Monday, August 5, 2013

Gargoyles: "Awakening, Part Three"

In which Goliath finds a tour guide.


Xanatos HQ. In the lobby of the skyscraper, Elisa is keeping the promise she made at the end of the previous episode, questioning Owen about the events of the night. She is not at all buying his "exploding generator" story. "Mr. Burnett, I heard automatic weapons firing up there. Now, you can let me look the place over, or I can come back with a warrant and a lot more cops. It's your call."

New and Improved Castle Wyvern, now tricked out with elevators, sliding doors and the like. Looking around the cavernous dining hall, Elisa cracks, "Must have a heck of a heating bill."

Xanatos takes that as his cue to appear, mentioning how he'd just been on the phone with the mayor offering his "profound apologies." Elisa would like to know what happened, and please, no generator bullshit.

"Owen was a little confused," smarms Xanatos. "That's for the press. The truth is that my men repelled an invasion by a rival corporation trying to steal some of our new technology." Elisa is not impressed with his grandiosity, "Repelled an invasion? You're a private citizen, Xanatos, not a country." Ah, but his gigantic global corporation is in fact bigger than many countries. He leads her out into the rubble-strewn courtyard, assuring her that he has permits for the weapons she heard. Unseen, Goliath observes them.

Meanwhile, the three young gargoyles explore the new modernized castle kitchen. Hilarity ensues. Or maybe that should be "hilarity," because Big Blue locking himself in the meat locker because he's such a glutton is not funny, it's lame.

Courtyard. Owen interrupts Elisa and Xanatos, mentioning a problem in the kitchen with their "guests." I figure this is an excuse to extricate Xanatos from the conversation, since Owen could undoubtedly handle that himself.

Or maybe not, as he interprets "show [Elisa] out" as "put her in an elevator instead of making sure she actually leaves the building." Naturally, she quickly disembarks and goes exploring. Unbeknownst to her, the gargoyle dog picks up her scent in the dark, creepy corridors. After she emerges onto the battlements, she hears him. She draws her gun, but Goliath appears behind her and crushes it in his fist. Elisa is stunned, naturally, but fortunately avoids the clichéd response of fainting dead away. Unfortunately, the response she does have is to fall right the fuck off the castle.

OTOH, fainting would've been safer.

Goliath leaps over the edge to catch her and it is quite dramatic and thrilling. He lands with her on a ledge not far above street level and quickly lets her go. Gasping, she takes in the sight of him. "Okay. Okay, just take it easy," she says, mostly to herself. She then gets a further jolt:
Goliath: What were you doing in my castle?
Elisa: You can talk!? Who...what are you?
Goliath: My kind have no names. But you humans call me Goliath.
Elisa: Your kind? You mean there's more than one of you?
Goliath: Barely.
He also exposits the no flying/just gliding thing and when she wonders if that means she's stuck there on the ledge, he seizes her by the arm and places her on his back with a delightful air of exasperation before beginning to claw his way back up. "Trust me," he tells her.

When they finally reach the top, he once again demands an explanation. "And, please, don't fall off the building this time." Huh. Who guessed Goliath knew how to joke?

My grisly near-death IS hilarious

The two of them are apparently up to swapping basic life stories by the time the other gargoyles wander out to join them. Elisa is clearly already sympathetic, even when Lean Red creepily sniffs her. She is rather clumsily trying to explain the concepts of police and the justice system when Goliath gets his loincloth in a twist at the idea of human justice. Not that I blame him. He tells her she has to go (the night is getting noticeably lighter) but she is reluctant to leave this fascinating new discovery. She offers to help them understand the city. Goliath see the logic in that and agrees to meet her the next night on the roof of a different building.
Elisa: Why there?
Goliath: Why were you sneaking into the castle?
Elisa: A good detective trusts no one.
Goliath: That's one thing we have in common.
Elisa leaves just before Owen appears (hopefully she won't be stuck in that maze of a castle all day), summoning Goliath to Xanatos' office. Which not only is not the Wyvern dining hall like I thought before, but has a spotlight aimed directly at him.

As a matter of fact, I AM the center of the universe


Goliath grumpily points out it's almost dawn. This won't take long, Xanatos says, he just needs to ask a teeny-tiny favor. What the Goon Squad stole were three disks (floppy disks, oh 1994, you're so cute!). Would Goliath and Co. mind terribly stealing them back? Goliath is unsure, "Perhaps you should use a de-tec-tive." Ha! And aww, he's already more in sync with his new pal Elisa. "You're learning fast," Xanatos condescends, before going hard down Manipulation Drive. "Think of the trouble it would cause if they learned of you and your friends. You could be locked up for study, or even worse. Remember, you are the only gargoyles left. Humans will fear you." Goliath gets it, "And betray us." Is that foreshadowing I hear?

It really is interesting to see the different ways Xanatos and Elisa interact with the gargoyles (well, Goliath, mostly). Xanatos is Mr. Smooth, with quick answers to all their questions, assurances of home and refuge and subtly implying that they owe him, priming them for his agenda. While is Elisa is eager and curious, saying she owes Goliath for saving her life and wanting to show them the city, fumbling a bit in her explanations because she has no agenda at all and so hasn't planned out every word. No surprise who ended up being the gargoyles' true friend, is it?

Anyway, Xanatos shows Goliath a video of the three places where the rival company, Cyberbiotics, are keeping the stolen disks (and when I say video, I mean it's on VHS. Would kids today even know what that is?), a research center on a tiny island, an underground base beneath the city, and a huge air fortress in a holding pattern above. 

Oookay, there is so much ridiculousness here that we're just going to skip over it, hmm? It makes for a nice heist adventure for our heroes in the next two episodes, we don't need to think more deeply than that.

The "living tapestry" astonishes the big guy. "Your naiveté is refreshing, Goliath," double-meanings Xanatos. Yeah, I bet it is. He may be awesome, but he's also kind of a dick. Goliath doesn't verbally commit to the plan, but as he leaves, it's pretty clear he'll agree. Once he's gone, a hidden door slides open, and Xanatos smirks to the individual lurking inside, "Don't worry. Everything's going according to plan."

Now, here I have to call bullshit. It's clear that the identity of this person is supposed to remain a mystery until the Big Dramatic Reveal in the next episode, but that gets totally ruined here. Tell me, does this look at all mysterious to you?

Who on earth could I be?

Maybe you should've gone with just a pair of glowing eyes, huh, guys?

Castle Wyvern, sunset. The young gargs immediately take off to explore the city, with Goliath warning them to "stay out of sight!" I'm sure that will go well. Goliath himself heads off to the nearby building for his date meeting with Elisa, scaring her by looming around the corner when she arrives. Then good ol' One-Eye swoops down to join them. "What are you doing here?" Goliath demands. Why, to make sure this wasn't an ambush. Elisa shakes her head at their paranoia, but come on, honey. I know Goliath told you about the betrayal and the clan-smashing and all. Wouldn't you be a little mistrustful?

Anyway, when Elisa asks what she should call them, we get some nice insight into the gargoyle mindset:
One-Eye: Must you humans name everything? Nothing's real to you 'til you've named it. Given it limits.
Elisa: It's not like that. It's just that...well...uh...things need names.
One-Eye: Does the sky need a name? (pointing) Does the river?
Elisa: The river's called the Hudson.
One-Eye: (sighs) Fine, lass, then I will be 'the Hudson' as well.
Elisa points out the flaw in Goliath's plan to avoid being seen by sticking to the rooftops; namely, she's not Batgirl. Goliath has a solution:

Bridal carry!

Which leads to the my favorite shot of the episode:

You're not fooling anybody, you know

After a bit of awkwardness, Hudson (yay!) declines to come along, and Elisa and Goliath are off.

Montage of the two flying gliding over New York, which is both gorgeous and easy to recap. When they alight, Goliath expresses wonder over the many changes that have happened in the last millenium, but asks where the walls are that keep out invaders. Elisa sages, "Our biggest worries aren't from outside. They're from inside." Goliath nods. "That, I am all too familiar with."

Cut to...Hudson? I would've thought Xanatos. Odd. Anyway, he and the gargoyle pooch are wandering the castle and find a small room equipped with a TV and an old recliner. May I ask who picked that chair out? It looks like something you'd find at a garage sale or my grandpa's basement, not at all something Xanatos or Owen would ever choose. Though it leads to a funny bit of business where Hudson turns on the TV to some screaming music video and flips the chair over backwards before fleeing the room in horror.

Dark city street. A poor guy named Brendan is having a rough night. He's constantly harangued by his bitchy wife Margo as first his car breaks down in this sketchy-looking neighborhood, his car phone doesn't work, he's menaced by three gang members when he checks under the hood, and the cop that shows up to save him is accompanied by a giant monster. (Hilariously, his wife locks him out of the car when the thugs appear. Brilliant.)

"Human gratitude?" snarks Goliath as Brendan and Margo run screaming into the night. Elisa's on another track though, as she stares down at the unconscious crooks. "You know, Goliath, you may be the best thing to happen to this city in a long time."

Elsewhere, the guys are perched next to some gargoyle statues, scoping things out. Little Green, who has been shown to be mechanically inclined, spies a motorcycle speeding by and is instantly captivated. So captivated that he loses all common sense and glides down close behind the biker, scaring him right off his bike. Somehow, Biker Boy is not injured or dead and also goes running off. (I remember this happening a lot, actually.) "Goliath said not to let anybody see us," Lean Red reminds him when he and Big Blue catch up. Little Green didn't mean to, but look! A machine! He hops on for a ride, saying, "It looks easy enough." Yeah, you can pretty much guess how that turns out.

"Maybe we'd better not tell Goliath about this."

Central Park. Goliath and Elisa are enjoying a moonlight stroll. Man, I remember these two getting romantic later on in the show, but I didn't realize how that was set up from the very beginning. Cool. Though this is probably not your typical first date banter:
Goliath: This world is just as savage as the one I remember.
Elisa: You're judging it the way humans have judged you. I mean, sure, the city shows an ugly face sometimes, but there's more to it than that. There's beauty here. Moms that sing to their kids, the way my mom used to.
 It's a sweet moment, deepening Elisa's character and drawing Goliath closer to her, and contrasting, again, with Xanatos' subtle scare tactics from earlier, but it's rudely interrupted by a tranq dart shot to Goliath's shoulder. The Goon Squad is back! Elisa draws her gun, but a goon kicks it out her hand and another restrains her. (Poor Elisa. That's the second gun she's lost in as many nights.) Goliath tries to fight but three goons dogpile him and he goes down. Head Goon approaches, gun aimed straight at Goliath and:

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