Season 3 Episode 5

The Phoenix Saga (3): Cry of the Banshee

Aired Saturday 11:30 AM Sep 07, 1994 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
61 votes

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Episode Summary

Professor Xavier's claims of the capture of his alien soulmate Lilandra by Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy are met with skepticism.

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  • Hotblooded!

    Lilandra and Xavier do their best battling Juggernaut, but Black Tom aids him. Juggernaut believed he killed his half brother, but was saved at the last second by Banshee. Eric the Red visits earth, and claims his prize of Lilandra, but she was able to contact Professor Xavier, who sent the X-Men to the location. The two groups do battle, and while it seems the X-Men were able to win, Gladiator, a loyal subject to the Imperial throne, comes in, and sends Juggernaut flying miles into the main islands. Everyone bowed down to his might, but Xavier contacts Jean to help rescue Lilandra. She turns into Phoenix, and sends Gladiator flying into deep space. Though D'Ken has entered the Solar System, sensing the presence of the crystal.

    Action packed, story packed, it's packed with everything! Though this episode will most likely be remembered more by its use for the infamous internet clip "I'm the Juggernaut *****!" (which is by the way, frikkin hilarious), this is a great all around episode that delivers on so many levels. The introduction of Gladiator was awesome, though Phoenix easily handling the mohawk warrior was even more badass. The story behind Phoenix has finally been explained a bit in the closing minutes of the episode, as Lilandra reveals Phoenix as the guardian of the crystal. With all of this new information revealed, you can't wait for the future episodes to arrive in hopes they deliver on the same level. The suspense has been great thus far, and your blood is just rushing thinking about what'll be up next.moreless
  • The plot thickens and the stakes get higher

    Cry of the Banshee is a brilliant middle chapter in the Phoenix Saga. The plot moves along quite smoothly, in a not quite so fast pace. It gives the story time to breathe, while introducing new plot devices. Michael Edens hits another home run, that's made even better through the animation thanks to Larry Houston.

    Curiously enough, when I first saw this episode 10 years ago, it was titled as part 2 rather than part 3. Quite a goof that was never corrected in repeated airings of this episode. Even the DVD version kept this mistake.

    The episode picks up on Muir Island as Moira and Banshee realize something big's happening inside Charles's room. Xavier is under attack from his no-good stepbrother Juggernaut. Lilandra tries to help him by shooting him with no effect. Xavier tells her to shoot his helmet which works fairly well. This was a well directed bit of action. I loved the part where Xavier activates the bottom of his flying chair to avoid one of Juggernaut's attacks. Lilandra takes off his helmet, enabling a psychic assault by Xavier. He brings up Cain's worst memories from his childhood and his troubled relationship with his father. This sets up story elements that would be taken further later in The Juggernaut Returns. While Xavier overpowers Juggernaut, Black Tom approcahes from behind and stuns him with a staff beam. Before taking Lilandra to their custody, Juggernaut indulges in his perverse pleasure by throwing Xavier down a rocky cliff.

    Banshee sees Xavier just in time and invokes his scream as he flies and saves him. It justifies the episode's title, even though he's only a minor player in the story. Despite the event, neither Moira, nor Banshee believe Xavier's story about Lilandra.

    Meanwhile, Jean still suffers inside the hospital. This is a bit of an odd scene. Jean was fine in the previous episode when the Phoenix terminated Dark Xavier. She's apparently taken a turn for the worse. In this moment, the Phoenix announces that she's now one with Jean. Following, this the X-Men arrive with Rogue. This is her first appearance in the saga as she regrets not being available before. It was very smart for the writers to keep Rogue out of the story until this point. Her powers might have enabled her to fly the Starcore back to Earth in Jean's place and that would have seriously changed the story. The only drawback is that I had to wait the whole season to get my share of Rogue.

    Wolverine arrives forwarding Xavier's message about Lilandra. He believes it's a good reason to pay a visit to Muir Island, but Storm won't have it given Xavier's decision to not allow them to follow his orders. Fortunately, Cyclops makes the wisest decision he's ever given as he believes in Wolverine's tale. While he remains to take care of Jean, Wolverine takes the other X-Men to the island.

    We get our first glimpse of Cassidy Keep and the meeting between Black Tom, Juggernaut and Erik the Red, who made a deal to get Lilandra. However, Erik is a sorry fellow to do business with. He can be very selfish when it comes to paying his debts to the point of shooting poor Black Tom. Juggernaut proves that brute force is far superior than any Shi'Ar technology. He mops up Erik and the zombie astronauts with little effort. This leads to a great remark by Black Tom to put "business before pleasure" before Juggernaut makes tomato soup out of those guys. Erik promises to pay.

    The X-Men arrive to find a very disappointed Moira, who wished them not to appear. When Banshee backs her, it leads to a very tense moment between him and Wolverine. Fortunately, Wolverine is more level-headed this time and proceeds to find traces of Lilandra. Meanwhile, Lilandra recognizes Erik as a spy for her brother, the emperor. She attempts to make contact with Xavier and succeeds. What I don't understand is that how did Erik's stun beam on Lilandra make Xavier scream like that? The writers seem to enjoy making Xavier scream for no good reason whatsoever. He claims to have seen a stag and a dragon, which is the emblem for the Cassidy family keep. Banhsee realizes where Lilandra might be.

    Banshee takes the X-Men in a very loud journey to the island where Cassidy Keep is located. They arrive and a battle ensues. The battle begins with Gambit bringing the house down with an Ace card. Jubilee stands around like an idiot praising a busy Gambit while Juggernaut grabs her jacket. Rogue throws herself at Juggernaut, taking them several walls away. Wolverine tries to free Lilandra. Black Tom stuns him since Wolverine doesn't have the money for her freedom. Banshee deflects Black Tom's next blast. This proves the theory that sibilings are immune to their opposing powers. This element would be revisited in Cold Comfort. I really like the following shot where the lens change their focus in a wide shot amidst the ongoing battle.

    While Gambit fights Erik, Jubilee goes to Juggernaut's room, where Rogue is still uncouncious and he's almost recovered. She blasts him, forcing Rogue to save her sorry life, but Juggernaut bounces a rock on her. That move throws Rogue at Gambit, messing up his duel with Erik. Erik throws an ice grenade at the room before fleeing. Rogue and Wolverine manage to break free and trap Erik, Tom and Juggernaut.

    At this time, we are finally introduced to the great Gladiator, who makes a stunning entrance to the planet and Cassidy Keep. This presentation was far more effective than his brief cameo at Mojovision. After giving Erik a hard time he's ready to take Lilandra and the Crystal back to the emperor. Juggernaut decides to mess around with Gladiator. This poor move lands Juggernaut in a lot of trouble as Gladiator flings him across the ocean. This is the most effective departure from Juggernaut, setting up events for Juggernaut Returns.

    Gladiator seems to be a mixture of Rogue, Cyclops and Storm's breath, as he stops the X-Men from regaining Lilandra. Black Tom hands Lilandra to him and flees. Lilandra's cry for help awakens the Phoenix. She exits the hospital and flies around the world to stop the Gladiator. This was a powerful scene. We finally see the true might of the Phoenix. She easily stops Gladiator and sends him to deep space. The Phoenix is indeed the child of the Crystal. She's also detected the arrival of Lilandra's brother, the Shi'Ar emperor D'Ken, who can already feel the Crystal.

    These the busiest final minutes I've ever seen in an X-Men episode. So much happens and there's still a lot to happen. The stakes keep getting higher and higher. The final showdown is yet to come.moreless
Lenore Zann

Lenore Zann


Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Gambit/Remy LeBeau

Catherine Disher

Catherine Disher

Jean Grey/Phoenix

Cedric Smith

Cedric Smith

Professor X/Charles Xavier

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


Recurring Role

Lally Cadeau

Lally Cadeau

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Beast does not appear in this episode.

    • Banshee mentions that Black Tom is his younger brother. However, with his beard and grey hair, it looks as though Black tom is the older of the brothers.

    • Lilandra loses her silver space costume at the start of the show, despite having no time to change out after last episode's cliffhanger.

    • The Juggernaut's fate after being thrown into the ocean by the Gladiator is revealed in "Juggernaut Returns" later on in this season.

    • Black Tom and Banshee's being unable to harm one another with their powers is the first mentioning of an X-Men universal rule: siblings are immune to each other's mutant powers.

    • This episode marks the first appearance of Black Tom Cassidy (brother of Banshee, though in the comics they were simply cousins), and Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.

    • The beam that enters Charles' room, enters a 1st floor room. In the previous episode it enters a 2nd floor room. Further more, the building it enters is also different.

    • In the debut airing only: When Wolverine is attempting to break free from the ice, for a single frame you can see a large yellow production note indicating to cut the print. This frame was removed and replaced in later airings.

    • The brainwashed astronaut on our left at the castle turns from a caucasuian man to a black man between shots as Juggernaut throws Black Tom at them.

    • Juggernaut calls Xavier his half-brother, despite the fact they are merely step-brothers, sharing no bloodline.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Wolverine: They're coming out of the woodwork!

    • (Gladiator just threw Juggernaut into the ocean)
      Jubilee: I didn't think anybody could do that to Juggernaut!
      Gambit: Nobody from Earth, at least.

    • Banshee: Aye! Someone needs to teach ye some manners!
      Jubilee: Uh-oh!
      Wolverine: Plenty have TRIED, pal. (pops claws)

    • Lilandra: Let Charles Xavier go
      Juggernaut: Or what? Are you going to spank me?

    • Phoenix: Lilandra is under my protection. Depart!
      Gladiator: There's no way you can stop me.
      Phoenix: If you will serve no worthy master, than learn the power of Phoenix!

    • Wolverine: With a mouth like yours, we shoulda just tried to sneak in here with a marching band.
      Banshee: If ye think that's bad, ye should hear me sing.

    • Rogue: Remember, Wolverine, we're no match for Juggernaut. Our job is to find Lilandra and get out fast.
      Jubilee: Anybody know what she looks like?
      Wolverine: She's from another galaxy. You see a woman you don't know - rescue her.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Juggernaut: This is more fun than Bumper Cars!
      Juggernaut's comment about smashing his brother's wheelchair is in reference to the amusement park ride.