Goliath and Elisa

So I was going through fellow Gargoyles-fan Greg Bishansky’s blog when I came across this old post of his about the tendency of some fans to hope for easy solutions to the obstacles fictional characters face out of “too much” love for them–even at the cost of interesting stories.

I used to read a lot of “Gargoyles” fanfiction, and I still mingle with a lot of the fans on various forums. But whenever we get into a serious discussion on what should happen next, I am honestly surprised whenever someone suggests something good, or even credible. Because almost all the time, fans throw up wish lists that would completely rob the series of its teeth.

Take Goliath and Elisa’s love story, for example. It took them sixty-five episodes to even kiss, and almost as long for Elisa to acknowledge her feelings for him. When Elisa briefly got cold feet in “Invitation Only,” a good portion of the fandom revolted. Weisman was accused of violating the integrity of the characters, people were angry, and accused Elisa of acting out of character. To which I ask, did any of you ever watch the sixty-five episodes of the series? Ever? This isn’t just an interracial relationship, this is interspecies, and it has a lot of very real consequences.

What do most fans want? For Goliath and Elisa to quickly get married and have lots of babies together. As for the former, Weisman has said a commitment ceremony is coming eventually. As for the latter, gargoyles and humans cannot procreate together. May I add that the notion upsets a lot of fans?

While I don’t read a lot of fan-fiction (I really don’t have the time, even if I were to go directly with the cream of the crop–although I did read Bishanky’s excellent “Rhapsody“), I can largely agree with the sentiment.

That said, there’s a part of his post I have to raise objections to.

When Elisa briefly got cold feet in “Invitation Only,” a good portion of the fandom revolted. Weisman was accused of violating the integrity of the characters, people were angry, and accused Elisa of acting out of character. To which I ask, did any of you ever watch the sixty-five episodes of the series? Ever?

As I expressed once the initial issue came out, I do feel that that particular plot was bad writing, and that Elisa was being out of character.  However, it’s not for the reason Greg states here–the opposite, actually.

If you believe that Elisa has been in love with Goliath since at least “Sanctuary“, then she has had months to ruminate on the potential consequences of beginning a relationship with him.  The moment when she kisses him in “Hunter’s Moon” would seem to indicate that she has indeed accepted those consequences.

At the point in the story where “Invitation Only” takes place, it’s been less than a week since the events of “Hunter’s Moon”.  The one event of note she has faced so far was a Quarrymen attack which happened to take place on her appartment–no worse or different than any of the dozens of other attacks on her person she has faced since meeting Goliath.

But what’s this?  Elisa, after taking the initiative in taking her relationship with Goliath to another level, no longer feels the confidence she’d felt four days ago.   She decides to break things up with Goliath, claiming that she wants a normal life which Goliath cannot give her (including kids, which, while natural enough, she’d never mentioned before).  So what’s brought about this sea-change in Elisa’s thinking?  It’s never really explained, and in a couple of issues, after she sees Goliath in mortal danger, she changes her mind again.

Am I saying that it’s unnatural for Elisa to doubt herself?  Not at all–choosing to pursue a romance with a gargoyles is a momentous decision which will affect her life forever, and Elisa is, after all, human.  However, I feel the timing is wrong. Having her change her mind now, after she’s had months to make her decision but has faced none of the consequences that come from it (is anybody even aware of the kiss?), makes her seem, in my opinion, cowardly*, which Elisa has proven time and time again that she isn’t.   Why not have this moment later, after they’d actually tried to have a relationship, and faced the challenges that come with being a closetted Gargoyle-lover**? Not only would it have given the reader the pleasure of actually seeing Elisa & Goliath as a couple and witnessing how that changes things for them, it would have felt like a natural step in their relationship.

On broader terms, I disliked this moment because I’ve grown to hate the tendency for writers to immediately try to separate a couple soon after they’ve gotten together, because it seems to indicate that being in a relationship is easy and therefore uninteresting.  Like Greg says, there are plenty of challenges Goliath and Elisa face in embarking on their newest adventure; why not face them together, instead of folding at the first sight of a pebble in their path?

Now, there’s all sort of subtext here, for whomever wishes to look for it.  Who’s to say that Elisa was actually sure in “Hunter’s Moon”?  Who’s to say that the reasons she gave are her true ones?  One might even get some interesting stories out of that.  However, given how space was at a premium, those are not the stories I was (or are) interested in.

* Not to mention, terribly unfair to Goliath.

** A personal favorite possibility would have been if Elisa got cold feet after she’d tried to explain her relationship to her parents.  After all, knowing and accepting the existence of Gargoyles is one thing; having their daughter date one is another.  Having the Mazas asking the obvious questions, when they are played as sympathetic characters who respect both people in the pair, would have make for great drama (it still can), and would have done a lot to make Elisa’s attempted break-up ring true.

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4 Responses to Goliath and Elisa

  1. AlgeaX says:

    I see where Ian’s coming from but I disagree. Elisa may have been aware of her feelings for Golaith for awhile before “Hunter’s Moon” but I think up until that point she didn’t really face up to the full implications of what a relationship with him would mean. I’m sure she’d thought about these things but up until HM she could always push them to the back of her mind because “it’s never going to happen”. Kinda like how a smoker tries not to think about all the various health hazards until they’re sitting by the phone waiting for the doc to call back with test results.

    Then she goes and kisses him, NOW she can’t put it off any more, NOW she’s got to deal with this shit. And like most people caught in such any difficult position she panics, she tries to bail. If it sounds like I’m being harsh to Elisa, it’s not intentional. Frankly, I would have probably done the same.

  2. Ian Perez Zayas says:

    So basically you’re saying that The Kiss was borne out of impulse and not (temporary) certainty? Plausible, particularly given that whatever thoughts Elisa may have had about herself and Goliath would have been thrown for a loop by the game-changer that was the outing of the gargoyles (which is a very important element I hadn’t really considered before). If the break-up conversation had been framed in those terms, then…well I’d probably still dislike it (like I said, I really dislike the trope of getting a couple together only to break ’em up soon after) but I’d at least be complaining less loudly.

  3. OMG! Finally someone who thinks like me!

    I can not buy the break of Elisa, I really can not. She has been dating Goliath for three years; they have walk in the park (with annoying interruptions), they have gone to dance, we know that Elisa invited him to baseball… We can assume that they are dating when they have a night off to fight evil.

    They know they are more than friends at least since “the mirror” . Goliath tries declared several times and she cuts it, obviously thinking of all impediments (from the view of parents, even children, including the fact that they will never be able to live together because the gargoyle culture prevents Goliath leave the clan to live in her apartment). Finally, when she meets a man who might be interested realizes that it is really she loves Goliath, and prefers to be with him despite the difficulties rather than with any other.

    Then Morgan invite her to a picnic with her partner. And she, realizing that it can not take him, reacts as if he had never noticed before. As if in all these years she had not thought about it ever. And worse: Elisa suddenly seems the protagonist of a romantic comedy only interested in white wedding and a house with garden. Goliath’s words are profoundly painful “you do not want a mate, you want a husband”. That’s not the Elisa we have meet in 65 episodes.

    On the future ceremony is something I really did not want to see. We know about the wedding of Malcom the gargoyles find these very strange rituals. They do not have anything like that, nor when choosing partner, or when someone amounting second in command, or a new leader, or to notify Elisa friend who had gone from a clan member. The only reason Goliath would do something like thi is to please Elisa. Given the wedding is illegal and secret, only the clan and the family guest, because the trouble? Is no sense, and converts again Elisa in a character of romantic comedy.

    (Sorry for my english, i’m spanish).

  4. by the way, I would have liked to see the opposition to the pair of any character. Presumably the clan accepts it, and who have seen it coming for years. But humans would not be so understanding. It is easy to imagine that despite having accepted the gargoyles, this relationship deeply disturbed them. Always imagine Derek very angry, her parents confused, Xanatos and Fox kidding behind them, even Matt giving a talk and someone accused her of bestiality. This would have been interesting to see and a good reason for the break, instead of picnics.

    (It really bothers me that after all that happened Elisa, because of the gargoyles, the value that has shown and as nothing has stopped doing the right thing, suddenly pulls everything down because it can not picnicking. It is very offensive to the character).

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