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Gargoyles has always been very good when it comes to continuity. There are lots of themes that run throughout the show, and relationship changes that occur in one episode continue to develop in the next.
In Metamorphosis, we see a dramatic development in the relationship between Elisa and her brother, Derek, carrying on more or less directly from Her Brother’s Keeper. A little time has elapsed, Derek is still working for Xanatos and Elisa is still unhappy about his trust in the man. Since Gargoyles is Gargoyles, a plotline with such potential couldn’t be left hanging, could it?
Points of Interest
(These are just a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to give your own opinions and chip in with interesting points of your own!)
Derek and Elisa
“You’ve got that right!”
“… but I think you’re fooling yourself.”
I think the relationship between Elisa and Derek is one of the reasons why I like the mutate episodes so much. We can see that they were close – thanks to old family jokes such as the “Cross your heart?” thing – but Derek’s job with Xanatos is putting a real strain on their relationship. In fact, if Elisa’s words on the airfield are anything to go by – “Missed you at dinner” – then, thanks to his new boss, he is slipping away from the rest of the Maza family as well. The normal family life we used to see glimpses of – which always contrasted so sharply with Elisa’s life with the gargoyles – is starting to, if not disintegrate, then at least suffer.
According to Greg’s Metamorphosis memo, the theme of the episode is self deception. That is definitely true. Although Derek is deceived by Xanatos and Sevarius, this only really succeeds because he won’t listen to his sister. He’s is simply too stubborn, and, although Elisa can be quite stubborn too, she seems to have resigned herself to agreeing to disagree this time. (Perhaps she learned lessons from Her Brother’s Keeper that Derek didn’t?)
I’ve always found the ending of this episode a little hard to watch. Seeing Elisa crumble really upset me as a child, but, in fiction as in real life, there isn’t always a happy ending. Although we’ve seen enough of Elisa to know that she won’t consider ‘Talon’ a monster, the fact that he still trusts Xanatos has to be a terrible blow. Until he realises the truth, there is nothing she can do to help him.
Anton Sevarius and David Xanatos
“Frankly, Sevarius, I thought you overplayed the part.”
In some respects, Anton Sevarius is an unusual Gargoyles villain. He doesn’t have much depth. (Even Xanatos has a few redeeming features. Sort of. Maybe. Later on.) In fact, Sevarius is a stereotypical mad scientist with no morals, interested in his work and apparently little else, and the show embraces that. Even Sevarius himself embraces that, and does his best to play the role.
Did you believe he was actually killed? If you did, what was your reaction? I remember being disappointed that such a fun character had been disposed of so quickly. When I saw him again at the end, I was genuinely excited.
I also feel obliged, more or less, to talk about the science. Obviously it isn’t accurate, but talking about things like energy consumption – adapting real science to fit the Gargoyles universe – made me, rewatching as an adult, ridiculously happy. The attention to detail in Gargoyles never fails to delight me.
It’s time to ask a question I seem to ask every time I recap an episode which features Xanatos as a key antagonist. Where you convinced by his displays of innocence? According to Greg’s episode ramble, Greg thinks he was a bit more convincing this time. Possibly because part of the audience wants him to be sincere. (Not me, though. I like him as a bad guy.)
Did you think he knew what was going on all long? I certainly did. I think that, by this stage in the show, I’d learned not to take Xanatos and his actions at face value. If something so huge was going on – especially something using his money – then I knew, even on my first viewing, that he would he involved.
I was a bit more torn about the mutation of Derek. I didn’t think he’d hesitate to use him if it suited him but, until Derek became Talon and attacked Goliath, I couldn’t work out what purpose it would serve. More importantly, he didn’t simply force Derek into serving him, he carefully manipulated him. Although this makes Derek a little less controllable, it probably makes him a more dangerous weapon as well.
Brooklyn and Maggie
“Yeah, of us!”
“She needed our help!”
“Are we talking about the same person? From where I sat, she didn’t want our help!”
In many ways, the most interesting thing about Maggie Reed is that she … isn’t all that interesting. She moved to Manhattan to become famous, but her funds ran out too quickly and she ended up on the street. In a sharp contrast to the other women on the show, she isn’t a strong female character, and, according to Greg Weisman, this was a deliberate decision on the part of the writers. I suppose it makes sense for them to want something a little different. (If nothing else, it gives Maggie a lot of room to grow throughout the series.)
Her fear, particularly when she meets Brooklyn and Broadway, makes a lot of sense as well, even if part of me wanted to scream at her for not trusting someone who so obviously wanted to help her. Brooklyn might have looked like a monster in her eyes, but he wasn’t the one who wanted to lock her up and treat her like a laboratory rat. Even in Maggie’s shoes, I think I’d have picked him, and I find it hard to be entirely sympathetic towards someone who makes things so much worse for herself. But maybe that’s just me. What do you think?
“If you say so.”
Metamorphosis marks the first of Brooklyn’s romantic disasters. He was attached to Maggie immediately – whether this was love or lust at first sight is up to you – and seemed entirely blind to her disinterest. (I’ve often wondered why his quest for love seemed to be so important to him. I suppose I’ve always just linked it to the growth and search for acceptance that he – and Broadway and Lexington, for that matter – go through. I’d love to hear your thoughts.) As I’ve already pointed out, Greg’s theme for this episode was self deception. Brooklyn definitely deceives himself when it comes to Maggie. He wanted her to want his help.
The episode also offers a great example of Goliath’s faith in Brooklyn. None of them seem as interested in saving Maggie as he is – something which has always bothered me, actually, even as a child – but the clan leader agrees to help and, more importantly, agrees to let Brooklyn bring her back to the clock tower. That’s a big potential risk, and incurring it seems to go above and beyond indulging a crush.
Gargoyles Defying the Laws of Physics: 3
Star Trek Voices: 2
(Although, as a random bit of trivia, Jonathon Frakes also voiced Fang’s single line.)
Dramatic Awakening Scenes: 3
New Minor Returning Characters:
- The Mutates (Talon, Fang, Maggie the Cat and Claw)
- Anton Sevarius
Feel free to let me know if you think of any other categories I should add!
- Greg’s Episode Ramble
- The Metamorphosis Memo