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Mutant Crush
Review by Arsenal, Media by Stu

Episode #4 - Mutant Crush
Original Airdate November 25th, 2000

Jean befriends a new mutant Fred Dukes, but he takes her attention a little too seriously and kidnaps her.

Written By: Katherine Lawrence
Directed By: Frank Paur
Music Composed By: William Anderson
Guest Starring: Kirby Morrow as Cyclops/Scott Summers, Scott McNeil as Wolverine/Logan, Venus Terzo as Jean Grey, David Kaye as Professor Charles Xavier, Brad Swaile as Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner, Maggie Blue O'Hara as Kitty/Shadowcat, Micheal Dobson as The Blob and Colleen Wheeler as Mystique/Raven Darkholme.

Review: The premise of the first season was a good one: introduce the characters gradually so the audience could differentiate between them. Unfortunately, this made many season one episodes formulaic. Introduce character, introduce (trite) conflict, and wait for resolution. Furthermore, many characters were not interesting enough to carry an episode on their maiden voyage. It took more than one try to nail Spyke, Rogue, and the Brotherhood’s characters.

That having been said, Mutant Crush succeeds on some levels. Blob is more interesting here than any prior television appearance (including his turn in “Pryde of the X-Men.”) Envisioned as a morbidly obese teenager from Texas, Fred Dukes is awkward and angry. Unfortunately, he is also stronger than two monster trucks. He is a bundle of hormones that cannot express its self without flinging furniture at a bystander. He and Rogue are juxtaposed through crossing plot lines that allows each to be defined by their actions instead of their status as outsiders.

Other pluses of the episode: the Kitty and Kurt training session was clever. The X-kids’ interaction was amusing. (“Set teleporter to maximum, Mister Kurt.” “Aye, aye, captain.” “Engage.”) Rogue and Scott traded Shakespearean dialogue. Oh yeah, Paul showed up.

This episode isn’t perfect—the conflict is every bit as stupid as most of the ones in the first season, and Kitty remains irritating—but it succeeds on the whole because you empathize with Fred, even if you do not condone his actions. Blob was reduced to the sidekick role after this. He was overshadowed by the stronger personalities in the Brotherhood. Perhaps that is for the best. He is a one-note character, but the one note plays well here.