Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gargoyles: "City of Stone, Part One"

In which Elisa gets stoned.

Sorry! That's a terrible, terrible pun, but I could not get it out of my head, so there it is.

PREVIOUSLY ON MY GARGOYLES REWATCH: I watched "City of Stone" and stressed out about how to write about it, as if it were a damn class paper or something (though I think one could get a good paper out of it) and so I it was a damn class paper and then real life got extremely shitty. But! I need a distraction, so I scrapped the ridiculous, somewhat pretentious first draft I had halfway done, and have decided to go the recap route. Onward!

Matt and Elisa have been called to a hostage situation. Negotiations are going badly, to put it mildly. But look! Here come the gargoyles to the rescue! They make short work of dealing with the hostage-takers, who are not important at all, since their vague references to their "cause" and "demands" are never specified. The real upshot of this scene are these three:

The creepiest children since those twins in The Shining. So already I'm giving them the side-eye, even before they give some not-really-cryptic advice to Goliath and literally disappear. Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. What they say is actually important.
Creepy Triplets (not in unison, but finishing each others' sentences, which is just as creepy): The cause is everything until her own life is threatened. Still, it's good that you saved her. If you forget what she's forgotten - that every life is precious - then you'll be no different from her.
Goliath: I'll never be like this terrorist.
Creepy Triplets: We were not talking about this terrorist. (Disappears)
 Okay then! Who, who, who could they mean?

Scotland, 994 A.D. We see that scene from "Awakening" where Demona and Captain Muscles urge Goliath to take all the gargoyles to search for the Vikings, and he only agrees to go alone (except for Hudson). Once he's gone, we get a new (to us) scene where Demona and Captain Muscles discuss their plan to betray the castle to the Vikings. Demona (who has  aged several decades in the past minute because apparently there was miscommunication between the writers and the animators, which, seriously? I admittedly know nothing about how animation actually works but are animators not made aware of, you know, what's going on in the story? Did they not realize that it makes no sense for the older Demona model to be in this scene? It puzzles me) points out that changing the plan to have Hakon's Vikings attack during the day will leave the gargoyles vulnerable. Captain Muscles swears to keep the clan safe. Oof.

As dawn is about to break, Demona tries to talk to Othello and Desdemona, but spying approaching Vikings, she's all, "Never mind! It's nothing!" and leaves the castle. And here  is where I think she crosses the Rubicon, so to speak. She could have still saved her clan at this point, or at least some of them. She's in charge in Goliath's absence, she could have said, "no time to explain, but we can't spend the day at the castle! Come to the beach with me!" There would have been no hiding her betrayal with Captain Muscles, but fewer gargoyles would have been murdered. She chose the cowardly way out and abandoned them to their fate. That choice will inform her character going forward.

Of course, we know what she finds the next night. Her clan, massacred. She weeps, but when she spies Goliath returning, she flees, unable to face him, or herself. She returns hours later to find Goliath and the others under the Magus' spell. She's shocked and handily verbalizes her fatal flaw, "What have I...what have they done to you?" She watches Princess Katharine, the Magus, and Tom load up the gargoyle eggs and drive off. Of course, she makes no move to "save" the eggs from the "evil" humans. She kisses stone Goliath and leaves.

Some undetermined time later, a farm boy named Gillecomgain is whining about his chores when he finds Demona stealing food from the stables. She claws him viciously across the face before leaving. Gee, do you think this unnecessary and impulsive act might have far-reaching consequences? I just don't know.

In the present, Demona meets up with Owen and Xanatos where they spout exposition about their plan for the audience's sake, since they all presumably know the plan. In short, Xanatos and Owen will commandeer all the TV channels in the area (which they also did back in "The Thrill of the Hunt") and Demona will cast a spell that will steal a minute of life from every person who both sees and hears her. Because the plot says he must, Xanatos leaves, while Owen films Demona casting the spell. I have no understanding of Latin, but Owen does and Oh Em Gee, Demona has screwed them over! How utterly unexpected! This alliance was so secure. Demona magics Owen into a trance and ties him to a chair.

In her apartment, Elisa observes Demona chanting the spell on TV. She runs out. In her car, she passes a bunch of people watching TV in front of a store window, a phenomenon I've only ever seen in TV and movies. Does anybody actually do this? Anyway, among them are the now adult-appearing mysterious creepy triplets (oh, all right, Weird Sisters) talking mysteriously about their mysterious plan that has been in the works for 975 years. The greatest mystery, however, are their outfits:

I...don't understand. Those clothes are so hideous they trigger a flashback.

Scotland, 1020 A.D. Now appropriately-aged Demona and a group of new gargoyles rob a mill. This is clearly a semi-regular occurrence, since there are chains on the door and guards in wait. The guards are unable to stop them, but they do name-drop "the Hunter." Then Demona straight-up murders them. With a mace. I... really need to stop being surprised by what this show gets away with.

Anyway, back in the cave that's apparently their hideout, there's dissension in the gargoyle ranks. One gargoyle grumbles that maybe they should make peace with the humans. Yeah, you can imagine Demona's reaction to that. She raves a bit before being interrupted by three old crone gargoyles (guess who?) who offer up some advice: align this rag-tag clan with the human enemies of the mysterious Hunter at Castle Moray in order to defeat him. Demona is still resistant to the idea of human alliance. Because, you know, she certainly never betrays anybody.

Castle Moray. A pretty young girl named Gruoch has just checkmated Findlaech, an older gentleman with John Rhys-Davies' voice. Therefore, it's no surprise that when he calls his teenage son over to play the next match, that the boy is named Macbeth. As the youngsters fall in love over the chessboard, their fathers talk politics. The upshot is that they don't much like future king Duncan (Macbeth's cousin) but Findlaech, Steward of Moray, is still determinedly loyal. So it's ironic that thirty seconds after the others leave the room, he's attacked by a masked assassin sent by Duncan (is that a spoiler? Because I guessed it immediately). Also, the assassin is the gargoyle-hating Hunter and his mask has three crimson slashes across it in the shape of claw marks. So we all know it's farmboy Gillecomgain, right? This is not meant to be shocking later on? Good. Anyway, Findlaech holds the Hunter off for a while with a food platter, making it clear he doesn't shop at the same Super-Sharp Sword Store as Hudson. Macbeth runs in to try to help, and then so does Gruoch, against her father's wishes, but no good. The Hunter kills Findlaech, not by running him through, but by tossing him off the balcony, because we can't flash back to old-time Scotland without someone plummeting to their death. Macbeth is all set to avenge his father, which I can't imagine will go well, but wait! Here's Demona, come to kill the Hunter. But uh-oh, in all the fighting Macbeth has ended up hanging over the side of the castle. Gruoch tries to pull him to safety, but is not strong enough and is getting pulled over with him. In what may be the most shocking moment of all four episodes, Demona chooses to save the young couple instead of finishing off the Hunter, who escapes. She can't really believe it, either

Castle Edinburgh. Gillecomgain the Hunter reports Findlaech's death to a delighted Prince Duncan and is rewarded with his post as Steward of Moray. Prince Duncan is unconcerned that Macbeth still lives, believing he's no threat without his father. Uh-huh. Also of note, the Weird Sisters appear as servants in this scene.

Present Day. Some mysterious person in a mysterious location (how man times have I typed that word?) pulls on the Hunter's mask while listening to Demona cast the spell.

Police Station. Matt (Matt! I love Matt) stops Elisa in the hallway, talking about the mysterious (agh!) broadcast. She blows him off.

Eyrie Building. Xanatos jumps in a helicopter piloted by Fox. On their way to PackMedia Studios, she snarks on Demona's broadcast. He didn't watch it and is surprised Fox did, since he told her not to. Oh, David. You didn't let your wife in on your plan for immortality and expected her to obey some nonsensical (from her point of view) order? Bad form, sir. Bad form. Just then, he gets a call from Owen, reporting Demona's sudden and inevitable betrayal. As the sun slips below the horizon, both Owen and Fox turn to stone. The helicopter begins falling to the ground.

Clocktower. The gargoyles awake and discover Elisa has also been turned to stone. Aaaaand:

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