It’s Xanatos vs the Maza family today. Rather, they’re sticking their noses in his business again and reaping the consequences. But what is his business? Supposedly he’s about to wipe out an Indian sand carving. But why? Wouldn’t you like to know.
There are plenty of mysteries in this ep: a tornado with a coyote’s face tosses Xanatos Construction’s ‘dozers, a security guard looks exactly like a young Peter Maza, Xanatos hunts said security guard… There’s more at play and at stake than meets the eye.
Miss last week’s? Read Bushido episode review.
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 41: Cloud Fathers
Reason(s) for existence: To emphasize Xanatos’s desire for immortality. To introduce another fey. To flesh out Peter Maza’s and Beth’s story. To bring Coyote back on stage. To introduce Peter and Beth to magic/fey.
Main antagonist(s): David Xanatos, Coyote
Time(s): May 27th?, June 16th-18th, 1996
Location(s): Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Previously: it’s basically about the Mazas, including Elisa’s sister Beth. There’s also a scene where Xanatos is dealing with Sevarius and Derek, and is pretty disinterested in Goliath.
In a desert somewhere, there’s a construction site. The sign says it’s Xantos Construction. It’s the same branch of Xanatos Enterprises that moved Castle Wyvern to the Eyrie Building. I guess it makes sense for a company such as his to have a construction arm. But usually construction companies are their own entity, and don’t really come from a larger body. For instance, if Google or Amazon want a new office or warehouse, they get whatever local construction company is around.
A tornado/sandstorm roars in. It flips over a number of the heavy equipment pieces. That’s one heck of a tornado! However, it leaves the pole building intact.
After it’s done its work, a coyote head appears in cloud form over it. Red eyes glow from it as it howls. Well then, I guess this isn’t just a new phenomenon with the weather.
Time Jump: Arizona 1960
A young man with black hair, black leather, and blue jeans is heading out of the pueblo. An Indian man with gray hair is attempting to make him stay. This is the guy’s dad. The guy’s name is Peter. He’s going to New York City to start a new life. There’s nothing for him in the desert town. But his dad wants him to stay, since this is their culture. It’s pretty common for small towns, not to mention Indian reservations, to have kids leave. However, it is also common for the young people to stay where they are and continue in the ways of there parents, furthering a culture of low socioeconomic status and its dependence on the government .
Peter Maza is meeting Beth, his daughter, at the airport. He climbs in her truck, and as they drive away, he asks if Xanatos has done something, since she looks downcast. Eh? What’s Xanatos doing out here in AZ?
She says not yet. He’s leased a portion of land from the tribe and is going to build on it.
I’m sorry, but in America, the land that belongs to the Indian tribes actually doesn’t belong to them exclusively. It belongs to Big Brother. The tribe can’t sell the land like other Americans can sell property. And in order to lease it, the tribe and person leasing have to consult the Feds. Imagine what it would be like if, when you wanted to sell your house or lot, you have to go through the Feds. If they don’t like the deal, or it’s too complicated – even if YOU like the deal – they’ll deny it.
Leasing Indian land is a nightmare. Besides working on an Indian reservation for 8 months, I also did some research on the laws. This page gives great info on how many hoops a person seeking to lease has to jump through. Here’s more info about tribal lands. It’s gotten easier in the last few years to lease, but that’s a relative statement. Not worth it, IMO.
So, if a tribe wanted to develop the area and bring new economic vibrancy to their tribe, they will not be able to do so easily. They would have to do so on their own. But it’s a very hard to get money when you don’t have land to act as collateral. Thus, you primarily have casinos.
Casinos distribute their money as they see fit. Many tribes simply give large chunks of money to tribe members. This leads to extravagant living for some, and dirt-poor living for others. Unlike in other cultures, this comes not because one class has earned the money and is doing as they please with it, but because they randomly received it. They also receive government benefits, which include free healthcare from the Indian Health Services (part of the HHS). The centers only serve Indians.
Side note: The hassle involved with leasing Indian land makes me unsure of the date in this ep.
See, According to Greg,
David Xanatos receives satellite photographs, which reveal a soil carving dedicated to the Trickster Coyote. He makes plans to lease the land that contains the carving from the local Native American tribe. He also commissions a new Coyote Robot, made with iron melted down from the Cauldron of Life.
That’s when he first saw the drawings. He had to get Coyote built and the contract straightened out. Then he had to ship all his stuff out there. Not exactly overnight tasks.
FYI, here’s Greg’s Memo on Cloud Fathers.
But I digress. Out of the fog comes the skiff. They’re in the pool at Flagstaff, Beth’s university.
Beth and Peter go to Xanatos’s construction site. It’s night. The security guard lets the Mazas in and says he’s been expecting them. They think that’s odd.
They go in and find the heavy equipment flipped around. Then spotlights flick on in their faces. The tribal police step out with weapons leveled. Xanatos then appears. Finally! How many episodes has it been? I think we last saw him in… Kingdom?
He says that he’s pressing charges of trespassing and vandalism. Okay, so they’ve got proof of the trespassing, but not for the vandalism. The Mazas say the security guard let them in.
Ah, but Xanatos says he didn’t hire a guard here, but that apparently he should.
The next morning, the Mazas have just gotten out of jail. Haha, how ironic that Xanatos gets them locked up. It gets a little bit of his own back.
They find a Elisa waiting for them. The Gargoyles are turned to stone on Beth’s balcony.
Peter explains that they were set up by Xanatos, which he says is a neat trick since David didn’t know they were coming. So, why does Peter think Xanatos set them up? I don’t understand his reasoning.
At the construction site is a pole building. I have no idea why, since most construction sites don’t include a pole building that isn’t going to be part of the original building. Anyway, where was I? Yes, Coyote is back! I’m assuming he had a satellite uplink while he was in Egypt, and it backed up his personality.
He is saying to Xanatos that the Mazas are not responsible for the vandalism. Thanks, Captain Obvious.
Let me pause and point out this is the first time we’ve seen Xanatos and Coyote interacting. So Jonathan Frakes is talking to himself like Jeff Bennett usually is! How weird would it be to see your mangled face on a robot and hear your voice from it? Coyote also has a lot of David’s personality traits. Heck, Coyote impersonated him quite well back in Leader of the Pack.
Xanatos says that when the silent alarm at the site went off, he needed an explanation for the cops. Why? Just say it was weird weather, or he doesn’t know what happened. Or you could say a coyote jumped the fence and set it off. That would be funny. The cops aren’t going to believe two humans could have scattered the heavy machinery like that.
But finding these idiots in his backyard was too much of a temptation to pass up. On an interesting note, he is not doing this out of revenge.
Xanatos taps the screen and says that this is the real target: the guard. That’s interesting.
At Beth’s house, the Gargoyles are going to go investigate Xanatos’s this construction site. Peter isn’t happy about this, since it’s trespassing. But Elisa argues that because gargoyles don’t exist, they can’t legally trespass. Wow, is she a cop or a lawyer?
The gargoyles reach the construction site, then wander into the pole shed. Angela finds aerial photos of the area. They show a coyote sand drawing. Goliath says they must have been taken from very high up. Then he notes that they match the carving on the ground. Um, he is standing on the ground. (The building is covering the ground and the carving.) So I don’t get how he knows the picture and ground match.
Moving on. We don’t have time to worry about inconsistencies, because Coyote 4.0 appears. He’s looking a little rough in the face, and in fact it’s not a head anymore, but a screen that displays his image. He’s bigger and badder than ever.
There’s a slight throw down. He is quite happy about it. “Once more, with feeling.” They bounce off him when he tases them. “Don’t quit your day job!” I love his lines.
Meanwhile, the Maza’s are out on the desert waiting. The guard appears. Then he flees. Bronx chases him down and pins him. Peter gets all up in the punk’s grill about what happened the night before at the construction site.
Beth and Elisa recognize the kid, btw. They say he looks exactly like young Peter. They point this out because obviously we didn’t notice the similarity. But Peter can’t recognize himself.
Back in the pole shed, the gargoyles are waking up – to Xanatos and a giant staple gun.
David shifts it over and staples their arms and legs to the ground. No, I don’t mean through their limbs, I mean he puts a staple around their wrists and ankles. …How is this going to work for more than 2 seconds? The prongs of the staple are about 8 inches long, and he’s shooting them into the sand. I don’t care how hard that saying is, there’s no way a gargoyle won’t be able to pull that out. Especially a really mad gargoyle.
David takes a moment to monologue. He says that he is setting a timer on an acid vat that’s above them. It’s going to drop in 10 minutes. It’s his “first stab at real cliched villainy.” What other antag would say that? He’s so genre savvy!
He says neither of the gargs have done “anything” he’d “hold a grudge over.” This is really magnanimous. I mean, it’s because of them screwing over his plans that he got put in jail. And then just think of all the other plans that they’ve meddled in. They’ve cost him millions, if not hundreds of millions, in damage and lost revenue. But he doesn’t hold grudges. Gotta love the guy.
He’s says he doesn’t actually want to kill them, and he really had no intention of using them until they dropped into his lap. But he’s not one to let a crisis go to waste. He’s after the coyote spirit. He’s trying to lure the coyote out. But he didn’t get a nibble until he decided to actually destroy the sand carving. That’s when the machines got flipped. For weeks before, he’d just been pretending he was going to destroy it.
Even now, he’s really just using them and the carving as a “real” threat to draw the coyote out. We don’t know why he wants the spirit. We don’t even know what the coyote is. I think it’s a fey, considering what we’ve seen so far in the Avalon Arc.
Meanwhile, the Mazas are interrogating the guard. The kid says destroying the carving is no big deal. It’s just some scratchings in the sand, right?
Beth pipes in that it’s desecration since Coyote is an important figure in Indian legend.
Peter didn’t know there was a carving there. Which is odd. If it’s on tribal land, and they leased it, then they would have surveyed or at least looked it over. Why didn’t they see the carving? If they did know it was there but gave it over to David anyway, then they don’t care what happens to it. But that doesn’t sound like Indian Elders, so we’re back to operating under the assumption that they do not know it’s there.
The kid argues that it’s 1996. Time to get with the times. Xanatos is bringing jobs to the community. The words the kid uses are the same ones young Peter used at the beginning when he was arguing with his dad.
Peter is about to take him in to the Tribal Police for questioning, but the guard vanishes. There’s a little sand storm twister in his wake. Well, now we know he’s that coyote twister. Also he looks exactly like Peter, which is pretty suspicious.
After months of waiting, we’ve at last arrived Cloud Fathers. After watching this episode, I realize the plot has a lot of holes. I think I like this episode because at this point, I am so desperate to see Xanatos again that I will take whatever the writers throw me.
I’m really digging the interplay between Xanatos and Coyote 4.0. Siri on steroids!
We’re off to a good start overall, though. We’ve got a nice mystery going: why does Xanatos want the guard, why does the guard look like Peter, why does the sandstorm/tornado hate Xanatos Construction?
Tune in Friday when we see Xanatos and two coyotes. It’s the battle of the tricksters!