Welcome back! TGIF! This is the final half of the final episode of Gargoyles Awakening parts 1-5. We’re about to see how the face-off between the clan and an assortment of surprising antagonists. In the first half of the episode, we found that Xanatos isn’t the savior we thought he was. He’s also discovered the gargoyles aren’t as easy to wrangle as he thought they’d be.
Don’t miss the first half of Awakening part 5’s episode review.
As usual, spoilers are in 20/20 moments and info from Ask Greg is in According to Greg areas.
Antagonists and More Antagonists
Speaking of Xanatos… We open as he steps out of the darkness. He’s in the dim great hall, standing with Owen before a row of five cloth-draped figures. Are those wings under the drapes?
He’s saying how the gargoyles have “outlived their usefulness.” He can’t “count on their loyalty.” I’d say he’s jumping to conclusions slightly…if I didn’t know Goliath’s shift in allegiance. Even though Xanatos doesn’t know Elisa discovered his scheme and has blabbed it to Goliath, by intuition or educated guess or experience Xanatos knows he needs to take the initiative. Never let a traitor get the drop on you. An insider who’s switched loyalties can wreak more damage in a shorter time than any invader.
Fortunately for Xanatos, the data on the discs will bring the gargoyles’ replacements online. The cloaked figures are likely robots, since the discs came from a robotics company.
Robots would also fulfill what Xanatos wants from his minions: obedience. No, that’s not completely true. Xanatos wants obedience, yes, but he values loyalty more. Look at his relationship with Owen. The majordomo can voice opinions contrary to his employer’s, think for himself, and even get snippy.
Later we see just how highly David values Owen, and how much freedom Owen has in his job. Owen genuinely respects David, and vice versa. This is anything but the usual antagonist and sidekick/minion relationship. At times, Owen even acts as adviser. Xanatos may or may not take said advice, though.
Speaking of advice: Owen checks his watch and notes how many hours until dawn, when the gargs will be stone, aka sitting ducks. He’s all for this replacement idea, but he believes it more prudent to wait a few hours and take out the threat when it’s asleep. This is an echo of what Hakon’s soldiers said and what Hakon eventually did.
Red butts in, though. Why not test the robots against their inferior flesh counterparts?
Wait a minute… She’s working fully with Xanatos! This leaves no doubt what he meant when he told her everything was going according to plan. For some reason, they’ve been working together this whole time. Why? What’s in it for her? She’s obviously not in the same category as the clan, since she is included in this scheme and will not be facing the robots. She’s also happy to have the robots take on her family, her clan, her people. In her mind, the clan has become weak. Now, I know Goliath isn’t living up to her expectations, but what about the rest of the gang? Has she spoken to them to see if they would side with her? You’d think she’d want to keep at least one or two around, considering they’re “the last” of their kind.
Part of why he does things is for the enjoyment of the act itself. This is a great attitude to have. So often we get focused on the outcome that we forget to enjoy the moment. This is especially sad when the outcome isn’t as we planned. In such cases, we lose not only the final results, but also the pleasure and education we could’ve derived from the journey.
Another aspect of Xanatos is that he’s the man who’s got it all. He’s incredibly wealthy, intelligent, handsome, charming, and successful. He’s got a loyal friend in Owen, and he’s probably got a hot girlfriend. The problem? Boredom. What do you do when there are no more worlds left to be conquered? You start looking for an opponent. Being painfully bored, coupled with being unbelievably powerful, leads a person to act outside the rut.
Xanatos isn’t stupid. He no doubt sees some of the ramifications of taking the gargs on now rather than just waiting until sunrise. But heck, why not? It’ll be interesting to see how the gargoyles fare. These past few days have been fascinating for him, so why stop now? He’s seeing a world he’s thus far only heard stories of.
Side note: The Xanatos Enterprises cleanup crews work extremely quickly. Already the castle is back to ship shape. It’s been what, a day or two?
We aren’t really sure what Goliath is going to do, because Xanatos and Co rolled the highest initiative and are on the offensive. The Trio discovers this as a laser beam blasts through one of their Chinese takeout boxes.
This…is hilarious! Xanatos could have had the robots snipe every garg simultaneously. What does he do? He fires a warning shot, and a mocking one at that! Gotta love the antagonists who don’t take themselves too seriously and who like to have fun with their opposition of the protags.
At first we think this is just a laser rifle shot, like in the first fight at the castle. Then we cut to…a laser on the wrist of a robot that is a perfect replica of Goliath, right down to the frown. Xanatos, Owen, and Red are standing in front of five gleaming robots.
Let’s take a moment to savor the style and class of our antagonists. Xanatos looks good almost all the time Same goes for Owen. And Red looks ready to kill you 24/7/365. Range them in front of the glittering Steel Clan? Awesome increased exponentially.
Xanatos says one word. “Attack.” Mic drop.
The upgrades’ wings snap out, snicking like swords sliding from scabbards. The machines blast into the sky with rocket packs.
This launches a dogfight that takes out Lex and Broadway.
Goliath swoops in to save Brooklyn at the last moment.
Xanatos is enthused, to say the least. He’s not jumping and fist pumping like ep 2, but he’s having a blast. Hah, pun. “What did I tell you, Owen? A vast improvement! They’re steel instead of stone, they don’t sleep during the day, they can fly instead of glide, and best of all, they’re 100% obedient.”
Owen doesn’t bother to reply.
Bland Headcanon: David and Owen had a discussion about the pros and cons of the Steel Clan compared to Team Goliath. Owen puts forth the pros of Goliath’s ilk, also mentioning how much expense and effort Xanatos Enterprises went through to wake them. David, who was on their side when he was ignoring the “astronomical” cost of the project, becomes an apologist for the Steel Clan. A man and his toys!
I’m sure they covered the other options of what to do with Goliath’s clan. Owen’s current stance on the matter involves sunrise and a sledgehammer. Xanatos wants to use them.
The battle rages on. Surprisingly, the Meat Clan pulls ahead of the Steel Clan, to the point that Team Xanatos has to run for cover under a rain of robot wreckage.
There’s a slight error in timing/animation, because one second they’re running, and the next they’re in the same position they were before. I’m chalking it up to them being so calm and confident that they recover in 1-2 seconds.
Xanatos eats crow, but he’s not upset, taking it in stride: “My Steel Clan isn’t performing as well as I’d hoped.” (The Steel Clan. That’s just cool!)
It’s said that a person’s reaction when things don’t go as planned is the true test of their character. Anybody can be pleasant when all is sunshine and rainbows. But when the going gets tough, we see what a person’s made of. In any other animated American and most Asian series, the villain would be yelling and cursing. He’d be taking out his wrath on his subordinates. And then he’d be grabbing his weapons and launching into the rash attack that will get him defeated.
Not Xanatos. It’s like this is all a board game, like it doesn’t matter that much. But it does, and he knows it. He is a unique antagonist in that he understands that rage and vengeance cloud judgment. Taking things one step at a time, making contingency plans, and rolling with the punches make him incredibly effective – and dangerous.
He and Red decide to take things into their own hands. Still no comment from Owen.
Here Owen parts company with them and…probably goes to watch the CCTV feed from his or David’s office. This is a bit odd. I know the real story is probably that the writers found the next scenes easier to construct, not to mention more logical, if Owen was absent. That’s no fun, though! So I’m pretending that’s not the explanation. I’m maintaining that Owen had an inkling of what would happen next. Or…Xanatos sent him off because the situation was handled. One thing I do know: the next scenes would’ve played much differently had Owen been backing up his employer.
RPGs Fix Everything!
A rocket propelled grenade blasts the parapet Goliath is on. It’s Red’s version of blowing a kiss. She has a bazooka. Okay, mistake #1 is giving this lunatic a bazooka. Give her a slingshot or something. Do not give her an area-effect weapon!
Meanwhile, the clan assembles to take on the threat – only to stop as Xanatos levels a laser rifle at them.
Calm and cool as ever! It’s like domestic disputes between gargoyles over 1000-year-old betrayals happen every day. The Magus’s story fascinated him, so you can imagine how intriguing this real-life soap opera is for him.
Apparently the clan isn’t smart or daring enough to scatter. Xanatos can only hit so many of them. Make a run for it!
Goliath lands in front of Red. She calls him a fool. Then she relates her story: she betrayed the clan with the Captain as payback for how the humans treated them. Wow. That’s a mind-screw for Goliath! His love, his Angel of the Night, was in league with the humans who caused the death of the clan. Goliath wanted to kill the Captain for the betrayal!
She says all humanity has to pay for how they treated the gargoyles.
Goliath says there is good and evil in all of us. This worldview will influence every action of his for the rest of the series.
Red calls humanity a poison that must be purged from the planet. I’m thinking working with her in the future probably isn’t wise…?
Past aside, not that you can ever really put aside the death of Goliath’s family and friends, she’s betraying them again! Oh, she offers him the choice of coming to her side to make a new world for the gargoyles. She makes it clear she wants to humans destroyed.
Goliath isn’t insane, though, so he remains quiet. Tears well in his eyes. This whole scene is powerful. He’s trying to process the loss of his lover. She “died” to him 1000 years ago, then suddenly she reappeared. Now she’s worse than dead; she’s insane and murderous, a traitor to the clan.
Red states the obvious: “If you are not my ally, then you are my enemy!” She’s not playing around. Bazooka up, she aims it at Goliath’s face. For his part, he seems ready to accept it. What? The mighty Goliath surrenders? He believes he’s failed. He’s not even thinking about his clan; he’s thinking about his lover. You can practically hear his heart shatter.
Next we have the RPG detonating in the tower behind Goliath, knocking in off his feet. Another warning shot? Who’s the weak one, Red?
She must be heartbroken too, as she’s also lost her lover. How many nights has she spent imagining what it would be like to rule the gargs with Goliath at her side? No doubt she has
You can’t argue too much with her reasoning about humanity. We don’t make a very good showing. It’s the classic villain logic: humanity is dangerous and destructive, so it needs to go away. She and Albert Wesker think alike here.
Then she makes an announcement that will reverberate through the rest of the series. It hearkens to her real past: “I have a name too, Goliath. I am…Demona.” There’s something wrong with you if Marina Sirtis’s delivery of that line doesn’t give you chills. We don’t know the significance of it yet, but it’s still powerful. Names have great power, indeed.
Now Goliath has a bazooka at his throat. Demona isn’t worrying about collateral damage, by that I mean her.
20/20 moment: Of course she’s not worried! She’s immortal.
Everyone seems fine with this turn of events, since nobody’s stepping in to halt it.
Wait, here comes Elisa! The knight in shining armor to the rescue! It’s a great reversal of the damsel in distress that I hate so much. She lunges from out of nowhere, tackling Demona. The RPG goes wild, taking out a tower.
How does a bazooka have three rounds in it? Dunno.
Xanatos must’ve rolled a natural 1, because he gets hit in the back of the neck by Falling Masonry. This is a bit of a writer cop-out. Falling bricks? Really? I wince every time I watch it, because that rock hits dead on the second cervical vertebrae. He’s lucky he’s not paralyzed from the jaw down – or dead. That was a heck of a rock, after all.
The parapet slides off it, crashing into the wall Elisa and Demona are standing on, sending both of them over the edge.
Yeesh, people are going to just stop walking past the Eyrie Building, given how often chunks of stone rain from it. That alone is going to be a PR disaster for Xanatos Enterprises.
Goliath has to save one of them, or so the writers want us to believe. They hope we forgot about Demona’s wings.Goliath grabs Elisa.
He has time to land with her, look down, and react to seeing Demona still falling. Uh, there’s still time to grab her.
Welp, that escalated quickly. Now both antagonists are down. Owen is nowhere to be seen. Still.
Goliath is pissed, and rightfully so. He turns on the closest target, which happens to be…David, who’s regaining consciousness after nearly having his spinal cord severed and his vertebrae crushed.
Now he’s dangling by his shirt collar over the edge of his building, facing an enraged gargoyle. Not how you want to come-to.
Despite just waking up from unconsciousness, and finding his castle is trashed again, and his ally/fellow antagonist is out of the picture, and he’s dangling tens of thousands of feet over the concrete, Xanatos is unflappable. You’d think he’d be a bit surprised, if not nervous. Quite the opposite! He smirk-grins as if he’s won. If you went by expression and tone only, you’d think his and Goliath’s positions were reversed.
Bottom line: David Xanatos does not freak out. He’s wise enough to know freaking out doesn’t help anything. What you need during times of crises are a calm mind and critical thinking skills. Let other people run around in a panic. He’ll step up and take control instead.
Goliath says Demona wanted to destroy humanity. Goliath should start with Xanatos.
The scene resembles Hakon and Goliath’s first meeting. While Hakon pulled a sword and slashed, Xanatos uses something better: words. David half eggs him on, half accuses him of being ungrateful. “Go ahead. Without me, you’d still be gathering moss.” Xanatos is a fantastically successful businessman. He’s a fast, smooth talker who knows how to assess a person’s motives and use them against the person. If there’s one thing he doesn’t appear worried about, it’s falling.
Elisa, to her credit, steps in. She points out that if Goliath drops David, Goliath will be no better than Demona. Ooh, nice one.
We all pause for a moment. David is now hanging on to Goliath’s wrist, having decided not to trust his life to his shirt’s tensile strength (bet he goes with silk from now on). Elisa and the clan are giving Goliath the Don’t Do It look. Goliath is deciding if he wants to drop Xanatos, achieving vengeance for today’s grievances and those of the past, if only by proxy.
Goliath compromises: he tosses Xanatos down the steps. Eh, you didn’t need the left side of your body. You certainly don’t need the wrist you probably fractured. Good thing that giant rock to the neck didn’t cause any damage that was exacerbated by being yanked and tossed around, either.
Let’s back up and look how this would’ve differed if Owen were around: A.) He would have tripped Elisa. B). Failing that, he’d have either yanked David out of the way, or dragged his unconscious self back into the castle. C.) Failing those, he would’ve shot Goliath in the face, or done something equally as effective. But alas…
Protags 1, Antags 0
We have a shot of an annoyed but calculating Xanatos in the back of a police cruiser. This is not one of the outcomes he anticipated. The implications of what just happened, of being arrested, of having the news media flocking around, are hitting. He isn’t used to losing. He isn’t used to underestimating people and paying the price for it. But you can bet he’s only just begun to fight. The Game is afoot!
If this was an ordinary cartoon, we’d see him out of jail next ep and hungry for revenge. Hmm… We know this isn’t an ordinary cartoon. It’s an animated series on par or above any live-action drama. What will Xanatos do next?
Also, what’s he being arrested for? Accidentally blowing up the castle again? Trying to kill mythical creatures? How can they really tie him to the Cyberbiotics thefts? Or even the commandos trying to take out Elisa…or whatever they were doing? Would they have killed her, a police detective? We’ll get to all that later.
20/20 moment: I can only imagine Owen sighing and frowning in disappointment, frustration, and anger when he sees David fall to Goliath. What’s going through Puck’s mind, though? He likes David. A lot. No doubt Puck thought this little test of flesh against steel was hilarious. The fact that David went this route vs Owen’s suggested sledgehammer route is part of why Puck likes hanging out with him.
Now…now it’s all fallen apart: Demona is missing, there are cops all over, David has been arrested (whaaaat?), Owen is probably fending off reporters while dealing with the police. The fallout from this little misadventure is going to be a major headache for Team Xanatos. How dare these upstart gargs from 1000 years ago make extra work for Owen/Puck? Still, the outcome was anything but dull!
And what of Demona? Surely we haven’t seen the last of her. She’s a dangerous villain, one writers don’t throw away.
The protags have their obligatory All’s Well reunion. They’re the Big Damn Heroes. Elisa appears to have had a great time.
We end with a shot of the Eyrie Building…which still belongs to David Xanatos. How do the gargs think they’re going to continue living there? We’ll see…and that will set this show apart from episodic “cartoons” that don’t even try to court reality.
What a finale! Definitely not a predictable end. Did the writers keep their promises? Yes. Do we want to see more? Yes. Best of all, they’ve set the stage for many an intense run-in with the antagonists. We have compelling reasons for protags and antags to face-off again. And what amazing antagonists we have!
There are plenty of threads loose, which gives the writers plenty of material to keep weaving the narrative. Yet I feel satisfied as a viewer after watching the finale. Satisfaction and hunger for more eps is exactly where you want the audience.
What about you? When you first watched it, did you guess what would happen? Any head canons? Comment!
Go check out episode 5, The Thrill of the Hunt. We’ll get a few answers to the questions Awakening posed.