Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rover




Season: 1
Episode Number: 21
Season Episode Number: 21
Production Number: 121
Airdate: March 5, 2009

Writer: Greg Johnson
Director: Steve Gordon

Voices: Steve Blum (Wolverine, Vanisher), Nolan North (Cyclops), Jim Ward (Professor X), Tara Strong (Marrow), Kevin Michael Richardson (Bishop), Roger Craig Smith (Hellion), Unknown (Rover).

Plot: Marrow's attachment to a reprogrammed Sentinel proves to be a liability when the future X-Men break into Mastermold's home base in order to gather information about the exact day the world was destroyed and are depending on the reprogrammed Sentinel's help to get out alive.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The future X-Men plotline has had some good moments, but it is not my favourite story. I am much more interested in what is going on in the present day.

However, in a show that features dozens of characters, Rover is one of the few episodes that manages to really dive into the character development of a single character. In this case it is Marrow. An odd choice seeing as there are so many more popular characters that could be featured, but it is a wonderful story and is a great introduction to people who are unfamiliar with the girl who has bones sticking out all over her body (even thought her character is quite different than her comic book counterpart).

The focus centers around Marrow and the relationship she has formed with a Sentinel that was rebuilt and reprogrammed at the end of Badlands. The Sentinel, which Marrow has named Rover, follows her orders and helps the X-Men take down other Sentinels. Amazing as it may sound, Rover shows a lot of emotion for a robot who can not make a single facial expression. All the emotion is conveyed through the one word the robot can speak, "Destroy". Seriously, it works. You have to watch the episode to see for yourself.

Marrow finds an unlikely friend, one that the other X-Men view as simply a robot that they can use to do their dirty work. It reminds me of that Star Trek episode where Data is on trial and Picard has to prove that Data is more than just an android in order to save him from being dismantled.

Though we are only introduced to this relationship in this episode, I found myself wrapped up in it, fascinated by how the writers, animators and voice actor pulled off Rover's character, and even a little misty eyed by the end when Rover makes the ultimate sacrifice, not because Marrow instructed him to, but because he knew what the right thing was to do.

It was clear in previous episodes that Mastermold created the Sentinels to analyze and adapt to any situation and nowhere is that more clear than Rover's actions in this episode.

Wolverine and the X-Men has been solid in the story department, the action department, and the catering-to-the-fanboys department. But if only the writers would cut down on the number of star characters, and even important guest stars, in this series. Maybe we would get more episodes like Rover where we actually begin to relate with the heroes we are watching on screen.

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

    Back to Episode Guide
  • 1 comment:

    Orphen said...

    I never thought I'd be interested in a sentinel with emotion, but it turned out great. It also pushed the story forward a bit, and leads to the remaining 5 episodes of the series, which only get better.