X-Men ’97’s Newest Episode Featured A Great Storm Twist, And The Director Told Us Why It’s ‘Nice Having Ownership Over That Story’

 Storm in X-Men '97 episode "Lifedeath - Part 2".
Storm in X-Men '97 episode "Lifedeath - Part 2".

Warning: SPOILERS for the X-Men ’97 episode “Lifedeath - Part 2” are ahead!

The newest X-Men ’97 episode that’s premiered on the 2024 TV schedule to Disney+ subscribers flipped back and forth between two stories. The first was following a still-alive Professor X preparing to get married to Queen Lilandra of the Shi’ar Empire, only to face resistance from some of her subjects who feel he is not a worthy consort. You can go elsewhere on the internet to learn the details of what unfolded in this portion of “Lifedeath - Part 2.” What we’re here to talk about is the second story, which continued the arc of Storm and Forge dealing with the demon known as The Adversary. The episode ended with a great Storm twist, and director Chase Conley also talked with CinemaBlend about why it was great for him to take charge of the mutant’s story.

What Happened To Storm In “Lifedeath - Part 2”

Back in “Lifedeath - Part 1,” which was shown after Jubilee’s “Motendo” story, Storm underwent a procedure that was supposed to restore her weather-manipulating powers, but it seemingly failed. Then she learned that Forge had unintentionally paved the way for the U.S. government to develop its mutant power-inhibiting collars. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the episode ended with an owl Storm saw earlier being revealed as The Adversary, who proceeded to poison Forge.

“In Lifedeath - Part 2,” The Adversary tried its best to prevent Storm from treating Forge’s injury and crush her spirit, and it nearly succeeded until the latter was able to harness magic to temporarily trap the demon. The two mutants then headed out into the desert to find a cactus called midnight cholla, which has magical properties and can cure Forge’s infection. The problem is in order to retrieve the cactus, Storm needed to climb through a tight and dark space in a nearby cave, which is a problem since she has claustrophobia.

Fortunately, Storm overcame her fear and was nearly able to grab the cactus until The Adversary returned and continued to antagonize Ororo, specifically by trying to get her to embrace being human. The mutant refused, and the demon responded by starting to close what little space is left around her. Fortunately, this is just the jolt Storm needs, because while the X-Cutioner’s neutralizer did indeed temporarily drain her of her powers, she’d been keeping them further tamped down by unconsciously believing that if she stayed “human,” she’d have a better life.

But Storm believes that lie no longer: her powers finally reawakened, and she used them to blast The Adversary away, then grab the cactus to cure Forge. She also forgave Forge and was getting ready to go in a romantic getaway with him. Sadly, they turned on the TV and learned about the devastation on Genosha, which, as it turns out, was masterminded by Mister Sinister.

Why Director Chris Conley Enjoyed Tackling Storm’s Story

So while things end on a sad note for both Storm and Professor X in “Lifedeath - Part 2,” at least the former is back to being her glorious, goddess self. Ahead of this episode’s premiere, I was able to talk with director Chase Conley, who directed it, “Motendo/Lifedeath - Part 1” and “Mutant Liberation” begins, i.e. all the X-Men ’97 episodes that have featured the biggest Storm developments. Here’s what Conley told me when I asked what it’s been like for him being the driving force behind Storm’s personal journey on the show:

It’s cool to be able to see that through. In the 2nd episode, she loses her powers, and then in 4, she’s just introduced to Forge, who then she finds out, ‘Oh, you’re the reason why I lost my powers.’ So it’s just nice being able to track that… especially through the shot language, through some of the easter eggs as far as the owl is concerned. We seeded that stuff all the way in the 2nd episode because we knew what was coming. So when she first loses her powers, she reaches for the sky, the owl is there over the UN. So seeding that, that makes it that much easier to make it one nice piece and to crack this mosaic. And also too, as you start to understand the shot language more, how you want to see her to make these emotional beats land, you can almost see a shift in 1x04 when Jubilee’s story is over, to the way that it’s staged for the tail end of ‘Lifedeath Part 1.’ And so being able to explore that has been fun. It’s nice having ownership over that story and that journey because it feels really fulfilling whenever you get to the crescendo.

So the groundwork for what’s been happening with Storm was laid early on, including the arrival of The Adversary being teased during the chaos that unfolded during the X-Cutioner’s attack on the United Nations. Chase Conley took great efforts with his team to effectively plot this show’s sequence of events, and it was good to hear that he was satisfied with how things turned out. But as already mentioned, just because Storm has her powers back doesn’t mean her life’s suddenly going to be smooth sailing for her. Frankly, that goes for the rest of the X-Men too, particularly as they cope with the tragic twist of Gambit’s death.

There’s now four episodes left to go in X-Men ’97 Season 1’s run, but fans can take comfort knowing that Seasons 2 and 3 are both in development. If you’re current on it, look over the other best Disney+ TV shows or learn what upcoming Marvel TV shows are on the way.