X-Men ’97 Episode 5 Will Be Remembered as a Landmark TV Moment (Spoilers)

X-Men ’97 Episode 5 Will Be Remembered as a Landmark TV Moment (Spoilers)

I had watched a handful of episodes of the X-Men cartoon from 1997 when they were originally released. Being a comic book enthusiast, I enjoyed seeing my favourite team of mutants come to life in worthwhile adaptations of the comic stories. Even during the pandemic while in lockdown and looking for something comforting to watch, I returned to some of the early episodes of this notable series. As the hype grew for a remake, no one knew what to expect. After watching “Remember it,” the fifth episode of X-Men ’97, I can confidently say the show has not only met but surpassed the surrounding hype, achieving a rare feat in today’s TV landscape by exceeding its lofty expectations. It literally outdid the hype, and we’re not only five episodes in!

Episode Breakdown

“Remember It” is set against the backdrop of a mutant celebration in Genosha. Genosha is a country in the Marvel Comics universe that first appeared all the way back in “Uncanny X-Men” #235 from 1988. It’s an island nation located off the east coast of Africa, near Madagascar. The initial four episodes of the series, which explore storylines from the comic series such as “Inferno,” effectively set the stage for what’s to come. The episodes engage viewers with compelling narratives, even if does get a little “schmaltzy” when it comes to the relationship between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Madelyne Pryor. With that said, by the end of Episode 5, the tone of the show shifts dramatically towards tragedy, marking a poignant turn in the series’ progression. The sudden entry of Cable through a time portal sets the stage for the chaos. He appears and then is pulled back into time but with just enough time to try to warn the X-men and inhabitants of Genosha of an impending disaster. Most of the episode is about the celebrations in Genosha as Magneto comes to visit and becomes the leader, the politics behind the scenes, and then the highlight of the episode which is the devastating attack on Genosha by sentinels.

Multi-layered Events

That’s where the show can be revered on multiple levels. First, the episode is clearly trying to set up the future of Genosha, with positivity and politics. It has an air of hope and excitement for the future. So when the sentinels attack, and do so intensely, while murdering countless mutants including X-men, it is complete contrast to the earlier part of the show, and unexpected. Next, the main sentinel appears to be the Tri-sentinel, along with many other “standard” sentinels who go on the attack and destroy everything in sight. But it’s not just the significant casualties among key characters like Magneto and Gambit​, or the Morlocks, it’s the way the episode was filmed. It was intense and exciting while shocking. The emotional and physical battles within the episode, including the complex relationship dynamic between Magneto, Rogue, and Gambit, adds even more layers to the narrative. While I’m biased because the sentinels are by far my favourite X-men adversary, their appearance and use as a the cause of this upheaval is fantastic story telling. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with implications that more time-travel may play a crucial role in upcoming episodes​. The fans seem to expect that things will go back to “normal” on the show once the time travel changes the show’s path. I think it would be a disservice to just bring everyone back. I know, I know, it’s Marvel and characters rarely stay dead. Still, the impact of this episode would be lessened if that did happen.

Comparison to Game of Thrones

I compare the intensity and shock value of Episode 5 to iconic TV moments like the Red Wedding in “Game of Thrones.” I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this comparison underscores the episode’s impact. After the Red Wedding, people stopped in a moment of silence and processed what they had just seen. The same happened with this episode. It was that powerful. The episode’s intense and unexpected developments have already made it one of the most talked-about moments in recent television, particularly for an animated show. It is guaranteed to be landmark moment in TV history.

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