X-Men

Season 3 Episode 13

The Dark Phoenix (3): The Dark Phoenix

2
Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Nov 19, 1994 on FOX
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
59 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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As the Dark Phoenix grows increasingly hostile, even destroying an entire star system, the X-Men struggle to figure out a way to stop her without harming their teammate Jean Grey.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • this brings back memories.

    9.5
    this show brings back memories, I jus love this show so much, Those Guys and Gals are all my favorites, I can't even pick one, even the villains, and Allies too, They're my favorites too, I remember watching this when it was on Fox Kids, This Show, and Batman The Animated Series, The Tick, Spider-Man The Animated Series, Has Taught Me What Does It Take To Be A Hero, God I Wish That The Hub would Buy The Rights To Air This on it's Network, Because Kid's Today Don't Even Know What Good Cartoons Are.moreless
  • "The Dark Phoenix" is a very powerful episode. Along with the Dark Phoenix finale, it represents the peak of the series.

    9.8
    Part three of the Dark Phoenix Saga and the eighth episode based on the Phoenix story is one of the strongest in the X-Men series. The Phoenix refuses to be controlled by the Inner Circle but through them has been given a taste of evil - and she hungers for more, announcing that she is now the "Dark Phoenix." Cyclops notes Jean must still have a hold over her occupant, as the Dark Phoenix cannot seem to destroy the X-Men. In the ensuing battles, the X-Men nonetheless prove to be no match for this fiery, alien force. In the mean time, Shi'ar explorers spot the Dark Phoenix feeding upon a star in an uninhabited solar system. Had the region been inhabited, they realize, billions could have been destroyed. Though Professor Xavier, with the help of Jean Grey, is able to contain the Phoenix at least temporarily, the Shi'ar empress Lilandra has gathered her Imperial Guard with the full intention of destroying the Phoenix and Jean Grey.



    This is where the series truly shines. The brilliant battle of good and evil, the undiscovered powers of the mind, and the existance of fantastical life beyond Earth make for an extraordinary tale.moreless
  • Wow, she destroyed a solar system? I wonder if Goku can do that.

    8.1
    The Dark Phoenix is once again raging havoc. She flies into outer space into an unknown Solar System, feeding off of its sun and destroying the entire space and the planets within them. Empress Lilandra discovered the existence of the Dark Phoenix, and took matters into her own hands by summoning up the Royal Guard.



    Though it seems the X-Men have everything under control. Beast created a device that could force the Phoenix out of Jean, but her mind proved to be more powerful than his calculations predicted. The Professor battled her in the mind, and with the help of Jean herself, the Phoenix was contained. However, Lilandra and her Royal Guard had just arrived, informing them they've come to the decision to eliminate the problem before it springs up again.



    What I'm not really liking about this arc right now is the constant switching between Jean and Dark Phoenix. Yes it's necessary to show the mind struggle that's going on in Jean's body, but it feels awfully repetitive, and in the end, detracts from the overall enjoyability of the episode, at least for me. This was still a fine episode. It was cool seeing Dark Phoenix destroying a solar system, measuring and displaying the full power she's capable of unleashing. It also concluded very well with Lilandra and her royal guard appearing. Enough to make this arc an episode longer!moreless
  • The stakes get higher, but the solution also becomes finally clear

    9.8
    Part III of the Dark Phoenix is an immensely watchable half hour. Very little development actually happens, but you can't help but keep your eyes on the screen until the end. It's ironic that this third part was written by Larry Parr. He was the writer of the original testing pilot episode known as Pryde of the X-Men. Given how well that episode fared, I'm impressed how much Larry Parr's talent has developed over the course of 6 years. He went from writing an infamous and failed story to becoming one of the show's more successful writers. That's quite an accomplishment.



    Visually, the episode was nearly flawless, at the top of its game. However, there was a major animation goof during the Dark Phoenix battle. When Gambit shot several ace cards at her, the screen suddenly cut to a shot of the Dark Phoenix being shot by Cyclops while enveloped in Storm's tornado. I don't know if this was a mistake by the animation department or the product of bad editing by Sharon Janis. I'm betting on the second possibility.



    The story begins with the awakening of the Dark Phoenix. This was easily the most stunning openings I've ever seen in an episode. It was as stunning as the opening shot of Star Wars: Episode III, taking us straight into the gigantic action. Cyclops stands right in front of the Dark Phoenix in a giant display of power, visible from every corner of New York. The X-Men gather around Cyclops. The Dark Phoenix proclaims her abilities and her newfound senses. Cyclops continues to try to talk to Jean so she can use her telepathic powers to break the Phoenix's control. For a moment, she actually makes it through, calling for help, then the Phoenix takes over and blasts the X-Men out of the building's roof.



    The X-Men are thrown far away to the Central Park. Rogue grabs Gambit, but misses Wolverine, who falls into a duck pond. Gambit, who must be totally stoned, enjoys this inappropriate moment to flatter himself to Rogue over her catching him rather than Wolverine. She rightfully throws him in the pond next to Wolverine. Beast realizes what has happened to Jean and the Phoenix and that there may be no good outcome. This is when the Dark Phoenix shows up to put an end to the X-Men, ending Act 1. Using a closing shot of Cyclops was the best choice Larry Houston could have made. In a way, we see this whole event through his shielded eyes.



    Act 2 opens with a curtain of black fire (great effect) and Cyclops orders the X-Men to defend themselves while trying not to seriously harm Jean. This was the worst decision any leader could have made. If I were Storm I would have arrested Cyclops for treason. He put Jean's welfare above the X-Men. That's grounds for treason. I adore this possibiliy, because the whole notion of being unable to destroy Jean will eventually be played out in part 4.



    Storm uses her hurricane against Jean, with little effect. Cyclops blasts her, while forgiving her. No effect either. Storm tries to electrocute Storm with lightning. The Dark Phoenix reflects the lightning back at Storm. An enraged Rogue takes a whole tree towards the Phoenix. She turns the tree into some heavy solid gold. Rogue falls and is crushed by the tree as well as Wolverine. Gambit tries to blast her, but she uses his own power in his coat. He slips out of the coat, but the blast knocks him out. Beast tries to surprise Jean, allowing Cyclops to get a good shot, but she turns over and the blast hits Beast. Rogue saves Beast from certain death. When the Phoenix makes a comment about using her senses, Rogue grabs her head to absorb her powers. The effect blows Rogue far away. Cyclops tries to get the Phoenix to bring Jean back. She asks why and he proclaims his love. She can't understand it and blasts him out, knocking his visor out of his head.



    At this moment, when everything seems doomed, Jean finally appears from within the Dark Phoenix and realizes what she has done. She puts his visor back on and gives him a tender kiss. This is easily one of the most poignant moments in the series. The use of the theme music is simply perfect. The Phoenix takes over and blasts out of the planet. This stunning event is visible from every corner of the planet.



    The Phoenix flies to space and goes to a different star system. This system is patrolled by a Shi'Ar star cruiser. By the way, I loved the remixed Shi'Ar theme in this scene. They detect the Phoenix approaching and take evasive action. The Phoenix dives inside the system's sun. She begins to feed on the star, to the horror of every Shi'Ar aboard the cruiser. The captain orders the ship out of the system. The star goes supernova in a frightening display of destruction. The Shi'Ar realize if those systems were inhabited, billions would have perished. The cruiser begins to attack the Phoenix. She snaps one of the cruiser's wings off, causing critical damage. She takes off.



    The Shi'Ar contact empress Lilandra. She gathers Gladiator and the Imperial Guard to confront their worst nightmare. We finally realize the danger the Phoenix represents to the universe. The X-Men have no longer a choice.



    The X-Men gather for dinner at the mansion. Xavier begins to realize there may be no longer a chance of getting Jean back. Scott won't tolerate it. At this point, he senses that Jean is returning, due to their psychic link. Xavier decides to do everything possible to get Jean back. How can anyone possibly rely on such an unreliable link to keep their hopes up? I'm glad they'll have to face the consequences.



    Beast realizes that there may be a way to control the Phoenix by creating a scrambler device. He uses some Star Trek technobabble to explain this plot device. Now that was beneath him.



    While he creates the device, Cyclops senses Jean has returned to Earth on a place full of emotional memories. We see one of the most touching sequences in the entire series. We get a glimpse of Jean's old home. The Phoenix lands and Jean seems to have reverted to a child-like mental state. She's looking for her parents as she enters the house. She finds her cat Prometheus, who doesn't recognize her at all. She enters her room and hugs a Cyclops-like teddy bear, driving her to tears.



    Storm covers the house in mist. Cyclops drives a car to convince Jean her parents have arrived. Gambit takes the biggest risk by sneaking behind Jean and placing the neural disrupter on her head. He suffers the consequences by being thrown out of the house. While Beast works the device, the Phoenix suffers. Storm tries to get her to reason with her as a friend. There's a cut to a very scary shot of Jean/Dark Phoenix claiming to have no friends. She throws Storm away. The device is overloaded beyond Beast's expectations. Wolverine takes charge and brings the Phoenix down. At this moment, Jean resurfaces asking Logan to finish her off. He simply can't do it either. The Dark Phoenix resurfaces and blasts him away.



    She traps the X-Men in a fiery forcefield. Cyclops returns and tries to get to Jean professing his undying love for her. When Jean returns, her mind is knocked out by Xavier. He tells the X-Men to finish her off now. But amidst their hesitation, the Dark Phoenix awakens and blasts them off. She breaks Xavier's hover chair and prepares to finish Jean's former mentor off. Xavier strikes back using his powers. He enters Phoenix's mind and takes on the Phoenix herself. He seems to lose the early advantage in this ferocious battle. He calls to Jean for help and manages to trap the Phoenix inside a cocoon, eliminating her control over Jean.



    The dilemma finally comes to an end. Jean awakens and recognizes Scott. At this moment, the Shi'Ar arrive. Lilandra lays it out that according to her council, it's been determined that both Jean Grey and the Phoenix must be destroyed at any cost. The episode ends on another cliffhanger, where the outcome is truly unpredictable.



    Not much of importance may have happened, but the episode is so well directed that the plot runs at the perfect pace. We can truly feel how it can be hard for the characters to find a solution to this problem, but we can also see that in the long run, Lilandra's decison may be the correct one.



    Larry Parr wrote a nearly perfect episode, brilliantly directed by Larry Houston. It was amazingly well adapted from the comics. Chris Claremont did an incredible job to begin with, and the people behind the series brought it to a whole new level. Some of the best moments in the series are present in this episode, which make it almost perfect, if not one of the best episodes ever.moreless
Lenore Zann

Lenore Zann

Rogue

Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Catherine Disher

Catherine Disher

Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix

Cedric Smith

Cedric Smith

Professor X/Charles Xavier

George Buza

George Buza

Beast/Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy

Norm Spencer

Norm Spencer

Cyclops/Scott Summers

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