From the beginning of the ’90s animated X-Men series, Rogue has been set up not only as one of the most badass and capable mutants on the team, but also easily the most confident. She took on Magneto and rescued Cyclops and Storm all by herself WHILE BEING UNABLE TO OPEN HER EYES, she beat the tar out of Sentinels on several occasions, and she helped take down the Unstoppable Juggernaut. To say she’s a supremely great character is an understatement, but it took episode 9, “The Cure,” to take us a bit inside Rogue’s psyche, for as strong and powerful as she is, she’s actually very insecure about her naturally given mutant ability–leeching energy from anyone she touches–and she might want to get rid of it.
It wouldn’t be for a little while until we’d learn that Rogue’s ability is simply draining energy, and that her flight and super strength were given to her through a very traumatic experience, but we had no idea at all that she was so concerned about her “gift” and might be the only one of the X-Men interested in checking out a possible cure. She rebukes Gambit several times after hearing that a scientist named Dr. Adler on Muir Island might have the secret to reversing mutation. Not being able to touch someone else, even for an instant, has surely gotten to her, and seeing Jean and Scott in a loving relationship certainly doesn’t help matters.
This episode introduces us to several important characters, namely Mystique, whom we saw briefly in “Slave Island,” and Apocalypse. Yeah, you know, Apocalypse? Mystique is pretending to be Adler to help Apocalypse recruit “worthy” mutants, and Rogue would certainly fit that bill. At the same time, Mystique has recruited Pyro and Avalanche for some kind of scheme, but she didn’t tell them that she’s Adler. Hilarity would ensue if not for all the close-to-murder that’s happening. Meanwhile, Rogue keeps almost-but-then-not seeing Adler as Mystique, which makes the audience freak out with the idea that she might in fact go through with the procedure, losing more than her powers in the process.
This episode also saw the return of Cable, also from “Slave Island,” as the mercenary defender of mutant rights, though he’s not the most amiable sort of chap. He’s looking for Adler too and starts out by finding Warren Worthington III, a rich playboy who just so happens to be a mutant as well, the white-winged Angel. He tries to live his life in hiding, since he can “pass” for normal by folding up his mighty wings, but he always has to move on. He, as we who’ve read the comics and seen the show before, will soon be turned into Apocalypse’s right-hand Horseman, known as Archangel, but for now, he’s just someone in Cable’s way, briefly.
I love the character of Cable in this series, because he can come in to pretty much any situation and cause ruckus. He’s generally trying to do good–I think–but he’s not using the best means, and in this episode, though he doesn’t mean to, he runs afoul of Scott and Jean who come to Scotland to find Rogue before she does something she’ll regret. Cable will be back, but I like that he can always be a force of chaos when he does show up, beholden to no one but himself.
Ultimately, after saving Jean from falling onto the cliffs after the run-in with Cable, Rogue decides not to undergo the treatment, but helps rebuild the machine for “Dr. Adler,” which she’ll soon regret once the Horsemen start being assembled. Like other episodes before, “The Cure” works as both an episode unto itself and a set-up for the next one. That next one, by the way, is episode 10, “Come the Apocalypse.” Any season that introduces APOCALYPSE, but doesn’t make him the focal point of the whole thing is one with a lot of cojones.
Let me know your thoughts on “The Cure” below. Like, what was the deal with Wolverine being all show-offy about rebuilding the mansion? And what do you make of Gambit’s devil-may-care attitude re: Rogue and Wolverine? To the comments with ye!
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist and a confirmed X-Men devotee. Follow him on Twitter!