‘X-Men’97’ Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: Will Charles Xavier Return To His X-Men?

If the massacre of Mutants in Genosha delivered a brutal gut punch in last week’s episode of X-Men’97, the recent episode will come off as an utter shock to the fans, as news of Charles Xavier’s survival has changed the understanding of the situation in a massive way. For over a year or so, the X-Men were led to believe that Gyrich’s assassination attempt claimed Charles’ life, and the team struggled to come to terms with the reality that the professor wasn’t there to guide them. Magneto became the new leader according to Charles’ last wishes and faced hurdles from Mutant hating humankind from the beginning. Still, to honor his late friend’s memory, he showed mercy to the wrongdoers, an act that helped Mutants gain acceptance on the world stage as the sovereignty of Mutant nation Genosha was recognized by the UN. 


However, as the fifth episode chronicled a disastrous attack on Genosha by a Tri-Sentinel, orchestrated by some unknown adversary on the eve of the UN induction celebration, the hard-earned rights of the Mutants lay bloodied and bruised among the remains of unfortunate victims of the massacre. With Gambit, a number of Morlocks, and Magneto losing their lives in the act of terrorism, the news of the Professor’s survival turns out to be a surprise, and the context makes it a rather unpleasant one at that. 

Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Xavier Falsify About His Death?

As the episode begins, viewers are taken to the far reaches of the cosmos as the despotic general of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, Deathbird, and their strongest warrior, Gladiator, lead an attack on Kree leader Ronan the Accuser in an effort to subjugate the Kree Empire. However, with Supreme Intelligence—the chief intellectual governance of the Kree—escaping in the nick of time, their job is only half done. and Deathbird gets interrupted by a messenger who brings an update on her sister, Shi’ar Empress Lilandra’s latest public address. 

As original animated series fans and readers already know, Charles Xavier and Empress Lilandra were lovers, and they became acquainted when Charles and his X-Men helped her put a stop to her tyrannical brother, D’Ken’s attempt of galactic dominance during the Dark Phoenix saga, which eventually led to Lilandra becoming crowned empress. It is revealed in the ongoing episode that Lilandra saved Charles a year ago, unbeknownst to the rest of the universe, and provided him with a new life and identity in the Shi’ar Empire with the intention of making him her new life partner. Charles follows the charade of being introduced as the new emperor, but at the same time misses his students, the X-Men, and his life on earth, where he wishes to return in the near future. 


At the same time, Charles fears that by hiding the news of his survival for so long, his return to the team might have become a complicated affair. Some might consider his act a form of abandonment. Lilandra requests that Charles live this new life he has been offered and reign as the Shi’ar Emperor by her side. Problems arise when Lilandra’s sister Deathbird casts doubt over Charles’ capability of becoming one of their own, as she considers the Terrans to be an inferior race, going to such an extent that she even terms Mutants a lower caste among the Terrans. Kind of ironic, given that she is a Mutant among Shi’ar herself. Charles handles the situation calmly as he agrees to undergo a rite of passage to prove his loyalty to Shi’ar, and Deathbird tags along on the condition of a total deletion of his past life on earth from his memories and subconscious. To ensure a powerful psychic life, Charles doesn’t get to retain any memory. Deathbird asks Lilandra, another formidable psychic, to take on the role of mind-wiping. 

How Did Storm Regain Her Powers?

On the other hand, Ororo tends to a wounded Forge, who had been grievously injured by the demonic assault of the villainous Adversary in the fourth episode of the series. Adversary appears and continues to psychologically torment her, playing with her insecurities about being a mutant and toying with the conflict in her mind stemming from the possibility of having to lead a ‘normal’ life as a human. An injured Forge subjugates the demon for the time being by using spells from his mother’s grimoire, but with the injury gradually worsening, he doesn’t seem to have much time left. 


Forge mentions a unique cactus that can cure his demonic affliction, to obtain which Ororo travels with him to a Civil War-era weapon repository located inside a cavern system. Forge is deeply repentant for the fact that his technology was misused to torment fellow Mutants and extremely ashamed as to how Ororo lost her powers for the same reason as well. But as Ororo makes her way inside the narrow crevice to get the cacti and Adversary makes a return, we realize the loss of power was caused by a much deeper problem that is existential in nature. As Adversary continues to frighten her by manipulating her mind and closing the caves in on top of her while asking her to contend with the ‘normal’ human life, it is understandable that her self-doubt, self-loathing, and guilt stemming from humanity’s ever-increasing hatred towards the Mutants was the major reason behind her losing the abilities. As Ororo holds her ground against the demonic entity and emphatically renounces her insecurities by proudly accepting her mutant heritage, the wind and thunder welcome their goddess once again, and Storm is reborn in a much more empowered, classic black costume. Freed from the adversary’s tortures and her own mental shackles at last, Ororo has found her true self. An uplifting scenario follows as Storm cruises on the winds, from space to various corners of the planet, and the scene resembles the ‘First Flight’ scene from Man of Steel

Ororo heals Forge using the cacti and prepares to take her leave when she takes notice of the broadcast of the Genosha massacre and gets horrified. She needs to return to her mutant family in an instant and help them in their time of need. 


Will Charles Xavier Return To His X-Men?

Meanwhile, at Chandilar, the throne capital of Shi’ar, Charles shares a moment with Gladiator while pondering the necessity of letting go of his world to accept another. Lilandra appears and predicts his doubts, but she reminds him that if he refuses the rite of passage, Lilandra has to relinquish the throne to stay by his side, which could open up a way for Deathbird to assume the position of Empress and terrorize the entire galaxy. Charles reminds himself how Lilandra has proven her love for him time and again and finally makes up his mind to let go of his Terran past to start a life anew with her. 

However, during the rite, Charles still hesitates when it comes to severing his ties with the X-Men, and Deathbird uses this opportunity to provoke the council against him and attack Lilandra. Gladiator protects the empress and Charles against the attack of Deathbird and her loyalists, and before the situation gets any worse, Charles uses his immense telepathic powers to take everyone to a psychic astral plane to explain things with a more non-violent approach. He points out the flaws of the Shi’ar philosophy of global dominance by weakening fledgling civilizations and forcing them to assimilate, and instead proposes a much idealistic perspective of co-existence. In hopes of convincing the council to reconsider their stringent stance on mingling with Terrans, he draws the example of universalism through his X-Men, citing how their humility and heroic endeavors are a testament to the sanctity of life, which is diversified yet in essence is one. However, just as Charles almost manages to sway the council in his favor, he sees an ominous vision involving Gambit, which informs him about the heinous catastrophe that has befallen his X-Men back on earth. Blaming himself for staying absent during their most desperate hour, Charles prepares to leave Chandilar and return to his home, even if it means trouble in the future of the Shi’ar Empire. 


Charles’ pursuit of love leading to him almost letting X-Men in ruins is a surprising creative choice, putting his selfish act closer to his DC counterpart, Niles Caulder, aka Chief from Doom Patrol, than the benevolent Professor X we know and love. His return will trigger a bitter reunion with X-Men for obvious reasons, which can lead to a troublesome situation in the long run. 

Who Orchestrated The Attack On Genoa?

As the episode comes to an end, Bolivar Trask is seen running away from someone, and from his statements, it becomes clear that he allowed the said person to access Master Mold, which created the Tri-Sentinel, which wreaked havoc in Genoa. Surprisingly enough, even the mutant-hating Trask seems repentant and apologetic for the horrors that have unfolded at Genosha, and he gets comforted by the true perpetrator of the genocide, who reveals himself from the shadows. It is none other than Mister Sinister, who takes great pleasure in being the mastermind behind the rampage as the episode ends. However, we think there is a bigger, more ruthless mind at work who is using Sinister as his representative for the time being, before making a grand entrance. Sinister’s origin has been closely associated with the extremely powerful Mutant Apocalypse, and Cable’s warning in the previous episode also indicates the possibility of a tyrannical supervillain. 


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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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