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On Angel's Wings
Review and Media by Stu

Episode #20 - On Angel's Wings
Original Airdate December 15th, 2001

Scott and Rogue investigate a series of 'angel' sightings throughout New York in the festive season and learn that he is actually a mutant, using his powers to help others. Meanwhile, Magneto returns to make things difficult for New York's guardian Angel...

Written By: Boyd Kirkland
Directed By: Frank Paur
Music Composed By: William Anderson
Guest Starring: Mark Hildreth as Angel/Warren Worthington III.

Review: I suggest you get comfy, gentle reader, I could be here a long, long time.

This is, to me, without a doubt, the absolute best episode of X-Men: Evolution ever. The show had been picking up far more than anyone couldíve expected in this second season, but this episode kicked everything before it (and after it, incidentally) out of the water. The episode simply had everything you could possibly ask for in 22 minutes. It had great action, outstanding music, beautiful scenery and a wonderful Christmas tone.

I usually abhor Christmas episodes (hereís a textbook example why) but this episode actually delivers on all counts. It has a heart-warming beginning; it has some great festive visuals and doesnít try to make me feel guilty for being happy for the festive season as oh so many have previously tried to do.

One of the cooler things about the episode is that is delivers a guest star and doesnít work against the tone of the series. If The Fantastic Four or Spider-Man had appeared in the show, mutants being exposed and feared wouldnít have made a whole lot of sense. However, having a mutant appear as a superhero, or a Guardian Angel serves as a fantastic example of why Xavier feels the mutants need to hide themselves. For their own protection against those who would persecute them (Magneto being the example here) and it showed just how quickly the people he was trying to help turned against him. Theyíre not ready to believe that the mutants arenít out to hurt them yet.

As said above, one of my favourite parts of the episode is the score. I generally love the work William Anderson did on this show, but he really outdid himself here. Itís completely different from most episodes, but the Christmas themes certainly work better than one could have imagined. Even the relatively simple piano version of Jingle Bells works magnificently. My favourite part of the score is the beginning of the episode, as Angel saves the disabled woman from the burning building and her Daughter fears the worst outside. Itís so beautifully done; it spends chills down my spine every time.

The music wasnít the only beautiful thing about the episode. The animation does appear to be a little nicer than usual, but visuals-wise, the backgrounds steal the show. I donít know if itís because we finally got to see a fight in the big city or because the snow made everything look so much cooler, but it was simply stunning to look at, with the possible exception of maybe Mindbender, the very best looking episode of the series. No small feat here, this was one of the best looking, well animated and visually pleasing shows in recent memory.

Iím a big fan of Angel and he was done justice here. I think having him believed to be an actual Angel rather than just some rich dude with wings worked perfectly. His voice worked, the heroic but not too superheroish look was simply splendid. If youíve not seen this episode before, donít waste any more time. Shut off the computer and get yourself out and bye the DVD. If nothing else, youíll have something great to watch at Christmas to get you in the festive mood.