Home Again: “Shadows of the Past”

“This place is full of bad memories.” —  Elisa Maza vlcsnap-2014-09-09-08h13m51s96 Written by: Michael Reaves and Brynne Chandler Reaves Original Air Date: November 23, 1995 Introduces: N/A Timeline placement: January 1 – 2, 1996 (Earth Time) TMNT episode I could make a forced comparison to: “The Darkness Within” Content Note: Police Brutality, Rape, Racism, Ferguson

The Beats:

  •  The world tourists navigate through a storm to their first destination, which is not Manhattan but Scotland–specifically, the cliffs near Castle Wyvern where Demona spent the day of the massacre.  While there’s some disappointment, there’s also the feeling that this is not a total loss, since Goliath now gets to show Elisa and Angela where he grew up.
  • Goliath takes the tourists to the site of Castle Wyvern, where all that remains is the entrance to the rookery, everything else having been taken to Manhattan.  As they approach the site, Goliath, for an instant, sees the castle as it once stood.
  • Bronx howls.  Goliath hears Demona’s voice calling his name, which briefly paralyzes him.
  •  Goliath leads everyone to a nearby cave so they can seek refuge from the elements.  It is the cave where the Archmage met what was thought to be his end, and where the vikings camped before the massacre. He gives the two women a brief account of the events of that night, of Hakon and the captain’s fates, and how his actions had been made in spite of his desire for revenge. As he tells this tell, he begins hearing voices dating back to that night.
  • Angela finds a set of carving on the cave walls.  As Goliath takes a look, he sees the carving change shape and come to life, but only for a second.  He is asked what is wrong, but dismisses his vision as “old fears”.
  • With the storm dying, the World Tourists decide to exit the cave.  As they do so, Goliath sees Hakon and the captain standing before him, laughing.  He attacks them, without realizing that the people he is assaulting are actually Angela and Elisa.  It is not until Bronx attacks Goliath that the spell is (temporarily) broken.
  • The voices and visions prove too much for Goliath, who runs back into the cave.   Unbeknownst to him, two floating specters of light, resembling wills-o’-the-wisp, observe the fleeing gargoyle.
  • Elisa, Angela, and Bronx follow the retreating Goliath.  All four arrive at the fissure where the Archmage did not meet his end.  A vision of Hakon floating towards him causes Goliath and fall in, despite the best efforts of his loved ones.
  • Despite the long odds of Goliath surviving the fall, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx decide to climb down after him.
  • At the bottom of the pit, Goliath discovers a man-made structure, its walls inscribed with runes.  As he approaches, the two wills-o’-the-wisp talk to each other with the voices of Hakon and the captain of the guard: whatever they are, they are not figments of Goliath’s imagination.
  • A number of  runes in the structure light up and grow purple.  The ground shakes.  Rocks fall and join together to form stone gargoyle shapes, belonging to Goliath’s dead comrades. Level of “Can’t Deal”: 100%.
  • The stone gargoyles attack Goliath, angry at his inability to save them.  As they do so, more runes begin glowing.
  • After having some fun possessing stone bodies and taking out some aggression on Goliath, Hakon and the Captain, the two wills-o’-the-wisp, decide execute their coup-de-grace, before Goliath is too weakened to serve their purposes.  They cause yet more rocks to come together into one final form: Demona.
  • Mistake.
  • Goliath, realizing that he cannot possibly be battling his former mate’s  ghost, concludes that he has not taken leave of his senses, and  that his kin have not risen up against him.  Some intelligence is manipulating events–intelligence that happened to get a rather crucial detail wrong.  The truth now revealed, the various stone gargoyles crumble, leaving only the wills-o’-the-wisp, who take on their former selves.
  • Hakon and the captain explain their situation and their plan: their spirits have been alive and incorporeal since the massacre, and their hope is to use the cave’s magic to drain Goliath’s life force, giving the two ghosts enough energy to become corporeal again and leaving Goliath as a spirit himself.
  • As Goliath begins losing substance, he protests, saying they themselves, not he, was responsible for their deaths.  Hakon doesn’t care.  After becoming corporeal enough to actually hit Goliath, he begins attacking the gargoyle.  The captain is not nearly so gleeful.
  • Almost entirely a ghost, Goliath makes one final appeal to the captain: what about honor?  This is enough to convince the guard; deciding that his conscience cannot take his complicity in the death of yet another gargoyle, he attacks Hakon, taking him into the epicenter of the magical energies, breaking the connection and causing the structure to collapse.
  • Angela, Elisa, and Bronx join Goliath just in time to see the of the battle.  They ask who the two men were, to which Goliath replies that one was an enemy, and one a friend.
  • The ghost of the captain appears once more, and thanks Goliath for allowing him to overcome his hatred and therefore giving him an opportunity to pass on into the afterlife. He disappears for the final time.
  • The world tourists exit the cave and greet the day, leaving the bad memories behind.  Still inside the cave is Hakon, now alone and stuck inside a fallen rock.

Mythology and Continuity Notes:

If I had my way, this would have been the series’ version of “Reflections“–a bunch of  stories about pre-Massacre Castle Wyvern, as told by Goliath to Angela as they visit her ancestral homeland (and Goliath’s actual homeland).  Done well, it would have made for a nice breather, shown a side to the Gargoyles-verse we don’t see enough of, and given us an idea of how Goliath’s time as a citizen of the 20th century has changed his view of the 10th.  Instead we get a rather weird story that while  well-executed–it helps that the Japan team is back on animation duty here, giving the various sequences the necessary “oomph”–never quite managed to convince me of its relevance, feeling merely like an excuse to bring back characters that didn’t need bringing back as part of a dubious redemption arc.

Redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness are major themes in Gargoyles, and ones the series explores with some frequency; note that the last occasion prior to this one was…”Avalon”, which is in large part the story of Katherine and the Magus’ redemptions. Heck, Greg Weisman would eventually develop an entire spin-off based on the concept with Bad Guys. As the theme is explored again and again, an argument begins taking shape: redemption is always possible, even after death. In the captain’s last scene, the series connects his new fate with his decision to rescue Goliath. He’s not moving on because the magic keeping his spirit earthbound is broken–Hakon is still around, after all—rather, he appears to get to move on because he’s balanced the scales. He’s erased the red from his ledger he accrued from his role in the massacre, and gained Goliath’s forgiveness in the process.

Now, several things bother me about this. The captain of the guard, let’s not forget, was an accomplice not only to the deaths of most of the Wyvern clan, but also of untold numbers of his men, and of the suffering, if not deaths, of the people who’d entrusted their safety to him. No matter what his intentions, the effects of his actions were terrible enough that anyone who decided to hate him forever for them would be more than justified in doing so.  What’s more, his big gesture consisted of abandoning, at the last minute, his plan to steal Goliath’s life energy, which hardly speaks highly of him.  It all seems a bit too easy, and far less ambiguous than it probably should be, what with Hakon’s fate being rather explicit and the whole adventure occurring due to Avalon’s coded-as-benign machinations.

In the end, I’m really left wishing the episode had not ended with Goliath essentially forgiving the captain.  It feels on-character enough–Goliath is a forgiving dude, as we’ve seen perhaps most prominently in “Vows”.  That the show has gone in this direction is not at all unexpected–forgiveness, self-sacrifice, being the better person are all things that tend to be seen as part of the ideal good person package (see: Jesus Christ as popularly envisioned, Superman) so it’s no surprise to see our protagonists exhibiting them.  What’s more, given the context surrounding gargoyles’ existence, it makes perfect sense for the character to act in this manner, in some contexts–but I’ll get to that in a moment. The problem lies in that, in making the series’ two protagonists, who both belong to marginalized groups,  into the sort of people who tend to choose to Be The Better Person, the series glosses over the roles privilege plays into the whole thing. Being the better person is something Superman and Popular Western White Jesus get to be.  People in oppressed groups–such as Goliath, and especially Elisa–don’t have that choice: they have to always be the better person as a matter of pure survival, and that goes largely unacknowledged in Gargoyles.

One of the ways systemic oppression manifests is in being far more unforgiving of the oppressed, considering their mistakes or errors worse and more punishable than the same mistakes when made by a more privileged person.  “Stand your ground”, a law which protected George Zimmerman when he murdered Trayvon Martin, did not protect Marissa Alexander when she fired a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband.  The standard practice of those seeking to defend murders like Trayvon’s or Michael Brown’s is to strip mine the victims’ pasts for any sign of objectionable behavior and use what they find to claim that those actions justify their deaths. Whatever the problems with Anita Sarkeesian’s videos are supposed to be, they are apparently enough to justify, for some,  the death threats and unceasing waves of abuse she receives.  In Gargoyles, Elisa keeping secrets is enough to justify making her fear for her life.  Being oppressed means having no margin for error, which is a problem when doing what one does or simply living is so often considered an error.

What’s more, while forgiveness is, in theory, a gift–something that is never owed, and is given freely and without obligation–oppressed peoples are nevertheless expected to be much more forgiving than their more privileged counterparts would be, and to be prepared to let anything from microagressions to systematic injustice go without comment, treating them as bugs in the system rather than features.  Note, for example, how the script for campus rape apologism involves moaning that the victims, in coming forward, are ruining the lives of their attackers.  Note how the “ideal” response to murders like Martin or Brown’s is to carry on as usual.  The standard oppressor’s reply when people note that something is wrong with the status quo? “Get over it”.

Conversely, the more privilege one has, the easier it is to both deny forgiveness and be forgiven.  Racists, contra Jesus Christ, get apoplectic at the idea of “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants of color whose sole crime is often risking everything for a chance at a better life.  White policemen frequently get away with abusing or murdering black people; whatever crimes they might have committed by doing so are apparently perfectly forgivable.   Being the better person or turning the other cheek is not something that concerns these people–almost as it the benefit brought about it were nil. And yet, “be the better person” is what is demanded of the oppressed, even when it undermines their right to self-care or safety.  Anger is constantly invalidated: angry white women are hysterical, angry black men are thugs, angry black women are ignored and caricatured.  And yet, it was Stonewall Riots that began the gay rights movement, and progress made in the twentieth century was not arrived at by being polite.  Make anger against the rules, and you can keep an oppressive system in place forever, which is why so much energy is spent trying justify the claim that people who push back against oppressors and attackers are just as bad as the people doing the oppressing and attacking in the first place.

Given this context, it makes perfect sense for Goliath and Elisa to be predisposed to accept the “be the better person” argument.  Even if gargoyles didn’t tend to see communal living in relatively small spaces–a lifestyle that requires avoiding long-term strife in order to be viable–as a biological imperative, the fact that their continued existence depends on more privileged humans deciding not to kill them in their sleep means that they should be more than familiar with conciliatory attitudes as a survival mechanism.  Elisa, meanwhile, is a Black Native American woman, meaning that she is at the center of several axes of oppression which she would more than likely be intimately familiar with.  This means that in most circumstances, their attitude could be considered legitimate self-defense. And yet, consider the circumstances at the end of this episode.  The captain is dead, for real–his feelings are no longer a consideration.  There are no self-preservation reasons why Goliath shouldn’t be able to say whatever it is he felt about one of the people responsible for the death of his people. What’s more, being grateful for the captain’s actions in saving his life does not preclude him from still being pissed about the original betrayal.   And yet, even here, the narrative does not allow Goliath to be angry, despite just having been emotionally tortured by the same man he is now calling friend.  It doesn’t even allow him the opportunity to be conflicted, really.

It raises the question: if not here, when can he be justifiably angry?  When does his anger get shown to be a good thing, rather than a sign that he’s wrong and about to make a mistake? While Gargoyles obviously wants us to be on the good guys’  side, the series’ continued invalidation of Goliath and Elisa and Derek and Lexington’s anger, and its continued trend of having the good guys forgive anyone who shows the slightest hint of contrition (and some who don’t) is problematic, especially in light of the fact that, when we last left the series in 2009, it was in the process of planting the seeds for the gargoyles’ own civil rights movement.  That struggle obviously matters to Weisman, and if that story ever actually gets told, then these are things that need to be considered.  Gargoyles need to be able to be angry at humans, and to decide that gargoyle care is worth more than human comfort, and to question whether humans deserve gargoyle protection at all.  It doesn’t have to be Goliath who does these things, but it has to be someone; Demona cannot be the face of gargoyle anger.  And the show needs to show that that unforgiving anger is a valid reaction in the face of a world where gargoyles can expect to be shot at by strangers on any given night (yes, yes, #notallhumans, I know). To show these emotions as not being valid is utterly incompatible with the story that Weisman is trying to tell, and to show being the better person as the only acceptable path forward is incompatible with history, and incredibly privileged.

Now, Greg Weisman is not the person he was in the mid-nineties, nor is he the person he was in 2008.  Given how his understanding of social justice issues has changed since Gargoyles was first produced, there’s every possibility that the next chapter of their story will do a better job with these issues than the 1995 version did.  Here’s hoping.  Until then, though, we still have to deal with the pretty problematic stories that are out, including next episode’s.

Random Thoughts:

  • This episode begins what is commonly known as the Gargoyles World Tour, as the series essentially changes its premise, turning into a walking the Earth series starring Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx.  It’s an incredibly gutsy and ambitious move–especially in 1995–and it is unfortunately one that I feel didn’t really work on TV; it’s really one of those things that’s easiest to appreciate in retrospect. Still, there is lots to appreciate about it, and I’ll be talking about what those things are soonish.
  • The ongoing sub-sub-subplot about the caves is one of my favorite long-running threads in Gargoyles, because it’s not only intriguing, but it’s also something we don’t get a chance to revisit terribly often.
  • It’s just occurred to me…doesn’t Xanatos own the land Castle Wyvern is on?  If so, it would have been interested to see that acknowledged in some form.  Does he own the caves?
  • It’s always summer in Avalon, Angela claims, suggesting that there is no such thing as a growing season, and perhaps, no farming, which in turn suggests that mere subsistence is not a concern.  It also suggests a somewhat limited diet. This is interesting.
  • Anti-Tom Comment for the day: I so want to believe that the first thing that Elisa did upon returning to Avalon after this episode was to punch Tom for that whole “I thought you understood” bullshit.  Unfortunately, that never happens: apparently, neglecting to mention that going to Avalon means possibly never returning home, and therefore denying Goliath, Elisa and Bronx the opportunity to give informed consent,  is easily forgivable.

14 Responses to Home Again: “Shadows of the Past”

  1. Supermorff says:

    Ian, I don’t say this enough, but I love your insights and your reviews. I’m afraid I’m at the intersection of a ton of privilege, and things like this just have never occurred to me before. Thank you for shining a light on it.

  2. Ian says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Supermorff (have I been misspelling that all this time? Apologies if so.) Yeah, I’ve totally been there, many, many times, and oftentimes, it’s deconstructions like this that help me see things more clearly. I’m glad I’m able to do the same for others.

  3. Supermorff says:

    I don’t recall noticing that you’ve spelled it wrong before, so don’t worry about it. Keep up the good work!

  4. Only Some Stardust says:

    Just found this. I like, and will continue reading these.

  5. Amarie says:

    Hey there, Mime! So sorry this took so long!

    May I also suggest that the context of Goliath & the rest of the gargoyles always being forgiving also have to do with the illusion of control?

    To talk about real life for a moment, I especially see this when we’re talking about Uncle Tomming/Coonery among [famous] black people. It’s particularly prevalent to me during this time of Every 28 Hours, the worldwide protests, police brutality, etc. Just look at Stacey Dash and Don Lemon. Oh, how our brothers and sisters fall.

    And there’s certainly wonderful analysis, history, and metacognition on where black people (and all other groups of color) learned how to speak and act out against their own. I mean, the days of slavery where the usually lighter-skinned slaves lived in the house with Massah while the usually darker-skinned slaves worked the fields out in the hot sun. Then you can talk about how, even way back in Malcom X’s day, whenever white people had an Unsavory Black Person that talked inappropriately about equality, justice, Civil Rights, etc., they would pull out a Savory Black Person. That Savory Black Person did two essential things to maintain white comfort and white supremacy: 1. Parrot what the white people said as indisputable truths or at least “The other side that needs to be considered” and 2. Say all the racist shit that white people cannot say to save face.

    You can talk about all of that and how those dynamics are still very much in place today. Hell, just tune into Fox News (if you can stomach it) to get a daily dose of Uncle Tomming and Coonery.

    But for this post specifically, I want to talk about these black people’s rationalization and reasoning for why they’ve taken to a career that’s essentially speaking out against and trashing their own people. Publicly at least, they proclaim not to see themselves as Uncle Toms, much less as being harmful to their own race. Rather, you hear a lot of “We cannot bash and stereotype a majority (white people) on behalf of a minority (black people)”, “The black race just needs to figure out what white people’s problems are with us, stop using the Race Card and then things will be able to move forward”, “Why can’t we just reach out across the aisle, to the other side? See, this is why white people don’t want to listen to us”, and “White supremacy doesn’t exist. There’s just a culture of laziness and takers in the black community” and so on and so forth.

    You’ll notice that just about all of those are ripe with incredible victim blaming, deflection, trivialization, and are an ahistorical mess. And the rest of us black people are left shaking our heads and being reminded once again of how white supremacy is a drug straight from the Kool-Aid. And we wait, sadly, for the eventual day where they’re discarded in the Uncle Tom Factory Mill because, after a while, if they’re used for too long it becomes too obvious that they’re a token to the target white audience. You can see an example of this in Herman Cain after about 2013, I think (he now has a radio show but of course, he’s not nearly as prominent in the Republican party as he used to be). Can’t stay too long, or else it’s too obvious what you’re there for.

    But with the Uncle Tom Coonery Rhetoric, I’ve come to understand the appeal of it. I’m not just talking about the paycheck, the prominence, and the feeling of Having A Seat At The Popular Kids’ Table, though those benefits (blech) certainly count.

    Rather, I’m talking about the potential psychological and emotional appeal of it…which is the illusion of control.

    Because the core of the rhetoric is that if black people just figure out what it is that make white people treat us the way they do, and then actually do whatever it is that’ll keep white people from having a problem with us, then they’ll finally see and treat us as the human beings we are. Maybe it’s because our pants sag. Maybe it’s because we twerk. Maybe it’s because we don’t speak the King’s English. Maybe it’s because we don’t raise our sons to be respectful and our daughters to be modest.

    Maybe, maybe, maybe…

    And it’s one of the biggest loads of horseshit I have ever heard.

    Because there’s nothing wrong with us. Absolutely nothing wrong with us. Way, way, way back in the day? When our ancestors were chillin’ and cruisin’ in their homelands? Yoruba? Kingdom of the Congo? Benin Kingdom? And all of those other places? We were already amazing. We already had education and technology and innovation and diversity and culture and traditions and growth. We already had humanity and white people still came into our houses, royally fucked us up in so many ways and to this day, desperately try to hide and minimize what they’ve done to us.

    And we are still human and you have Ayana Stanley-Jones and Tamir Rice and Renisha McBride and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Antoine Martin and so, so many others. Those names are only a few of several hundred from this year alone and do not even encompass all the 500 years of terrorization white people have committed against us.

    Do we have a few bad apples among our race? Of course we do. What race does not? But somehow, when it’s a black person doing x wrong, they’re representative of the entire race and, thus, justification for continued white terrorism against us. But when white boys repeatedly commit mass shootings in schools, movie theatres, etc. they’re isolated, tragic incidents that ultimately deserve sympathy. That kind of double standard has existed as long as white supremacy has been alive.

    White people have gone around the world abusing and hating us and other groups of color because white people have a special kind of sick in their blood. That’s the only conclusion I can come to; our humanity was never in question.

    Again, I can understand the appeal of holding onto the belief that we can do something about white racism against us. Because there’s that illusion of control. That somehow, we can make white people stop their racism against us, make them see and treat us as human. That if we just stop doing x, start doing y, then begin believing z, then our humanity will be on full display to the world and receive the respect it deserves. That the power lies in our hands, not theirs.

    But it’s still an illusion because, within that context…racism has absolutely nothing to do with us. Yes, we are its unwilling victims, its unwilling targets. But as far as who started it and perpetuates it? That’s all on white people, not on us. And we’ve seen that white people can barely even handle black people blogging about racism at a minimum (“OMG, you can’t call people ‘white people’! Labeling people like that is what keeps racism going’!). So Uncle Toms would rather feel naively hopeful than face that grim reality.

    I think there’s that illusion of control with Goliath.

    Now, he’s definitely not an Uncle Tom against his own kind. Absolutely not. But you can see some uncomfortable parallels between real-life Uncle Tom Coonery and Goliath’s penchant to forgive almost unconditionally. I re-watched the first season on YouTube much, much earlier this year and I’ve always sensed that desperate grabbing for that control within Goliath.

    Maybe if he just forgives, maybe if he’s just The Bigger Person this time, maybe if he just extends his hand and his mercy…so then, humans will see and treat Gargoyles as human (err…well, sentient beings that actually aren’t all that different from humans and certainly are not unequal to them).

    But one thing I think we can give the series credit for is realistically asserting that it’s an illusion of control. I’m reminded of the second episode, I think, where a Viking smashed the sleeping, stone Gargoyles to bits and pieces and had absolutely no remorse for it. Hell, I think the guy even tried to blame it on another human.

    It’s one of the most disturbing, devastating scenes to me in the series. The gargoyles were literally asleep and encased in stone. They posed no threat whatsoever to the human any more than they did when they were awake. They could not defend themselves. They were killed purely because the human was racist against them.

    I always tear up when I see Goliath holding his people’s remains in his talons (and thinking it’s Demona) and screaming out in grief. And that instance, as we know, is neither the first nor the last of human terrorism against Goliath and his family.

    If Goliath being forgiving over and over again actually worked, humans wouldn’t have smashed his stone-encased, sleeping people to begin with. And further, if it worked at all, he wouldn’t have to extend a merciful hand over and over again in an exercise of futility.

    The task of ending human racism against him and his kind-just as with white racism against black people-has absolutely nothing to do with him. That’s not his job. He didn’t start it and he doesn’t perpetuate it. It’s the humans’ job to end that. But again, humans aren’t up to the task, whether in the past or in the present. As they continue on not being up to that task, so more and more of Goliath’s family suffers and dies in the name of human racism against them. And he, as head of his people, feels each death and suffering as acutely as ever, I’m sure. But he knows that if he fights back-if he, say uses his superior physicality against a human like Xanatos-that’s it. Like you said, so much energy is spent making sure that anger is against the rules and Goliath knows he stands on the end of that spectrum. He knows that any (justifiable, really) retaliatory actions that he takes will only be seen as further proof that gargoyles are violent animals and need to be exterminated yesterday. The assault upon his kind will triple and none of them may see the end of it.

    And that, I think, is at the heart of the appeal of that illusionary control. There’s the dichotomy where the oppressed/marginalized group must choose between two evils: don’t retaliate and possibly in fact shake hands with your oppressor and continue to be hurt in the exact, predictable same way that you’ve always been hurt…

    …Or retaliate and refuse to shake hands and, thus, bring even more hurt upon you and yours. This will be a hurt that you may never see a lessening of.

    Heads they win, tails you lose.

    Goliath has already seen what’s happened when he strove to make the image of him and his kind as harmless and humanized as possible. He was rewarded for his efforts with complete shit, to make an understatement. To unsheathe his talons and teeth against his oppressors and abusers? I bet he has nightmares of what they’d do to wittle Lexington alone.

    So I wholeheartedly agree with you that Demona cannot be the face of gargoyle anger. That Goliath’s forgiveness and penchant for being The Better Person has to find its limit (err…though it’s conceivable that it’s already been at its limit more than once). And that the series needs to address and rectify this yesterday.

  6. Ian says:

    Welcome, Amarie, and thank you very much for your insights on Goliath’s possible mindset. A more substantive reply will follow, but I just wanted to say how grateful I for giving my readers and I so much to think about.

  7. Amarie says:

    To Ian: No, thank you for this deconstruction series in the first place! OMG, I’m so glad to have found it! I’ll be leaving Customary Amarie Wall of Texts on your other posts too! 😀

  8. Pingback: White’splaining: “Heritage” | Monsters of New York

  9. Chimalli says:

    The whole being the bettter man/woman to a person who has wronged you reminds me of the Avatar episode, *SPOILER ALERT* when Katara was confronted with a similar situation and while she didn’t kill or exact revenge she didn’t forgive the person who wronged her, an imperial with immense privilege. Maybe a simialr approach could have been taken here?

    *by the by, love your blog and the critical edge you being to Gargoyles and even to TMNT*

  10. Ian says:

    That’s an interesting comparison, Chimalli. I’m aware of the story you refer to, but I’m not exactly sure the two situations are parallel, since the Fire Nation soldier was never actually repentant, from what I remember. The more natural comparison would seem to be between Katara and the Captain of the Guard, who both attempt revenge plots until abandoning them at the last moment.

    In any case, I don’t think “Shadows of the Past” really needed to change all that much in order to shed its problematic implications. All it needed to do, I feel, was abandon the sense that the captain is being rewarded. Abandoning that whole “setting off for the afterlife” element alone solves most of my issues. Having Goliath act in a manner that acknowledges that he does not need to forgive the captain but doesn’t make him come off as ungrateful or vengeful is more complicated; my fix would mostly involve ambiguous silences, which is kind of a cheat.

    Thank you for your kind words!

  11. Chimalpahin says:

    Ian, i didn’t mean to imply that they were a one to one comparison rather that they had two differing views on forgiving a transgressor. I’d like to think that Katara would still consider vengeance even with a repentant victim and would still spare. Katara was very Never Forgive Never Forget.

    I’m sure Katara and Goliath could have a nice long chat 😀 It’s very different from the Turtles’ first issue where they straight up murder the Shredder/Oroku “Saki”

  12. Ian says:

    Thank you for elaborating, Chimalpahin, although I’m still not sure I understand. I’m not sure “considering vengeance and still sparing people” is any different from what Goliath does, though. Goliath has gone through “I will have my revenge!” phases more than once–like after Angela was almost killed in “Hunter’s Moon” which also ended with Goliath deciding otherwise. What’s more, I’m not sure how “Never Forgive Never Forget” Katara can be, given Zukko’s entire arc and eventual role in Team Avatar. She and Goliath would probably have a lot to talk about, but I would imagine they wouldn’t have a whole lot to argue over.

  13. liebreblanca says:

    Lol, this debate is more interesting than the chapter itself.

    I always wondered why the captain did what he did. In Demona’s case it is logical; The humans mistreated the gargoyles, she thought that if the Vikings killed them all the clan would live quietly in the castle. But the captain’s only motive was that they called him ugly, and they laughed at him for being friends with the gargoyles. It does not seem reason enough to provoke the murder of all the inhabitants of the castle. Sounds like the teenager who comes in with a gun in high school because they have mocked him, it is not owned by an adult. In any case, he does not try too hard to protect the gargoyles, who were his only friends, and worst of all, does not seem very repentant of what he has done the following night. His only concern is how much booty he will get from the king in exchange for his niece. It is only when Goliath asks for explanations that he apologizes. It is also most unfair that they blame Goliath for his death, since he does not kill them.

    About what may be going through the mind of Goliath to immediately forgive someone who has just tortured him, in addition to causing the death of almost his entire family, makes me think of chapter one. Tom’s mother attacks the trio for no reason, and Goliath punishes them for defending themselves. He knows that he is being unjust, but he also knows that any problem with humans can cause everyone to get killed while they sleep. He is probably not aware of this, since he thanks the captain for the protection that humans suppose during the day and does not believe that they will betray them. But in some corner of his mind he knows, and he can not afford any trouble between humans and gurgles.

    According to the writer at some point in the future Goliath would have died saving many human lives from any terrorist act, and that makes us reconsider the humans, who grant the nation gargola all civil rights. That could never work and only a straight white man could write it. It is like a child who suffers beatings from an abusive father and thinks that if he behaves well, does his homework and does not make noise, his father will not beat him any more.

    In the chapter temptations, Brooklyn tells Demona that Goliath hopes that humans will stop running away when they see them, they just have to get used to them. Demona is right when she answers that that did not work in the past.

    What is the solution? I recently saw the movie Sufragette, so I can only say that they have a long struggle ahead.

  14. liebreblanca says:

    I also have to say that although I understand the need to show that there are more gargoyles in the world and that the species is not going to disappear, the avalon tour became very long and heavy. I really wanted them back home.

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