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  • Writer's pictureJames A.

Review: ‘X-Men ‘97’ - Season 1 Episode 10 - “Tolerance is Extinction - Part 3”

"Stop fighting the future. And embrace it."

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for X-Men ‘97: Season 1, Episode 10!

Season 1 of X-Men '97 has made waves refreshing the MCU with new energy and passion. But can the show stick the landing?

In the shadow of last episode where Wolverine tastes some cruel, metallic justice at the hand of Magneto, Xavier strikes back and uses the full brunt of his telepathic powers to tear apart the Master of Magnetism's mental defenses. While fixing the earth in the process, he also resurrects the Prime Sentinels. Should have listened to Scott.

A good chunk of the episode is dedicated to Xavier and Magneto, bridging their long history and their perilous present. We even get a flashback of the two sharing a drink, younger and less hardened. It is here that it is revealed how they come out to one another as mutants, and bonded over it. As the two mutants find solace in one another, one can appreciate the gay allegory this "coming out" scenes acts as. Within Magneto's shattered mind that Xavier attempts to repair, water represents his past trauma and pain, building up and threatening to drown him. It's their bond that saves Magneto from the depths of his past, as Xavier swears to stick with him "even if I'm pulled too". The importance of community in marginalized communities cannot be understated.

If we look to the comics, the time that Xavier used his powers on Magneto not only reduced him to a catatonic state [X-Men (1991) #25], but resulted in the birthing of a psionic entity known as Onslaught—the combination of Magneto's hate and Xavier's repressed feelings. With the two Could we be seeing this psionic demon rear its head soon?

With the Earth is restored, the awakened Prime Sentinels resume their work, during which we are blessed with a slew of cameos which are sure to make any Marvel fan smile.

  • Iron Man accompanies Captain America with President Kelly

  • Daredevil

  • Doctor Strange working on a patient

  • Black Panther (T'Chaka) with the Dora Milaje

  • Cloak & Dagger

  • Omega Red & the Winter Guard

  • Mutants like Northstar, Aurora, Psylocke, among other Genoshan survivors

  • Morph as Mister Fantastic

Blue Team captured by Bastion is saved by Jean in her crowning moment of the season. She summons the Phoenix as she rises from the ashes in phoenix-fashion. Jean fans will be happy to see her proclaim, "I AM PHOENIX!" as she uses a remnant of the Phoenix Force to burn away all the genetic tampering Mister Sinister has done to himself, reducing him to a withered husk. Deservedly so. This is the culmination of Jean's arc this season, stepping into realization that she's the only Jean that ever was and ever will be, and the Phoenix's one true host, now and forever. Even Morph gets his lick in.

Theo James' Bastion continues to be cold, calculated, and relentless. As vile as Bastion is, his harrowing voice has to be applauded. It feels like there's spiders crawling down your spine every time he speaks. It's great. And as we watch Bastion sustain damage from the ongoing battles, coming apart, there's some delicious body horror as his body warps and deteriorates.

 "Did you just try appeal to my humanity? "

X-Force #26 (2008) © MARVEL

Even though Jean manages to deactivate the Prime Sentinels, Bastion makes his escape after using Cable's techno-organic arm to obtain a cool upgrade that references his appearance during the X-Men: Second Coming crossover event. He then heads to Asteroid M intent on crashing it down to exterminate humans because he wouldn't be a real robot villain if he didn't turn against his human creators!

Rogue has her moment of the season when Gold Team, reunited once more, is forced to face Bastion when he arrives on Asteroid M. It's cathartic to see her fight in Remy's name, bringing on a beatdown that puts Captain Marvel to shame. Again, Sunspot comes into the fray, boasting pride of his mutant status, but this moment of his arc still feels half-baked and undeserved. One can't help but to wonder why he's still here.

With the all the X-Men reunited on Asteroid M, Cyclops decides again to attempt to reach out to the sociopathic and genocidal cyborg. Again we taste the parallel between the mutants and sentinel-ized Bastion, and Cyclops reveals that Xavier had in fact attempted to reach out baby Bastion, but was turned down by his mother. Parents do their best to protect their children in the only ways they know how, but they aren't perfect. Just like Magneto with his children: the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Polaris, who we catch a quick glimpse of within his shattered psyche.

However, it appears none of their pleas matter when humanity activates the Magneto Protocols and fires upon Asteroid M, causing it to plummet to the Earth. Bastion is seemingly destroyed in the ensuing chaos (thank God). But humanity isn't doomed thanks to the X-Men, who decide to move Asteroid M by constructing a mutant circuit for the decades: a combination of their powers.

We get a heartfelt goodbye between Cyclops and Jean Grey to their son Cable, who stayed back on Earth after being critically injured. Cable expresses his regret not being in the stories he heard about his parents, growing up in the future. Cyclops expresses he doesn't want to make the mistake of not saying goodbye again. This is the heart of the X-Men, poured out for all of us. This is why they fight. For the children.

It is only the return of Magneto with his mind repaired that is able to help the X-Men finish the job. The closing of Magneto and Xavier's conversation about family, dreams, community, and new beginnings beautifully ties into the conversation between Cable and his parents.

"A dream that made us a family. And like that dream, any family worth having is worth fighting for."

With Magneto's help the X-Men stabilize Asteroid M, only to have it disappear in a bright blue flash. In the eyes of all that are watching, the X-Men are gone.

If you think this is the end of the X-Men, you must be new around here. In the end of the episode we get a basket of nuggets that will hopefully keep fans satiated until the already greenlit season 2. Bishop makes his return (after 7 episodes!) and introduces himself to one of the only survivors left, Forge, and explains that something yanked the X-Men through time. Behind Forge, we can see a board of mutants, active and missing—could Forge be planning an X-Men team of his own? Among the names we can see: the Scarlet Witch, Colossus, Dust, Magik, Iceman, Havok, Exodus, Quicksilver, Shadowcat, and Emma Frost.

We also see the fates of the missing X-Men. Jean and Cyclops were sent forward in time to 3950 AD, where they are greeted by a mysterious woman named Mother Askani and a younger version of their son, Cable.

Meanwhile the rest of the X-Men (Magneto, Charles, Rogue, and Nightcrawler) were sent backwards in time to Egypt in 3000 BC, where they meet a man who goes by En Sabah Nur. X-Men fans will recognize him as a young version of the notorious villain, Apocalypse.

X-Men '97's first season concludes on a strong note, tying together the themes of resilience and unity that speak to all the fans the team has amassed over the years. With the redemption of Magneto, return of the Phoenix, and christened with a mutant circuit, this show cements itself as a new beginning for the X-Men in the animated medium. And with the teasers we are given, there is absolutely much, much more to come.


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