Stone (by Day) Beats Steel: “Awakening Part 5”

Giants? — Goliath, on yet another feature of New York.

Story by Eric Luke and Michael Reaves
Teleplay by Michael Reaves
Original Air date: October 28, 1994
Characters or item introduced: The Steel Clan

Synopsis:
Despite heavy resistance, all three groups of gargoyles manage to complete their missions and retrieve the disks.  Not everything goes as planned, however; not only does Goliath’s Angel of The Night destroy the Cyberbiotics airship they had boarded, they are both seen by Elisa as they make their escape.

Back at the castle, Goliath confronts his Angel on her actions.  She argues that humanity as a whole (with the exception of Xanatos) is their enemy, and that they should all pay for their crimes against gargoyles.  Disturbed by this admission, Goliath leaves for his appointed meeting with Elisa.

After Goliath finds Elisa, the detective demands an explanation for the ship’s destruction, explaining that the discs that the Gargoyles had retrieved had been Cyberbiotics’ all along.  She suggests that he and the other gargoyles had been tricked by Xanatos, using the bug found on Goliath during the previous episode–which, as Elisa found out, was made by a Xanatos Enterprises subsidiary–as evidence.  She asks Goliath to trust her.

Back at the castle, Xanatos has concluded that he will not be able to keep the gargoyles under his thumb.  Using the stolen disks, he activates what he hopes will be their replacements: the Steel Clan, a series of robots bearing Goliath’s likeness.  Goliath’s Angel, who, it is now clear, has been working with Xanatos all along, suggests he test the robots by pitting them against their flesh-and-blood counterparts, a suggestion Xanatos accepts.

As they comment on the wonders of  20th century New York, the trio is ambushed and overtaken by Xanatos’ robots.  However, the tides eventually turn when Goliath and Hudson join the fight, forcing Xanatos  and Goliath’s Angel to intervene.

As she holds Goliath at rocket-launcher-point, his Angel explains that she had been a co-conspirator in the captain of the guard and Hakon’s plan to take over Castle Wyvern;  that it had been that knowledge that had saved her and that while she had not planned for the massacre,  she would not mind killing its  survivors if they would not join her in her vendetta against humanity.  She explains that she also has a name, given to her “long ago”: Demona.

As Demona proceeds to shoot her former lover, she is tackled by Elisa.  The rocket goes wild, causing a segment of the castle to fall, along with both women.  Without hesitation, Goliath glides after Elisa, saving her and leaving Demona to fall to the streets below.

A short while later, as Xanatos (who had been knocked unconscious by a stray bit of falling debris) is being arrested, Goliath and Elisa muse on their new circumstances.

—-

As I’ve said before, I’d first watched the pilot after having already watched most of season 2, so its twists and turns weren’t all that surprising.  Still, these are by far the most enjoyable episodes of the series’ first season.  This particular episode is possibly the weakest of the five—most of the time is spent on action scenes, which aren’t usually the series’ strong suit—but still a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the pilot.

I once read a statement from someone in TVTropes complaining that Xanatos was acting uncommonly dumb in these episodes by allowing his tracking devices to be traced back to him, and listening to Demona’s suggestion of killing the Gargoyles while they were awake.  Given his future badassitude, The case can definitively be made.  Still, leaving aside the metatextual reason for these episodes’ plot developments–the Gargoyles could not lose again at the end of the pilot–it brings up some interesting sides to the character.

It’s important to note that Xanatos’ misteps here stem from one single source: Elisa Maza.  Were it not for her, Goliath would have likely never discovered the truth about Xanatos’ bug or about the disks, and probably taken considerably longer to conclude that he was being duped by Xanatos.

Lets focus on the bug first.  Given what we see of the castle’s surveillance, it’s hard to believe that Xanatos was not aware of Elisa’s meeting with Goliath; given the 20+hours between Goliath and Elisa’s first and second meetings, it’s also hard to believe that Xanatos didn’t have enough time to prepare a less identifiable  one.  I see two reasons why he wouldn’t:

  1. He did not think Elisa would be capable of figuring out the truth regarding the bug.
  2. He did not think Elisa and Goliath would hit it off as well as they did.

Now, given the bug’s huge honking logo, I don’t imagine it would be too hard, to find its maker, even without the benefit of the internet as we know it.  I’d like to know if the bug itself is designed for mass consumption—if it is, Elisa’s argument has no teeth and Xanatos had little to worry about—but since it’s not really elaborated upon, I’m concluding that it probably isn’t—which means that once you identify the bug’s maker, it’s game over.  So, given that Elisa had already demonstrated both curiosity and tolerance for the weird, I’d say that Xanatos has underestimated Elisa pretty severely.

It’s a funny relationship, the one between those two.  Despite all his claims about revenge being a sucker’s game, Xanatos definitively feels the need to tweak Elisa when possible—see “Maza, Derek”.  Why is that?  Suggestions would be welcome.

That aside, I’m glad that Xanatos was not set up as an infallible villain.  Not only would that be boring, it leaves him nowhere to go as a character.  Having him be the type of villain who can learn from his mistakes is what makes him stand out from the pack.

As for Demona, there’s very little to say here about her, except that her confrontation works on almost every level (and I say “almost” because I’m pathologically wary of absolutes).  I do wonder how much of her backstory had been planned out at this point, thought, aside from the connection with MacBeth.

Next time, The Pack.


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7 Responses to Stone (by Day) Beats Steel: “Awakening Part 5”

  1. Froborr says:

    Just wanted to let you know I wrote a post in response to your question on my blog.

    I really like the format you used on this post; if it’s okay with you, I’m going to use it for future Avatar posts.

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