X-Men ’97 1×07 Review: “Bright Eyes”

Bright Eyes - X-Men 97 season 1 episode 7 review
Rogue’s anger in ‘Bright Eyes’ (Image: X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 7)

X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 7, titled ‘Bright Eyes’, was about the iconic team mourning Gambit as well as the loss of numerous other mutants during the horrific Genosha attack. Of course, as X-Men stories tend to go, an even bigger threat to mutantkind revealed himself.

With Rogue losing Gambit and Magneto, it made sense why she would grieve differently than the rest of her team. She was in Genosha and experienced the massacre firsthand. Rogue was understandably not ready to attend Gambit’s funeral with the rest of the X-Men- but she was sure as heck ready to make easy work of a bunch of soldiers to get to Henry Gyrich and Bolivar Trask.

The animation team did an amazing job showcasing Rogue’s raw power as she kicked and punched through deadly machines to break into a prison meant to stop the Hulk. Go, Rogue!

The cameos in ‘Bright Eyes’ included General Thunderbolt Ross, from whom Rogue gained information about Gyrich, and Captain America, who wanted Rogue to do things by the book.

I have seen some online drama about how, according to some fans, X-Men 97 had Steve act out of character when interacting with Rogue. Apparently, Steve would have sided with the mutants. As a character, Captain America is not someone who doesn’t stand against wrongdoings, even if said wrongs are by the USA.

While I get why certain fans might be upset, I do feel that there’s precedent to Steve’s characterization, especially the version we’re seeing in X-Men 97. I’m not saying that he won’t show up for the mutants down the line. However, considering his interactions with the X-Men in this particular iteration, I can see why he wanted to stop Rogue. The sociopolitical tension between humans and mutants was at an all-time high. The last thing Captain America wanted was Rogue quite possibly worsening the situation by going… well… rogue.

Also, with the X-Men being pushed closer to extinction and trying to find a way to fight back, the disagreement between Steve and Rogue could lead to this animated series adapting the Avengers vs X-Men event from the comic books during a later season.

Even though Rogue found Gyrich and probed his mind through her mutant powers, the information she gathered was revealed to be a trap. There’s something much bigger at play… and I’ll get to that in a bit.

I appreciated ‘Bright Eyes’ allowing Rogue to mourn her loss after her dynamic action sequence. The scene where Nightcrawler comforted her with the Day of the Dead serving as a background had layers to it. Yes, it’s okay to feel sad after the death of a loved one. However, it’s also important to remember the good times associated with the person you have lost and honor their memory by continuing to live. As Nightcrawler put it, Rogue did help Magneto and Gambit to live.

Reunited with the X-Men, Rogue and the rest of her team/family visited Trask’s facility in Madripoor and learned that Mister Sinister and the OZT organization (Operation: Zero Tolerance) had been developing high-tech Sentinels. They tried to make Trask share more useful information but he didn’t have much else to tell. Apparantly, the guilt of seeing his inventions being used for a massacre got to Trask and he wanted to end things for himself.

Trask’s “death” was another controversial moment in the episode. I can see certain fans share how the X-Men aren’t supposed to kill while others are fine with Rogue dropping Trask from the building. I mean, as far as my opinion goes, certain X-Men have always killed. There’s a reason X-Force was created. So, seeing Rogue let go of Trask from atop the building wasn’t a shock to me. Even Wolverine mentioned that she did what they all wanted to do.

Also, if Jean Grey and Nightcrawler were so against Trask dying in such a manner, they could have used their powers to save him. But they didn’t. So, make of that what you will.

Another relationship dynamic that was focused on involved Scott, Jean, and the late Madelyne. Frankly, I’m unsure about how I feel when it comes to Jean saying she had begun thinking of Madelyne as a sister after Ororo left. The entire thing felt weird to me. But then again, it could be Jean trying to cope with the Madelyne situation because it’s clear that Scott’s not over her. I don’t even know if he will ever get over her, especially with Cable joining the chessboard near the end of the episode.

Bright Eyes X-Men 97 Season 1 episode 7 review
Emma Frost survived the Genosha Attack in ‘Bright Eyes’ (Image: X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 7)

The X-Men doing what they could to help the survivors of the Genosha attack led to Jean sensing the final thoughts of the countless lives that were lost. So many dreams were squashed due to hate. So many lives never received closure. The scenes on Genosha were incredibly impactful due to the current situation in the Middle East. 

With Emma Frost being in Genosha during the attack, the fandom had been wondering about her fate. And yes, the episode decided to (kind of) depict the iconic comic book moment where her secondary mutation kicked in for the first time to transform her body into an organic diamond. Emma’s survival gave mutantkind an inkling of hope. I’m looking forward to seeing if the writing team has something planned for her during the second season.

I’m not the biggest Emma Frost fan, but I can understand why her fans were disappointed by how the scene played out. Emma’s will to survive in the comics was linked to her character development and love for her students. Her diamond transformation in the animated series fell flat compared to the comic book version.

Another important scene in ‘Bright Eyes’ (a lot happened this episode!) featured Jubilee supporting Robert coming out to his mother as a mutant. The entire scene served as an analogy to the “coming out” experience certain queer people go through. I’m talking about the version where the parents already know about their child being queer and waiting for their child to come out to them on their terms.

Even though Roberto’s mother was accepting of his mutant status, she shared concerns about stakeholders not taking kindly to their family having a mutant. Roberto hanging around with the X-Men was another issue. 

I guess, the upcoming episodes will show Roberto choosing to stand alongside the X-Men and showcasing his pride in being a mutant. I’m looking forward to seeing him fully use his powers against a serious threat.

Beast also shared a moment with reporter Trish Tilby. While she tried to be sympathetic about Genosha, I liked how Beast dragged her by talking about how mutantkind was done with begging for tolerance from humans. Again, mutants should have the right to exist without asking humans for basic rights.

Going back to Trask, even though he fell to his death, he didn’t actually die. It’s revealed that his body got transformed into a Human-Sentinel hybrid. The action sequence between Sentinel Trask vs the X-Men was so cool. Sentinel Trask easily took down the X-Men with Cable having to step in from the future to lend an assist. The new hybrid Sentinels could be taken down via an electromagnetic charge. So, I have my fingers crossed for Strom to deliver when she reunites with the team. And yeah, kudos to Jean for showcasing impressive telekinetic skills during the fight.

The mastermind is revealed to be Bastion. He somehow got his hand on future tech to create Sentinels the X-Men in the present weren’t prepared to face. I liked how the reveal didn’t come out of the blue. If you rewatch the previous episodes, there are hints about Bastion making an appearance and puppeteering things from the shadows. 

Not only had he managed to create Human-Sentinel hybrids but… drumroll… he also held Magneto captive. The Master of Magnetism is still alive. I’m so excited about what Bastion has in store for Erik and what he wants to do when Professor X returns to Earth.

The finale of X-Men 97 Season 1 is a three-part affair titled ‘Tolerance is Extinction’. And with how things have been going, I know the finale is going to be three episodes filled with even more twists and turns, emotional drama, character development, and impressive action sequences. I’m so ready!

Did you watch X-Men 97 Season 1 Episode 7 ‘Bright Eyes’? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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