Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gargoyles: "Temptation"

In which Brooklyn really should have gone with his first instinct.

 I'm guessing a truly dedicated Gargoyles fan (like truly dedicated fans of any other show) would be able to identify an episode from even the simplest of plot descriptions. So let's play a quick game of Name That Ep!, shall we? Ready?

One of the younger gargoyles trusts someone he shouldn't, is used to lure Goliath into a trap, then there's some fight action, and our heroes prevail in the end. Name That Ep!

Oh, wait. That's impossible, because this episode and the previous one tell the exact same story. Elisa shows up again to remind Goliath that, hey, Xanatos exists and will be getting out of prison soon and since he actually still owns the castle, they need to be looking to relocate, only to have her concerns waved off. It even pulls the same trick of having the young garg and Goliath turn to stone mid-argument, only to immediately pick it up again once the sun goes back down. Why, then, is "Tempation" so much stronger than "The Thrill of the Hunt?"

A couple of reasons. First of all, Elisa gets a little more to do other than play Cassandra. She doesn't feature into the bulk of the plot, but she is the one who comes up with the solution to de-zombifying Goliath.

Secondly, the untrustworthy party in question. The Pack worked perfectly fine in that role, but Demona is such a dynamic character - her very presence makes everything messier and more personal for our heroes. It doesn't hurt that she is way scarier than all of The Pack combined.

Third, on the character development front, I thought "Temptation" did much better with Brooklyn than "Hunt" did with Lex. We followed him for the whole episode and every step on his journey made sense. Sure, it also made sense that Lex would watch The Pack's TV show and get obsessed, but here we could see how Brooklyn's interaction with the biker gang left him in just the right head space to be vulnerable to Demona's manipulations. And those manipulations were masterful. (Although I thought the step in-between was rather off - when the two first began to talk Brooklyn seemed most resentful of Demona for shooting at him back in "Awakening" instead of, you know, because she's responsible for most of their clan being smashed into rubble.) Making Brooklyn complicit in tricking Goliath was a smart move as well. No, he didn't know Demona's true intentions, but he did steal the Grimorium Arcanorum (hell, even the magic book gets a name!) and lie to Goliath to get him to The Cloisters, so she could put a "truth" spell on him. Not that I'd want or expect Goliath or the others to hold a grudge against Brooklyn for this, but it certainly makes him more interesting in my eyes. He's proven willing to deceive his family if he thinks it's necessary, but Demona's (latest) betrayal - which cuts all the deeper because he partially shares in it - has pushed him even further away from her twisted worldview. Net gain, I'd say.

Next up, "Deadly Force." I imagine there's one or two things to be said about this one, no?

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