Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gargoyles: "Awakening, Part Two, cont."




In which Goliath Van Winkle awakes to a whole new world.

 PREVIOUSLY ON GARGOYLES:  I got lazy and only recapped half an episode.

Scotland. Day has dawned on Castle Wyvern, but clearly more than a few hours have passed. The castle is in sorry shape - crumbling, overgrown with vines, and utterly abandoned. The only sign of life is this gentleman:

"At last!"

Indeed, sir! I am ridiculously exited. It is not overstating the case to say the character of Xanatos, and Gargoyles as a whole, opened my mind to the complexities of human nature. Finding a multifaceted, difficult-to-define character on a cartoon ostensibly aimed at kids my age helped me to realize neither fictional or actual people could necessarily be placed in the comfortable categories of "good" and "bad." The process wasn't quite so linear as that, of course, and would have happened anyway, considering that it was around this time I really caught the book bug and started widely expanding my reading material beyond The Baby-sitters Club. (Coincidence?) And what is entertainment -animation, TV, film, fiction, comics, art, literature, what have you - then reflections of human nature?

Also, the guy is so effing cool. And, in a world that contains such a thing as Bronies, I won't be embarrassed to say, sexy. Certainly he's the only man I've ever come across who can pull off the ponytail look. So what if he's animated?

Back to the show. Xanatos, with childlike glee, races all the way to the top of the tower where stone Goliath sits. "Magnificent!" he proclaims. "Make the offer now, Owen. This instant!"

Xanatos' bespectacled and humorless assistant - who is apparently so super-efficient he can materialize out of thin air - warns his boss about the astronomical cost of what he has planned, as well as the potential difficulties of hiring a crew. Apparently Castle Wyvern has a reputation for being haunted.

Check out the 90's-era cell phone!

"You know the answer to that, Owen. Pay a man enough and he'll walk barefoot into hell."

So. Effing. Cool.

Quick montage of the "venture:" disassembling Castle Wyvern and rebuilding it atop Xanatos' skyscraper in Manhattan. I repeat, disassembling Castle Wyvern and rebuilding it atop a skyscraper. Um, HEE. That is insane. What kind of skyscraper has the structural integrity to hold up a giant stone castle? And prohibitively expensive - surely even a gazillionaire like Xanatos would take a huge financial hit. Plus, I would think such a project would take years if not decades to complete instead of the weeks or months we're supposed to infer. It is utterly ridiculous. So ridiculous, it circles right back around to being awesome. Plus, as you can see, it fulfills a certain requirement:

Above the clouds

Manhattan. Xanatos stands on the rebuilt Wyvern tower next to Goliath. "Don't disappoint me," he warns as the sun sinks below the horizon. A storm picks up and rain starts to fall as Goliath is finally freed from the curse. He roars. A few yards below, in a very cool spinning shot, the other gargoyles awaken as well. "Yes!" Xanatos exults.

Somehow not seeing or hearing him, Goliath drops down to join his friends. Joy turns to WTF!? as they notice the surrounding city. Xanatos emerges from the shadows behind them, asking, "You are the one called Goliath?" On receiving a wary affirmative, he gives a Mr. Burns-esque "Excellent." Hee.

Down in the dining hall, the gargoyles want to know how long they've slept. "This may be a shock," Xanatos says, leaning against the fireplace. "A thousand years have gone by since the spell was cast." As they stand in stunned silence, he goes on, "I learned about the castle and you six from an ancient book that recently came into my possession." He waves a hand toward a display case containing the Magus' grimoire. Apparently ol' Magus wrote the whole story inside. "Now, I'm sure you have questions," he invites, like he's in a business meeting, which is probably exactly how he thinks of this conversation. Xanatos is brilliant throughout this whole scene. He sells sincerity enough to be believable, but is just a shade too sympathetic, which hints at the manipulation.

The gargoyles do indeed have questions. How did you break the spell? Raised the castle above the clouds. What about the eggs in the rookery? Gone. They are the last of their kind. Goliath gets to the point. "Why have you done all this?"

Oh, idle curiosity, really. He got a hold of the grimoire somehow, read the Magus' story, and up and moved an entire castle to the top of his skyscraper on another continent on the off-chance it was true and the statuary would come to life. Naturally. And now, "I want to be your friend. There is much we can do for each other, Goliath."

Goliath is justifiably wary, but before Xanatos can elaborate, he is interrupted by the sound of a helicopter. He goes to check it out, tossing a "you'll be safer if you stay here" over his shoulder. Oh, yeah. He's good.

 Outside, five armed goons drop from the chopper and confront Xanatos. When he asks what they want, the Head Goon says, "You'll find out soon enough." That won't be the last clich├ęd movie line of the night. Seeing a threat to their castle, the gargoyles attack.

Oy. These fight scenes are cool to watch, but a bitch to recap. In sum: gargoyles attack, Xanatos has mad kung-fu skillz, the gargs are unprepared for modern weapons such as guns, tasers, and grenades, Xanatos has a laser rifle hidden in a secret panel built into the rock of the castle (because of course he does) which he uses to save Goliath's life, shit starts blowing up.

And now we've caught up to the opening scene of Part One, as debris from the battle falls to the street below.

A grenade knocks Goliath off the castle and he falls a good ways before digging his claws into the side of the building and eventually stopping himself.

Below, Elisa puzzles over the gouge marks in a fallen boulder.

One of the goons makes his way inside and steals a briefcase. Goliath drags himself back up to the castle and I realize gargoyles fly not like birds but like flying squirrels.

Attack!

The goons toss a canister of tear gas and escape in their chopper.

The gargoyles are amazed by the unfamiliar weapons. And the dragon! No, Little Green corrects, it was a machine. Xanatos thanks them for their help, Goliath is, er, less than receptive. Xanatos is smooth, not taking offense. As he calls Owen to arrange a clean-up crew, Goliath asks why he was attacked. "The richer you are, the more enemies you have," Xanatos non-explains. "And I'm very rich." Then the following conversation ensues:
Xanatos: Goliath. This is your home, as well as my headquarters. I hope you'll consider working with me to keep it safe.
One-Eye: It's your decision, lad...but we've nowhere else to go.
Goliath: This castle is our home, no matter where it has been taken. We will stay here.
Xanatos: Excellent! (grasps Goliath by the hand) I know you've been used poorly by men in the past but all that is about to change. Trust me.
Goliath: (pulls his hand away) You broke the spell of sleep that imprisoned us, Xanatos, and for that we are grateful. But we will never trust humans again.
Xanatos: I can tell this relationship is something we'll all have to work at.
Goliath: Hmmm.
Down on the street, the cop asks "what do you figure that was all about, Detective?"

"I don't know," Elisa says, her expression determined. "But I'm going to find out."

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