their conversation, where they’re lamenting that Reeva’s latest ‘weapon is a dud’. He shifts the dialogue with an accusatory “Well maybe if you stop calling her a weapon? I mean, she is a person. You could try treating her like one.. You cover her in wires, talk about her like she’s a ‘thing’. What do you expect?” Andy is subtly and eloquently commenting on the dehumanization that has not just taken place in this girl’s life, but also the fact that they’re continuing and perpetuating that discourse, just without the violence. Their approach is the problem, not the girl. He asks to talk to her, and see if attempting to communicate with her on a human level could make a difference in her reception of them and her mental state.

andy argues about rebecca with blondie and lorna
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Meanwhile in the sewers, Clarice and John lead the rescue mutants to try and find Erg and his mysterious clan of mutants, underground, Marcos interacts further with one of the female rescues, she can almost be read as the parallel with John, her power being the creation of light, (both literal and metaphorical, and even arguably…. Philosophical). John has a hard time understanding her mindset and temperament given all that she’s been through, his experience has filled him with a burning anger, a rage that fuels him, and, regularly, clouds his vision when it comes to objectivity. He cant wrap his head around her being able to see to good in things, nearly anything, being able to take joy out of simple pleasures. “There’s always a bit of light, even in the darkest places.”

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We get to see a different side of Andy when he reveals his real reasons for joining up with the Inner Circle’s group, it wasn’t just a matter of anger or teenage rebellion, he tells her (and us) “This place, even if your still kind of alone, at least you don’t have to apologise for just being who you are. That’s kind of how it was with my family, I tried to explain but they just didn’t get it.” He continues to talk to her, and she slowly opens up.

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Next, we have Jace  making one questionable decision after another, he goes to a meeting of the ‘Purifiers’ group… When the group begins their meeting they become enraged by the fact that the mutants got away with the attack on the hospital, and begin planning an attack on the mutant protest that will be marching through the city. The groups plan is to ‘send a message’. Interestingly, Jace offers a different option. “Look, I know I’m just a guest here, but fighting the mutant protesters, that’s just going to make them look like victims. Somebody films it, it goes viral, you end up looking just as bad as them. You have a lot of man power here, if you wanted to, you could make a difference. The mutants that escaped from the mental hospital are fugitives.”  He argues that finding hospitals who are mutant friendly, logically would be the best place to start as it said some of them were injured. Find the mutants, turn them in, and show everybody, that the Purifiers are part of the solution.

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Erg, offers to take in the mutants from the hospital, but…. On the condition that they take the ‘mark’. The mark being an “M” branded with a hot iron into the side of their face. He tells them that any mutant with a visible distinction is exempt, but for others, in order to stay and join them, that is the price/ mandatory requirement. Marcos is heavily against this, asking them to mutilate themselves in order to stay, Clarice agrees however, that its their house their rules. The purpose behind the mutilation of the mutants, was, arguably, and covertly, a re-appropriation of the branding that used to be used against minorities, examples like (a) Southern Slave-Owners who literally branded their slaves like cattle, and (b) the ‘Yellow Star’ that was forced on Jewish people by the Nazi’s. Erg, it seems is attempting to redirect the purpose and statement behind it, but its highly problematic… and not just from an academic point of view.

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We see a further exploration of Rebecca’s power whilst they’re out getting something to eat, and exploring Rebecca’s newfound freedom. Andy asks how it works, turning things inside out. Rebecca’s responds saying: “Most people can move things up, down, sideways, for me, there’s another direction. I just kind of twist things.” Now this sentence in particular struck me as quite interesting.. Given her high priority status within her new group, could this be a pre-emptive comment on her taking things that not only the group do, but mutants in general, in a new direction?

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We see some adorable teen romance blossoming between the pair on their way back up to their premises. Something that’s been a bit overdue was a new budding romance, and these incredibly powerful and unique teen mutants, perfectly fill the bill. A fitting and well deserved respite for this damsel in distress’ previous year, although i get the feeling that this is a girl who could slay her own dragons..

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