After spending a few divergent episodes reintroducing old cast members back into the mix (Storm, Nightcrawler) and spinning its wheels on a few underwhelming Wolverine team-ups (Gambit, Hulk), Wolverine and the X-Men returns to its main story thread this week with "Time Bomb," an installment that refocuses the show firmly on the X-Men's mission to stop the Brotherhood of Mutants while averting the apocalyptic future currently home to Professor X.
This return to form is a welcome sight indeed, as it once again offers up the odd but compelling experience I felt while watching the first three episodes of this series, when the show was busy intermingling the continuities of the comics and films while hinting at a greater mystery behind this strange hybrid status quo. That phenomenon is back in a big way with this episode, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed it more than previous weeks (with the exception of the strong Nightcrawler-centric installment). It's also an added bonus whenever the show's writers allow a few rich personalities like Emma Frost and Quicksilver to steal the spotlight from Wolverine for a few moments, which is precisely what happens here. Though it's certainly not the strongest individual story the series has delivered to date, I'd call it a success because of the way it further builds subtle specifics of this world while progressing its overall story arc.
The episode begins as Nitro, a mutant with the unstable ability to detonate himself in devastating fashion, turns himself over to the Mutant Registration Department in hopes they'll prevent him from hurting any more innocent bystanders. These hopes are of course dashed when Quicksilver and the Brotherhood of Mutants break into the prison facility and liberate Nitro against his will with the intentions of using him as a weapon against the MRD. It's right about then that Wolverine receives another telepathic visit from Professor X, whose future self implores Wolverine and the X-Men to recapture Nitro and turn him back over to the MRD in order to stop a cataclysmic explosion that'll kill half Genosha's mutant population. From there, the formulaic plot plays out in a rather expected fashion, but it's the little details that make the episode more than the sum of its parts.
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