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Gargoyles Watch

Episodes 2x09 to 2x12 [City of Stone: Present Day]

Gargoyles Watch

Gargoyles Watch 2

Episodes 2x09 to 2x12 [City of Stone: Present Day]

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[disney] dear lj, [misc] dear lj
I apologise for the delay in getting this posted. I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait, though. silverspidertm2 led you in the discussion of the City of Stone flashbacks at the beginning of the week – the post I still open if you’ve got anything else to add – and now it’s time to take a look at the present day portion of the story.

If you have any problems or queries, or anything else that you think we should know about, don’t hesitate to contact myself or one of the other moderators. We can be contacted very easily by PM or at our mailbox.

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When it comes to writing up City of Stone, I’ve definitely got the easy job. The revelations about Macbeth and Demona are, without a doubt, the main points of the episodes, and I’m willing to bet that they’re the parts you focused on most when you were watching it.

That said, I am very fond of the way the past and present sections of the episodes linked together to tell the story. The sections in Manhattan aren’t just there to fill up time. Would Demona’s attempt to destroy New York have packed the same punch if we didn’t get to see what had driven her to that point? Would Macbeth’s vendetta against her have made as much sense if his back story hadn’t been seen onscreen? No, of course it wouldn’t.

So, although we’ve divided the episodes up like this for ease of posting, don’t forget to keep both sections in mind when you’re commenting. And, of course, have fun!

Episode 1

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“If you forget what she’s forgotten – that every life is precious – then you’ll be no different from her.”
“I will never be like this terrorist!”
“We were not talking about
this terrorist.”

The episode opens fairly ordinarily. Matt is playing the role of negotiator as a hostage situation unfolds. (As an aside, I just have to mention how much I love seeing the police officers doing their job. Yes, the gargoyles save the day, but we still get the impression that the police are in control of the situation. Which is something that is sure to be mentioned again in Protection.) I love Brooklyn’s exchange with Brendon and Margot. He sounds almost resigned to the fact that they won’t be thanked. Which can’t really be easy.

(As another aside apparently, the terrorists would have cropped up in Bad Guys. Greg has picked out the cause they were fighting for, but he’s keeping tight-lipped.)

How quickly did you spot the Weird Sisters? Did you notice anything particularly unusual about the creepy children during the heist? I did, largely because eerie triplets making prophecies never ends well. There was no time to wonder who they were talking about, though, because we immediately get a lovely shot of Demona sweeping down towards Pack Media Studios. Not the change in soundtrack – it’s almost whimsical. Whatever she’s planning, it’s bad news for the city and a bit of fun for her.

By the time we get back to the present after the flashback, the music has changed again. This time it’s the dark ‘something bad is about to happen’ music. Even Xanatos, Demona’s ally, doesn’t trust her. Owen – who Demona refers to as the tricky one, hinting nicely at his true identity – is left behind to keep an eye on her. Sure, it doesn’t work, but you tend to get points for trying.

I really, really enjoy the ending of this episode, Elisa is turned to stone while she rushes to warn the gargoyles. Xanatos is hurtling towards the ground when Fox is turned to sound. Owen’s attempt to explain what is going on it cut short. Episodes so often end with sunrise and the gargoyles turning to stone that seeing it subverted was a very nice touch indeed.

Episode 2

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”I don’t understand. Why would someone give us a statue of Elisa?”
“It’s a pretty good likeness.”
“I don’t think so, the nose is all wrong.”

I love how calm Xanatos was when Fox transformed. He lands the helicopter and exchanges some nice banter with the statue before he sets off to confront his former alley. It’s probably because he was expecting something from Demona. And, of course, because he was confident that he’ll be able to do something about it.

The clan were a bit more confused by their statue, although they didn’t expect the truth about Elisa. Why would they? It is Robbins – yay, Robbins! – who explained the situation to him some time later. We don’t get to see him much, but I’m always very happy when he appears. I love the way he and Hudson greet each other. It definitely suggests that they’re meeting up fairly often off screen.

Demona’s smashing of the statues was a little less jovial. In fact, the way that she chatted to them before destroying them made her seem both sad and mad. Given that she was murdering people, the background music was very cheerful. (I’ve definitely noticed the importance of the soundtrack in the episodes.) Brooklyn’s comparison with the massacre at Castle Wyvern was unavoidable, and probably what Demona was aiming for. I think the flashbacks prove that the destruction of the clan – and the humans she blames – are always at the front of her mind. To her, it would have been the perfect revenge.

Of course, I have to mention the fact that she apparently destroyed Brendon and Margot, since it’s something that is often mentioned by the fans. Just remember, they’re only people that look like Brendon and Margot.

What did you think of the creepy stone Weird Sisters? I think the word ‘creepy’ sums it up for me. Did you spend much time wondering who – or what – they were? Personally, I don’t think there was time to dwell on it for long. Although there were four episodes, they were all very fast paced.

This episode had another great ending – an alliance between Xanatos and Goliath. Demona’s plot was described as “bigger than anthing any of us has ever faced.” For Xanatos, it’s bigger than the clan. For the clan, it’s bigger than Xanatos. For the viewers, it’s a very good TV show.

Episode 3

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“What is Elisa doing here?”
“She doesn’t look happy.”
“Owen tends to have that effect on people.”

When we return to the present and to the daytime, the city is in chaos. Rather understandably. The gargoyles often carry out amazing feats that saved the world/the city/a few random innocent bystanders. The difference is that the people they save are often entirely unaware of the fact that they were in danger. This time, the city can’t possibly remain oblivious and remain realistic. I like getting a glimpse of the public reaction, even if it’s only a brief glimpse. The news report – mass hypnosis and a nice heap of denial – is a particularly good touch.

Did you spot the second hint of Owen’s origins? Xanatos says “I’m told that mixing magics is dangerous.” Maybe he was told that by Owen himself, during a past scheme? It certainly suggests that mortal magic can’t be mixed with … something else.

And, just in case you hadn’t guessed that the ‘Hunter’ was Macbeth, we get a nice shot of him bleeding into a flashback. Did anyone think it was him straight away? I wasn’t sure. After all, the reason I’m still watching Gargoyles now is because it doesn’t take the easy, conventional route. The bad guy could, potentially, be anyone.

Speaking of which, Elisa headed off to see Xanatos as soon as Pack Media Studios was mentioned. She must have recognised that magic was involved, which is why she had to go and meet Xanatos alone. She still can’t talk to matt about that sort of thing.

The spell, we soon discover, can only be ended by setting the sky ablaze. Something that seemed impossible when the spell was written, linking nicely back to Awakening and how Xanatos broke that spell. And the ending is a link back to other episodes as well. It definitely amused me to see the traditionally gargoyle method of ending an argument used on Owen and Elisa.

Episode 4

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”You blame me, I blame you. Aren’t you tired of talking about it?”

Bronx to the rescue! More or less, anyway. I actually remember being a bit confused when I watched this episode for the first time. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t attack Demona properly. Now, of course, I realise that it’s largely because he and Demona were, back in Scotland, very close. He’s intelligent for a dog, but he doesn’t hold grudges and he doesn’t understand English. As long as she sounds civil, and stays away from Elisa, he’ll let her be. I like the residual loyalty there, although it wouldn’t have worked out well if the others hadn’t returned.

Now, I have to ask, did you ever think that the Weird Sisters were the good guys? As the background memo points out, they help Demona and Macbeth against Gillecomgain and Duncan and they help Goliath and Xanatos against Demona and Macbeth. If you consider nothing more than that, then they’re practically benevolent figures. I, personally, thought that they were a bit too good to be true, but nothing hinted really hinted at the role they’d eventually play. They have “written their stories” – did you wonder why?

Rewatching this episode, I was struck by how calm Demona was when it came to Macbeth. She knows that she can’t kill him without killing herself, and, as she definitely isn’t prepared to die, she doesn’t anticipate his suicidal behaviour.

Although the episodes features a lot of characters, in the end, it really comes down to Demona and Macbeth. The former proves consistently that, despite handing over the access code, she hasn’t learned anything from her experiences. She blames everyone but herself, with increasing venom and desperation. Macbeth, on the other hand, is sick of life. He’s wearing the mask as a symbol of Demona’s betray and, to her, it must be a symbol of his. They’re entirely focused on each other. They punch Goliath together, and even the plan to destroy the city is forgotten. (Macbeth is more interested in destroying Demona than in letting her fix things.)

When Demona and Macbeth are taken away by the Weird Sisters, we’re left with Xanatos and Goliath and an ending that Greg, apparently, wanted to use for a very long time before finally getting around to it. Xanatos says “I always wondered why I allowed you gargoyles to live. You come in handy now and then.” We learn a lot about all of the show’s major villains during City of Stone, don’t we? Xanatos isn’t the cliché cartoon villain. Why waste their gargoyles, when he could find a use for them later on?

Episode Roundup

Gargoyles Defying the Laws of Physics: Far, far too many to count.
Star Trek Voices: 2
Dramatic Awakening Scenes: 3
New Minor Returning Characters:
- Phoebe, Selene and Luna
- The Terrorist

Handy Links

- City of Stone Memo
- GargWiki for Episode 1
- GargWiki for Episode 2
- GargWiki for Episode 3
- GargWiki for Episode 4
- Greg’s Episode 1 Ramble
- Greg’s Episode 2 Ramble
- Greg’s Episode 3 Ramble
- Greg’s Episode 4 Ramble
  • (no subject) -
    • Yes, it was definitely a great sinister moment. When we’ve seen the entire city affected in the past – in The Mirror, for example – it’s always been fairly light.

      I couldn’t either. Maybe he was so desperate to end it that he’d take any advantage over Demona that he could find?

      I’ve never looked at it like that before. Possibly because of her continued denial out loud. Even if she accepted that it was – on some level, if not entirely – her fault, she’d have difficulty admitting it to anyone else.

      Heh, really? I’ve not actually seen the commentary. I own the DVDs, but I have to borrow my parent’s multiregional DVD player – currently a few hundred miles away from me – to watch them.

      I didn’t either, partly because I couldn’t imagine why they’d set up such an elaborate plan – nine centuries of waiting! – without wanting something very big in return. I always expected to see them return again, though I couldn’t, at the time, imagine why. That’s definitely a question that still sticks for me. More than what we see in Avalon, probably.

      No, neither have I. It was just a random tangent of a point.
    • I think that Macbeth was able to put on the mask because he hated himself. It seems like Macbeth takes the blame for everything on himself just as Demona blames everyone but herself. To Macbeth the hunter may have been the one to kill those closest to him, but they would have been safe had he not been close to them.
  • i liked the call backs to the other episodes both with the turning to stone in the middle of an argument and useing modern tech for the loop hole of a magic spell again since that is a recurring theme

    Robbins was great for the exposition with a loop hole of his own and its cool for there to be other human allies less stress for Elisa

    i thought the wierd sisters were cool and liked all thier difrent versions but they definitly had thier own agenda
    • I think the bit where they turned to stone during the argument was my favourite, purely because of the comedy value of it.

      The best bit about the Weird Sisters, in my opinion, was that we didn't get to see the agenda. It was there - really, unless you wanted to think that they were entirely and unselfishly benevolent, it had to be there - but, because of the pacing and excitement of the episode, there wasn't much time to work out what their motive was. It makes their next appearance all the more interesting.
  • You definitely had the easy part, atraphoenix ;)

    I really don't remember my first reaction to any of these episode unfortunately. I was probably 12 or 13 when I first saw them, and I didn't have nearly the interest of the complexities of the show as I do now.

    I LOVE the scene where the gargoyles are trying to figure out the "Elisa statue" lol. In most cartoons where a character becomes petrified in some way most of the time the other characters immediately know it's that person, but in Gargoyles it's more realistic. I mean if you saw a statue of your mom you probably wouldn't immediately think "OMG, my mom turned into a statue!!" but more likely, "WTF...is someone playing a prank?" And brooklyn's "nose" line is hilarious.

    I feel in these episodes that Goliath is totally over Demona. He's prepared to kill her when he sees the humans' remains and Brooklyn remarks that Elisa could be a pile of rubble. (Brooklyn's really an idiot sometimes). That's probably a horrible thought for Goliath because I'm sure it triggers some of those past emotions over the massacre when he was mourning over the rubble of what he thought was his"Angel". I think in his mind the present Demona is not the same one of his youth. She's the enemy now.
    But then the creepy anime schoolgirl Weird sisters (I actually really hate their "little girl' designs. Their heads look deformed.) calm Goliath down. Now that I think about, what was the purpose of that? They know he can't kill Demona anyway. One could argue that it came to fruition when Goliath pleads with Macbeth not to kill her, but did he do that for Demona's sake? Or because he knew that if Demona died before giving the code the whole city would remain cursed and he and his clan would blow to smithareens? If that wasn't an issue, would he have still told Macbeth not to kill her? Something to ponder. Ah well, it still works as a nice tie-in to "Hunter's Moon."

    And that "Alone" sequence..kinda weird. I always thought the weird sisters floating across the screen looked kind of silly. Ruined the moment for me. And another tragedy we learn about Macbeth-his son died in his fight with Canmore. Poor guy.

    So creepy when Demona blasts those statues, and yeah the fact that she talked to them makes her seem even more insane. She knows they're sentient beings. As opposed to the Wyvern Massacre, as terrible as that was, the Vikings destroyed the gargoyles because they were afraid of their retribution, not for any emotional egrievment. And they might not have even thought they were sentient. And geeze, Demona just blasts the arms off of one poor woman. Damn, can you imagine her waking up the next morning?

    I've always had a problem with the concept of the spell with no backlash. I'm sure it made headlines, but in reality if something like that happened we know that the whole world would go on red alert and people would go insane. There must have been a ton of people who didn't see the broadcast for one reason or another. What did they think when everyone they knew was a statue? But it's just one of those things we have to shrug off in light of it being a tv show...a very good one, but still fantasy. And the story is about Demona and Macbeth, not about the Manhattan populace.
    • (no subject) -

      • That could be a factor, I suppose. I'm sure Goliath was more worried about the circumstances of the city, but those particular words he used must have hit a nerve with Macbeth, which were the same words that the Sisters fed him. Though I do find the "death never solves anything" speech kind of annoying and preachy. The death of one person could save the lives of a thousand others. If Demona were dead by this time in the series all those people she murdered would be alive, so technically the death of Demona would benefit the greater good.
  • The Sisters were creepy. "...written their stories..." like they know how everything is going to end? That was one weird thing. Another was the fact that they turned to stone? What the heck? Aren't they powerful enough to resist the spell? I did love the hints at Owen's other side. Demona's tears as she said the access still get to me. Basically because you know she doesn't have to be alone if she would only admit her part in all the crap that has happened to her and try(monumental effort required to stay sane I know) to move on. Macbeth as the Hunter I didn't expect the first time. Fox's disobedience should have come as no surprise to Xanatos but I did like how he talked to her after she's a statue. I liked the interaction between Bronx and Demona as well, it was kind of sweet in weird way. I think Macbeth's suicide attempt did throw Demona for a loop. She has her revenge to live for and can't understand why Macbeth wants to die. I've wondered if this is because she doesn't want to see the need for friendship or love mainly because she blames the humans for taking that away from her (in her mind). To look at from Macbeth's POV he's lost everything he cared about and now he has nothing but time no wonder he wanted to kill himself. I laughed alot when Macbeth and Demona punch Goliath. He really should have known better, but points to him for trying to be the sane one in the mess. Demona wanting to blow up the packs before they finished blew me away(sorry about the pun). I mean she's tried to kill them before so I don't know why it surprise me so much but I mean it's colder than her other attempts especially since they are trying end her spell. Maybe that's why she was so pissed. I don't know.
  • I personally love the line, "I hope tonight's quieter than last night." A great set-up line. The rest of them being creeped out by the silence later is a nice contrast. And can you imagine? New York City gone totally silent? Eek!!!

    I also agree that the ending of the first episode was great; and that there isn't really a lead-up to Elisa turning to stone; they just find her there. Well paced.

    I really liked their take on "you have to see and hear magic." It's not particularly original, I know, but this was the first place I had seen that idea played out and I thought it was brilliant. Still do. It makes the concept of magic more real, more tangible.

    What's curious to me about the reference to Castle Wyvern is the perspective between Demona and the rest of the clan; for them, it was fairly recent, since they only awoke so many months ago, whereas for Demona, it's been far longer. She probably remembers it like it was yesterday (hence her desire to act out this revenge all these centuries later), but I imagine that the pain of it, seeing it happen all over again, though different, much have been a lot more fresh for Goliath, Brooklyn and the others.

    Episode 2 probably holds one of my all-time favorite quotes, both in and out of context of the show: "Take care not to become what you fight against; vengeance begets nothing but a vicious cycle of further vengeance." So true. And so very deep for a "children's show."

    The cliffhanger at the end of episode 3 nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I watched the show; I saw very few episodes in sequence the first time through, and this was one of the few episodes (all of city of stone) that turned me into a full-blown Gargoyles fan. I remember not knowing if I'd be able to make it home in time to see the conclusion when it first aired and I was devastated at the thought. Thankfully, I did see it! But the lead-up to that moment is phenomenal.

    I then wonder, however, in the context of this episode, what would have happened if Demona HAD killed Elisa? What would that have really meant? I think that, with the comparison to the massacre at Wyvern, for Demona, killing Elisa like this was the final piece to "correcting" or "fulfilling her revenge" for what happened back then. I don't think it would have mended anything between her and Goliath, but I think that, particularly in this episode, the symbolism is pretty strong; Elisa is a walking reminder of the split between Demona and Goliath. Still - I'm so glad Elisa lived. Thanks, Bronx!!

    The moment where Demona reveals The Sisters pull the truth out of Demona and she reveals the access code is truly heartbreaking. Not that this excuses Demona's choices or behavior, but in some ways I don't blame her for going into denial and burying all that guilt. She knows it, in the depths of her soul, what really happened. The code proves that much. Plus, with the single tears and her quiet voice when she says, "alone" you feel for her. It drives home how tragic a character she really is.

    The conclusion left me going, "WTF????" Again, since I was missing a lot of episodes when I first watched it, I didn't know if that was, like, the end of the series, if there were more coming or what. I was radically confused, but when the show continued very soon afterwards, I was very relieved and I really love the way they played it out, in retrospect.
  • I also want to mention how, though I was in agony when I watched it the first time through - not knowing what I was missing or what was going on entirely - watching it since, several times over, knowing the full story, beginning to end, and what happens afterwards, I have to say that the structure and storytelling are really fantastically done. The choices of where to end it, how to sequence the flashbacks with the present, and what to leave out, are excellent. Particularly knowing what happens in the subsequent episodes, it really is so well done.

    And the creative choice to weave the flashbacks together the way they did. They could have made this reveal of Demona's past and the connection to Macbeth much more succinct and straightforward. God knows that we would have eaten it up in any packaging; they could have cleared up the past quickly enough without going into all four episodes; because even though there aren't actual flashbacks in the fourth episode, there IS a reveal as to what happened to Luach and the rest of Demona's clan. But they didn't. The conclusion to the present predicament is so much more fulfilling and so much more rich with having the flashbacks be so scattered, like memories; the placement of each flashback was so well-timed. And it wasn't as though they had great stuff with the flashbacks and a mediocre story in the present. They flipped back and forth between to very good plotlines.

    Such a good show. But we already knew that. ^_^
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