‘X-Men’97’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Will Cable Appear In The Near Future? Who Is Forge?

A fan favorite X-Men villain returns along with the almost forgotten campy moniker of one of the core X-Men team members, as the third episode of X-Men’97 maintains the strong momentum initiated by the first couple of episodes of the series. Previously, the narrative followed the eponymous team of mutants a year after the death of their beloved mentor and leader, Professor Charles Xavier, and in his absence, Scott took on the responsibilities of leadership. As the team has their plates full while tackling the dual threat of the mutant hate group “Friends of Humanity” and Boliver Trask’s mutant exterminating abominations, an expectant Jean proposes the idea of leaving the team to Scott—for their unborn child’s sake. 


Things get even more complicated as it is revealed that the professor has nominated his best friend, archrival, supervillain, and mutant supremacist, Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto, as the inheritor of his fortune, and guardian,  leader of his team. While the X-Men find it difficult to wrap their heads around this and hesitate to accept Magneto in their ranks, a malevolent assassination plan brews in the background as Magneto is summoned in front of the UN to answer for his crimes. Rallying a hateful mob to the UN meet, the assassin X-Cutioner prepares to take down Magneto using a concentrated power dampener shot, but misses his target as Ororo, aka Storm, saves Magneto, ending up getting shot herself in the process and losing her powers. An enraged Magneto almost lashes out at the vile display of human bigotry, but decides to restrain himself at the end to show his goodwill—and that he believes in his late friend Charles’ ideal of mutant-human coexistence. Jean gives birth to baby Nathan Summers; a crestfallen Ororo leaves the team; and a doppelganger of Jean arrives, knocking at the door of the X-mansion.  In the third episode of the series, titled “Fire Made Flesh,”  the clone mystery is addressed, and as predicted in the previous sum-up, sinister shadows have been cast on the team of mutants.

Spoilers Ahead


Who Sent Madelyn Prior To X-Men?

As the episode takes off right from the ending of the previous one, the X-Men gather around the unconscious new Jean in the X-mansion. Jean uses her telepathic powers to peep into the clone’s mind to find that she has gained awareness recently, has Jean’s memories, and has escaped a lab to seek help from the X-Men. 

Before the team can ascertain her true identity, Hank reveals that, according to his tests, the new Jean is the real Jean Grey, while Nathan’s mother is a clone of Jean Grey, whom fans will recognize as Madelyn Prior. A shocked Madelyn tries to challenge Hank’s findings and pleads with her fellow team members to believe her to be the real Jean who sided with them through thick and thin—to no avail, as suddenly suspicion creeps into everyone’s minds. When even her husband, Scott, turns his back on her, a dejected Madelyn tearfully retreats into her room, taking baby Nathan with her. Later, Scott tries to manage the situation by stating that, amidst Magneto’s leadership and Ororo’s departure, everything has become confusing for them, but Madelyn dismisses him, realizing that the trust they had between them is shaken. 


As Hank tries to repair Bishop’s time band, which can send him back to the future timeline from where the energy-manipulating mutant came from, he comes across another startling revelation. From his research, Hank finds out that the evil Victorian-era scientist whose obsession with mutant genetics led him to conduct horrendous experimentation and self-augmentations—Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister—had cloned Jean in the first place. On the other hand, Sinister starts haunting Madelyn, demanding that she hand baby Nathan over to him. Sinister further reveals that Madelyn is indeed Jean’s clone, created by him as he aimed to combine the genes of two Omega-level mutants to create a perfect being. As Madelyn protests, Sinister activates a latent mind-controlling gem that was injected into her, transforming Madelyn into Goblin Queen, a villainous persona with a flair for gothic attire and demonic conjuration that matches Sinister’s MO. 

In Rogue and Magneto’s absence, Goblin Queen wreaks havoc in X-Mansion as she conjures up nightmarish creations to psychologically manipulate the X-Men. Despite her weakened state, Jean intervenes in the nick of time to rescue her fellow team members, but the team fails to protect Nathan, whom Goblin Queen takes back to Sinister’s lair. 


Will Cable Appear In The Near Future?

At his lair, Sinister puts Nathan inside an enhanced chemical solution that is supposed to make him physically invulnerable. As Magneto and Rogue return, the team prepares to launch an all-out assault on the twisted scientist and rescue Nathan. However, once again, Goblin Queen’s dark machinations prove too heavy to handle for the majority of the team, even for the mystic arts specialist mutant, Magik, as well. From X-mansion, Jean telepathically projects herself into Madelyn’s mind and gets caught up in the confusion of shared memories. Identity crisis almost gets to the duo, until Jean taps into Madelyn’s fondest memory—a memory exclusively hers, despite being a clone of Jean herself—which is Nathan’s birth. 

As Madelyn relives the memory, she breaks free from Sinister’s mind control and teams up with Scott to rescue their son. The duo stops Sinister in the midst of his experimentation and brings Nathan out of the chemical containment, seeing which Sinister mocks the duo for dooming the fate of the child. Sinister mystically vanishes, and the couple gets horrified seeing a strange metallic augmentation spreading across the baby’s body. 


Back at the mansion, Hank identifies the ailment as being caused by a techno-organic virus strain, and its untimely release from the experimentation has accelerated its adverse effects on Nathan, which can soon claim his life. Sinister’s advanced technology has rendered Hank helpless in this case, as he is out of a possible way to help the baby in time. Madelyn contemplates whether Bishop can seek help from his future timeline, he states that he has contact who can help but that with the time band’s resources, only he and Nathan can make the trip once. Scott is shaken, as leaving his son to his fate alone is worse than abandonment in his book, and having first-hand experience of paternal abandonment, he cannot make a similar decision, even if it is for the betterment of Nathan. Madelyn makes the call, and before entrusting Nathan to Bishop, she telepathically communicates with her son, possibly storing a message in his subconscious for the future. 

Doing away with her false past, Madelyn chooses to shape up a future for herself as she leaves X-Mansion. Jean meets with her as she is about to leave the mansion premises and shares her inability to ascertain the exact point when they were swapped by Sinister. Madelyn is unaware of the fact as well, but what she knows is that she will be in control of her own future from now on. The duo part ways on a friendlier note, and Madelyn shares her name with Jean before starting off her journey of self-discovery. Jean returns to Scott, and the messy room of Madelyn in the background symbolizes that the couple has to put in much effort to pick up the pieces.


This marks the beginning of the harsh, troublesome journey of Nathan Summers, who will later become the fearsome warrior of the future known as Cable. The character has appeared in the original X-Men the Animated Series while fighting alongside the eponymous team against the threat of the villainous Apocalypse, and with his origin shown in X-Men’97,  there is a possibility that fans will meet him in his familiar burly cybernetic mercenary look before the season ends. 

Who Is Forge?

During the final moments of the episode, Ororo is seen spending her time inside a rundown bar in Texas, where she is approached by a man who hints about her lost powers during conversation. Sceptical and curious, Ororo demands to know the man’s identity—who introduces himself as Xavier’s friend, Forge, a certain someone who can help Ororo get back her powers. Intrigued, Storm seems eager to listen to what Forge has to offer, and the episode ends right there. 


As a mutant, Forge’s powers rest in his unmatched brilliance as an inventor, as in comics he has often assisted Professor X with his technological assistance, be it either to upgrade the mansion’s security or to add enhancements to Cerebro. However, his inventions have been used for nefarious causes as well, much to his dismay, which might make for an interesting plot point in the series itself. The help Forge has promised to Storm will probably involve technologically reigniting Storm’s diminished mutant powers, which can unlock an even stronger, primal version of her. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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