Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gargoyles: "City of Stone, Part Two"

In which Demona is even crazier than previously advertised.

First of all, many thanks to Paul Chapman, who was good enough to send me the Gargoyles Season 2, Vol. 2 DVDs! That is so amazing and cool of you, thank you so much!


Xanatos manages to land the helicopter in the middle of a street. "Any landing you can walk away from," he quips to stone Fox (who is now literally a stone fox instead of how Xanatos is always a...oh, never mind, puns aren't funny). He's shocked to see everyone on the street turned to stone. "Shocked" meaning he gasps. What I wouldn't give to see Mr. Smooth completely lose his shit, just once. He retrieves his laser rifle (which he keeps in the helicopter? Okay) and hoofs it back towards PackMedia Studios. See you at the end of the episode, Xanatos!

Clocktower. The gargoyles are confused by stone Elisa. They don't understand why she would give them a statue of herself. Brooklyn cracks me up by saying the nose is all wrong. Easy, cheap laugh, but it worked. Bronx knows it's really her, because doggies always know these things in popular entertainment. Goliath must at least suspect, since he declares that they need to make sure nothing happens to the statue. He orders Broadway to stay behind with Bronx and leads the others out on patrol.

Brooklyn mentions how quiet the city is and Hudson points out his friend Robbins' house. Ah, that's why Hudson wasn't the one left back at home with Bronx, like usual. I wondered. They land and make note of all the people statues as Hudson knocks on Robbins' door. Robbins (and Gilly the service dog) are glad Hudson stopped by, because the night has been rather odd. Brooklyn rudely breaks into the conversation so that Robbins and Hudson can have the following exchange: 
Robbins: Your friend is impatient. 
Hudson: The curse of youth.
Thematically significant! Robbins goes on to say that things got quiet around sunset and mentions the broadcast. Goliath is all over that, so Robbins leads them into the house to show them. At the sight of Demona on the screen Goliath commands Lex to silence it. Hee. I know he spends more time in the library than in front of the tube, but surely he knows how to work a mute button by now? Though I guess I should be grateful he didn't just destroy poor Robbins' TV.

I like Robbins, even though I didn't much like the episode that introduced him. I like the low-key, easy friendship he and Hudson have, it's very charming.

Anyway, they leave Robbins with a suggestion to stay inside. As they glide over the city, Goliath says that he didn't think Demona had the kind of power to do a spell like this. You know, me neither. And I also wonder what took her so long to do this. Not that these are problems - there could be any number of explanations and the first time I watched (er, the first recent time, not years ago) it didn't really occur to me, but right now I'm curious. Anyway, Hudson further explains to Lex/the audience that Robbins isn't a statue because magic requires both seeing and hearing to work. All magic? I thought that was a condition of this particular spell. So blind and/or deaf people are immune to all magic? Huh. I can't decide if I think that's dumb or not.

Goliath sends Lex and Hudson back to the Clocktower to get Broadway and Bronx in on the search for Demona, reasoning that Elisa will be safe enough there alone, since Demona doesn't know she's there. Well, maybe not, but it's not a big leap to make. Does Demona know about the Clocktower at all? I'm embarrassed to admit I can't remember. This crazy month has turned my brain to Swiss cheese, people.

Speaking of Demona, she is having an awesome time, smashing stone people to bits with a mace while laughing like a maniac. Um. Where to even start? Words fail me, honestly. How many ways can I say "bitch crazy"? Because she is CRAZY. I mean, listen to her, "Another human bites the dust. Or rather, turns to dust!" Demona, didn't I just say puns aren't funny?

Oh, but it gets more batshit:

That lady is going to wake up WITH NO ARMS! I mean, Jesus. If I hadn't watched American Horror Story last night, I could easily say that's the most fucked-up thing I've seen on TV recently. On a kids' cartoon from the '90's. I don't even know, people. Gargoyles, you are sick and wrong and I salute you.

Anyway, Demona mentions to no one that she has to go meet Xanatos at PackMedia Studios before killing some more people. They look exactly like those jerks Brendan and Margot, by the way, who were among the hostages at the beginning of Part One. I didn't mention them because I didn't care. The DVD commentary informs me that these two are not actually Brendan and Margot. I still don't care.

Anyway, the present-day guy in the Hunter's mask (remember him? I didn't. Seriously, Swiss cheese.) is flying around in his batplane and has tracked the broadcast to guess where, PackMedia Studios. I guess they're still playing coy with his identity, but c'mon, John Rhys-Davies' voice is unmistakable. Here's yet another question - how can he see or breathe?

Flashback! Good, I find the backstory more interesting than the goings-on in the present. Scotland, 1032 A.D. Gillecomgain the Hunter (with eyeholes in his mask, hello) and Demona are fighting, but are interrupted by the approaching sunrise. So, they still hate each other. I think even my Swiss cheese brain could've remembered that, but whatever.

Castle Moray. Macbeth and Bodhe are practicing their archery. Bodhe has apparently just announced that he's going to marry Gruoch to Gillecomgain. Macbeth is not happy. Bodhe points out that Prince Duncan has ordered this marriage and if Macbeth runs off with her, as he threatens, they'll never be safe. Macbeth is not happy some more.

Okay, this scene pisses me off. You know, where the Hero Lies to His Lady and Breaks Her Heart For Her Own Good, Because She's Apparently Too Stupid to Understand the Truth, and Isn't He Noble and Full of Man Pain and Don't We All Feel Sorry For Him. I hate this trope. HATE IT. It isn't noble and self-sacrificing, it's insulting. How does this help Gruoch, may I ask? Instead of being forced into marriage with an asshole while knowing that the man she loves still loves her but is unwilling to risk both their lives by fleeing (although she is willing to risk it, I note), she's...going to be forced into marriage with an asshole while believing that the man she loves doesn't think she's "worth the trouble." Yeah, that's much better. Oh, but wait, this isn't about Gruoch. This is about Macbeth and his deep dude pain.

Being allowed choices and agency is hard, y'all.

Wedding! Gillecomgain is smug, Gruoch is resigned, Prince Duncan is rather hilariously delighted. Macbeth is sulking in the corner like a big baby. Oh, whatever. Why'd he even come? Fake an illness if you're that broken up! The Weird Sisters, by the way, are there and Greek-chorusing the whole deal. Prince Duncan takes this opportunity to show off his newborn heir Canmore (which is a little odd, right?) and notices Macbeth pout his way out of the room.

Later, Gillecomgain and Prince Duncan are alone. Duncan is all, congrats on the wedding and hey, kill my cousin Macbeth, wouldja?

So casual! Just kicking back, plotting the murder of family members! I kind of love him. Give me a couple of villains talking of dastardly deeds and verbally fencing over silently-suffering emo heroes any day. To wit:
Gillecomgain: Nay, my lord. Macbeth is an heir to the crown and much beloved by the people. Besides, it might lead to some uncomfortable questions about his father's demise...and who demanded it.
Prince Duncan: Think well before you defy me, Gillecomgain.
Gillecomgain: (chuckles) Think well before you risk my defiance, Prince Duncan.
 See? That's so much more fun and less infuriating.

Edinburgh Castle. Another reason to like Prince Duncan, he gets shit done. Now that Gillecomgain's a threat, he's not going to waste any time in getting rid of him - by suckering Macbeth into killing him. Hee, awesome. He has summoned Macbeth to tell him about a shocking discovery he's made, the identity of the Hunter who killed his father - Gillecomgain!
Prince Duncan: Och, he fooled me completely. The wrongs I've done you, cousin...were it not for this blackguard, you would be High Steward of Moray and have Gruoch as your own! I dare not attack him openly - it could start a war between Moray and the rest of Scotland. All would suffer. What can be done?
That is some Xanatos-level manipulation right there. Kudos to you, Prince Duncan!

Speaking of manipulation, the Weird Sisters (who appeared in the previous scene as nursemaids to baby Canmore) are now in their elderly gargoyle guise again, telling Demona that the Hunter will be at Castle Moray that night (which, yeah, he lives there) and she really should ally with Macbeth to destroy him. Not that they have any other agenda, certainly not. Demona is still not thrilled at the idea of allying with a human, but she can't resist the thought of killing her enemy.

Castle Moray. Gruoch is sitting outside, sniffing a rose and thinking of that handsome young man who, from her point of view, tossed her aside like yesterday's trash. Romance! Gillecomgain comes out and we see that there is no love between this husband and wife, which, duh. He sends her back inside and picks up the rose, sniffing it before dropping it and crushing it beneath his boot. Just in case we didn't Get It.

Ah, here's Macbeth, in a righteous rage. "Draw your sword, sirrah, or I will strike you down like the cowardly dog you are!" That's a good line, but I'm a little sad that there wasn't a little more Inigo Montoya. Anyway, they fight and after a rough start, Macbeth has the upper hand. At this point, of course, Gruoch comes running out to complicate things. Gillecomgain grabs her immediately and Macbeth gives up his sword. And not just, like, tossing it aside in disgust; no, he has to kneel down and offer it up, because he is just that noble and awesome and also a huge drama queen. Lucky for him that Gillecomgain chooses this moment to pull on his Hunter's mask and a lurking Demona attacks. And here things kind of repeat the fight in Part One, only this time it's Gruoch who gets thrown at Demona and then swatted over the edge of the balcony. Luckily, Macbeth is able to pull her to safety by himself. Gillecomgain and Demona have been fighting throughout and it's actually quite intense. I love Demona's snarls. They said on the commentary what animal sound they used, but, Swiss cheese brain. A cougar? Anyway, Gillecomgain loses his sword over the edge and Demon rips his mask off.
Gillecomgain: Look closely, creature. 'Tis your handiwork, done when I was but a boy. Remember?
Demona: No.

Don't you hate it when the object of your decades-long vendetta has no idea what they did to set you off in the first place? That must suck. Gillecomgain is so crazed that he yanks Demona off the balcony with him. Macbeth runs over and finds Demona clinging one-handed to the side of the castle, Gillecomgain hanging on to her. Macbeth grabs her hand and tries desperately to pull her up and she takes what seems like forever to just knock Gillecomgain loose. Why would she hesitate on that one? The Hunters falls to his death (Has anyone ever made a Gargoyles drinking game? Take a shot when someone falls to their death in ancient Scotland!) and Macbeth helps Demona climb back over the edge. She thanks him sincerely, but is relieved to call them even when he points out that he owed her. Demona takes off and Gruoch and Macbeth walk inside arm-in-arm. I hope he apologizes to her for lying and breaking her heart.

Wedding! Bodhe announces Lord (recently restored to the Stewardship of Moray) and Lady Macbeth. They're happy. The people are happy. I set aside my crankiness and am happy. Not happy? Prince Duncan. He's watching the festivities from a nearby tower, holding his baby and brooding. "There will always be a Hunter, my son," he tells Canmore, brandishing the mask (how the hell did he get a hold of it?) He passes the kid over to a Weird Sister nursemaid and puts it on. "And there will always be the hunted." Cool. Also cool - the way the Weird Sisters all nod to one another.

Manhattan. Goliath and Brooklyn find the rubble from Demona's rampage. They're horrified. Brooklyn makes the obvious Castle Wyvern comparison while Goliath bemoans the fact that Demona's learned nothing. "Every life is precious." At this Goliath wanders over to examine three creepy little girl statues. Brooklyn worries that Elisa could be smashed like these people. Goliath roars, "NEVER! We will put an end to Demona's evil, once and for all." I bet Brooklyn would be all for this, but before he can say anything the little girl statues up their creepy quotient by INFINITY by opening their eyes and talking.


Okay. Once I get through the full-body shudders (at least they're not clowns or I might actually have nightmares), here's what they have to say:
Weird Sisters: Yes, she must be stopped. But remember your own words, Goliath, 'every life is precious.' Take care not to become what you fight against. Vengeance begets nothing but a vicious cycle of further vengeance.
When Brooklyn reaches out to touch one, all three crumble. So, there's that.

PackMedia Studios. Oh good, it's almost over. No reflection on the episode itself - I don't think it drags when you watch it, but man, I feel like I've been typing out this recap for about a hundred hours now. Demona creeps in and prepares to smash stone Owen, but Xanatos (and his rifle) stop her. He slams the rifle into the console and tells her he's cancelling her broadcast. She's all, NOT!, and there's running and shooting and Demona knocking Owen over, oops. Xanatos abandons his gun and makes a very heroic dive.

Whew! And aw! (And wasn't the phone cord disconnected when Demona first came in? And the receiver was stone, too, because...?)

Whatever. Demona grabs Xanatos and things don't look good for him, which means, ah yes, an interruption! No fight has been uninterrupted so far in these episodes. It's Macbeth the guy in the Hunter's mask and Demona immediately abandons Xanatos to attack him. More fighting. He shoots Demona with his taser (?) gun and groans in pain right along with her. She notices, and cries, "It's you! Don't you ever give up?" She escapes to the roof. She takes off, but he has another weapon, a grapple gun which shoots out a cable with a shackle on the end, which he manages to get around her ankle (Good aim, Macbeth Hunter guy!). More fighting. She manages to break the cable and take off again, but he grabs a hold of her as she goes.

Inside the studio, Xanatos kill the power. "That should do it. Right, Owen?" [Owen doesn't answer, on account of still being a statue] "Wonderful." Ha!

Demona flies around the city, her nemesis clinging to her back. This whole sequence is beautifully animated, by the way. She finally shakes him off into the side of a building (and feels the impact, so this link goes both ways) and escapes. Macbeth Hunter guy summons his hunterplane with a remote control. He's Batman, apparently. I wonder, does Batman exist in the Gargoyles world. Not as a real person, I mean, but as a fictional character, like in our world? Why am I even wondering about this when the recap is close to done? Swiss cheese brain!

Goliath and Brooklyn creep into PackMedia Studios. Xanatos, still working, is not surprised to see them. He tells them they missed all the fun. Goliath is pissed, of course. "I should make you pay for all the lives she's destroyed!" Xanatos is all, whatev, she fooled me too and we need to work together to stop her, are you in? Goliath sigh, but agrees aaaand:


Next time, hopefully my brain soon repairs itself to the consistency of, say, American cheese, and I recap Part Three. Right now I want a cheeseburger. See you soon!


  1. "And I also wonder what took her so long to do this."

    She didn't have the means to do this until she stole those Grimorum pages in Temptation. Following that, she needed to trick Xanatos into giving her access to Packmedia.

    "So blind and/or deaf people are immune to all magic? Huh. I can't decide if I think that's dumb or not."

    I asked Greg this years ago: "Robbins would not be immune to Archmage lightning, because the magic creates the lightning. Once created it's free to zap as many blind men as it can."

    1. "She didn't have the means to do this until she stole those Grimorum pages in Temptation. Following that, she needed to trick Xanatos into giving her access to Packmedia."

      Oh, I got that the spell was one of those she ripped out of the Grimorum. I was wondering what took so long since then. It's been over a year (I think? I admit I can't always keep track of how much time is passing, in-show). Like I said, it's not a continuity problem or a flaw in the writing or anything like that, I was just curious. Needing time to con Xanatos makes sense.

      What Greg W. said about the magic is interesting - thank you for stopping by to tell me. I'm leaning more towards "not-dumb" the more I think about it. I always appreciate internal consistency in magic or supernatural elements on TV.

    2. Ah, you're welcome. I'm glad you appreciate my little gift. :)

      Speaking of magic, I think the rule about seeing and hearing magic also only applies to human magic such as the spells in the Grimorum. The magic used by Puck in "The Mirror" didn't have that restriction; for example, Elisa didn't see or hear him cast the spell that turned her into a gargoyle.