Spoilers The Gifted - Season 2

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by jmc247, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    crookeddy laughs at how I say it like it's a bad thing. I laugh at how anyone thinks it's not. But I have to admit: If you sympathize with Jace Turner, then his repeated tragic misunderstandings that lead his fundamentally good heart astray are much more satisfying fantasies. Like every good soap, repeating the same story is never a problem. Notice how not repeating last season is deemed as getting lost. The first season was pointlessly repetitive and dramatically simplistic (as in no serious choices made,) until the final episode, where it suddenly moved. The second season isn't lost. Quite the opposite, it's suffering because a rigid political agenda is keeping it on a very narrow track. No exploring their version of Sense8 or their version of Liber8, (from Continuum, which at least had political people talking politics.)

    As to the question of the show's budget. The heavy reliance on camera effects like a motor shaking the camera for Noah's murder of Madeline; the limited use of even stock opticals like Clarice's rings; the limited use of the time-consuming (hence expensive) camera work for the Frosts, using a simple hexagon as the cell unit for Lauren's shields; using wire stunts for Andy's power; heavy use of non-speaking and/or masked extras; the part-time work from Grace Lee Byers...all indications are the show is extremely parsimonious. I'm pretty sure the show's topicality, which has offended so many here and earned such sullen silence, isn't going down any better in boardrooms at FX or anywhere.

    Actually, with Fox being split, this should be a property kept for flexibility, but in particular..."Hawk" News? A tycoon's media empire is a major cause of our problems? No, far better the show should pretend the media are just hamstrung by the consumer sovereignty of the rabble, vainly trying to reconcile their professional ethics with the superior citizen's duty of enlightening the unwashed masses. It's true that it's the despicable Andy who wants to censor Fox, er, Hawk News for being demagogic. Obviously no right-minded human being could possibly find anything remotely sympathetic about him. (I'm not right-minded, equally obviously, but it seemed to me the Strucker family reunion was outstandingly acted and very affecting.) My guess is that's too subtle a takeback to make up for Benedict O'Reilly.

    Possibly the funniest line in the wretched torture scenes was Turner calling Andy Strucker a major Mutant Underground member. Andy is not even a major Inner Circle figure. But maybe it was him saying Atlanta was a disaster for John, as if he'd actually succeeded in killing them all, just as he ordered. Or maybe it was his astonishment at the thought a revolutionary political group might not have a monopoly, or even split. What wasn't funny was the way the scene deliberately glossed over how Turner was torturing John, by turning Officer Ted into .50 cal Kyle, the dude who wanted to murder the doctor at the clinic, so that Turner looked moderate and humane by contrast. John ratting out Lorna while never mentioning the Frosts or Reeva Payge was an inadvertent character assassination. I don't blame him for talking, torture, right? But arbitrarily omitting them but singling out Lorna was so Jace could wrongly think that the Purifiers and the Mutant Underground are enemies. The title reminds us, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Mutant Underground, according to what the episode shows, mistakenly thinks they and the Inner Circle share an enemy and thus are friends. But they learn better because the dregs of inhumanity (aka Andy,) show they are wrong. The conclusion of the episode is that the good guys are now confirmed in their commitment to kill the Inner Circle.

    I think all this is BS, driven by political commitment, which is why they love Jace Turner. There's not much point in arguing in detail against a point of view so congenial to the popular (here) political views. I will point out that the episode early on has the good Struckers returning from their assault on Madeline Risman Garber's lab, where they are spared the embarrassment of doing the murders themselves by Noah. Noah was called a "curse," by his mentor Dr. M, whereup he of course killed her, the two guards if Lauren hadn't already killed them and demolished the building (and probably himself.) Since Dr. M has also dissed the good guys, this was entirely appropriate. Since Andy is a bad guy, his losing his temper at a man who shot his sister in the back, even hurting him and being tempted to kill him long enough for Lauren to pull him away, well, obviously this is entirely unforgivable. I know Lauren is not really a very well defined character, but for my part, I think she and her parents should at least be conflicted about what happens to someone who shot her. (Yes, he did, hence the emphasis on the bullet proof jackets earlier.)

    This is a interesting example of a fantastic fiction that everyday people should be able to relate to, by the way. Every young soldier sent to some other country has a significant chance of having done something like this, or worse. Or with a certain degree of premeditation. Do we, the families and fellow citizens of these young men (and occasionally women,) simply condemn them as innately bad people, unforgivable? Do we condemn their fellows who let them get away with this? Do we suspect everyone who returns, because we know (not guess, know) these things are inevitable when terror and guns and mortal struggle are conjoined? That is after all why it is a crime against peace to start a war.

    Lastly a question about how strikingly pale Emma Dumont and Percy Hynes White are. Is this a makeup thing? As in, they're trying to keep from identifying the Inner Circle with black nationalists by playing up the blonds? Or is it just the contrast with Dumont's green hair? And the kid is leading an unhealthy monied lifestyle already?

    PS There were a couple of notably wrong lines. Lauren claimed Andy attacked her, but it is perfectly obvious that if Andy hadn't fought back at the hospital, Marcos still would have fought to keep the mutants from escaping, just as he and John fought to keep other criminal mutants in prison with the restraint collars. And when Marcos spoke about going back to hating each other, it was even more objectionable. It has always been Marcos dumping Lorna because of politics and Marcos hating her because she joined the Inner Circle. About the only thing the episode did get right was that Lorna and Andy don't hate their friends, they disagree with them. Helping them out was of course a big mistake, as no good deed goes unpunished.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  2. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    Have you ever noticed how nobody responds to your novels? It's not just because nobody has time to read them, but also because they're pretty ridiculous. You might as well stop writing them as you're pretty much talking to yourself...
     
  3. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Gods, I'm so fucking sick of Turner's bullshit.

    "The only people who run are those who have something to hide."

    No, asshole, they're children in a halfway house who are scared to death and then you and your goons come busting in with your guns. Of course they ran. :rolleyes:

    Oh, and look at that. Your racist buddy executed one of them which proved their point. And then you cover him?

    I don't care what he does from here out, he's completely irredeemable. I know it won't happen, but he needs to just go away already because he's almost as bad as Reeva and I find his character more off-putting than the clunky dialogue and shitty musical montages (which we actually didn't get in this episode, so that's something...).

    Really, the only good thing about this episode was Lorna and Marcos reconciling (and hopefully it'll actually last) and discovered Reeva and Ryan are in cahoots with each other.
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I agree about Turner's ongoing hypocrisy, but I think his reaction here helped illustrate why racist cops are protected by the system. Turner knew that the Purifier guy had murdered the mutant, and he was conflicted about it, but ultimately he saw the guy as a fellow lawman, a brother in arms, and couldn't turn on him even though he knew the guy was guilty. It's natural for law enforcement members to feel very protective of one another against the dangers of the job, but that can too easily be twisted into protecting bad cops from rightful prosecution. And it can be forgotten that they're supposed to be protecting the public, not just each other.

    I'm puzzled by the way Blink's hair looks these days. It's supposed to be purple, but the combination of the hair color, lighting, and digital color correction they use makes it consistently look like more of an ashy gray. There were just a couple of moments in the Morlock tunnels where the light hit her hair and brought out the purple. I don't understand why the producers are satisfied with it looking so unflattering the rest of the time.
     
  5. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Disagree strenuously that Reeva is worse than Turner, for approximately the same reasons disagree strenuously that John Brown was a crazy/evil/demonic old man. The Mutant Underground plans to kill the Inner Circle for daring to liberate prisoners, and even worse try to overthrow a government that by policy persecutes, imprisons, tortures and murders people. The Hound program was not a problem for the Mutant Underground, compared to the horror of assassinating an avowed enemy. The Inner Circle knew where the Underground lived and didn't try to kill them, despite their desperate efforts to keep mutants locked in mental hospitals and tortured prisoner. And second, to keep mutants tortured in jails. They didn't even kill Marcos after he attacked them in a custody dispute. Yes, Reeva has been ruthless in resisting the nightmare of the country depicted in the series. But the Underground wants to murder Reeva in defense of persecution, imprisonment, torture and murder as long as its government business as usual (except of course when it's their own personal issue.) Politically the show is the equivalent of antebellum Cotton Whigs and plantation Democrats who think the problem is abolitionists causing disunion, not slavery. And resisting the Fugitive Slave law is immoral. (Well, unless there's personal relationship involved.)

    The show does indeed try to humanize killer cops, by showing Turner's noble motive, protecting a friend. And it show his anguish over this, something I'm not sure is really worth as much as the show thinks. And lastly, it shows his punishment, finally losing his wife, self-inflicted out of sheer nobility. This strikes me as really stretching. Just as the show insists that dividing the country is terrible, it insists the we must understand the Turners, cops who really really are in deadly peril from monsters, who has had friends who've lost comrades to the monsters, lost a friend himself to the monsters, lost his daughter himself to the monsters and even had the monsters fouling his mind. All this is so unlike contemporary reality it strikes me as script rigging. By the way, last episode shot a bound prisoner because he was peeved. Ted shot a free prisoner with powers when he was very likely not over nearly being killed one or two days before. What's to say Ted wouldn't break and rat him out if he was to go down? Best not to take a chance. By the way, Turner knows Lorna had a baby, and who Ellen Strucker is. He should be looking for them, and should find them.

    As to Reeva, Lorna knows that Reeva didn't kill Marcos, despite his attacking them. She knows Reeva has known where the Underground is and hasn't attacked them. She knows that Reeva did not order the massacre at Creed. She knows that Reeva imprisoned Rebecca over this, and that lo, Rebecca is dead. She knows that the Hellfire Club Reeva killed off was nothing but a band of thieves protecting each other, indifferent to the plight of anyone who wasn't useful to their pocketbooks. She knows that Reeva has consistently operated on a plan, with specific goals in mind. She has absolutely no reason to be convinced that Reeva is suddenly going to resort to indiscriminate slaughter of the population at large. She knows how Reeva set up Quinn. She should immediately think Reeva is setting up Benedict Ryan. And the new recruits would be terrific bait to lure Purifiers into a trap, with a death toll to break their armed opposition. I strongly suspect the show does intend Benedict Ryan is her pawn (or possibly even a mutant himself.) This is very much like the old canards that the civil rights movement was stirred up by outside agitators. See I Was a Communist for the FBI or The Trial for previous incarnations of the theme.

    Lorna's betrayal is really a matter of her changing her mind about the value of ending the Hound program, about how mental patients really are all monsters who deserve to be locked in cages and tortured, and how every prisoner in a jail deserves to stay there forever, also being tortured. And about how she really was mean to Marcos, the dude who told her his way or the highway,not once but twice; resorted to violence in a custody dispute; accused her of setting the world on fire; boasted how he was considerate enough to let her leave lest things get violent; attempted to get violent with her and her allies at the mental hospital; attempted to stop the Regimen jail break. It's true that Lorna was a prisoner in a collar and Marcos fights for the right of the state to do this. And that Marcos is a criminal who never got caught for his crimes and by the right he defends should also be in a jail tortured by a collar. Marcos being called a hypocrite for getting desperate enough to resort to the Morlocks is BS.. Marcos also resorted to the Guerra Cartel and the Inner Circle, without compromising his loyalty to the ultimate goal of crushing all. Lorna is no longer a mother, and is now rational again. Her newly rediscovered principles reflect her natural and decent hatred for the unspeakably evil Reeva. Or so the show would have it. It's amusing how Reeva's refusal to tell her plans to Lorna copies the Laura Dern/Oscar Isaac conflict in the last Star Wars movie. The show may have meant to divert attention from Marcos' true failings. But maybe they actually believe that nonsense was a stand up and cheer moment for Jamie Chung?

    A major part of the episode is the sudden personality change in Lauren. It is clearly Andy using his connection with Fenris to "drag me [Lauren] down into the darkness with him." Having just taken part in the murder of Dr. Madeline Risman Garber of course couldn't possibly have nearly as much effect as seeing Andy beat on a guy who was innocently minding his own business. Amusingly enough, this reminded me of how Lorna was captured in the first episode. As she said to Reed then, if she wanted to kill the guy, he'd be dead. The same is true of Andy. There is one plotting problem, which is that only plot armor can keep that guy from telling the cops when he gets away.

    Last, my ear failed me completely in identifying the music box tune.

    PS James Carpinello plays new recruit Max. He's married to Amy Acker. It's always curious to know how much influence actors have on new hires.

    The new recruits are supposed to have slaughtered "thousands" on a cruise ship. It is preposterous that Max wasn't given the Osama bin Laden treatment, summary execution, or the Timothy McVeigh, execution after trial and conviction. But as part of his evil evilness Max boasts of his success being because he only did stuff for money. Not sure how he thought he was a success. But even Lorna should wonder who paid him to kill all those people on the boat. Obviously mutants are just thrill killers, no matter what they say. This is awkward when the persecution of mutants is supposed sometimes to stand in for racial persecution. (This show never identifies mutant oppression with oppression of gays and lesbians.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  6. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    So, they have a teleporter with them, but they try to beat the helicopter in their car?

    No Turner this week. Didn't miss him.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Remember, Blink can only teleport to a location she can see or already knows.
     
  8. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Wow, that was a surprisingly good episode, at least for The Gifted. The stilted dialogue was kept down to a minimum, the requisite musical montage was well-utilized, and even the flashbacks were put into good use. The only real downside was John being stubbornly stupid yet again, filling in the quota gap Turner left behind by being blissfully absent.

    Hopefully this is a turning point for the series (although expect Turner to continue to be fucking awful) and it'll begin growing in storytelling.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I do find it implausible how quickly and completely Polaris has, well, reversed polarity from being firmly in Reeva's camp to being solidly against her. That was a little too easy a turnaround.

    And I'm still distracted by their inability to make Blink's hair look purple. This week it either looked gray or pale blue.
     
  10. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Motherhood can have that affect on women who need to protect their children. Plus, she still loves Marco who is on the other side. But I'm a guy who lives in a globe; what do I know. :shrug:
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Reeva could have used Hellfire Club millions to hire a human assassin to kill Whedon at any since she took over. Dragon or no, a bomb in the car, a missile fired from a chopper, ricin in her food, nerve gas in the elevator, Whedon was dead any time Reeva wanted. Waiting until the Mutant Underground had attacked not once, but twice, and was organizing an even larger attack displays real reluctance on her part to attack other mutants who aren't actively fighting the plan. Whedon of course wanted to murder Reeva from day one, but thought she couldn't The show of course thinks all this displays Reeva's absolute vileness. What the show's dialogue says, and what the story shows, simply aren't the same thing.

    The same is true of Erg and the Morlocks, the supposedly proud mutants getting branded like cattle and hiding like rats. No matter what the heroes say, it isn't so. One of the plot issues in the Inner Circle attack on the national meeting is how they knew about it. Phone taps, informants, Fade eavesdropping, the Frosts reading minds are all feasible...but that kind of detailed information would have a high probability of revealing Polaris' treason. (Polaris' ability to be sure the Frosts won't pick anything up, even on purpose, is plot armor, to be accepted, or else.) The simple explanation of course is that Erg made up the story about Evangeline threatening to rat them out because that's what he did to Evangeline. He was late because he didn't want to be there to get caught in friendly fire. It's likely the show will choose to ignore the plot hole. A secondary plot issue is the notion that the evillest evil snarky villains to evilly snark don't seem to me to be all that effective. I wouldn't have tried to make that believable on The Gifted's budget either, though.

    All the new Fenris stuff is as big a snooze as the Speed Force. The DNA from the hair samples from Andreas and Andrea did seem at first to be the real treasure but apparently not. I still don't know why Lauren suddenly discovered a concern with mutant rights in North Carolina, but the murder of Dr. M seems somehow to have had no more effect than Sonia's murder. I also don't know whether anybody will ever say a word about discovering Andreas and Andrea were Reeed's grandparents. Apparently that doesn't have any effect either. As to Andy, the joy in seeming him bloody should be just a warm up: If the climax of the season/series doesn't kill him, they're cheating.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Those have been factors all along, yet she still stuck with the Inner Circle despite those considerations because she believed in what they were doing. What I'm saying is that her abandonment of that belief seems too total and too quick.
     
  13. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Maybe bad genes. She's either too complex for us to figure out, or the writers don't know what to do with her character. We're getting mixed messages for sure. I'll keep watching until they figure it out.

    Changing topics, I'm liking the multiple Strucker story arc, so far. They can't keep brother and sister (and Dad) apart for too much longer. The Struckers all seem to be linked, even across dead generations. What can happen when three of them combine their powers? Probably have to wait until the season finale for their big boom special effect. :)
     
  14. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    From my perspective, the Mutant Underground is a dead end, whose basic strategy is nonresistance except to kill other mutants who threaten the status quo. The underground offers no long term safety whatsoever. Trying to make a life for Dawn is Polaris' strongest motive to join the Inner Circle, the only group that offers any hope.

    But, Polaris sent Dawn away. Visually, she is no longer a mother. So she no longer has any motherly motivation for staying in the Inner Circle. Thus, when temptation reared in the encounter with Marcos while saving John, she went back to him. Marcos dumped her for her politics, so to get him back, she dumped her politics.
     
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  15. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    On this, I have to agree with you. The shows protagonists are fools fighting a fight that has no end endgame.

    Anyway, another series low for the show, this time by a wide margin. It's dead Jim.
     
  16. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't watch the newest ep, I finally just lost interest. I hope it gets better again, but I doubt it has a long life ahead of it.
     
  17. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I checked the ratings and it doesn't look good. Season 2 viewership is down 38% from Season 1 with the last few episodes down 50%. It was marginal to get renewed from Season 1. Even an original X-Men guest star or good writing can't save it, now. It's done. :(
     
  18. crookeddy

    crookeddy Commodore Commodore

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    Even though I agreed with you, the sum of your posts makes it look like you would also say Ghandi and Mlk were dead ends.
     
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As to Gandhi and Martin Luther King being dead ends...The English withdrew from India after the fantastic violence of the second world war, which consumed vast reserves of money. The UK was rationing for years after the war. (See the movie A Private Function.) So it's not clear that Gandhian non-violence was more important than the results of violence impairing the ability of the English to crush violent resistance. Also, Gandhian mass civil disobedience by a majority portion of the population is by no means the same thing as pacifism, and is the very much about making trouble. Moreover, when the English did live the partition of India, there were millions of people displaced. The standards estimates of deaths range from 200 000 to 2 000 000. If it had been Communists who did this, the partition would be counted as a hideous atrocity. I am not able to say what else may have been, but it is not entirely clear whether Gandhian resistance was obviously successful.

    As to Martin Luther King, the man was assassinated at a young age and it impossible to say what his final personal legacy would have been. I will say that pretending Dr. King solved the problem of racism by non-violent means is in my judgment a way of denying racism exists. And harping on his non-violence in opposition to all other African-American leaders----or the role of veterans claiming their equal rights earned on the battlefield---serves often as a way of dismissing current activism on racism. If the Mutant Underground represents the loyal opposition a la King as he currently misrepresented, the insistence the Mutant Underground must, must, must kill the "race war" Inner Circle is like imaging Dr. King taking up a gun and killing....Malcolm X. The whole general idea of the Inner Circle being "race war" is like saying Black Fascism is a terrible thing all right thinking persons are worried about. Seriously?

    One thing that current politics falsifies about Martin Luther King is his anti-war, pro-working class politics, which were entirely inseparable from his anti-racism politics. All we know about the inclusiveness of the Inner Circle is they have no problem having humans all over their HQ. If they are fighting a race war, does this make sense? The race war thing is a belated echo of the antebellum fear and hate of the Haitian revolution. Or George FitzHugh's Cannibals All! or, Slaves Without Masters.
     
  20. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Another strong episode (aside from the mandatory montage song). Coincidentally, no Jace is in sight. I know that won't last, but I'm going to enjoy it as long as possible.

    Jace's absence aside, the episode had three good stories that didn't involve people being stupid for the sake of being stupid (just Lorna taking dangerous risks, but at least with reason). Erg's character arc here was a bit rudimentary, but it worked for me, if only because I really enjoyed Caitlin's well-deserved tongue-lashings she gave him in the sewers and at the clinic.

    The stakes are getting higher and I'm interested to see where it will go, whether or not John's small group is able to band the rest of the Underground together in time to fight against the Inner Circle. I hope the finale will consist a public battle between the two different mutant groups and the general populace will finally see (even if they don't understand or accept) that not all mutants are the same and after the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019