Macbeth’s history unfolds, revealing the loss of his childhood sweetheart, Gruoch, to Gillecomgain, aka The Hunter. Gillecomgain grows too cocky for Duncan’s liking though, leading the prince to manipulate Macbeth into attacking him. Enter Demona. She also has a bone to break with the Hunter.
In the present, Xanatos arrives at Pack Media Studios just as Demona prepares to shatter stone Owen. Despite David’s skills, he’s no match for the 1000-year-old warrior, especially when she uses Owen as a human shield.
Who should come to Xanatos’s aid – accidentally – but an old acquaintance. He’s not a happy camper, and Demona is about to experience the brunt of his rage.
Did you miss the first half of the episode review? Read City of Stone part 2.
Before We Start:
Shout-out to the Gargoyles Reawakening podcast! Thanks for the great mention of VLN in your latest podcast about the Temptation episode (everybody, go listen to the podcast ep now and then come right back!). It warmed my cold, villain-loving heart.
If you don’t know about the GR podcast, they’re a tribe of fans who conduct interviews with people who are interested in or involved with Gargoyles, discuss the episodes and characters, and generally have very insightful and entertaining takes on the series.
And yes, ladies, I embrace the term “snark.” 😉
We pick up with Duncan having a meeting with Macbeth. The prince has news! He’s discovered the shocking fact that – gasp! – Gillecomgain is the Hunter, and thus Findlaech’s murderer. Duncan also reminds Macbeth that if not for Gill, Macbeth would be High Steward of Moray and be married to Gruoch. (I really don’t think he’s forgotten, Duncan.) But because of the politics and general delicate nature of the situation, Duncan can’t just up and hang Gillecomgain. Alas, what can a good prince do? Hint, hint.
I gotta hand it to Duncan for being a good manipulator. I also respect his decision to eliminate threats with extreme prejudice. He didn’t get where he is today by being soft. I’m sure he thinks he’s the best ruler the country can have, but his motivation is mainly to get power.
Of course Macbeth volunteers to do justice to Gillecomgain.
In the gargoyle cave, the three crones visit Demona again and advise her to ally with Macbeth against the Hunter. As before, she refuses. She goes to Castle Moray to kill him herself.
The Red, Red Rose
At Castle Moray, Gruoch is outside, smelling a red rose wistfully. Gillecomgain approaches. You almost feel sorry for him, having a wife that loves another. He sends her inside. She leaves the rose behind as if she’s placing it on a grave. He picks it up, smells it – and then stomps on it. Okay, no more sympathy for you. What does he care about love anyway? It’s not something most guys back then seemed too concerned about. Marriage was for alliances and power. This marriage is no different: it gives him power and advantage.
As he smushes the rose, Macbeth emerges from around the corner. Battle is joined! Amazingly, Macbeth does worse now vs the Hunter than he did as a kid. But then he recovers and disarms Gill.
Who should appear then but Gruoch. In a move that will seal his fate in the viewer’s mind, Gill uses her as a human shield.
Macbeth surrenders his blade, but only his life will satisfy Gillecomgain. He puts on the Hunter’s mask.
At that, Demona screams in. If he’d left it off, she wouldn’t bother with the humans’ feud.
Gillecomgain throws Gruoch at Demona, but that works as well as throwing Macbeth worked years ago. And it has the same result.
Macbeth leaps to save Gruoch, pulling her back.
Gill and Demona struggle. She manages to get him down, half over the battlements. When she tears his mask off, he demands to know if she remembers her handiwork. She’s killed and maimed countless humans over the years, and they all look the same anyway, so she says, “No.” It’s the most enraging thing she could say to him. We are doubly hurt when the person who injured us doesn’t even remember doing it. We didn’t even get on their radar, yet all this time we’ve been holding a grudge and letting them hurt us without them even knowing about it.
Let’s look at Gillecomgain’s character: He was a typical farm lad, doing his chores and living his life. To hear him talk, he was taken advantage of by his family, who made him work more than his share, but I defy you to find a young person who doesn’t mutter the same thing when asked to take the trash out.
Demona’s scarring of his face – and he’d better be glad he didn’t lose his eyes – changed his life forever. It’s not so much the outside scars, since they’re not all that disfiguring. He’s actually pretty handsome even with them. It’s the internal scars. He’s placed all his frustration and anger on her and those scars. His thirst for vengeance is as damaging as Demona’s – both to himself and to others. Just as Demona wants all the humans dead, he wants the gargoyles dead. He’s made such a big deal out of the scars that he thinks Demona still remembers him. It wrecked his life, so of course she’d remember! You’re not that special, Gill. Sorry.
They end up falling off the balcony. Wait, Demona catches a ledge, while the Hunter hangs on to her legs. In a reversal of the last adventure, Macbeth helps her. She kicks the Hunter into the darkness below. Fitting, but darn, these balconies really need better railings.
Demona gives a curt thank-you to Macbeth, then departs. They’re even now. Her good deed paid off, but she’s not going to see that as a reason to become a Goliath-type of gargoyle. She’s set in her ways now.
This Ain’t Shakespeare
Macbeth and Gruoch marry, becoming Lord and Lady Macbeth now that Gillecomgain is dead.
Duncan watches from a tower. He tells his infant son that there will always be the Hunter, and there will always be the hunted. Then he dons the mask. Now who’s he after? Macbeth, I assume.
The three fae in the guise of maids look on. Demona and Macbeth are still not allies, so they’ve got more work to do. Or are they happy now that Gill is dead? Doubtful.
Dust to Dust
In the present, the clan is surveying the massacre. Brooklyn likens it to the slaughter at Castle Wyvern.
Then three statues open their eyes. Yes, they’re the little girls from the hostage situation. They warn Goliath again to not forget that every life is precious. If he forgets this, he will become what he fights against. In other words, he’s looking to kill Demona, and they’re stopping him. If he kills her, he’ll be no better than her or Gill, they’re hinting. Um…that’s faulty logic, since giving a murderer the death penalty is actually justice. Then again, it’s the motive that matters. If Goliath does it out of vengeance, he’ll be the one hurt. But I don’t think these fae are acting as Good Samaritans interested in Goliath’s character.
They say that vengeance begets nothing but a cycle of further vengeance. Now that I’ll agree with. We see it in Gargoyles all the time, not to mention in real life.
At Pack Media Studios, Demona saunters in, mace ready. She’s going to turn Owen to dust. It’s painful irony that the man who suggested killing the clan by pulverizing them is now facing the same fate.
20/20 moment: She evidently is not enjoying being a human in the daytime and would relish the chance to give Puck a little of his own back. She’s tricked the trickster, she thinks.
Before Demona can swing, Xanatos smashes the broadcast equipment keyboard and ends the show. Now she’s got a better target than Owen. Whew!
20/20 moment: Since my first Gargoyles ep was The Gathering, I knew Owen survived. Since it had been awhile after watching that ep that I saw CoS 2, I’d forgotten that he had a stone fist. If I had remembered, I might have suspected it came from this spell.
Since this is a program for younger viewers, it’s a safe bet that Owen won’t die. Then again…characters do change permanently. Magus died, after all. And of course a number of antags bit the dust.
Imagine if Owen had died? The Gathering would have gone completely different. Xanatos would also be a wreck.
Demona whacks at Xanatos with her mace, but he blocks with the rifle. The blow still launches him across the room. Recovering, he shoots back. He might have gotten the upper hand, except Demona knocks the Owen statue off balance. Now we see where David’s priorities are. He abandons the fight to throw himself under his security chief. Tell me another main antagonist in any series who would behave this way for his minions? David is saving his second-best friend.
Unfortunately, pushing a stone statue back onto its feet doesn’t put you in the best defensive position. Demona grabs Xanatos and strict presses him. I’m pretty sure she’s gonna toss him into Owen. Then she’ll take the mace to his skull. Xanatos will die with the knowledge that he’s killed his friend – and had a hand in destroying the city.
Ah, but there will be no death in House Xanatos tonight! For Macbeth arrives in the Hunter mask. Demona doesn’t know who it is. I guess it’s been awhile since she’s seen him?
Call Me…The Hunter
He shoots her with his electro gun, but then they both stagger and cry in pain. Ooh, shared pain? That’s a nifty effect. Now Demona recognizes him.
They run off to fight on the roof. Macbeth shoots a shackle around her ankle and tries to pull her to the ground. She cuts the cable – but he dives over the ledge after her and lands on her back.
Back at PMS, Xanatos cuts the main circuit breaker.
They go on a wild glide through the city. Macbeth is acting more recklessly than we’ve ever seen. He’s really mad or really desperate. Maybe both.
20/20 moment: If she kicked him off the line and he fell to his death, this would count as her killing him, yes? Or does it have to be more direct, like choking or stabbing?
She eventually scrapes him off on a roof and screeches away. It’s an intense “chase,” with Demona showing actual…not fear, but worry? Concern? Macbeth is a danger, and she knows it. He’s not playing around.
At PMS, the clan enters to find Xanatos tapping the keys of the broadcast board. “Ah, the cavalry has arrived.” He explains what happened with Demona and the man “she called the Hunter.”
Goliath wants to hold Xanatos painfully responsible, but David replies, “Do you want vengeance, or a solution?” Vengeance, just like the Weird Sisters warned about. “This is bigger than anything either of us have ever faced,” he admits while pulling the gargoyles into the mix. They call a truce and end on Goliath and Xanatos shaking hands.
According to Greg: After you see the whole series, the truce doesn’t seem like much, since Xanatos and the gargoyles team up every blue moon or so. But at the time, Greg wanted it to be startling. Like I say, I saw The Gathering first, so this wasn’t startling at all.
David’s pragmatism is one of the many characteristics that I admire in the man. He’ll work with whoever will offer the best chance of victory. He doesn’t really consider the gargoyles enemies anyway. When there’s a problem, he focuses on the solution, not on handing out blame or holding grudges. His family and his city are on the line if he fails.
We’re getting some closure on a few issues, but others are still developing. We’re fully halfway through the 4 parter, meaning we’ll have a steady resolution from here out, except for a couple reversals.
The faes’ plan is still unclear.
Macbeth’s life is coming together, but this makes me nervous. The best way to develop (read: hurt) a character is to give them everything they want, and then rip it away.
We still don’t know how to reverse the spell. Shutting the broadcast down obviously didn’t do help.
If you want to find out what the spell means, how Mabeth and Demona became bonded, and what happens when the sun rises in NYC, tune in Tuesday for City of Stone part 3.