Season 3 Episode 16

Orphan's End

Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Feb 25, 1995 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
54 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Cyclops discovers that Corsair, the leader of the interstellar band of pirates known as the Starjammers, is his father. He's a fugitive on the run from the Shi'ar empire, and seeks his help in proving his innocence. But can the man who abandoned him as a child truly be trusted?


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  • very good episode overall A++ a

    Vey good episdoe revealed alot about cyclops and his past like his fther i mean about his father and everything like that like where his father was all this time.overall it was a very very very good episode one of my favorite epsode inseason 3 good episode very nice and fantastic episode
  • It was...all right

    Corsair has made a crash landing to earth being chased by a Shi'ar spaceship. The X-Men were informed of the situation by the leader of the Shi'ar spaceship, but little did Cyclops know the renegade was Corsair. He also found out he was his father. Cyclops was confused what to do, but later on, he turns Corsair in. Cyclops didn't realize the mistake he has committed, though was later freed by one of the crew members. They were able to save Corsair, along with the Shi'ar witness the leader of the ship wanted to kill.

    The epitome of a rushed episode. This easily would have been a brilliant episode if it added in a couple more emotional and sensible scenes between Corsair and Cyclops, and extended it beyond two episodes. The idea and concept had so much potential to be great, but it killed it off early. Though Cyclop's acting was really well done, especially when he first found out Corsair was his father. In short, the only bright side of this episode is the potential it carried in being excellent, along with Cyclop's acting. Outside of those, it's mediocre.moreless
  • A promising idea that's gone quite a bit wrong

    After the Dark Phoenix episodes, we were bound to have a clunker. Every show has one. I wish this clunker had been an episode other than this one.

    Orphan's End is a seriously mixed bag. There were some great ideas from the beginning, but they were never quite fulfilled over the course of the episode. Writer Douglas Booth clearly had good intentions, but he tried to cram too many plots at once in such a narrow episode.

    The animation, on the other hand, was as terrific as usual. The character designers and animators even surprised me by introducing a new look for Storm (just for this episode) and the new medium-sized jet. This makes the episode, at least, worth watching once.

    The story follows up on the Corsair plot from the Phoenix Saga. Last time we saw, Scott still didn't knew who Corsair really was. Only Jean had that knowledge and she never got to tell him (due to the whole Phoenix and Dark Phoenix story and all that).

    The episode begins with a terrific chase sequence between the Starjammer and a Shi'Ar Star Cruiser. I assume the Starjammer is a popular model on sale. It's the only explanation given that the previous ship was destroyed in the Phoenix Saga. The chase ends with Corsair losing yet another ship as he crashes on a lake nearby the X-Mansion.

    Storm and Cyclops get an incoming transmission within the war room. It's the Shi'Ar commander, who claims to be pursuing a known criminal. Cyclops and Storm offer to assist. They go to the lake and free Corsair before the ship sinks. That must have been quite a deep lake in order to swallow a ship that size.

    When Corsair regains conciousness, Scott realizes he has a small photo of him, Alex and his mother. It probably belonged to his father. He demands an explanation from Corsair and his real identity. As Corsair realizes he is Scott, he identifies himself as Major Christopher Summers. Scott is taken aback by this shocking revelation. It's probably the most clichéd reaction I've ever seen, not to mention the worst way possible to finish the first act. Even the closing music was a tad ridiculous.

    Act 2 opens with the arrival of the Shi'Ar cruiser, waiting to pick up Corsair. Scott simply can't give him away just yet. This prompts an immediate beginning to hostilities. The Shi'Ar sends several small drones. Scott, Storm and Corsair flee to the nearest trap door and dive in.

    They take a very fast subway car to the hangar area. This is a very tense sequence, well edited with some quiet character moments. But the character moments don't quite work. Scott berates poor Corsair, accusing him of abandoning his family so he could roam the galaxy. It really makes little sense. Did Cyclops forget how he lost his parents? He was old enough to remember. This smells like bad plotting, ignoring plausible events, in order to create unnecessary conflict. There was some atrocious dialogue in this scene as well. Scott referencing his being rejected by foster families and asking his "dad" whether he merely dreamt all of his childhood was plain bad writing. There could have been better ways of handling this father/son reunion.

    On the other hand, the episode has a major advantage thanks to the road chase plot scenario. The whole episode is given some tension due to the constant chasing done in it. But that's simply style. Style alone isn't enough to hold an episode together. A coherent plot is necessary.

    The story takes off when our heroes arrive at the hangar, following their near death to some Shi'Ar blasts in the tunnel. Apparently they don't care if Corsair is killed. Cyclops, Corsair and Storm board the new jet. After setting the controls for low attitude flight in order to avoid detection, Corsair takes the helm so he can tell Scott the story of how be became an orphan. I'm glad Corsair took the helm. Imagine if Scott, with his tendency to lose emotional control, were flying while hearing this story.

    Decades before, Christopher was riding his old plane with his family. Suddenly a Shi'Ar vessel appeared and disabled their plane. The plane was on fire. They still had one parachute. They put Scott with little Alex on his arms and threw them to safety. They never knew whether they survived, when suddenly they were beamed aboard D'Ken's ship. Christopher's wife was killed before his very eyes, driving to his life-long vendetta against D'Ken. This was worth watching.

    This whole story makes Scott realize his father never really abandoned him willfully. He gives Corsair his family picture back. They are found by the Shi'Ar who proceed to shoot the jet down. I'm shocked as to how many ships are destroyed in this episode. Aside from the Shi'Ar speeders later on, I wonder how much it would cost to replace the jet. The X-Men already destroyed one blackbird in Season 1. Xavier must be shockingly rich in order to afford all of this military grade hardware.

    The trio escapes from the crashed jet. At this moment, the Shi'Ar captain speaks out in some sort of megaphone. The Shi'Ar Cruiser must have some powerful speakers in order for this to work. I wonder if they have DTS sound.

    Then the plot really collapses under its own weight. We're supposed to buy that whole Jandra/Lord Chamberlain story and assume that Scott would believe his pursuer so easily that he would turn against Corsair under a minute. Scott even makes a completely stupid assumption that Lord Chamberlain probably hired Corsair to kill Jandra. Corsair, on the other hand, claims he kept her safe (for who knows what reason). I really don't get this plot. Scott sends Storm to find this Jandra person and protect her at once. He then orders Shi'Ar forces to stop their fire. He grabs Corsair's gun and makes him his prisoner. Now that was the most detrimental moment to his already shaky character. The ending of Act 2 is almost embarassing to watch. We see Scott telling the Shi'Ar he's captured Corsair with a bizarre grin in his face.

    Act 3 opens with Storm flying through the woods, looking for Jandra. She's still in contact with Cyclops, who's returned to the Shi'Ar cruiser. She's suddenly captured by the Starjammers. They smash Storm's communicator and reveal they are taking care of this Jandra. They heard Cyclops capturing his father and decided to take it out on poor Storm. Or so it seems....

    After giving Corsair to the Shi'Ar captain, he's held against his will inside a force field. At this moment, the plot takes an unbelievable new turn. The comm officer inside the cruiser is really some mole, who worked with Corsair. She releases Cyclops from the field and explains this whole contrived plot. It still makes no sense. But Scott already feels guilty for sentencing Corsair to his death. Together, they free Corsair from the Shi'Ar captain (who's apparently and unsurprinsgly involved in this whole Lord Chamberlain/Jandra plot). The new trio escapes in 2 speeders. The chase begins again, this time far better to watch.

    I really liked this final sprint in the chase. It gave the episode some stakes. Both speeders are shot down and Corsair flees on foot. The ship locks onto him. Just as they fire, Corsair ducks below a light refractor that reflects the laser beam back to the Cruiser, bringing it to a thundering crash near some pyramids. Where in the world is that location anyway? And what happened to the Shi'Ar crew. I'm assuming they survived the crash. But we never see their fate.

    The plot ends with a joyful father/son reunion. Scott invites him to spends a few hours so they can get to know each other a little better. The episode ends on a nice tone. The ending music is actually superb in this one. There's even a mention of Jean, even though she isn't in the epiosde.

    Looking back, I see Orphan's End as a very flawed story, not well edited, and using unforgivable plot contrivances, not to mention there's too much to cover and they spend too much time in the chase. Unfortunately, these mistakes weakened what could have been a great episode. Instead, it feels like a cheap soap opera, complete with every contrivance and cliché it deserves.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Cyclops and Storm are the only two characters to appear in this episode. This is the first episode of the series to not feature Wolverine, and now, every main character has missed at least one episode.

    • Storm wears her hair in a ponytail, the first hairstyle change for her while in-costume.

    • This episode marks the first use of the new brand of mini-jet (bigger than the standard yellow & blue two-seater, but smaller than the Blackbird, and colored brown or beige).

    • The Starjammers appear for the last time, but at least Hepzibah gets to speak for the first time (aside from some cat-screeches in her first appearance).

    • The orphanage Scott grew up in was featured in the episode "No Mutant is an Island". And though it's not made clear here, Alex grew up to become the mutant Havok, as seen in "Cold Comfort".

    • The Shi'ar scan of the X-Mansion shows blueprints for each of the floors, including what each room is (and whose bedroom is where).

    • Cyclops' mother, younger brother Alex, and the Shi'ar known as Deathbird and D'Ken, appear in nonspeaking flashback cameos.

    • The blonde female Navigator and red reptile-men who work on the Shi'ar craft previously appeared during "The Phoenix Saga" as Lilandra's Starcruiser's crew.

    • There was clearly a scene cut out elaborating on the backstory of what Corsair is accused of. Cyclops claims that for all they knew the Lord Chamberlain hired Corsair to kill Jandra, yet all that had been told to him at that point was that Corsair kidnapped the girl, and the girl knew where Chamberlain's money was. The "Lord Chamberlain ordering the girl murdered" is never established before that remark, yet becomes a key plot point in the rest of the show like we already knew about it. Not to mention, Storm is sent looking for Jandra, when it appears in the episode that they just crashlanded in the jungle and weren't heading anywhere specifically.

    • When stepping into the hatch, the armored robots step on the horizontal edge of the hatch as if it were flat.

    • The craft Cyclops leads Corsair into when turning him in, when approaching it, the craft's front is red, and when the angle changes, its silver or grey, then back to red again.

    • As Corsair tells Scott that Ch'od gets carried away, the left side of the screen has a black film line running down it.

    • Corsair calls his ship "old girl", despite the fact this must be a replacement Starjammer craft, since the original one was destroyed inside the M'Kraan Crystal!

    • Storm contacts Cyclops to tell him Xavier sends his regards... yet her commlink was shattered by Raza earlier. She's even wearing it again when we next see her.

    • Ch'od's head is far wider than normal when setting Storm down in the ruins and talking to Jandra.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Ch'od: (when told they'll be staying a while) Ohh, no! (puts hands to face) Break out the cards.
      Cyclops: Then stay!
      Corsair: What!
      Cyclops: I don't mean forever. Just a few hours. Your're not telling me your hot space rod can't make up a few hours flying across a whole galaxy.
      Corsair: So... you're gonna marry that redhead that beat the pants off the Imperial Guard.
      Cyclops: She's, uhh, calmed down a bit since then.
      Corsair: Reminds me a lot of your mother.
      Cyclops: How?
      Corsair: Hmm... Maybe I should wait to tell you until after you're married.

    • Corsair: That's the Scott Summers I gave my last parachute to! (Cyclops zaps him free) Took ya long enough.
      Navigator: Plan the family picnic later, let's go!

    • Navigator: Is it true that you are Corsair's son?
      Cyclops: Not by choice.

    • Corsair: Fine, don't help but give me back my dog tags thier all thats left of my family.
      Cyclops: Sure I, wait a minute this is a picture of me! My brother, thats my mother! Where do you get these!
      Corsair: Your mother?!?
      Cyclops: And these dog tags belong to my father how did you get them?
      Corsair: Scott? This can't be!
      Cyclops: Tell me your name.
      Corsair: Major Christopher Summers.
      Cyclops: Your my father! I don't believe it! I won't believe it! My father's dead.

    • Cyclops: For 20 years I dreamed about my father. A man to look up to, a hero who sacrificed his life to save his family. It was YOUR family you sacrificed! You threw us away so you could go knock around the galaxy!
      Corsair: (shakes head) That's not what happened.
      Cyclops: No? Did I IMAGINE the orphanage? The foster homes where nobody wanted me? Tell me, "DAD"... am I making this up?!

  • NOTES (2)


    • Corsair: My old de Havilland Mosquito...
      The plane the Summers family was on when the Shi'ar attacked them 20 years ago, was a WWII era plane known as "the wooden wonder."