Gargoyles: City of Stone part 3 – Episode Review

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Happy  Pi(e) day! That’s right, 3/14! Sadly, there is no pie in this episode.

New York City awakens after its night of stone sleep. Those people Demona killed will never wake again. House Xanatos learns how to break the spell, then prepares to save the metropolis. Meanwhile, Macbeth ruminates on the betrayal that led to his bargain with Demona and the Weird Sisters. At last we learn how he and Demona are still alive after 1000 years. Hint: three sisters, identical except for hair color, had a hand in it.

We’re  on ep 3 of 4. Did you miss the previous ep? Read City of Stone part 2’s review.

Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.


Season 2, Episode 11: City of Stone, part 3


Reason(s) for existence: To continue the histories of Demona and Macbeth. To show that Xanatos can play the hero well when he wants to. To introduce a truce between Xanatos and Goliath to prove they can work together. To pit Demona and Macbeth against each other. To reveal more about the Weird Sisters’ plot. To explore the theme of vengeance and its horrible consequences. To explain how Demona and Macbeth are immortal.

Main antagonist(s): Demona, The Hunter, Duncan

Time(s):  November 11th-12th,  1995; 1040AD

Location(s): New York City, New York; Castle Moray, unnamed locations in Scotland


 SCIENCE!

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - title

Time’s ticking.

The sun rises.

Elisa turns to flesh again – in mid explanation.  She doesn’t realize anything happened until she sees the sun rising instead of setting.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - elisa awakes

Ah, so her facing this way really was an animation mistake.

At PMS, we have one of my favorite scenes: Xanatos watching the gargoyles turn to stone as Owen turns back to flesh. It’s…satisfying somehow.

Like Elisa, Owen picks up in mid explanation. Then he realizes the phone line is literally cut, and his boss, whom he was calling, is standing in front of him.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - urgent owen

He’s about as ruffled and urgent as we’ll ever see him.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - owen realizes line is cut

Wait a minute…

Owen’s composure snaps back in place like a rubber band. He actually has the presence of mind to bid Xanatos a “good morning.” Gotta love these boys!

David asks if he knows what’s going on. He means the city, but Owen takes in the immediate situation first. “It’s fairly easy to deduce: you stopped the broadcast.”

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - pack media studios a wreck

The off switch was on the other wall, you know.

“With a little help from my friends.” Aha, nice lyric reference! Xanatos fills him in on the truce with Goliath. David probably figures he can pull off the spell-breaking on his own, but it’s amusing to have your opponents agree – after you suggest it – to a truce. They’re not serving him, per se, but he’s still going to be holding the reins.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - xanatos points to caln

For a moment, he can pretend they work for him.

Not missing a beat, Owen suggests they check the Grimorum Arcanorum for a counter spell since they now have access to the book.

Xanatos shoots the idea down, since no one in the party is a sorcerer. Everybody wanted to wear armor and use iron weapons. They didn’t want to stand in the back and, if they got sacked, turn into hamburger. They didn’t want to wear robes and- What’s that? Oh, right, that’s D&D.

Plus, “I’ve been told that mixing magics is dangerous anyway.” Wait, what? Mixing spells? Why? They’re from the same book.


20/20 moment: Xanatos is referencing Owen’s identity as Puck. It’s all a mute point, of course, because part of the deal between him and the fae was that Puck wouldn’t use his Puck Powers to help David. Maybe Xanatos was hoping Puck could fix things on his own as…an accident or something that avoided breaking Oberon’s law.


Xanatos’s respect for magic is one of the things that sets him apart from other antagonists. While Demona toys with magic – human and fae – and Macbeth studies it, David avoids it if he can. A notable exception was in Reawakening when reviving Coldstone. But he had some control over that with his technology. Another exception: this life-extension plan. It’s almost as if he finally let his guard down against magic, then he got kicked in the teeth with Demona’s spell. I’d be a little magic-shy too. He’d rather stick to science. You can understand that. It’s predictable. You won’t wake up stone in the morning with science. Yet. (Though you might wake up as an eel cat bat.)

Owen suggests they use SCIENCE. Now you’re talking David’s language! He’s got more tech than the US government!

Owen gives the spell’s translation:

All who see this, all who hear this,
Turn to stone throughout the night
Until the skies burn

Heck yes, thinks Xanatos. We get to set stuff on fire! Grinning, he responds, “Then we’ll just have to set the sky ablaze.”

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - xanatos has a plan

Few things feel better than a good plan.

In a moment that I absolutely love for its great character chemistry, Owen says, “I suggest we hurry. There’s only twelve hours until sunset.” He doesn’t ask what his boss is planning. Why bother? Xanatos has it under control. It’s interesting that the spell’s breaking will require Xanatos’s monumental resources. Without them, the gargs are stuck.

Because I’m a geek, I googled how many hours of daylight they had. This isn’t the solstice or even near one (September and March), so you don’t have 12 hours.

Search Results

6:39 AM

Sunday, November 12, 1995 (EST)

Sunrise in New York, NY

4:41 PM

Sunday, November 12, 1995 (EST)

Sunset in New York, NY

You’ve got 10 hours, 2 minutes. RSG!

BREAKING!

We cut to Travis Marshall the reporter. He doesn’t know what happened last night. Nobody does! Slow down, sparky. You mean to tell me nobody checked security cam feeds and saw the whole city stone? You mean the deaf and blind people of the city didn’t notice anything? What about the outside world’s response when people tried to drive into the city but ran into the huge traffic jams/multi-car collisions?

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - travis marshall and woman

She looks like the chick from the Diamond Exchange.

Up runs a woman who says she knows. The city turn to stone! Travis is skeptical. Why didn’t she turn? Because she doesn’t watch TV. Soo…she figured the TV broadcast turned the city to stone. Except she doesn’t watch TV, so I imagine people told her about it. She didn’t take pictures or anything? Well, of course Travis disregards her. They cut to a segment on mass hypnosis. I understand this was meant to show how the muggle world explained the lost night. But again, WHAT ABOUT THE CAMERAS?

Macbeth watches the report. With his anger boiling, he launches into…a flashback!

1040 AD

He and King Duncan are walking along the cliffs. Their sons, Luach and Canmore, are with them.


According to Greg: It should be Lulach, but a spelling error slipped in.

It’s also not clear who’s son the boy is – Gill’s or Mac’s. IMO, he looks like Macbeth.


The trail crumbles under Duncan, but Mac rescues him.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - macbeth saves duncan

Seriously, with how many people fall to their deaths in these eps, everybody should wear safety harnesses.

Duncan is genuinely surprised, even saying this ends any debate about Macbeth’s loyalty. Nice how he just blurts that out. Did Macbeth know there were questions about his loyalty?

They bumble into a cave then. It’s the gargoyle cave. Duncan grabs a stone to start pulverizing gargoyles, but Macbeth stops him. One of the gargs is Demona, and Macbeth begs the king to spare her life in thanks for saving Macbeth’s. Duncan agrees, since Mac just saved his life. In a nice moment of historical accuracy, Duncan uses the “royal we”: “You saved our life.”

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - macbeth saves demona

Macbeth has guts to confront the king.

As the cousins and their boys head home, they travel through a patch of dense fog. They don’t run into zombies, but they do encounter…three hags. Cue the Shakespeare quote!

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - weird sisters crones

Needs salt.

“Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble. All hail Duncan, King of Scotland and father of the king hereafter! All hail Macbeth, King of Scotland and father of the king hereafter!” According to Gargoyles Wiki, it’s from Macbeth, Act One, Scene Three: “All hail Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter!” I like the Gargoyles version better.

Yeesh, it’s like Oprah with books: You get kingship, and you get kingship! Everybody gets kingship!

Macbeth corrects them, but they stick to their story. Macbeth persists, saying Canmore is destined to be king.

“You would lecture us on fate?” says the representative of Fate. Nice.

They vanish.

Macbeth tries to smooth Duncan’s ruffled feathers, calling them Bedlams. Or maybe beldams? Bedlam is anachronistic, since Bedlam didn’t open till the mid 1500s. Doesn’t really matter, though, since they’re speaking Gaelic anyway.

Duncan is still suspicious.

B is for Betrayal

Later that afternoon, Duncan dons the Hunter mask and takes his men out to smash the gargoyles. His reasoning is that perhaps Macbeth is counting on the gargs helping him in the upcoming battle against Duncan. Wait, what battle? Mac is loyal. That means Duncan is going to move against him.

What’s going through Duncan’s mind now? He’s heard the crones’ prophesy, but does he believe them? Perhaps he’s acting to prevent it. But I think he was preparing to take down Macbeth, his closest competition for the crown, far earlier.

One of his guys says he should wait until tomorrow, since it’s so close to sunset, but Duncan reasons the gargs might not be there tomorrow. So a-smashing they go.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - duncan going to smash demona

I think I’d have taken Demona out first.

Before they get to Demona, the sun rises. Oh, now you’re gonna be sorry, boys.

Demona is now white-haired, showing her age more than ever. One of the humans overpowers her, and if not for one of her clan saving her, she’d have caught a dagger in the chest.

The gargoyles escape in disgrace, with only a few of their number surviving.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - demona and second

She looks like a banshee.

Demona confides to her second in command that she tires of the fugitive lifestyle. She’s not sure what will happen to “the last of their kind” when she’s gone. If she had her youth, she could take on the humans. Ah, poor Demona, living in her delusion. I don’t want to say it’s all her fault, but a lot of the hatred toward gargs is due to her preying on the humans and making a nuisance of the gargoyles. Her desire for vengeance has almost destroyed her kind, the exact opposite of her aim.

She’s desperate for a solution. She’s desperate enough to track down the crones. They show up at critical moments, so they must know more than they show.

At Castle Moray, Bodhe comes to warn Macbeth that Duncan is moving against Moray. Mac is rightfully shocked. He just saved Duncan’s life! He’s loyal and always has been! Well, if it’s war they want…

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - macbeth surprised about duncan

Don’t ya just love it when you do everything right but get screwed anyway?

But Bodhe, with his usual exceptional courage, advises they surrender. Moray is no match for Duncan, and if Mac surrenders, perhaps Duncan will have mercy on Gruoch and Luach. Bodhe, I’m getting real tired of your crap.

Just then, Gruoch and Luach enter. Macbeth tells Gruoch he will always love her, then he tells his boy to mind his mother. It’s a touching scene. Macbeth believes his death is imminent. He says he’s going to see his cousin, the king.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - macbeth hugs luach

I love this scene!

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - macbeth, son, wife

Aw, seeing antagonists show care toward their family is touching.

He rides to the gargoyle cave to beg Demona’s help. When he arrives, she tells him the only reason she doesn’t kill him is because he saved her.

Disney Gargoyles - City of Stone part 3 - demona vs macbeth

The horse is taken aback.

Undaunted, he says they should ally. He promises to protect her clan-

Hah, she’s heard that one before!

It doesn’t look like she’s gonna buy what he’s selling. She’s only here for the Weird Sisters.

…Who appear a moment later. They’re in their young woman guise.


Halftime!

Finally, 3/4 of the way through the eps, we find out what the spell means. I’m almost surprised Robbins didn’t translate it for the gargoyles. But that would mess up the reveal. Cuz once you know the spell’s off switch, the quest to reach it begins.


According to Greg: “The sky burns” was actually half of what the writers originally wanted: the sky burns and the sea boils. I can definitely see why they stuck with the sky burning.


Poor Macbeth, he can never catch a break. Despite being loyal his whole life, he’s gotten nothing but betrayal as thanks. How is he going to handle Duncan?

Finally we’re about to see why the Weird Sisters wanted Macbeth and Demona to ally!

Tune in Friday to find out how one spell begins – the Sisiters’ – and another will end – Demona’s.


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Lead researcher at Villainous Life Natures Research. Writer, reader, snarker. Lover of all things Geek and Dark. INTJ.
Read my reports at vlnresearch.com and learn how understanding villains can help you succeed in life.
Find my action-adventure post-apocalypse zombie thriller Wolves of the Apocalypse series at lcchamplin.com.
I write fiction because the characters in my head have too much attitude to stay in my skull, I want to see the world through different eyes, and I want to live life through different souls.

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4 comments on “Gargoyles: City of Stone part 3 – Episode Review
  1. GregXB says:

    My opinion on this is that the Illuminati was working overtime to keep the truth about the City of Stone incident hidden.

    It’s the best explanation that I can think of.

    • LC Champlin says:

      They have mind-wipe technology from the aliens. hehe. I gotta agree, though, that the Illuminati provides a good Get Out of Reality Free card!

      • GregXB says:

        it’s a shame, because I adore this four-parter, it’s my favorite arc in the series and one of my favorites period. But yeah, that is a hole.

        But I think the drama, the story, the emotions, the reveals, and everything else more than make up for that one hole.

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