X-Men: The Animated Series
Season 1 Episode 4: Deadly Reunions

Writer: Don Glutt
Story Editor: Eric Lewald
Story Consultant: Bob Harras
Supervising Producer: Will Meugniot
Line Producer: Larry Houston
Original Air Date: 23 January 1993

Synopsis (from IMDB): Professor Xavier and Magneto confront each other for the first time in years, meanwhile, Wolverine and Sabretooth come face to face. Professor Xavier tries to examine Sabretooth’s mind to figure out his rage problem. After his last terrorist action failed, Magneto plots a new one to bring Professor Xavier out into the open. Sabretooth and Wolverine confront each other in the mansion’s war room.

Do you know what I like about the X-Men comics? It is well established, which kind of powers everyone on the team has. Though sometimes it seems like they could do more. For example, Kurt could dominate almost every single fight with his teleportation powers. Still, you get an idea of their capabilities and how they can use them. This, unfortunately, seems not to be the case for the TV show. Granted, Cyclops, Jubilee, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine, and Sabretooth are pretty well established. You know what they can do. However, I am not that sure about Magneto and the Professor.

In addition to that, it sometimes seems that the story controls the characters and not the other way around. This takes away the natural development and occurrences in some situations. Take the first scene for example. The Professor tries to infiltrate Sabretooth’s mind, figuring out the reasons for his anger. This psychic link is shown in a weird, but fun way. You get an idea of what is going on in Sabretooth’s mind, through vague ideas and images.

The only thing you can be sure about is the involvement of Wolverine. Then comes a moment, where Sabretooth is able to ban the Professor out of his mind. The Professor is beaten, mentally, by Sabretooth. Think about that. Isn’t Xavier supposed to be the most powerful psychic? It just seems odd. Later in the episode, in the faceoff with Magneto, Xavier appears to be too powerful. But we will get to that in a moment.

First, we see Magneto scheming his next attack. He wants to strike at someplace with a lot of Homo Sapiens. A place, the Professor might not expect. For some devious reason, he chooses Metro Chemicals. I guess the major cities of the world, where buildings are partially made out of steel and metal was not an option. Maybe it was vacation time. Anyway, he attacks the plant and Cerebro immediately informs the X-Men of the attack. Cerebro is also a digital assistant now. Similar, when you tell Siri that you want to be notified as soon as someone changes his or her location.

This time the Professor accompanies his former students (they look too old to be his students), which is a logical move at this point, given the fact that the last time, they barely could fight Magneto off. Though the fight is fascinating to watch, and we get a glimpse of Storms past, it also raises a lot of questions. One of them is: Why can Magneto deflect Cyclops laser beams? It just seems far-fetched.

What I like about this scene, though, is the fact that Rogue has to save Cyclops for a change. He was beaten quite fast, and she has to perform CPR. This gives her the powers of Cyclops and therefore starts shooting laser beams out of her eyes. For some reason, she does not come up with the idea to close her eyes. Cyclops has to tell her that. You see – Cyclops was saved by a woman before. So naturally, he now has to save the said woman in return to not lose his masculinity. Because, you know, we can’t have that. He is Cyclops. Bug enough sarcasm…

The “duel” between Magneto and Xavier does not get any better than that. Somehow Xavier is able to penetrate Magneto’s mind. Why is that a problem? Because Magneto wears his helmet. Why wear this ridiculous looking thing in the first place, if it does not help you at all? Granted, with the rest of the costume this iconic look remains cool, but you know what I mean. So, Magneto again is defeated, because the plot demanded it, and everyone goes home and drinks coffee. No really, they get to their headquarters and drink coffee.

Why check up on Jubilee? She is just guarding Sabretooth. They are fine. And Wolverine? Why look for him – silly Wolverine. Perhaps he is just hunting some deer in Canada. He is fine. Of course, nothing is fine. Sabretooth tricked Jubilee into helping him, Wolverine waited for that to happen, and now they fight. The others hear the chaos, enter the war room, where the fight is happening, and for some reason blame Wolverine for all of it.

Teammates. Trust. The benefit of the doubt. They are all overrated concepts. In the end, Sabretooth escapes, Wolverine is badly hurt (I guess they forgot about his healing factor), Magneto is standing at the edge of a cliff scheming, again, and the Professor proofed himself a fool.

To be honest, I am not sure what to think of this series. I mean it’s fun to rant about it once a month, but I wanted to really like this show. The comics are great, most of the movies are great, and I hoped to see a TV show, which takes the idea of the X-Men further. But so far it has been a trashy show with characters whose abilities and appearance remind me of characters in a comic book, but there the resemblance ends.

Anyway, I am looking forward to next months episode.

Christoph Staffl

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