X-Men

Season 3 Episode 4

The Phoenix Saga (2): The Dark Shroud

1
Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Sep 06, 1994 on FOX
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
57 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The X-Men barely survive their return trip from space, Jean Grey discovering herself changed by the experience. Professor Xavier's dark half is given form, and proceeds to attack his students.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Xavier might get his chance to score with Lilandra.

    8.8
    The shuttle crash lands hard into the waters of New York. Jean mysteriously rises from the water, claiming to be someone named "Phoenix". In the hospital, even Jean is unaware of who Phoenix is. Xavier was about to leave in his little ship of his, but something controlled his mind, and a projection of himself was created, except with solely evil thoughts. This dark side of Xavier started attacking the other X-Men using projections and illusions, but the first to defeat this person was Jean. Xavier, after recovering, deemed himself too dangerous to continue being with the X-Men, and isolated himself in Ireland. Though the same person who controlled his mind earlier, reappears. She reveals herself as Lilandra, and tells Xavier everything. Though everyone's favourite Juggernaut smashes into the room.



    A mysterious episode. It does a good job of further establishing the story. What remains a huge question is why Lilandra's communication signal to the Professor caused him to turn into his dark self and attack the other X-Men. Well, it really isn't a question, but you do question what purpose it serves to the story itself, because his dark self attacking the other X-Men took up half the episode, and something that eats up a lot of screen time should hold important value, unless it was Dragonball Z. With that said, I thought the scenes with the professor attacking his own X-Men were pretty cool to watch, but they really weren't good enough to make you feel entirely excited. Lilandra telling her story built up suspense, as well as Juggernaut's appearance, though the big question you're asking yourself after this episode is Phoenix's identity. It just makes you want to watch the next episodes, which I'm going to do now!moreless
  • A stunning stand-alone story in the middle of a superb multi-part saga.

    9.6
    The Dark Shroud was a superb episode in any form of analysis. Mark Edward Edens returns the X-Men to form with this installment in the Phoenix Saga. Larry Houston's animation direction was just as superb.



    The episode picks up where Sacrifice left off as Jean is knocked out cold by the strange force assaulting her. Her shield fails and she's finally possesed by the Phoenix. She returns apparently unscathed and pilots the shuttle for a very clumsy reentry. This sequence actually reminds me a lot of 9/11 as the shuttle enters the atmosphere and passes through New York, scraping buildings like the Empire State and the World Trade Center towers. This seems awfully convenient, given that the Shuttle couldn't even change course and just happened to land at the Hudson River, so close to home.



    Nevertheless, the sequence is stunning and the music is outstanding. The shuttle splits in two and goes underwater. While the X-Men save themselves and Dr. Corbeau from certain doom, there's no trace of Jean at all. That is, until her sudden rise from the waters. I never read the comic book version of the Phoenix Saga (I only read the Dark Phoenix story), but this is one of the most powerful images I've ever seen in the series. Jean's rise claiming herself to be Phoenix is firmly etched into my mind. She then falls to the water as they grab her. What a powerful first act!



    Act 2 opens with Jean in the hospital recovering from this shock. As soon as Xavier arrives, there's an instant rift between him and Cyclops. One never seen before in the series. As soon as Cyclops demands further explanation, all bets are off. Both of them are extremely irrational given their concern for Jean, as Beast points it out. He recovered the mind-control implants from the technicians for further study.



    Meanwhile, Wolverine spends his time kicking the alley trash cans. He really can't stand hospitals, not only because of Jean, but because of what happened to him. The characterization in this episode is truly brilliant, even though the plot never moves that much. Beast offers Wolverine to stop by some night spot and calls for a taxi. This leads to an hilarious moment as the driver runs screaming like a girl. Beast simply cites the fact that it's impossible to find a good cab in Manhattan. Even though the series returns to its roots with this moment, it still manages to spark a laugh or two out of it.



    In the meantime, Xavier decides to go to the Minijet and is suddenly attacked by the same psychic probe as before and is knocked out. His dark persona slips out of him, ready to do some damage.



    This is a stunning sequence, as Dark Xavier moves out to hurt those he cares most about. Even though the story doesn't really move forward, it's simply impossible not to watch this. It begins with Wolverine inside the subway when he suddenly sees Yuriko and follows her. He's surprised by Sabretooth, the Punisher and finally, Dark Xavier, who knocks him out of the train. He rambles on about Logan's shortcomings, but Logan is more level-headed and decides to take the offensive until Xavier uses the damsel in distress decoy to put an end to him. But why did it have to be Jubilee? It could be Rogue or Storm. He fell for it and almost got hit by a subway car because of it. This moment was stunning and the subway sound was simply awesome.



    Gambit and Jubilee are on line for a broadway play, when they're attacked by Dark Xavier. He even comments on Gambit's not being trusted. One major nitpick, however: what was the matter with Gambit and his girlish screams? He did it twice just because he was hit by Dark Xavier. Wolverine arrives and saves Jubilee from being hit by a car. None of their attacks work on Dark Xavier and Wolverine finally figures it out. He can't smell him.



    Jubilee calls Storm for help, who's resting or meditating on top of Manhattan bridge. I wish I could do that. The cops arrive and point guns at the X-Men, but they can't see Dark Xavier at all. When Dark Xavier disappears from the X-Men, Jubilee blames Wolverine for no good reason. Go try and figure that one out. I wish I could dispose of her or leave her to the cops. When Wolverine tries to fight his way out with his claws, Storm arrives and creates a mist as an escape cover for the X-Men.



    Dark Xavier goes to the hospital to put an end to Cyclops. Jean wakes up and tries to tell Cyclops it's all in his head. Given everything Dark Xavier did to the other X-Men, it only enhances the danger when you measure how much power Charles Xavier has as a telepath. Imagine what else he could do! The Phoenix briefly awakens and lashes her power at the Dark Xavier projection, putting an end to it.



    The X-Men find Xavier uncouncious at the roof on a broken Minijet. He reveals what exactly happened. Meanwhile, he's being monitored by a zombie technician from Erik the Red. He realizes Xavier is the key to finding the M'Kraan Crystal. The plot thickens.



    Xavier then tells the X-Men not to follow his orders until he returns from his sabbatical. He goes to Muir Island and is greeted by Moira and Sean Cassidy. She introduces him as her fiancée. He's obviously shocked by this event.



    Later at night, Moira and Sean discuss her relationship with Xavier. This is a far better look at Moira after her brief appearance on The Cure. She's better animated as well. She looked awful on The Cure. She actually looks good in this and subsequent episodes. Moira kisses Sean as a beam of light hits Xavier's room and they don't even notice.



    After a lot of psychic pain and being driven insane, Xavier is greeted by Lilandra, the sister of Shi'Ar emperor D'Ken. She spills out the whole story about stealing the powerful M'Kraan Crystal from his grasp. The is a far more effective pointer scene than the one from the previous episode. After all of this, she tells him about their very deep connection. Then they're visited by Juggernaut, in an impressive and unexpected return for the first time since the first season.



    Quite an ending for such a terrific episode.



    The Cry of the Banshee is just around the corner....moreless
Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Catherine Disher

Catherine Disher

Jean Grey/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

Alison Sealy-Smith

Alison Sealy-Smith

Storm/Ororo Monroe

Lawrence Bayne

Lawrence Bayne

Erik The Redd

Guest Star

Robert Cait

Robert Cait

Juggernaut/Cain Marko

Guest Star

Jeremy Ratchford

Jeremy Ratchford

Banshee/Sean Cassidy

Recurring Role

Camilla Scott

Camilla Scott

Lilandra

Recurring Role

Lally Cadeau

Lally Cadeau

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Rogue does not appear in this episode.

    • This episode marks the debut of Sean Cassidy (not to be confused with Shaun Cassidy), who'll be revealed as the sonic-voiced mutant called Banshee in the next episode.

    • Yuriko (the eventual Lady Deathstrike), Sabretooth, and Deadpool were those Dark Xavier appeared as while tormenting Wolverine.

    • Beast's shirt at the hospital has a picture of Marvel Comics character Howard The Duck on it.

    • Behind Wolverine in the alley when Xavier departs is a Fox Kids Network logo (the block the show originally aired on), with something illegable written underneath

    • In the opening shot, Lilandra's ship and the Starcore shuttle are passing over the moon on their way to Earth. Just how far out was the Eagle One space station? They sure got to it quickly in the previous show!

    • Beast mentions NASA, yet Starcore was the "replacement" for that operation in the previous show.

    • The footage shown when the remarks made about the M'Kraan Crystal being breached and destroying galaxies is actually footage of when the wormhole is opened for Lilandra to pass through. All of that destruction upon those planets and aliens came from her attempted escape! But thanks to a little reediting, the wormhole shown is meant to be an effect of the crystal, and when the wormhole is shown open in the course of her storytelling, the fact several planetoids are sucked in are ignored.

    • Wolverine's failure to smell Yuriko, Sabretooth or Jubilee as real isn't a goof: he didn't bother smelling for any of them until after he noticed Xavier's strange behavior.

  • QUOTES (7)

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (5)

    • Beast: You claimed her identity once before Jean, when you rose from not the ashes, but from the depths of New York harbor.
      A Phoenix is reborn after it rises from its own ashes after its death, which Beast was making a metaphor of.

    • Times Square Sign: OMC Trucks
      The sign in Times Square (which Gambit destroys) is a reference to General Motors Corporation's GMC Trucks division.

    • Times Square Sign: Unasonic
      The sign in Times Square is a reference to the electronics company, "Panasonic."

    • Times Square Sign: EKG: Quality Audio and Video
      The sign in Times Square stating that is in reference to "TDK", the consumer electronics company.

    • Beast: He informed me NASA cannot explain the existence of the alien spacecraft.
      NASA stands for "National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

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