THREE GUYS AND… AN ANIMATED SERIES
series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson
“GARGOYLES: SEASON TWO (PART 1)”
written by Dominick Cappello
Since the second season, which added Goliath’s epic narration to the opening title sequence, is much longer than the first, I will divide my binge into three parts. Before the trip to Avalon, the world tour, and the return to Manhattan.
Episode 1, “Leader of the Pack”, has The Pack being busted out of prison by someone calling themselves Coyote, but Fox chooses to remain behind bars. Coyote reveals himself to be David Xanatos. Lexington has an axe to grind with The Pack. He and Brooklyn bond over the how they were both duped in the previous season. Lexington by The Pack and Brooklyn by Demona. However, it’s not really Xanatos inside the Coyote suit, rather it is a Xanatos robot. The real Xanatos meets Fox when she is released from prison. The escape was a ploy to make Fox appear as if she had reformed and wasn’t a cutthroat like the others. Once again, Xanatos was one step ahead of everyone. The Pack aren’t my favorite recurring characters. They’re one dimensional especially when compared to a character like Macbeth. The Pack are merely pawns used by Xanatos. Episode 2, “Metamorphosis”, is when Xanatos takes his treachery to another level. He employs a mad scientist, Dr. Anton Sevarius voiced by Tim Curry, who creates a mutagen which he uses to turn homeless people into makeshift Gargoyles. One of the test subjects, Maggie, escapes and is encountered by Brooklyn and Broadway. Brooklyn takes a shine to her. Derrick, Elisa Maza’s brother, is infected by the mutagen and becomes a Gargoyle called Talon. This episode has the most downbeat ending since “Awakening, Part 1” with Maggie rejecting Brooklyn and Elisa being devastated to discover what Xanatos has done to her brother. I admire that a series produced by Disney and intended for children was bold enough to shy away from happy endings.
Episode 3, “Legion”, features the return of Coldstone. It is revealed that he has three different personalities rattling around inside his head. Himself, his love interest, and another Gargoyle who is intent on driving a wedge between them. Goliath plugs into virtual reality so to enter Coldstone’s mind and sort out this love triangle before a computer virus destroys them all. Episode 4, “A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time”, has Macbeth return in search of the Scrolls of Merlin while Hudson befriends a blind novelist. Hudson admits that he cannot read, but is inspired to learn by his new friend. Obviously, this was another public service announcement episode, telling kids to turn off the TV and pick up a book. Though, “Gargoyles”, didn’t patronize its audience like other cartoons. It was never hokey like the “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue” anti-drug special.
Demona makes her first appearance of the season in Episode 5, “The Mirror”. She summons Puck, a trickster voiced by Brent Spiner, and the first of Oberon’s Children to appear in the series. Puck has fun with Demona’s commands by turning Elisa into a Gargoyle and turning the Gargoyles into humans. This episode makes it clear that Goliath and Elisa have feelings for each other despite not being the same species. Puck has one last trick up his sleeve, making it so that instead of turning to stone during the day, Demona turns into the thing she hates the most… a human. In Episode 6, “The Silver Falcon”, Broadway helps Elisa investigate the disappearance of her partner, Matt Bluestone. Tony Dracon, the antagonist from the season one episode “Deadly Force” is who kidnapped Bluestone. Dracon is voiced by Richard Grieco. You know, the guy from “21 Jump Street” who’s not Johnny Depp. Broadway is the only Gargoyle to appear in this episode. As I binge, I’ll be curious to see how many episodes feature only one of the Gargoyles.
Episode 7, “Eye of the Beholder”, takes place on Halloween. Xanatos proposes to Fox, but instead of an engagement ring, he gives her the Eye of Odin, which transforms her into a werewolf. Or maybe she’s a werefox? Xanatos appears desperate for the first time in the series when Goliath refuses to help him. Since it’s Halloween, the Gargoyles can walk the streets without drawing attention to themselves. Elisa dresses as Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” just in case you didn’t realize that was her relationship with Goliath minus the Stockholm syndrome. In the end, Goliath helps Xanatos save Fox in return for the Eye of Odin. In my season one article, I said that I would look for instances of Xanatos admitting defeat. Well, it wasn’t a defeat, but I would say him surrendering the Eye of Odin makes it a draw. Xanatos and Fox are wed in Episode 8, “Vows”. Goliath is asked to serve as best man. Demona serves as maid of honor because she needs Goliath’s half of the Phoenix Gate, which she uses to send them back in time to the 1oth century. Another elaborate scheme on the part of Xanatos so he can make himself wealthy in the future. This episode confirms the existence of the Illuminati, which Xanatos is a member of. Demona uses this opportunity to warn her younger self not to trust humans. It is also revealed that Demona was an apprentice of The Archmage from the season one episode “Long Way to Morning”, so she was always keeping secrets from her clan. Goliath tries to appeal to the younger Demona’s virtue, but when they return to the present, Demona is as cold and unforgiving as ever. Another episode with a solemn ending.
“City of Stone, Parts 1-4” gives us Macbeth’s backstory and insight into why Demona is so vindictive. It also introduces The Weird Sisters, more of Oberon’s Children. Xanatos is finally outsmarted. He believes that Demona will cast a spell to extend their lifespans. She instead casts a spell that turns all the residents of Manhattan into stone. Flashbacks show the ruin of Castle Wyvern from Demona’s point of view and how she conspired with the Captain of the Guard. It was nice touch that Coldstone was included. I should have mentioned in my season one article that I wish “Awakening, Parts 1-2” had featured a few Gargoyles who didn’t survive the Vikings sacking the castle. As it is, we were only ever introduced to The Manhattan Clan and Demona, but that’s with hindsight being 20/20. After Goliath and the others are turned to stone by The Magus, Demona becomes a scavenger and claws the face of a young boy who grows up to become The Hunter, a mercenary who kills the father of Macbeth. With a common enemy, Demona and Macbeth eventually become allies. The Weird Sisters use sorcery to make them immortal unless one kills the other. In present day, Macbeth is intent on destroying Demona as he is looking for a way to end his own life. After Xanatos calls a truce with the Gargoyles to break the spell, The Weird Sisters abscond with Demona and Macbeth.
Demona and Macbeth aren’t gone for long as they return in Episode 13, “High Noon”, and for some reason they are in cahoots. Demona makes use of her ability to become human during the day as she and Macbeth infiltrate the clocktower and steal Coldstone. The sinister one of Coldstone’s three personalities takes control and helps Demona and Macbeth set a trap for the Gargoyles. In this episode, Elisa laments being an ally of the Gargoyles, but only for a moment. Coldstone’s good nature resurfaces and he saves the Gargoyles. He vows to return once the conflict within him is resolved. Though, this was all a distraction, so The Weird Sisters could use Demona and Macbeth steal three talismans from the Gargoyles. The Grimorum Arcanorum (the book used by The Magus to turn the Gargoyles to stone for a millennium), the Eye of Odin, and the Phoenix Gate. Episode 14, “Outfoxed”, introduces Halcyn Renard, an industrialist and rival of Xanatos, who takes Goliath prisoner because Goliath and Demona destroyed his air fortress in “Awakening, Part 5”. Goliath is the only Gargoyle to appear in this episode unless you count seeing Demona in a flashback. Goliath and Renard team up to save his new air fortress after it’s sabotaged. Renard is revealed to be the father of Fox. He wasn’t happy that she married Xanatos, then Fox drops the bombshell that she’s pregnant. The baby will be important later in the season.
In Episode 15, “Revelations”, Matt Bluestone uncovers the truth about the Illuminati. They offer him membership in exchange for Goliath. Bluestone confronts Elisa and she finally introduces him to the clan. Bluestone then leads Goliath into a trap at a hotel run by the Illuminati. The hotel is filled with deathtraps, but Bluestone’s plan all along was to double cross the Illuminati and he helps Goliath escape. Still, the Illuminati were impressed by Bluestone and they make him a member. In Episode 16, “Double Jeopardy”, Elisa, Lexington, and Broadway are attacked by someone who looks just like Goliath. This is Thailog, a clone of Goliath maturated by Dr. Savarius per the orders of Xanatos. Dr. Savarius hires mercenaries to steal Thailog from the castle during the day. Xanatos assumes that he’s been betrayed, but Dr. Savarius thinks he’s taking orders from Xanatos. Goliath and Elisa discover Thailog, who appears to be a prisoner, but really, he orchestrated is own kidnapping so to extort Xanatos. So, we have a character as mighty as Goliath and who can outsmart Xanatos. Goliath tries to reason with Thailog, but Thailog’s personality is more in line with Xanatos. Thailog is seemingly killed in an oilrig explosion, but Xanatos knows better. Xanatos finally appears defeated at the end of the episode when he realizes Thailog is still on the loose.
The Pack returns in Episode 17, “Upgrade”. Like I said, they’re one dimensional characters and thusly not very interesting. Demona and Macbeth have detailed backstories. Xanatos and Fox evolve over time, but The Pack remains the same. They are given makeovers in this episode with Wolf becoming a wolfman and Jackal and Hyena being given cybernetic body parts, but their personalities remain insipid. At least Dingo becomes disenchanted with the life he’s chosen. Towards the conclusion of the episode, Goliath names Brooklyn as his second in command. I always felt that Brooklyn was picked almost by default. He’s not as smart as Lexington or as strong as Broadway, but he’s stronger than Lexington and smarter than Broadway. Him being a master strategist was shoehorned into the episode to make him seem less middle of the road, but I still feel the others’ weaknesses more than his strengths were the determining factor for Goliath. In Episode 18, “Protection”, Elisa poses as a crooked cop so to entrap Tony Dracon. Goliath and Broadway realize she’s undercover and play along to help convince Dracon that she can be trusted. Broadway plays a prominent role in every episode with Dracon. I guess Dracon is his arch nemesis. Goliath has Xanatos (and Demona), Lexington has The Pack, Brooklyn also has Demona, Hudson has The Archmage (to a lesser extent), so that leaves Broadway with Dracon.
Talon and The Mutates return in Episode 19, “The Cage”. I said in my season one article that I would give Talon / Derrick the benefit of the doubt, but he’s such an idiot. Even after learning Dr. Savarius had faked his death, Talon still takes everything Xanatos says at face value. The fact that one of The Mutates is voiced by Jim Belushi isn’t helping matters. They annoy the hell out of me. Brooklyn is the sensible one, assuring the others that The Mutates will eventually see Xanatos for the villain he is. It takes Xanatos showing up with The Steel Clan to save Dr. Savarius for Talon to put two and two together and realize that Xanatos has played him for a fool. The episode then has a happy ending with Talon reuniting with his family. Macbeth returns in Episode 20, “The Price”. Spoiler alert: It’s not really Macbeth. It’s a robot. The Gargoyles are tricked into thinking that Hudson has been turned to stone permanently, like the spell The Magus cast in “Awakening, Part 2”. When really, Hudson has been kidnapped by Xanatos. Xanatos wants to test a magic cauldron on Hudson to see if it truly grants immortality. Hudson proves to be resourceful by using a shard of his own stone skin as a weapon to escape. Owen Burnett, David Xanatos’ personal assistant who I haven’t mention yet (sine we’ll discuss him in “The Gathering, Parts 1-2”), dips his arm into the cauldron to test it and gets his fist turned to stone for his troubles. The Macbeth robot destroys the stone likeness of Hudson. The Gargoyles mourn the loss of their mentor only to find Hudson is still alive. This is where I’ll take a break from binging as I consider everything in between “Avalon, Parts 1-3” and “Future Tense” (which is perhaps my all-time favorite episode) to be part two of season two.
– Dominick Cappello