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Gargoyles Watch

Episode 2x19 [Protection]

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Gargoyles Watch 2

Episode 2x19 [Protection]

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[dw] romana ii
It’s time for another one of my favourite episode this week. (I have quite a few favourites, as you can probably tell by now.) If you have any questions, you can contact the mods by PM or at our Bronx-guarded mailbox.

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Protection is a very interesting episode in terms of the cast. A lot of the show’s supporting characters feature heavily, from the police officers to Dracon and his gang. Gargoyles has always had a knack for character development, and that includes the characters that tend to stay in the background. I was genuinely pleased to see Officer Morgan and Captain Chavez again, for example. I can’t think of many other shows that encourage that.

This episode is also the episode that hearlded the arrival of ‘jalapeña!’. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate. (A long debate, probably.) It’s certainly distinctive, though, right? (If you don’t know the story behind the jalapeñas, I suggest reading Greg’s explanation. It always amuses me.)

Points of Interest

(Here are a few things I found particularly interesting. Feel free to comment on them. Or, better yet, feel free to add points of your own.)

Elisa and Dracon

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“I guess the corrupt are the first to believe that somebody else can be corrupted.”

Ok, even Greg Weisman admits it. The writers didn’t think that they would be able to convince regular fans that Elisa had actually been corrupted. (I I certainly wasn’t convinced. I knew something was up, but I didn’t know what. I knew there’d be a simple explanation – or an explanation, at least – to sort it all out.) So, in order to keep up the suspence, they tossed out a few more red herrings.

I remember noting how hurt – how defensive – Elisa sounded when she was asked to turn in her badge, but I didn’t think anything of it until I was scanning Greg’s episode memo. Did anyone think that she was being set up by someone else?

(As an aside, the same memo raises another possible excuse for Elisa’s behaviour. Apparently, Greg’s daughter thought she was a clone and Greg put this down to the “problem of introducing too many concepts”. Personally, I’ve always liked the diverse plot lines in Gargoyles. I like the fact that you can watch an episode like this – ordinary police officers and ordinary criminals – and find yourself watching magic or the darker side of science a week later, without any break in continuity. In the Gargoyles universe, it works. What do you think? Is it a problem or a positive?)

I think Elisa’s conversation with Dracon is my favourite scene in the episode. It’s very convincing, too. Although it isn’t a trap I can see Elisa falling into, I can see why the temptation would be there for others. It’s a problem that genuinely affects the justice system today. All too often, the criminals manage to get away or manage to get off lightly. It doesn’t seem fair. And, maybe, for some people, it does seem hopeless.

Broadway and Goliath

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“And they call this ‘protection’? Why do the police not stop it?”

As soon as he hears it on the news, Goliath bristles at Dracon’s abuse of the word ‘protection’. His actions don’t fit in with gargoyle sensibilities. (After all, gargoyles genuinely do protect.) He’d have thrown himself into the fight anyway. The fact that Elisa is already involved complicates things, but the proverbial wheels had already been set into motion.

I can’t help but wonder if Goliath would have worked out what Elisa was doing without Broadway’s encyclopedic knowledge of films to help him along. (And I can’t have been the only who thought the latter was adorable when he started using quotes he’d obviously lifted from his favourite old movies? “Plenty of lettuce”, really?) They know something is wrong as soon as Elisa storms out of the police station following her fight with Chavez, but it takes a while for the pieces to fall into place.

When Broadway and Goliath were flying off to obey Dracon’s orders, Broadway commented that, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Goliath replied that he would do what he had to, as long as Elisa was safe. Did you think, even for a moment, that they had been corrupted in order to protect Elisa?

And, speaking of Elisa, what did you think of her reaction to their interuption? At first, I was a bit surprised that she didn’t tell them about it. (Later, they suggest that she didn’t have time to tell them. But an elaborate undercover plot like that must have taken a while to put together, right?) But then I remember that it’s her job and she’s good at it. She doesn’t need to run everything past the gargoyles first. Although she obviously exagerates her irritation – and turns it into anger for the benefit of her audience – I think a bit of anger would have been justified. They meant well, but they also jeopardised months of hard work and lots of careful undercover work.

Human Justice versus Gargoyle Justice

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“I should drop you right now, down into the gutter where you belong. But gargoyle justice is not human justice.”

This is an issue that crops up quite a few times in the series, and this is the first time – in my opinion, at least – that Goliath really demonstrates how much he’s learned since waking up in the modern world. There is a fine – barely discernable – line between his concepts of ‘revenge’ and ‘justice’, but, despite his feelings for Tony Dracon, he returns him to the pavement and police custody.

Or maybe this isn’t a sign that he’s been learning? It could be that he knows Elisa has put a lot of work into apprehending him. It could be that he wouldn’t drop Dracon because he doesn’t have enough of an emotional investment in his death. What do you think? After all, when he learns what a protection racket is, he wants to stop it immediately, with no thought for the judicial process or evidence gathering. (At least Goliath waits to speak to Elisa before heading off, I suppose.) Gargoyle justice is a lot less … complicated than human justice.

Episode Roundup

Gargoyles Defying the Laws of Physics: 3 or 4
Star Trek Voices: None!
Dramatic Awakening Scenes: None!
New Minor Returning Characters:
- Lois and Art
- Dave

Handy Links

- GargWiki
- Greg’s Episode Ramble
  • I didn't think Elisa was being set up due to what happened in the whole interview scene. It made me think she actually was up to something no good. However, while I thought that Elisa could never be corrupted for power or money, it could be due to something else. I was torn between an undercover operation or some sort of extortion attempt or something ( i.e., some other villain could be threatening to expose the gargoyles if she doesn't get rid of Tony and because she can't go to her boss about it, she tries to run Tony out of town herself).

    As for the corruption of the gargoyles, I could never see them becoming corrupt EVER. If Goliath would 'divorce' Demona due to her corruption (and she went through a lot of bad stuff) , he would never become corrupt for a human who desires money and power. Goliath has shown that his loyalty and love is conditional (and I don't blame him).

    I always liked the scene where Goliath debates dropping Dracon. I think he didn't drop him solely for Elisa's sake. For one, Dracon was a direct threat to humans, not to gargoyles so 'Gargoyle Justice' was not warranted here. Also, he knew this was Elisa's battle and it would only be fair for her to take him out. Furthermore, whether or not Goliath totally understands human justice, he trusts Elisa and if this is the way Elisa is doing it, it must be the right way. If not, Elisa could have simply asked him to go do some vigilante justice on her behalf.

    The thing that has always bothered me about this episode was how people (not including Dracon) knew Elisa was a cop, even if she was playing a dirty one. Did she tell them she was a cop? Did she use her cop status to make her seem more threatening? Was it to show she was super-corrupt to gain Dracon's trust? There had to be a good reason, or else it would seem fishy because anytime a cop is involved in something illicit I would automatically think undercover operation/sting.

    • I'm surprised you thought she was up to no good, although those are all good reasons for it. I've always thought of Elisa as a very moral character, but I could see her morals becoming a little more flexible if the gargoyles were in trouble.

      No, definitely not. And a good point about Demona. Goliath's idea of corruption is probably very tied to his idea of betrayal.

      Err ... good point, actually. Dracon knew her - in an adversary sort of way - beforehand. I suppose they put out the rumour of a corrupt police officer - using the laundry where Officer Chavez pretended to work and the store owned by Matt's friend as a starting point? - and she only introduced herself as that officer when she was dealing with Dracon's allies.
  • I always crack up at Goliath trying to sound all corrupt and power-hungry. It just SO doesn't work for him. Props to Keith David for the awesome vocal work there.

    I can't totally remember, but when I first watched it I actually think I wasn't fooled--I think I was old enough to know what going undercover was--UNTIL Goliath gave that line about protecting Elisa at all costs. I think that made me briefly unsure.
    • That was the line that made me waver, just a little. I still didn't believe it, but the delivery of that line would have sealed the deal if I had. There isn't much he wouldn't do for Elisa, after all.
  • Protection

    You know, I didn't like this ep that much. I thought it was rather obvious that Elisa was undercover...when she was "roughing up" Dracon's thug in the interrigation room ("tell Dracon his territory is my territory"), it felt fake. I can't put my finger on it, but I actually laughed and said "She's undercover, and I can't believe that Dracon and the others are falling for it." But, Elisa's line in the end about the corrupt believing anyone can be corrupted is true...misery, and evil I think, loves company, and if you think about it most villains have a dim or negative view of life (might makes right, etc.) and feel validated when they are able to sway someone to their side. The Protection theme of Gargoyles made this episode essential though, and I can't really think of way it could have been done better, so I don't want to criticize. I'm only saying it's not in my top list, lol. I think Elisa's voice acting is what was off...except for the bar scene with the guy at the pool table. I think that was her best "bad guy" voice...I'm not sure why Salli couldn't pull that off the rest of the time. Even with Dracon, it seemed faked...why with that guy at the bar worked better, I have no idea. Also with Dracon, the way she said "Trust me, they don't care about money or power," was way too soft and caring...it was OBVIOUS she respected those qualities. I think it would have been interesting to see Dracon's reaction had Goliath and Broadway not barged in...I would love to have seen what he would have said, especially since he picked up so quickly that Elisa was Goliath's "woman". (By the way, that just made me smile....come on guys, admit it, it made you smile too!) And I thought it interesting that they didn't even try to correct him. I also thought it interesting that in the next breath Dracon was talking about them going on their first "date" after calling Elisa Goliath's woman...I was like, hmmm....does he WANT his arms ripped off by the huge gargoyle boyfriend, lol? Anyway, though I've said it wasn't one of my tops, I have to give props to some of the more fun parts, like what I've just described. And of course, the whole "jalepena" thing....hello, how cool was that?! Thanks for fighting for that Greg, it sounds silly yet became such an awesome defining part of the show, small, but significant! Very cool....
    • Re: Protection

      I love it when Dracon sees the obvious relationship between Goliath and Elisa thats the best part of the episode one of those it takes an outsider perspective to see whats right in front of you moments and its extra cool that they dont get defensive and say no we are just friends as so many characters would in similer situations
      • Re: Protection

        Yes! I'd almost forgotten about that, but they'd don't protest, do they? (The characters would have protested in a lot of shows. It's quite a common trope. The fact that they didn't is a strong hint at the future. And sweet. Very sweet.)
    • Thinking about it, that line is the pivotal line of the episode. If they'd just left us thinking that Dracon was ridiculously gullible, I wouldn't have bought the scenario at all. After all, he's the head of his organisation and quite a large crime syndicate. He has to be intelligent.

      Maybe it was Elisa that couldn't pull it off, not Salli? If I was the script writer, I'd probably be torn between convincing people for the sake of the story and spoiling the characterisation of one of the leads.

      Yep, I definitely smiled! And I noted Dracon's behaviour a few seconds later as well. Over confidence once he thought the gargoyles were on side, perhaps?
  • I didn't think Elisa was corrupt but I could see why Dracon might think so. I grew up in Chicago so for me it's easy to believe that a police officer could be dirty. Also it's possible that Dracon had other cops on his pay roll already so one more wasn't going to set off any warning bells for him.

    As far as Goliath not killing Dracon I think it had more to do with him no longer being an immediate threat. Near the beginning of the series Goliath and Demona are on the airship fighting to get that disk. Goliath sees her about to kill some guards after they had been taken out and he stops her. I don't remember exactly what he said but it was along the lines of it being ok to kill in the heat of battle but after that it's wrong.
    • I don't have much - ok, any - police knowledge outside the things I've seen in the media, so I'm quite pleased you think it went well. And that's a good point. Most people in his line of work would have someone - several someones - on the inside.

      I think that's more or less the quote. It definitely involves "in the heat of battle".
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