Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hunting Grounds

Season: 1
Episode Number: 15
Season Episode Number: 15
Production Number: 115
Airdate: January 24, 2009

Writer: Max Botkin
Director: Nick Filippi

Voices: Steve Blum (Wolverine), Liam O'Brien (Nightcrawler), Kate Higgins (Scarlet Witch), Charlie Adler (Mojo), Grey DeLisle (Spiral), Tom Kane (Magneto), Liza del Mundo (Polaris), Susan Dalian (Storm), Yuri Lowenthal (Iceman), Kieren van den Blink (Rogue), Kari Wahlgren (Emma Frost).

Plot: Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch are kidnapped and forces to participate in a battle to the death in a televised reality show run by a mysterious creature named Mojo. Matters take a turn for the worse when their opponent is a mind-controlled Wolverine!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Nightcrawler has always been my favourite X-Man. Initially, as a kid, it may of had something to do with the fact that he and I share the same first name, but I soon realized that his mutant power is extraordinary, his skill as a swordsman and acrobat is excellent, his origin is tragic, and his moral code is upstanding.

So it goes without saying that my favourite storyline in this series is the journey Nightcrawler has been making to find his place in the world that fears and hates mutants. We have known since the beginning that Nightcrawler would be one of the core X-Men in the series, he was in all the promo art and is featured in the theme song, but I never expected that it would be 15 episodes before we would see him reunited with his team.

However, as far as the overall storyline is concerned, I was disappointed that this was the second episode since Battle Lines that didn't really move the plot forward. Sure, it was needed to bring Nightcrawler to the team, but after the declaration of war between humans and mutants a few episodes ago, I would have thought that we would see some action.

My opinion on the rest of the episode isn't much better. Hunting Grounds is a good filler episode, but that is all it really is. Mojo is portrayed almost exactly like his comic book counterpart with nothing to make this version of him distinct or memorable. He didn't even have Longshot with him. The plot with Wolverine was a bit ridiculous and the 22 minutes was heavily padded with a lot of running to make up for the lack of content.

What this episode did do is flesh out the character of Scarlet Witch. This is the first episode with Wanda in a lead role and already she has more character development than she did in the 90s Iron Man series and Avengers: United They Stand. Wanda is Magneto's obvious favourite between her and her brother, Quicksilver. But unlike Quicksilver, who is doing the wrong thing to garner his father's attention, Scarlet Witch knows what Magneto is doing is wrong but is loyal to him and his cause.

The romantic tension between Wanda and Kurt is well played out in this episode and sets up future episodes when their connection will probably play a big role in the downfall of Magneto. It is good to see budding relationship forming between the two as this show has been a bit light on that side of human emotion.

DVD Releases:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men, The Complete First Season (Canada Exclusive)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Fate of the Future

  • Back to Episode Guide


    Anonymous said...

    Mojo gained some pounds.

    Orphen said...

    As I've mentioned several times, I am a huge fan of Nightcrawler. So obviously I enjoyed this episode. I think it is actually important when you make a declaration of war to remember it takes time and preparation to get stuff going. And Magneto stated he would not make the first move, so some time would have to go by before the action starts. And Nightcrawler joining the team was important before the war started, and the relationship between Kurt and Wanda. It pushes the overall story forward just at a slower pace.