Season 4 Episode 4

Proteus (1)

Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Sep 30, 1995 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Wolverine seriously needs to consider getting his own show.

    Moira is doing another one of her experiments on a mutant named Proteus who has unbelievable mutant powers to bend reality to his bidding. Though it got out of hand, and Proteus has escaped to the outside world. Moira seeks the help of the X-Men. They find out he escaped to the main islands, and before the X-Men were able to deal some damage to him, Moira reveals that Proteus is her son, and he's only looking for his father.

    This is very like Nightcrawler's episode, but in a much different perspective. Proteus is a teenager, but has the maturity and intelligence of a child. So seeing him confused on why him assisting a child who was being bullied by a duo of punks really added sympathy for him. Plus, how he bent reality was really intriguing. Though Wolverine really stole the show, at least for me. He's had a handful of awesome lines that made me laugh, most particularly the one against Beast.
  • Bending Reality. The newest mutant power.

    Time for another two parter.

    Proteus-Part I picks up right where Courage left off. Morph has returned to Muir Island following his successful defeat of Mastermold and begun his therapy once again. That's merely a cameo that serves as a bridge to the actual episode. Nice way to introduce the story.

    Part I had a few minor problems getting underway while jumbling loose plot threads and had some pacing problems. However, the story and characterization were way too good to bring this episode down. The animation was also solid.

    Moira and Banshee are working overtime on a psycho-therapy on a mutant known as Proteus, who's sealed in a lab containment area. He seems to be suffering in this therapy. Moira argues that it's the only way he can get better. Fortunately, the therapy is successful and this powerful mutant becomes a normal teenager again. However, he seems to be unable to control his powers, that are capable of bending reality in unbelievable ways. The boy, known as Kevin demands to be released out into the world. Moira argues that it would be dangerous.

    Already we see some evidence that Moira has some deep connection to the boy, even though it's never openly mentioned at this point that she's his mother.

    The boy has a tantrum and bends reality around Moira. He also posesses Banshee. Moira gets him to leave Banshee, but he escapes the research facility. Moira sends a distress call to Xavier.

    Xavier is shocked when she calls for immediate help in despair. That's enough for him to call on Wolverine, Rogue and Beast to accompany him to Muir Island.

    In terms of used characters, viewers by this time have become quite used to the constant use of Wolverine, Rogue and Beast in most episodes. I don't have a problem with it myself. In fact, the less we get to see Jubilee, the better. More Rogue is always a plus in my book.

    Rogue and Logan have a strange argument because Logan makes a snide comment on Xavier rushing to save his old damsel in distress. It really makes little sense. Rogue doesn't have any moral standing to lecture Logan on love amd commitment issues.

    The X-Men arrive on Muir Island and find Moira recovering in the lab due to Proteus's assault. Strangely enough, Banshee was apparently hurt worse than Moira even though he was only posessed. This is a sorry motive for putting him on a hospital bed and keeping him out of the story until the very end. Having Banshee joining the action could only have improved the story, since it would have provided conflict between him and the X-Men, while they tried to solve this enormous problem.

    Moira tells Xavier and the X-Men about Proteus while withholding his true identity. Apparently the boy has escaped before and did previous damage to the island. I can only wonder how did Moira solve that one without the X-Men.

    The X-Men take the Blackbird to search the island and try to find Proteus. Meanwhile, we see the action from Proteus's own point of view, which greatly improves the episode, since it makes us care for this tragic figure. He tries to find someone he can make an emotional connection. He tries to get friendly with people, but people reject him violently, provoking him, which causes a more devastating response from Proteus.

    At one point, Proteus posesses a boy, after scaring some bullies who wera after him. The boy's father finds him and hugs him in joy. Proteus realizes what is a father's love and abandons the boy to find his real father. He discovers that the father is Joe McTaggert, who's running a reelection campaign.

    While the X-Men search for Proteus, they see signs of his presence as several buildings slowly return to their normal state. The animation is very appropriate in these scenes. It feels quite bizarre.

    At this point, Moira cries over the fact that all of her mutant research started from her work on Proteus and she claims to have failed. Xavier seems unable to handle taking care of Moira since he asks the X-Men to return the Blackbird to pick them up ASAP. This is a way to add some more time to the episode. It clearly ran shorter than expected. Having to return to pick them up manages to fill the episode. That reflects poorly on the episode's pacing.

    While on the Blackbird, Moira innocently makes a call to Joe to tell him about Kevin. This is the first real evidence Moira is related to Proteus. But the X-Men are still clueless to this fact.

    Xavier tries to make telepathic contact with Proteus so he can help him. Proteus doesn't take this telepathic intrusion very lightly. He demands Xavier to leave his mind alone. It goes to the point that Proteus is actually able to astral-project his head in front of Xavier. This is enough to knock Xavier out and make Moira even more guilty than she already is. By the way, I actually thought this astral-projection was unintentionally hilarious.

    There's also a flashback sequence in this episode that finally sheds some light into the Moira/Xavier relationship. This sequence reuses some scenes from Sanctuary-Part I. Xavier and Moira once loved each other. When he went to some war, probably Vietnam, she sent him a letter claiming she had fallen in love with another man but claimed to remain his friend. I probably missed some detail in the comics, but there wasn't a single reason to make me care for Moira's decision. She blatantly left Xavier to rot in the war. He had to find comfort again through Amelia, who also ended up leaving him in the same flashback sequence we've seen in Sanctuary.

    While talking to some bystanders who saw Proteus, a possesed sailor tries to grab Xavier. Rogue grabs the guy's hand and she absorbs his powers. The effects are devastating.

    The X-Men track Proteus down and try to reason with him. Proteus accuses Moira of not allowing him to see his father. He vents his revenge upon her by trying to crush her with a stone hand. The X-Men move in to attack Proteus. Moira intervenes claiming he's her son. This revelation shocks Xavier. He feels betrayed by her inability to tell him before. This finally raises a serious conflict and deals with Moira's reclusive nature.

    Wolverine tries to intimidate Proteus in order to achieve some reason. Proteus uses his powers to turn Wolverine inside out. The experience is seriously traumatic for our stalwart hero. The effects wear off, but Wolverine is left panting in fear.

    The episode ends in a cliffhanger in which Proteus is ready to move into the city to find his father at any cost. It's hardly the best cliffhanger ever done. There's not that much at stake to warrant this kind of ending. However, since there's way too much plot for a single episode, I understand the decision to split it into two parts. It also helps keep the series creative for a while longer.

    The episode itself had a few problems, but nothing earth-shattering. The whole idea of a mutant who's never had much contact with the outside world and views it as a kid is a fascinating one. Part II would greatly improve over Part I since the elements have been established in this part. The X-Men are effectively used in the story and we get to see a lot more of Muir Island than ever before. We even get a better insight of Moira, even though it doesn't paint her in the best light. That's not bad for Part I at all.
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