Home Blog X-Men ’97: “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 3” Episode Recap

X-Men ’97: “Tolerance Is Extinction, Part 3” Episode Recap

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Previously, on X-Men! Magneto reactivates Asteroid M and is once again an enemy of the X-Men. Rogue quits the team and becomes one of Magneto’s acolytes. Cable is mind controlled by Mister Sinister into fighting Jean Grey. Magneto rips Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton from his body.

X-Men ’97 ends its first season with another action-packed episode that offers a satisfying conclusion to most of the plots set up so far. Bastion resumes his position as the big bad of this season, with Magneto once again put in a more sympathetic light after his villainous turn in the previous episode. It all works pretty well and there are plenty of engaging and suspenseful scenes to be found here. As well as drama, more cameos than you would normally expect and some teasers towards the end for what’s to come in subsequent stories. It’s been quite a ride so far and this finale didn’t really disappoint.

Continuing from the previous episode, Xavier uses his telepathic powers to reach out to Magneto and reason with him. As such we see flashbacks of their first meeting, ages ago when they revealed to each other that they are mutants. It doesn’t work out as well as Xavier was expecting, and he is forced to try and hijack Magneto’s powers against his will and use them himself, to undo the damage caused to the Earth’s magnetic field. He succeeds but the strain is too much and leaves both of them unconscious, with Magneto’s psyche also shattered in the process, leaving him with a slight case of amnesia. Xavier tries helping him in this mindscape but he is also at risk of being consumed by Magnus’ pain and drowning in his memories; both of their minds could be lost. As for the big cliff-hanger from last episode… Wolverine is badly injured but still barely alive. He is under medical care aboard Asteroid M and as such he misses out on the action in this episode. He doesn’t do much but his condition leads to a couple of neat scenes, with both Cyclops and Morph watching over him and reminding him of Jean to give him a reason to survive this and heal already.

Back on Earth, Jean once again taps into the Phoenix Force to save her son, Nathan/Cable. She only uses these powers briefly but manages to subdue Bastion and break his control over the Sentinels, and also defeat Mister Sinister by taking back all of the mutant DNA he has collected over time and also injected himself with to keep himself young. Without that, Sinister reverts to an even creepier look. Bastion though isn’t defeated yet and assaults Nathan, breaks his metallic arm, hits him with it and builds himself an armor with wings, out of it. His next step is to fly up to Asteroid M and crash it on the planet, once again causing some more genocide.

Learning this Cyclops’ team must work together to stop Bastion from reaching the Asteroid’s gravity core. Rogue and Roberto (who finally calls himself Sunspot) re-join the team, which seemed like a pretty sudden change after the big dramatic scenes of them quitting the X-Men in the last episode. It’s kind of a minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things but it just felt a little weird seeing them back and the others instantly forgiving their behavior. On the other hand I can understand the episode trying to tackle a lot of plots at the same time and not having enough time to go through all of that, even with the slightly extended running time of this episode. It’s also implied at least Rogue was just itching for a chance to fight Bastion and get her revenge, regardless of which side she was on.

The episode has some pretty impressive action scenes, with the X-Men fighting the seemingly unstoppable Bastion. Rogue probably gets the most action but it’s also personal for her, she still wants payback for what happened to Gambit (she even uses a similar line to his final words, telling Bastion to remember his name). But the others also get a chance to attack him, including Jean’s Gold Team which arrives at the asteroid using a Trojan Sentinel trick. Their powers combined still aren’t enough to defeat him, though. Cyclops realizes it’s about time to stop fighting the future, and instead embrace it. As such he reaches out to Bastion and tries reasoning with him but to no avail. At least he tried reaching out to his humanity but that is something Bastion gave up in favor of machines. They’re going strong with the theme of accepting one another instead of fighting but some just can’t be helped. Bastion still believes humanity would rather die than let more mutants be born.

Things only get worse when President Kelly makes a mistake of activating the Magneto Protocol (basically, a nuclear option) and launches missiles to destroy Asteroid M, but in doing so they are the ones who ensure the base will crash on Earth. Bastion is seemingly gone, sucked into outer space when the base’s dome cracks. The X-Men must try and stop the entire asteroid from crashing which is no easy feat. They all realize this is kind of a suicide mission but are willing to risk it. Jean and Scott do make sure to telepathically contact Nathan before this, to make sure they get a chance to say goodbye in a pretty touching scene.

When all seems lost however, Xavier manages to reconnect with Magnus and reminds him they used to share a dream in regards to human-mutant relations. Plus confirming his need of a family, to replace the one he lost when he was just a child, due to the war. This makes him become Magneto once more, and use his powers to stop the asteroid from falling. It’s all a well done scene, it’s suspenseful enough and the surprises aren’t over yet, as it’s not exactly clear what happens next. The asteroid seems to explode in space, with all of them gone. Which leads us to a time-skip, as it seems 6 months have passed and none of them has resurfaced. Forge is left trying to find them and keep track of who’s still left, using another “Days of Future Past” like poster, with pictures of the X-Men (and other associates) and their status written on top of them. Most are billed as “Missing – Presumed Dead”, however Bishop pops up and informs him that it seems they were in fact scattered across multiple timelines, though it’s not clear who or what took them.

And it’s true… In Ancient Egypt, we see Xavier, Magneto, Rogue, Beast and Nightcrawler meeting a warrior named En Sabah Nur. In the far future, Cyclops and Jean encounter the mysterious Askani clan, and a teenage Nathan. But that’s not all, as a mid-credits scene set in the present timeline, Apocalypse himself walks through the ruins of Genosha and digs up one of Gambit’s playing cards. A rather ominous way to end the season, but it sets up a few more stories the show can tackle in the future (no pun intended).

The episode also features a lot of cameos from other Marvel characters, even more than I was really expecting. Captain America returns, this time alongside Iron Man. Black Panther (T’Chaka, for some reason) tries to prevent President Kelly from launching the missiles but doesn’t succeed. T’Chaka’s presence here seems a bit odd since taking into account the semi-shared universe of the ’90s Marvel animated shows this is supposed to pay homage to, he was dead by this point and T’Challa took on the mantle of the Panther. It’s another nitpick but it doesn’t really change my opinion on the episode as a whole. Then, we also have the likes of Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Cloak and Dagger, Alpha Flight, Psylocke, Omega Red and Silver Samurai (though the last two are “repeats”, so to speak). Morph offers another quick cameo in the form of Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, using the design from the ’90s Fantastic Four animated series, and specifically the superior (in my opinion) second season; the darker color of his uniform kind of imply as much.

Speaking of which, we also get to see Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and even Flash Thompson, again all of them as they looked in the ’90s Spider-Man animated series, which makes sense considering the Spider-Man cameo from a couple of episodes ago was supposed to be that version of the wall-crawler and the ’90s Marvel cartoons often tried to imply the shows were connected, for the most part. Though there were some continuity issues at times like the aforementioned Black Panther mix-up. In this case, MJ’s appearance here might spark some debate as to when this episode actually takes place, if you consider the events from Spidey’s show (which I will not dwell on too much in this review but fans should realize this MJ is either a clone, or Peter has managed to find the real MJ following the final episode of the show. Considering the whole ordeal with Jean/Maddie earlier in the season, it is possible there’s another clone included here just for fun). Shadowcat herself makes a quick cameo as part of Forge’s board towards the end of the episode, perhaps hinting she will eventually show up. As for the teasers at the end, well En Sabah Nur is supposed to become Apocalypse, as most fans and some viewers should know. The Askani helped raise Nathan, while also cloning him, and have ties to Rachel Summers as well, according to the comics. It’s hinted that present day Apocalypse might revive Gambit, but also turn him into one of his Horsemen (he did serve a tour of duty as “Death” in the comics). So, it should be interesting seeing what route the show takes.

Overall, the episode was great and I think it managed to tie up most of the plots started this season, while also setting up future stories, which will hopefully be at least as entertaining as these episodes were. There are a number of ways the show can continue. As for the season as a whole, personally I enjoyed it a lot. It feels pretty in-line with the original series, though there are a few more modern sensibilities, including elements from more recent stories from the comics sprinkled throughout. It has the advantage of not having as many censorship issues as there were in the early to mid-’90s, but even so it feels pretty consistent and doesn’t really go overboard with the violence or anything. Granted there have been a few moments that raised the stakes; “Remember It” was pretty brutal and depressing. Then there was also Wolverine’s injury in the previous episode, which was painful to watch. The action scenes have been pretty consistent, and all of them intense and entertaining to watch. The animation also helps, I found the animation techniques good and most of the scenes shown so far have been impressive. As far as voice acting goes, I thought everyone did their best and there wasn’t really anyone I felt that was miscast here. There were some voice choices did seem a bit too random, such as the ones where the original voice actors were replaced but they still returned for the show, as different characters. And some voices did sound a bit off at first, or it just took me a while to get used to them, but by the end I think all of the actors did convincing jobs with their roles.

The show has been quite a ride and it’s great to know it got a pretty good reputation already, with a positive reception from fans and critics alike, as well as being one of the most viewed animated series on Disney+ this year, according to some recent reports. The original series was similarly a pretty big hit back in the day and its legacy has prevailed over the years despite a few less than stellar episode and the sometimes lackluster animation. The stories are mature, and there is a pretty good balance between the action, drama, romance and occasional comedic bits. Most of the stuff going on in these shows, both the original and this sequel series, are handled with enough respect, have actual consequences and the overall result is quite entertaining. This sequel series relies a lot on nostalgia but you can tell the staff working on it put some effort into making this a show worth watching. As far as I am concerned X-Men ’97 is one of the best Marvel projects in a while and I look forward to seeing more from it. It’s probably the Disney+ original Marvel show that I enjoyed the most so far.

X-Men ’97 Season One is now streaming on Disney+, and I recommend giving it a watch (if you haven’t already).

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