The Minor Detail That Ruins The X-Men ’97 Finale

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

X-Men 97 finale

The X-Men ‘97 finale was bittersweet but nearly perfect: not only did we get a crowd-pleasing resolution to multiple stories, but we also got an ending that scattered our heroes throughout history and left us wanting more. There were so many cool moments in this episode that it was easy to miss a single, unintentionally horrifying part. That moment was when Jean Grey as the Phoenix accidentally got a bunch of people killed when she freed them from Bastion’s control.

The Prime Sentinels

X-Men 97 finale Batman The Animated Series

For you to understand this terrifying moment in the X-Men ‘97 finale, we need to review the events leading up to it. Part of what made Bastion such a scary Big Bad is that he had more than a legion of original Sentinels under his control. He also had a small army of humans that he had converted into a new kind of threat known as Prime Sentinels.

The Prime Sentinels were the most persistent threat for this X-Men ‘97 season, especially in the finale. These humans no longer had control of their bodies, and their bodies had been turned into perfect mutant-hunting machines. They were much stronger, could fire laser blasts, and could even fly (keep this in mind because it will be important in a minute).

Bastion ‘s Collar

X-Men 97 finale Batman The Animated Series

Eventually, the X-Men develop a plan to put a power-nullifying collar on Bastion’s neck, which would disrupt his control of the Prime Sentinels and return them to their human state. All hope seems lost when the villain destroys the collar. However, Jean Grey harnesses the power of the Phoenix (or perhaps the other way around), repairing the collar and putting it on Bastion.

What Happened To The Flyers?

This was meant to be one of the emotional highlights of the X-Men ‘97 finale: these mutants have always fought for a world that fears and hates them, and in this moment, they just saved humans around the world. We see the Prime Sentinels suddenly collapse to the ground as their humanity is restored, including a few Sentinels that were hovering over the ground and about to attack Cloak, Dagger, and Daredevil. However, the episode didn’t answer our darkest question: what happened to the Sentinels who were flying much higher in the air?

Say Hi To Namor!

X-Men 97 Batman The Animated Series

Presumably, a Prime Sentinel who becomes human again loses all of their upgrades, including being super-tough. Therefore, Sentinels that were flying high enough in the air would hit the ground with a resoundingly squishy splat. For that matter, any Sentinels that were flying over bodies of water would very likely drown, especially because it appears that the infected humans writhe around uncontrollably for an undetermined amount of time before their humanity is fully restored.

Just Turn Your Mind Down, And It’s Fine

If you stop and think about it too hard, this is one of those details that can easily ruin the X-Men ‘97 finale…after all, nobody wants to imagine our heroes accidentally killing a bunch of people and possibly validating public fear of mutants. However, as Marvel comics fans, we long ago mastered the fine art of ignoring weird little plot details and enjoying cool stories for what they are. And if we could overlook the stupidity of the Onslaught storyline back in the day, we can certainly overlook the Phoenix Force killing a bunch of people (hey, at least it wasn’t a whole planet this time, right?).

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