Hello X-Fans! It’s your The Gifted season 1 recapper jumping in while Eric (who has been doing a fine job covering Season 2, I must say) has the week off due to work commitments. And after two weeks off for The Gifted due to the State of the Union address here in the United States, we’re back with a bang. Or rather, the follow-up to that bang that ended our last episode, “teMpted.” But that bang was only the beginning; there’s shake-ups a-plenty this week.
Let’s dive into “calaMity” and all its ramifications. And as always, spoilers within.
1. (Benedict) Ryan and Reeva, Sitting in a Tree . . . P-L-O-T-T-I-N-G
If you were having a WTF moment upon seeing that meetup between Benedict Ryan and Reeva from “meMento,” the opening of this episode develops that backstory. Four years ago, Benedict Ryan was a Rush Limbaugh-esque radio host (conservative shock jock, for those outside the United States) campaigning against mutants, but still struggling in ratings. Reeva, already in her position of power and starting to build the work of the Inner Circle, offers Benedict money and power to work with her towards her cause.
On the surface, it’s the weirdest alliance. It’s akin to Bernie Sanders joining forces with Trump. But Reeva has much more foresight. She knows she needs to drive that wedge between the pro and anti-mutant faction far and deep in order to burn the current status quo to the ground and rise her world order up from the ashes.
It’s further proof that you do not underestimate this woman. She knows how to manipulate and consolidate power.
Side note: It is very, very awkward for me to see Peter Gallagher playing the Rush Limbaugh type media personality when I still remember him as hippie liberal law school professor and kinda hot dad Sandy Cohen from The OC. Chrismukkah gonna be hella awkward now.
2. What You Don’t Know About Women
John and Marcos have been working their way through their own feelings about the convictions of the women in their lives this season. Both of them realize that what attracted them to their partners – – their desire to help others and leave the world a better place than which they found it – – is also frustrating them to no end. Are they sacrificing their romantic relationships for their ladies’ ideals? If you take away those ideals, do you have any foundation for a relationship at all?
This week, it’s Johnny’s turn to ponder these questions when Clarice calls the Underground looking for help with the evacuation of the Morlock community when they come under threat from the Purifiers (a raid that we find out was engineered by Reeva). Johnny’s livid that Clarice called Marcos first. Dude, just be happy she called at all. Who she called is not a hill you need to die on.
3. Know Thyself
A big theme of this episode is the idea of knowing yourself, or thinking you know yourself.
When Clarice tries to convince Erg to have the Morlock community take a greater role in the fight against the Purifiers, Erg is flat out against this. The Morlocks are a community of refuge with the goal of remaining apolitical. But that changes very quickly when the Purifiers start a raid on the Morlock compound and they realize: being a community of refuge extends itself to defense of the community, and defense does not mean taking a political stance. (Though it really does, to be honest.)
Lauren and Reed are also working towards knowing themselves. At the end of the last episode, Reed gave Lauren some of his serum to break that telepathic connection she has with her brother and suppress the darkness coming out as Lauren has been diving more into her family history. It provides a very nasty reaction in her that soon passes. And while she is weakened, she wants to join her parents in the Morlock rescue. She does not want to use the serum as a crutch and wants to face her darkness, and what comes of it, head on. Her parents . . . actually trust her with this decision! And not only trust her decision, but remain inspired by it: Reed opts not to use the serum anymore either.Continued below
Clarice also starts to realize more of herself during the Purifier raid and the Morlocks’ escape. For her, it’s the realization of that famous line from Hamilton: “if you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?” Now this wasn’t a case of not standing for anything (remember she left the Underground to go work for the Morlocks), but a realization that, while it may be getting bad for the Morlocks, she needs to see this through to the end, costs be damned. (And what costs they are!)
4. Actions Have Consequences
That bang from the cliffhanger of last week’s episode with Max and Marcos has left Max dead. Reeva now knows there is a mole within the Inner Circle, and is on a hunt to find that mole. You can see Lorna – – who we know is the mole – – is nervous. The walls are closing in on her.
So when the Cuckoos announce they have found the mole, you just about think Lorna’s done for . . . except that it’s Sage. Remember that Lorna used Sage’s login to access information on Max. Sage’s binary brain does not allow the Cuckoos to tap in to find out the real truth (hey, someone stole my login and I really should be making more secure passwords, and by the way the thief has green hair and is one of your closer confidantes), and as such, Sage pays with her life.
Undoubtedly, Lorna is spooked by Sage’s death. Will she continue her plan to take the Inner Circle down from within? Or abandon it completely?
Actions have consequences, and it’s clear that Lorna did not think things through as carefully as she should. She has now lost a key part of her plan, along with a friend.
My notes, verbatim and with apologies for language: HOLY F*CKING SHIT CLARICE IS SHOT. That’s pretty much all you need to know. She gets the last of the Morlocks through the portal before being shot in the back three times by Jace, just as the portal closes – – leaving John powerless to rescue her. Is she alive? Is she dead? Was her death in vain? Does the answer to that last question change with the person answering it? We’ve got a week to find out.
– Y’all know I love my Hamilton, so imagine my delight upon finding out that Erg (the one eyed Morlock leader) is played by Michael Luwoye, who had the title role in both the Broadway run and the national tour. You could say he did not throw away his shot in this episode.
– With Cory Booker now running for President, watching Jace Turner (who I have called “evil Cory Booker” more than once) does feel awkward now. More awkward than the Sandy Cohen-Rush Limbaugh mashup named Benedict Ryan.
– There’s an excellent bit of cinematography in this episode where we have a view into the Struckers’ car via a bullet hole, zooming in on Caitlin moments after she initiates fire with a police blockade during their part in the Morlock rescure. We see close up her fear and her resolve right through the lens of the consequences of her actions. and it’s a brilliant use of juxtaposition.
We’ll see you next week for “Monsters” and let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments!