Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 13 – “Reawakening” – The Purpose of a Gargoyle

coldstone

We end Season 1 of Gargoyles with the 13th and Final Episode of the season, “Reawakening.” This is a great episode for many reasons, as it brings together the loose threads from a few of the stories, gives a hint of things to come and establishes a higher purpose and point. Suffice to say it is amazing and a favorite. Also, Michael Dorn (Worf from “Star Trek”) guest stars in this as Coldstone.

“Reawakening” was written by Brynne Chandler Reaves and directed by Saburo Hashimoto and Kazuo Terada.

The story is that Demona uses magic and Xanatos uses technology to ressurect Coldstone into a cyborg gargoyle body. From here they use him as Demona blames Goliath for the extinction of the Wyvern Clan from the vikings. Ashamed of his form and feeling hatred Coldstone joins with them as they target Goliath and the Manhattan Clan in a final showdown. From here the story unfolds.

Gargoyles Reawakening

Here is the assessment of the Season 1 Finale:

The Pros: Coldstone – Michael Dorn is an amazing actor and voice actor and he has the chance to play a complex gargoyle who was once Goliath’s Rookery Brother. You see how conflicted he is after Demona gives him the half-truth of the Vikings killing of him being Goliath’s doing and we see him choose to live rather than survive when he finds that all Demona is offering him is survival, which is no way for a gargoyle to be. We understand his distrust of humans too as the Sorcerer runs in fear of them from the castle tower in the flashback.

Demona – We see that hatred once again dominates her feelings as she shoots to kill at all times, even when Xanatos tells her he wants the Gargoyles alive. We also see her influence as she easily makes Coldstone their pawn when the episode begins. She would have killed more people too if Xanatos hadn’t used the rocket pack in the Red Steel Clan suit to run off with her after the battle. She shoots Coldstone and feels nothing, showing just how far gone she’s become.

Brooklyn – We see his hatred for Demona here for being used as a incapacitates her at the beginning of the fight, but still sees the bigger picture as he and Lexington save Broadway from the Steel Clan.

Lexington – Manages to take out two Steel Clan members through his wits and teams up to save Broadway from Xanatos. He is finding his confidence and how to use his small size to his advantage.

Elisa Maza – Grabs Hudson and Bronx and turns the tied against Demona and Xanatos, forcing them to run away. She also helps Goliath and the Gargoyles find their purpose once more as defenders once more.

Xanatos – Xanatos changes in this episode as he sees that he is working with someone he shouldn’t be as she doesn’t listen and is only after retribution where he is thinking long term. It’s powerful when he surrenders and reveals himself beneath the Red Steel Clan helmet as the Gargoyles didn’t know he’d been fighting with his robots and when he makes the escape rather than standing and fighting you see in his eyes him rethinking the whole of the situation. He also has a comedic laughing moment where he says “It’s alive! It’s alive!” When they ressurect Coldstone, which was something he always wanted to say.

Goliath – Goliath expresses the purpose for the Gargoyles as he is the one who reminds Coldstone of his, that there are things more important than survival or only caring for your own. He learns from from Elisa Maza and he and the Gargoyles swear to protect Manhattan, which in a way is when they officially become the Manhattan Clan. Manhattan is now their castle. It is powerful and we see how much Goliath has grown versus the lack of growth from Demona. Also a cute romantic moment at the end when he tells Elisa Maza. “All I need is a Detective.”

The Message – Look beyond yourself and look out for other people, do not hate those who are different but strive always for good. Protect. This the gargoyle way and is expressed fully in this episode.

Okay: Broadway and Hudson – They are there in the final battle, but Broadway needs to be saved and Hudson tells us what we already learned from Detective Maza. They aren’t bad, just redundant as all needed rescuing at one time or another and Detective Maza already gave us the message much better than Hudson.

This is an amazing episode, the only thing that is left in the air is if Coldstone is now undead so cannot die, what do Xanatos and Demona plan to do now? Where is Macbeth? These questions leave so much open for Season 2, which I remember Season 2 exploring quite well. Will see first hand when I get to it, for now we’re taking a break from “Gargoyles” and ending on a high note, as this season did. What compelling villains and characters and what great stories and messages…These are the things that made this show memorable beyond the premise, art and voice actors. This is a season I plan to watch again, as these stories are timeless. Timeless, as Gargoyles made of stone.

Final Score for the Finale: 10 / 10. I just wish it had been longer and been a two-parter to give us more time with Coldstone and more development for Broadway and Hudson.

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Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 12 – “Her Brother’s Keeper” – The Importance of Family

Gargoyles Her Brother's Keeper

“Gargoyles” season 1 was pretty short. Episode 12 is the penultimate episode of the season and is a good episode, but at the same time doesn’t have the high stakes that usually come with an episode like this. It does have a good theme though, that I’ll cover in the review.

“Her Brother’s Keeper” was written by Michael Reaves and directed by Takamitsu Kawamura and Kazuo Terada.

The story involves Elise and her relationship to her brother Derek as Derek decides to work for Xanatos after Xanatos saves his life during a robbery by Jackal and Hyena (the siblings in the pack) during this time too the new location is causing tension between the younger members of Clan Manhattan (Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington) and these factors all come into play at the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Elisa Maza – She drives the story and she does it easily. She is concerned for her brother and is looking out for him, though in this episode she learns to let him make his own choices too, which is a good lesson any family can learn.

Derek Maza – You get why he wants to leave the police force as it is wholly defined by his family and Xanatos sets up a situation where he is a hero. Who wouldn’t fall for Xanatos? You also see that Xanatos treats him well on the job and challenges him to better himself.

Lexington, Broadway and Brooklyn – We see them fight like siblings, first over a video game flight simulator and later over trying to catch Jackal and Hyena. Broadway manages to fix up the Pack’s helicopter and make it theirs which comes in handy in the final fight against Hyena and Jackal and it ends with the brothers making up.

Hyena and Jackal – The two are siblings with Jackal being the calmer of the too and Hyena as the savage adrenaline junky wanting to kill. They are driven by the need to be powerful to some degree as Xanatos is mocked by them for his wealth and they latch onto the need for revenge for being stopped in stealing the jewel immediately. They are good antagonists in this and we see that their sibling relationship balances them out.

Fox – Knows the pack is working for Xanatos and admires him greatly. She lets Elisa Maza know about the set-up because she knows how untouchable Xanatos is and that Elisa is far out gunned. You see why she was Wolf’s second in command as she is good at seeing the big picture.

Xanatos – Xanatos get’s one of the Mazas as a bodyguard through his adept manipulations and manages to test Hyena and Jackal as dependable or not against the Gargoyles. He wins this entire episode once again showing why he is the best villain in this series when it comes to planning and traps and having them payoff to his advantage. Xanatos doesn’t lose.

Okay: Goliath – He’s just there telling Elisa that she needs to tell Derek the entire truth about them and in the final fight in the copter. He is just kind of there, but not used negatively at least. He is the one who tells them to value each other too as he lost all of his family when the Wyvern Clan was destroyed.

This episode does a lot and manages to accomplish a lot of it at least. Derek knows about the gargoyles, him and Elisa resolve their differences and the young members of the Manhattan Clan do the same. It’s a good episode on the importance of family and more on how Xanatos rocks as an enemy.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10. Really good.

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 11 – “Long Way to Morning” – Hudson’s Story

Gargoyles Long Way to Morning

This is a good episode that explores the threat of Demona, the Gargoyles’ past and Hudson’s backstory. The episode was written by Brynne Chandler Reaves and directed by Takamitsu Kawamura and Kazuo Terada.

The story begins with an attack on Elisa Maza in her home with a poison dart that she survives but lets Goliath know that Demona wants to meet him to give the antidote for the poison. So Goliath doesn’t know Elisa survived he goes with Hudson to the meeting point but is wounded mortally by Demona. It is than up to Hudson to defend Goliath until morning and he does so by giving Goliath strength be recounting when he, Demona and Goliath fought against the Archmage who poisoned the Scottish Prince.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Hudson – This is Hudson’s episode and it is where we learn he lead the Wyvern Clan until that day against the Archmage, where it was Demona and Goliath who were able to stop him and not Hudson the leader. He returns the favor this time by protecting Goliath until morning as Demona hunts them through the sewers and a graveyard. We see how patient he is and his devotion to Goliath who makes Clan leader after the battle against the Archmage. Ed Asner owns this role.

Goliath – This is where we see Goliath’s devotion to his mentor, as he asks Hudson to save himself multiple times and denies becoming Clan leader until Hudson insists in the past. We learn also that Goliath still has feeling for Demona and will not even think about killing her.

Demona – Demona is a great antagonist in this…we see how consumed by power she is as she tries to convince Hudson to join her and to kill Goliath once more for defending humanity. She is a great predator though and mortally wounds Goliath and would have won the battle if not for Hudson’s stalling until morning so Goliath could heal. She is one of their greatest enemies for certain and Marina Sirtis does a fantastic job once more.

Okay: The Scots – In this episode we meet the Archmage, the Prince the Princess who grows up distrusting the gargoyles because Hudson couldn’t protect her father from the Archmage and the Sorcerer who mention that they need the Grimorum to save the Prince. They are all okay, but none are super memorable. The Archmage is just mad and the Prince is just kind. There isn’t much there beyond characters of Hudson’s backstory.

This episode was great, it was wonderful to finally see Hudson in action, Demona as a threat once more and more of the past of their time as the Wyvern Clan and the history tied to it.

I recommend this episode for sure.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 8 – “Deadly Force” – A Thoughtful Episode on Gun Violence

Gargoyles Deadly Force

We continue our review of our “Gargoyles” with Episode 8 in Season 1, “Deadly Force.” The episode was written by Michael Reaves and directed by Saburo Hashimoto and Kazuo Terada.

The story revolves around Broadway who accidentally shoots Detective Maza when she is in the middle of investigating Dracon and his thugs who stole Xantatos’s high tech. weapons to sell. Not knowing that Broadway was the one responsible Goliath goes on a rampage to bring Dracon to justice.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Broadway – This is Broadway’s episode and him learning to be careful as he is the gargoyle who acts mostly from instinct, whether with jokes or eating. He experiences the consequences of not being careful and thinking when he shoots Maza but out of guilt begins targeting thieves who are using the weapons Dracon and his thugs stole from Xanatos. This leads him to the area where the selling is happening and ends with him confessing that he shot Maza by accident. Goliath and Maza later forgive him and you get how much his mistake has eaten at him throughout the episode.

Detective Maza – We see her idealism here (threatening to take out Dracon and his goons), kindness (cooking a steak for Broadway and forgiving him) and this is the one time where she makes mistakes too as she left her gun out. She is great in this episode, even if it isn’t for that long.

Goliath – The avenging Angel, we see him destroy Dracon and later destroy Xanatos’s weapons as he wants to keep dangerous weapons off the street. We also see his hard side as it is difficult for him to forgive Broadway initially.

The Message – Only responsible people should use guns, and gun safety is important as you can’t predict who may use it (Broadway) and cause something bad to happen. It’s a clear and good message that is pretty apolitical.

Okay: Dracon – He’s a confident thug who knows he’s untouchable…until he’s not. He’s not bad but he isn’t super memorable either.

This was a good episode, I wouldn’t call it great, but the fact that it showed gun violence in a kid’s show…originally they edited out Detective Maza in her own blood, but I’m glad it is back as it shows just how serious and dangerous guns can be. I recommend this episode for sure, it is good even if it isn’t a favorite.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10. Good message, not so memorable baddie.

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 7 – “Temptation” – Demona’s Influence

Gargoyles Temptation

 

We continue the “Gargoyles” review with “Temptation” the 7th Episode of the 1st Season. This episode was written by Brynne Chandler Reaves and directed by Kazuo Terada and Saburo Hashimoto.

This story is based around Brooklyn as we see how much he enjoys feeling cool when Lexington fixes up a bike and he decides to ride it and join a biker gang. When the gang sees what he is they turn on him and it is only because of Demona’s involvement he is rescued. She than shows him the darker side of humanity and tells him that Goliath must understand this or else they’ll all be destroyed as Detective Maza is the only good human, the exception to the rule of them all being bad. From here the story unfolds as she has Brooklyn get the Magus’s Grimorum Arcanorum for her.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Brooklyn – Brooklyn is one of my favorite gargoyles, I love his design and how reptilian he looks and his personality as he can go from confident and goofy to threatening in an instant. In this one we see his desire to fit in shut down by the biker gang and how charismatic Demona is, she takes responsibility for trying to kill him but says he should listen to her because she saved his life. We see that Brooklyn cares about his clan a lot and will do anything to protect them even if it involves lying to Goliath. He is not completely naive though as when Demona possesses Goliath with a spell he steals the book back and stops her. He doesn’t trust people but he trusts Detective Maza, especially after she frees Goliath from the spell.

Demona – Demona once again shows why she is such an amazing baddie. She manipulates Brooklyn, saves his life and she truly believes that if the Gargoyles follow her, willingly or no she will be able to save them all from humanity, as to her all humanity is evil. She manages to posses Goliath and only loses at the very end, but still manages to escape to fight and plot another day.

Goliath – Shows why he’s the leader as he understands why Brookyln fell for Demona’s ideals as it was a half-truth.

Detective Maza – Saves the day as she is the one who figures out that breaking the spell involves ordering the person to be how they were if they were not under a spell to follow orders. It is kind of simple and brilliant.

Con: Demona’s targeting of the Gargoyles – Again, I didn’t like this. She was able to convince Brooklyn, I really wanted her to try and convince Goliath and the others the same way. She is most powerful when she is trying to empathize and explain. It’s what makes her such a great villain.

I loved this episode and would recommend it. Even with Demona targeting her own kind it is still great at showing her manipulative streak and where she is coming from in her hatred and distrust of humanity. It’s a very strong character episode for Brooklyn too.

Final score for this episode: 9.5 / 10

Gargoyles – Season 1, Episode 6 – “The Thrill of the Hunt” – The Arrival of The Pack and Lexington Learns

Gargoyles Thrill of the Hunt

 

“The Thrill of the Hunt” is the 6th episode of the first season and was written by Michael Reaves and directed by Kazuo Terada. The story is a character centered episode with the main focus on Lexington.

The premise is “The Pack” is a television show that the gargoyles love because The Pack: Dingo, Jackal, Wolf, Fox and Hyena fight evil ninjas with honor. Lexington sees them as potential allies not realizing that all they want is a good hunt and see the gargoyles as prey after a mysterious benefactor sends them a package with the gargoyles’ pictures. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Lexington – This is his episode and he owns it. He is the youngest of the gargoyles and him being outside of his time period makes it so he and the gargoyles believe what they see on tv as true, even if it is just a tv show. He introduces himself to the Pack and Fox manipulates him into bringing Goliath so they can start a hunt. After the incident he is hating himself for trusting people but Goliath says he is right and that they do need allies and to not be alone. It is a great episode for Lexington.

Goliath – Goliath is the one who thinks Detective Maza is enough, until Lexington makes him realize just how alone they are. His arc is understanding the idealism and practicalness of Lexington’s dream which informs his later actions. He also learns Xanatos will be getting out of prison soon so is pretty peeved.

Owen – is the main manipulator for Xanatos, as he has the pack playing on tv all the time so the Gargoyles will seek them out and be tested in their strength and on the dependability of the Pack.

The Pack – They have a great dynamic…Wolf and Fox are the leaders and Wolf is the one who loves fighting and hunting, Fox is the manipulator and his second in command, Jackal and Hyena are the rogues who revel in causing pain and Dingo is the tank who has an exploding boomerang as a weapon. They have an interesting dynamic as a group.

Xanatos – This guy is fantastic, this was another gambit to find out Goliath’s strength and to test the pack. He sees the loss as a gain that all went according to plan, once again showing why the Xanatos Gambit is such an amazing trope. Love this villain.

Okay: The Pack – Listing them here again because Jackal and Hyena are interchangeable and we don’t know why Wolf loves to hunt and fight. Would have loved to get more motivation behind them. Not a con, but also putting them in okay because they weren’t the perfect baddies like Xanatos.

I definitely recommend this episode. Not as good as the pilot, but a great character episode as it explores Lexington’s idealism and has Goliath grow as a character too. It is also a great glimpse into Xanatos never loses, everything is another trial in which he learns and grows.

Final Score of this episode is 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Gargoyles Pilot – Season 1, Episodes 1-5 – “Awakening” – A Matter of Trust

Gargoyles-AwakeningPartTwo40

“Gargoyles” was a show that I loved when I watched it in College, at least the first 2 seasons. I couldn’t get through season 3 because of the animation but may try again later. For this though, I’m going to be reviewing Season 1 and starting with the 5 Part Pilot of “Awakening.” Suffice to say I was impressed.

Part of the reason I loved this show were all the guest stars from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” that really got a chance to shine. Folks from one of my favorite sci. fi. shows in one of my favorite fantasy shows. It was a win win.

The story was written by Eric Luke and Michael Reaves and directed by Kazuo Terada and Saburo Hashimoto.

The story of “Gargoyles” begins in the past in Scotland. Gargoyles lead by Goliath protect the Scots from viking attacks, but one day they are betrayed by a man they consider a friend which leads to the vikings exterminating most of the gargoyles and enslaving the Scots. When the survivors free the Scots the Princess goes missing and they are blamed and turned to stone until the castle is above the skies. Goliath decides to join them and 1000 years pass and they brought to the present by Xanatos who puts their castle on top of his building. The story than unfolds as they deal with trusting humans, a reveal from the past and Goliath’s budding relationship with Detective Maza.

Demona

Here is the assessment of the episodes:

The Pros: The Premise – The premise is fantastic! Who would have thought making gargoyles living creatures who experience prejudice in all time periods would work so well. Them being outsiders and outside of time is part of what makes it so strong as they adapt to the future and finding their way. Having magic in this world works too by the very existence of the gargoyles on the scene. It establishes the fantastic early.

The Gargoyles – They can glide, live in clans and turn into stone by the light of the sun. They are powerful but have limitations which make them so amazing! They also have reason to distrust humans which makes for an interesting drama from the get go.

The characters: Goliath – The leader and first named of the gargoyles since the Gargoyles don’t have names except the ones humans give them, and Goliath was named so because of how large he was, and the fear related to him. He is a great character who is moral and fights for his people. He does not believe in killing and only does revenge as a last resort, because of his experience with the Princess and her Sorceress realizing they were wrong, he is able to trust again in the future.

Demona – Marina Sirtis from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is Goliath’s mate and takes the name because of how she hates being betrayed time and again by humans. She is the Magneto to Goliath’s Xavier and you can see where she’s coming from. The only thing I hated was when she targets the Gargoyles when they don’t stay loyal to Xanatos, this struck me as out of character…since she is the one trying to protect them in the long term. That was why she made the deal with the captain in the hopes that Goliath would take all the gargoyles to go and hunt down the Vikings.

Detective Maza – She is the one who shows Goliath that not all people are bad and risks her life countless times for him. She is an awesome protagonist and the main human perspective we get outside of Xanatos. She is the anti-Xanatos as she sees beyond herself and truly cares about the gargoyles. Salli Richardson does a good job.

E&Gargs

The Support Characters – Brooklyn (the beaked gargoyle), Hudson (the oldest and the mentor), Lexington (the techie), Broadway (the biggest one) and Bronx (the dog) are all amazing. You see why they care as they experienced kindness from a child and you see why they are the ones who survived, they were the outcasts of the outcasts and punished because they were strange by gargoyle standards and wanted to interact with people. They are the best support characters.

The Princess and the Sorcerer – These two are selfish distrusting folks who eventually feel guilt after the gargoyles sacrifice to save them and promise to protect the gargoyles hatchlings. Probably the weakest but that isn’t there fault as much as a time issue. The episode could have explored them both more, but they achieve their purpose for future episode arcs and showing Goliath not all humans are bad.

Xanatos

Xanatos – This guy has had a trope named after him because he is so intelligent and manipulative. Everything he does is a gambit and he has plans within plans or something to hold over the gargoyles head so that he’ll survive another day. Jonathan Frakes owned this role and he is one of my favorite complicated villains. His motivations work because he feels human even if he Lex Luthory at times. One of the best animated villains and the ultimate chess master. This episode he still has the gargoyles to manipulate at the end and he has nothing to hold over his head. He loses nothing at the episodes end even with the reveal of him trying to kill the gargoyles and only using them for himself.

The Message – There are reasons to trust and not trust people, but differences should not be a factor as there are good people in any group. It’s very X-Meny, but because their gargoyles it adds even more. The gargoyles look nothing like us and are like aliens and are different and good. It is sad every time people react towards fear towards them and seeing Demona consumed by hatred to the point she is no longer the person she was before.

I got to say I highly recommend this Pilot and can’t wait to review the rest of the season. It’s solid and gives a lot of room to explore all the characters. This episode has a wonderful larger point, tells a beautiful story and creates an interesting species of creatures while keeping a dark tone intermixed with hope. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Final Score is 10 / 10. One of the best pilots of any show.