Wednesday, November 21, 2012

X-MEN Episode Twelve - March 20, 1993

Days of Future Past (Part Two)
Written by Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

Summary: The X-Men prevent Bishop from harming Gambit, but also express doubts over Gambit’s denial. Professor Xavier speculates that the assassination could happen during the Senate’s hearings on the mutant issue, so the team travels to Washington. There, they battle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, while Mystique impersonates Gambit and tries to kill Senator Robert Kelly. Gambit saves Kelly, but Bishop remains eager to shoot him and Mystique. Rogue enters and destroys Bishop’s temporal transceiver, sending him back to the future. Shortly after the X-Men leave Kelly’s office, he’s kidnapped. Xavier discerns that Magneto is the culprit. In the future, Bishop returns home to discover nothing has changed.

Continuity Notes:
· Havok, wearing his Larry Stroman-era X-Factor costume, makes his debut in the series during a montage of future events, narrated by Bishop. He appears alongside Cyclops, fighting Sentinels. The Morlocks are also shown as victims of Sentinels in the montage.
· Storm comments that she knows Gambit better than anyone, which prompts an odd look from Rogue. This is a reference to Gambit befriending the de-aged Storm during Chris Claremont’s final years on the comics, although this storyline was never adapted for the cartoon.
· Mystique reveals herself as Rogue’s foster mother when she morphs into the shape of an average-looking, middle-aged white female.
· Two endings to the episode exist. When originally aired, the final shot of Forge in the future had him staring at an android in what appears to be a sensory deprivation tank. On subsequent reairings, we instead see Wolverine’s adamantium bones in the tank.

“Um, Actually…: Rogue always knew Mystique as her foster mother in the comics. The revelation that Mystique used another identity when raising her was apparently done to simplify Rogue’s earlier encounters with Mystique in this series.

Review: Following the basic structure of the original story, the second chapter of “Days” has the X-Men traveling to Washington, DC to stop the Brotherhood from assassinating Senator Kelly. This episode emphasizes why the adaptations from the comics often work so well in the cartoon. The cast isn’t quite the same, and the specific plot details vary in places, so even though comic fans are experiencing familiar scenes, the story’s still free to do something new. Merging the X-traitor storyline with the assassin plot from “Days of Future Past” makes a lot of sense, and it gives Rogue and Gambit important roles to play in a story that originally didn’t even feature them.

Adding Bishop, who’s almost as belligerent and violent here as initially portrayed in the comics, also creates conflicts that couldn’t exist in the original storyline. Bishop’s response when dealing with Gambit and a doppelganger is classic -- “Better take you both out…just to be sure.” Yeah, Cable had a virtually identical scene just a few episodes ago when dealing with Mystique, but it doesn’t fail to crack me up.

Having concluded an adaptation of one of the most famous X-Men stories ever, and doing a decent job of it, the episode ends with perhaps the greatest teaser in the show’s run. Why does Xavier think Magneto has kidnapped Senator Kelly? “Because, my watch…it’s been magnetized.” Even though Magneto had already appeared on the show, and the novelty of seeing X-Men characters on TV was starting to wear off a bit, for some reason this floored me as a kid. Magneto’s coming back! So, yes, this is a notable two-parter. Although I feel compelled to complain about Mystique’s characterization, again. Her motive for killing Kelly isn’t because Mystique’s a mutant extremist with an agenda, as seen in the comics. No, she’s doing this because her lord Apocalypse demands it, which is also used as a justification for her attempting to make Rogue a slave a few episodes earlier. Ugh.


Matt said...

I totally agree with the "magnetized watch" cliffhanger being the series' best. Xavier dropping the watch and letting it cling to his chair is a sequence I'll probably always remember.

Anonymous said...

@ Kendall and Matt
That bit is still a classic, and it leads into what is still my favorite episode of the series

thinkingcog said...

A thousand times YES on the cliffhanger moment. Myself and my brother used to quote that bit to each other all the time. It's probably the shrewdest scene in the entire show.

I'll always have a soft spot for the cartoon but subtlety was rarely used in the show, especially after the first series so it must be applauded when it was.

I also must fess up to being a total sucker for the X-Traitor story line and an Onslaught apologist due to the age I was when reading the comics. I originally came across Days of Future Past in a novelised form when I was a kid but read the comic later, so despite the older me being fully aware that Days of Future Past is the far superior story, my feelings of fondness for the X-Traitor trump it on a totally illogical level. Hence I love this merging of the two stories.

Teebore said...

“Because, my watch…it’s been magnetized.”

That sound you hear is my 12-year-old self's mind being blown.

Loved that cliffhanger as a kid. Just great stuff.

This is a reference to Gambit befriending the de-aged Storm during Chris Claremont’s final years on the comics, although this storyline was never adapted for the cartoon

And we can all be thankful for that...

Two endings to the episode exist

I did not know that. I wonder why they changed it?

yrzhe said...

For all the convoluted continuity tangles brought up in this series, the only ones that really confused me (as a kid mostly unfamiliar with the comics) were both about Rogue's past: One of them was the reveal in this episode that Mystique was her foster mother, which seemed to come out of nowhere and contribute nothing to the plot.

I thought that was the only mark against this otherwise-excellent two-parter, which really did a great job of merging a bunch of different dystopian future storylines together.

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