Season 3 Episode 3

The Phoenix Saga (1): Sacrifice

Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Sep 05, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
64 votes

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Episode Summary

Following visions from recent dreams, Professor Xavier sends his X-Men on a mission to the Eagle One Space-Station, putting them in the middle of an interstellar conflict.

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  • It speaks for itself

    Its the phoenix saga! The greatest episodes in x-men history! Need I say more?
  • More of Jean's annoying cries...everything else is great though!

    For a reason that's even ignorant to him, the professor sends his trusty team of mutants into outer space to battle against aliens. Only Jubilee and Storm stayed. After tricking the captain of thinking the X-Men are the crew he's supposed to ride with, they hop onto their designated landing. Though a being named Eric the Red gasses them. He was about to kick them off the ship and into outer space, but Jean uses her powers to save everyone. They sabotage the ship, and head back into the shuttle. They were going to intercept the fire trails of another ship in space, so Jean stayed behind to save everyone, though her life might be sacrificed in the process.

    I really think Jean's annoying and overexaggerated cries are one of the worse things to ever happen to this cartoon series. That, and destroying Mastermold, he was cool. The introduction to the Phoenix Saga was well played out, and the story was nicely established. Here, two intergalactic struggles do battle with each other, and it's only naturally to believe the X-Men will side with whichever one is good. The pacing is just awesome. It doesn't do too much or too little, which teases you to want more. Things were told in bits, which maintained a constant interest throughout the episode. Some of the minor things that occur throughout this episode did a good job of enhancing the exprience even more, like the funny remarks being made while the X-Men penetrated the shuttle site, or the rather awkward meeting at the war room in the beginning of the episode.moreless
  • The Saga begins....

    Sacrifice, which was part one of the Phoenix Saga works fairly well as the beginning of a long story. Michael Edens gave his usual excellent effort in the script. This episode also feels more consistent in the animation department if you compare it to the previous seasons. However, like Out of the Past, there's still evidence of the new cinematic look on the episode. Larry Houston hits another home-run.

    The episode begins as Xavier is visited by the mysterious Lilandra in his dreams. Her cruiser is under pursuit by military Shi'Ar craft. It may not be Star Wars, but this sequence looked excellent, both in picture, music and sound. I loved the battle theme. Xavier wakes up realizing his premonition from the previous episodes is unraveling.

    He wakes up the X-Men to a War Room meeting. This was a good opportunity to have some humorous moments. They would be needed as we pushed further into the saga. I also loved Gambit's late-night entrance. He seems to be the only X-Men who ever has fun during the night. They should envy him. Xavier explains that the Space Shuttle known as Starcore is scheduled for a launch in the next day. Beast has apparently been working with the Shuttle's Dr. Corbeau who told him his mission. This makes me wonder how in the world Beast got to work with an astronaut? Isn't he supposed to be a doctor? And how could Dr. Corbeau reveal classified information to a civilian? I suspect Beast must have pulled rank by invoking his relationship with the president. Very intriguing.

    Xavier in a sudden moment of relection tells the X-Men to break into the shuttle at any cost. Ironically, Gambit says that breaking into government installations isn't usually their style. He must have missed the pilot episode. Xavier isn't able to give a satisfactory explanation behind this order. Only that's something's about to happen and they must be ready. Cyclops blindly follows the orders. Now that was sloppy leadership. Cyclops still tries to get some info from the Professor with little results.

    It's obvious that some elements from this story feel a bit contrived to get the X-Men to where they need to be at the end of the episode. The whole bit between Xavier having his mind probed by Lilandra feels forced to say the least. Was she deliberately promoting this chain of events?

    The X-Men arrive at the shuttle site and break in a manner that's very reminiscent of Night of the Sentinels, including Storm's fog and passing over the fence. Nice reference to the old days. When the base alarm is sounded, Cyclops orders Jubilee to stay behind and get caught so the launch won't be scrubbed. I'm glad they ditched her. Imagine what would happen had she gone on to deep space with them.

    Cyclops stuns every crewmember, while Jean creates an illusion at Dr. Corbeau's mind to make him believe they are the real crew. The X-Men must have some special training for impersonating a NASA Crew, or else this charade would have been foiled fairly quickly, despite Jean's psychic illusion. While Jubilee is interrogated by the guards in a room with a window (How convenient), Storm creates a storm to get her out of there. When both return to Xavier, Jubilee asks to do it again. How lame.

    The Shuttle is launched to deep space and proceeds to the Eagle 1 Space Station. They don't know that some bad company awaits them there. Jean realizes it's a trap in the last second, but the airlock is flooded with sleeping gas. Gambit almost commits murder to them all by using one of his cards. Beast is forced to stop him. Jean creates a psychokinetic shiled around her before fainting. It turns out that Shi'Ar emissary Erik the Red is in control of the station. He takes Dr. Corbeau to the control room (for who knows what reason) while ordering the technicians to open the airlock. Jean recovers barely in time to close the hatch using her powers.

    Due to their failure, the zombie technicians decide to blast the X-Men in the airlock. Jean and Cyclops manage to stop them. Apparently they are implanted with mind control devices that eventually inspired the plug-in neck holes from The Matrix.

    Meanwhile, Erik basically explains the plot to Dr. Corbeau. This is a pointer scene and not the best one. It's too obvious. This recycles of the old cliché where the villain gloats over his captive while needlesly explaining the upcoming plot. And by the way, the X-Men hear everything. How contrived! They move to stop Erik from using his specially constructed weapon on Lilandra's Star Cruiser that's coming out through a wormhole. Their efforts work, despite some seriously sloppy fighting. Beast and Gambit fall down to the guards like they didn't know what was happening. Jean does nothing. Wolverine and Cyclops are forced to do eveything themselves, and Cyclops doesn't a good job either. But he manages to overload the weapon, causing it to fire prematurely, missing the target.

    Erik still manages to flee with the 2 technicians and nobody tries to stop them. Were the X-Men drunk or high on something? Meanwhile, the station begins to break-up and Wolverine frees Dr. Corbeau. They also take back the two subdued technicians.

    Erik flees the station and tries to blast Lilandra's ship, who easily repels him. The shuttle barely escapes the exploding station and is thrown in a certain coruse. The course leads them through the energy exhaust from the Shi'Ar cruiser. Even if they can't move, Lilandra's ship could still move out of the way. Once again, the devil that is a plot contrivance rears its ugly little head. Without any means to change direction, Beast realizes that the solar probe inside the shuttle could withstand the radiation. However, somebody still has to fly the shuttle for reentry. Nobody could survive. It's a self-sacrifice and it saves this final moment in the episode. Jean steals Dr. Corbeau's flight expertise with her powers and sits in the pilot's chair, despite Cyclops's objections. She's forced to knock him out in order to save them all.

    This is a poignant moment where Jean straps Cyclops in the solar probe, while Wolverine gives her good luck. This was an excellent bit of characterization. The episode excels in it. Jean puts a shield around her as the ship enters the energy exhaust. Jean is suddenly attacked by an unknown force attempting to penetrate her. This was a stunning ending for the episode. The episode ends as we hear a desperate scream and the subsequent picture of the Phoenix.

    There were plot contrivances, but the episode still worked well towards its inevitable cliffhanger.

    The Dark Shroud is just around the corner....moreless
Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Catherine Disher

Catherine Disher

Jean Grey

Cedric Smith

Cedric Smith

Professor X/Charles Xavier

George Buza

George Buza

Beast/Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy

Norm Spencer

Norm Spencer

Cyclops/Scott Summers

Alison Sealy-Smith

Alison Sealy-Smith

Storm/Ororo Monroe

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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