The title of this series is now automatically wrong for I have not seen the rest of the show before this viewing. I thought I did, though it’s hard to tell when you’re a kid just how much or how little you’ve seen of a show with constant reruns (for a great polar example I thought I only saw a little bit of Cowboy Bebop as a kid only to buy the DVD set and realize that was the whole how) but this is all new. Though, I guess these versions of the characters are the ones, or voices, I think of when I imagine these characters so it stick… Barely.
The season picks up immediately at the end of the last, mutants exposed, Mystique completed her elaborate plan, and the X-Men are decimated. From there it becomes both the series I imagined the second was trying to be, while also feeling incredibly calculated in a way the past seasons did not. We’ll get more into that, but I find this period of mutant history interesting and could be explored more. I had not read the very first X-Men stories or Ultimate versions of them, but the idea of seeing the birth of people dealing with mutants is interesting. This Hickman/ Dawn of X books try a similar idea with Karkoa but the idea of looking at the first mutants coming out to the world is a great idea and concept to move the series forward.
On the whole this season is not as thematically consistent at what each episode is trying to convey. The season starts very strong. The first episodes do focus hard on mutants coming out to society, and how the X-Men try to show that they are not monsters, but heroes. From there it spends a couple episodes in the micro, showing how the X-Men and other mutants are treated by people who once knew them and were friends with them.
This should be a season of success. It does what I wanted last season to do, spend time with each group to build up to a finale while not forgoing the character episodes and arcs. It does that, unfortunately the arc they decide to go with for this season does not match with the stated theme this season wanted.
This Coming Out season starts strong. It has some misses, Spyke’s mutation changing and choosing to live with a group of underground mutants could have used more fleshing out, but it works. Outside of that each episode does a good job of showing the mutants as being helpful, getting pepole to see they aren’t monsters, but still aren’t respected or liked. The token government hearing feels underdeveloped, but since the show makes mutants feel like they are on a small scale it works better.
Where this all goes a little off the rails thematically is with the big finale (not the final episode, but two-parter). The finale starts from a good place, going back episodes earlier to when Rouge lost control of her powers, and her growth back to feeling normal is strong, but her getting mind controlled so early seems like a missed opportunity to do more character work. This feels especially true when Rouge finds out Mystique was part of the reason she got adopted. Unfortunately Rouge being mind controlled takes that away from her and makes it just a prolonged chase to find Apocalypse and free him. There could be something about Apocalypse being freed to tie into mutants being publicized, but other than just that idea nothing more is done. Maybe there will be next season, but as it is most is not done great.
Another weakness of the season is the balance of going to each group to see what they’re doing is fine, but since Apocalypse takes over whatever schemes Magneto is planning feels just kind of left, even after doing one of the most horrible things he’s ever done.
None of this is bad (it’s kinda bad that they leave Scarlet Witch the way they do, and don’t address it more. Feels underdeveloped). It all just feels very formulaic. This might come from binging a show that wasn’t made to be, but it just feels like every episode is just a continuation of a previous one in one way or another.
The big departure from this is the introduction of X-23, recently seen in Logan, but started here. That is one of the best episodes of the show. The episode has the best animation by far. It uses so much movement and strong fights to show her prowess. On top of that it is really well written, and gives Logan something new to deal with since his whole Weapon X deal ended so soon into the shows run.
Speaking of Logan, it’s also clear the movies got big and were exerting influence onto the show. The biggest example is the loss of Wolverine’s outfit. He has just a simple black shirt with some yellow stripes. Not a great, but does bring him into line with the other X-Men. But making Rouge such a big character, and teaming her up with Logan often really feels like the network wanted the show to look more at the movies. I mean there is a showdown in convenience store in a wooded area where Logan helps Rouge escape (I think that was in the first movie. I actually don’t know them that well. I know First Class and Days of Future Past very well, but I only know bits of the others).
Despite the big villain plot of the season not matching up with the theme the final episode of the season does. It has the X-Men on a cruise where they accidentally use their powers and have to use them again to fix the problems they caused all while centering around Samara, a magama user from season 2, trying to understand her powers. There is some questionable race relations stuff in this episode (white savior is the thing I’m thinking of), but I think it’s a good example of how the media biases people’s outlooks. That isn’t explicit, but it’s clear the ship passengers are scared of what they are while, and calling them mutants means they had to have seen the news. Meanwhile the islanders accept them and their help and from their very stereotypical portrayal probably haven’t watched the news. Even with that it works well, and is a good closing point on the season.
Next season is the last, and shortest. There are still plots up in the air that I’m interested to see how they resolve them!
I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!
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