The Gifted Review: “3 x 1” Saves The Day?

The Gifted

I can’t believe that we’ve nearly reached the end of the first season of The GiftedNetwork shows usually hit a lull and then ramp up right before their finales, but The Gifted has been extremely consistent in the way that each episode is intense and yet still carries emotional weight and moves the characters forward. “3 x 1” was no exception, as the fallout from Esme’s actions has both positive and  negative consequences for the Mutant Underground, and Trask Industries works with Sentinel Services to begin their hunting of the mutant refugees. Somehow, this show has managed to stay high octane and continually raise the stakes, while simultaneously building character relationships.

The only quibble I ever have with the way this show operates is how sometimes the plot device that motivates everything within the episode feels a little contrived. This one didn’t, and actually gave credence to some of the previous stories (like going along with Esme’s plan, or the introduction and then immediate evaporation of Wes). Even though Andy in particular wanted to stay, it’s easy to see why the Struckers wanted to get out of dodge. Esme, however untrustworthy she may have been, bailed out the Strucker children from experimentation at Trask Industries, and it’s 100% believable that they would not want to take any further risks, or at least attempt to  mitigate future risk-taking. Ultimately, though, they found they cannot escape the continually expanding breadth and depth of Trask and Sentinel’s partnership.

Just when The Gifted may have needed a boost to their stakes, Esme’s plan gets people killed. The Struckers worked diligently to appeal to Jace Turner’s humanity, but that appeal was quickly tarnished in the deaths of Sentinel and Trask employees. Any good will they had fostered in meeting with Jace Turner and appealing to his wife was destroyed by Esme, who is with a much more dangerous organization. Of course, they see not the hypocrisy of killing Dreamer to manipulate the Strucker children versus a mutant killing one of their own, but I digress.

This leads me into one of my favorite sequences on the series so far, which was the two simultaneous funerals. The eulogies, cutting back and forth between Jace Turner’s colleague and Polaris’ final farewell to Dreamer was chocked full of raw emotion and depth for all the characters involved. Many characters present at these events said everything they needed to say with no words. Emotions are always running high on The Gifted, but the two funerals took that to a whole other level. Particularly effective was Thunderbird, who was strong when everyone needed him but had a quiet, devastating moment to himself post-funeral. Moments like these are both necessary to keep the stakes high, and devastating for characters we care about.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Is it just me, or is every actor on this show getting better every week? It seemed originally like more well known actors like Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer were doing the heavy lifting, but the wealth has been spread and everyone who has been offered more screen time has risen to the occasion. It’s one of the more well-acted shows on network television.
  • Does “3 X 1” signal the bitter end for finding the letter “X” to use in every episode title? I mean, it’s hardly fair if you just multiplication tables.
  • Esme and her hive mind of doom is really upping the overall stakes of the show by pitting Sentinel Services, Trask, and the MU against each other to further her own agenda. Skyler Samuels is a triple threat (see what I did there?). Using her also builds the same conflict rom the X-Men films, that waffles back and forth between all mutants being on the same side against humanity, or different sides against each other.
  • I’m really enjoying all the blatant X-Men ties that this show has. I prefer it to the coy references to the Avengers that the Marvel Netflix series’ occasionally sprinkle in. This one specifically refers to the X-Men, the Hellfire Club, and even made a mention of Polaris’ father (in the comics, it’s Magneto). It’s nice to see a TV show not shy away from the properties it’s based on.

Overall, “3 X 1” proved to be one of the best, most exciting episodes of The Gifted yet. It’s exciting, it’s emotional, and it’s building to an epic conclusion. I’m excited for it to end Season 1 on a high note, but sad that it’s ending so soon.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know!

The Gifted Season Finale airs Monday, January 15th at 8/7c on FOX

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