Summary: In the best episode thus far, Hisako punches Cyclops in the face several times, and really, what else matters? Well, I suppose everyone who was getting yuri vibes from Hisako and Emma’s relationship can now get thoroughly heterosexual, but much more disturbing, vibes from Cyclops/Hisako, since they are both way, way too passionate about pushing each other’s buttons. Oh, and Storm is horrendously out of character in yet another way.
I have to say, even though there were about as many things in this episode that didn’t make a lick of sense as usual, this was the first time I actually felt like I was watching X-Men, and not some bizarre fever dream starring vaguely X-Men-shaped people. It was probably the danger room sequences, but it’s still a step forward for this show.
Just to recap real quick for the sake of the two people not watching, Hisako and Emma are officially invited into the X-Men, using a rather flexible definition of “invited,” Cyclops forces Hisako to fight him in the danger room to get over her control issues (and the implications are about as uncomfortable as you would expect), and Emma agrees to a mind dive where we learn she was an even bigger bitch than we thought.
Even though I was hoping for better, I wasn’t all that surprised that the X-Men didn’t bother to ask Hisako’s parent’s permission to let her join the X-Men- I mean, it’s a terrible thing to do, considering she’s a kid, but that’s the kind of logical holes this show runs with. However, what actually surprised me was that the X-Men didn’t even bother to ask Hisako’s permission.
They discuss it behind her back, and then Cyclops comes up to her and basically says “We have decided that you’re one of the X-Men.” Did I miss something? Did Hisako ever even indicate that she wanted to be an X-Man? It’s like this show just took the odd sense of entitlement and paternalism the X-Men seem to have in this incarnation and ratcheted it up about fifteen notches.
Now, what would have been awesome, and totally changed my opinion of this show, would be if Hisako said no, as any sane person would. Not only would we then have the distinct pleasure of watching Cyclop’s and Prof. X’s heads explode because a woman said no to them, but it could lead to major character development for Hisako. But no, Hisako goes along with it because even though she’s starting to show more backbone, God forbid anyone be allowed to make a decision for themselves on this show.
That said, Hisako is developing into a more likable character- I was pleased that she called out Cyclops for constantly insulting Emma under his breath, and her imitation of his attitude was cute. And her powers are seeing some interesting development as well: it seems that her spiky red armor is offensive, while her blue armor is defensive; either that, or the blue is some kind of intermediary stage before she puts on her “full” armor.
Basically, even though she’s made to endure many, many typical tropes, Hisako is the saving grace of this show at the moment. However, one moderately likable person among several people I A)hate or B)barely recognize isn’t such a great ratio, Madhouse.
Nerf David Haller Syndrome Indicator
I continue to be confused about how this ‘David Haller Syndrome’ thing works. Wasn’t the whole point of the last episode that Beast tested Emma for DHS, and she didn’t have it? But apparently, she needs the vaccine anyway just because she has a secondary mutation. Does she actually have DHS, only it’s a benign case, but she has to be watched in case it turns malignant? Is it something that could be developed at any time?
For once, I don’t think this is an actual logical problem with the story, it’s more like I just wished they explained this better. It seems like DHS is a major part of the story, so it would be nice if we had a clue how it worked.
Your Weekly Cyclops Got PUNCHED IN THE FACE Indicator(!)
I think we’ve established that I like seeing Cyclops get beat up, so I’ll move on from that.
While the danger room sequence between Cyclops and Hisako was utterly predictable, it was still kind of satisfying. Even though Cyclops basically scaring Hisako into learning to control her powers was typical of his annoying-as-hell behavior, the defensive nature of Hisako’s power made it less stupid than it otherwise would have been; I think Cyclops knew that his optic blast wouldn’t work against her armor, meaning she had the upper hand by default if she would only realize it. The fact that Storm and Wolverine didn’t realize that Cyclops was the one in real danger just shows how stupid they both are in this incarnation. At least Emma seems to have half a brain.
Speaking of stupid, do you like how Storm just realized now that Cyclops is projecting his issues with Jean onto Hisako’s situation? Wow, thanks for figuring that out, Ororo. They’ll be recruiting you for Gosick in no time.
However, how awkward was that scene where Cyclops grabs Hisako and basically forces her to come to the danger room with him? It would have been a bit creepy between most characters, but considering one of the characters is a teen-aged girl who’s being recruited into what’s basically a cult behind her parents’ backs, it kind of takes the cake.
The sick thing is I almost want an inappropriate Cyclops/Hisako relationship at this point, because at least that would be new and unexpected. What’s wrong with me?
Your Weekly “Who’s this Bitch and What Have you Done with Storm?” Indicator
I’ve complained about Storm being too weak and submissive before, but I’m honestly beginning to wonder if the writers had any idea who Storm was before they put pen to paper for this script. In order to cheer up Hisako, Storm commiserates in this episode that she had no idea what to do with her powers, and needed Xavier to come help her.
Let’s forget about the whole paternalistic vibe for a second (although this show makes it hard) because that’s like, antithetical to who Storm has always been.
Unlike other mutants, who often can only use their powers in acts of violence, Storm has always had a significant advantage; she can use her powers for productive things like making rain so crops will grow. That’s why she doesn’t have the massive control issues that a lot of other mutants have; she learned to use her powers in a natural, healthy way. She may not always be the most combat-savvy X-man, or the smartest, but as far as control is concerned, she’s on another level. It’s been stated several times in the comics that her perfectly honed self-control is what keeps her otherwise very destructive abilities perfectly in check.
To suggest that Storm didn’t know what to do with her powers, or didn’t have any purpose until Xavier came, isn’t just insulting for all the reasons that this incarnation of Storm is insulting; it’s just not Storm. Early on in the comics, Storm was a bit of a cypher, so it was hard to say why she joined the X-Men- but it was never because she lacked a sense of purpose. There seems to be no understanding of this character whatsoever here.
Mind Diving for Fun and Humiliation
I was not convinced of Emma’s innocence after the mind-dive- I’m going to call it right now that JEAN was the one projecting Emma’s image to try to warn Cyclops that she was bad news. Just because she wasn’t physically there doesn’t mean she wasn’t involved, people.
The interesting thing about the mind sequence is that I think there was a disconnect between what we were supposed to take away from it and what we actually saw. Emma, who mind-controlled people to give up their life savings until one of them killed himself, “didn’t understand” the meaning of her powers. Apparently, her tragic childhood- where everyone thought she was hot but creepy, which is totally true- was so scarring to her that she was vulnerable to Mastermind’s evil manipulation, which basically amounted to “you’re hot, join my special people club.” If only she had a nice man like Charles Xavier to show her the light, like Storm had! Then she never would have been so easily led astray!
Obviously, Emma does take some responsibility for her actions- her whole point to Hisako was that people can change. However, I felt like this whole sequence took it as a given that we weren’t going to judge Emma too harshly for what she did because she didn’t understood what she was doing at the time. Really?
Emma’s not stupid- I think she could figure out for herself that mind-control for personal gain was wrong. It’s like we’re not supposed to hold it against her because as a young woman, we’re supposed to assume she was just that easy to manipulate and it wasn’t her fault. I’m not sure if I’m explaining it right, but regardless of whatever did or didn’t happen with Jean, it seemed like the X-Men let her off the hook awfully fast for what she did.
Just to clarify, I think the X-Men could accept someone who was manipulated into doing evil, then atoned once they realized what they had done, but that wasn’t the scenario we actually saw. The scene made it seem like Emma just turned to evil because she was a bored rich girl who had literally nothing better to do, then backed away when things escalated from “naughty” to “heinous.” That’s not terribly sympathetic, really.
Next Time on X-Men: Discount Costumes
Now, the X-Men are headed back to Japan, and I honestly don’t remember or care why. I just know that Hisako, in her quasi-Japanese inspired costume, will probably continue to put Storm and Wolverine to shame in combat for no good reason, and Cyclops will continue obsessing about Jean yet continue to miss the point of what she was trying to tell him. I will continue to ponder why I find this show increasingly enjoyable as it only gets stupider and more offensive; maybe it’s a so-bad-its-good sort of thing at this point? I can’t tell.