Who says you can’t go back in time and save someone’s life? You can if it’s meant to be in the time stream. You can even save your own life! The Archmage pitched off a cliff in 984 AD, but thanks to magic and covering himself adequately regarding the time stream’s laws, he’s back and more powerful than ever in 1995. This episode is a mind bender! It’s also the setup for how and why the Archmage is terrorizing Avalon’s residents: Katherine, Magus, and 36 gargoyles. The mage wants ultimate power and revenge, and he won’t stop until he gets them.
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 22: Avalon part 2
Reason(s) for existence: To move on to Tier Four of the series. To introduce the new Archmage and his story. To meet the “eggs.” To start the Avalon World Tour. To bring Macbeth and Demona into play. To explain the Weird Sister’s involvement. To introduce Angela. To introduce the sleeping king.
Main antagonist(s): The Archmage, Weird Sisters, Macbeth, Demona
Time(s): December 28th, 1995; ?, 984; September 28th, 995; ?, 1020
Location(s): Cave near Castle Wyvern; Edinburgh, Scotland; other locations in Scotland; Avalon
Previously: a recap of last ep, then we seen the Archmage dive over a cliff.
Elisa, Goliath, Bronx, and Tom meet two gargoyles and a garg beast on the shores of Avalon. One of the newcomers is female. She’s the same coloring as Goliath. Her name is Angela. Her companion is Gabriel. Their dog beast is Boudicca. She and Bronx hit it off!
Goliath is shocked that they have names. Angela, however, thinks nothing of it. “How else could we tell each other apart?” (It’s the argument Elisa used on the clan, and Brook said, “We look different.” Not what she meant, bud.) Ah, so just as with human culture, most of the customs are learned. It’ll be interesting to see how a gargoyle who was raised as a human acts.
They head toward the castle in the distance, but the sand has other ideas. Rather, the sand sculpture of the Archmage that’s now threatening them. Then the beach starts attacking them with Entangle. No, I’m not kidding.
Elisa shoots it, but of course that doesn’t help. The sand mage says he gave Tom time to prepare for death, but Tom wasted it getting help. Well, duh. The sand consumes Tom.
Long fight short, the gargs and humans “beat up a beach,” as the Archmage points out when the fighting is done. I like this new Archmage; he’s a sarcastic one! He says he’ll destroy them in the morning. Um, why not now? You were doing a good job. Just use rocks instead of sand next time.
As they head to the castle, Elisa points out that Angela looks like Demona. I guess she does, in that she’s female and her face is very human (no beak). Elisa wonders who’s kid she is. Goliath evades, saying hatchlings belong to the whole clan. Hmm, do I sense some foreshadowing? Some hinting? If she is Demona’s kid, it’s a nice play on names: Demona , like demon. Angela, like angel.
At the castle, they run into many more gargoyles, though none resemble the NYC clan members. They do have one commonality, though: they’re all wounded, some severely so.
Katherine is in the makeshift infirmary, tending to the injured. She’s aged, but she’s still lovely. She dashes up to greet Tom, then welcomes Goliath warmly. No more complaints about beasts in the great hall!
Side note: The last time I watched this triptych (before this latest rewatch), I fell asleep after the first 4 minutes. I didn’t bother to rewatch when I woke up. But after this review, I have more appreciation for the trilogy.
A little ways off, Magus looks down, sadness and guilt on his face. Wow. That is a powerful scene. What if he hadn’t lost his temper and sought revenge on the clan by turning them to stone? Could the gargoyles and humans have made a better go of it somewhere else? Would any of this have happened? Impossible to say, but it’s gotta be what Magus is wondering.
However, he should be feeling surprise and relief, too. Surely he never expected the castle to rise above the clouds and break the spell. He must think another spell awakened them. All this time he probably thought he doomed the clan to a waking death, like Sleeping Beauty or Han Solo. Now he can rest easy knowing they’re alive and well. Uh, assuming they all survive this.
Another reason for his expression seems to be Katherine hugging Tom and praising him. I don’t think it’s that Magus is jealous. Tom is like Kat’s kid. No, I think it’s that Tom’s success makes Magus feel even more impotent and useless. He was once a great mage, but now all he can do to help is put bandaids on. At least Tom could go get help.
Katherine thrilled to see Goliath. She didn’t have anything to do with the spell that petrified him, so she can happily welcome him in and begin explaining the situation: Avalon was deserted except for the “sleeping king.” Everything was peachy until a few hours ago, when a gray-bearded guy and Demona blasted holes in the wall. Magus says the weapons are magic.
Goliath and Elisa realize Demona, Macbeth, and the Weird Sisters are on the attack. Throw the Archmage in, and you’re in a heap of trouble.
On another part of the island, twin Archmages are watching all this through a scrying pool. Yes, I said twin. They look way more classy than the mad old man who died in the cave in 984. Each has the Phoenix Gate on his chest, the Eye of Odin on his brow, and really stylish robes.
One leaves in the Gate’s fiery orb after the other asks if he knows what to do. “I watched you do it,” is the answer. Huh? Wait, the Gate… This is going to be a time travel ep like Vows! Yes! I love me some good time travel. I also love the Gargoyles-verse’s rules: you can’t change the future, because the past is already written. If you do something in the past to change the future, it will only ensure the future/present happens, because the present you were living in came about because you took that action in the past. So no squished-butterfly problems!
According to Greg: The plan that the Archmage has comes from the time stream, just as Xanatos’s scheme with the coins. It has to, really, since the Gate must be in play for any of the plans’ parts to function. So there are little rings, so to speak, in the timeline, where a chicken-or-egg scenario develops. For example, Xanatos wouldn’t have been able to set up the plan to go back in time if he hadn’t already gone back in time and sent a letter to tell himself about the idea. Thus there was no single point in time where the idea originated. It was essentially built into the timeline already.
The Archmage travels to 984 and snags his younger, angrier self from mid fall. You know, the one he took after he tried to stalagmite Demona and Goliath to death? The Archmage has matured mentally and emotionally. He tells his younger self to show some dignity.
Then he takes Young Archy over the sea and summons a boat before Archy can freak out too much. Archmage then schools Archy on being chill while they wait for Magus and the others to meet the Weird Sisters. Oh, they’re in 995! Archy wants the Grimorum NOW, but his older, wiser self knows that the book has a role to play through history, so you can’t just grab it now. (Does it ever have a role!)
Archmage asks Archy what he wants. Well, ultimate power, as well as revenge. Mm, not too original, mate. Pro tip: that revenge thing isn’t a good idea, cuz you’re in Gargoyles, not The Punisher. The writer gods of this series don’t look kindly on taking vengeance upon thy enemies.
Archy will need allies, weapons, minions, and an HQ. Aw, it’s like the Archmage is doing a crash course on Villainy 101!
Side note: The Archmage is the second character thus far who’s spoken directly to their younger self. The other is Demona. Goliath saw his younger self, but they didn’t interact. The mage’s efforts were phenomenal successes compared to Demona’s. Why? Because he knew the rules, and the time stream had deigned to allow him this shuffle. They both threaten their younger selves, though. I would too, if I met my younger self. A good slap upside the head would be called for.
At last, we’re focusing on the villains!
I find myself really appreciating Greg and his writing team’s skills during this triptych. Not only did they lay the foundation for all this back in the first season, they also strengthened the previous episodes. I love it when writers layer events. They make you think you know what’s going on, then they pull the camera back a little and you see there’s a whole other scheme going on.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Weird Sisters, Mac, and Demona come into play.
Come back Friday to see why the Archmage and the Weird Sisters are working together, as well as Goliath’s plan for stopping their assault on Avalon.