Welcome to episode 3 of a 5-parter! That means we’re half through, and the action, plot twists, and villains will be ramping up. This episode is about all things new: sights, people, technology, food… We’ve seen the last of the Middle Ages for awhile; we’re now firmly in 1994.
I’m going to review these as if we haven’t seen the whole series. I’m a sucker for spoilers, though, so I’m still going to discuss them. They’re in the “20/20 moment” sections.
Season 1, Episode 3: Awakening, Part 3
Reason(s) for existence: Third episode! Introduce recurring characters, shows how the clan is handling the new world, and ramps up the plot toward the climax.
Main antagonist(s): The new world (this is obviously the apparent main antagonist, as the others haven’t revealed their plots yet)
Time(s): October 5th 1994
Location(s): New York City, New York, USA.
A recap kicks off the ep. In brief, we get the terms of the spell (castle rises above the clouds, which is one heck of a unique requirement), shots of the castle rising above the clouds, Xanatos’s explanation, and the commando attack, the detective swearing to investigate.
Finally after two eps of hearing the detective vow to get to the bottom of this, because apparently she’s the only cop in NYC capable of investigating explosions that totaled cars and almost killed people on the street, she enters Xanatos’s building. She’s voiced by Salli Richardson-Whitfield.
We don’t know it, but Xanatos’s HQ is called the Eyrie Building. Eyrie can mean eagle’s nest or…can refer to a castle/structure on a high place. Greg and his team never miss a trick to make this show even greater! It’s not a reference to the Kehlsteinhaus, either.
We open with Owen explaining to the detective that a new generator exploded. Xanatos is very, very sorry about the mess. These things happen, you know? It’s a risk of business! (Ok, he didn’t say that.) Xanatos promises to pay for damages.
Riding Hood isn’t buying it. If Xanatos won’t talk to her, she’ll come back with a warrant and more cops. We see she’s not afraid of the Big Dogs. She’ll challenge anybody if she needs to, even if they’re way out of her league. This isn’t always a good trait…
According to Greg: This is the first time we hear Owen’s surname: Burnett. This comes from Alan Burnett, who worked heavily on Batman: the Animated Series. Michael Reaves, who was the main power in Gargoyles aside from Greg and did a lot of writing for Batman as well, chose the name.
Trivia: Burnett is a Scottish name. The Burnetts were the financiers of other clans, back in the day. Today their castle is fully restored, with gardens that rival any in Scotland.
The name itself means Dark. It’s similar to the word brunette – something Owen definitely is not.
The name Owen means strong warrior. While it’s not stated in the show, Owen is the head of Xanatos Enterprises security. His title is mentioned in one of the Disney magazine spots for Gargoyles. He is also an exceptional martial artist, and not too shabby with a handgun.
Owen smiles. That’s right, he smiles. Write in on the calendar! He’s showing that her threat isn’t why he’s letting her come up to the castle. He’s doing so because he’s decided it’ll benefit Xanatos.
20/20 moment: Owen seems to find Elisa intriguing, or at least amusing. In general, when he smiles it’s either in relation to her or to Alex. Puck no doubt sees her as a source of complications, aka fun and games.
As she and Owen step off the elevator into the great hall, Xanatos meets her and greets her by name: Detective Maza. He casually explains he just got off the phone with the mayor. Translation: I have more power in this city than you can imagine. Don’t mess with me. I am humoring you because I choose to. I do what I want.
She’s not impressed – by him or his castle in the clouds.
Xanatos, still smiling, then casually explains that his men repelled an invasion by a rival corporation. Now she’s impressed, but only by his pride. What, does he think he’s a country? His reply is classic: His multinational corporation is bigger than many countries she could name. This is very true.
20/20 moment: Xanatos doesn’t brag. This is yet another trait that sets him apart from your usual antagonist. He knows his capabilities. He knows his weaknesses. He owns up to his mistakes. Well, would you looky here, kids, we seem to have a mature adult on our hands! This is refreshing in both an antagonist and a protagonist!
Her only come back is that he better have permits for the weapons. He does. Which makes me wonder, how does one get these permits? What are they for? All laser weapons? How about plasma? Rail guns? What uses do the permits cover?
Let’s talk about his frank disclosure of the cause of the explosion. He doesn’t even try to hedge! Is it a carryover from his reason for mentioning the mayor? Is it him taunting her, believing he can say anything and he’s still above the law? Is he trolling her? I doubt it’s a way to get rid of her. An invasion gives her way more reason to investigate than does a generator explosion, which was the story for the press.
Meanwhile, the trio is destroying the castle’s kitchen. I want this kitchen. And the freezer with its contents.
Back outside, Owen acts as the “bell” and extricates Xanatos from further Maza questions. Xanatos is as polite as ever, saying he hopes he answered all her questions satisfactorily. I don’t think she was expecting him to be so transparent. It’s another instance where telling the bald truth is more shocking and more effective than telling a lie or a half truth.
Xanatos hands Maza over the Owen, who begins to lead her own. She looks up to see movement: one of the gargs. Owen smiles. Again. What the heck? He laughs it off – okay, chuckles it off – and says the place is “spooky” at night. The reaction is not what we expect from him once we get to know him. I’d have thought he’d say something like, the light plays tricks, or just her imagination, or a guard on the parapets. Owen and Maza’s interactions are always a treat.
Owen escorts her to the elevator. But instead of riding to the ground floor, she does some trespassing without a warrant. She exits onto the outside. She hears something coming up the steps. This evidently is a threat that could justify deadly force, despite the fact that she’s illegally snooping through a private citizen’s property, because she draws her weapon.
The dog-goyle appears. Goliath shows up behind her a second later and promptly crushes her pistol. Facing two “monsters,” she promptly freaks out, backs up, and falls over the edge of the parapet. I don’t think those battlements are up to safety code…
Let’s back up: We see later that Xanatos loves his cameras. There must’ve been a BOGO sale at the CCTV camera supplier, because he has a camera for every single cinematic angle of the building. He also has a direct link to them on his office’s 5x6ft computer/TV screen. Why isn’t someone seeing this? Why aren’t alarms going off? She’s in a part of the castle that’s not been fully restored yet, but the elevator still has a camera.
Now back to Maza going skydiving sans parachute: Goliath dives after her and catches her. He can’t fly, though, only glide, so they’re stuck on a ledge now. Maza is now impressed. But she’s not scared. Obviously she decided that if he saved her, he probably isn’t going to eat her. Of course, maybe he saved her to eat her?
He asks what she was doing trespassing. She is still stuck on the fact that he can talk. She wants to know his name. Seriously? This is not the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when facing something like this, I think. She seems to have already moved beyond the monster moment.
As Goliath can only glide, not fly, he has to give her a lift on his back as he climbs up to the castle. Apparently there were no wind gusts the entire way up, because he clawed his way back up. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to freak her out of make her fall?
At the castle, he asks her again why she’s snooping. She hedges. He gives her a short history of their previous life and their experience with Xanatos. Only he knows of their existence. (What’s Owen, chopped liver?) She gives Goliath a short history of what a detective is and how the city gets its laws.
They decide that since he wants to know more about the city and she wants to know more about him, they’ll go on a
date tour next night. She is going to meet him “here.” Really? How do you plan on sneaking back in? You don’t live here. Goliath points her to a different rooftop instead.
She meets the rest of the clan. They’re wary but interested.
What’s going through her head now? How about the next day? It’s surreal for her, surely. It must be exhilarating as well.
After Maza leaves, Owen summons Goliath to talk with Xanatos. In the businessman’s office, or throne room, as I like to call it, Xanatos explains that the invaders took three floppy discs that have classified data on them. He explains them as having “spells.” The clan needs to get them back before the bad guys decrypt the data – or translate the spells. Goliath doesn’t bother to ask why Xanatos doesn’t use his own men. This is a bit odd, as Goliath likely sees Xanatos as a lord, since the man owns the castle. Lords have soldiers, right? Instead, Goliath asks why Xanatos doesn’t use a detective.
Xanatos comments that Goliath is learning fast. Hold up. Learning how? How? Maybe the TV. Or maybe the gargs spoke with Owen? Either way, Xanatos doesn’t pursue the source of Goliath’s knowledge.
Moving on, Xanatos lists the three locations of the data discs: a tower in the bay, an underground lab, and an airship that flies a holding pattern over the city. They must be hit at once so they can’t warn one another. Okay, Walter White, a simultaneous hit it is.
He gets handsy again, with a hand on Goliath’s shoulder. Xanatos stresses that their enemies must mean to use the combined 9 MBs of data on those floppies for some terrible purpose. They really knew how to use data space in those days!
After Goliath leaves, Xanatos turns to the back wall, where a panel opens. Who stands there? Goliath’s second in command, in shadow but recognizable.
According to Greg: The shadow was supposed to be deeper, more of a silhouette. She wasn’t supposed to be so recognizable.
Xanatos grins and states, “Everything is going according to plan.”
Things are really getting complicated now. We’ve got a detective who knows the truth. We’ve got a rival corp trying to do evil, supposedly, with the data they stole. We’ve got a mission to get the data back. We’ve got Goliath’s second in command back from the dead.
As a middle ep, it’s keeping the tension its built while increasing it in other areas. We’re wondering about the new character, Maza. We also are shocked to see Goliath’s girl friend.
And what is this plan Xanatos has? The comment is vague enough to mean almost anything.
What were your thoughts after this half of the ep? Comment!