Demona’s history continues to unfold. It’s going to tangle with a youth’s; his name is Macbeth of Clan Moray. A man who Demona considered no better than an animal will bring them together – with his sword. He’s the Hunter, and he’s come to assassinate the High Steward of Clan Moray, Macbeth’s father. While the masked man may appear to be doing it just for fun, he’s actually acting at the behest of royalty.
Back in the present, Xanatos, Fox, and Owen are about to see what Demona’s spell really does. Hint: it’s nothing like Demona promised, and it may cost all of them their lives.
When we left off, Demona had just cast her spell, and Owen put his Latin studies to good use translating it. Judging by his reaction, it’s bad. Very bad.
Before Owen can take action to shut down the broadcast, Demona uses magic to dramatically throw him into a chair and a trance. She wraps cables around him just to be sure, then forces him to watch AND listen to her spell. It’s what Xanatos told him not to do, so we know this is bad news. She calls him the “tricky one.” Well, I’ve always said Owen was the dangerous one. But trickier than Xanatos? What does she know? Or is it hyperbole? Ah well, I admit he’s perfectly capable of manipulating the gargoyles when he needs to.
20/20 moment: This “tricky one” description is a perfect hint at Puck! What great writing. It works fine now when we don’t know Owen’s true identity, but it makes tons more sense after The Gathering! I also appreciate the writers acknowledging what happened between Puck and Demona in The Mirror. He messed with her form, and now she’s going to mess with his. If he dies as a human, Puck dies too. My, Puck really does like to live dangerously, doesn’t he? It also shows how taken he is with Xanatos that he would swear to spend most of his time in human form as long as David lives.
Elisa also sees the broadcast, which cuts off Casablanca.
We cut to the street, where three hot chicks who are identical except for their hair– Wait a minute. They have the same dreamy voices and color of hair as the triplets in the hostage situation. What sorcery is this?! Anyway, they’re watching the Demona broadcast through a TV-store window. They wander off before the spell finishes. By the way, the spell is on repeat.
We then learn their names: black hair is Seline, blonde is Phoebe, and silver is Luna.
According to Greg: “Seline is the hard case. Phoebe is the gentle one. Luna is the mystic.”
In the entry for City of Stone part 1 at Gargoyles Wiki (excellent resource!), it says the three sisters derive some of their features from the Fates, the Furies, and the Graces. “Furthermore, each one of the Weird Sisters focuses on a different one of these trios: silver-haired Luna represents Fate, golden-haired Phoebe Grace, and raven-haired Seline Vengeance.” This depth of references in Greg’s writing is part of why I respect him and his work so much. He’s right up there with Joss Wheaton in my book of fantastic screen writers.
They’re discussing how exciting it is that after waiting 975 years, things are about to come to a head. Whoa now. 975? These aren’t humans. They’re shape shifters. Are they Dark Elves, fae, Children of Oberon like our favorite trickster, Puck? Species aside, what’s their stake in all this? They know something’s afoot, and from what Owen said and Demona did, it’s about the spell – which is not going to enhance Xanatos’s life in the least, I suspect.
Flashback time again!
Demona has scraped together a semblance of a clan, or at least a gang of fellow gargoyles. They’re currently attacking a storage barn that several soldiers are guarding. Yeah, soldiers, not farmers. They take hope in the fact that the Hunter will wipe the gargoyles out.
While her cronies take the goods, Demona takes a mace. And in a scene that made it through S&P by some miracle, she crushes the guards. We just see the mace come down, mind you, but we know she’s not helping those guys out from under the net the gargs threw on them.
Back at the gang’s cave hideout, one of the gargoyles is complaining about living like a thief. They should just make peace with the humans, he says.
Demona is dead set against that. The humans don’t want peace, she maintains.
Let’s slow down here. Hudson says that gargoyles can no more stop defending the castle than breathing the air. So this species is naturally territorial and stationary. Yet here this clan is without a castle to protect, drifting from place to place while preying on humans. That basically goes against everything a good, upstanding gargoyle knows. Thus, her clan is likely castoff gargoyles who either lost their clan or who were exiled. Exiling was a huge punishment for gargoyles. Being a gregarious species, being alone and not having a clan would be like being homeless or a criminal. So, not exactly the creme de la creme. But it’s the best Demona can do.
It’s quite sad, really. All she did, she did to save her clan from the humans. Instead, she ended up causing their downfall. Her grief, denial, cowardice, guilt, and pain (among others) exiled her from her home territory. According to Greg, and GregXB’s comment on the last post, those reasons were also probably what prevented her from approaching Magus about the spell and the eggs. The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. She’s experiencing a little taste of Hell now. What she’s always feared has happened.
Still, I give her credit for perseverance. All this calamity…nevertheless, she persisted. She’s still a fighter, still a leader. She cares for her race. It’s just a shame that even this has come out on the wrong side of good: Her efforts to feed her clan make the humans hate them more. Her hatred of the humans keeps her clan on the run, forces them to basically be winged trash pandas.
Anyway! Back at the garg cave, three gargoyle crones appear. Oh crap, they are identical except for hair color. Now things are getting interesting! They bring word of the Hunter. Hey, is he a fellow member of my clan, Clan Hunter? Mm, nope, he just calls himself that. Apparently he roams about the countryside killing people and gargoyles. Lovely. Tonight he’s got Castle Moray on his list. The crones suggest Demona ally with Moray. Hah, side with humans? Nope. But Demona won’t give up a chance for justice and revenge, so off she goes.
That brings us to Castle Moray. In the main hall are two men, Findlaech and Bodhe, and two youngsters, Gruoch and Macbeth. Wait, are you telling me that’s our Macbeth? Surely not. Surely it’s his great-great ancestor. We’ll see, I guess, but given that we’ve already seen Demona and the creep sisters living for 1000 years, we’ll probably find this is our Mac.
Findlaech is Macbeth’s dad and is currently getting defeated in chess at the hands of Gruoch, Bodhe’s daughter. He then pairs the younguns for a game. Ah, young love is a-blossoming if I judge by kids’ blushes.
Bodhe really wants to marry his daughter off to the High Steward’s boy. They’re of royal blood, and eligible to be king. As it stands now, Prince Duncan will be king. He’s not really fit to be king, by Findlaech’s standards, but perhaps years will steady him, the men decide. Whatever happens, Findlaech pledges by the Sigil of Moray, a medallion around his neck, that he will remain loyal to the crown.
Things are going well at the kids’ table. Too well for Bodhe’s liking. After his initial rush to push them together, he’s having second thoughts. Things might be moving a bit fast for his taste. So off he goes to see Gruoch to her private room, with Macbeth leading.
Findlaech, now alone, calls the servant. No answer. Then a figure appears, but it’s not the waiter. It’s the Hunter. A black mask with three red claw marks on the front hide his face.
Battle is joined! Findlaech demands to know who put out the hit. No answer. The Hunter is skilled with the blade, and Findlaech, caught flat footed, is stuck defending himself with a serving platter. The Hunter disarms and corners him.
Macbeth returns. Thinking fast, he grabs two swords off the wall. He throws one to his dad, but the Hunter knocks it out of the air. Macbeth leaps to attack the Hunter. Despite being young, Macbeth gives a good accounting of himself in the fray.
During all this, Gruoch and Bodhe are watching. She wants to help, but her courageous father forbids her. He’s not helping either. Thanks, buddy.
Now Gruoch runs out.
Findlaech recovers and jumps in to help corner the Hunter. But when Findlaech attacks, the Hunter throws him over the parapets to a classic Disney death scene. It’s an easy way to get a death past S&P. You don’t see the sudden stop at the end, so it’s technically not graphic. Instead, your mind is left to conjure something even worse!
Macbeth rushes to the edge of the wall to look out after his father.
The Hunter raises his sword to take out Macbeth too. But who should swoop to the accidental rescue but Demona? Unfortunately, the ensuing fight knocks Macbeth off the balcony (well, after Macbeth ran in with sword aloft, screaming “murderer”). He catches a ledge. Gruoch tries to pull him up, but he’s too heavy. So they are both slipping over a battlement now.
Demona sees them. She pauses in her fight to vacillate.
Is it the vision of young love, like hers and Goliath’s, that attracts her? Is it the instinct to protect? Is it an unconscious desire to make up for her past sins? Is it because he tried to avenge the murder of his father? Whatever her motive, she leaves the Hunter in favor of saving the kids. It’s a heroic moment for her, one in which you think this spark of altruism might light the way to a redemption arc. You want Demona to make-up with the humans and just…be happy again. We saw how joyful she was when she had Goliath by her side. Now she’s bitter and aging. She may have taken other lovers after Goliath, I’m not sure. If she did, apparently none of them lived up to her expectations, given how much effort she’s devoted in the 1990s to getting him back on her side.
When Demona sees the Hunter has escaped, she is pissed, but she’s just as pissed at herself for grabbing the kids.
Now Macbeth is left to cope with the murder of his father. Bodhe won’t be much help, but I’m sure Gruoch will be a comfort, especially given their little bonding adventure.
Under the Mask
At Edinburgh Castle, Prince Duncan meets the Hunter. The prince hired him to kill off competition. Macbeth was also on the hit list, but without his dad, he’s as good as dead politically anyway.
Who is this hunter? It’s the boy who Demona scratched in the barn years ago. His name is Gillecomgain and he’s got slash scars on his face that match the mask. Wow, Clark Kent, that’s such a great disguise!
According to Greg: Honestly, Greg says it best: …everyone figures he’s TOO obvious a suspect. You can almost here the water cooler talk:
MacMorris: “Hey, MacTavish, have you ever noticed that that Gillecomgain guy has scars across his face just like the red marks on the Hunter’s mask?”
MacTavish: “What are you saying, MacMorris? That Gillecomgain is so stupid, he’d wear a mask and then put his scars ON the mask? Not much of a disguise. Know what I think. I think the Hunter is trying to throw suspicion onto old Gilley.”
MacMorris: “Oh, give me a break.”
As a reward for the Hunter’s service, Duncan gives him the Stewardship of Moray. Talk about adding insult to injury! And man, tell me Macbeth doesn’t know it’s the Hunter. I mean, same build, same scar pattern, same walk. But he can’t do a thing about it. The man who murdered his father has taken over the castle at the word of the ruling monarch.
To celebrate, Duncan orders
pizza the meal of champions food and drink. Who should bring it in but three maids who are identical except for hair color.
As the flashback fades, we find Macbeth in his security camera room, donning…the Hunter’s hood? What?
Everyone Must Get Stoned
Back in the present, we’re at the Eyrie Building.
Xanatos is climbing into his personal chopper of awesomeness. His pilot after Derek’s departure is Fox. Now, some people have gotten snippy because apparently being his chopper pilot should be beneath her. And it’s sexist or whatever to have her chauffeur her husband around. All that’s just stupid, and if you need an explanation of why, then that’s your problem.
There’s no indication that she’s always his pilot. Yes, she picked up Petros Xanatos for the wedding, but if anything, that was a major brag move by Fox and David: “Hey, look, on top of all her other skills and attributes, she can fly a chopper! By the way, isn’t my chopper slick?”
Now it seems she’s coming along because she’s curious what her man’s been up to. This is obvious when she says, “Take it from a professional, David, that Demona broadcast isn’t exactly riveting TV.” Aw crap, she watched it too?
Xanatos is looking annoyed. Is there a touch of dread too? “I wouldn’t know. I didn’t watch it. And I told you not to watch it either.”
Man, I love these two’s interactions! They’re so competitive, yet they care deeply for each other. She wants his little project to be good, and he wants her to not lose a minute of life.
Side note: Again, what’s one minute? Is he worried that at some point down the line he’ll be wishing she still had it?
That’s on the surface, anyway. Deeper, she’s probably a bit irritated about being kept in the dark on this scheme, especially since it was media related – her specialty. He’s let down and frustrated because she didn’t trust him enough to do what he says. He really doesn’t appreciate when people deviate from his plans. Also, he doesn’t entirely trust Demona and her spell. Whatever it does, he doesn’t want his people affected. Maybe he’s even having second thoughts about trusting Demona?
They don’t get any farther in their discussion, because Xanatos gets a call. It’s Owen. He gets out that the spell isn’t what Demona said it was. Then the the sun sets. He and Fox are suddenly stone statues. Whoa there! That means the whole city… And Elisa… That is one heck of a spell. Is this transformation permanent? I’m guessing not, since a main protagonist is involved.
Xanatos doesn’t have time to ponder any of this. His pilot is stone and his chopper is dropping like one.
In the clock tower, the clan finds a stone statue of Elisa. She’s facing away from the balcony and the gargoyles, which is an animation error but which I explain as her forgetting something and turning around.
Talk about a cliff hanger!
According to Greg: I’m going to quote him again:
“Another interesting aspect, is that 3/4 of the threat is to characters that we consider to be villains. Or more than 3/4. In the past, young Macbeth has lost his father and is clearly at risk. And Demona is being hunted. In the present, Fox and Owen are stone. And Xanatos and Fox appear to be falling to their deaths. Sure, the clincher is Elisa. But I think it’s a tribute to how well-rounded are villains are that we care what’s going to happen to them. Can you imagine most cartoons making the death of the villains a cliff-hanger? People would simply cheer.”
This is a great first of four. There’s so much to make you come back for the next ep: Who are the triplets? What’s the nature of the spell? How do you break it? What will Macbeth do now? What will Demona do now? What did she do in the past? How will the Hunter meet his match? What’s Macbeth up to? How is Xanatos going to avoid being a fireball of wreckage? If you want to find out, tune in Tuesday for City of Stone part 2!