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X-Men ’97 Episode 8 Review: “Magento was Daddy…I mean, right! Magneto was Right!

As we gear up for the explosive season finale of “X-Men ’97,” episode 8, titled “Tolerance is Extinction Part 1,” serves a tantalizing appetizer that leaves us salivating for more. With the series diving into the classic “Operation Zero Tolerance” storyline, fans of both the animated series and the original comics are treated to a rich narrative that respects its roots and innovates boldly.

Operation Zero Tolerance Revisited

“Operation Zero Tolerance,” first explored in “X-Men” Vol. 2 #65 in 1997, penned by Scott Lobdell, was a pivotal arc in X-Men lore. It showcased a government-backed initiative to hunt and control mutants, posing significant moral and ethical questions about tolerance and fear. The “X-Men ’97” adaptation expands on this by setting the chessboard for the climax, cleaning up some of the season’s lingering plot threads, and sprinkling in delightful cameos that hint at the expanding universe of the franchise.

Summers Family Dynamics

One of the core threads this episode pulls on is the complex dynamics of the Summers family. The episode confirms the tragic demise of Maddy, allowing Jean Grey to step into a newfound role of motherhood. This transition is deeply symbolic, especially as we explore Bastion’s origins— a juxtaposition of raising a monster versus sacrificing for the greater good. In this iteration, Bastion is a hybrid of leftover Nimrod tech and human DNA, creating the ultimate Prime Sentinel, slightly deviating from his comic book counterpart.

The Dystopian Visions

The episode beautifully contrasts Cable’s dystopian reality with glimpses of a utopian AI-driven society. It also nods to Jean and Cyclops’ time-displaced alter egos, Redd and Slymm, who raised Cable in the future, enriching the narrative with layers of familial sacrifice and time-travel complexities. I loved that Jean has been retired from the series “Faint Queen” and is now portrayed with a richer, more robust powerset, including psychometry and formidable telekinetic abilities, cementing her status as a powerhouse. We also get some cameos from Old Lady Lorna Dane (Polaris) and Rachal Summers in her hound form.

Echoes of Our World

In a clever twist, the episode intertwines contemporary issues, such as the rise of incel and anti-woke sentiments, into its storyline. These elements serve as a recruitment ground for the Prime Sentinel program, illustrating how closely art can mirror life and vice versa. This subplot is brilliantly tied to Bastion’s creation, harking back to the “X-Men ’92” series where Nimrod’s destruction leads to his rebirth with human traits – and the sick joke his Prime Sentinel Mama makes after showing them his prophetic art piece of the Genosha genocide which he did at 16.

Betrayals and Revelations

Betrayal is a recurring theme, with three significant betrayals altering the course of the story. The revelation that Trish Tilby, a long-standing ally of the mutants, is a Prime Sentinel, is particularly jarring – this bitch really was a mutant hater all along and everything she did was done to provide Bastion more intel – poor Beast, he can’t catch a break with love. Val Cooper’s betrayal, driven by grief, and Sunspot’s mother turning her son over to the Sentinels add layers of drama and suspense, setting the stage for intense confrontations. Listen to me, I can not wait for Jubilee to snatch that woman’s wig at some point, also can we talk about the fact that Jubes is forever doomed to have a poor relationship with malls.

An additional layer of intrigue is added when we see Daria, a character first introduced in “Generation X” #20 (1996) by James Robinson and Chris Bachalo. Daria’s comic book history sees her switching sides to aid Jubilee, suggesting a potential future redemption or alliance in the animated series. This hint at her complex allegiance adds depth to the betrayal theme and teases viewers with the possibility of shifting loyalties in upcoming episodes.

Daddy…I mean, Magneto’s Triumphant Moment

The episode’s climax revolves around Magneto, who, despite being captured and paraded in humiliating fashion – what kind of bondage fantasy does Bastion have – remains petty and pays his captors dust by not saying a word the entire time. Something which pushes Val to ultimately free him, spitting in Bastion’s face that “Magneto was Right” about humanity.

But let me tell you the scream I scrompt when Magneto went to the North Pole in his black briefs, showed humanity to put some respect on his Omega-Level name, and shut everything down with a massive EMP.

Let me tell you, based on what I am seeing on Twitter (I will deadname that site forever), let’s say the Black Bird wasn’t the only thing that exploded today. We saw why Rogue and Professor X are sprung on Daddy… I mean, Magneto is fit and Fine!

I digress…

Cameos and Future Speculations

The episode doesn’t skimp on cameos, featuring appearances from Dr. Doom, Spider-Man, Omega Red, Silver Samurai, Baron Nemo, and, I think, Valentina and others, hinting at a broader, grittier Animated Universe on the horizon. They also explained why the universal peeping Tom Uathu appeared in Episode 5 – Remember It – seeing that he only shows up at nexus events that must always occur in time. I guess we need to come to terms with the fact that there will be no undoing the deaths we saw. RIP Gambit et al.

With the world plunged into chaos and Sentinels depowered, the series poses a crucial question: Will humanity learn from its mistakes, or are we on the brink of an extinction-level event?

Oh, yeah, Charles returns a day late and a dollar short as usual. Ugh, I hate this man. But we got this cool shot:

Final Verdict: Omega Level Entertainment

As “X-Men ’97” approaches its season finale, episode 8 delivers a compelling story and sets up a high-stakes scenario that challenges characters and viewers alike.

The way these episodes revisit the gripping ‘Operation Zero Tolerance’ arc honours its comic origins and infuses new life into the narrative. This adaptation remains faithful to the 1997 storyline by Scott Lobdell, featuring government-mandated hunts against mutants, yet it introduces novel elements like Bastion’s revised backstory. By comparing these adaptations, viewers can appreciate the nuanced balance between classic homage and innovative storytelling, making the series accessible to newcomers and rewarding for long-time fans.

We’re also getting characters fully fleshed out in-depth; Wolverine, Beast, and Nightcrawler all get some shine in this episode. But what they do, particularly with Magneto and Jean Grey, is masterful. Magneto’s resilience and unyielding silence under capture emphasize his complex nature as both a feared antagonist and a figure with a deeply ingrained belief in mutant superiority. Meanwhile, Jean steps into a role that blends newfound maternal instincts with formidable psychic powers, symbolizing growth and adaptability. These portrayals enrich the narrative, presenting characters who are not merely heroes or villains but are profoundly flawed and relatable.

Further, episode 8 masterfully explores themes of intolerance and control through its dystopian narrative, mirroring poignant real-world issues. The episode uses the Sentinels as antagonists and symbols of overarching surveillance and societal fear of the ‘other.’ This thematic depth adds layers to the story, prompting viewers to reflect on the consequences of fear-driven policies and the importance of understanding and tolerance in society.

The narrative seeds in this episode suggest a tumultuous finale could be on the horizon, hinting at potential upheavals within the mutant community. The complex interplay of betrayals and alliances raises questions about larger ideological battles that could unfold within the ranks. As we speculate on how these conflicts might set the stage for future seasons, this episode’s deep dive into beloved characters and its intelligent weaving of socio-political themes promise an action-packed resolution. Are you ready for what’s next? With the stakes higher than ever, this must-watch episode engages viewers and invites them to delve deeper into the potential directions the series could explore.

Anyway’s here’s a photo of Magneto slaying in them black drawers.

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