X-Men ’97: Season 1, Episode 9 – “Tolerance Is Extinction – Part 2” Review

Warning: This Episode Review Contains Full Spoilers for X-Men ‘97: Season 1, Episode 9!

We’ve reached the penultimate chapter of X-Men ‘97’s initial season, and the outlook is grim for our beloved heroes. Following Magneto’s devastating attack, resulting in thousands of casualties and a dying planet, the X-Men find themselves divided at a time when they are needed most. As we approach the finale, the stakes are higher than ever, and Episode 9 delivers an action-packed and tense new storyline.

While “Tolerance Is Extinction” merges elements from the comic book arcs “Operation: Zero Tolerance” and “E Is for Extinction,” the second half of the episode transitions into adapting the storyline from 1993’s “Fatal Attractions.” Similar to the comic, Magneto resumes his war against humanity, aiming to recruit the X-Men to his cause. Tragically, Rogue and Sunspot are the new members who succumb to his influence. Sunspot’s sudden shift in allegiance feels rushed, primarily stemming from his mother’s rejection of his mutant nature in the previous episode. With X-Men ‘97’s fast-paced storytelling, there are always some elements that could benefit from more development.

Rogue’s betrayal of the team is a compelling continuation of her character arc throughout the season. Although she initially rejected Magneto in a previous episode, a significant loss prompts her to align with him now. Her decision raises questions about whether she can easily reintegrate into the X-Men after such a betrayal.

Magneto Takes Center Stage

This episode also shines a spotlight on Magneto’s character. He reverts back to his role as a full-fledged villain, reminiscent of the first season of the original series. However, his motivations are understandable, given the failed outcome of his efforts to uphold Xavier’s dream. The episode effectively captures the tragedy of Magneto’s downfall and the irreparable rift in his friendship with Xavier. Xavier’s moral boundaries are also tested, hinting at a potential main villain for Season 2.

Wolverine, who had a minor role this season for a good reason, experiences significant developments in this episode. His actions against Magneto and the subsequent loss of his adamantium set the stage for a potentially compelling storyline in the next season, delving into his past and ties to Japan.

Hope Amidst the Darkness

Despite the grim tone of Episode 9, Storm’s return injects a much-needed sense of optimism into the narrative. Alison Sealy-Smith’s portrayal of Storm continues to be a standout, particularly in her powerful and inspiring monologue, emphasizing the bond between Storm and Jean.

The episode doesn’t skimp on the action either, with nods to ’90s-era comics through the Blue and Gold teams. The battle sequences are visually engaging, with highlights including Morph’s transformation and Beast’s unexpected assistance against the Sentinels. Jean’s battle with Sinister also stands out, showcasing her formidable powers.

It’s refreshing to see the X-Men donning different costumes, a departure from their usual attire. While the classic costumes nod to the Chris Claremont/John Byrne era, it adds a layer of nostalgia to the series. There’s potential for exploring diverse wardrobe choices from the characters’ vast history, offering a fun contrast to the live-action X-Men movies’ black leather costumes.