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Thread: The Gifted

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    Troll in the Playground
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    The first episode aired tonight, and so far it’s more than lived up to its promise. As a setup it’s nicely done, with plenty of mutant action and a story that keeps rolling along.

    Visually it’s superb, and not just the effects; this is a finer grade of cinematography than your average superhero show. It’s directed by Bryan Singer, and the quality is there in spades. The acting is generally good, especially from the four family members, and the brother-sister dynamic is interesting in the context of developing mutant abilities.

    This is advertised as being “in the X-Men universe,” although given the plethora of movies I’m not sure what that means. It’s certainly in a timeline where the X-Men have been; there are a couple references to the X-Men and the Brotherhood, although it seems to be modern-day or just around the corner.

    Since I haven’t kept up with the comics, I’m not sure how many of the characters are established mutants and how many are new to this show. There are a few that look familiar:

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    One character is specifically called out as Polaris, although her abilities are a little different than what I remember from the classic X-Men. There’s two or three more who seem very similar to the Sentinel-fighting team in Days of Future Past, as well as an oddball assortment of others at the mutant hideout. I’m not sure if Laser Brains (my name for Polaris’ boyfriend) is a version of Sunspot or someone entirely new; likewise I’m not sure if the tracker is supposed to be Thunderbird, Warpath or another new mutant of vaguely Native American descent.

    Speaking of which, the Mutant Underground Headquarters (sigh) is a surprisingly swanky setup—they even have an intake specialist who coordinates new arrivals. The name might be a little hokey, but what we’re shown of the underground mutant railroad is very well thought out, both in-story and on the writers’ part.


    It’s hard not to compare this to the Inhumans miniseries, since they both premiered around this weekend, and Gifted comes out on top in just about every way. Its high-quality cinematography makes Inhumans look even more cartoonish and workaday; the fine mutant effects make the Inhumans themselves look almost goofy; and the dialogue, while occasionally a little flat, is still far better than anything from the far side of the moon.

    I quit watching the Inhumans premiere halfway through, but watching The Gifted I kept wishing it had been the one with the two-hour special. Much of this is familiar ground, especially for those of us who grew up reading X-Men; watching mutants struggle with their powers in a world that fears and hates them is right in my comfort zone. But it’s done extremely well, and there were some scenes near the end that were genuinely tense and spooky. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.

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    Inhumans has the same problem they do in the comics: The Royal Family is nowhere near interesting enough to be more than occasional guest stars in some one else's title (usually the F4). Mutants have never had that problem. Add in the difference between showrunners (Singer versus Scott Freaking Buck) and I'm surprised anyone's surprised at the quality of The Gifted.

    But it's going to be fun watching fans of the two shows duel this season. Makes a nice undercard for Orville vs Discovery.

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    I've seen the first episode and so far I quite like it. It looks great visually and it has Amy Acker whom I really enjoyed as Root in Person of Interest. Story-wise I can't say much yet, but it certainly has potential.

    Also, I think I read an interview some time ago with the showrunners who said that the show is in its own timeline just like how Logan was also supposed to be outside of the main timeline, but who knows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    The first episode aired tonight, and so far it’s more than lived up to its promise. As a setup it’s nicely done, with plenty of mutant action and a story that keeps rolling along.

    Visually it’s superb, and not just the effects; this is a finer grade of cinematography than your average superhero show. It’s directed by Bryan Singer, and the quality is there in spades. The acting is generally good, especially from the four family members, and the brother-sister dynamic is interesting in the context of developing mutant abilities.

    Its high-quality cinematography makes Inhumans look even more cartoonish and workaday; the fine mutant effects make the Inhumans themselves look almost goofy; and the dialogue, while occasionally a little flat, is still far better than anything from the far side of the moon.
    Consider this: the Inhumans episode was shot mostly with IMAX cameras and for the purpose of being put on the big screen. Also, Inhumans was actually very expensive. Those shots of the moon they did were not cheap, and they shot on-location in Hawaii.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    I enjoyed it. It's a - I believe legitimate - critique of Singer that his movies have a very shot-for-television feel to them, but now doing an actual television show it feels rather comfortable.

    The script is pretty much your stock-standard Mutant-story for the pilot, but there's a reason that's worked as well as it has for 50 some-odd years and was the absolute juggernaut of the comics world throughout the 80's and 90's. The interesting thing is what they can do with it from here, hopefully.

    I do particularly like that they didn't overdo it with the villainy of the Sentinel people, they aren't rubbing their hands in emphatic glee at the prospect of doing their job as suspect as it is. They're also not incompetent pawns there for the heroes to topple over until the script says otherwise, as a lot of these things go.

    Also it has Blink in it, who is my favourite Superhero. I suppose they're working in a universe where a pink elven-looking figure would probably be a bit too much, but they did enough to make her look exotic while giving the visual cues as to the character whom they're adapting so that's fine.

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    Originally Posted by Reddish Mage
    Consider this: the Inhumans episode was shot mostly with IMAX cameras and for the purpose of being put on the big screen. Also, Inhumans was actually very expensive. Those shots of the moon they did were not cheap, and they shot on-location in Hawaii.
    I don’t believe I ever mentioned the cost of Inhumans, so I’m not sure where you’re coming from.

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    I do particularly like that they didn't overdo it with the villainy of the Sentinel people, they aren't rubbing their hands in emphatic glee at the prospect of doing their job as suspect as it is. They're also not incompetent pawns there for the heroes to topple over until the script says otherwise, as a lot of these things go.
    I noticed this too; the chief agent from Sentinel Services was almost sympathetic at first, and professional in his own way, without any two-by-two, hands-in-blue creepiness or outright hostility—much less raw hatred. These are government agents who actually behave like government agents, in particular the way that they feel they really are keeping the public safe.

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    Also it has Blink in it, who is my favourite Superhero.
    Aha, so it is the same character as Days of Future Past.

    And why is she your favorite?

    Originally Posted by HasSIn
    Also, I think I read an interview some time ago with the showrunners who said that the show is in its own timeline just like how Logan was also supposed to be outside of the main timeline, but who knows.
    I was going to mention that it has a bit of a Logan feel, although I can’t point to any one element that’s exactly parallel. I suppose the one thing that Gifted shares with Logan is the sense of living in the shadow of lost legends—the knowledge that the X-Men were real, but have since vanished, and won’t be returning to help.

    It’s a melancholy mood, but appropriate, and I’m looking forward to an in-story explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Aha, so it is the same character as Days of Future Past.

    And why is she your favorite?
    Comes from really enjoying the eXiles comics. Her original character was closer to Gifted's version (unstable and inexperienced) and died fairly quickly, she was reintroduced as essentially a new, stronger character in the Age of Apocalypse alternative future event and that's the one I'm talking about.

    As one of the two fixture of the eXiles, a group composed of an otherwise shifting team roster, she's one of the very few characters in comics to be written consistently and with a well-developed character arc composed over nearly a decade... and they haven't subsequently touched her since. It's difficult to explain her character exactly, she's someone whose been through hell most of her life and came of out it sane, emotionally stable, and strong -- and now looks to enjoy life as she's been given the opportunity. She's like Wolverine without the raging a-hole aspects. I suppose.

    Though the particularly cool thing with her is her power-set is very useful but without being overpowered as such, and when she had to fight higher-tier adversaries - which she does quite a bit - it made the writer think up creative tactics where portals and matter-displacement can be used effectively. Which is something I see more often in shounen battle manga than American comics.

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    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    Comes from really enjoying the eXiles comics.
    You know, I’ve never even heard of this title. I’ve been out of comics for quite a while.

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    Though the particularly cool thing with her is her power-set is very useful but without being overpowered as such, and when she had to fight higher-tier adversaries - which she does quite a bit - it made the writer think up creative tactics where portals and matter-displacement can be used effectively.
    We saw some of this in Days of Future Past (my only other exposure to the character) when she was creating several portals for tactical use around the uber-Sentinels. That version of Blink was clearly in full command of her abilities, unlike the slightly younger version in Gifted.

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    Which is something I see more often in shounen battle manga than American comics.
    And I don’t even know what shounen battle manga is. Although it probably has ninjas.

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    Since Naruto is the current prime example, yes. Also the Dragonball (Z) series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    You know, I’ve never even heard of this title. I’ve been out of comics for quite a while.
    Oh. eXiles was the Marvel Comics version of Sliders from the early-to-mid 00's. A team-ish-like-thing of Superheroes - largely Mutants as the capital "X" implies - going from one alternate reality to another and fixing things. The cast shifted, characters would die or leave, and new ones would appear with some interesting What If? premise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    And I don’t even know what shounen battle manga is. Although it probably has ninjas.
    Pretty much the genre defined by Jojo's Bizarre Adventures. It's rare that the actual action in Western superhero comics is at all interesting for what is an action-based genre. The art might be better or worse at expressing the basic kinetics of it, but conceptually it's usually the same things over and over.

    Battle manga clearly have their own litany of issues, but the better ones put some creative effort to not make every fight scene feel identical and work within the established limitations of its characters and setting to reach a satisfying resolution to conflicts. eXiles isn't great in this regard by any means, but it has moments where it tries -- and Blink is one of the more enjoyable with regards to that.

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    Caught the pilot episode and it was much better than I was expecting. It felt like Heroes crossed with Fahrenheit 451 with a handful of X-men references and a Stan Lee cameo.

    The tone reminded me of the first 90s X-men cartoon episode but played a bit more real. The spider sentinels seriously gave me a "Hound" vibe from Bradbury's book. I agree that I liked that characters on both sides were sympathetic. The mutants were mad as hell, which makes perfect sense in that situation. Law enforcement acted and felt like they were the good-guys the whole time.

    I'm curious about the cast of mutants we have so far and where they will go with things.

    My absolute favorite part of the episode was duck taping the dog toy back together again and the dog's face when it squeaked once more. This is mostly because I love dogs, but that moment was a humanizing moment that made me smile. Blowing up the vending machine and still grabbing a snack before running was also a very human moment but it more made me roll my eyes. The ringtone was a close second in favorite moments - though it makes little sense in-universe.

    I don't like the brother character yet. He's sympathetic in some ways but still so immature as to be annoying. I'm far more interested in the sister (who I have to fight myself not to call the cheerleader). Blink was awesome, though her eyes will take some getting used to. The initial three undergrounders (Polaris, Sunfire?, and the Tracker) really only came across as broad strokes and need more characterization before I really care about them.

    So far I like it. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post

    The tone reminded me of the first 90s X-men cartoon episode but played a bit more real. ...
    Spoiler: Easter egg spoiler
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    You caught the ringtone for Eclipse's cellphone, right?
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    It's the theme from that very cartoon.

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    (And yes, I know I'm playing the long odds on some of these!)

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    I certainly did which I loved despite it not making sense in universe. It makes me hopeful that the show is playing straight the themes which make the series interesting.

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    The pilot episode is now available for free on iTunes if someone hasn't had the chance to see it yet. Link

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    Well, that was pretty good for a second episode. They laid on the social parallels a little thick, but at least it’s true to the original spirit of the X-Men.



    Spoiler: Good Cop, Bad Cop
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    …except there was no good cop. The Sentinel Services guy was in full smug S.O.B. mode, and I was hoping Strucker would develop mutant powers on the spot just to melt the square jaw right off that guy.

    But at least we understand where he’s coming from, with his child having been collateral damage.


    Spoiler: Where Have I Heard That Name Before?
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    The family name can't be a coincidence. Didn't we see Baron Strucker's son in an earlier season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Is there some other branch of the family out there?


    Spoiler: What Happens in Rio...
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    Is there some comics lore involving mutants in Rio that I should be aware of? They seemed to be teasing that for the next episode, but I don’t recall anything from my Marvel X-reading.


    Spoiler: What About Coffee?
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    Apparently there was a post-credits mini-scene with Blink complaining about coffee. I didn’t realize it was part of the show until it was almost gone—was there anything else in there?
    Last edited by Palanan; 2017-10-09 at 10:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Spoiler: What About Coffee?
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    Apparently there was a post-credits mini-scene with Blink complaining about coffee. I didn’t realize it was part of the show until it was almost gone—was there anything else in there?
    I don't think it was actually a stinger; seemed more like a funny scene from the preview of next week's episode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Spoiler: What Happens in Rio...
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    Is there some comics lore involving mutants in Rio that I should be aware of? They seemed to be teasing that for the next episode, but I don’t recall anything from my Marvel X-reading.
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    Sunspot and/or Magma, maybe?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Spoiler: Where Have I Heard That Name Before?
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    The family name can't be a coincidence. Didn't we see Baron Strucker's son in an earlier season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Is there some other branch of the family out there?
    Two of the Strucker children are the mutant twins Andrea and Andreas, collectively the villain Fenris.

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    I liked the Jinxes (mutants that can't pass, a term from Blood & Vigilance) getting screen time. I was kinda worried every mutant would pretty because Show Blink is just wearing contacts (which I understand).

    I read various X titles for years & years...nothing really blowing my skirt up storywise so far. I think I'm more hooked on the world building bits. Not that it's bad, just kinda predictable.

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    This show has won me over. The pilot was good, but it had so much to set up and we didn't really get to know any of the characters. This episode was way more my speed. The effects continue to impress, I like the direction the plot lines are headed, and we got to know our characters better and watch some of them develop.
    Good stuff!

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    Just a couple of stray thoughts for the episode. Loved the half truck smashing into the base. That was super cool. Closing the portal was kind of neat, but I kept thinking it would have been cooler if Marcos used his powers to essentially blind everyone from seeing into the portal.

    I thought it did a good job of balancing the different plots, which considering there were basically four plots to follow, isn't always easy. I like that the Sentinel Services guy isn't a mustache twirling villain. He's got a bit of a vendetta, but he remains calm and professional throughout.

    Right now, the only thing that I'm still iffy on is the Strucker children. I don't know, I just don't care about them right now. Hopefully they'll grow on me.
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    They're trying their best to make the world feel authentic by making the Mutants' struggle evident in real-world-ish ways. Which ironically leads to some hyperbole as pulling back from their allegory to make it feel more realistic could also be seen as avoiding the issues that they're referencing -- to make it more Real in the larger sense you have to make it less realistic by exaggerating their circumstances. This is a common problem for media that goes this route, and while somewhat hamfisted, Gifted isn't being cheesy about it.

    I particularly like where they're going with Amy Acker's character, I was worried she was going to be the "Have you tried not being a Mutant"-type character. I'm also glad they're not deeply investing on references at every opportunity, the pilot wasn't too bad for this but if they kept that up it would've been annoying.

    Just in general, this show has had some thought put into it and not focusing on the traditional hero/villain dynamic leaves it a lot of room for nuance and exploration of different types of stories.

    Also, Lauren is the best Invisible Woman I've yet seen put on screen.
    Last edited by Kitten Champion; 2017-10-10 at 05:31 PM.

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    I didn't think much of it when I heard about it. I watched it. I really enjoyed the 1st 2 episodes. I'm hoping they can keep it up. I loved the Sentinel Services commercial.

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    Boy, poor Amy Acker just cannot keep away from portals, huh?

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    I really liked tonight’s episode. The opening scene was especially fine:



    Spoiler: Aurora Borealis
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    I didn’t see that coming, and it’s a beautiful interaction of their abilities—based on actual science. This show is head and shoulders smarter than other superhero shows.

    And I loved seeing Polaris fly—for her delight in her freedom to use her abilities, and because the scene itself was beautifully done.


    Spoiler: Mother Knows Best
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    After saving the collective mutant bacon last time, it’s nice to see the mother isn’t becoming a heroic angel who’s always right. She makes impulsive, emotional decisions that don’t always pan out.

    But even if she fracked up this time, what I like is the fact that she’s driving events. She’s not at all the passive housewife; she’s pushing towards a solution, even if she’s still thinking in pre-fugitive terms.

    And I liked the fact that the kids are still very much second fiddle to the adults. It’s a relief to watch a storyline in which things aren’t resolved by kids disobeying their parents multiple times and still saving everything.


    Spoiler: Expecto Portalum!
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    So, did Thunderbird’s coaching of Blink remind anyone of the Patronus charm?

    Substitute “most treasured memory” for “warm jelly donut” and it’s pretty much the same concept, just with fewer ethereal animals and more rips in spacetime.


    Spoiler: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
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    Ahh, the awkward family reunion, and the neighbors bringing guns to the party.

    Without touching verboten topics, I’ll just say that the impromptu posse of neighbors was sadly true to life. It’s the sort of thing that you would expect to happen—your own friends and neighbors turning on you, not just out of fear, but out of the need to feel like they’re Doing Something, that misguided urge to demonstrate they’re Protecting Hearth and Home. It’s sadly all too believable.

    Also the fact that they were clueless morons. I have neighbors just like that.


    Spoiler: Taking Pain
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    The refugee mother who could alleviate pain was a nice touch—and it may or may not have been meant as a side note on how anti-mutant prejudice is blinding people to the benefits of these abilities. Just imagine what this woman could do for people dealing with chronic pain, and what a solution she could be for people choosing worse alternatives.

    I don’t know if that inference was intentional or not, but given current headlines I’m thinking that it was.


    Spoiler: Thunderbird
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    So, looks like Johnny is Thunderbird from the second generation of original X-Men—at least, as I remember them.

    I’m not especially impressed with his acting, but it’s a nice reference to the comics. Polaris and Blink are the other two that I recognize; not sure if we've seen more yet.


    Spoiler: Street Names
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    I also like the use of the term “street name” for their mutant handles. It’s better than “nickname” and more accurate than “code name,” which implies a government structure—pretty much the opposite of how these mutants live.

    Still waiting for a cape joke, though. They gotta have a cape joke.
    Last edited by Palanan; 2017-10-16 at 09:57 PM.

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    I really like this show so far. I have to say it's FAR better than I expected.

    Spoiler: Season Arc
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    What I am really curious is what the season arc will be? So far they didn't really set up anything. Maybe that prison escape? Although I doubt they will stretch that plotline out so much. Basically what is this series going to be about? Is this about finding out what happened to X-men? Will they leave the country or start a guerrilla movement? I'm kinda surprised that 3 episodes in we still don't know much apart from some vague hints that Dr. Campbell is a bad guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I really liked tonight’s episode. The opening scene was especially fine:

    Spoiler: Thunderbird
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    So, looks like Johnny is Thunderbird from the second generation of original X-Men—at least, as I remember them.

    I’m not especially impressed with his acting, but it’s a nice reference to the comics. Polaris and Blink are the other two that I recognize; not sure if we've seen more yet.


    Spoiler: Street Names
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    I also like the use of the term “street name” for their mutant handles. It’s better than “nickname” and more accurate than “code name,” which implies a government structure—pretty much the opposite of how these mutants live.

    Still waiting for a cape joke, though. They gotta have a cape joke.
    Spoiler: More Mutants, some may not be revealed
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    As someone who watches the show with subtitles, they frequently use the code-names of mutants that they haven't introduced formally in the show.

    So, Dreamer (Beautiful Dreamer in the comics) is the lady with the memory smoke.

    On IMDB, there's Sage and Shatter and I think I saw those names in subtitles too when they spoke.

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    I dunno I'm just not emotionally invested at this point. I almost care what is happening with Polaris but meh. Somebody crack a joke or lighten the mood, yeesh. Gonna let some episodes build up and binge when I'm bored to see where it goes.

    I want Grampa Strucker to make an appearance. I'm betting he's got ties to the Brotherhood or the X-Men and will help kick these melodramatic ragtags into gear.

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    If the details in the Rio Incident are correct, grandpa is half of Fenris and the only thing he's kicking into gear is the Fourth Reich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    If the details in the Rio Incident are correct, grandpa is half of Fenris and the only thing he's kicking into gear is the Fourth Reich.
    Except we know that he has isolated himself. He obviously fell in love or at least banged a human and had a kid. Also Disney Marvel owns Hydra. I'm not saying he isn't Ex Brotherhood because that is the most likely scenario. Who knows how much he has changed since the 60s.

    I can see him going Villain or Hero, but if he does show up it will probably be to help his Family. His methods are the coin flip.

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    Spoiler: Aurora Borealis
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    I didn’t see that coming, and it’s a beautiful interaction of their abilities—based on actual science. This show is head and shoulders smarter than other superhero shows.

    And I loved seeing Polaris fly—for her delight in her freedom to use her abilities, and because the scene itself was beautifully done.

    Aurora Borealis. At this time of year. At this time of day. In this part of the country. Localized entirely between two people.

    May I see it?

    Spoiler: Mother Knows Best
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    After saving the collective mutant bacon last time, it’s nice to see the mother isn’t becoming a heroic angel who’s always right. She makes impulsive, emotional decisions that don’t always pan out.

    But even if she fracked up this time, what I like is the fact that she’s driving events. She’s not at all the passive housewife; she’s pushing towards a solution, even if she’s still thinking in pre-fugitive terms.

    And I liked the fact that the kids are still very much second fiddle to the adults. It’s a relief to watch a storyline in which things aren’t resolved by kids disobeying their parents multiple times and still saving everything.
    Spoiler: I <3 Amy Acker
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    Same here. I figured she'd be a support character at best, mostly worrying over the kids as they went on dangerous adventures alone. But this looks like it's becoming more about her story, and her personal journey as she comes to realize the world is not like she believed it was. And I am totally on board for that.

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