Friday, August 2, 2013

Gargoyles: "Awakening, Part Two"

In which Goliath inspires Rodin, and attempts at revenge gang aft agley.


Castle Wyvern, 994. We pick up right where we left off, with Goliath bellowing into the night. Down below, One-Eye observes the cut bowstrings and draws conclusions as the three young gargoyles and their dog emerge from the rookery into the hellish scene. They are in shock. Goliath leaps down to desperately ask if any others survived. "None. Only us."

Perhaps to avoid confronting that stark truth, Goliath immediately forms a plan of action. "We will save the humans. And we will have our REVENGE!" Imagine the growliest growl a human throat can produce while remaining intelligible and you'll have some idea of how Keith David delivered that final word.

Thwarted or misplaced revenge is something of a theme in this episode.

Viking Camp. The Vikings are having a grand ol' time, while their prisoners predictably are not. Wee Tom tries to comfort his sobbing mother by telling her the gargoyles are coming. (And calls them his friends! So sweet. I love Tom.) She doesn't believe him. Up in Hakon's cave, he and Captain Muscles are discussing what to do with the trussed-up Magus and princess. Hakon is of the opinion that the Magus is worth more alive than dead, "barely." Captain Muscles agrees and I wish I knew why. Dude has been a complete waste of space so far. Captain Muscles goes on to make the far more logical point that Princess Petty's uncle the King is likely to pay a handsome ransom for her. This prompts an angry rant from the Magus, who you'd think would want to do whatever he could to encourage that line of thinking, since it's the best bet for PP's continued well-being. Ah, but he's not one to think things through, as we'll see shortly.

Anyway, his attempt at threatening "if I had my book of spells, I'd-" falls rather flat when Hakon picks up that very book from his pile of plunder. "Makes me glad I can't read," he scoffs as he rips out a page and feeds it to the campfire. You know, just in case we didn't realize he was a loutish jackass. Princess Petty does a slightly better job with her defiant speech, but what really gives them pause is the sound of gargoyles on the attack outside. The princess is triumphant. "You're a dead man, Hakon!" He pulls a knife. "Maybe. But not before you." Princess Suddenly Kick-Ass knocks him off-balance and makes a run for it, with her arms still roped to her sides. Hakon and Captain Muscles quickly follow, leaving behind a hysterical Magus, who finally does something useful by cutting his bonds on some sharp rocks. Huh. He's in love with her, yes?

Battle. I am not an action recapper. Suffice it to say that Goliath spies Hakon and Captain Muscles chasing the princess and follows, the others make short work of the Vikings and Tom is vindicated. Yay, Team Gargoyle!

Oh, but wait, here's the Magus to fuck it up. Magic book in hand, he blames the gargoyles for what he presumes is the princess' death. "If I could but wield a sword, I would send you all to join her! But this will have to do instead." With that, he starts in with the wizard-fu, intoning in Latin and bringing up magical winds and so forth. We don't see the end result of his spell (yet), but a horrified Tom does.

The Magus is the freaking worst, seriously. Captain Muscles is a fool, but I can understand and sympathize with his motives, and Hakon, while awful, is really just going about his Viking-ish business of pillaging and looting. His murder of the gargoyles was heinous, but also a practical decision to end a threat to that business. He's a bad guy, obviously, but he doesn't really make my blood boil. The Magus does. I don't even know where to start with the twisted logic, the jumping to conclusions, the reckless use of magic to wreak pointless vengeance....just, grrrr.

The Absolute Worst.

Meanwhile, Princess Marathon Runner has the edge of a cliff. Um, your highness, I realize you're high on panic and adrenaline, but are you also blind? Oh, wait, it's a contrivance. Never mind. Hakon grabs her just as Goliath lands behind them. He is shocked to recognize Captain Muscles. (Could he not make him out from the air?) "It was nae supposed to be this way!" Muscles tries to explain. Weak sauce, dude. Goliath agrees. "All of my kind are dead...and now you two will join them!" Captain Muscles then engages in a little victim-blaming, which goes over about as well as you'd expect. Hakon is thinking on his feet. "He's the one you want," he claims, pointing at his partner in crime. "He shattered them!" The man keeps his head in a crisis, you have to give him that.

Unlike Captain Muscles, who tackles him in a rage and sends them both flying over the edge, along with the princess. Dumbass. Goliath saves her, naturally, but the others go plummeting the sea? To the bottom of a canyon? An endless abyss? Who knows and Goliath's not asking. He's too pissed. "I've been denied everything...EVEN MY REVEEEEENGE!"

Hee. Am I the only one who giggled at the delivery of that line? It's just so over-the-top. But more seriously, revenge is not exactly working out for anybody here. Captain Muscles' revenge against Castle Wyvern, Hakon's attempt to kill the princess, Muscles' attack on Hakon, Goliath is denied his, and the Magus...well, let's see, shall we?

Princess Conciliatory hesitantly steps up to Goliath to express...gratitude? Comfort? An apology? We never find out because here comes wee Tom running up in a panic. "Goliath, you've got to help your friends!"

And we finally see what the Magus (THE WORST) hath wrought with his ill-placed spell. Allow Goliath to sum up, "Stone? At night? What sorcery is this?" The Magus (ABSOLUTE WORST) starts to work his mojo on Goliath, but, oops! Here comes the princess, stepping out from behind Goliath. "Oh, Magus," she breathes, staring at the magically petrified gargoyles. "What have ye done?" He collapses, babbling. "I was mad with grief!" Goliath is not interested in excuses. He lifts the Magus above his head, demanding he reverse the spell. Um, about that. That page our illiterate Viking friend tossed into the fire? Just so happens to be the one page with the counter spell on it. Nothing he can do.

Goliath is quiet, now. The truth he tried to bury earlier with thoughts of revenge has finally sunk in, only worse. Before, he still had a handful of his family left, now he is truly alone. Tellingly, he makes no move to revenge himself on the Magus.

"You turned them to stone forever?" the princess asks. Well, until the castle "rises above the clouds." Might as well be forever, right? Suuuuure.

But the characters believe it. The mood is somber as Goliath places the stone figures of his friends in their places on Castle Wyvern. "We've done you a great wrong, Goliath," says the princess, and she sounds so sincere I decide to use her name, even though it hasn't been spoken yet. (I didn't remember, so I had to look it up). The Magus expresses his regret as well, which Goliath ignores. Snerk. He asks Princess Katharine (see!) what she means to do now. She'll take her people to the King, where they'll be safe. Goliath has a request. "The eggs in the rookery will soon hatch. They will need guidance." Katharine understands. They'll care for them "as if they were our own." Uh, maybe you will. I'm still giving the side-eye to Mr. Magic over there. I don't quite trust his remorse. If Princess Katharine's feelings hadn't changed (and I do believe her), would he be singing this tune?

Anyway. Finally, Goliath looks to the Magus. "Cast your spell one more time." And so:

And on that note, I'm out. I know, I know, the episode is not over yet, but this seems to be a natural stopping point and my fingers are tired. Gimme a break.

Next time, Xanatos!

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