Monday, July 14, 2014

X-MEN Episode Fifty-Nine - October 26, 1996

Written by Len Uhley

Summary:  The Friends of Humanity’s ruling council threatens to renounce Graydon Creed for hiding his mutant heritage.  Creed devises a scheme to prove himself, arranging for Nightcrawler to receive a letter from his mother, claiming she needs help.  Nightcrawler contacts the X-Men, who travel with him to a dam that’s secretly occupied by the FoH.  They discover Creed’s setup when Mystique is revealed as the mother of Creed and Nightcrawler.  While the X-Men face the FoH, Nightcrawler tries to make peace with Mystique.  Creed betrays Mystique and impulsively destroys the dam, leading the X-Men to believe Mystique has drowned.  Later, Creed is rescued by the FoH’s ruling council and sent to an isolated shack -- the home of his father, Sabretooth.

Continuity Notes:  
  • The X-Men featured this episode are Wolverine, Rogue, and Jubilee.
  • Blink makes a cameo as a mutant student being harassed during a montage of anti-mutant demonstrations on the news.
  • Much of this episode is based on the infamous X-Men Unlimited #4, which revealed Mystique as Nightcrawler’s mother and brought Graydon Creed and Rogue into the story for a dysfunctional family reunion.
  • Mystique tells Nightcrawler that his father was an Austrian count she was using for money twenty-five years ago.  When she gave birth to a mutant, she abandoned the child and adopted a new identity.

Um, Actually…”:  Jubilee tells Nightcrawler that she never knew her birthparents, either.  In the comics, Jubilee was raised by her parents until they were killed when she was in her early teens.  

Saban Quality:  The FoH’s armory has a crate labeled “Blaters.”

Approved By Broadcast Standards:  Mystique’s vague death scene, obviously inspired by the end of X-Men Unlimited #4, is only allowed to stay “vague” for about thirty seconds.  She stands up and walks away, just a few feet away from Wolverine, who claims there’s no trace of her.

“Huh?” Moment:  The letter Nightcrawler receives warns him to come alone.  Wolverine promises him that no one will know the X-Men are there; a promise that lasts all of five seconds once they reach the base and storm it.

“Actiiing!”:  Graydon Creed still has a priceless overreaction every time someone even mentions Sabretooth’s name.

Creative Differences:  Wizard #51 went behind-the-scenes on the day the voice acting for this episode was recorded.  It reports an argument between Marvel exec/X-Men producer Joseph Calamari and a FOX representative about two lines of dialogue that were cut from the episode.  The article also claimed this episode would likely air in early 1996, even though it didn’t debut until the end of the year.

Production Note:  The opening credits are back to the original, which I’m assuming is a mistake on the DVDs, because I don’t recall the actual episodes ever reverting to the original opening.  Also, the closing credits are back to the montage.

Review:  “Bloodlines” is another episode that could lay claim to the “Last X-Men Episode” title, since Wizard #51 reported that Graydon Creed’s “NOOOOOO” at the end of the episode was the last line of dialogue recorded for the series.  FOX decided to air the two-parter “Storm Front” after this one, however, and according to the production lists posted online, those would seem to be the final ones actually animated.  (Before FOX decided to order another small batch of episodes, of course.)  Regardless, “Bloodlines” would’ve been a more memorable closing for the series, as it revives a popular guest star, resolves a mystery, and has some of the strongest character moments in the show’s run so far.  Nightcrawler is perhaps even preachier than he was in his first appearance, telling orphan Jubilee that God will accept her and later explaining the concept of forgiveness to Mystique, but he’s still recognizable as the Nightcrawler we know from the comics.  Nightcrawler’s explanation to Mystique that he does resent her for abandoning him and later going along with Creed’s plan to save her own life, but will pray for the strength to forgive her is quite touching, and another example of the series going places Saturday Morning would never go.  It’s also worth noting that the “family reunion” aspect of the episode that unites Mystique with her biological children and foster-daughter is handled in a far more logical and coherent way than we saw in the comics.  X-Men Unlimited #4 will always be remembered as a train wreck, but its animated adaptation remains one of the series’ better episodes.

Credit to for the screencaps.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I seem to recall being astounded that this show got away with revealing, even if indirectly, that Mystique had two children out of wedlock with two different men. Seems like something those Fox S&P people would've jumped on.

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