Wolverine and the X-Men Season 1, Episode 5: "Thieves Gambit" Review


We're only five episodes into the debut season of Wolverine and the X-Men, but judging from these first five installments, it's pretty clear that the show's hybrid continuity will surround three dominant plot threads.


First, there's the show's somewhat inspired set-up surrounding Professor Xavier's displacement in a Days of Future Past-esque alternate future, and his efforts to telepathically help Wolverine and the X-Men avert said reality from every occurring. Second, there's the recognizable "persecuted minority" plot thread involving Senator Kelly, which can be found in everything from the classic 1980s Chris Claremont-penned comics to the 1990s animated series to the recent film franchise. Third, there's the far less inspired "getting the band back together" angle in which Wolverine slowly reunites all of Xavier's former proteges. Taken together, these three threads have the potential to make for some truly interesting theatre. Unfortunately, the show has yet to tackle more than two of them in a given episode.


The latest installment of the series, "Thieves Gambit," deals primarily with the second and third story threads mentioned above. The X-Men's technological genius and resident inventor, Forge, has developed a collar that inhibits mutant powers a device that's clearly meant to prevent powerful young mutants from inadvertently hurting themselves and those around them, but has some other very serious potential consequences. Things get a little hairy when said device is stolen from the X-Men by burglar extraordinaire and former X-Man Gambit, and it of course falls to Wolverine to get the collar back before it falls into the hands of the likes of Senator Kelly and Bolivar Trask.


That's the plot in a nutshell, and if you don't think about it too much, it makes for an entertaining enough story with sufficient action and an enjoyable dynamic between Wolverine and Gambit. The problem is, I couldn't help but think about the plot a little, and that opened up a huge hole in the episode's logic and revealed its ultimate unfulfilled potential. As an X-Men fan, it's impossible for me to accept the fact that any of Xavier's students would willingly invent a device that inhibits mutant powers without a considerable amount of debate. That major concern refused to leave my mind as I watched the episode, and no matter how much I enjoyed the interplay between Wolverine and the unapologetically amoral Gambit, I couldn't help but think that it would've been far more interesting to witness the philosophical debate that led to the collar's invention.


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