Ah, Christmas. What even is it? For some, a religious holiday, for others, a religious holiday that they don't celebrate.
But, no matter who you are, no matter what your faith or where you're from, we can all resolutely agree that the X-Men: The Animated Series Christmas Special, “Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-mas” encapsulates the one true meaning of X-mas universally for everyone. Oh? What's that? You haven't seen “A Morlock Little Christmas?” Well, today is your lucky day, my friend! I'm here to guide you through not only this special episode but also the definition of the word “miracle." More on that later.
1. The X-Men kick off this episode by making the questionable choice of “singing.” It appears that they are attempting to celebrate Christmas in their weirdly over-sized, probably incredibly cold mansion where they isolate themselves from humanity and live in secrecy. Wolverine is sulking in the corner in front of a fire, because he's doing an impression of my dad.
2. Immediately, the X-Men start calling each other out, because when they can't punch with their fists, they punch with their words. Rogue calls Wolverine "Grumpus" RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS BACK. Jubilee says Cyclops is “having his problems” with singing, which is like, wow, you're supposed to be the nice, optimistic one. She asks Wolverine if he wants to hang out, and he storms off, because he is mad at Christmas.
3. Cyclops is like, “It's fun he doesn't like! No reason to let him ruin ours!” which is actually kind of cute because TAS Cyclops is the least fun fictional character probably since Ben Stein as the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. You can tell that Wolverine is really being a total jerk, because he's being an even bigger jerk than professional jerk, Cyclops.
4. Rogue flies Jubilee to the top of the tree because they live in a world without ladders.
5. We cut to Gambit and Jean Grey in the kitchen, both of them preparing two very different Christmas dinners in the same room. The dynamic between those two is always a little odd, mostly because it's Jean Grey's thing to be like like “can you shut up?” and Gambit's thing is to be like, “I actually can't.” Now, while Gambit is one of my least favorite X-Men, Jean Grey is one of my most favorite, and here's why: Gambit goes to add thyme to one of her dishes, and Jean straight up attacks him. Like... attacks him. She knocks him across the room with her telekenesis, and laughs when a pan falls on his head. Jean is so extra all of the time. She has never had a non-extreme emotional response to a single thing in her entire life, and it is amazing.
6. Professor Xavier sort of monologues at Storm about how stoked he is about Christmas, to which Storm's response is pretty much, “Yep.” But, she says it in this outfit:
7. Meanwhile, Beast is in his lab eating green slime out of a beaker, and it's just like, shouldn't you put a cap on doing things like that when you are literally covered head to toe with blue fur as a result of doing things like that? Predictably, he causes an explosion and all the X-Men come running. He plays down his constant risk-taking behavior with jokes, as have many men of science before him.
8. Wolverine busts in, and if you're playing my drinking game at home where you do a shot every time he expresses an urge to do violence for no reason whatsoever, this is your time to shine, because he busts in, asks if they're being attacked, then adds, “or is that wishful thinking?” Then, when someone mentions that Beast was trying to make his part of Christmas dinner, Wolverine snaps, “Ugh, Christmas again?!” It is literally Christmas Eve, my guy.
9. Wolverine says, “I gotta get out of here,” and Jubilee invites him to hang out with her and Storm at The Mall. Wolverine literally says, “I'd be better off fighting Sabertooth.” GOD. SHE JUST WANTS TO BE YOUR FRIEND, LOGAN.
10. At the mall, Wolverine is still in a bad mood, and for some reason he and Storm are making Jubilee carry like ten boxes by herself. Jubilee is clearly stoked on her first Christmas with the X-Men, and nervously says, “I don't know what to do,” to which Storm replies, “You have done enough,” and walks off. Lol, ok, Storm. Can I just say, the X-Men are so incredibly bad at rolemodeling for this poor girl who is just trying to have emotional connections with the people she is closest to on Christmas. Anyway, a customer service representative sprays Logan in the face with cologne, and he has a panic attack. As tough as Logan is, he's not tougher than The Mall.
11. They all kind of just start ice skating. I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not this is an average Christmas-type thing to do. An ambulance that looks suspiciously like a tank comes careening off an overpass and nearly smashes right into several innocent bystanders, so Wolverine picks Jubilee up and skates across the pond with her. And this is where we encounter the Morlocks.
Folks, it's around this time where we have to go into an explanation of what Morlocks actually are. Any person that has ever picked up an X-Men comic in their lives could probably tell you, each story is like a labyrinth wrapped inside a maze rolled up in a puzzle. In order to make sense of any one issue of X-Men, you have to buy like 1,000 other issues, and then the joke's on you, because it still won't make that much sense.
The creators of X-Men: The Animated Series threw the fact that it was aimed at children that didn't necessarily read the comic right out the window, pretty much said, “screw simplicity,” and brought in unexplained and convoluted subplots from the comic left and right for the five years the show was on-air. The Morlocks are one such subplot. Based on the disfigured sewer dwellers of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, the Morlocks of X-Men lore are... disfigured sewer dwellers, also. According to cartoon continuity, Storm beat the Morlock leader Callisto in a fight and gained leadership of the Morlocks, then never visited or spoke to any Morlocks again. Morlocks live in “the sewers beneath NYC” because they're not strikingly beautiful and gifted with Xavier's seemingly endless trust fund like the X-Men are, and those are the only two extremes that exist if you are a mutant.
12. Wolverine cannot even talk to a Morlock without insulting them for being poor or alluding to the fact that they live in a sewer, because apparently Wolverine shares a lot of political stances with Rush Limbaugh. Consider that when you ask why Logan didn't get an Oscar nod this year, folks. He also gets really mad at the Morlocks for almost accidentally killing innocent bystanders, but he has literally been threatening to murder innocent bystanders for no reason throughout this episode.
13. It turns out that the Morlocks stole the ambulance because they're trying to get “medicine” for the young mutant that everyone calls “Leech,” a nickname that probably won't influence the direction his life goes in any way. Wolverine tackles a guy carrying medicine, then says, “You aren't buying this sewer water, are ya? The Morlocks would lie to their own grandmother!” and the Morlock he is roughing up just looks at him and shakes his head, like holy shit dude what is your problem.
14. The Morlocks ask for help from the X-Men by point-blank calling Storm out for being a deadbeat dad. She makes a sad face about it, so you know what that means: we are spending Christmas Eve in a sewer. Using guilt as a weapon is a secondary mutation all Morlocks share.
15. “What about the presents?” Jubilee asks. “Leave them!” says Storm. Y'all. This teen girl is just trying to have a Christmas and Storm literally tells her to leave the gifts she bought for her adopted family in a frozen parking lot. You folks are messing this kid up. Jubilee isn't one to give up that easily, though, so she gathers her gifts in her arms and carries them right into the sewer. Then, even though they are on a mission to save a small child's life, she says, “Is this going to take long?” because the X-Men are all awful people.
16. They walk in, and Storm's suspiciously ex-girlfriend like nemesis Callisto is there to be all “so you finally come after all this time now that the moppet is illllll.” Storm is like, "you know, I don't deserve that, our lives just went in different directions, and I'm here now that you need me, can't you understand that I love you?” I mean, that's not exactly what they say, but pretty much. Wolverine interrupts to get Callisto to back off Storm, and Storm is like, “No, let Callisto speak,” then Leech is like, “AUGHAHHGHHHH” just to remind everyone that he is in fact dying.
17. Meanwhile, Jubilee is sitting around the corner waiting for the moment that she finally gets to have a Christmas. A moppet comes around the corner, and Jubilee is like, “Can't you save Leech?! It's CHRISTMAS EVE!” but then there's reverb on her voice so it's more like, “iiiiiit'sssss Christmas eeeeeeeeveeeeeee - !”
18. The X-Men come up with the clearly terrible idea to force a blood transfusion... on the character named Leech, which is kind of ironic, I guess. Because Wolverine has a healing factor, they're like, dude you kind of have to. He refuses. They're like, “ok, please?” He yells, “Don't you think I WANT to help the kid?!” Everyone just kind of looks at him, like, well no you've done nothing to indicate that you do?
19. Time is of the essence, so Wolverine has to tell a story about why he's a bastard. Storm steps over, throwing a “blood transfusion kit” into his chest, and is like, “Hey, I don't care, do this,” and he's like, “I can't!” and she's like, “Haha, you're going to, though.” It's pretty amazing. This is why Storm always was and always will be the greatest X-Man that ever was.
20. Oh, you know, it's just another blood transfusion in the sewer with the X-Men, must be Tuesday. So, while they're doing the extremely questionable and obviously unsanitary transfusion, Jubilee is hanging out with the sad poor kid with a heart of gold that lives in the sewers but dammit she deserves a Christmas just like everyone else. Jubilee says, “we need a miracle,” and, I kid you not, this little girl looks Jubilee in the eye and says, “What's miwacles?” Shut up! Are you serious?! She is too poor to know what miracles are. I cannot.
21. Back at the X-Mansion, Jean and Gambit are still insulting each other in the kitchen. Jean hulks broccoli at his head and calls him a slur. Needless to say, they haven't had much time to check the answering machine.
22. Okay, folks. This is where it goes overboard. This nameless little girl takes Jubilee into the next room to show her “the tree,” which is this:
“Isn't it pretty?” she asks. Jubilee chokes on tears, kneels, and says, “IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GOT DANNED TREE I'VE EVER SEEN.” Listen, though, do you really think you're doing this kid a favor by telling her that's actually what a Christmas tree is supposed to look like.
23. The transfusion fails, but Beast shows up kind of out of nowhere and performs surgery literally in a sewer while cracking jokes, which is like, ugh. Funny doctors. The worst. Also, what is Leech even dying of?
24. The little girl asks Jubilee if she'll be joining them for dinner, and Jubilee looks at them like “ummmmmmmmmmmm... no.”
25. Storm goes super dom for a second, which is what I personally have been waiting for in this episode, and tells Callisto to kneel before her, which is now the opening act in my Callisto/Storm fanfiction. Storm relinquishes control of the Morlocks to Callisto like it's some kind of gift, but really that just means, “You were on your own before, and you're sure as Hell on your own now.” In order to drive home this point, the X-Men rip open Jubilee's gifts and eat them right then and there in the sewer, failing to invite the Morlocks back to the literal mansion they live in, which is set up explicitly to help mutants in need, at which there are not one but two Christmas dinners made by gourmet chefs that are about to get thrown in the trash because Gambit, quote, “does not make tv dinners!” That is messed up, y'all.
In closing, maybe I don't really “get” Christmas, but then again, neither do the Morlocks. I guess this story might not have a “moral” or a “point” like other Christmas classics do, but, truth be told, I've walked away from a lot of Christmas dinners feeling like I was a Jubilee living in a Wolverine world. Just saying.