Gargoyles: Future Tense – Episode Review

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Goliath, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx finally reach NYC again. But it’s not what they remember. It’s 40 years in the future, and this Big Apple is rotten to the core. The source? Xanatos’s Eyrie Building, which has expanded to cover the city. Manhattan is a sovereign nation with House Xanatos on its throne. This isn’t a utopia, though, it’s a dystopia. And Xanatos has plans to spread his glorious order across the globe. However, the resistance is doing its best to fight back. Will their efforts and their “secret weapon” be enough to defeat an apparently immortal Xanatos and his armies of Mutates and cloned gargoyles?

Miss last week’s? Read Ill Met by Moonlight episode review.

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


Season 2, Episode 43: Future Tense


Reason(s) for existence: To show that Puck doesn’t want to return to the Gathering. To show that actions have consequences. To show that good has to restrain greed. To show how people can change. To give Goliath another reason to stand against Oberon in the coming battle.


Main antagonist(s): Xanatos (ish), Lexington, Puck


Time(s):  July, 1996; ?, 2036


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


Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - title

Time travel? Something that will be? At any rate, this future is gonna be tense.

Previously: It’s about Avalon, how time passes differently there – one hour in Avalon is one day in the real world – and how the Gathering is about to start.

On the skiff, Goliath and Company are talking about how much they miss New York and the clan there. They don’t get too far in their longing, though, because a lightning bolt crashes into the skiff. To be precise, it crashes into Goliath. But it doesn’t kill him or even harm the boat. He shakes it off fairly easily.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - lightning

Must be Monday.


20/20 moments/According to Greg: These comments about wanting to see NYC again give Puck permission to meddle in mortal affairs, so says Greg.

Note: Greg’s background memo on Future Tense is interesting.


The fog clears a bit to reveal Lady Liberty. At last, we’re back in New York! By now I’m as happy as they are, if not more so, to see the shores of the Big Apple.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - skiff face

Even the skiff is happy to be in NYC!

But as the fog clears even more, we see that Lady Liberty has fallen upon hard times. She’s falling apart at the seams. And not just in the figurative way.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - statue of liberty

Ah, the symbol of all dystopian stories: the Statue of Liberty in ruins.

Next, the skyline comes into view. The most prominent building is the Eyrie Building. It’s grown, though. It’s looking more like Kudzu than the elegant tower that we know. It’s struts go out to the edges of the city. Over Castle Wyvern is a glowing pyramid. Actually, it looks incredibly intimidating. What on earth is up now? Why didn’t we hear about any of this earlier?

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - new eyrie building with pyramid

Is the Eye of Sauron on top of that thing? In the land of Manhattan, where the shadows lie.

While G and Co are still slack-jawed over this development, an alarm sounds. Owen’s voice warns them that they are in violation of Manhattan national sovereignty. And they’re about to suffer the consequences. Oh wait, national sovereignty? Manhattan seceded? How did that happen? And when?

Laser beams lance out of the night. It’s the Steel Clan. One of the beams annihilates the skiff. Everyone is scattered. Elisa calls for help, but before Goliath can get to her, she disappears under the waves. Goliath ducks under as well – to find a Steel Clan robot holding her. These aren’t the Steel Clan we know, though. They’ve got double pauldrons on their shoulders, as well as missile packs. Nice. You’d think Xanatos would have done this earlier, considering how often he gets pinned by Bronx. A shoulder rocket would put a damper in the doggy’s day. They also have…goatees like Xanatos. All right, I was on board up until this point. They look kind of interesting, but it’s still plain weird.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - new steel clan

It’s like an unholy fusion of Coyote and the Steel Clan.

The robots abduct Angela and Elisa. Another tries to take Goliath. It gets as far as blasting up out of the water before an electric bolt hits it. A boat on pontoons pulls up next to Goliath. He struggles aboard to find an older man and Claw at the helm. It’s Matt Bluestone! He’s older, though. It’s been forty years since Goliath left, apparently. Wow, time flies. It looked like we were doing pretty good with all that Avalon Arc business, despite the hour and day conversion. How did we suddenly jump this far ahead? Was the time that they spent battling Oberon really that long? Even if they spent all day, that’s really only a month in the real world. Forty years is a bit much to swallow.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - old matt and claw

The Pirates of Darkwater are back!


20/20 moment: Puck evidently knows that Matt and Goliath are acquainted. Did Xanatos hear through the Illuminati, and then tell Owen? I can’t remember Owen discovering Matt’s knowledge of the gargs, so I’m thinking he just assumed that since Matt was Elisa’s partner, Matt knew about all this gargoyle stuff. It’s kind of a big assumption to make, considering Elisa did keep it secret for a long time.


Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - matt's ship

Well, somebody’s got some big bucks despite society collapsing.

Apparently after Goliath left, Xanatos got a little bit headstrong. He accumulated power until 2004, when he decided seceding from the union was a good idea. That’s a bit far-fetched, considering that any state in the United States has a considerable amount of benefits from the Federal government. Even California, with all its talk of a Calexit, and its flaunting of Federal laws on matters like illegal aliens, hasn’t left the Union.


20/20 moment: Apparently Puck does too.


Claw and Matt take Goliath on a tour of the city. It’s not a full tour, just whatever is on the way toward the rebels’ secret base on Hoth – er, I mean the Labyrinth. And of course there are rebels. They are always rebels. And I can see why. The people are mostly homeless, or they look like it. There must be a food shortage akin to Venezuela’s, because they’re roasting rats over the fire. They don’t seem to care about the gargoyles. Why? Because Xanatos uses troops of mutates and clones as his enforcers. That’s a pretty good idea. That means the entire world knows about gargoyles now, right? Wonder what else changed in 40 years?

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - dystopian new york

Hey, look, it’s Detroit! Or is it Chicago? San Francisco maybe?

There’s a nice little scene with the mutates knocking over a woman’s shopping cart and stepping on a picture. The picture is of Maria Chavez holding a baby. It’s clear that the baby is now this grown woman.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - chavez's daughter

20/20 moment: Puck puts so much pathos in this vision it’s ridiculous. He’s a sucker for the little details.

Another alarm sounds. Then a hologram appears around the city. It’s Xanatos’s face. He greets everyone and says that soon he will cover the world in his computer program, bringing peace and prosperity to the globe.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos hologram

Yes, you have my attention now.

It comes with the nice little CG image of him taking a poor vagrant’s hand and helping her up. As she stands, an invisible fairy godmother turns her clothes into Cinderella’s ball gown. Man, I love Disney sometimes.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos hologram with woman

Xanatos can be my fairy godfather any day of the week.

Matt shows Goliath the Clocktower, but the top of it has been blown up.


20/20 moment: This is one of the features that makes you wonder if this is a prophecy or a dream. The destruction of the Clocktower happened exactly like we see it here, but in Hunter’s Moon.


In the rebels’ headquarters, Matt shows Goliath a statue of Hudson. He died fighting Xanatos in the breakaway 32 years ago. Since then, Xanatos hasn’t been seen in person. Oh, yes, they have the broadcast, but no one’s actually seen him face-to-face. It’s rumored that he achieved his goal in mortality. Sweet!

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - hudson statue

Despite NYC turning into a dystopia, the bronze smiths have been staying strong.


20/20 moment: It’s fitting that Puck chose Hudson to be Xanatos’s bane. Only Hudson has been able to unsettle David. That must have impressed Puck.


Brooklyn arrives. He welcomes Goliath home with a punch in the face. Welp, G deserved that. Brook feels Goliath abandoned them. G argues that he wanted to come home.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - new brooklyn

Armor gets cooler in dark futures, you know.

Next, Broadway enters the stage. He’s blind, with pits for eyes. He’s got a collar around his neck, which apparently does something techy, but we’ll find out more about that later. He’s heart-wrenching to listen to. He bears no animosity toward Goliath, though.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - blind broadway

I really don’t think this would have gotten past S&P nowadays.

He lost his eyes during a battle with the Ultra Pack. But at least he didn’t lose his life, unlike Talon, Maggie, and Coldstone.

The clan believes the only way to fix things is to use the Phoenix Gate. It’s their only hope! But Goliath says they can’t alter history. Well now, that wasn’t the case when he went and rescued Griff, was it. Funny how selective he can be.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - demona

1000 years and she finally changes her outfit! (Her human form doesn’t count.)

Then Demona of all people appears. But instead of attacking her, Brooklyn greets her quite intimately. If this isn’t enough to floor Goliath, nothing is. He managed to squeak out that he thought she was with Thailog. Well, Thailog died in the Clone Wars. Really? So now we’ve crossed over with Star Wars?

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - demoma greets brooklyn

Nothing like 40 years of chaos to change loyalties. I still don’t trust her.

Lex summons the group to watch a broadcast from the pyramid on the Eyrie Building. Lex went the route of Jackal and Hyena, using machines to enhance his physical capabilities.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - new lexington

Are those jets? Laser cannons? Flashlights?

Matt explains that Fox is their secret weapon against Xanatos. Fox? But she’s always been a raging fan of David. Kind of the reason she married him… Matt comments that Xanatos has no idea how much his son loathes him. Oh, his son! That makes more sense. Fox is an androgynous name. As is Alex, for that matter. So this is the kid Fox was pregnant with back in Walkabout, unless they had another kid since then.

Side note: Where is the original Fox? Janine Renard, I mean.

The group watches the broadcast. Fox, or Alex, to make things less confusing, is in a bizarre dimension where it looks like there’s not much but sky. This is the computer-generated world inside the Eyrie Pyramid. Alex is wearing crappy-looking yellow armor. He is the spitting image of his father, but with his mother’s eye tattoo, and her hair and eye coloring. He wears his hair long, but it’s down. He also has a goatee like his dad.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - alexander fox xanatos grown up adult

He’s as hot as his parents. If only he had their taste in armor.

Speaking of his dad, Xanatos is in fine fighting form. He has a massive suit of armor, which resembles the Steel Clan’s.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos blocks energy blast

No one’s slick as Gaston Xanatos
No one’s quick as Xanatos
No one hits like Xanatos
Matches wits like Xanatos

He’s using the computer generated world, the virtual reality, to good effect. He can control things here. This includes forming his arms into laser cannons to blast his son.

 

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos power ring

This whole exchange is so anime! Love it.

They go back and forth a bit. Xanatos says he’s disappointed in his son’s fighting. He also says he knows Alex/Fox is with the resistance. Alexander says this was all a trap. The rebels are watching it in their headquarters.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - alex adult

The boy still hasn’t learned he can’t outwit his dad. Sad.

Of course X knows. He’ll soon have their base’s location triangulated.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos program

Been lifting, Bro?

By now, Xanatos is fed up with this. He will soon have the world under his control when he uploads his program on all the computers connected to the internet. (They don’t say it, but this means government and banking computers. The way they worded it, it’s more like personal computers. Which would be bad enough, considering that we have everything on our computers and smartphones.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos fights alexander

Jonathan Frakes talks to himself yet again.

He also notes that since he’s pretty much immortal, he has no more need of an heir. At these words, he kills Alex. Wow. I know David’s ruthless and amoral, but this takes the cake. He’s changed a lot in the last 40 years.

Disney Gargoyles - Future Tense - xanatos kills alexander

Mess with the best, go down like the rest. Still very anime, BTW.

Side note: So…we actually just saw Xanatos murder his son in cold blood. Let that sink in.


20/20 moment: I like that Puck realizes the computer program would lack the restraint of its human original. I’m sure David and Owen have had about a million talks about what it will be like when Alex is born, and how House Xanatos will raise him, so Puck knows David would never intentionally harm his son.


The rebels recover from their shock. Brooklyn advises that a preemptive attack is the best route. They want to strike the Eyrie’s nerve center, the Pyramid.


Halftime!

Wow. That’s about all I have to say. What a great start to the episode! How are they going to straighten all this out? Wouldn’t it be a kicker if they didn’t, and this was the world they had to deal with from now on? But this is Disney, and you know that’s not gonna happen.


20/20 moment: Go watch this ep. Pay close attention to all the little details Puck puts in. And note what he’s not aware of and has to cover on, like that Demona and Thailog are an item.


Tune in Friday for the conclusion, where we discover if Xanatos will take over the world, and how Goliath can fix the mess. But be warned, seeing isn’t always believing. Or it shouldn’t be, anyway.

Thoughts? Comment!


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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: Future Tense – Episode Review
  1. Drenton says:

    Love this episode. Fitting that it needs two parts for an analysis, this one was loaded.

    Also, happy Gargoyles 23rd anniversary today!! 😀

  2. Aubrey says:

    I love episodes that show what a possible future could look like.

    I also love how many things were foreshadowed in this ep. Thailog died in the clone wars? In the upcoming episode that introduces the clones, the clan fights them and Thailog supposedly dies at the end.

    • LC Champlin says:

      Def one of my fave eps too.
      I love how they introduced Alex on the ep before you meet him. Gives a whole new view of the babe when you “know” what he’ll look like later.

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