After a very, very long hiatus, I'm back to review X-men the Animated Series, Season 2, Episode 3, Whatever it Takes.
We begin at Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa. Cause that just narrows it down to an entire continent. A kid with super speed runs across the wilderness before meeting up with his friends. He suddenly sees a yellow light coming from the mountain, much to his surprise, but no one else seems to see it.
Back at the Xavier school, Jean finds the event on Cerebro when Storm returns from the hospital. Beast explains that Bishop's time travel might have caused some issues, allowing for a tear in the astral plain. How that works, I've no clue, but apparently science works like that. Back in Africa, the speedster kid gets possessed by a horrible monster coming from the tear in the sky.
Meanwhile, Logan is floating along the Upper Amazon in Brazil, proving that the producers actually know what countries are, they just didn't give a shit when it came to Africa. Anyway, Logan is attempting to find Morph.
Back in Africa, we're in the city of Dodoma, Tanzania, taking us a mere quarter of an episode to narrow down the country on this bloody continent. Storm and Rogue go to investigate the disturbance since Storm is a local, only to find Storm's home village ablaze. After playing hero, they meet up with an old friend of Storm's called Shani. She reveals that the speedster, Mjnari is responsible and we also discover Mjnari is her godson. With said speedster, he reveals himself to be the Shadow King, looking for Storm.
Meanwhile, Wolverine confronts a distraught Morph, but everyone's favourite bladed midget loses to Morph's mind tricks, continuing the chase.
Shadow King confronts Storm and Rogue, but it doesn't amount to much. Storm decides to confront him alone, but Rogue follows all the same. Shadow King offers to free Mjnari if Storm agrees to serve him, and when she agrees, he possesses her instead. Surprise surprise.... Rogue tries to stop her, but proves no match for Storm's power.
Logan on the other hand, follows Morph into an old mineshaft, the two throw down, including Morph giving us cameos of Deadpool, Omega Red and Maverick. Using his shapeshifting, Morph manages to get the upper hand, wailing that he has to get through it himself before running off.
In Africa, Storm attempts a suicide manoeuvre in order to take out the Shadow King, but only succeeds in forcing him out of her body. Mjnari, as the one who can see the Astral Plain and the Shadow King, lures him into the opening, while Storm and Rogue.... do stuff. It's not really useful. Anyway, Mjnari gives SK the runaround, leading him back into the Astral Plain before using his super speed to run out before the rift seals. Storm and Rogue pull him through the opening just in time and the Shadow King is once more locked away.
The scene shifts to Antarctica where Xavier and Magneto find themselves in a rain forest called the Savage Land. Both Xavier and Magneto have lost their powers, but Charles can for some odd reason walk. They get attacked by some dudes flying pterodactyls and end up going over a water fall. Leaving us on a literal cliffhanger.
Let's hop right in with the bad of this episode. A lot stronger than 'Til Death Do Us Part, there aren't really many problems with this episode, there is some confusion as to the nature of Mjnari and Storm's relationship at first, with Storm claiming the kid as her son before it actually being revealed he's her godson. Making it just some blatant shock tactics on behalf of the producers. Also why Mjnari is the only one who can see the Astral Plain or the Shadow King himself is never explained as being part of his mutation or not.
The biggest issue however, would have to be how useless Storm and Rogue are to resolving the issue. When the one off character is proving to be the big hero, while not a big issue, it doesn't make our title characters look very good.
On the side of the good however, this episode is strong, concise and relatively simple. We have three straight forward narratives of Storm vs. Shadow King, Wolverine vs. Morph and Xavier and Magneto in the Savage Land just at the tail end to lead us into the next episode.
The Shadow King narrative gives us something of Storm's background as an orphan after her parents' deaths and some of her adult life in the village in Tanzania. Despite its weaknesses, it's a decent story and takes up the majority of the episode as our main narrative.
The Wolverine story is much shorter, and helps us see where Morph is after being controlled by Sinister. It is mostly just set up for later, but it's not bad.
The Savage Land stuff I already basically covered and despite the oddness that the Savage Land apparently fixes debilitating spinal damage, it's not really worth the mention.
The moral of the story is quite clearly all about family and both relying on and being there for them when needed. Storm's relationship with her godson, Morph's relationship with his surrogate family, the X-Men and even some small hints with Xavier and Magneto being more than just two-dimensional enemies for life.
All in all, while not the best or strongest episode in the series, it's passable, has a clear and strong moral in its narrative and the problems aren't so glaring as to make it a bad episode.
So after a long absence, Xemnas-Spidey's request continues, courtesy of Old Man Hawkeye2701.