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Gargoyles Watch

Episode 2x20 [The Cage]

Gargoyles Watch

Gargoyles Watch 2

Episode 2x20 [The Cage]

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[discworld] fantasy, [misc] fantasy
I’m very, very sorry for this weekend’s delay. My internet problems meant that it took much longer than usual to get the post up. Still, that minor set back is over now – in theory - and I hope you all enjoying watching The Cage in the meantime. Questions and comments can go here or, if you want a bit of privacy, you’re welcome to use PM or the mod mailbox.

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The Cage is the culmination of a story that began right back in series one, with Her Brother’s Keeper. In that episode, we got our first glimpse of Derek and Elisa’s relationship and the former inadvertently set himself up for a fall by putting his faith in Xanatos. When Derek appeared again, he was still stubbornly ignoring his sister’s advice. I could fill paragraphs by detailing the whys and wherefores of this, but I think that has been covered perfectly well in past discussion posts.

To cut a long story short, Derek became a mutate in the episode Metamorphosis. Although Xanatos was the one pulling the strings, Derek – henceforth known as Talon – continued to trust him and returned to the Eerie Building with the rest of the mutates. Talon and his compatriots are currently waiting – hoping – for a cure, Elisa is busy fretting about her brother’s disappearance and Xanatos is sitting in the background practising his ‘evil genius’ cackle being insufferably smug about everything.

Got all that? Good.

Points of Interest

(Just a few interesting points to get you started. Don’t feel obliged to reply to them, though. Feel free to take the discussion in whatever direction you want!)

The Mutates

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“Is your venegence more important than our humanity?”

This is the first episode where the mutates really come into their own as characters. In the past, Claw and Fang were just figures in the background. This time, however, we learn why Claw is mute and we get some wonderful oneliners from Fang. If things had been written differently, the members of the Redemption Squad and the stars of the Bad Guys comic series would have been very different.

Maggie the Cat also takes on a new light here, although it’s in a very different way. In Metamorphosis, she was desperate and petrified and, although her desire for a cure still clouds her judgment during this episode, she has definitely grown since her last appearance. This is particularly obvious when she stops Talon from pushing past Elisa and attacking Goliath. He is so blinded by hatred that his sister could easily have been caught in the crossfire. (Which is exactly what happens in the laboratory later on, incidentally. He actually believes his sister is part of the conspiracy against him.) She even realises, at long last, that the gargoyles only wanted to help her.

Similiarly, the Talon of The Cage is very different to the Derek Maza we’ve seen in the past. He is a lot colder and a lot more dangerous. When Maggie asks if vengence is more important to him than their humanity, it’s obvious that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. It is more important than logic and his sister as well. He refuses to see the holes in the stories Xanatos is feeding to them, because he doesn’t want to see them.

This constrasts very sharply to the opening of the episode, with is a very understated and very domestic scene in Elisa’s flat. Despite Talon’s behaviour, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him when he watches – alone and isolated and unable to join in – through the window. It gives us a clearer sense of what he’s lost, even if, as we see from the end of the episode, his own actions caused him to lose it in the first place.

Xanatos and Sevarius

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“You always overplay your hand, Anton.”

I really, really like Xanatos in this episode, and, according to his memo, so does Greg Weisman. Xanatos might not be in control – in fact, he has no idea how things are going to pan out, which must be new for him – but he’s still “playing the various characters against each other”, gathering all the information he can and doing his best to turn things to his advantage.

And he’s so effortlessly cool, too. For example, his reaction when Goliath picks himself out of the rumble in the laboratory is an utterly nonplussed greeting: “Oh, hello Goliath. Didn’t even notice you there.” You’d never realise that he wasn’t the one pulling the strings. He manages to wrap Talon around his little finger again, even after the mutate has realised that he’s been lying about Sevarius.

Sevarius, on the other hand, is a little less composed. He’s a cliched villain and a mad scientist to the core. (Genius and madness often coincide, don’t they?) Did you ever really think that he’d make a cure for the mutates? Because I know I didn’t.

The Importance of Family

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“Goliath, you’ve kidnapped this man! What were you thinking?”
“You were in so much pain. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing.”

Although, at first glance, this is an episode about the mutates and about Elisa’s relationship with her brother, there are quite a few telling scenes dealing with Elisa and Goliath’s relationship. I think my reaction to the quote above can be summed up as ‘awwwh’. A lovely moment. Not only is she well and truly part of the clan, but we see the lengths Goliath is willing to go to for her sake.

Another scene indicating Goliath’s desire to protect Elisa occurs at the beginning of the episode, where his own lie of omission is contrasted with hers. Elisa, who is fundamentally honest, is having difficulty keeping her family in the dark. (Which makes me wonder just how difficult lying about the gargoyles has been for her at times.) Then it turns out the Goliath – who is equally honest – has been keeping things from her! Why do you think he did it? Apart from the obvious ‘to spare her the pain’. What made him decide that Talon was beyond their reach and their help?

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“It seems I have my own clan, and my own family.”

In the end, both Goliath and Elisa forgive Talon. I’m not sure I’d have been quite as gracious. We don’t see much of their reaction to Talon’s threats in the castle, but it can’t have been easy to hear him speaking so brutally full stop, let alone speaking about Goliath so brutally. Either way, Elisa forgives him because he’s family and Goliath forgives him for Elisa’s sake. (Or possibly because he’s been misled by Xanatos in the past as well. He knows how much the realisation of such a betrayal can hurt.)

What did you think about the Maza’s reaction to their son? They were obviously shocked at first, but they rushed towards him just as quickly. Perhaps a little too quickly? Although such an accepting nature would go a long way towards explaining Elisa’s accepting nature, I suppose. In his episode ramble, Greg constrasts the ending of this episode to the ending of Metamorphosis, and I think that point definitely deserves to be repeated. Things have moved forward a great deal. From Elisa sobbing her heart out alone to Elisa watching as her family accepts her brother and her brother accepts the truth. All in all, I think it’s a very nice way to finish the story. In fact, it isn’t really an ending at all, which is even better.

Episode Roundup

Gargoyles Defying the Laws of Physics: 4
Star Trek Voices: 2
Dramatic Awakening Scenes: None!
New Minor Returning Characters:
- Beth Maza
(And did anyone spot the guest appearance of Vinnie as the security guard?)

Handy Links

- GargWiki
- Greg’s Episode Ramble
- The Cage Memo
  • I think Goliath’s actions in this episode are important to his character because he likes to see morality as black and white so him doing something morally grey to help spare Elisa emotional pain is a demonstration of how much she means to him. It would be different if he had to compromise his code to save her from physical danger because that would be easier for him to rationalize with his Gargoyle duty to protect. Also the whole situation with the mutates puts him in an awkward moral place. Xanatos originally ran the experiments to create his own Gargoyles when the real ones would not be manipulated anymore. Then he targeted Elisa’s brother specifically because of her involvement with the Gargoyles (at least that was the impresion given durring "Her Brother's Keeper"). This could cause a misplaced sense of guilt in someone like Goliath which may have contributed to his motivation for kidnapping Sevarius.

    As for the ending it always struck me as odd that Elisa told the family about what happened to Derek but did not introduce them to the clan. It seemed like only letting them in on half the secret was worse then keeping the whole thing. What did they tell their parents about the motivation behind the experiments?
    • > What did they tell their parents about the motivation behind the experiments?
      "(evil) mad scientist"
    • That's a good question. I'm think I'm right in thinking that Elisa had already mentioned her dislike of Xanatos to her father. They probably blamed the experiments on his greed and, as rodlox said, Sevarius being Sevarius. And one family member has already got himself into trouble because of Elisa and her connection with the gargoyles. Maybe she felt it would be safer to keep the rest of them in the dark?
  • Personally I thought Sevarius would make a cure. I just took a step back and asked myself "Does he believe that Goliath will harm or kill him?" and the answer is "Yes". Sevarius would believe his life was at stake and would comply until he could get away. Being cliche I doubt he would see Goliath's bluff.

    As for the family accepting Derek so quickly I think that it was a little fast but I think Elisa talking to them before might have prepared them a bit. It could be that she did more than just talk. She might have had pictures or some other evidence to prove what she was telling them.
    • Being cliche I doubt he would see Goliath's bluff.

      I'm not 110% convinced it was a bluff. I think back to when Goliath thought Dracon was responsible for killing Elisa and was going to totally demolish him for it. If he got angry enough--if, for example, Talon were to take the "cure" and they found it was poison--I think Goliath would have killed Sevarius in a heartbeat.
      • I think it was a bluff at first, but things would definitely have changed - Goliath would definitely have changed - if Talon had been murdered.
      • If Sevarius had poisoned Talon yes he would be killed. But, if Sevarius had just refused to do anything I don't think Goliath would have done it. I think it was a bluff as far as "do what I say or I'll kill you".
      • You are so right. Makes the one episode where they do meet that much more interesting. But more about that later.
    • True. Especially since Goliath wouldn't have been affected by the poison. Sevarius might have managed to get rid of Talon, but he would still have a very angry gargoyle - not to mention Elisa and the rest of the mutates - to deal with. He was in danger from quite a few sides.

      Yeah, Elisa probably explained things as best she could before letting them meet him. And, of course, they were restricted by the time limits of the episode. It might have been interesting to see a drawn out reaction, but it wasn't necessary.
  • (no subject) -
    • I'm not sure I agree with the 'actively malicious'. Xanatos does some horrible stuff over the course of the series - capturing Hudson in The Price springs instantly to mind - but he always has a goal in mind. It might be selfish and occasionally reprehensible, but it's still a goal. He wanted to make his own gargoyles. Things were out of his control during this episode, but he still did his best to keep Talon on side and, more importantly, rescue the very valuable Anton Sevarius.
    • (no subject) -
      • Sloppy works, and I think I understand what you mean now.

        Circumstances were out of his hands here - which shows that even evil geniuses have off days, I suppose? - and all he could do was try to keep Talon on side and Sevarius safe. He was making it up on the spot, instead of manipulating things his way from the very beginning.
    • I would agree with that - in fact, he's fairly INactive in this episode; he lets the others sort of play everything out and only really steps in at the end, personally.

      Granted, the overall scheme is quite evil in the long run, and what he more or less sets them up for, and how he does, in fact, sit back, rather than interfere or help, is downright vicious (sp?).
    • Sevarius valuable? To himself and Xanatos only. Sorry Anton the Creep irks me. Major bonus points to Tim Curry for having his creepy mad scientist with a God complex totally nailed. There I said it I think I'm good now.
  • I think this is one of the episodes for Goliath and Elisa's relationship. There's a handful of sort of totem pole episodes for them, and this one is definitely one of those. The lengths to which he'll go for Elisa--and no one else--are mindboggling, really. They're so cute--they're ass over teakettle in love with each other already and like totally oblivious.
    • Until I rewatched it to write this recap, I hadn't seen it that way. I'd focused on Talon and Elisa's relationship instead. But now I think about it, it really does say a lot about Goliath and Elisa.

      (And it's how oblivious they are that makes it really adorable!)
    • I particularly love that conversation at the beginning of the episode. Just the nature of them being together, having a conversation, regardless of the subject matter; and how, in that case, she goes to Goliath to talk about the situation with Derrick. (Granted, the Clan is really the only other group she *can* talk to about it, but still, she's speaking to Goliath alone, rather than everyone.)

  • I like how this episode really sets it up for Brooklyn's becomming second-in-command, after Goliath and Elisa and Bronx disappear. Here, he sort of takes on the role of the leader in Goliath's absence almost automatically; he makes the decisions, he talks to Maggie one-on-one and evaluates the situation pretty eloquently: "Xanatos can't keep up the pretense forever. Sooner or later they'll find out what he's really like." It's completely true of both their situation at the time he says it, and, too, at the end of the episode. How he knows that, at that point, there's nothing else they can do. It would seem that he figures it out before Goliath...

    Another example of the excellent writing on the show.

    Additionally, I love the theme of "trust" in this episode. Honestly, the perspectives of the Mutates and the Gargoyles are the same; they both blame one figure for the circumstances being what they are. We, as the audience, know that Xanatos is no good, but, truthfully, not knowing the history would give one cause to side with the Mutates. Talon's actions are rash, yes, but Maggie's outburst at Brooklyn is just as poingant as anything the gargoyles say: "There you go again!" [blaming Goliath/Xanatos.] I found myself thinking that at Talon several times when I first watched it. Both groups insist that they're right and that presents the core issue of trust; when you completely put aside the things you are certian of in light of someone else's word. No easy thing. And this episode shows the hard way of learning that lesson.

    I also love how Goliath doesn't just blindly capture Sevarius, out of pure desperation or feelings regarding Elisa. While he does say, "You were in so much pain, I couldn't just stand by and do nothing..." He ALSO says, "Besides, I feared what would happen if Talon got to Sevarius first. I doubt if the doctor would have survived..." He did have his wits about him, even in that situation; he wanted desperately to do something, yes, but he didn't completely lose his head.
  • As for Sevarius making a cure, I didn't believe it for a hot minute. He was too sneaky and way, way to caught up in his mad scientist "Look I've replaced God" thing. Xanatos plays it pretty cool and is ultimately his sneaky self. I don't really think there's been an episode yet (and I could be wrong) where we've seen a thoroughly gobsmacked Xanatos.
    To move on the the question of when Goliath decided that Talon was beyond saving and to leave him alone. I'm not really sure. Perhaps he saw a bit of Demona in Talon. The anger the willingness to believe the lie that his own actions hadn't caused his current situation. Talon always sort of irked me just a little. I mean this guy seemed to be pretty smart. Why in the world did he let himself be decieved by Xanatos for so long? Oh well. Perhaps he (Goliath) felt that as he had to learn on his own so did Talon. And I know the learning process never stops and Goliath has still more to learn. But maybe he felt that Talon's rejection of his help and his sister just pissed the big guy off. Who knows? Personallly speaking, it's over and done the minute you threaten my friends or family. I might get my behind kicked royally but I'll either fight you or leave you the heck alone to learn on your own.
    As for the Maza's reaction, maybe they thought if they didn't run forward he'd leave them again and never come back? I think they wanted to try to reconnect. But it was too quick but I think they were looking for a somewhat happy ending.
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