It’s New To Me – X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (“Beyond Good and Evil, Parts 3 & 4”)

In my years of TV watching, there have been tons of well-regarded shows that have eluded my gaze. Thanks to the magic of Netflix and other online streaming sites, I now have an opportunity to watch these shows and share my thoughts on them. It may be a classic to you, but It’s New To Me!

Nearly every season of the X-Men Animated Series has had at least one big, multi-part epic storyline that has huge, status quo-changing consequences for the series as a whole. The big epic tale from Season Four, “Beyond Good and Evil,” has delivered greatly on general bigness, as it has involved no less than five of the X-Men’s most prominent adversaries and has involved a significant number of their huge supporting cast, but time will tell whether the conclusion of this four-part story will have any lasting effect on the series as a whole like “The Phoenix Saga” and “The Dark Phoenix Saga” did during Season Three.

Part three of “Beyond Good and Evil” follows Cable as he invades a government facility in the year 3999 in order to use their top secret time-travel vessel to destroy Apocalypse’s “Lazarus Chamber”, the source of the ancient mutant’s longevity and power. His voyage to the past is interrupted by Apocalypse himself, who sends the ship to Xavier’s school in the present day. After discovering from the captive Sabretooth that Apocalypse is the cause of both of their problems, the X-Men agree to help Cable travel back to ancient Cairo to destroy Apocalypse’s Lazarus Chamber once and for all. Leaving Chard and Jubilee to guard the Mansion, the team leaves with Cable and Archangel on the time machine, as Apocalypse gloats about them all falling into a trap of his own making. After battling the Four Horsemen, the team eventually reaches the Chamber and comes across what they believe to be Apocalypse, only to discover that he is really Mystique in disguise. They are then knocked unconscious by the real Apocalypse, who kidnaps Xavier and adds him to his collection of psychics.

As the penultimate chapter of this storyline, the third part of “Beyond Good and Evil” is more concentrated and far less sprawling than the previous two chapters, yet I found it slightly less interesting. Aside from occasionally cutting to Bishop who is still lost in the Axis of Time, the entire runtime of this episode is devoted to Cable recruiting the X-Men to help him destroy Apocalypse, only to unwittingly help him get even closer to achieving his still somewhat unexplained goal. The plot does slow down at one point for a brief character moment in which Cyclops tries in vain to relate to Cable, which is an obvious wink and nod to fans of the comic, but otherwise the sole purpose of this chapter is to get the characters to their final destinations in an expedient manner, and while it was a perfectly entertaining half-hour, I couldn’t help but see the gears working, which makes it a bit of a letdown after the two previous installments. Part Three of “Beyond Good and Evil” earns 3.5 out of 5 Extreme Interrogations.

After finally gaining control of Xavier, Apocalypse reveals his full plan in the final part of “Beyond Good and Evil.” In a nutshell, this plan involves using his team of psychic slaves to undo the very fabric of time and remake it in his image, so that no one will impair his plan of world domination. This plan does not sit well with Magneto and Mystique, who free the captive Wolverine, whom we discover was abducted along with Xavier, while Cable successfully destroys Apocalypse’s Lazarus Chamber just as he did in the future. The rest of the team use Cerebro and Graymalkin, the computer in Cable’s purloined time machine, to pinpoint the exact location of Apocalypse’s base of operations, prompting Cable to venture out on his own in order to stop him. When he arrives, he joins Wolverine and his new allies in a battle against Apocalypse, the Horsemen, Sinister, and his cronies as the fabric of reality begins to unravel. Bishop discovers Apocalypse’s plan from Bender, who we found out had originally built the Axis of Time before he went insane, and he is able to wake the psychics from their trance, freeing them from Apocalypse’s control and turning them against him, restoring the space-time continuum and sending Apocalypse into oblivion as Sinister and his henchmen escape through a time portal. The storyline ends with Bishop and Shard reunited, Scott and Jean free to continue their honeymoon, and Cable returning to his own time, supposedly free at last from Apocalypse’s tyranny.

While the ultimate solution to Apocalypse’s threat seemed a little too simple, the final battle provided some fun visuals and canny Marvel Easter Eggs, including some familiar faces within Apocalypse’s group of psychic prisoners which included Mesmero, Moondragon, Rachel Grey, and a being that looked not unlike one of the Guardians from the Distinguished Competition’s Green Lantern comics, only pink instead of blue. In addition to these visual treats, we discover near the end of the episode that Bender, the insane time custodian that pestered Bishop for four episodes, is really Immortus in disguise, which begged the question of why he was unable to help stop Apocalypse himself. Despite the rather sloppy finish, the final chapter of “Beyond Good and Evil” provided a fun, goofy blow-off to a storyline that was beginning to wear thin and could very well have given us a series wrap on Apocalypse, which if true doesn’t upset me that much, as he was beginning to wear out his welcome. Now that this storyline has ended on a particular high note, here’s hoping that the show leaves time travel alone as a plot device, at least for another half-season or so. The finale of “Beyond Good and Evil” earns 4 out of 5 Broken Glass Cylinders.


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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

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