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Review and Media by Stu

Episode #75 - Descent
Original Airdate 6th Semptember 1997

An ancestor of Charles Xavier tells his story of his search around the world hoping to find the truth behind the sinister intentions of Nathaniel Essex...

Written By: Steven Melching and David McDermott
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy
Animation Services By: Philippines
Guest Starring: Christopher Britton as Mr. Sinister/Nathaniel Essex

Review: Arguably one of the weirdest episodes of any cartoon ever, this episode is a fine example of an episode that doesn’t necessarily need to take place, still feels relevant as well as entertaining.

The origin of Mr. Sinister is not one I thought the series would tell, especially this late in the game, but I found the episode to be fascinating, especially when you consider how well it all ties into the theme of the show, the mutations which occur in ordinary people that turns them into mutations. For an episode that features only a single member of the X-Men for roughly 20 seconds, it’s honestly a wonder that an episode like this actually worked; unlike the last time they tried something weird like this.

Britton’s pre-Sinister was outstanding. I always felt he was perfect for the role, and he adapts well to the role of noble scientist, only hinting at the madness to follow. There are quite a few great little nods to his future persona throughout the episode that brought a great smile to my face. Speaking of the voices, I’m surprised how well the British accents were done. Brits usually get terrible treatment in animation (we already know we sound posh compared to yanks, get over it already!) Sinister has always been one of my favourite villains; he’s arguably the best in the entire show, if you’re in the camp that doesn’t consider Magneto to be a villain, like I do. If you look over the entire course of the series, with the exception of the odd screw up like Pyro, Avalanche and The Nasty Boys (basically goons), you’ll see this show did a very good job with the villains and managed to fully develop them.

This episode is also one of the few with the revamped visuals, which greatly helped its cause. I can only imagine the horror of AKOM trying to create the London backgrounds as well as Philippines did. Oh no, the first Apocalypse episode featured English backgrounds, and yes, they did suck. Speaking of the show’s visuals, arguably the best shot of Xavier this show ever did occurs in this episode (see the finale screen grab from the gallery below).

Descent stands as an ambitious episode, but a thoroughly entertaining one, making it a fitting finale appearance for Mr. Sinister.