“Cannon Busters” Season 1 – Unfinished But a Good Exploration of Friendship, A.I. and the Cost of War

Cannon Busters (TV Series 2019– ) - IMDb

“Cannon Busters” is clearly an unfinished series but it has the potential to be great. This a show that reminds me of “Cowboy Bebop” and “Gurren Lagann” with the mechs, A.I., technology and politics that drive this compelling space western world. The series was created by LeSean Thomas and is a Netflix anime. Without getting into SPOILERS, this is a show I’d recommend if you are looking for a fun space western.

The story follows Android Sam and repairbot Casey as Casey is seeking Prince Shelby of Botica and believes only the immortal outlaw Philly the Kid can do so.


The Pros:

The Opening Song – Marty Grimes and BJRNCK’s “Showdown” is one of the best anime opening songs. I never skipped it when I would say I end up getting to the point of skipping most anime openings as they simply aren’t catchy. This one captures the outlaws and outcasts on the run feel of the show really well and it is so catchy and fun.

The Animation – The animation is beautiful. There is some CGI with Philly’s transforming far Bessie and other robots but besides that the show opts for the flowing 2D animation. It serves the show well and it gives it a unique feel that captures both the advanced technology of many of the factions but the desolation of the Wasteland that many of the characters live in.

The World – The world is fantastic. You have 5 kingdoms and coup that happens early on when King Bulgher’s son Locke returns to get revenge for the exile of him and his mother and uses magic to conquer the Kingdom. From here we see his expansion of power as Prince Shelby escapes with the Captain of the Guard Odin as Shelby’s friend and protector android Sam seeks him out. In this is a world with humans and tons of other alien species all living together though it seems humans are the ones who control the kingdoms. I’m curious if this aspect of the show will get more exploration as so far we have met members of very few kingdoms outside Botica.

Red Horizon Fraternity – The Red Horizon Fraternity is Locke’s all women cyborg squad of enforcers and assassins. They are lead by Dax who doesn’t have arms and controls her robotic hands with her mind, Bridge the pilot of the airship mech who has rocket legs, Coin who can replicate themselves into multiple people and Mainic an android whose body is a weapon that can shoot explosive oil and a lazer for an eye. They are amazing and they manage to be victorious too as they capture Prince Shelby in the end and in the cause of Mainic manage to fight 9ine into a draw. I can’t wait to learn more about their story and why they serve Locke.

9ine – 9ine is a drunk samurai and the best swordsman. His whole deal is his running away from his order and seeking just causes and alcohol as that is what leads him to watching over Philly, Sam and Casey. His story is tragic and you see why he left when the Mercenaries he was a part of kill a family and he realized he can’t do it anymore. He is a character constantly seeking to runaway (like Philly) from his past whether it is through a challenging fight or drink. In the end he officially joins the team to rescue Prince Shelby from Locke.

The A.I. – The A.I. are one of the most interesting aspects of the story as we see many humans have them as companions but they are also weapons of war too and the weapons of war have no sentience that we witness compared to the repairbots or Sam, who is a Cannon Buster (Powerful War Golem). This is something the show explores and it suggested that Cannon Busters have souls but whether other A.I. does too is never fully addressed.

Casey – Casey is the repairbot who loves collecting and fixing things. They have a really cool arc where they find other repairbots like them and learn they are seen as obsolete (it is in a junkyard with a repairbot recycling other repairbots). At this point Casey believes their only purpose is to be recycled too as they feel abandoned as Philly and Sam are away. Luckily Sam saves Casey and Casey sees their value as Sam’s best friend. Sam is also the only person through most of the series who knows that Sam is a Cannon Buster as even Sam doesn’t remember her transformations. Casey is a character that could have gotten annoying quick but their quips and actions have purpose and I liked their arc of self-discovery.

Sam – Sam is Prince Shelby’s protector and best friend and is known as a friendship bot who is kind to everyone and is able to turn most enemies encountered into friends. I like how Sam’s arc involves learning jokes, sarcasm and finding purpose beyond her programming (which continues the arc of learning nuance) as she is friends with both Shelby and Philly (and Philly wanted to kill Shelby at one point for what Botica did). She is the heart of the team and is the one looking out for the others.

Philly the Kid and Facing Trauma – Philly has elements of Spike from “Cowboy Bebop” as he is the protagonist who is always pushing others away and running from his mistakes. Hell he made a deal with a demon for revenge and to become the immortal he is but doesn’t care enough about himself to get revenge. Throughout the show he is shown to be a thief and drunk but his time with Sam, Casey and 9ine changes him as he finds purpose beyond revenge and realizes he does have friends. The arc itself is common but it felt real here with only his revenge motivation needing more setup earlier on. Curious to see where the story goes and I really hope Locke isn’t the one who really killed his parents.

The Cons:

Mystic Emperor Locke – Locke looks like a giant animallike human (think a monkey with sharp teeth) so his humanity has been gone for a long time. His motivation beyond revenge isn’t really known and he serves the Essence of Magic whose motivation we also don’t know. This is really the main problem, I can ignore bad character design if the character is compelling (The Fraternity Designs are much more interesting than his). We don’t know why he does what he does and we don’t see how he rules beyond destruction. He is a weak character at this point and I hope he can be made interesting later.

Prince Shelby – Prince Shelby’s arc goes from compassionate and caring to hardened to ending up captured. The characters around him like Odin, Hilda and Sam are who make him compelling as he is flat character. Both of King Bulgher’s kids (Shelby and Locke) are very poorly written with only the characters around them making them at all compelling.

Cliffhanger Ending – Prince Shelby is captured, Bessie is destroyed and the new party is now Sam, Odin, 9ine, Philly and Casey to go and rescue the Prince. I really hope this gets resolved in a film or another season as I can’t think of anytime a cliffhanger ending is a good way to end a story.

I really hope this story gets finished. I found the world and most of the characters compelling as the animation and soundtrack beautifully bring this world to life. This is an anime well worth checking out, and it is a story worth finishing. If you are looking for a good anime and a good Netflix show, this is one I recommend.

Final Score: 8.2 / 10 Boosted by the main characters.

Onward (2020): Pixar’s exploration of Brothers and Family

Onward (2020) - IMDb

    “Onward” is Pixar that is on the level of “Monsters Inc.” and “Monsters University” as it primarily a relationship between two guys that drives the story. This story once again has the depth I’ve come to expect in Pixar in the relationships between the characters that are explored. I really wish we’d gotten more of that exploration as it would have pushed the film to great. Suffice to say, if you are a fan of Pixar, definitely check this film out. I rented it off Amazon.

The film was directed by Dan Scanlon who co-wrote the screenplay along with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin.

On Ian’s (Tom Holland) 16th birthday he and his brother Barley (Chris Pratt) receive a wizard staff that belonged to their father. From here they must find the Phoenix Gem to restore their father fully as on Ian’s initial attempt at summoning he only manages to summon his father’s legs. They have 24 hours before the spell ends.


The Pros:

Modern Fantasy World – I’ve always been a fan of urban fantasy. Modern fantasy creatures put into the modern world leads to fun and interesting situations. In this this is best expressed in The Manticore who was an adventurer who ran a tavern but  turned it into a more Chuck E. Cheese type joint in order to survive. We also see how Unicorns dig through the trash and you have a Pixie motorcycle gang. This world is so much fun and I’m glad Pixar made this film, simply for the world alone.

The Manticore – The Manticore is the one who gives into the quest and is reborn in the brother’s quest for the Phoenix Gem to bring back their dad. She ends up raging and burning down her restaurant and teaming up with Laurel Lightfoot to get her sword back as we learn that the Phoenix Gem is tied to a curse and only the sword can destroy it. Octavia Spencer is absolutely fantastic in this role. By the end of the film her Tavern is more traditional and she is once again the storyteller recounting her past adventures.

Laurel Lightfoot – Julia Louis-Dreyfus does an amazing job as the mother of the brothers. Her quest to get to them is the B-plot and I really enjoy how we see her taking more control of the situation over time. In her we see both the improvisation to solve problems that Barley has and also her nervous and overthinking nature that her son Ian inherited. She is key to the final battle and I really liked how she plays off her sons and the Manticore.

The Lightfoot Brothers – The core relationship is that between Ian and Barley. Their arcs involve Ian developing courage and confidence in himself, and Barley taking responsibility and opening up about how he ran away from his dad on his death bed because he was so afraid. This arc ends with Barley finally getting to say good-bye to his dad and Ian getting his confidence and realizing it was from how his older brother Barley raised him that he found it. After this magic is back in the world and Ian is now a wizard as we see him use all the spells from Barley’s game…that are real life spells and not just cards.

Death and Saying Good-bye – Barley’s relationship to his dad is the heart of the story in that it is his trouble letting go that I think feeds off how he always trying to escape into games and getting into trouble. In the end he does get to say good-bye and we see how each of the family members are connected to their father in the final shots of the film. All the characters get to say good-bye in their own way as Ian is able to accept his dad’s death because his brother raised him in the ways he’d always wanted his dad to and like his dad he inherited his magic so part of him will always be carried on in Ian.

The Cons:

Action Over Character Moments – This is very action heavy film. This is largely due to it taking inspiration from a Dungeons and Dragons style quest. For this reason it never stops being fun but it also means that we don’t get to see the relationship between the brothers develop as much as it should. They have moments of conflict and opening up to one another, but the film needed more of that. This was a script where the action of the quest took precedent over the character moments at different points.

The Minor Characters – Besides the Manticore most of the minor characters aren’t very memorable. I didn’t care about the Pixie gang beyond them being antagonists. The cop characters are just kind of there, even though the Centaur is set-up to become the Lightfoot’s step-dad. This was a shame as we don’t really get any motivations of these characters. Another draft could have changed this and in turn brought the film to great.

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year, and I’m glad it rentable from home given all that is going on with Corvid-19. Please stay safe everyone. This film is about family and the relationships that define us. Hold those relationships close and know just how important you are to so many others both friends and family. If you get the chance definitely check out this film. I hope we see more original projects like this from Pixar in the future.

Final Score: 8.8 / 10 Really good due to the core Lightfoot Drama.

Shazam! (2019): A Beautiful Tale on What it Means to Have Family

New Shazam Poster Reminds You the Movie Is Fun | Collider

    “Shazam!” is easily the best film so far in the DC Cinematic Universe. I’m speaking as someone who thought “Wonder Woman” was great and enjoyed “Aquaman” and “Man of Steel.” This film is better than all of those and is the most fun I’ve had in a DC film since “The Dark Knight Rises.” I’m glad they got this win. “Shazam!” captures what makes super heroes and comics books so enjoyable and fun in the first place. This is a film that never stops being fun. For non-spoiler thoughts, it is worth seeing for that reason alone. This film is comedic, dark, adventurous and explores the concept of a family better than so many films that say that is their theme. Not only that, the film looks great and has a fantastic soundtrack.

The film was directed by David F. Sandberg with screenplay by Henry Gayden and produced by Peter Safran.

The story follows foster boy Billy Batson as he is given to the last foster family who will give him a chance, as he has ran away from all those prior. Left with the choice as he searches for his missing mother other threats are plot and act as Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) is empowered by an evil and only the wizard Shazam can empower someone pure of heart who can stop him in his quest of destruction.


The Pros:

The World – Finally the DCCU works. This film calls upon classic “Shazam!” villains who were part of his universe before Faucet Comics were bought out by DC and when he was Captain Marvel. The villain is Dr. Sivana who is a classic foe who DC brought into their universe. As someone who loves the rich lore of comics this was a movie that hit me on so many levels. There is more related to the lore that I’ll get into later in the review, but this is a world that doesn’t need the rest of the DC universe to be good but enriches it by existing.

The Action and Cinematography – The action is visceral, colorful and feels like it has been pulled from the pages of a comic. It isn’t the same beautiful the way “Spider-Verse” did it with it’s animation (blending anime, modern, noir, etc.) but it does it using the dark and light in the character’s abilities and where they choose to shoot the fights. For example, the final fight takes place in a carnival. This use of the dark and light contrast makes the fight sequences stand out and when they happen (because when they happen they matter) it adds to the narrative and is a brilliant use of storytelling.

The Characters – The characters and their relationships are what makes this movie work in this end. I would have rated this movie as at least very good if all I had to go on where performances and the character relationships, and this film delivers on those in spades. The relationships are a big reason I want to go back as I think I’ll notice more in the rewatch as far as how the characters see one another and what that means in the finale.

Billy Batson – Billy Batson / Shazam / Captain Marvel is the main character, who as the foster kid is seeking his mother. He is a kid who only looks out for himself and tells his foster family as much. He does grow more attached to them over the course of the film, which is part of his essential arc. When he becomes the Champion empowered by Wizard we see Billy’s arc go from selfish kid seeking his mother to hero who has found his true family. Both Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as Billy give so much depth to the role.

Freddy – Freddy is one of Billy’s foster siblings and the closest thing he has to a friend. He’s also a huge comic book nerd and becomes Billy’s mentor on how to become a hero when he becomes the Champion / Shazam. At first they are both really selfish but Freddy figures out the bigger picture first and calls out Billy for how he has become a selfish bully with his abilities. Freddy does have his arc payoff though, but I’m not revealing what that is, since it is one of the best parts of the film.

Shazam Family – Billy’s adopted family becomes the Shazam Family at the end to fight the Seven Deadly Sins and it is awesome! Each of them is a hero as strong as Billy and together they face off against the Sins. How it happens is fascinating too as it Billy realizing that he needs to open his heart to find his true power and it is in sharing power, not taking it (like Dr. Sivana) where true power lies. Each of the family members has distinct personalities contrasted by their grown up identity and I can’t wait to see them further. I won’t describe more as the seeing their story payoff is one of the best parts of the film.

Dr. Sivana – Dr. Sivana was one of the people chosen by the wizard a long time ago to be the hero but failed because of the temptations from the Demons who are the Seven Deadly Sins. From that point on he seeks out the Sins and frees them before seeking out the hero who he envies for having the great power that is only capable of defeating him. We see why he is this way too as he comes from an abusive family and power was the only thing his dad and brother ever respected. What innocence and pure of heart that he needed to be the Champion was stamped out a long time ago.

Mr. Mind – This is a classic villain for the Fawcett comics who DC brought back when they revamped the character. He is this caterpillar looking worm who is a genius. He meets up with Dr. Sivana in prison and tells him there are more ways to power than simply magic. It is a great set-up for future films as Mr. Mind is a villain unlike anything we’ve seen so far in Marvel or DC.


The Foster Parents – The Foster Parents are kind but kind of generic. We get glimpses of their past but never in relation to their kids, only in relation to one another. They both grew up in the Foster system so I’m not saying it is a negative but them opening up to any of their foster kids about their past would have added a layer of depth the story wasn’t able to do. Not entirely a con but definitely the weakest part of the film.

This is a great film. Shazam is such a fun hero and I can’t wait to see how Mr. Mind and Shazam and his foster family are used in later films. In both there is so much potential there to be explored. This was also a film that doesn’t need an expanded universe to work. Billy’s relationship to his foster family and his biological mother give this film more than enough heart to make this film wholly great on it’s own merits. If you are looking for a film that has a deeper point while still managing to be a hilarious comedy, you will probably love this film as much as I did. It is definitely one of my favorite films.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

“The Librarians” Season 2 – Characters Grow and the Art of Ego and Story


    “The Librarians” Season 2 works in so many ways, especially as it relates to the main overarching narrative as the face off against Propsero. Where it falls apart sometimes, is when we get our single character driven episodes, but even with that there are exceptions as it is within those episodes that there was one of my favorite guest stars and one of my favorite episodes on this entire show, so there are exceptions of which I’ll get into deeper in the review.

  This is the only show I’ll watch on TNT and John Rodgers really did a fantastic job creating a show that takes the best of “Doctor Who” and “Indiana Jones” and does something completely new, this season continues that.

     The main arc of this season is the Librarians taking on the threat of Prospero who reintroduces magic into the world and wants to bring the world back to a time before humans. It is up the Librarians to discover how to stop him and his agents he brings from other stories, such as Professor Moriarty.


The Pros: The World – The world of “The Librarians” has always been a lot of fun and in this season we get more mythic beasts, more with magic and also science and tech. mixed together like what we got in one of the alternate without Flynn futures. Suffice to say I can’t wait to return to this world in Season 3.

The Premise – The idea of a fantasy character coming to life because of belief in it is super neat and this show takes that premise and runs with it as we meet other characters like Prospero and he summons other people to help him bring about a world where magic reigns supreme.

The Characters – The characters have always been the strongest part of the show and this season is no exception as each of our heroes are given the chance to get explored and we get some pretty fantastic minor characters too.

Mephistopheles – John De Lancie guest stars as “The Devil” Mephistopheles and he is amazing! It is very much a Q type role, which a role De Lancie excels in and it is fun to see him win for most of the episode until his entire premise of granting wishes is turned on him.

Prospero – Prospero is a good baddie. We learn that he arose from Shakespeare afraid of having nothing to live for anymore and he is Shakespeare embracing ego and fear to become Prospero. In this way it is fun to see him come back as they use to words and symbols of Shakespeare in order to defeat him and turn him back into a man.

Moriarty – Moriarty is wonderful and complex. He is the betrayer and clever, but at the end of the day stands with the Librarians. He also has a crush on Eve which is all kinds of adorable as he cares about our heroes even though he cares more about himself and fears Prospero more for most of the show. David S. Lee does a fantastic job and I enjoy how Flynn became his Sherlock. He’s the most sympathetic Moriarty outside of “Elementary.”

Jenkins – Jenkins is in a much smaller role this season when he isn’t figuring out how to stop Prospero. He’s still great and important but the part that stood out the most to me was his conflict with Cassandra when the Ladies of the Lake come to her. He rightfully has a lot of fear wrapped up in anything involving magic.

Stone – Stone has to deal with his father who is an Oil Baron and come to terms with the fact that he won’t ever really have peace with him. It is cool when he admits all the great things he’s done though and at least come to neutral with his Dad. His Dad’s ire is part of what inspires him to be great as he is a reaction to him, which feeds to “Monster of the Week.”

Ezekiel – Ezekiel’s good comes out this season as we see him risk his life countless times in the videogame episode and show that he does care even though he pretends not too. This season he really comes through and shows just why he is a “Librarian.”

Cassandra – Cassandra is tied to the magic and risks everything to stop Hell on Earth at one point. For this she meets the Ladies of the Lake and we see that she tied to magic and can join them if she so wishes. This leads to her clashing with Jenkins and I suspect conflict down the line as magic is shown to be corruption or at least disconnecting from humanity.

Flynn – Flynn like Jenkins is more on the side this season when he isn’t dealing with Prospero and the main plot. We see how clever he is though and how fun he is as well as tricks Prospero, making Prospero believe he destroyed the Tree of Knowledge and his conflict with Moriarty is great too as they both care about Eve.

Eve – Eve has some good stuff this season, when she is leading she is at her strongest and she does get an episode where she has to save a friend who made a deal with the devil. In that she shows how clever she is as she wishes for the devil to be mortal. She really is an amazing character and is the heart of the show as she is always helping those around her grow and growing herself.

 “And the Point of Salvation” – This was the best episode this season as it involves the team being trapped in a Quantam Computer that is a videogame and it is only though Ezekiel’s sacrifice and actions that they are freed from the game. Has the most heart felt moment in the show when he tells them about how often he has watched them die.

The Power of Story – The power of story is a theme of the season as the Librarians fight fictional characters and said characters try to create their own stories and narrative. Within the bounds of their characters and story so much is done and the power that comes with that comes full circle when Shakespeare is saved.

Letting Go – Stone has to let go of his dad’s thoughts about him, Shakespeare has to let go of fame, Cassandra and Ezekiel make the ultimate sacrifice and all of them have to let go of their dreams to come back to reality and escape Prospero’s trap. This is the overall theme of this season and it is done beautifully.

Okay: Tone – The tone facing the “Doctor Who” problem where sometimes it is a bit cartoony and slap stick and this is happening at the same time as serious events of mortality and morality. I didn’t mind it but I did notice it this season.

The Cons: “And the Image of Image” – This was a bad episode, I enjoy the book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” but here Gray is forgettable and his relationship with Jenkins never felt real. This episode also had our characters getting drunk which usually always involves hack writing in any show.

    This was a great season, how it compares to last season, I’m not quite sure…but I enjoyed it all the way through and it made me look forward to how relationships will further develop in Season 3. I loved the theme of letting go and story this season as they are themes I enjoy in my own writing and the Ezekiel episode is one of my favorite television episodes of any show at this point. If you got past Season 1 and loved it, chances are you will love Season 2.

Final Score: 9 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Eeney, Meeney, Miney…Magic!” – The Messed up Mind of Dr. Venture

Eeney Meeney Miney ... Magic

     “Eeney, Meeney, Miney…Magic!” was an okay episode. Thus far it is the weakest as the tone and jokes don’t always work and some scenes are almost a little too awkward. But it is still enjoyable and worth checking out, it’s just not as great as past episodes.

  The episode was directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

   The story involves the arrival of Dr. Orpheus and his daughter Triana who are renting a room from Dr. Venture. Things soon go out of control though when one of Dr. Venture’s devices lures Brock within forcing Dr. Orpheus and Dr. Venture to work together.

The Pros: Dr. Orpheus – The guy is hilarious and seems to be a mixture of Dr. Strange and old 50’s pulp comic book villains in how he’s over dramatic and a master of magic. He sees himself as the standard bearer against all evil (and is a little anti-tech.) but at the end of the day is a good guy, a much better man than Dr. Venture.

Brock – Brock gets trapped in the machine Dr. Venture built where his dreams are made a reality as we see him hook up with Molotov Cocktail and fight a whole bunch of villains and ninjas, at one point just saying that isn’t it enough already?

Hank and Dean Venture – These two help save Brock but find themselves trapped in the machine as well and it isn’t until Triana calls out that Hank’s love for lets the machine release them.

Dr. Venture – Uses an orphans heart to create a machine where people can live out their fantasies and his plan is to make a lot of money off it. He’s such a messed up character and it is amazing just how messed up he is.

Okay: Triana – She’s a punk rocker and that’s all we have so far. I can’t wait to see how she’s developed further as we need more character development for her.

The Cons: Tone – The episode starts out dark and foreboding as Dr. Orpheus destroys H.E.L.P.eR. but once you get to know him it clashes with the tone established at the beginning as he’s mostly just over dramatic.

This was a fun episode and is well worth checking out, even though it is merely good rather than great like the episodes prior. Dr. Orpheus is a great character and it is always good to get into Brock’s mind or see just how messed up Dr. Venture is as a person.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Black Mirror – Season 2, Episode 2 – “White Bear” – Commodifying Mob Justice

white bear black mirror


“White Bear” was my introduction to “Black Mirror” last night, and now I’m very excited for watching the rest of the episodes that make up the series. “Black Mirror” is a show that deals with the horrors of humanity in relation to technology and how it can be used to ruin peoples’s lives in hypothetical future horrors that are close enough to our time to feel real, but far enough away to be extremely creepy and surreal. “White Bear” is no exception to that and was the perfect way for me to be introduced to this series that feels like a badly needed update to “The Twilight Zone,” for the problems in the era we live today.

I’m going to reviewing “Black Mirror” but I’ll be doing it randomly as I started in the middle and from what I gather, there isn’t an overall arc. If anything it is a great chance to review how horrendous the human psyche can be and to see the critique of humanity each episode provides. There are also only 6 episodes total right now, so I don’t want to rush through the series.

The episode was directed by Carl Tibbetts and written by Charlie Brooker.

Warning this does contain Spoilers.

The premise of the episode begins with a woman who wakes up and doesn’t know who or where she is. All she has to go off of is a picture of a girl who she believes to be her daughter and a haunting symbol that looks like a upside down Y. She soon finds herself hunted by a man wearing the symbol as a mask as people look on with their phones. From here the story unfolds as she runs into someone who appears to be resisting the masked man and tells her they need to shut down the cell tower in White Bear to free everyone.

The Pros: Suffering as Entertainment – This is a theme throughout the episode as the people watching the woman who is scared, alone and clearly suffering is the product for their amusement. We learn how she is used at the end. Which will be another point later, We see this in shows like Maury, and by the fact that torture porn and other horrendous things like it exist. The woman in this episode is the victim of the mob wanting brutal entertainment.

Reality Television – The woman is being watched everyone and she doesn’t know who or where she is…making her is easy to use and purely reactive. Much like the script that exists in reality television, there is a script at work here as her puppet masters mention later that she has done the same thing every time before they reset her memory and mark another date on the calender.

Mob Justice versus Real Justice – We learn near the end that she was criminal who ended up killing a child (the one whose picture she carries). She claimed to have been used by her boyfriend, but we have no idea because her memory has been wiped. All we know is the person she is now is an innocent who hasn’t done anything wrong. She has no memory and because of what she did is now the effigy for the mob that they burn everyday. She suffers an eternity of hell because the mob believes she deserves it, when the original event isn’t even in her memory anymore and she’s become a totally different person because she has lost all awareness of the person she was before. She is the child being burned alive, like the child was burned alive, which is what the job wants…revenge for their own powerlessness.

We see this in how people justify torture too, it doesn’t matter if it works or not, what matters is that someone who might have helped those who hurt us or might be planning to hurt us is hurting. It’s illogical and solves nothing. Torturing doesn’t bring people back and it isn’t dependable for getting accurate information (another justification that is used) either making wrong on all that many more levels.

False Reality – The location where all this takes place is White Bear Memorial Park, which is where the little girl was killed, and all they had to find her with was her white bear. It is from here the owners of the park construct the reality of putting the woman through pain and ending it where she is forced to face the reality of who they think she is and what they believe she’s done. Everyone is an actor or onlooker so she is on a stage similar to “The Truman Show.”

Discovery of Truth – The discovery of truth is another thing going on, and what the truth actually is. Again, remember she has no memory of doing any of the acts and all we know from her when she did as that her boyfriend might have used her like a cult leader to do it. We have no way of knowing but are given to believe her story given we are inside her head throughout the entire episode and we see when the curtain falls and memories that she has and is thinking about before it is lost each night to technology so she can relieve the Hell again.

The Cons: Lack of Character – We don’t get to know anyone in this, they are all symbols and don’t feel like fully realized people. We are meant to inhabit the woman and feel what she is put through to show how unjust it is, to see just how cruel the mob can be. But the mob isn’t a character and the actors aren’t. They are all illusions so we know nothing about their motivations since all of them were only putting on an act, and they are always being watched which makes their motivations harder to realize, again like reality television. This gave me a level of detachment, which is a shame since I wanted to care more about the woman but since it was from her point of view and nothing she saw was real except for at the end…I only got her feelings but not her character. Because we are meant to be her and experience what she’s experiencing we are watching it through a black mirror, which no doubt was purposeful but hurt the story.

This episode makes me excited to watch the rest of the series, but I’m not going to rush it. The ideas covered should be thought about as each episode is a critique of us and  chance for us to better understand ourselves on an individual and societal level. It is truly the genius of the show for that. The cinematography is also really good and the acting is too for what it’s worth. Making them an hour long helps to truly get inside the world and to really explore an idea fully through.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10. Not perfect because I didn’t know any of the characters so had trouble getting invested because of it.


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


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.