Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gargoyles: "Awakening, Part Four"

In which Elisa is a badass.


Central Park. Head Goon is making the classic goon mistake of threatening his prisoner instead of simply shooting him and being done with it. This gives Elisa the chance to bad-assedly free herself from the goon restraining her, knock him unconscious, and body-slam Head Goon, bringing him down and knocking his gun away. Goliath throws the remaining three goons off, scoops up Elisa, and flees with Blonde Ponytail Goon in pursuit. This is a little inconsistent with effects of the tranq dart - wasn't Goliath on the brink of passing out last episode? - but I can forgive it. BPG displays another classic goon characteristic - terrible aim - before Head Goon catches up and orders her to cease fire. "They won't get far."

Elsewhere in New York. Okay, this scene is dumb and pointless, so I'm giving it short shrift. The three young gargs are tired and far from the castle, see a guy hailing a cab, attempt to do likewise with predictable results, and are stuck walking home. There.

Central Park. Elisa and a woozy Goliath take refuge under a bridge. He falls to his knees, asking, "What's wrong with me?" Elisa pulls the tranq dart out, explaining that he's been drugged. More interestingly, she also finds a tracking device on his back. She notes its scarab-shaped logo, while Goliath wonders how it could have got on him. "Good question," she says, before spotting a stray dog and Getting An Idea.

And THIS is really what I mean when I say Elisa is a badass. Sure, she showed off some sweet fight moves earlier (and will show some more later), but her real strength here is her smarts. She takes out the whole Goon Squad (um, spoiler, I guess?) not by out-shooting or out-brawling them, but by out-thinking them. I don't remember a lot of female characters - especially Disney female characters - at the time like that. Which doesn't mean they didn't exist, but they weren't on my radar. Well, no, that's not quite true, there were non-Disney, non-animated ladies like Kira Nerys and Ivanova (though I personally didn't get into Babylon 5 until years later), and you could probably consider Elisa a precursor to heroines like Buffy and Veronica Mars (especially with that stick-the-tracker-on-a-dog trick), but in children's entertainment? I don't recall any. Elisa Maza went a long towards balancing Disney's feminist karma after "heroines" like Cinderella, Snow White*, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel (who literally GAVE UP HER VOICE! I can't even.) Belle was okay, she read books.

*For an awesome, kick-ass Snow White, and many other women besides, check out Once Upon A Time.

ANYWAY. The show. Castle Wyvern. Hudson is now enjoying the hell out the TV. He turns it off when he sees the sky getting lighter through the window. He and the pooch head outside where the guys are just getting back, talking excitedly about city. They haven't seen Goliath, though, and Hudson is worried. It's almost dawn.

Central Park. Goliath is moving slowly along a path, Elisa supporting him, when he realizes there's no way he'll get back home before sunrise. He stumbles a few feet to the side into the trees, confusing Elisa. The sun rises as she spies the Goon Squad (now down to four) further down the path. Alarmed, she turns back to tell Goliath they have to keep moving. Only one problem:

Thinking fast, Elisa runs out and leads the Goon Squad away from Goliath. They chase her through some woods into a picnic area, where she ducks down behind a table. Head Goon orders his squad to fan out to search, while I am distracted by the Alice in Wonderland-themed statues. It's funny. And thematically appropriate - you could definitely say the Gargoyles have fallen down the rabbit hole. One of the goons gets closer and closer to Elisa and I wonder if that helmet obscures his vision. She's not exactly invisible behind that tiny table. He passes by, she knocks his legs out from under him, knocks him out, steals his gun, has a running firefight with the other goons (right past some toadstool statues, from behind which emerges BTG), takes out another of the goons, until finally finding safety in a nearby boathouse. Whew!

Oops, spoke too soon. As Elisa realizes her gun is empty, bullets rip through the door at her back, just missing her. But that's not her biggest problem, because guess what they didn't miss?

I believe the expression is, OHSHIT

She dives into the river (lake?) seconds before the boathouse turns into a fireball. Head Goon is pleased, but BPG is a little smarter and would like to make sure the target's really dead. Why isn't she Head Goon?

Elisa comes up for air underneath a dock, on top of which stands BPG, scanning the water. Elisa waits until she's close enough and splash! BPG is in the drink. Head Goon turns around in time to spy Elisa speeding off into the woods. He follows, "complimenting" her on taking down four of his people. Meanwhile, Elisa has run into a dead end. Head Goon gets closer and closer, finally spying her through the trees. Ooh, but it's a fake-out! While he's distracted by her red jacket hanging on a branch, Elisa jumps from behind a rock and takes him down. Ha! In your face, HG!

Elisa spends the rest of the day sitting next to Goliath, waiting for the sun to go down. Aw. Did she nap at all? Because she was up all night (and the night before, though she probably slept in day between) and then there was all the fun with the Goon Squad. I'm worn out just recapping it. And I have caffeine! She sure looks drowsy, but rouses when night falls and Goliath wakes. He's impressed, too.
Goliath: You stayed with me throughout the entire day?
Elisa: Yeah, well...someone had to make sure those comic book rejects didn't find you.
Goliath: Thank you. It is very possible that you saved my life. (extends his hand to her)
Elisa: (slips her hand in his) So now we're even.
Again, quite a contrast to Xanatos.

He turns to go, but promises to meet her again later that night

Castle Wyvern. Goliath arrives home and FINALLY all the gargoyles get their names. They choose names for themselves in honor of their new home - Brooklyn, Broadway and Lexington. Brooklyn names the dog Bronx. It's a lighthearted family moment that ends when Owen appears, clearing his throat.

Dining Hall. Goliath walks in to find Xanatos, who would like to introduce him to an "old acquaintence." Here comes the Big Reveal that was spoiled in Part Three, so the audience can't share in Goliath's utter shock at seeing his "Angel of the Night." I'm irritated, but I will say the close-up of her face is extremely well-done, both beautiful and unnerving:

This joyous reunion is undercut somewhat by Xanatos smirking in the background and even more by the explanation offered:
AotN: This man has brought us together, my love. We owe our reunion to David Xanatos.
Goliath: What...how...you were shattered by the Vikings!
AotN: No! I feared for your safety, so I left the castle to find you. But I lost my way and the sun rose before I could return.
Goliath: But how did you survive all these centuries?
AotN: When I returned to the castle, the Magus had already turned you to stone. I begged him to cast his spell on me so that we might awaken together.
Xanatos: I saw her a year ago and was so impressed, I acquired her for my private collection. Then, after I woke you up, it seemed plausible that a trip to the castle might have the same effect on her.
This is fishy as hell, of course, but Goliath understandably doesn't notice. He's just overjoyed to see his love again, and so are the other gargoyles. AotN wastes little time in urging Goliath to steal the disks back for Xanatos and he besottedly agrees.

Xanotos' Office. After Xanatos conducts a mission briefing, Goliath splits the group into three teams: he and his second will hit the airship; Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington get the tower ("Cool!" "What?"); and Hudson and Bronx will take the underground base. They all head out for their missions. Xanatos smirks.

Cyberbiotics Air Fortress. Goliath and his AotN remove a bottom panel and enter a corridor. When he cautions her that the disk will be well-guarded, she says, "If humans wish to throw away their useless lives guarding it, that's their concern." Goliath is taken aback. They stalk along the corridor, but are soon discovered by two guards with guns drawn. AotN scoffs that they wouldn't risk shooting inside the fortress and charges. She lands on one, causing his gun to go off anyway. The other guard panics, shooting at Goliath and hitting a pipe. Steam billows out, providing a handy cover for the gargoyles to knock the guards unconscious. Goliath thinks the gunfire may have alerted others to their presence , but his "angel" has other things on her mind. She picks up one of the guards and dangles him over the open panel. Goliath is shocked:
Goliath: Wait! What are you doing?
AotN: What does it look like? I'm making sure they don't cause us more trouble later.
Goliath: No! To kill in the heat of battle is one thing, but not like this!
AotN: The centuries have made you weak, Goliath.
She tosses the guard to the floor and continues on. After a beat, he follows.

Cyberbiotics Research Tower. Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington enter through the roof. They break into an elevator shaft and slide down the cables to the fourth floor down, as Xanatos told them. "This is easy," Broadway says. "We'll have that disk and be back in time for supper." Perhaps the next modern word they learn should be 'jinx,' as Brooklyn forces the doors open to reveal a hallway full of guards, guns pointed directly at them.

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