Gargoyles: Enter Macbeth – Episode Review

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While the idea of Home is an undercurrent in the series, it’s the in-your-face theme of Enter Macbeth. Gargoyles are territorial, so it’s no surprise they’re attached to the castle. Plus, it’s always been their home. But the castle’s rightful owner, David Xanatos, will be free in a mere week. Nobody is happy about being roomies. While Goliath procrastinated even thinking about what will happen when their antagonist comes home, David is already mulling his options. That’s bad news for the clan, but great news for us fans of villains and antagonists! You guessed it: we’re meeting a new, or rather very old, player in the game.

You can call him…Macbeth. If you missed the Deadly Force used last week, go read!

As usual, spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.


Season 1, Episode 9: Enter Macbeth


Reason(s) for existence: To show what home really is. To intro Macbeth. To move the gargoyles to the clock tower. To bring Xanatos home.

Main antagonist(s): Macbeth, working for David Xanatos

Time(s):  December 27th-28th, 1994; January 4th, 1995

Location(s): New York City, New York, USA.


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Home Sweet Home

We start with a recap: Demona saying her name, Xanatos arrested, Elisa talking about his sentence, Goliath denying the importance of David owning the castle they live in, aaaand Broadway shooting Elisa. This is the recap that I mentioned last ep, the one that bugged me so much because it references an ep Toon Disney never aired! Well now, all those elements point to a great ep ahead.

Rather than action, there’s a nice “home-life” series of scenes with the clan all cozy in the castle: Broadway cooks, Lexington beats Brooklyn at cards,

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I’m totally not jealous of the kitchen either.

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Cards. The classic time killer.

Hudson and Bronx waste their evening in front of the TV, and Goliath enjoys the massive library that I am in no way jealous of. During the scene, we see the Grimorum Arcanorum, still out in the middle of the great hall, with everyone acting like it’s not the world’s most powerful spellbook.

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This is what they’re watching? You are a grown gargoyle, Hudson.

 

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Look…at…that…library!

Let’s talk about something while it’s early in the ep. Up to this point in the series, Disney Japan did most of the animation. This ep came from Disney Korea. It is ugly. Hideous. Cringe-inducing. Look at Goliath in the library. While the background is passable, look at his face. I could draw it better than that! I want to do a post with just a ugly caps from this ep.

The feeling I get from the home-life scene, which I’m sure was not intended by the writers, is that the gargoyles are basically taking up space. What is their point, their mission? They’re mooching off the good graces of Xanatos, who lets them eat his food, use his heat and AC, watch his cable, and read his books. They’re not fighting crime, they’re killing time. Xanatos, on the other hand, is biding his time.

Jailhouse Is Not a Home

David is waiting out the last week of his confinement. I know it’s terrible to be in jail, but he looks fairly comfortable. The cell is at least on par with a dorm room. Plus, it’s a single-occupant.

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The furnishings are better than my last apartment’s. I guess being rich and famous gets you perks.

The calendar drives me up the wall. It’s two months behind, and it’s not even the right year! In 1994, Halloween was on a Monday. Why it’s still on his wall and why the camera focuses on it, I don’t know. Halloween is circled though, so maybe it’s just reminding us that Halloween is Xanatos’s favorite holiday? Stupid Korean animation.

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Oct 31st was the day he had his sentence finalized and reached his plea deal.

In reality, it’s December 27th. We’ve conveniently skipped Thanksgiving and Christmas. Xanatos probably isn’t big into those holidays, but it’s the moral of the thing: he’s stuck in jail during The Holidays. We follow through part of his every-day life: the cafeteria’s next. Wonder if he’s sitting at the cool table? I’ve no doubt he’s somebody the other inmates and the guards respect or at least let go unmolested.

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Hey, it really is like college!

He grouses about the food, which would probably be my main complaint too.

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I take it back. That looks better than the college cafeteria food! You gonna eat all those hot dogs?

No peanut butter sandwiches in jail.

But then we have the highlight of his day: Owen visiting. David announced that overall, “it’s been a learning experience.” This is my new description for any experience of situation that pretty much sucked. Or even that didn’t, but wasn’t a joy. It takes a rare person to turn adversity into experience. He learned what he could and what he had to from this disaster. He’ll never repeat the mistakes that got him here. He’s turned what his adversaries meant for banishment into a benefit. Like a phoenix, he’ll rise more powerful than before.

Owen mentions the release date, one week off. He segues nicely into suggesting, since Xanatos has never said one way of the other, they get rid of the gargoyles in the daytime. It would be easy enough to…you know…smash-bash with the ol’ sledge hammer. This! This is what people forget about Owen! He, not David, is the one suggesting they turn the gargoyles into fresh gravel for the courtyard.

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He gets all cheerful when talking about destroying the clan.

Xanatos agrees that it would be easy, but it seems like a waste. I gotta agree. He spent an astronomical amount to bring these creatures to life. They’re the last of their kind. There has to be some use for them. If he got rid of them, it would be like when you dump that velvet poster of tigers you’ve had since you were ten, only to discover a week later that either it’s worth a fortune, or it’s the perfect touch to your aunt’s velvet-and-tiger decor and it’s her birthday.

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He’s giving the idea of smashing the clan due consideration. He’s also considering how 100% done with this week he is already.

While David wants to give into the inner hoarder, he admits he can’t have them “underfoot” when he gets home. I can’t imagine it would be a very warm welcome-home he’d get. It’s to his credit he hasn’t dumped them off the battlements yet – and it’s a credit to Owen’s restraint as well. Your average antagonist would kill to have his foes turn to stone every night in his back yard. Oh, the possibilities! David Xanatos is a unique fellow.


20/20 moment: Normally you’d need a Circ du soleil of writing acrobatics to keep a main antagonist from annihilating the protags if something like this happened. But we know from Double Jeopardy at least that Xanatos was reaping some reward from them. He also wants their obedience. As we discussed in Awakening Part 5, robots are fine, but he wants loyalty even more than obedience. This is why he didn’t just enslave them. Besides, where’s the fun in that!


Fair is foul, and foul is fair

A correctional officer with white hair and beard enters. Owen isn’t about to get cheated out of his last 10 minutes with his boss who’s about to decide if Owen can finally break out the sledge hammer. But the guard isn’t a guard. He’s Sean Connery. No, sorry, he’s voiced by John Rhy-Davies, aka Gimli from Lord of the Rings!

How did he manage this guard deal…? It’s not that easy to fake being a CO. Maybe he was part of the private security some jails hire? Or he has connections?  The better question is, why? He could just visit David like a normal person. Macbeth proving his capabilities, obviously.

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They’re in a higher security level of visiting area. What changed? Were they just remodeling the other room?

Who is he? You can call him…Macbeth. Macbeth is a family name in Scotland. I’m related to a sept of Clan Macbeth. So he may not be referencing Shakespeare’s Macbeth. At age 10 or 11, I only had an inkling who Macbeth was.


According to Greg: The idea of using Shakespeare so heavily through the series is Greg’s. He’s a huge fan of the Bard. The references to and characters from the classic works lend depth you won’t see in any other Western animated series. You won’t even see it in the dramas meant for adults.


He has a proposition: to deal with David’s pest problem. Xanatos would be an awesome poker player, because he shows no recognition of the “pests,” instead denying that he called pest control. Ah, but Macbeth knows these creatures. Xanatos is willing to hear him out.

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Possibly Macbeth’s background check is hiding in the rafters to David’s right?

Who wouldn’t hear him out! When a Scottish man with a noble bearing and powerful build says he knows about a species that’s supposed to be a myth, and he knows they’re in your house, you listen.

I wonder what he would’ve dreamed up if Macbeth never appeared?

There ‘s daggers in men’s smiles

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And what a smile!

We don’t get to hear what follows with Macbeth, because we cut to Macbeth on the highest parapet of the castle, rocking a black long coat and form-fitting Batman armor and looking over the stone clan.

Elisa  arrives. She’s on crutches. See why I was so pissed about missing the previous episode?

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I’d want to get out of the castle just to get away from all the cameras!

Smiling, Macbeth greets her. He announces he knows about the gargoyles. He’s very polite, calling her “madam.” Antiquated much?

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Macbeth leaves when Macbeth is good and ready.

The gargoyles awaken to the newcomer. He offers them a place at his mansion. Well now, this is lucky! Weren’t we just talking about getting out of the antagonist’s lair? The other option is the clock tower above the police station. I’ve never lived in a clock tower, but I’ve lived next to a cop shop. Sleeping? Let me play you the song of my people! I’d pick the mansion.

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Such horrible animation.

Cue attitudes. Macbeth flips his coat aside to reveal show pistols. He won’t take no for an answer. Though he wouldn’t stoop so low as to attack them in the day, which shows he has honor but could use more pragmatism, they’re fair game now.

Broadway makes a move, but, wow! Macbeth throws him in a way I think is impossible in real life. It’s on now!

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Broadway didn’t see that coming!

Gas spheres gives concealment while Macbeth electro-nets Lex, Brooklyn, and Bronx. He gave them an offer they couldn’t resist! This is one heck of a re-locator.

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Macbeth even has night vision goggles!

Owen watches the skirmish via the CCTV. It’s all fun and games until Macbeth sets a shed on fire. Now we see how Owen feels about the near-nightly destruction of the castle: he’s sick of cleaning it up. Xanatos might think it’s diverting to blow stuff up, even his own stuff, but he doesn’t have to deal with the work crews.

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Owen probably took over David’s office in the boss’s absence.

Owen storms out to upbraid Macbeth. Xanatos hired him to fumigate, not destroy, the castle.

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Not even a tool shed shall perish on Owen’s watch.


20/20 moment: The Puck is yelling at King Macbeth for destroying a garden shed. Macbeth belongs in part to the Weird Sisters, who hate Puck. Puck knows all about it.


Macbeth wraps it up, literally, using his vertical takeoff and landing aircraft to hoist Lex, Brooklyn, and Bronx aboard. Goliath makes a valiant but futile effort to save them.

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Aerodynamics at its best.

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Macbeth made a gargoyle-proof craft. Impressive.

When he flops to earth, Elisa pounces on him. This is what she’s been saying: the bad guys are coming for you. Now this nut might come back in the morning with a sledge hammer. Eeerg, Elisa! If Xanatos wanted to take out the gargs like that, Owen can swing a mean pile driver. They would have been gone on any night between October 8th and now. Trust me. So consider this as a friendly kick in the pants, inviting you to get off his lawn.

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Did she just slap him?

Goliath again refuses to admit they need to move. He’s the type of renter you have to evict. In a rage, he glides off to find Macbeth and save the others.

I bear a charmed life

Now we get to see Macbeth’s home. He has a mansion of mixed architecture, hailing from Europe and Scandinavia.

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It’s a beautiful place. But here we go with the full moon stuff. 12/28/94 was a 22% visible waning crescent moon.

The focal point is a stained glass window with a silhouette of a man looking up at a gargoyle. They resemble Demona and Macbeth. Interesting.

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Not your average window.

Lexington and Brooklyn are in a cage in the drippy, rat-ridden basement. Bronx is in his own cage. Lex has been doing his homework on this century. He remembers a “new writer” by the name of Shakespeare who wrote about a Macbeth. Oh look, now we have a direct reference to the Bard! Odds are, his works are related to Macbeth’s history. Y’know, cuz of Chekhov’s Gun.

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Does he have a little notebook like Captain America?

For the Greater Good

Back at the castle, Elisa has convinced Hudson and Broadway that she’s right. They’ll even go against Goliath’s direct order. That’s some significant sway she holds over these gargs. They trust her, they know the danger, and they’ve secretly been wondering about Goliath’s choice to remain at the castle. They’re “sitting dorks,” as Broadway puts it, if they stay. Uh, Patrick, you’ve all been sitting dorks since day one.

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What a motley crew.

They set off to steal the Grimorum Arcanorum that Elisa returned just a few eps ago. Yes, the cop is stealing Xanatos’s rightful property. But she’s doing it for everyone’s good! Yeah, that’s what the government always tells us when it takes our stuff.

Owen must’ve been watching the cameras, which is smart, considering what just happened, because he intercepts them. Interestingly, he doesn’t involve Xanatos Enterprises security. He stands his ground against two gargoyles, who are not leaving till they have the book.

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Talk to the hand. You’ll soon be talking to the floor.

“Who’s going to stop us? You?” Hudson mocks. Hudson reveals what he and probably most of the clan thinks of Owen: he’s only useful as a good-looking personal assistant. We know better, having seen him take out a gangster in the last ep. But can he handle gargoyles? The gangsters and security services couldn’t.

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Everybody run. While you still can.

“Indeed,” says Owen as he removes his glasses.


20/20 moment: Owen’s gloves are always off. It’s the glasses you gotta worry about. When those come off, the hurt is about to come on.


Next thing Hudson knows, he’s enjoying a view of the ceiling – from his back, on the floor. Owen does an excellent unbalancing trick to put him there. Not bad! Owen’s no fool, though. He pulls his semi-auto pistol and aims it at Broadway’s head. That’s almost like spitting in Patrick’s face, considering last ep he shot Elisa with the same type of weapon. I don’t think Owen actually knows Broadway shot Elisa. Hard to say.

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Owen Burnett has had enough of your enough of your nonsense.

Broadway is stunned. He’s also lucky David already told Owen that killing the gargoyles would be a waste. But…if Broadway makes the first move, then it’s self defense. I have no doubt Owen would shoot Broadway in the face if given the impetus.

Elisa turns her crutch into a ranged weapon, knocking Owen’s gun offline long enough for Broadway to toss him. Owen sticks a nice break-fall landing, then collects his glasses as the gargs and rogue cop march out. I’m surprised he doesn’t call security! He has a right. It would be ironic if he went to the precinct with the vid footage of her with the Grimorum. Xanatos went to jail for accepting stolen property, and here Elisa is stealing his property!

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Energy Savings

Back in the basement with the rats, Brooklyn is killing time through masochism. Every time he touches the electrified bars, the lights dim from the power draw. He and Lex grab the bars, diverting enough power for Bronx to break free.

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I’d have made Bronx diver the power…

The writers want us to think of Bronx basically as a dog. But he’s so much more! He understands words, to an extent. He can think tactically. He’s more like a really smart parrot. Or a border collie.

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That’s some jaw strength!

Bronx explodes through the front door!

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If Macbeth didn’t have a doggy door at first, he does now!


Halftime!

This episode introduces an intriguing antagonist. I love the antags who keep their motives a secret. Macbeth is a mystery. He comes to Xanatos, saying he knows about the gargoyles and that they’re at the Eyrie. This catches even David and Owen by surprise. It’s a rare person who can do that.

Despite being an antagonist, Macbeth plays straight. He offers Xanatos a needed service, asks the clan to leave before he attacks, and tells Goliath exactly why he’s captured half the clan. It’s almost as if he doesn’t need to manipulate, as if it’s beneath him. If he wants something done, he does it, because he has the resources to do so. Xanatos has the resources too, but he enjoys playing people. Demona lacks the sheer power to get her way, so she manipulates.

Goliath in this ep is showing his stubbornness. He went off alone after refusing to believe the castle is dangerous. Not smart.

Elisa is being quite dynamic in this ep, making up for last week’s coma.

Then there’s Owen. He’s living up to his name – Strong Warrior.

Read on for the conclusion of Enter Macbeth!


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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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  1. […] situation in particular we can look at with Xanatos is when the heroes managed to put him in prison. When asked how he is by his loyal assistant Owen, Xanatos replies that his imprisonment has been a […]

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