Enter Elisa Maza: “Awakening: Part Three”

That stone gargoyle up there: I could have sworn I saw it move.” — Elisa Maza

Story by Eric Luke and Michael Reaves
Teleplay by Michael Reaves
Original Air date: October 26, 1994
Characters Introduced: Vinnie Grigori, Brendan and Margot, the three thugs

Synopsis: N.Y.P.D. detective Elisa Maza explores Castle Wyvern and discovers Goliath.  Goliath rescues an intruder discovers that women can now wear pants, and makes a new friend.  The trio explores Manhattan and discover motorcycles.  The old gargoyle discovers TV, barcaloungers, and the river’s name.  Xanatos talks to someone who is most certainly not that female gargoyle.


Random thoughts, Elisa Maza edition:

So Elisa finally gets a formal introduction, after cameoing in the previous two episodes.  I’ve always liked the character, even if I’m hard pressed to give any specifics, as to why.  I guess, like with April O’Neil, I just like that she manages to feel both normal and extraordinary at the same time, and that she remains a good person despite all the bad shit that happens to her.

As I see Elisa go through a lot of trouble to explore Xanatos’ castle, I wonder if Elisa had a vendetta against Xanatos prior to the events covered in the series.  The trouble she goes through in this episode in order to discover what caused the destruction in the castle seems to have a motivation beyond just being a good cop.

I like the subtle chemistry Elisa has with Goliath in this episode.  Even when he claims that he doesn’t trust people, and even though she’s sneaking into “his” castle, he trusts her a lot more than he does Xanatos.  His posture is more relaxed.  He’s giving her information he doesn’t need to give.  She on the other hand, is very relaxed, once Goliath saves her and takes her back up to the castle.

Apropos to nothing, I just love this shot:

Magnificent [/David Xanatos].  Quite possibly the best she’s ever looked.  Also, listen to her scream as she falls: doesn’t it sound a whole lot like an alarm or a siren?

Official Elisa Maza Lost Weapons Count: 1.

Seriously, though, this is one of the things that grew to bother me a bit as I grew older.  From what I understand of police organizations, losing your firearm is always considered a Very Big Deal (see season 3 of The Wire and how the Bal’more city Police Department was thrown into a tizzy by the theft of Dozerman’s gun).  Elisa loses her’s a lot, without consequence, and it’s  something I wish the series would have played with a bit down the line.

One particular bit that bugs about Elisa’s design is her folded-up jeans.  Who wears jeans like that?  Combine them with her weird shoes (Are they boots?  Are they shoes?  Are they some unholy amalgamation?  Nobody knows!) and and you’ve got something quite fug.


5 Responses to Enter Elisa Maza: “Awakening: Part Three”

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  4. Once I got reintroduced to Gargoyles when I was older since I forgot about it, Elisa losing her weapon stood out so much more. The fact Elisa constantly lost her weapon, I saw it as kind of a running gag. In my opinion Greg Weisman saw this as one of those ways to stay within the child zone that Disney wants. I mean the only real time she is really permitted to have her gun handy broadcast wise is when she’s about to do something with it that will help her succeed in protecting someone or using ingenuity without being in the situation in which she can pull the trigger and harm someone with a bullet. It’s just that noticeable I mean those instances she’s actually been shown to actually point her gun at someone with the intent to fire it’s always because she’s in the position to get her gun knocked out of her hand, her having no bullets left, or get it taken from her and destroyed by someone stronger. Disney keeping it within the PG rating that Gargoyles is.

  5. Ian says:

    Welcome, Cymia Noel Chantice Moss. Thank you for posting–it’s nice to see old post garner interest.

    Your description of the circumstances behind the treatment of Elisa’s guns is spot-on. It very much is a Broadcast Standard and Practices bit, combined maybe with a wish not to let her solve things too quickly with bullets. And yeah, it’s easiest to take as running gag, although as such, it sometimes feels like these moments were setting up a moment where the pattern would be broken, and Elisa would, in fact, shoot an actual person and succeed in harming them. That never ended up happening, though.

    It’s funny, though: the conventional wisdom concerning firearm use tends to be–although maybe not now–that most police officers go their entire careers without firing their weapons. Just having Elisa not using it at all, weirdly enough, would technically be more realistic than her frequent use.

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