Posted October 9, 2017 by Katelyn Barnes in Comics

REVIEW: The Gifted S01E01 – eXposed

The Gifted Fox Episode 1 eXposed
The Gifted Fox Episode 1 eXposed

Episode: S01E01 – eXposed
Air Date: October, 2, 2017
Executive Producer: Matt Nix, Stan Lee
Created by: Matt Nix
Starring: Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Sean Teale, Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White, Coby Bell, Jamie Chung, Blair Redford, Emma Dumont

In the last fifteen minutes of The Gifted’s premier episode, “eXposed’, the Struckers are on the run from an American federal unit called Sentinel Services. They’re in a nondescript (and sticky) car, headed to Mexico. When they meet Marcus, head of the Mutant Underground at the rendezvous spot, wife and mother Kate Strucker (Amy Acker) demands to know how they’re going to get across the border and is told they must go over the wall or under the wall and either way, it’s going to be difficult. This is The Gifted from start to finish, direct and unsubtle.

It’s a tone that hits some sour notes, like when Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) finds out his children are mutants while soaring music plays in the background, or when the Strucker children practice their mutant powers on a very public vending machine in the middle of their getaway, but overall, the directness works. Pilot episodes always have a lot of heavy lifting to do- who are the characters, where are the characters, and why but The Gifted is able to do this by focusing on two sets of characters and one intersecting story.

The first set of characters we meet are “The Gifted,” specifically Clarice/Blink (Jamie Chung), a recent escapee from a mutant detention center, with diamond shaped neon green eyes who can create portals with her hands; Marcus Diaz/Eclipse (Sean Teale), a man seemingly made of light who can shoot that light out of his hands at at his enemies; John Proadstar/Thunderstar (Blair Redford) who has very acute senses and can track anyone; and Lorna Dane/Polaris (Emma Dumont) who has the ability to draw metal to her, a very familiar power, if you ask me.

John, Marcus, and Lorna spring out of the shadows to rescue Clarice and while they are successful there, they loose Lorna to the armed men, America’s mutant-hunting Sentinel Services, in the process. She is dragged away and trundled into a black van headed to the detention center, while boyfriend Marcus screams for her.

The GIfted S01E01 Stephen Moyer Emma Dumont

©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Eliza MorseFOX

While Marcus considers increasingly desperate avenues to free Lorna, like asking Clarice to use her touchy portal powers to rip a hole into the center, which she sensibly refuses, we are introduced to The Struckers, the All-American Texan family of mom, Kate (Amy Acker), daughter, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), son, Andy (Percy Hynes White), and father, Reed (Stephen Moyer). Our All-American family has some secrets, however. First, Reed is an District Attorney, who spends much of his time organizing the cases against captured mutants. And right now, his time is spent on Lorna, current chained in a clear plastic cell. He recommends she cooperate with the State, because he knows something about her, she’s pregnant. Lorna is left screaming, again.

Our other secret keepers are Lauren and Andy, both of whom have been struggling to keep control of their new abilities. Lauren can solidify the air around her and Andy, well, when he is afraid and/or angry, he inadvertently destroys things with his mind. The children are able to keep their secrets until a school dance wherein Andy is dragged to the showers and shoved under a scalding stream of water until his fear and fury is unleashed and he nearly brings down the whole school. It is only by Lauren’s power of protection by air that the two are able to get out alive. But by then, their secrets are out. They’re mutants and they’re on the radar of Sentinel Services now.

One quick call and soaringly musical revelation to Reed later, and the family is on the run. Luckily, Reed has an idea. He calls up Marcus, offers to help free Lorna for papers and passage to Mexico. Marcus agrees after meeting Reed at a mutant bar (where we get a Stan Lee sighting!) and finds out Lorna is pregnant. He has one condition, he’ll help the Strucker family if Reed stays behind to help Lorna. Reed agrees.

After a desperate drive to the underground parking of the Mutant Underground building, Marcus is set to hand over the papers when Sentinel Services appear, complete with their “Weapon”, robotic spiders of death who chase unfortunates and attach themselves painfully to whatever limb they can reach. As the mutants, Kate, and Reed run, the Weapon chases, jumping on John, who is only freed by Marcus’s hand laser lights, and kept at bay by Lauren and Andy’s air wall and exploding rage. After Marcus convinces Clarice to open a portal to the safe room next door, people begin to jump through until Clarice loses her hold on the portal and Reed is shut out and left behind. Reed is not alone, Sentinel Services is closing in.

This was a tight, solid opening for this new story in a post (maybe) X-Men world. I hope The Gifted can maintain this pace and I look forward to episode two.

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Katelyn Barnes is a fast-talking, karaoke-loving, geek of all trades. If she isn’t belting out the best of Foreigner, then she’s got her nose in a book. She often does both at once. She is also a true devotee of all things geeky in television. It began, long ago, with Buffy, and now encompasses the best sci-fi and fantasy shows television has to offer. Born in New England and raised in the American Midwest, Katelyn has earned degrees in English and History. She spends much of her time writing and traveling to as many new places as she possibly can.