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Wow, I Can't Believe X-Men '97 Just Twisted Up Cyclops And Jean Grey's Relationship Like That

 Cyclops and Jean Grey in X-Men '97.
Cyclops and Jean Grey in X-Men '97.

Warning: SPOILERS for the X-Men ’97 episode “Fire Made Flesh” are ahead!

Poor Cyclops and Jean Grey. Those two crazy kids have been through a lot throughout X-Men media history, and it’s no different in the continuity established by X-Men: The Animated Series. But X-Men ’97, the critically-acclaimed revival of that ‘90s series that’s now streaming to Disney+ subscribers, has twisted up their relationship in an especially unfortunate way, as it turns out that the Jean we’ve been following along with in this latest Marvel TV show isn’t actually the real deal.

You’ll recall at the end of “Mutant Liberation Begins” last week that a disheveled woman looking like Jean Grey showed up at the X-Mansion asking for the X-Men, and then collapsed in Morph’s arms. This occurred shortly after the Jean X-Men ’97’s been focusing on gave birth to her and Scott Summers’ son, Nathan. This Jean found the other’s mind to be “vague in uncertain memories” and learned she’d recently awoken and escaped from a sketchy-looking laboratory. But as Beast soon discovered after running some tests, this Jean is the original version, and the one whose Nathan’s mother is a clone. For the sake of clarity, let’s refer to this Jean as Jean 1.0 and the other as Jean 2.0 going forward.

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Jean 2.0 initially refused to believe she wasn’t the “actual Jean Grey” and was upset that Scott wondered if Beast’s findings were accurate rather than fully believing her. But all that soon went by the wayside, as Jean 2.0 was contacted by Mister Sinister, her creator, and he activated mind-altering program embedded in a red crystal hidden in her head that transformed her into The Goblin Queen. But turning Jean 2.0 into a weapon to use against the X-Men wasn’t Sinister’s endgame. Rather, he created her in order for her to give birth to Nathan, as he needed the infant’s unique genetics because they give him unlimited potential and untold powers.

The Goblin Queen used her mental powers to wreak havoc on the X-Mansion by turning it into a Dante’s Inferno-like hellscape, but after that was wiped away by Jean 1.0, her brainwashed counterpart left to deliver Nathan to Mister Sinister. The madman put the boy into a strange green liquid that infected him with a techno-organic virus, and while Cyclops, Magneto, Morph and Bishop went to confront her and Sinister (Morph remembered where the villain’s headquarters was located given his history with him from X-Men: The Animated Series), Wolverine was able to help Jean 1.0 better control her abilities.

When all was said and done, Jean 1.0 was able to eradicate Mister Sinister’s control over Jean 2.0, and 2.0 and Cyclops rescued Nathan. Unfortunately, not only did Sinister escape, but there was nothing that could stop the progression of Natan’s virus… well, nothing in this time period. Scott and Jean 2.0 made the difficult decision to give Nathan to Bishop to accompany the energy-manipulating mutant back to his time period in the future since there would be technology available to help Nathan. After that, Jean 2.0, now calling herself Madelyne Pryor, departed to start a new life.

I don’t expect this will be the last we see of Madelyne on X-Men ’97, and of course X-Men fans know that Nathan Summers is now on the path to becoming Cable, whom we’ve already spent time with in X-Men: The Animated Series. But as far as Cyclops and Jean Grey are concerned, I can’t help but worry that their relationship has been damaged, be it temporarily or permanently. Like Madeline said, they have no idea when Mister Sinister replaced Jean with Madelyne, and while Jean might be understand that Scott didn’t realize the replacement took place, it may still hurt her too much that he fathered a child with a woman who looks and behaves exactly like her.

Not only that, but as Wolverine was helping Jean earlier in the episode, she saw how much she means to him in his mind. If Jean no longer feels the same way about Scott, this could finally be what’s needed form Logan to explore a romantic relationship with her. Again, this isn’t to say that Scott and Jean could never get back together, but given these developments, it’s hard to imagine these two can resume what they had and act as if everything is back to normal.

There are now seven episodes left to go in this season of X-Men ’97, though Season 2 has already been greenlit and Season 3 is in development. Continue checking with CinemaBlend for updates on the show, and browse through the 2024 TV schedule to figure out what to watch next.