Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gargoyles: "City of Stone, Part Three"

In which some die and others are made immortal.

Happy Halloween, everybody!


Clocktower. As the sun rises and with very dramatic musical acccompaniment, Elisa turns back into herself, mid-sentence. She looks around, confused.

PackMedia Studios. Xanatos watches Goliath and Brooklyn turn to stone and Owen turn back from stone. Like Elisa, he reanimates mid-sentence. He hangs the receiver (with a disconnected cord again) back up as Xanatos fills him in on the new alliance with Goliath and shoots down his suggestion of searching for a counter-spell in the Grimorum Arconorum. He prefers a scientific solution to breaking the spell. As it turns out, there is a loophole - the spell will be broken when "the skies burn." Owen points out they only have twelve hours until sunset. What is Fox doing right now, I wonder?

City Street. Travis Marshall is conducting a report on the mysterious broadcast and the mass amnesia of the previous night. A woman pushes through the crowd to say that she remembers what happened last night - everyone turned to stone! When asked why she wasn't turned to stone, she answers that she never watches television. Travis Marshall: "Right. Well. Thanks very much. Obviously, these events have taken the heaviest toll on the most fragile among us." Heh. Although, I think the stereotype of people who refuse to watch television is not "crazy" so much as "pretentious and snotty."

In his mysterious lair, Macbeth Hunter guy switches off Travis Marshall and rants about Demona getting away from him. He's so mad he sends us into a flashback.

Scotland, 1040 A.D. Macbeth and now-King Duncan are taking a walk among the hills with their sons, Canmore and Luach. [Sidebar: When I first started recapping this four-parter last month (sidebar-within-a-sidebar: I suck.) I wanted to know more about the Scottish succession in this time, so I went to Wikipedia. That...didn't make anything less confusing. Wikipedia being the black hole it is, I spent several hours reading up and all I came away with was that for generations, the Scottish kings were all related and all hated each other and were forever fighting and deposing and killing each other. Gargoyles managed to get that across without making my head spin, so good job, Show! Also, apparently Lulach was Gillecomgain's son, not Macbeth's. Huh.]

Sadly, I don't find King Duncan as fun a villain as Prince Duncan. Just as well that he'll be dead soon. He might as well be holding up a sign that says, "I Hate Macbeth," so unsubtle is he. Well, until he slips and nearly falls and Macbeth saves him. King Duncan is amazed by this basic decency. Macbeth demurs, "I'm sure you would have done as much for me, my lord." I can't decide if Macbeth is truly blind to how much King Duncan dislikes and distrusts him, or if he's exceptionally good at pretending he is. I tend to think it's the former, given most of his reactions and that it feels more Shakespearean to me that way, but it also makes Macbeth look, well, kind of dumb. Because again, King Duncan was not being subtle before.

Anyway. Duncan is blathering on about how Macbeth saving him proves he's not disloyal when Macbeth notices a cave full of gargoyles. And not just any gargoyles - Demona's rag-tag clan. Duncan hefts up a big stone, intending to smash the gargoyles, but Macbeth stops him. He recognizes Demona and keeping in mind how she's saved his life, asks for mercy. King Duncan agrees, slipping into the royal "we" which briefly makes me like him again and laying down some foreshadowing about hoping he doesn't regret Macbeth's counsel.

As the four of them are on their way back to Castle Moray they run into a bunch of fog and also trouble:

This scene is my favorite of the episode, not to mention that it's pretty fitting for Halloween. Allow me to transcribe:

Weird Sisters: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble. All hail Duncan; King of Scotland, father of the king hereafter. All hail Macbeth; King of Scotland, and father of the king hereafter.
Duncan: You speak treason, old crone!
Macbeth: You are but half-right, good mothers. Duncan is the right and proper king.
Weird Sisters: King now, he is. But each of you shall in turn be king.
Macbeth: I say thee nay, Weird Sisters! Prince Canmore is destined to be king after Duncan.
Weird Sisters: You would lecture us on fate?

The Weird Sisters disappear into the fog. Macbeth hastily tries to dismiss everything they said as crazy, while Luach and Canmore look uneasily at one another. King Duncan pretends to agree that it was all "utter nonsense" but clearly all his doubts are back with a vengeance.

Later that day, Duncan returns with a group of men to the gargoyle cave, intending to smash them so they can't provide any support to Macbeth. One of the men - I think it's the one that's supposed to be Macduff, but I'm not sure - points out that maybe just before sunset is not the best time to be doing this. Yeah, no kidding. But Duncan doesn't want to take the chance that they won't be there tomorrow.  He pulls on the Hunter's mask and gets to smashing. However, he only manages to destroy one gargoyle before the sun goes down and the others awake.

I think it's safe to say age has not mellowed Demona.

She slams Duncan into the wall of the cave and leads her clan away. In the air, she rages about the humans and hunters and the "fugitive existence" the gargoyles are forced to lead. She's getting old, but there is no one else to lead. (Her second-in-command looks mighty insulted at this assertion.)

Demona: Had I but the strength of my youth, I'd give the humans cause to run. There must be a way! Those Weird Sisters who told me of the Hunter, they appear and disappear like the wind. Perhaps they can help.

Castle Moray. Bodhe tells Macbeth that Duncan is bringing his army against him. Macbeth is astonished: "But why? I saved his life!" Yeah, I think I'm going with the "kind of dumb" theory. Bodhe all but says as much before advising surrender, in the hopes that Gruach and Luach be spared. I wonder if this is simple spinelessness or if Bodhe wants Macbeth out of the way so he can rule Moray in Luach's name. Either way, Macbeth is very easily swayed. He hugs his family goodbye and leaves to surrender himself to Duncan. I suppose it's very sad and noble, but I'm kind of rolling my eyes. I am maybe a little heartless.

Along the way, he runs into more fog. His horse is nervous. Probably because Demona is lurking nearby, as she is wont to do. Macbeth spies her and declares, "you are the answer!" Demona: "I am uninterested in the question." Ha! I do love Marina Sirtis' voice performance. Macbeth tries to enlist her help against Duncan, promising her clan protection in return. Demona's still resisting, but she's not saying no. The Weird Sisters, having clearly manipulated them both to this point, take their cue and appear to give them the final shove. They establish that Demona wants her youth back and that Macbeth would be willing to give anything to save his family, and join hands in a circle around the two of them to cast their spell.
Across the mists of space and time,
We pose this covenant sublime;
Macbeth his youth doth offer here,
To make this one a force to fear;
While she with fang and claw and wing,
Doth swears death his foes to bring.
By their acceptance are they consigned,
Unto each other's fate designed;
Forever and eternal bound,
And each other's pain resound!
While they chant, there is wind and magical lightening and Macbeth and Demona spinning in the air and it's quite interesting to watch, but hard to describe. The point is that Macbeth's youth bleeds over to Demona. When the Weird Sisters are finished, Demona is young again and Macbeth is gray-haired. I don't want to say "old" since he's still strong and healthy and capable of being a warrior. Two of the Sisters disappear again, but the dark-haired Sister lingers to give Macbeth a magical orb and a damn clue: Duncan ordered his father's death. Finally!

(Okay, 'nother sidebar: I know the Weird Sisters have names - Luna, Phoebe, and Selene - but I can't keep track of which is which. I guess the Swiss cheese brain has not been completely cured. I could look it up, I'm sure, but I'd just forget again. I can remember that the dark-haired one is the Sister that personifies vengeance, so it makes sense that she'd be the one to tell Macbeth this.)

Macbeth's Army Camp. Bodhe tells Macbeth that everyone is in position while Gruach wonders if he made a bad bargain. A creepy howl is heard outside and Demona strides into the tent to tell Macbeth "it's time." For battle, I assume. He orders Bodhe to take Gruach and Luach behind the line and the former tells her husband to fight bravely. Macbeth: "It's the only way I know how." Oh dear, there go my eyes rolling again. Demona turns away. I think she's supposed to be affected by their love or something but it amuses me to think she agrees with me that Macbeth's kind of an overly-heroic doof. I prefer the darker, crazier one in the future. (Um, the future being 1995. You know what I mean.)

Battle. The armies seem evenly matched to me (so shut up, Bodhe) but the tide turns in Macbeth's favor when the gargoyles (all four of them) join the fray. "You fight like a demon!" he calls admiringly to Demona. Finally, Macbeth and Duncan face off. They exchange unpleasantries, but of more interest to me is Demona's behavior: she plants herself protectively in front of Macbeth before he fights Duncan, and during the fight when one of Duncan's men tries to treacherously kill Macbeth (again, I think that guy is Macduff, which, hee) she grabs him and throws him into a cliff face. Aw, she likes Macbeth. Well, probably it's more that she hates Duncan and is keeping her end of the bargain for the moment, but maybe she likes Macbeth a little. Or hates him less than other humans, which is probably the same thing for Demona.

Anyway. Duncan disarms Macbeth, but he pulls out the magical orb. When Duncan's sword makes contact, it kills him. By burning him from the inside out.

This is apparently something S&P found less disturbing than being run through with a sword. Okay. Duncan's burning body stumbles off a cliff (of course he falls off a cliff). Demona finds the Hunter's mask in his still-smoking helmet. The battle is won.

Army camp. Macbeth is being hailed as king while Bodhe shows himself to be ever more delightful by taunting a recently orphaned boy. Canmore is not so easily cowed and declares that he should be king. He has a point. Bodhe whispers to Macbeth that Canmore will be trouble and should be killed. He has a point too, but ugh. Shut up, Bodhe. Macbeth does the moral, if politically unwise, thing and banishes Canmore to England. The little prince has some guts though, he grabs a knife and attacks Demona, blaming her for everything. She overpowers him easily, of course, throwing him back to the ground and telling him not to throw his life away. Unnoticed by everyone, though, Canmore has grabbed the Hunter's mask hanging from her belt and shoved it into his shirt. He's hauled away, smirking.

Coronation. Macbeth is crowned king on the Stone of Destiny, declaring a new Golden Age between gargoyles and humans. Demona and her gargoyles are present, standing to the right of Macbeth's throne, with Gruach on the left.

Macbeth: Humans will learn to respect you.
Demona: I would rather they feared me.
Macbeth: They'll do that, too...Demona.
Demona: Demona...I like the sound of that.

Macbeth declares Demona his primary advisor and the people cheer. Demona looks startled, then pleased. Also looking pleased are the Weird Sisters, disguised as serving girls at the coronation feast.

23th Precinct. The Weird Sisters, now disguised as cops, try to calm one of many confused citizens. In Captain Chavez' office, she tells Matt and Elisa that the FCC has tracked the broadcast to PackMedia Studios and blah, blah, blah stuff the audience already knows. Chavez asks Elisa if she has any thoughts. Elisa: "No good ones." We cut away before either Chavez or Matt tell Elisa to cut the cryptic bullshit already and say what she means.

Castle Wyvern. Owen and Xanatos (in his armor) are hard at work equipping Steel Clan robots with explosives. Owen points out that it's nearly sunset. Just then, they realize Elisa's on her way up in the elevator. She comes in loaded for bear, talking about how Xanatos owns PackMedia, "so as usual, this is your fault." What's weird is how these words should clearly be directed at Xanatos, but she's speaking directly to Owen. Some kind of animation error? Anyway, Owen smarms that Xanatos is trying to help, what is she doing? This pisses her off even more, and I have to think that and the stress of this whole situation, plus not knowing where Goliath and the other are, are really getting to her; because otherwise I find it quite out of character for her to grab Owen like she does. They start to tussle, but then (luckily?) the sun sets and they're both statues again. Xanatos shrugs and gets back to work. I still want to know where Fox is.

Soon after, all the gargoyles arrive. Goliath suspiciously asks why Elisa is there. Xanatos waves that off and explains his plan: he, the gargoyles and the robots will fly over the city dispensing a gas. There's a timer set on his computer set for 25 minutes, upon which the gas will ignite and the" sky will burn," breaking the spell. That should be enough time for Xanatos and the gargoyles to dispense the gas and get back to safety, although the Steel Clan Robots will be lost. Throughout this explanation, Bronx has been growling and tearing at a tapestry (from the 12th century, as Xanatos wryly points out). No one bothers to investigate this, causing me to, as the Internet says, *facepalm*

And who is it that creeps out from behind the tapestry once they've all left to save New York? It's certainly not Polonius, that's a whole different play. It's everyone's favorite genocidal maniac, monologuing to no one who can hear like the top-tier villain she is. She "thanks" Xanatos for leaving his computer in such an easily sabotage-able state, but first things first...


  1. Your review of City of Stone Part Four shows up on my "list" but I click and it says the entry is missing.

    1. Replying a month late, so I'm not sure you'll even see this - but, yeah, I don't know what that's about. I do have my unfinished review of Part Four in draft form but that shouldn't show up in your list. I'm sorry.