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With the introductions of the Awakening episodes out of the way, and the viewers now familiar with the both the Manhattan setting and the Manhattan clan (and some of their principle allies and enemies), the writers could turn their attentions to really developing the characters and their world. They began to do this with a series of three episodes, each one focusing on a different member of the trio - Broadway, Brooklyn and Lexington.
Lex was up first, and, in The Thrill of the Hunt, experienced things that would shape his character, and his view of the world, for the rest of the series.
Even Greg Weisman, in his ‘Ask Greg’ section for this episode, acknowledged that Lex was shortchanged in terms of episodes in which he played a primary role. It’s fortunate, really, that the episodes in which he does take centre stage are all very good.
Points of Interest
(Just a few ideas to warm you up. Discussion certainly isn’t restricted to these few points. Feel free to elaborate on them, add more of your own, or, if you like, wander off on interesting tangents. I’m fond of interesting tangents.)
“I’m never trusting anyone again.”
This is, without a doubt, Lex’s episode. He is the one who will be changed forever by the events that we see – they’ll continue to have a big impact on him throughout the series, much as Temptation and Deadly Force will see permanent changes in Brooklyn and Broadway, respectively – and he is the one who reaches out to the Pack in the first place.
I think the most poignant thing about his role is the fact that he was right. Eventually, Goliath acknowledges that the clan can’t hide away and will have to take risks from time to time. (“To do otherwise is to remain forever alone.”) Unfortunately, by the time this realisation has hit him, Lex has started to change his mind.
Goliath attempts to comfort Lexington by repeating his own earlier words, but I’m not convinced that he is convinced. He still looks rather dejected, and the rest of the clan returns before the conversation can continue any further. What do you think?
At the beginning of the episode, his naivety – his belief in the Pack and what they see on the TV screen, not to mention his faith in the world – is actually a great strength. His journey during The Thrill of the Hunt is not an easy, or a pleasant, one. He’s effectively lost quite a bit of that naivety. (I might be reading too much into this, but his delight in their new world seems to be restricted to machinery and things, rather than people, from this point on.) Even if he believes Goliath’s words, I don’t think he’ll be willing to stick his neck out again.
“When we took this job we were promised fame, money and action. I’m not complaining about the first two, but I could use some more of the third.”
Right from the beginning, the Pack make it clear that they are not ordinary TV stars. The conversation in their Media Studios makes sure everyone know exactly who (and what) they are. They’re real soldiers, real mercenaries, real warriors. And they’re dangerous.
That said, I can’t help but wonder if anyone thought – or if anyone hoped - that Lex would be right and they would turn out to be allies. I, personally, didn’t. As soon as they started talking about hunting, I knew we were dealing with a new group of bad guys. I just wasn’t sure what type of bad guy. It was really strange to realise that they were engaging Goliath and Lexington simply because they were bored. (Strange, and a little unsettling.)
The most unsettling thing about it was that it was a very human thing to do. For a certain type of human. Obviously, as the audience, we know that the Gargoyles are the good guys. The Pack don’t, though. As far as they – and most of the human race – are concerned, the clan are just monsters. Animals to hunt. They don’t realise they’re doing anything wrong, not at first, and their desire to meet Goliath is no different to the way trophy hunters in the African bush seek out the pride leaders and the fierest creatures to display on their walls.
Later on, of course, the Pack lose this slice of unpleasant humanity and become out and out bad guys. Fox takes a hostage to use as a shield between herself and Goliath. Greg points out that this isn’t something she’d do in later episodes. At this stage, he suggests, she “checked her brain at the door”. Why? Because she had no idea what the gargoyles were actually capable of. Her own safety took priority over the hunt.
Jackal thought much the same thing. He started to run, and it was only once the Pack started to disintergrate as a unit and think as individuals that their hunt started to fail and the gargoyles started to win. Which is proof that even the bad guys benefit from teamwork.
How do you define honour? The use of traps at the beginning of their hunt, rather than engaging Goliath and Lexington face to face, suggests that they aren’t the warriors Lex believed them to be. For me, the term ‘warrior’ suggests nobility and courage and, yes, a sense of honour. Fighting with rules. Fighting for the right reasons, such as self defence or the protection of innocents. The gargoyles fall neatly into that box, but the Pack don’t.
The Clan and the Castle
“Every minute you stay here, you’re in danger!”
This isn’t a huge point in the episode – just a relatively minor conversation between Elisa and Goliath at the very beginning – and I don’t want to steal the thunder of whoever ends up leading the discussion on Enter Macbeth, but it still deserves mentioning.
Goliath might have been in Manhattan for a while, but he is still very naïve and very stubborn. He didn’t understand, or even want to understand, Elisa’s attempt to explain the situation. Her role as mediator and protector isn’t an easy one, is it? I don’t blame her when she says “I think your head stays rock hard even at night.” It’s one thing to teach someone about their new world, but it’s another thing entirely when they won’t listen.
Although, in fairness to Goliath, he is stuck in a 10th century mindset. Scheming and plotting, something the villains in Gargoyles pride themselves on, wasn’t quite as commonplace back them. A victory was a victory, and attacks and invasions took priority over politics. The defeated might try and return after regrouping, but, if you were defeated soundly enough – and Goliath clearly thinks Xanatos was – then why bother?
“All in all, I’d say the test was most informative.”
Ok, let’s be honest. Who really expected Xanatos to have had a hand in the events of the episode? I have to admit, when I first saw it – which was quite a while ago, now – I was surprised by his sudden appearance. Probably because I was close to six years old and naively assumed that prison stopped the bad guys entirely.
Now, however, I’ve got to admit that I’m impressed rather than surprised. After all, the Pack clearly aren’t new – look at the number of fans and the scale of their shows – and Xanatos can’t have known about the clan that far in advance. It makes me wonder what else he might be planning, it makes me question his motives even more and it certainly makes me concerned about what else he might have had a hand in.
As Owen noted, he doesn’t make a habit of harbouring grudges. Why bother, when planning for the future is much more important?
Actually, speaking of Owen, even he didn’t really know what was going on. (Not if the conversation in the cell is anything to go by, at least.) Did he realise it was a test? Did he think Xanatos honestly wanted Goliath and the others dead? To what extent can you predict the actions of a man like Xanatos, anyway? ‘Expect the unexpected’ is probably about all you can do.
Gargoyles Defying the Laws of Physics: 4
Star Trek Voices: 2
Dramatic Awakening Scene: 1
New Minor Returning Characters: 9
- The Greenes (Billy, Susan and William, and Sarah Browne)
- The Pack
(‘Minor Characters’ doesn’t seem right for them, but they aren’t quite major characters either. Medium characters? Either way, they up the figures a lot, so here they are!)
Remember to let me know if you have any of your own categories to add! Thanks to trickster_brat for the last one.
- Greg’s Episode Ramble