rorriM rorriM: Double Jeopardy
11 June 2013 3 Comments
“Well, whaddya know: the kid turned out to be a real chip off the old block. ” — David Xanatos
Written by: Cary Bates
Original Air Date: November 6, 1995
Introduces: Thailog, That mercenary group that steals Thailog.
Timeline placement: November 15, 1994 (Flashback); November 28, 1995 – November 29, 1995
TMNT episode I could make a forced comparison to: “Bad Blood”
- We find out that one year ago, while the clan was still living in Casa de Xanatos, a “rogue” Steel Clan robot once activated and slashed Goliath before being promptly gargoyled. Because he like pretending he cares, Owen gives Goliath some first aid, with the objective of extracting some fresh gargoyle DNA.
- Present day! Elisa is driving alongside the coast with Lexington and Broadway overhead–Matt is absent that day, because these episodes were produced with the idea that they wouldn’t spoil things no matter what the eventual airing order happened to be–when a mostly unseen force briefly attacks all three before disappearing. As the friends take stock of just what the hell happened, a lightning bolt highlights a figure standing atop a cliffside that looks–and sounds–a lot like Goliath.
- At Gen-U-Tech, Anton Sevarius hires a group of thieves to steal a target–a gargoyle, if Sevarius’ comment that the heist would go easier during the day is any indication.
- At the clock tower, Elisa, Broadway, and Lexington talk to Hudson about the events of that night. Hudson notes that Goliath was supposed to be patrolling the city with Brooklyn, and that if he hasn’t returned, it’s likely because he’s chosen a safe spot to spend the quickly approaching day.
- At Castle Wyvern, Goliath’s stone form can be seen atop the parapets, which Xanatos quite likes. However, any warm and fuzzy feelings coming from having the gargoyle there doesn’t last long, as the thieves steal him away.
- Goliath and Brooklyn return to the clock tower, where they are asked about Goliath’s activities the night before. They explain that it couldn’t have been Goliath who attacked Elisa and co, leaving the clan with a whole mess of questions.
- As night falls, the thieves’ helicopter makes its way to an offshore oil rig within view of the place where Lex, Broadway, and Elisa were attacked and delivers the cargo to Sevarius. As night falls, the thieves become hella surprised when the “statue” they delivered breaks out of its containment cage.
- Elisa, Broadway, and Lexington show Goliath around the place where “he” had stood the night before. They find only one clue–a bracelet with the name Gen-U-Tech, similar to the one Maggie the Cat once wore. They decide to split up, with Lexington and Broadway heading to Gen-U-Tech to investigate while Elisa and Goliath remain behind scanning for clues.
- Inside Xanatos’ office, our favorite corrupt corporate executive receives a call demanding that he come to the offshore oil rig near “Black Rock Point”–finally, a name–with $20 million in cash if he wants to see “his prize specimen” intact. That, combined with the revelation that the oil rig in question is owned by Xanatos Enterprises leads Xanatos to conclude, correctly, that Anton Sevarius, as the only outside party to know of “the Thailog project”, had to be the person behind the theft, making him a rogue element that must be dealt with.
- At Gen-U-Tech, Lexington and Broadway break into the least secure computer ever to find out the various details of something called “The Thailog Project”, which involves growing a clone of Goliath.
- At Black Rock Point, Elisa and Goliath are about ready to end the clue-search when Goliath notices Xanatos driving a boat towards the oil rig. They follow.
- Xanatos, meets up with Sevarius. After some banter, Xanatos, who iswearing the battlesuit he last wore on “Eye of the Beholder”, attacks his employee. However, things start not going according to plan when he realizes that Sevarius believes that he is acting the part of a rogue employee, rather than being an actual rogue employee.
- At the other side of the oil rig, Elisa and Goliath make landfall. Hearing screams from inside the structure, they decide to enter and investigate, only to find Thailog, who is basically a Goliath palette swap, in chains.
- Goliath is unhappy at finding out just what Thailog is, calling him an abomination. Elisa tells him to cool his jets–that regardless of how he came to be, Thailog is a sentient individual who has done nothing wrong and shouldn’t be rejected. Goliath calms down and accepts this wisdom, deciding to let his “son” free, but that proves unnecessary, as Thailog frees himself and uses a modified oxygen tank to pump Goliath full of a weakening agent. Once that is done, he turns his attention towards Elisa.
- Xanatos asks Sevarius for answers, and the geneticist is only too happy to comply: the reason why he believes this is all an act is because he’d obtained instructions via “electronic mail” (hee!) sent from Xanatos’ office, and had no reason to believe this was anything other than one of the billionaire’s trademark circuitous plans. This information allows Xanatos to fit the pieces together seconds too late for it to be off any use, as Thailog attacks them both, disabling Xanatos’ battle suit with an electronic pulse mine.
- Thailog places his four “guests” in chains and explains why he went through all this trouble: basically, he’s making a bid for his freedom on his terms by killing his three parents (Elisa qualifies as “collateral damage”) and obtaining financial independence. He does that James Bond villain thing and explains that once he leaves, he’ll set the oil rig on fire with his flare gun and that will be that.
- Once the four trapped trappees are left alone, Elisa slips out of her shackles. Unable to break the others out of their shackles on her own, she follows Sevarius’ sugestion to take the electric shock-giver-thingy that Thailog attached to Xanatos’ armor and use it on Goliath, the theory being that the shock will send a burst of adrenaline he needs in order to overcome his gas-induced lethargy and break his bonds. It works, and the three men are free in quick order.
- Elisa, Xanatos, and Sevarius leave on Xanatos’ speedboat while Goliath confronts his “son”. Fight Goliath fight. The oil rig catches fire, so Goliath makes his exit, while Thailog, more worried about the dropped briefcase, is caught in the explosion.
- Or is he? As Xanatos reflects on the events of that night with Owen, he notes how, if he were Thailog, he would have set things up beforehand to make sure that the money was safe and to assure his survival, and that its very likely that the gargoyle, combining the most dangerous aspects of both Goliath and himself, is still out there.
- Anton Sevarius was first introduced in “Metamorphosis“. In that episode, he and Xanatos have a conversation suggesting that cloning gargoyles was something Xanatos was interested, but did not have the resources to pursue. Given the facts as shown in this episode, that last statement was a lie for the benefit of the also-present Derek Maza, as not only did they have the resources, they were working on a clone as that conversation was taking place.
And so Gargoyles decides to attempt an evil twin story, and does a pretty great job at it, bypassing the pitfalls that can often plague such stories. Thailog carries double the risk, as he is not only a clone of Goliath, but is meant to have a philosophy that mirrors Xanatos’. Given that we already have a perfectly good Xanatos, the argument can be made that we didn’t need one, and fortunately for us, we don’t get one. He may have Goliath’s looks and Xanatos’ brains, but Thailog is neither character, and is indeed his own being, with his own things to bring to the Gargoyles table–for example, he allows for scenarios in which Xanatos is beaten at his own game, as Thailog not only manages to emancipate himself, but manages to make $20 million in the process. Not too shabby for a beginner.
This episode serves as a good place to mark Goliath’s changing attitudes since “Awakening”. Whereas his first few weeks in New York were marked by distrust, here we see him ready to take in Thailog based solely on their shared gargoyle-dom. One could argue that that’s not exactly progress, since telling total strangers that yeah, they can be part of the family, isn’t exactly a smart thing to do. And yet, Goliath’s offer marks another change, in that his definition of family has expanded considerably since we met him. First, it expanded to cover Elisa—although not, I feel, humans as a whole. Then, the mutates were invited, and now Thailog, who is offered a home despite the fact that his existence gives Goliath the heebie-jeebies.
In fact, I kinda wish we’d actually spent some time with Thailog on the clan, because I love the idea of Goliath and the clan having to share space with someone who makes them uncomfortable, and especially someone who makes them uncomfortable for no fault of their own. Xanatos kinda sorta fills that role, except he’s never actually part of the clan, so it’s not the same. And then when they get the clones, the Manhattan clan is like, “heck to the no”. And it’s perfectly understandable, but still, the possibilities.
On another note, this episode features the culmination of Xanatos’ long-term efforts in creating a substitute for the gargoyles–and especially Goliath—which he has been undertaking since “Awakening” and have resulted in the Steel Clan, which proved to be less-than-effective in several contexts (although not all, as Xanatos continues to produce them throughout the entirety of the series); Coldstone and the mutates,which proved to be unreliable; and finally ending in Thailog, who results in…well, this episode. After Thailog, Xanatos will, as far as we’ve shown, cease these efforts; although we’re not given a reason, one can assume that he decides that its more trouble than it’s worth. One question is never really dealt with, however: just what was he aiming for? We know from “Awakening” that he wanted the gargoyles, in part, so that they can perform super-heists for him. Coldstone was allegedly created to counter Goliath. With Thailog, Xanatos seemed to want someone to, paradoxically, be both his equal and subordinate—which is something he kinda already had in Coyote.
Personally, I think he’s smitten. Not in any sexual way—although I’m sure there’s tons of Goliath/Xanatos fanfic around on that very topic—but in the sense that the idea of gargoyles captured his imagination in a way that I don’t think he expected. It’s not just that Goliath is strong and can glide: it’s that he’s something out of a story. Of course, Xanatos being Xanatos, he has to try to take that story and destroy its soul, which is part of what makes him fascinating, and I kinda wish the show had done more to explore that side of him.
A good episode.
- I think I’ve mentioned earlier that the sequence of events and the revelations of who knows what regarding Sevarius in “The Cage” has always confused me: the fact that he’s alive and working publicly are treated as a matter of fact, which has always made me feel like there’s part of the story missing. It wasn’t until now that I realized that part of why things feel confusing is because the fact that this episode is set between both Talon episodes never really registered.
- By far the most implausible part of the episode, for me, is the idea that someone would have left oil in an abandoned oil rig. Just what kind of self-respecting out-for-as-much-money-as possible, enviroment-hating executive would do that? Not in this universe. I mean, I thought they were physically incapable of abandoning a location as long it was still exploitable, so what gives? The cloning? Eh, I can buy that.
- In a show that loves to make small characters into big ones, it’s sometimes the ones that never make that second appearance that become really memorable. Case in point, the mercenary that appears here just so he can steal Thailog and bring him to Sevarius. Who was that guy?