Beauties and the Beasts: “Eye of the Beholder”
17 February 2012 1 Comment
“If Xanatos speaks the truth…if someone like him can love, perhaps there still is hope for this world.” — Goliath
Written by: Steve Perry
Original Air Date: September 13, 1995
Timeline placement: October 1 – October 31, 1995
TMNT episode I could make an incredibly easy comparison to: Ep. 7.04: “The Engagement Ring”
- Xanatos proposes to Fox. It is awkward and unromantic. Fox accepts.
- Xanatos gives Fox the Eye of Odin as an Engagement not-Ring. Bad idea, Xanatos; the eye causes Fox to uncontrollably turn into a werebeast.
- Out of control, the WereFox roams the streets at night, hitting meat stores and the like. On one of these occasions, she runs into Elisa, who unsuccessfully attempts to stop her. On another, she runs into both her and Goliath.
- After Xanatos and Owen figure out that Fox has gotten Foxier (sorry) and that the Eye of Odin can’t be taken away from her without shocky ouchie pain, they attempt several stratagems in order to stop her.
- One of these stratagems involves trying to manipulate Goliath into doing the work for him, which fails, as Goliath sees right through it, and tells Xanatos as much. The gargoyle refuses to help, even after Xanatos explains who exactly the werebeast is.
- Halloween arrives, and the gargoyles (except for Hudson) are out and about. Lexington is dressed as an old-timey pilot; Broadway is a noir detective; Brooklyn is a pirate. Elisa gets fancy and cosplays as Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle. Goliath, ever the non-conformist, goes as himself.
- As the night wears on, Goliath begins reconsidering his “don’t help Xanatos” stance, especially the implication that he can love.
- Working together, Goliath, Xanatos and Elisa manage to restrain Were!Fox and remove the Eye of Odin.
- Xanatos takes Fox back home, while Goliath keeps the Eye of Odin.
- As they head home, Owen remarks that Xanatos, in her efforts to save Fox, has never looked more heroic.
- The Eye of Odin last appeared in “The Edge“. Xanatos remarks in this episode that it is meant to
- Fox and Xanatos were first revealed to be a couple in “Leader of the Pack“. Here it is revealed that their relationship is such that Fox has her private own room inside the castle, although it is not stated whether that is her permanent residence (and yes, I know Greg has said it was; the episode doesn’t say it).
- Elisa fears the Werefox is another of Xanatos’ experiments, a reference to her brother’s fate in “Metamorphosis“.
- Broadway’s private eye costume–or at least the trenchcoat and hat–was first seen last episode, “The Silver Falcon“. Given its fate in that episode, it can be assumed that the version seen here is a new one.
So the big thing about this episode is that Xanatos is in love, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. It’s a good character beat, and rather subversive, given cartoons at the time; while villains in love isn’t a new trope, it’s almost always played as the sort of infatuation that will lead to stalking and kidnapping and murder attempts, so something like this–where the villain’s love is good and noble and improves a person–comes as a surprise. We’d already seen that Fox was in love with Xanatos in “Her Brother’s Keeper”, so it’s basically a match made in heaven.
I do think, however, that these relationship upgrades come a tad too quickly, with each successive Fox appearance heralding a new-to-the-audience status. Last time we saw her, we found out that she and Xanatos have a thing going; here she gets engaged; in the next episode, she’ll get married, and in the one after that (if you don’t count her cameo in City of Stone) she’s pregnant. Thankfully, the pattern gets broken after that, or else, by the time the comics came around we’d probably have her becoming a great-grandmother. >_< Combined with the fact that these events are not usually used to develop others and not her–note that we never really get to learn anything about her experience as a werefox from her point of view–it all makes Fox feel more like a plot device like a character at times.
Goliath claims that Xanatos’ capacity to love offers some hope for the world, the idea apparently being that evil people are incapable of sincere, positive love. Is it the right idea? While it’s not out of character for him to believe this–despite his ever-expanding world-view, he still tends to think in black and white at this point–is there any in-universe evidence to support this assertion, or does the show argue that Goliath is incorrect?
Love, of course, isn’t an alien emotion to the series’ villains. Aside from Xanatos and Fox’s relationship, there are Macbeth’s various relationships (established while he was still being used as an antagonist), Oberon’s sincere love for Titania, and of course, Demona’s love for Angela. Still, Xanatos is distinct among the villains because unlike Demona, he believed himself above love.
I’m not the biggest fan of the proposal scene. The vibe that comes off is rather off-putting and somewhat awkward, which is something that Xanatos rarely is. I could see him casually proposing after sex, during a random conversation, or as they’re both playing chess. But it seems too contrived and artificial here. If he doesn’t respect the idea of marriage, or its tropes (and I think this is what the scene sets out to show), why stage a fancy dress dinner for two, set it up to be like Citizen Kane, and propose there? If he does care, why not try to actually make it romantic? It makes Xanatos seem eccentric, which is not an adjective I would have ever used to describe the character.
According to Xanatos’ second-hand account, the Eye of Odin endows the wearer with power and insight. Goliath suggests that it has made Fox more like herself (which seems rather presumptive of him, given that he’s only met her once). Does anyone agree? Does this jive with Goliath’s own experiences with the eye?
Aside from the discovery that Fox is apparently an otherkin, the biggest surprise of the episode is probably that Elisa is a cosplayer, and a rather dedicated one, it seems–that Belle costume is perfect, and one wonders how much time and money she spent on it. And then she removes the bottom part of it and the whole thing turns from cute to oddly fascinating.
The more I think about it, the more I’m fascinated by the dress’ removable skirt, which feels rather impossible. For one, the bottom seems quite light and flexible, while at the same time being stiff enough to keep its bell shape without any underlying support. The way she removes the skirt also seems to suggest that there’s a hidden slit somewhere (which makes sense, given her ability to quickly draw her gun from her thigh holster) which makes it even more magic, in my book, since it still manages to remained perfectly closed despite all the swaying about.
Also, the stockings: I wonder whose idea it was. I could kinda see them as a little something to prevent her from seeming naked in that teeny-tiny short underskirt, except that the outfit we got actually feels more risque than that would have been. I kinda want to believe that it was the Japanese animators’ fault, because they worked on this episode and because short skirts + stockings is absolutely huge there, but I’m not sure if it makes sense for things to have turned out that way. In-story, I could soooort of see them being justified as a way to keep warm on a late October night, except that it doesn’t really make any sense for Elisa to go for stockings and not, say, leggings.
On a less obsessively focused note, I happen to find Goliath and Elisa’s interactions here–the first since “The Mirror”–rather sweet and refreshingly angst-free. They do feel like they’re friends, who wish they could be more.
- In the Gargoyles comic books, we find out that Hudson spent his second Halloween (in 1996) at his friend Jeffrey Robbins’ house. Given what happened then, we can probably assume that he did not do that in 1995. So what did he do? Stay at home? Fly around? Have his own wild Halloween adventure?