Frame By Frame Review X-Men TAS Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas
Merry Christmas for an extra special (late) review for you all!
These reviews look at a single episode of a show, usually an incredibly silly one, and go through it bit by bit looking at each stupid moment in turn. As well as poking fun, adding sarcastic comments to the mix, and over thinking ever minor detail. This time we’re looking at the 1992, and first proper, X-Men cartoon and the Christmas abomination that is “Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas” Oh boy, I’m going to need some alcohol to get through this one.
A little background: I’m not that much of an X-Men fan. I love the cartoons, the characters, and some of the classic stories, but whenever I try to read any of the ongoing comics I get hit with an overly complicated, convoluted, mess of continuity that I don’t understand. And this is from someone who can pick up a DC comic blindfolded and be absolutely fine (at least before the Nu52 reboot). So my X-Men knowledge isn’t as good as my Spider-Man lore, but I’ll try my best. One thing you do need to know is who the Morlock’s are. They’re essentially homeless mutants who can’t pass as anything but mutant in regular society, so they created their own community in the sewers under New York. When they started attacking subways (train stations not the food joints) the X-Men intervened and Storm challenged their leader (Callisto) to single combat for who gets to be leader (because all the uncivilised cultures have to have that as their leadership test). Storm won and then bugged off and didn’t bother coming back since she didn’t want to live in a sewer the rest of her life.
Since its Christmas time the drinking game to today is drink till it stops hurting. Since I only have whisky in the house that shouldn’t be too hard. And now we pick up with:
*Opens bottle of whisky* this is really going to hurt.
Before getting into the episode let’s have a look at the intro, and it’s a pretty good one. The instrumental theme is very iconic and easily recognisable now even if you haven’t watched the show since the 90s. What we get to see is very quick introductions to all the characters with their names in their different comic book logos, which was a cool touch, and them doing something slightly related to their powers. Also X motifs everywhere. There’s no narrative here, just lots of random action shots put together with the different X-Men doing stuff and then finally a shot of the X-Men running at the “Evil Mutants” of the series, some of which don’t actually show up.
And on that day the Brotherhood banned steroid use
Second in from the left, right next to Juggernaut, is Thunderbird (or his brother Warpath as it’s hard to tell) who only ever appears as a cameo in one episode. Who is also not a villain so why he’s included here is a mystery. I guess they made the title sequence before or independently of deciding who was going to be on the Brotherhood of Mutants. Even then pick someone who wasn’t an X-Man. I don’t even know who the short guy is next to him. He never appears and the only thing he reminds me of The Gargoyle, a Hulk villain.
So our episode begins with us seeing a giant Christmas tree outside the X-Mansion as it’s snowing. We then move in to the mansion as Scott, Rogue and Jubilee are decorating their tree and we hear them singing ‘Deck the Halls’ and it’s painful. *takes swig form glass* nope I can still hear it in it’s out of tune horribleness. It was intentionally bad though as Scott then bows out of singing and Rogue politely says at least he tried. Which would be something if all of them weren’t terrible singers. She then complains that he did more than Logan did, which was sit by the fireplace and not join in. And we can all be grateful for that one.
Jubilee tries to get him to join and help out since this is her first Christmas with, and the rest of the X-Men. Strangely enough he doesn’t care about Christmas, given how nice and jolly he is the rest of the year it’s so shocking to hear he doesn’t want anything to do with it. As he skulks off Jubilee mopes and Rogue tries to cheer her up by saying he’s just “never been one for holidays” but Scott sums it up as “it’s fun he doesn’t like.” Or maybe he just doesn’t consider the ‘traditional’ store manufactured and enforced ‘holiday cheer’ to be fun. Because if you don’t like Christmas you don’t like fun. It’s not like there are people out there that don’t celebrate Christmas, right?
So they choose to ignore Logan’s grumpiness as Rogue gives Jubilee a massive star for the top of the tree. As she says she never had a star like that before all I can think of is YOU NEVER HAD A TREE LIKE THAT EITHER!
Look at that thing, its freaking huge!
So do you think she’s been doing that all day when putting up decorations, “Oh I’ve never had so many decorations.” Because I think a giant tree like that trumps a star and is more worthy of comment. Anyway we learn that it’s her first Christmas with the X-Men and Rogue says they want to make it “X-tra special” that pun’s not even worth a drink.
We then cut to our B-plot for the episode, Gambit and Jean making Christmas dinner. It’s Christmas Eve so I don’t know what’s actually going on, I’m from the UK and we have the Christmas Meal on Christmas Day. So this American tradition is a bit baffling to me. But anyway it’s just an excuse for “comedy hijinks” as Gambit starts complaining about how the food Jean’s making doesn’t taste right and wants to add some spices to it. So as he’s about to put some of it into the pot Jean telekinetically holds him down. This is while she practically screams that “The day I need your help in the kitchen is the day that I stop cooking!” You know this is only time I’ve seen Jean get really mad, or even really emotional, on this show. Not when she was taken over by an alien entity and nearly destroyed the universe, or when she’s been captured numerous times by evil scientist’s wanting to abuse her genetic code, or even her friends dying as she’s inside their minds. It’s Gambit wanting to mess with her cooking, that’s what pushes her over the edge.
So she lets him go from her telekinesis as he falls back knocking a pot that was on the stove onto his head. (At least it looked like it was on a stove; it wasn’t even there till it needed to be knocked over)
OH GOD IT BURNS! CALL AN AMBULANCE!
But Gambit shirks the pain off the tell Jean she still doesn’t know anything about Christmas dinner. I wonder why Gambit’s in the kitchen at all since Jean obviously doesn’t want him there and could easily shove him out and lock the door. But then “comedy” wouldn’t happen.
We then cut to Beast in his lab making something while doing his main distinguishing character trait, quoting things. At least two thirds of his dialogue in this show was just him quote famous quotes or literature. Because The Beast is the most sophisticated one out of all of them, so let’s just get a Big Book of Quotes and leave it at that. It’s not a bad idea per-say, but having him do it all the time got really annoying.
We then cut to Xavier and Storm as they spy on, I mean monitor, all of them from the control room. He talks about how he thinks this is the best Christmas ever and Storm’s not so sure. She’s not even sure why “perhaps I see Jubilee’s childlike joy at Christmas and remember my own.” Ah yes I’m sure those Christmases as a child must have been magical, living as an orphan in Cairo as a pickpocket, grand old times I bet.
Before I can question more an explosion goes off sending everyone scattering about. Turns out it was all a scare for the commercial break as it was just Beast’s cranberry glaze that had exploded.
Maybe best not to make food that can literally explode in your face
After everyone’s laughed off Beast’s near death cooking experience Logan comes running in hoping for an attack Storm explains it all and he complains about Christmas again and how “all this good cheer is driving me nuts.” You think that’s bad? Just wait till they force you to watch Christmas specials. Those are bad enough to drive a man to drink.
He’s wanting a break for it all so Jubilee suggests going shopping with her and Storm. His response is right on the money, “Christmas Eve shopping. You’re crazy.” Yeah that’s just not a good idea for many reasons. Especially doing actual last minute shopping. He should just hop in his jeep, go to the nearest empty bar, and just have his own alone time since that’s pretty much all he wants. But no all it takes is Jubilee going, “Please, Wolvie.” For him to come along. So we now get ‘Shopping with the X-Men!”
That’s the quietest mall on Christmas Eve ever
I’ve been shopping on Christmas Eve before and trust me when I say finding a place to move is a rare thing. And that was in Newcastle not New York City, which I’d expect to be a lot easier. That just seems like an average shopping day.
So we see them walking through with Jubilee carrying a load of wrapped boxes saying, “Don’t you just love it? I’ve never been able to get nice gifts for people before.” Jubilee, if you would be so kind, please shut up. You lived in a middle class family before so unless by “nice” you mean “expensive” then you’re just being a stuck up bitch for now living as the 1%.
Before we have to endure too much of her a fragrance woman comes to Logan and sprays him with “musk of the wild.” Luckily for her Storm stops him from beating her senseless. He does actually look like he’s about to punch her as Storm holds his hand back. She walks away and Strom point him towards an exit.
We then cut to them ice skating outside. Just then the Vulture and Electro attack trying to draw out Spider-Man… wait that’s a different, and much better, Christmas special. No instead we get Jubilee trying to moan Wolvie into having fun because it’s “Christmas Eve” yeah he’s grumpy all year ‘round, that’s not going to change no matter what the day so quit trying. Thankfully it’s cut short by Wolvie hearing sirens from an ambulance.
It hurls down the streets and crashes through a wall and lands on the ice ring. Storm makes a gust a wind powerful enough to stop it hitting people and float it away safely. We also get her verbal tic for the show; unlike Beast’s this is a little less understandable as she calls out her attack names like an Anime character. Every time she uses her powers she must say stuff like, “I call upon the raging winds!” which is just more of a WTF than anything else.
Wolvie and Jubilee skate over to find out what’s up and see two Morlocks getting out of the ambulance and Wolvie treats them like the scum of the Earth. Sure, as he puts it, they did “rip off an ambulance” but he acts like they do this sort of stuff regularly. Although that wouldn’t really surprise me too much. Then the police show up chasing them.
No way New Yorkers would leave a crash scene that fast
I can’t imagine a crowd dispersing that quickly, especially before the cops arrive. Though if this happened today everyone would be filming it on their phones and tweeting about it. So as the police start coming down onto the ice Wolvie is still tussling with the Morlock shapeshifter Ape. Storm flies down to break it up and the other Morlock pleads with her to help them because one of the Morlock children, Leech, is sick.
They say they tried to take him to a hospital but he didn’t have medical insurance so they turned him down… I mean they didn’t like that he had green skin and his mutant powers accidentally knocked a nurse unconscious. His mutant ability is to negate superpowers, so I don’t know why that’d affect the nurse. Unless her power was ‘keeping oneself conscious’ then it’d all make sense.
Wolvie doesn’t buy into any of it and says it doesn’t explain why they stole an ambulance. OK even I know Wolvie’s not that dumb. One of them is sick, they can’t go to a hospital, so they take the only thing they can, an ambulance containing medical supplies. It’s not rocket science.
They guilt trip Strom into helping, saying she’s their leader but she’s never around to help them. So she caves and creates a bigger snow storm to distract the cops as they get away. Jubilee whines that she doesn’t want to leave all her presents as they follow the Morlocks into the sewer. Storm tells her to forget about them but she still sops to pick them all up.
So we then get them walking through the sewers as Jubilee moans again that they’re going to miss Christmas Eve dinner if it takes much longer. SHUT THE FUCK UP! Seriously a child is dying and now’s not the time to whine that your Christmas is ruined. In fact it’s probably never a good time for your whining, Jubilee. So just stop it right now while you’ve still got some fans not wanting you dead. Where’s that bottle gone?
So their leader lives in a mansion and what exactly do they get out of it?
So as they enter the Morlock home Calisto starts giving Storm shit for pretty legitimate reasons seeing as their leader abandoned them to live with rich people without trying to help them. She also blames her for Leech’s illness, which is not directly her fault, but she’s angry and lashing out. Storm denies that of course. Before the argument can spread to full on violence Leech moans in pain and both of them decide that he’s more important.
Wolvie looks over and sees they’ve got a Christmas tree, which is a stick with a broken bauble on it, stuck in a paint tin. Then Storm just commands him, “Wolverine, you have experience in field medicine! Prepare the child!” Yeah I think he needs more than a field medic at this point. Strom was planning to fly him back to the mansion for actual treatment but Wolvie checks Leech out and determines that if they try to move him he dies. While he’s saying this Calisto and Storm forget about that “no fighting ‘cause Leech is ill” truce and immediately start on Wolvie for not being able to finish a sentence because of them. There’s also Jubilee sitting in a corner as another Morlock kid comes over to her.
Her eyes, those are terrifying eyes!
I swear those eyes could suck out your soul. Of course when she overhears Wolvie say Leech might die she suddenly gets how serious it all is. Took yer time! Then she has a fit about how he can’t die because it’s Christmas Eve. Oh for the love of Santa! Strangely enough people die on Christmas; they die every day regardless of holidays. It also makes it sounds like she’d be fine if he died on any other day, but since its Christmas Eve this cannot stand! Screw the glass I’m drinking straight from the bottle now.
So Storm and Jubilee start yelling about how this can’t happen with Jubilee wanting Wolvie to do something since he’s “so good at healing himself” well now it’s a stupid Christmas episode so why not throw out stupid solutions too. So everyone gets on Wolvie about it, he gets angry about it because there is a chance. He apparently tried it before with 20 desperate people who needed his help, two survived, and the last one to die was a kid just like Leech.
Storm orders Ape to get a transfusion kit from the supplies he stole. To which he responds “trans-fusion?” Yeah I can see how stealing those supplies was going to help since none of them know what they are or how to use them. So Wolvie doesn’t want to do it since he doesn’t want the blood of another kid on his hands and even yells at Storm because if she’d actually been there for them none of this would’ve happened. Since it’s not Calisto saying it she agrees with him.
She gets Ape to shapeshift into a bed for Wolvie to lay down next to Leech as they do the transfusion while they contact Beast to come along as fast as he can. Back at the mansion the ‘Cooking with Jean and Gambit show’ is still going on.
Had the power to destroy the universe, now just threatening a Cajun with some broccoli
She yelling, again the angriest I’ve seen her on the show, for the “swamp rat” to get out of the kitchen as she throws the broccoli at him. Scott shots it away with his eye beams, the most we see the leader of the X-men do all episode. Before Jean can disembowel Gambit with a whisk Professor X bursts in telling Rogue she needs to fly Beast to the Morlock tunnels leaving everyone else asking what’s up. He just pulls a face as the screens fades back to Leech.
Leech is now fully clothed unlike the last time we saw him, which was seemingly naked under a blanket. So did they waste time removing the blanket and getting him dressed for no reason whatsoever? Ah good ol’ animation errors. Whatever, they start the transfusion and we cut away from the drama to Jubilee and the little girl who shows her around the Christmassy Morlock tunnels.
I WANT YOUR SOUL FOR CHRISTMAS!
Yeah those eyes just don’t get any easier to look at. So the girl shows her the Christmas tree and the Christmas meal they’re making, which looks how you’d expect from people living in the sewers. Just soup, but they’re actually managing to heat it up somehow, so they’ve got a hot meal which is better than some homeless people. Both of which Leech brought them. Is that why all the Morlock’s are useless here? Is Leech the only one capable around here?
The girl asks Jubilee to stay for Christmas dinner, to which she hesitates because… well yeah. Storm comes in wanting to also hear her answer. Nothing like being put on the spot. Jubilee asks if there’s anything new and Storm says it’s too early to tell. Well duh! It’s only been a few minutes. You can’t rush a miracle, if you do that you get lousy miracles.
On the way back Jubilee asks Storm how the Morlock’s keep going, and we get the standard spiel about family, how great it is and how if you’re part of a loving one then every day is Christmas. Standard pabulum for holiday specials. As they get back Calisto complains it’s not working, then Wolvie does too, which he then rips out the transfusion cable to prove his point I guess. It’s only been a few minutes so what the hell? I must point out that how did they expect this to work since, even ignoring the transfer blood healing nonsense, Leech’s powers cancel out mutant ones and it’s already been established he can’t even control them now. So there’s no way this should work. Should’ve called for Miracle Max instead.
Beast and Rogue come in at this point to help. Not that they actually do much other than say how Wolvie’s healing powers are a mystery to science. Just as he’s giving Leech the once over he starts waking up, miraculously Though he first sees Beast’s blue furry face and freaks out. Just like you’d expect from someone with green skin who’s family is now considered too hideous for normal society.
Show me on the doll where the blue man touched you.
As everyone laughs and Jubilee cries with joy Storm goes over to Calisto and asks for the “Sceptre of Power” Which looks like it was fished out of a river. She makes this grand speech about how the Sceptre is the symbol of Morlock leadership and really bigging this thing up as she advocates her leadership and gives it back to Calisto. Because clearly the problem here was that the Morlock’s didn’t have a proper command structure in a crisis, not that they live in a sewer full of diseases and have no way to get medical treatment. Now these people live in a sewer so I doubt they actually have this ceremony and Storm’s just being her usual overly dramatic self. More than that after all this ‘you’re responsible for this, if only you’d been here!” talk Storm just goes, “yeah I’m responsible for a child nearly dying, so instead of trying to right that wrong I’m just going to quit. Sod you all, you can have your old leader back. I’m going back to my mansion now” Great holiday message right there. If you fail in your responsibilities, don’t try to make things right just bigger off and let other people sort it out. You could’ve set these homeless people up with something since your boss clearly has the money to rebuild his mansion every time it gets broken into and destroyed. But we can’t have that since characters would actively be trying to change something. Oh hey the bottle’s empty. Oh well time to open another one.
OK let’s wrap this one up as quickly and painlessly as possible. Storm apologises to Wolvie for doubting him, Beast bounces Leech on his knee because a kid that nearly died doesn’t need bed rest at all, Calisto invites all the X-men to Christmas Eve dinner even if it isn’t much. Then Jubilee says they’ve got plenty of food since apparently half of her packages are food. So the stores wrapped the food she bought like a present, or was she giving food as gifts to her friends. Either way it’s stupid. She’s pretty much giving all her presents to the Morlock’s, which is according to them just as noble as Wolvie saving Leech’s life. Oh you can piss off right there show. Giving to the poor and homeless is certainly noble, but equating it with saving lives is just plain wrong and stupid and, *downs a bit of the bottle* oh hey I can smell all the pretty colours.
Where was I again? Oh yeah Jubilee giving away her presents. I’m sure people in the sewer have use for perfume, car radios, cell phones, and the like. But wait it turns out her gifts for the other X-Men were just toys suitable for kids.
Bite me show!
I just, urg. Moving on to the B-Plot as Gambit has finished all of the Christmas Eve dinner, he’s also has apparently been working on it for days, and is annoyed they’re not going to be having it. Jean, who has suddenly become more grounded and snarky, suggested they could always warm it up tomorrow. “Gambit does not to TV Dinners” apparently and yells about it. So a complete role reversal and one that doesn’t work as comedy since it’d make more sense for Gambit to be the snarky one after getting so much grief from Jean, who had been working hard on the dinner. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn the executives switched it up at the last minute because they felt it a bit sexist or whatever. If it didn’t work then cut it from the script in the first place ya morons.
You know all that could feed some homeless instead of bitching about it
We finally see Xavier talking to Jubilee on the phone about how much she apologises for not being there for Christmas Eve, and Xavier says how proud he is for her decisions, blah blah blah. Doesn’t seem like Xavier’s going to have Christmas with the Morlock’s, I wonder why. .Surely that would fit into his mutant tolerance, all mutants should live in peace, gospel. Maybe he’s just too rich for them. Don’t know, don’t care, as it’s finally over.
So WTF did I just watch? On a decent note it was a surprise to see them try to do a drama filled episode without any actual action or antagonist. It was a nice change of pace and at least there wasn’t a forced fight scene in here. The rest of it though was just horrible. Wolvie and Jubilee learn the “true meaning of Christmas” while Storm realises how irresponsible she’s been so she behaves just as irresponsibly. It’s as subtle as a sledgehammer and painful to watch.
The most interesting part of it was the backstory of Wolvie that he killed 18 people with his healing blood. That I’d love to know more about and surprisingly they never bring it up again. And I have one Christmas wish, and that’s for Jubilee to die in a fire! Avoid at all costs.
(Note I don’t endorse drinking unless for fun with friends or watching really bad cartoons. Then… well I’d only endorse it if you drink anyway so it’s pointless and I don’t even know why I’m doing this. 😉 )
Merry Christmas, have a good one everyone.