“X-Men ’97” Episode 7 Recap

April 24, 2024

BY Eric Rezsnyak

After last week’s tangent in which the show wrapped up subplots with Storm and Professor Xavier, Episode 7 — titled “Bright Eyes” — picks up a few weeks after the devastating attack on Genosha in Episode 5. The X-Men are, predictably, struggling to process not only a world on the brink of human/mutant war, but also dealing with the very personal losses suffered by several members of the team.

This episode felt more like connective tissue than a major narrative step forward. But it did give us more excellent character development, and dropped a few truth bombs and revelations that will likely have big impact as the season hurtles toward completion.

I’ll break the action down character by character below. SPOILERS AHOY!


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This was an ensemble episode, but I would argue that Rogue got the most play. As the only surviving member of the X-Men squad that was on Genosha when it was attacked, she was especially traumatized by the events — and she is not dealing with it at all well. We opened with her in a full-on assault on a military base (led by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who you might remember from Marvel’s Hulk films, and who you’ll be seeing on the big screen again in 2025). Rogue is looking for Henry Peter Gyrich, the man who “killed” Professor Xavier in the original animated series, and was a chief actor in the Sentinel program. I’ll be honest: the whole “find Gyrich and Bolivar Trask” fetch quest part of the episode was the fuzziest to me in terms of logic. But it did give us a great sequence in which Rogue is confronted by Captain America (no longer wearing red underwear!), which served to suggest that the Avengers exist in this universe (he mentions his “team”), and further establish that mutants are essentially on their own in seeking retribution for the Genoshan attack. As a comic reader, it was great seeing Rogue interact with Cap here; they become team mates on the Uncanny Avengers squad in the comics following another mutant crisis, which necessitates an Avengers “unity” squad featuring both X-Men and Avengers. Would love to see that play out here.

Rogue’s hunt ultimately does lead her to Gyrich, and also shows that Rogue is pretty close to broken by what happened in Genosha, specifically to Gambit. Not only is she filled with rage, but her moral compass is completely off. She uses her memory-absorption powers on unwitting participants several times, and at the end, makes the conscious decision to let a man (Bolivar Trask) die rather than save him from a fall. This shocks and horrifies her teammates, but Rogue finds a modicum of comfort in her adoptive brother and new teammate, Nightcrawler. I have always wanted to see that unique relationship further fleshed out, and I’m hoping we get that in this show.

Cyclops & Jean Grey

These two are in full crisis. As de facto leader of the X-Men, Cyclops is finding no comfort from the U.S. government or the United Nations, who refuse to offer any more aid to Genosha after the last survivor was located a week ago. As a man, Scott is still reeling from having to abandon his infant son to the future, and now the brutal death of his possible wife/mother of his child, for whom he still clearly had feelings. Jean is still trying to figure out who she is and who Madelyne was, and wrestling with where things stand with Scott.

The two of them lead an X-Men mission to Genosha in the vain hopes of finding any more survivors. And as they go through the wreckage of the Citadel, they are stunned to find one: Emma Frost, erstwhile White Queen of the Hellfire Club, whose secondary mutation to transform into an indestructible diamond kicked in as the building crumbled on top of her. Finding one more survivor when all hope was lost was an important moment for mutants — it gave them hope (but not, you know, actual Hope). For comic readers, this is an even more important moment, because from this scenario Emma goes on to join the X-Men and become a critical member of the team for the decades since. And if you thought Scott and Jean’s relationship was complicated now, just you wait…

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Jubilee & Roberto

The Genoshan tragedy also had a significant impact on the youngest X-Men, as Jubilee urged Roberto to inform his parents that he is a mutant, lest they find out “on the 5 o’clock news” and have to “bury a stranger.” This was a great exchange, and echoed not only the queer-rights parallels that defined X-Men comics for much of the 80s and 90s, but also directly referenced conversations many young people in the LGBTQ community had following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016. The X-Men have always worked best when their superheroics and otherness have had real-world echoes, and that’s exactly what we are getting here. It’s so well done.

Roberto seizes the moment and comes out as a mutant to his mother. At first, she reacts brilliantly — she and Roberto’s father had known for years, and were waiting for him to share with them when the time was right. (That’s how you do it, parents of LGBTQ kids.) But things go south when the class element of this equation comes into play, as Roberto’s mother informs him that while they accept him as a mutant, they must be “discreet” about the optics, as that information could cause havoc with the public perception of their multibillion-dollar company.

Bringing classism and the billionaire class into this equation is a shrewd and quite timely move on behalf of the producers of this show. I had assumed Roberto was there as a new entry-point character and potential romantic interest for Jubilee. But also giving this show an opportunity to examine the realities of wealth inequality and the incredible political power of the billionaire class is a WHOLE new layer I had not considered, and Berto is the perfect character for this. I’m even more excited about him now.


Beast — who has been largely inessential for most of “X-Men ’97” — is given a minor subplot in which he debriefs with reporter Trish Tilby about the Genoshan Massacre. The important note here is the darker turn in Beast’s tone, as he wonders aloud if Xavier’s dream of human/mutant coexistence was just that — a dream — and if it died with Charles himself. Readers of the comics will know that in recent years, Beast has fallen further and further into moral uncertainty, culminating in actions that undisputedly fall into the “villain” category. He became so irredeemable during the Krakoan Era that the comics just hit a reset button the character and basically retconned him back to his simpler 1980s version. It’s smart for the show to start sowing the seeds of the pragmatic Dr. McCoy questioning whether humans and mutants could ever realistically live together.

The Big Reveal

The episode’s plotlines largely converge with most of the team responding to a seemingly obvious trap by Bolivar Trask, who invites them to a secret lab hidden in a United Nations property in which unbelievably advanced cybernetic tech surrounds them. Trask informs the team that Mr. Sinister took his DNA to access the Master Mold technology, but that Sinister himself is working for a bigger, unseen force. Trask, distraught over the events in Genosha that he unwittingly caused, goes to kill himself before he can be made into any more of a monster. Rogue at first attempts to stop him, to see if he can provide more information on the ultimate Big Bad. When he can’t, Rogue lets go and lets God — and lets the man fall to his death, shocking her teammates.

Except, oops! He didn’t die! He crystalized, bitch, and now he’s a glamazon, ready for the runway — or at least mutant annihilation — as his Prime Sentinel programming activates, turning his corpse into a terribly powerful, nano-infused Sentinel unit. The Prime Sentinel makes quick work of the X-Men present (fun Quicksilver cameo via Morph, who I guess we are saying actually CAN mimic the powers of the people he impersonates?) before being taken out by an EMP grenade courtesy of Cable, teleporting in from who-knows-when to drop another bombshell: Maury Povich has the results of the paternity test, and Cyclops, you ARE the father! That’s right, Cable is Baby Nathan back from the future, old, swole, and loaded with unnecessary pockets. Hope you’re ready for 50+ years of accrued child-support payments, Scott!

Meanwhile, Henry Peter Gyrich, recovering after Rogue absorbed his psyche earlier in the episode, is visited by a mysterious deep-voiced man (acted by Theo James, whose leg-spreading murmurings I would recognize anywhere) tells Gyrich that he nearly spoiled the game, and seemingly suffocates Gyrich to death. Later, the same mysterious man meets with Mr. Sinister, who chides the enigmatic pink-hued dude that he played his hand too soon. Sinister implies that the character is someone that the X-Men — and presumably viewers — have seen before, while the unnamed bad dude assures Sinister that he has evolved. Hey, just like mutants!

Speaking of mutants, mystery dude shows up AGAIN, this time in a run-down cafe where the novelty song “The Purple People Eater” — already a recurring motif for this character, from the Gyrich scene — plays as he gently shaves the face of a restrained, power-locked, and VERY MUCH ALIVE Magneto. GASP!

I have no idea why this character is keeping Magneto, and especially no idea why he’s keeping him clean-shaven (I bet Magneto looks hot with a beard). But if you want some spoilers, I can tell you who he IS. This is Bastion, the head of Operation: Zero Tolerance — the “OZT” mentioned several times this episode — a covert multinational organization designed specifically to eradicate mutants from the planet. I’ll hold off on going too much into detail about who/what Bastion is, but I will say most of the clues have already been sprinkled throughout this episode and earlier ones. And he is very, very bad news for the mutants.

He’s also one of the characters I was most hoping to see this season! He’s the third (fourth, if you could a Morph cameo) character to appear from my Top 10 list. Who will appear next?!

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

Episode 6 Recap

Episode 5 Recap

Episode 4 Recap

Episode 3 Recap

Episodes 1-2 Recap

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