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
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!)
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
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
“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?
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.
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?)
- Greg’s Episode Ramble
- The Cage Memo