The two-hour season finale of The Gifted (FOX, Mondays, 8/7C) is nothing if not a big finish. Before it’s through, lives are changed; people die, and worlds are ripped apart.
The two-part season finale of The Gifted – eXtraction (written by Michael Horowitz and directed by Scott Peters) and X-roads (written by series creator Matt Nix & Jim Garvey and directed by Stephen Surjik) – finds the mutant underground attempting to kidnap the head of Trask’s research team, Dr. Roderick Campbell (Garrett Dillahunt) and concludes with a genuinely shocking event.
As has been the case all season, eXtraction and X-roads, focuses as much on character as it does on plots. Friends and families have decisions to make – hard decisions, and lives hang in the balance.
The mutant underground decides, reluctantly, to work with the Cuckoos (Skyler Samuels) – who try to sew seeds of discord among them. By the final scenes of the finale, lives have changed for damn near everyone – from the mutant underground and the Brotherhood, to Agent Turner and the Hound Program, to the Strucker family.
One of the most important things to be explored in the finale is the hatred a portion of the public has for mutants. Dr. Campbell attends an anti-mutant summit hoping to take his Hound Program national (possibly even global) and the cheerful, naked hatred of mutants – couched in patriotic terms (with flag waving and children’s choruses singing patriotic songs) is one of the most disturbing images of the series to date.
When the Cuckoos work on Lorna (Emma Dumont), she seems to actually listen (an almost equally disturbing scene) – though key members of the mutant underground more or less tell her to frak off.
The Cuckoos arc is deepened when they reveal knowledge about Lorna’s dad – adding to the will she/won’t she defect storyline.
Meanwhile, Andy (Percy Hines White) is relating more and more to the Von Strucker twins to the dismay of Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and their parents (Steven Moyer and Amy Acker) – even after the family takes a day trip to warn Reed’s mother (Sharon Gless) that Sentinel Services is after her for more than ‘a few questions’ because of his dad’s research.
Add to that the fact that some of the mutant underground are still leery of the Stuckers and you have a situation rife with possible ways to go wrong.
Of course, there’s more than enough angst and action to go around – including a moment where Andy and Lauren do something that changes their relationship – possibly forever.
The action sequences in the finale are well staged, but as explosive as they might be, the real explosions are the shifts in relationships – and differences of opinion in how to deal with the anti-mutant movement.
As with Matt Nix’s previous work (Burn Notice, The Good Guys), there are moments of humor – but The Gifted is a much darker series and it maintains a balance of about 75% dark to 25% light throughout.
The first season of The Gifted has been consistently well above average when it comes to TV superhero shows. That remains true here.
Final Grade: B+