Xanatos confronts Anton Sevarius over the doctor’s kidnapping of Thailog. Except it wasn’t the Good Doctor. Thailog is Goliath’s clone, created in Xanatos Enterprises’s Gen-U-Tech labs by Sevarius and trained in the ways of deception and manipulation by Xanatos himself. Thailog is the ultimate sociopath. Now he’s about to meet his “fathers.” He’s arranged the circumstances to suit him, though. Those circumstances mean the certain death of all three of his creators: Xanatos, Sevarius, and Goliath. But what’s his real motive?
If you missed part 1 of the Double Jeopardy episode review, go read it!
Make an Example
The greenbacks make Sevarius positively giddy in a way only Tim Curry can portray. “I didn’t even know they made bills in ten thousand dollar denominations!”
Xanatos is calm. Dangerously calm. You know how he gets all relaxed and casual and will lean on the nearest wall/table/gargoyle when he’s selling a scheme? Yeah, when he gets quiet, it’s about to get real.
While Sevarius salivates over the cash, Xanatos slips out of his duster to reveal his power underarmor. “You know, Anton, I’m not by nature a vengeful man, but your behavior has forced me to make an exception.” First name? Now it’s serious.
Now Sevarius is against the wall, feet a foot off the ground. Xanatos is showing his anger, which is rare.
Sevarius is confused by the response. Huh? He thinks someone is watching them, and commences to over-act yet again, delivering a monologue about how Xanatos stole his prize creation.
This is the last thing David expected – or I expected. He’s stunned into open-mouthed silence.
They are being watched, though. Goliath with Elisa aboard is flying over. Why the two antagonist partners are suddenly at each other’s throats, or rather Xanatos is at Sevarius’s, is a mystery to them.
Goliath hears roaring/yelling. Opening a oil tank/bulkhead, he finds his double. The gargoyle is in chains. “Goliath, at last. I am Thailog.”
According to Greg: This came about after a mix session where Greg kept hearing Goliath’s name said backwards.
Without knowing really any of the facts, Goliath blurts out, “What kind of abomination are you?” Well, nice to meet you too. Way to make a good first impression!
The double doesn’t miss a beat: “Same kind as you.” I’m dying laughing again. “It was your blood that spawned me.”
Elisa, ever the detective, guesses he’s a clone. Brilliant! “They grew him from you like a cutting from a plant.” Um…that’s not really analogous. He’s a separate being. He’s a twin: same genetics, different personality etc.
Goliath is understandably upset. “First Xanatos steals my home, and now he pieces off my very soul!” Again, no. First off, you didn’t own the castle ever. Xanatos bought it. End of story. Second, MiniMe here has his own soul. Xanatos didn’t take any piece of Goliath’s soul. There was no magic involved.
Neither Goliath nor Elisa at this point consider the double’s feelings. They don’t see him as fully gargoyle. They see him like some people used to see slaves (Irish and African): sub gargoyle, little better than an animal.
Then Elisa has a bit of an epiphany. What does it matter how he came into being? He’s “almost your son.” Ahg, stahp! No, a clone is not a son. A clone is a genetic twin. Get it right. Goliath does not have any paternal responsibility to raise the double. I suspect the double’s fully mature in mind anyway. Xanatos and Sevarius are the true “fathers.” David spent far more time training him than most fathers spend with their bio kids. Sevarius has made sure the double’s physical frame came out right.
Despite calling the clone an abomination just a few seconds ago, Goliath easily accepts that the garg is his son. Whaaa?
Without any wondering about why Xanatos (in underarmor, not the exo armor) and Sevarius are here on an abandoned oil rig, why they’re having a physical confrontation, and why their creation is chained in the bulkhead, Goliath decides to free the double. Hey, if the antags have him in chains, he must be good, right? Yes, because Were!Fox and the mutates totally were on your side too because they were at odds with Xanatos (the mutates are on David’s side at the moment, I admit).
It is a mystery why Sevarius kidnapped the clone from the castle when he had pleeeenty of time to spirit him away earlier. It’s also a mystery why Sevarius is keeping him locked up. Does Thailog want to go back to the castle that bad? And why is Sevarius acting the way he is? This is a set up, but by whom?
G doesn’t have to unlock the chains; the shackles weren’t locked in the first place. Thailog lunges at Goliath and clamps a face mask over him.
Rock and Roll
We cut to our favorite billionaire and scientist. David has no idea why Sevarius thinks this an act. Well, Anton got an “electronic mail” message with instructions. “You planned every detail!” He assumed it was from David, or rather at his behest, since it came from an XE-owned server. I’m assuming the server bit. You’d think Sevarius, who is wicked smart, would have, I dunno, called David once or twice for clarification? Or at least confirmed that it was him and not spam? Yes, the scheme sounds Xanatosian, but was he really able to do all this with zero face-to-face input from David? Sevarius doesn’t have much common sense, I guess, which is common for his type.
If Xanatos didn’t send the email, who did? Sevarius suggests Fox or Owen.
He might have suggested Captain Kirk sent it, for all the consideration David gives the idea. “Don’t be ridiculous.” Xanatos doesn’t seem to trust anyone, and he is the king of manipulation. Yet he trusts Owen and Fox. He knows people. One of his many skills is the ability to accurately judge character.
He figures it out. The clone was the only other person who had the capability of setting this up. With some pride and a bit of irritation, Xanatos remarks, “The kid turned out to be a real chip off the old block.”
Said kid appears. “Indeed he did. All the old blocks.”
He slaps an electromagnetic disc on the chest piece of Xanatos’s armor. It’s like a taser. This shorts out the armor and knocks David unconscious.
Send in the Clone
We cut to everybody but Thailog sitting in chains in the bulkhead. It’s one of those scenes where you kinda wish they’d started the ep out with it, then worked back. In media res, right?
The gas is a Sevarius creation that leaves the subject weak for hours. Why hasn’t this been used before?!
Thailog wanted money, so he cooked up the scheme of kidnapping himself. Pretty slick. Very Xanatosian. He learned from the best!
Xanatos said that they could have come to an arrangement if Thailog had just asked. Hmm, just asked…that sounds so familiar. Ah, that’s right, Renard said that to Fox.
Thailog is no fool – which is as Sevarius and Xanatos intended. Too bad they didn’t remember rule # 1 in minion creation: Don’t make it smarter than you. Rule #2 is like it: Don’t give it all your trade secrets. He knows the deal would be on Xanatos’s terms. The party who starts the negotiation from a place of power usually retains that position for the duration and comes out on top. Duh.
Thailog hates Xanatos and Sevarius because they made him for the sole purpose of satisfying their needs: David wanted a “stooge,” and Anton wanted a “private guinea pig.”
Now, we all know Xanatos is a fan of multi-purpose plans. He didn’t go through all this trouble just to come up with one, lone gargoyle. He had/has plans that are far reaching. Is he going for a clan of his own clones of all the gargoyles? Or a clan of Goliaths? Perhaps he’s going to stop at one gargoyle but expand in other species? The possibilities are numerous.
Goliath tries to talk Thailog out of the love of money. Too little, too late. Thailog has plans, and he needs capital for them. Plans? That’s not unsettling at all!
Thailog considered cutting G in on the goods. But “I decided to hate you too.” Goliath’s temperament and view of Thailog weren’t impressive, I guess. Notice how he says he “decided to hate” Goliath. It was a conscious decision. That’s not a common practice. Usually when you hate somebody, it develops naturally, like a hemorrhoid.
As for why Elisa’s chained up, it was simply a case of being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
Xanatos guesses correctly that Thailog means to kill them all. Obviously Xanatos should have worked a bit more on the no-vengeance and restraint modules in his curriculum. Cuz…this bit is anything but Xanatosian. While David’s plans are dangerous for the protags, they’re not aimed to out-and-out kill the clan. He’s not a murderer. Heck, Owen outdoes him when it comes to full-on aggression. In fact, this backstabbing of enemies is very Burnett-esque.
Thailog says the rig isn’t empty; there were 200 GALLONS of oil on board. Ooh, wow, yeah, totally enough to blow the whole place! Lemme put that in perspective. A barrel holds 50 gallons. So he basically found 4 WHOLE BARRELS. If you dumped them all in the bulkhead, that would work. Otherwise, not so much.
Fortunately, Xanatos also skimped on the Plan Execution module. Instead of just offing his enemies on the spot, Thailog locks them in the bulkhead and goes off to dump oil all over. He’ll light it up with a flare gun. Uh, I’m pretty sure that bulkhead will protect them from the flames. Steel does that now and then.
Elisa slips out of her manacles.
Elisa’s free, but that doesn’t help. Now she’s just more annoying.
According to Greg: Greg admits that it was a bit of cheating to have her slip out. But why even bother? Everybody could just STAND UP, then Xanatos could pull the disc off his chest and pass it down the line to Goliath. Did nobody storyboard this?
Fortunately, Xanatos’s and Anton’s combined knowledge of science, the gas, and the zap disc lead them to the correct assumption that they can hit Goliath with the taser and it’ll cause an adrenaline dump. I’m gonna hold my nose and pretend this would work, despite the fact that many tasers have the effect of making muscles weaker, or draining their strength, by causing prolonged contraction. If nothing else, getting zapped interferes with your thinking for about an hour. They’ve found that after a taser hit, you have the cognitive abilities of a 70 or 80 year old. for 60 or so minutes. No problem there, though, since they just need G to bust them out of the bulkhead.
And that he does.
Sevarius and David book it to the launch. Elisa hesitates, but Goliath sends her after them. He has to deal with Thailog, since “he is my son.” Ahg! NO HE IS NOT. He’s your twin, your clone. Not the same thing!
Needless to say, Thailog isn’t about to suddenly see the Light and come home with Daddy Goliath.
Thailog is in search of his money, which he somehow lost during the scuffle with G. An explosion topples a chunk of derrick, apparently killing Thailog. Anybody believe he’s really dead? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
Out on the launch, Xanatos, Sevarius, and Elisa watch from a safe distance. The explosion looks like it takes Goliath out too. In a moment that makes me die of inappropriate laughter, David place a hand on Elisa’s shoulder and says consolingly, “What can I say, Detective?” This guy never stops.
But really, how would he really react to Goliath dying? Oh, he’d act cool, like it didn’t bother him, but I think he’d be very disappointed. He would lose his play mate, his challenge, the thing that makes life more interesting. Plus, he just likes Goliath.
But not to worry, we’ve got 60+ eps in this series, and we’re a long way from the end. Goliath surfaces nearby. Elisa brushes off Xanatos’s hand and snaps, “Save it!”
David smiles at this. He knew it took more than an explosion to keep a good garg down. As Goliath climbs aboard, Xanatos grabs a towel from a cabinet on the boat and offers to the gargoyle. Let’s slow this down. Everyone almost died in an explosion caused by Goliath’s clone, which Sevarius and Xanatos created, and now David’s acting like this was just a fun day out on the boat. Again, I am dying of laughter! I wish I could recover this quickly and smoothly from intense situations.
Lex and Broadway land on the boat next. Um, what’s the max capacity on this craft? Cuz you already have three humans and a gargoyle. They blurt out that they found all kinds of info on Thailog. Are they blind? They’re sitting on XANATOS’S boat, right next to SEVARIUS. Whatever just happened probably makes that info obsolete, or at least far less fascinating.
Note: David grew up as the son of a fisherman. He’s got mad boat skillz.
On one of the castle’s patios, Owen and Xanatos are getting some use out of the lawn furniture for once.
“It’s unfortunate you couldn’t prevent all that ransom money from burning up, sir,” Owen remarks with about 200 gallons of stored snark slathering the words.
Owen drops a report for David to look at over his coffee. Apparently that $20 mil would cover a new computer security system. You’re just now realizing you need a new one? The break-in back in Metamorphosis wasn’t enough of a hint? I don’t feel very sorry for you. This is like all those times that I procrastinate on stuff, and then I pay the price. I end up kicking myself for years after because I was too arrogant/lazy to take the five minutes necessary to address whatever the thing was. (Like taking the time to see that not all my credit cards and IDs are in my wallet. Then I lost my wallet. I couldn’t even ask for sympathy from anybody. So I was everything-less for a week.)
Xanatos doesn’t believe the money – or Thailog – went up in smoke. The only smart move in Thailog’s position (“If I were Thailog,” David says) was to fake his own death. That way no one would look for him or the money. Scot-free, baby!
Then in a moment that makes me love Owen, and love his and Xanatos’s chemistry, the security chief deadpans, “You mean that creature is still out there, it has the money, it’s as powerful as Goliath…and it’s smarter than you?” Let me repeat that epic line: IT’S SMARTER THAN YOU. That’s a jet-engine-scale burrrrn from Owen! Looks like “the most brilliant man on the face of the earth” (Hi, Fox!) got a little too brilliant for his britches.
Now, the reaction you’d expect from any other antagonist or villain would be rage, or rationalization, or insults. Xanatos, however, accepts the reproving at the hand of his friend. Hanging his head in defeat, something we’ve never seen in David before, Xanatos admits, “Owen, I think I’ve created a monster.” In the sky, Xanatos’s mental image of Thailog laughs at his co-creator.
This is like an Anti-Xantos Tag Ending. Normally the Tags show how Xanatos won despite the surface defeat. Normally he’s cool and smug. He got schooled, and schooled hard. It’s a humbling moment. He thought he had the overestimation problem whipped after he got out of jail. Well, looks like you have to keep your friends just as close as your enemies, because they might be enemies in disguise.
So let’s look at Thailog. He’s a full-on villain! He’s easily the match of Demona in that department. Gargoyles uses strong antagonists more than villains, but the villains they do have are terrifying. Here we have a gargoyle who’s as strong as Goliath but has the strategic thinking ability of an antagonist who’s regularly three steps ahead of everyone else.
Thailog is really a study of Xanatos. Or rather, his mindset and understanding of himself. Why? Because he designed the training that shaped Thailog’s character. David’s curriculum focused on training Thailog to make long-range plans with contingencies, while also developing phenomenal manipulation skills. Technical abilities, like an understanding of computer science, also had a module. Of course, the drive for victory, hunger for power, and lust for self advancement came standard. In essence, Xanatos created a creature whose ambition for power dominated its life. Thailog doesn’t care about relationships if they don’t get him more power. He doesn’t care about hobbies. He doesn’t even seem to care about having fun. Single-minded describes him.
Let’s look at Xanatos, now. David has more restraint than almost any antagonist I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t believe in revenge, he likes to have fun with his schemes, he doesn’t jump to killing his opponents. The most striking difference is his love for Fox.
What do the differences say about David? To me, they point to how little he understands his own checks and balances, ie why he doesn’t go further into the Dark Side. A lot of his plans would have succeeded if he’d just killed the gargoyles and/or Elisa, or if he’d stormed in and taken them prisoner. Look at The Edge. Xanatos claims that he framed the gargs with the Steel Clan so that the clan would come live at his research facility. If he really wanted them there, he would have simply boxed them up in the day rather than having Macbeth shoo them out. Xanatos wants loyal people, not slaves. He understands that it’s more secure to be feared than loved, but he prefers the latter. Don’t we all? But I don’t know that he understands this about himself.
If Xanatos understood the restraints he puts on himself, and if he consciously considered them important (I say consciously, because if he didn’t value them at SOME level they wouldn’t exist), he would have built them into the training for Thailog. This is why parents are supposed to teach their kids morals: so the kids don’t go off the rails and be hoodlums.
Another explanation for the lack of restraining education, or sensitivity training if you will, is Xanatos is vague on how one learns what to do and not to do. (His amorality and general disdain for morals helps too.) Most people are. The average person thinks that you kinda know what you shouldn’t do. It’s true to an extent, as we all have a certain amount of Jiminy Cricket conscious. But that’s like saying we all have the natural ability to throw a ball or a punch. Yep, we do, but unless you train a person in the finer points, that ball’s gonna go all of 13 feet, and you’ll see the punch coming from a mile away.
Good grief, I hope the man does a better job with raising his kid! Maybe this will be a wake-up call?
It takes an amazing amount of talent to pull of the old Evil Twin/Clone cliche so that the audience isn’t rolling its eyes and reaching for the remote. As usual, the Gargoyles writers pull it off in spectacular fashion. Thailog is legitimately terrifying. He embodies all that Goliath and Xanatos could be if they went Chaotic Evil. If you thought David was dangerous, Thailog is downright deadly. If you consider Goliath a formidable opponent in physical battle, you stand no chance against Thailog.
Thailog is in the end more like Owen than Xanatos. Owen will emotionlessly kill you in your sleep and move on to the next task if it will help achieve his goal. He’s all about efficiency, where Xanatos likes to have some fun and even show a little mercy, even if it is self-serving mercy. Owen is the first one to suggest flat-out pulverizing the gargs. That was in Awakening part 5, remember? He was enthused about it in Enter Macbeth, too. He’s also the first one to deploy a weapon and point it at somebody’s head. The only thing that stops Owen is his boss. Xanatos meets Owen’s ferocious efficiency with basically, “Yeah, let’s not. Put that sledge hammer down. The gun, too.” I once read a Gargoyles review that said if Owen ever “went rogue,” he would be extremely dangerous. Of the Xanatos-Burnett team, Owen is the scary-dangerous one. I wish I could remember who the reviewer was. (Hey, GregXB, was it you? Update: No, not GregXB.)
It’ll be fun to see what happens next with Thailog. And will Xanatos’s near miss make him think twice before playing with the monster lab again?
Welp, I hoped you enjoyed the extra snark in this ep’s review. It’s the Owen in me.
Next ep is the exceedingly creepy Upgrade. Ever wondered what became of the Pack? They’re back, and they’re willing to give their right arms for victory. And their left arms, both legs, general humanity… It’s all a game for Fox and Xanatos, though. Tune in Tuesday!