RECAP: “X-Men ’97” Episode 9

May 8, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

Good news: the gang is back together! Bad news: everyone is miserable and the world is ending! Just another day for the Uncanny X-Men.

Picking up from the action-packed Episode 8, “Tolerance Is Extinction Part 2” sees the team reunited and then immediately split between two very serious threats. Bastion and his Prime Sentinels are still very much looming large, and their homebase has been located in the Galapagos Islands (I feel like I missed when/how this detail was revealed). Meanwhile, the shockingly not deceased Magneto has plunged the world into chaos by letting off the mother of all EMPs at the North Pole, basically bringing society back to the Stone Age; the damage must be reversed before it’s too late.


Top 10 Characters We Want to See in “X-Men ’97”

POLL: Best X-Men Team Line-Up (VOTE NOW!)

Best Marvel Villain

Best Super-Hero Film

And thus we get the “X-Men ’97” origin of the iconic Gold and Blue teams. Gold Team, featuring Jean Grey, Morph, Beast, Cable, and the recently returned Storm and Forge, head to take on Bastion and the Sentinels. Blue team, featuring Professor Xavier, Cyclops, Wolverine, Jubilee, and Nightcrawler, ascend to Asteroid M to convince Magneto to undo his planetary electronic apocalypse.

You might notice a few names missing from that roster. Because early in the episode, Magneto comes down from orbit TOWING HIS ASTEROID HOME BASE, for a little catch-up with the recently returned Charles Xavier, fully dragging his old friend for forcing him to walk “his path,” which brought them all to where they are now. He uses the occasion to also pitch the X-Men: Xavier’s dream of peaceful human/mutant coexistence is dead. But he welcomes them to stand by his side, protecting mutants from human (and machine) aggression.

Two of the X-Men take Magneto up on the offer: Rogue, still devastated by the death of Gambit, and Roberto, feeling completely betrayed by his own mother, who just handed her son over to the Prime Sentinels for “his protection.” Both of those character arcs feel authentic to me. You can understand why both of them would be pretty much over the idea of living “peacefully” with humans after all of this.

Before the X-squads headed off on their missions, most of them got new costumes! Or rather, old ones. In a comic-book Easter Egg that may leave me consulting a physician for an erection lasting longer than 4 hours, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Rogue, Roberto, and Wolverine put on versions of their costumes straight out of the 1980s or even earlier. It’s fascinating to me that a show produced in the 2020s, set in the 1990s, has so frequently dipped into comic elements from the 1980s and even 70s. I mean that as a compliment, and it’s another testament to the love these creators have for the source material. (Also, speaking of new costumes, Cable got an X-costume, with an additional zinger from Cyclops referencing the original X-Men movie costumes; and Morph got a version of his “Age of Apocalypse” look, which is really just shoulderpads that would leave Joan Collins quivering with jealousy.) Check it out:

Neither mission goes particularly well. Let’s break them down.

Gold Team

The Gold Team is immediately besieged by giant Sentinels that were spared Magneto’s EMP pulse because Bastion is using his technopathy — basically telepathy for robots — to pilot them manually. The aside that Xavier actually clocked Bastion as a kind of mutant in his youth, only for Bastion’s mother to reject the m-word and likely set him on the path he’s on now, is a juicy detail I do not recall from the comics.

While Storm and a Blackbird-piloting Forge work to provide air support against the Sentinels, Beast, Cable, Jean, and Morph attempt to infiltrate Bastion’s base in the hopes of using a power-dampening collar to sever his connection from all the Sentinels (including, one assumes, the Prime Sentinels). The X-Men get in some good licks, with Morph taking on the form and powers of The Hulk, and Beast performing a Sentinel slap that I desperately hope someone turns into a gif.

Things go sideways when Mr. Sinister shows up to mess with Jean, explaining that he knows more about her and her genes than anyone, and then pulls his big move: genetically overriding Cable and setting him against his quasi-mother. It does not go well, as Cable unleashes his full telekinetic abilities against Jean. The last we see is Jean sending out a telepathic signal to Scott, letting him know what has happened. Meanwhile, Storm and Forge have been taken out of the sky, and Beast and Morph are defeated, with the inhibitor collar now in Bastion’s literal hands.

Blue Team

Believe it or not, things are worse for the Blue Team. After boarding Asteroid M, the team immediately ends up scrapping with their former teammates, with Jubilee and Roberto directly facing off and Rogue running defense against a murderous Wolverine. In case you forgot, Magneto’s helmet prevents Xavier from getting inside his head — it’s not just for protecting that beautiful head of silver-fox hair. The X-Men succeed in exposing Magneto, and Xavier begins what appears to be the very painful process of — I suspect — wiping Magneto’s mind entirely. I’m not clear on how that would reset the EMP damage to the planet, unless the conceit here is that Magneto is continually screwing with the electromagnetic field, and taking him out solves the problem. That part of the deal could have been better explained, I think.

Magneto breaks free of Xavier’s assault, and as he begins his counter attack, Wolverine attacks from behind, popping his claws right through Magneto’s chest. It’s a pretty brutal moment — have we ever seen Wolverine actually draw BLOOD on any “X-Men” show? Except there’s one little problem: those claws of Wolverine, as well as his bones? They’re coated with metal. Adamantium, specifically. And who can control metal? That would be Magneto. So the episode ends with a still-shot recreation of one of the most iconic X-Men panels of the 1990s: Wolverine having the adamantium literally expelled from his body, extracted by the wounded Master of Magnetism.

This particular fight in the comics has several long-ranging consequences, especially for Wolverine, Magneto, and Xavier. I won’t spoil all of them here, but I suspect Magneto forcing his helmet onto Xavier’s head was more than just a visual gag.

I will also be very curious how this all ends with Rogue and Roberto. In the comics, longtime X-Man Colossus quits the X-Men and joins Magneto’s followers (at that point called The Acolytes) after the death of someone very close to him. That seems to be Rogue’s arc on the show right now. She’s been a villain before. Will this be a return to form? Meanwhile, Roberto aligning with Magneto is quite ironic. It all makes sense in the context of this show, but in the comics, Roberto was the New Mutant most vocally opposed to anything Magneto told them to do, in part because Magneto was convinced that Roberto would be the most likely of them to go full-blown villain.

So that’s where things stand going into the final episode of the season. Will a Sinister-controlled Cable ultimately take out his quasi-birth mother? Will Storm and Forge survive their respective sea crashes? Can Beast and Morph escape Bastion’s clutches and shut down his Sentinels? Can the Blue Team fix the Earth’s electromagnetic field? Can Wolverine survive this brutal attack? Can Magneto? Will Rogue and Roberto really switch sides? Leave your guesses in the comments!

Did You Miss Our Recaps for the Previous Episodes? Read Them Here:

Episode 8 Recap

Episode 7 Recap

Episode 6 Recap

Episode 5 Recap

Episode 4 Recap

Episode 3 Recap

Episodes 1-2 Recap

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments