We’re moving right along to episode 4 of 5! The final push for the climax is on. The villains are putting even more pressure on the protagonists, while the protags are realizing they need to be proactive if they want to survive. No more minor leagues. This is pro.
Although I review the eps as if we haven’t seen the whole series, I can’t help making observations from the perspective of a long-time viewer. Those comments are in the “20/20 moment” sections. They’re spoilers. Non-spoiler observations that are behind the scenes or additional info are in the According to Greg (Weisman) sections.
Season 1, Episode 4: Awakening, Part 4
Reason(s) for existence: To prove that Goliath and the clan need to face the rival corporation, Cyberbiotics, that stole the discs from Xanatos Enterprises. To show Elisa’s loyalty to Goliath and her skill at escape and evasion.
Main antagonist(s): Commandos
Time(s): October 5th-6th 1994
Location(s): New York City, New York, USA.
After the opening and its orchestral strains, we have the time-eating recap of last ep: Xanatos and Goliath’s second in command, explanation of the stolen floppy discs, the commandos taking Goliath down, Bruno (lead commando) pulling his sidearm.
We pick up where we left off: Bruno is holding a gun in Goliath’s face. But this isn’t the pistol he had last ep. Now he’s back to his MAC/Uzi.
Things don’t look good for Big and Purple. He’s got a tranquilizer in his bloodstream, a pack of commandos dog-piling him, and now there’s an automatic weapon in his grill. This is why we don’t go for walks in Central Park. This is why people have treadmills and/or gym memberships.
20/20 moment: I have seen these 5 episodes countless times. I still am vague about what the commandos’ orders were. According to Greg, they were told to avoid killing Goliath. That’s why they’re such “bad” shots. Remember how bad the Storm Troopers in Star Wars were? That’s cuz they weren’t supposed to kill them. Regarding the commandos, their job was to put the fear of Cyberbiotics and people who aren’t related to Xanatos Enterprises into Goliath. As for Elisa, that was up to Bruno’s discretion.
I dunno how you see it, but Bruno and his team look pretty intent on offing Goliath, not just scaring him. Was Xanatos relying on Goliath’s ability to fight back? Is that why the tranq is so crappy – he’s down, then he’s up, then he’s down? (Dr. Sevarious mentioned in Double Jeopardy that he designed a gas that was tailored to leave a gargoyle “weak and helpless for hours.”) Xanatos isn’t about to let the security forces kill a creature he just spent an “astronomical” amount of cash to revive. If there’s one thing’s he’s not, it’s wasteful. As we see later, he keeps the clan alive even though it hurts his schemes. Of course, he does get a fun opponent to play with in Goliath, so he’s got that going for him.
Now, if Xanatos knew about Elisa, he doesn’t let on. Setting commandos directly on a police detective doesn’t strike me as a Xanatosian idea. That’s more of a Dracon idea.
I know, there’s a point where we suspend our disbelief and sort of float it over this snow drift of “but waits.” We have to if we want the show to go on. And we do!
Elisa uses her ninja skills to escape. This is unlikely, as she’s fighting professional paramilitary troops who obviously had elite training.
Goliath also rallies. This is a highly unreliable tranquilizer serum. He’s down, then he’s up, then down… I’m writing it off to the result of his gargoyle metabolism. It’s not as if they have any creature like a gargoyle to experiment on with the tranq.
Goliath and Elisa run for it amidst gunfire. The blond commando chases them, firing the whole way. She must’ve gone through at least two magazines.
According to Greg: These first five eps were supposed to be four eps. Michael Reaves wrote a “brilliant” four-parter. The problem? Those parts were too long. Greg convinced Bruce Cranston (Greg’s boss) and Gary Krisel (Cranston’s boss) to expand to five episodes rather than cut content to make four. They could run it across the weekdays without worrying about covering that fifth day. Greg had great bosses. Krisel thought up the idea of Goliath’s “suicide” in episode 2. To really appreciate the expansion, think of this: in the four-ep lineup, episode 1 contained all the Scotland scenes. Because of the added ep, we also get to enjoy the character development without constant action. See episode 3. Writing 30-minute spot episodes usually means less freedom to rely on characters to carry the plot. Also, the powers that be think that kids can’t pay attention longer than that. Self fulfilling prophecy? The PTB also believe kids need to have kids in their shows. Not so. As a kid, it was refreshing to see a show without more of “my kind” in it. It was exhilarating to watch the adults do adult things in their adult world.
Cut to the Trio eating. Shocking. They mentioned they ate a whole cart of bread products. Uh, who’s credit card did you use for that? Pretty sure Xanatos didn’t issue you an XE Visa card. That means they stole it. I’m sure the poor person who owned the bread cart and is now out a whole day’s money doesn’t mind! These are the defenders of the night, after all.
By this time, they’re far from the castle. Beaky decides it’s a good idea to hail a taxi. Result? Almost wrecking the taxi.
No Picnic in Central Park
Somehow, Elisa, while helping a drugged Goliath who can barely glide, manages to shake their tail. They end up under a footbridge. Goliath is feeling the effects of the tranq. It’s a very slow or very weak tranq, as he’s still quite conscious and fairly mobile.
Elisa wonders how the commandos found them. She answers her own question by pulling a disc the size of a quarter from between Goliath’s wings. An image of a scarab is on it. Why would anyone leave the marking on it? Dunno. It’s apparently not a common brand like Motorola or Samsung. It wasn’t meant to be found, but why chance it?
I’m going to go into detail about the scarab logo later, so stay tuned. Turns out it’s a very appropriate symbol.
The main question is where he picked it up? Trackers don’t just fall out of the sky. They’re kinda like Kick Me signs: somebody has to slap one on you. Also, why are they tracking him? Who has such a grudge against him that they’d hunt him down? You could jump to the conclusion that Cyberbiotics is targeting him because of what happened at the castle when the commandos were stealing the discs. They think he’s a threat, so they’re taking him out.
Elisa sticks it on a stray dog nearby. Poor doggy. She shoulda adopted him. Dog-goyle would have liked him. Is it sad I’m more concerned about the dog than the protags? Nah, this is VLN Research, after all.
Back at the castle, Hudson and the dog-goyle are watching TV. They’ve mastered the remote and the recliner. It’s been a good night. On the TV we see a clip of the Lion King. We also see a commercial with the same dog Elisa used as a diversion. Aww.
The sun’s about to rise, so he goes out, only to run into the Trio, back from their wild night on the town. They’re thrilled with their discoveries. Only Goliath’s absence brings them back to reality. Nothing they can do now.
Ray of Sunshine
Back in the park, Goliath turns to stone. Elisa is amazed. She can’t hang around long, though, because the commandos are back on their trail. She plays decoy, outrunning a group of elite operators.
They run into an area full of picnic tables with umbrellas. According to Google Satellite, the tables aren’t here. But did you know that statue of Alice in Wonderland is real? It’s fitting, too. Right about now, I bet Elisa feels like Alice.
This place is deserted. The whole park seems deserted. I realize people may have steered clear after all those gunshots, but I’d expect at least a few cops on horseback to cruise by.
Elisa must have a maxed out her Sneak skill, because she hides under one of the tables. This isn’t a food fight, this is a gun fight, mate. Somehow the commandos can’t see under tables. All you have to do is crouch and you can see under all of them!
Bruno comes right past her. She kicks his leg out and he faceplants. These commandos were doing amazing falls and rolls when they were fighting on the castle. Remember how well the one landed when Xanatos launched him with a shoulder throw? Now he’s a sack of potatoes.
She grabs his handgun. Two of his friends are shooting with automatic weapons as she flees. She turns while running and shoots one in the chest. James Bond in action!
Truth told, not until I rewatched the ep for this review did I realize she shot the guy with a tranq. I always just thought it was a bullet, and he had body armor. It’s obvious what the weapon is, though, because later she breaks it open like a shotgun to find an empty chamber. It’s a dart gun. It’s also identical to the one we saw last ep and the one we’ll see in Eye of the Beholder. Guess I was giving her too much credit.
Blond commando shoots at her with a tranq but misses.
Elisa takes cover in a boat house. There are numerous lakes in Central Park. The commandos use their brains, deciding to shoot through the door. Somehow they miss her. They do hit a tank of gas.
Apparently the gas is like a time bomb? Elisa looks at it and runs. Then it ignites. Impressively. The whole place goes up in a fireball. Why this happened when there were no more sparks, shots, or flames I don’t know. Heat from the…bullet holes? I know gas tanks don’t just explode when you shoot them, so I do appreciate them not pulling that Hollywood stunt here. But still…
While Bruno is convinced Elisa died, Blond Commando isn’t. She goes to the very bridge Elisa swam under. Bruno should hand over leadership. Blond Commando has come closest to hitting her. She’s also shown the most initiative. Now she’s covering their bases.
At this point, I’d expect a few people to be on the park. A boat house just exploded. Gunfire galore erupted earlier. Still no one around.
Elisa pulls Blond into the water, then takes off. The great detective soon corners herself, though, in a rock formation.
Now it’s up to Bruno. Have mercy. He’s thinking of all he can do to get his revenge on Goliath and Co for the damage they did to his team when they attacked the castle.
Bruno comes around the corner for what he thinks is her back – only to find it’s her jacket.
20/20 moment: Owen is head of Xanatos Enterprises security services. That means these guys answer to him. I would love to see how much Xanatos directly tailored their orders. I think it was pretty extensive. If Owen had been more in charge, he would’ve just told them to take Goliath out if they were able. He doesn’t mess around. Not only is he the Tricky One, he’s also the Dangerous One. Xanatos might keep you around because you amuse him or because he might use you later (enemy hoarder…). Owen will simply stop the threat. Now.
This first half of the ep certainly made up for any lack of action in last ep! That said, the writers did an excellent job of showing rather than telling us about Elisa. She’s quick in wit and reflexes. She can fight for herself. She’s very loyal to her code. She also can think strategically. While she gets on my nerves, and she is a protag, I have to give her grudging admiration for those aforementioned qualities. They’re same ones that make good villains and antagonists. They also are qualities we should cultivate in ourselves.
The teamwork in the commando unit was passable, I suppose. More flanking could have helped.
Get on to the conclusion of this episode. We move from Central Park to the castle to Cyberbiotics. It’s gonna be a wild ride. We’re almost at the climax!
Thoughts on this half of the ep? Comment!