X-Men

Season 3 Episode 18

Nightcrawler

2
Aired Saturday 11:30 AM May 13, 1995 on FOX
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
61 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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While vacationing in Europe, Wolverine, Gambit, and Rogue hear of a local legend about a blue-skinned demon terrorizing an isolated town. They investigate, and not only discover that the demon is actually a mutant called Nightcrawler, but the nature of faith in the face of adversary.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Mutants, religion and the fallibility of even the most faithful.

    10
    I love this episode part because, being Catholic, it represents some very basic teachings of the faith (God's love, not judging others). It has a man devoted to his faith, regardless of what others do or say to him. He even manages to inspire a berzerker like Logan to look "through different eyes".



    It also involved forgiveness and redemption, which are also part of the Catholic faith (let's face it, we could ALL stand more of the former). Everytime I see it, the episode gives me a feeling, like the message of my faith is being conveyed in a simple, everyday fashion, even though such a message rings true of other faiths.



    It also helped that it included Wolvy (everyone's favorite), Rogue (same deal, different reasons), and Gambit (back when he was interesting and worth having in an X-adventure). These are characters that can be played of each other well in the less action-packed moments of the series.



    It was an overall great episode that actually gives a positive look at Christianity and faith in general (which, of late in particular, hasn't been treated in the best way in the media). It showed that, while people are flawed and make mistakes, they can still be forgiven, and subsequently find much needed redemption.



    "It is not how I will judge you, brother Reinhart. But how Gott will judge you?!"moreless
  • Great incorporation of religion.

    8.4
    While Gambit, Rogue, and Wolverine were on a vacation, they run into mutant trouble when meeting up with a mutant named nightcrawler. He's referred to as a demon by the towns people, but is actually a gentle creature that is simply misunderstood. Though it seems one of the monks within the church exploits nightcrawler. The entire town raids the place, but they all realize their wrong doings after the monastery was in ablaze. Afterwards, wolverine decides to believe in christ for once in order to ease his sufferings.



    The episode was pretty average throughout, until it hit the final thirty seconds. The ending with Wolverine praying on the altar really tied the moral of this story nicely. Nightcrawler's story was your usual course of a mutant misunderstood, but how it incorporated religion into it was nicely executed. Though like the previous episode with the juggernaut, the episode needs to steady its pace. The pace is too fast, and sometimes you don't absorb things completely. The ending made it great though.moreless
  • The best adaptation of a comic book character

    9.4
    Nightcrawler superbly achieves what it set out to do in the first place. This is a tremendous character-oriented piece with plenty of conflict and drama. It could have easily fallen through though. Writing an episode around a new character can always be risky, since it can unbalance the dymanics of the show. Fortunately, writer Len Uhley was light years ahead of my worries and centered the story around Wolverine with Rogue and Nightcrawler playing a supporting role, despite the focus on Nightcrawler's plight and history. The result is a nearly perfect story.



    Another interesting detail is the fact that the episode once again addressed the human/mutant problem, but in a completely new twist. That renewed the whole concept in a single episode.



    Curiously enough, american viewers saw this episode during Season 3. I only got to see it in the middle of Season 4, right after Secrets not long Buried and before Courage. It really didn't hurt the continuity at all, since Nightcrawler would only reappear in Season 5's Bloodlines, aside from a cameo in One Man's Worth.



    The episode opens with a creepy sequence where a mysterious figure crawls on top of buildings. A major mob chases him calling him the devil, among other insults. It's a classic piece of witch-hunt that was present during the McCarthy era. That was part of the inspiration Chris Claremont used in elaborating the X-Men universe.



    The animation direction is once again quite effective, thanks to Larry Houston. The mob sequences in the middle of the night really worked.



    Nightcrawler, who's obviously the mysterious figure manages to disappear from the crowd into the wild.



    Meanwhile, Rogue has taken Gambit and Wolverine to a small retreat in the Swiss mountains to take a break. Some break, given none of them seem to be enjoying the other's company. Wolverine is simply being his usual self, although there's some sign he's still affected from the events in Weapon X, Lies and Videotape. At the same time, Gambit is being a complete uncaring jerk, wanting only to get some alone time with Rogue. I wonder why he still bothers with this at all. He knows what will happen if he crosses the line with Rogue. Rogue is the only level-headed character in this hotel who brought them to try and have a good time.



    Wolverine uncovers the tale of the mysterious creature of the night from a couple of natives. The story is enough to make him buy some ski equipment and take Rogue and Gambit along in this wild goose chase.



    In the next day they begin their journey. Wolverine and Rogue make their way without any problems, but Gambit proves to be as incompetent as Jubilee in his skiing lessons. He manages to fall off, grab a tree, explode it and create a powerful avalanche. This makes me wonder why are the writers ruining Gambit's character. Just because he doesn't appear much, it's no reason to take away his credibility as well.



    Wolverine survives the avalanche, but Rogue and Gambit are uncouncious. He sees a monastery nearby and drags them there. Rogue wakes up inside one of the rooms of the monastery. Wolverine is along with the other monks, who gladly provided shelter for them. Gambit is still out like a puppy, and beginning to suffer from some severe fever.



    Rogue is forced to wear a robe, since she's the only woman in the monastery. That was an interesting and intriguing writer's choice to deal with the whole concept of religious celibacy in a real way. Given the recent church sex scandals, it's an interesting aspect to be seen in the episode. However, I still disagree with this choice, since I can't see Rogue in that gorgeous sleeveless outfit.



    Very soon, Rogue and Wolverine uncover a stranger's presence in the monastery. It happens when one of the monks tries to put Gambit out of his misery. Rogue accidentally catches another monk by mistake and realizes he's not human at all. It's Kurt Wagner of the Munich Circus, also known as Nightcrawler.



    He tells his backstory to Rogue and Logan. It's a very interesting story to see and our characters sure seem interested to hear it. It always reminds me of X2 whenever Nightcrawler tried to tell his story to others, they blatantly ignored him in a funny way. It's amazing how much the movie's Nightcrawler is written much like the cartoon version and the comic book version as well.



    We also find out by ourselves that Mystique was apparently Kurt's real mother before she abandoned him. This makes me wonder how old she is, given Kurt is supposed to be around 30. She certainly doesn't look old in the comics or the cartoon and definetely not in the movies.



    It becomes clear that the nearby european village near the monastery has never heard about mutants before. That makes the population even more dangerous, because fear of the unknown can be even more dangerous than fear of something different, like mutants, who are already known to the general public.



    As the plot moves along, we find out that one of the monks is working behind the scenes, through fear of the unknown to bring the village mob to the monastery in order to finish Kurt off.



    While events unfold at a graceful and slow pace, the episode spends some quality time with Kurt and Logan, where they debate the existence of god. It brings a new side of Wolverine and a whole new angle to the problems mutants have to go through. Logan clearly lost or never had any belief in a god, given how life for him and every other mutant turned out to be. For him, if there ever was a god, he let go of mutantkind long ago. Nightcrawler tries to help Logan by getting him to find his faith within himself. Logan counters that conviction by challenging Kurt's own belief.



    This makes Kurt even a better character, since he proves to be more forgiving than ever. Even in the darkest circunstances, he's able to look clearly in the situation and make everything better for everyone around him. This ends up being paid off in the end.



    While Gambit is still groggy, Rogue helps him to get to a safer place, when the mob appears. Logan is ready to take them head on. Kurt suggests letting them take him in order to protect the church. But the monks wow to defend Kurt from the mob, since he's their brother.



    However, after Wolverine scares some of the mob off, the mistaken monk tries to kill Nightcrawler. His teleportation is enough to keep him safe, but the monk's assault sets the monastery on fire. When the monk is pinned down on the balcony, he asks Kurt to finish him off. Kurt refuses to do so and helps him up. He makes the monk realize the error of his ways by looking around. He realizes everything is his fault and doesn't deserve forgiveness. Kurt helps him overcome this by praying to the lord so he can be helped.



    The fire has consumed the church, but the situation is okay. The mob has learned of Kurt's existence and are trying to live with it. The monk has confessed regret and is working to rebuild the church. Logan still doesn't understand how everything can possibly be all right. Kurt once again impresses him beyond belief. He hands a bible to Logan so he can find his own path.



    The whole ending is one of the best ever written. It's a mature ending that doesn't solve the problem in a heartbeat, but brings the characters to a whole new level.



    The X-Men return to Paris, where Gambit begins to have a really good time. He tells Rogue he couldn't stand the monks and their lack of love for real life. This is enough to kick some good sense into Rogue and make her leave the diner. She finds an old parisian church with Logan inside praying from the bible and finally finding some inner peace. This revelation moves Rogue, giving a nice closure to the episode. The final piece of music is one of the best character pieces ever composed.



    In the end, the episode had very few flaws, mostly because of some minor pacing issues and every Gambit moment. Aside from that, this was nearly perfect. Nightcrawler and Wolverine were brilliantly written and the story simply felt right. Well done!moreless
Lenore Zann

Lenore Zann

Rogue

Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Cal Dodd

Cal Dodd

Wolverine/James "Logan" Howlett

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (12)

    • Beast, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Storm and Professor X do not appear in this episode.

    • Nightcrawler is formally introduced (though he appeared briefly in an earlier episode).

    • Mystique makes a cameo in the flashback. Her connection to Nightcrawler will be further elaborated on when he and she next appear in season 5's "Bloodlines".

    • None of the three X-Men featured wear their normal costumes in this episode.

    • The live-action footage of the flames of a fire, as seen during the Phoenix episodes, is used again here.

    • When swinging on the lamp-post, Nightcrawler swings in front of the light, despite being attached to the center of the pole, the light is on the right of him.

    • The Australian tourist's undershirt changes from black to red repeatedly as he talks.

    • The shred of tapestry Wolverine's holding after the fire, changes from colorful to grey and burnt out between shots.

    • If you're wondering why Rogue hesitates when opening the attic door, despite being super-strong and able to fly. Notice, she hits her head when entering the "tight fit" of a hallway (and is seen with an ice-pack later), slowing her reflexes.

    • The close-up shot of the food on Gambit's table shows more food items than are actually seen in all successive shots.

    • Wolverine says that Gambit never breaks a sweat against Magneto or Apocalypse. Actually this isn't true because Gambit never even faced Magneto. The only episodes where the X-Men face Magneto is in "Enter Magneto" and "Deadly Reunions" and Gambit isn't in either of those episodes.

    • When Rogue is at the dinner table, she is wearing one of the monk's robes. But when she says she's going to check on Gambit, she's wearing her her ski suit again! Then, when walking to Gambit's room, she has her monk robe back on.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Wolverine: (kneeling at an altar in the catherdal, whispering and reading from Bible) I will give thanks to you, oh lord. For though you are angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. I will trust and I will not be afraid. (He stops, smiles, then closes his eyes and prays).

    • Gambit: Face it, chere, those monks kiddin' themselves. We on our own in this world. Life is random; deal you a full house, or busted flush.

    • Rogue: You sure you're up to this?
      Gambit: Sho', chere! (groans, touches head, Rogue helps him stand) Soon as the room stops spinnin'...

    • Wolverine: Don't tell ME about God. What kind of God would let men do this to me? (pops claws)
      Nightcrawler: Our ability to understand God's purpose is limited. But we take comfort in the fact that his love... is limitless!
      Wolverine: Huh. I used to buy into all of that. (sheathes claws) But I've lived too long... and I done too much.
      Nightcrawler: Life will ALWAYS be hard. I understand this better than most. Yet, despite it all, people of EVERY faith believe there is a god who LOVES them. Can so many be wrong? Open your heart, Herr Logan. Would it hurt so much to see the world... through different eyes?

    • Wolverine: I don't need a sermon from some circus-boy preacher.

    • Wolverine: What're you talkin' about? We're mutants! God gave up on us a long time ago.
      Nightcrawler: No, my friend. God does not give up on his children... humans or mutants.

    • Gambit: Guess there no peace for the wicked-lookin'!

    • Nightcrawler: Think of a place I'd rather be, look to it, and I'm there.
      Gambit: (takes Rogue's icepack and puts it on his own head) Gambit rather be in Monte Carlo. Think you can work that out?

    • Gambit: "I know", she say. "Let's take a trip," she say. "It be fun." Huh. Some fun!
      Rogue: After what we been through, lately, I figured we could use some time off.
      Gambit: (reheats drink with powers) But you didn't tell me we'd have a chaperone!
      Wolverine: Don't whine to me! This ain't my idea of a good time.
      Rogue: Hey! Hoser! I thought you liked to ski.
      Wolverine: This is sittin' around, drinkin' cocoa, and gettin' funny looks from rich people.
      Rogue: Yeah? Well, next time plan, you're own durn vacation! (storms off)
      Gambit: Aw, chere, wait! (to Logan) Well, I hope you're happy.
      Wolverine: Dunno the meanin' of the word.

    • Brother Reinhart: (to Nightcrawler) Why do you pause? I have betrayed you.
      Nightcrawler: It is not for me to judge you, Brother Reinhart. The question is... how will God judge you? (helps him up and shows him the library ablaze) Look around you, THIS is the fruit of YOUR labors, not mine.

    • Rogue: Where you goin'?
      Wolverine: Demon huntin'. Interested?
      Rogue: What huntin'?

    • Wolverine: (about Gambit's skiing mishap) Hrm. Man doesn't break a sweat against Apocalypse or Magneto. So, so what nails him? A pine tree!

    • Rogue: It IS gettin' kinda late. Maybe I ought to fly us there!
      Wolverine: What? And spoil Gumbo's fun?"
      Gambit: (falls down while trying to ski) Okay... so we don't ski much on the bayou!

    • Rogue: Ya'll are monks? So... I'm the only woman here?
      Head Monk: Ja... (nervous chuckle) Therefore, would you be kind of enough to accept something more... appropriate to wear during your stay?
      Rogue: Don't wanna make the natives restless!

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode could very well be among, if not the very the first of the "Saturday morning"-type of cartoons to so heavily reference religion, specifically Christianity. They may have gotten it aired because they referenced God, not Jesus, the former being more unifying in a religious context.

    • They never specify the particular religion of which Nightcrawler and his monk brethren are a part of. Use of the Bible, some of the (albeit vague) teachings mentioned and Logan later seen in a Cathedral would indicate Catholicism, the faith Kurt Wagner is devout to in the comics.

    • Animation Company: AKOM Productions.

    • This episode was originally produced between "Secrets, Not Long Buried" and "One Man's Worth (1)", but due to animation problems delaying two season 3 episodes, it was bumped up to help make up the difference.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Rogue: Hey, Hoser!
      Rogue calls Wolverine a "Hoser", a term made popular by SCTV characters Bob & Doug McKenzie (who were Canadians like Logan).

    • Visual: Monastery
      Nightcrawler belongs to a monastery, a religious order of men. Read more about them in this link.

    • Visual: Tapestry of Adam & Eve
      The large tapestry Rogue uses to bind the mob, shows Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, with the snake form of the Devil nearby. It's one of the first tales in the Bible.

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