X-Men ’97 – Episode 5 Recap & Review

Episode 5

Trish Tilby is interviewing the X-Men so people can see another side of the mutants. She talks with Beast and Jubilee and notes that the UN is formally admitting Genosha today. Meanwhile, Magneto, Rogue, and Gambit are going there to be part of a gala.

As they arrive, Genosha is portrayed as a happy place with mutants freely using their powers and being themselves. When the blackbird lands, Madelyne Pryor and Dr. Cooper are waiting for the X-Men. Madelyne got a top spot among Genosha’s brass, and she tells Magneto the Interim Council would like to talk with him.

Suddenly, Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler, teleports, and hugs Rogue and Gambit. He presents more of the nation to them and calls it home. Even Rogue is swept in all the fun and starts watching a street show. At the same time, Kurt tries to convince Gambit not to give up on love yet.

Back at the mansion, Trish Tilby interviews Scott, while Logan talks with Jean. Then, Scott and Jean start talking about a date they had, as if they’re connected even though they’re apart. However, the redhead kisses Wolverine during their talk, which surprises him. Still, he says they’re not meant to be together. 

Then, Tilby asks Scott about his son. That ends him and makes him try to lie his way out of the situation. When he finds out he can’t, Scott gets furious and complains about how others treat mutants and that he needs to prove he’s a person too.

The council, made up of Moira, Madelyne, Emma Frost, Calisto, and others, says they need to speak loudly as a united community. For that, they need a leader, and Magneto fits the role perfectly. He hesitates at first, but Madelyne tells him Xavier would say it’s time for him to dream bigger. He accepts but has one condition.

Later, Rogue argues with him, as his condition is for her to serve as his queen. He says the council would be lucky to have her lead, which makes her pensive.

Jean comforts Scott, who is sad about losing control when talking with Tilby. To distract him, she asks him to talk about and describe Nathan. Suddenly, the real Jean invades their discussion and interrupts it. Actually, Scott was having a psychic talk with Madelyne, which has been happening for over a month. While arguing with Jean, something suddenly affects her mind and makes her sick.

As Gambit gets ready for the gala, Rogue comes to tell him about her past. She reveals her evil mother took her to Magneto, saying he could help her. He taught her many things, including that being a mutant doesn’t involve only your abilities. One day, he discovered his electromagnetic powers could protect him and let him touch her safely. However, she left him, as their demons were too big for their relationship.

Then, Rogue says she has accepted Magneto’s proposal. Gambit tries to convince her that isn’t going to work, but she doesn’t listen to him. So, he says he’ll still be there for her, but only as a friend.

At the gala, Magneto dances with Rogue in front of everyone, which shocks some of them. After seeing that, Gambit goes away, as it’s too much for him.

Suddenly, a vision hits Madelyne, just like what happened with Jean. She sees death and sentinels and hears Cable telling everyone to turn off the music. At the same time, Rogue kisses Magneto and thanks him but says that Gambit was right. So, she leaves.

Cable sees Madelyne and tries to warn her that everyone needs to leave, as someone is coming. Upon looking into his eyes, she realizes he is Nathan, her son. But before he can explain anything, he says he’s sorry and is forced to teleport himself. Suddenly, a laser beam explodes the gala.

When Rogue wakes up, she sees a monstrous and incredibly powerful sentinel on the horizon. When it shoots another beam in her direction, Nightcrawler teleports her and Magneto away but gets hit. Several machines hurt and kill the mutants, turning the thriving nation into a hellscape.

Magneto gives himself the role of bait, while Rogue and Gambit save the Morlocks and the other mutants. However, he almost doesn’t stand a chance against it, being unable to stop the destruction. His rage gives strength enough to use the train as a whip, which proves to be effective. 

Gambit manages to save the Morlock, but the monstrous Sentinel throws Magneto right where they are. He uses every metal he can find to trap and protect Gambit and Rogue from its next blast. Magneto forms a barrier to protect himself and the Morlocks, but the beam is too strong. Then, it kills them all together.

Rogue tries to kill the machine on a rampage, but Gambit sends her flying with an explosion. He runs towards the sentinel, which pierces him with part of itself. However, he was hoping something like that would happen. Gambit uses his power on the thing and sacrifices himself by making it explode.

The X-Men watch the destroyed Genosha through the TV and can’t believe their eyes. Meanwhile, Rogue holds Gambit’s body in her arms while crying, saying she can’t feel him.

The Episode Review

X-Men 97 has had some sad moments, but this episode is devastating. And to make it worse, it comes out of nowhere. Seeing Magneto, Gambit, and so many mutants die is already awful. But then Rogue’s last lines crush what was left of your heart. It’s even hard to think about what else happened in the episode.

The destruction comes out of nowhere, and the lead-up to it is very clever. Episode 5 is full of personal problems, which gives it a more intimate feeling. Not to mention they relate to the same thing: romantic relationships. You expect the development/resolution of those love quarrels, but what comes to you is an enormous and monstrous killing machine.

That’s another clever thing about it: living in a world so full of prejudice, mutants don’t have time to focus only on their personal problems. Throughout the season (and the whole series), we have seen them fighting countless threats, some of which exist just for the sake of ending them.

While talking with Trish Tilby says he’s thankful he isn’t like non-mutants, and all that destruction helps with his point. It’ll be interesting to see the direction the next episodes will take mutants and the X-Men. Also, how non-mutants will perceive what happened in Genosha. 

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