Monday, June 16, 2014

Wolverine and the X-men (TV) - episode 4 - Overflow

Now that Charles Xavier has the ability to communicate with the X-men from the future, we're going to see a pattern in future episodes: Charles warns them about something awful that happens soon and asks them to prevent it. In this case, it's that all of Africa has been destroyed. Storm was blamed for the destruction, so the X-men have to go and stop her.

Before they leave, Logan really wants Emma gone, because he can't trust her, but once again they need her to use Cerebro. Africa is pretty huge, after all, and they don't know exactly where Storm is. You'd think she might leave a forwarding address or some way for the X-men to reach her, but she didn't. Emma is able to find her and once again the X-men load up into the blackbird to go after her. There's this really nice moment where Cyclops begrudgingly shows up at the last minute - Kitty had knocked on his door to let him know they were leaving, but he didn't answer. After a nice humorous moment where Forge begs Wolverine not to ruin the blackbird as he just fixed it and Logan puts a scratch in the side saying "The first scratch is always the worst," Scott just quietly walks up and gets on the plane. Logan doesn't say anything snarky to him, he just steps aside and lets him on. While these two can bicker like there's no tomorrow, I like when we get to see they also have a quiet respect for each other.

In Africa, Storm has returned to the village where she was once worshiped as a goddess. The people are making offerings to her and want to throw celebrations in her honor, and Ororo is very humbled and slightly embarrassed about it all. Unfortunately, the Shadow King has also made his way to this village, passing from person to person by touch in order to ultimately get inside Ororo's head. We get a flashback to the days when she was a young thief working for him, and how it was Charles Xavier that helped her escape that life. But now after all this time, the Shadow King wants her back. He fools her into thinking that her village is on fire, and so she brings down heavy rain that turns into a flood and begins to destroy the village. The X-men arrive to try and stop her.

In a moment that must be making a nod to the original X-men film, Emma insists that Cyclops blast Storm with his beams and take her down, but Logan says no, blast him instead. He climbs a large outcropping to reach Storm where she hovers in the sky, and once Logan has her Scott blasts him and they both come crashing down. It's clever and a nice bit of teamwork. Emma goes inside Storm's head and realizes the Shadow King is there, and the two of them fight. Emma is able to push him out, but she also has to abandon her own body in the process. We see the two of them fighting on the astral plane, and it's really creative, the way they keep building weapons for themselves. Ultimately, the Shadow King is weakened by not having a host body to return to, and Emma is able to slice him apart.

Storm is able to fix the damage she caused, and Logan now trusts Emma a little more. Ororo decides to return the X-men and help them prevent the dark future in any way she can.

What's interesting to me about this episode is that it borrows heavily from an episode from the first X-men animated series where the Shadow King also tried to get at Storm by attacking her village in Africa, but it does it so much better. And that's even with the absence of Rogue and Jean in this version. It's worth noting that a similar thing did happen in the comics as well, but that issue was written after the animated series episode, so I'm giving it the credit for this original story idea. Though of course the history between the Shadow King, Storm, and Xavier is from comics far earlier than that.

Overall it's a fairly simple episode, but has strong writing and great action.

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