Wednesday, September 17, 2014

X-MEN Episode Seventy-Four - September 6, 1997

Hidden Agendas
Written by Steven Melching & David McDermott

Summary:  Sam Guthrie becomes a local celebrity after using his mutant powers to save his father during a mine collapse.  A government agent named Kirkland attempts to recruit Sam to join a “mutant Peace Corps” but Sam refuses to leave home.  Rogue visits Sam after the X-Men discover his powers, attempting to recruit him for Xavier’s school.  Meanwhile, Gambit investigates the government agency that’s pursuing Sam and is captured.  Rogue soon rescues Gambit, as the rest of X-Men arrive in Sam’s hometown.  Kirkland sends an army of robots and the brainwashed mutant Unit-1 to attack the X-Men, but the team prevails.  The Guthrie family leaves town, and Sam decides to decline Rogue’s offer and stay with his family.

Continuity Notes:  
  • Sam Guthrie, Cannonball, makes his first full appearance on the show.  He previously appeared in a brief cameo during a Cerebro montage, already wearing his X-Force uniform.  Paige Guthrie also debuts, much younger than she appears in Generation X as Husk.
  • All of the X-Men appear this episode, but the only ones with speaking parts are Rogue, Gambit, Beast, and Professor Xavier.  Jean Grey’s hair now matches her look in the comics.

“Um, Actually…”:  Cannonball, and the rest of the Guthrie family, are incorrectly given brown hair.  Also, in the comics, Sam’s father died of Black Lung Disease before Sam’s powers emerged.

Approved By Broadcast Standards:  The censor notes for this episode are online.  Surprisingly, as strict as the censors have become during this era of the show, the United States military is allowed to be portrayed as the villain.

I Love the '90s:  Kirkland has a gigantic cellphone with a very elaborate design.

Review:  Unless you were desperate to see Cannonball on the show, this episode can easily be thrown into the “Forgettable” pile and dismissed.  The censors have removed most of the teeth from the show by now, so the episode barely has any action (even Gambit’s capture by Kirkland’s robots is kept off-screen) and the character work is just mechanical and dull.  Those horrendous “Southern” accents, most of them performed by Canadians, don’t do the episode any favors either.  Even Lenore Zann sounds rusty as Rogue this episode, delivering perhaps her worst performance as the character.  The villains are also painfully dull, as the series finally gets around to introducing the generic Evil G-Man who wants to exploit mutants.  This is particularly egregious in the cartoon’s continuity, since as even Cannonball points out, the President in this reality is a mutant supporter.  We’re to believe that the government is running nasty anti-mutant conspiracies even when everyone’s boss is publically pro-mutant?  Lame villain, lame execution, and unfortunately, even more lame animation.

Credit to for the screencaps.


Matt said...

From the censor notes: "Page 14: Please have Gambit use his powers (not tools) to short the sensor and open the hatch lock, or keep all of his actions off camera so they are not instructive."


Doesn't the first request make the second one meaningless? Or were they worried about teaching all those kids out there with mutant powers how to use their powers to pick a lock?

These notes infuriate me every time I see them. There are impressionable kids out there, but I think most know the difference between fantasy and reality. And for those who decide they do want to emulate things like picking locks or breaking windows, I would argue there's a deeper-rooted problem for their parents to address! These notes just allow everyone to stick their heads in the sand and pretend those kids are fine.

Matt said...

Oops, I misread the note. I saw it as "AND keep all his actions..." rather than "OR".

I stand by my second point, though.

wwk5d said...

That is some serious smell-the-fart stank face from Rogue.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Sam Guthrie's father was later revealed to have been slow poisoned by a rival family in Chuck Austen's epic Shakespearean tribute, "She Lies with Angels".

wwk5d said...

You say "reveal", we say "crappy Chuck Austen retcon" ;)

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