Gargoyles: Her Brother’s Keeper – Episode Review Continued

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Welcome back! Ready to enjoy some irony? It’s served fresh every day, courtesy of David Xanatos. Today, he’s arranged it so his “enemies” the clan and the police have to protect him. It’s all in the name of getting what he wants: Derek Maza, Elisa’s brother.

Go read part 1 of Her Brother’s Keeper if you missed it.


Death from Above

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - pack chopper

I don’t know about you, but blowing somebody’s chopper out of the air by shooting at it with my chopper isn’t the subtlest way to murder.

The chopper tailing Xanatos’s helicopter is a Pack bird. They begin firing at Xanatos’s chopper. Whoa, that escalated quickly!

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - pack helicopter attacks xanatos chopper

Maybe Hyena is just a really bad gunner?

Derek is an excellent pilot. I wonder if he was a military pilot, or if he’s just very experienced? Not one shot from the Gatling gun hits! Even the missile misses.

Xanatos is calm and cool. He doesn’t bother to wonder who’s shooting at them or why, though maybe he voiced this earlier. Looking only mildly annoyed, he reaches back and pulls a laser rifle from a locker. I’m surprised the Xanatos chopper doesn’t have any weapons on it. Hidden ones, you know.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanatos gets rifle

20/20 moment: this won’t be the last time we see the laser rifle in the chopper.

In his matter-of-fact way, he slings the side door open and leans out. I wonder what’s going through Derek’s head? Probably Xanatos just earned some respect points.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanatos shoots out the door

Doesn’t get much badder than this!

Even one-handed and hanging out of a helicopter that’s doing evasive maneuvers he’s an excellent shot, landing multiple laser hits on the Pack chopper’s cockpit canopy. It’s shielded, sadly.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanatos shoots pack chopper

Head shot!

The Trio swoops in. They tear open the canopy and toss out the occupants – who have parachutes. Did the gargs know this?

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - trip attacks pack chopper

Let’s glide under a helicopter rotor! Physics, you have no power here!

Xanatos and Derek take advantage of the situation to escape.

The Trio are set on flying the chopper. Yep. Flying it. Somehow, I don’t think a single-joystick chopper sim from the mid 1990s is going to provide the training one needs to pilot a real helicopter. The plan is the keep the bird from crashing into the city, I guess, though they never worried about this when rubble fell from the castle into the streets.

Brooklyn tells Lex to use the Force. He must, because they skid into an alley, managing to only tear up the belly and bend the rotors. “Any landing you can walk away from,” Lex quotes Launchpad from Duck Tales.


20/20 moment: Xanatos will say the same line in City of Stone after he lands the chopper.


Somehow nobody notices the chopper land, despite people fleeing from it. And nobody checks the alley. Somehow the gargs also manage to hide the chopper. The Force is my only explanation.

When they tell Goliath about what happened, Lex reports he can probably get it fixed by tomorrow. Um…how? Even if he still has the welder from Temptation, where’s he getting the spare parts? Does he have a metal-machining workshop somewhere? Then you’re telling me he knows how to take off. What about air-traffic control? They’ll see a chopper on radar.


According to Greg: Kenner, the toy manufacturer, was the source of this horrible chopper idea. It’s the same reason we had the motorcycle in Temptation. The real kicker is that Kenner never got around to making a gargoyles helicopter. So it was lose-lose: the ep is hurt a bit by its inclusion, and we didn’t even get a cool chopper toy.


Don’t Be Rude

Being a good detective, and believing she needs to get more evidence for Derek than just the gargoyles, Elisa heads to talk to Hannibal Lecter Fox at Riker’s Island Prison. Fox! Yes! My third-favorite character is back.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - fox elisa prison

Hello, Clarice. Have the lambs stopped screaming yet?


Side note: It looks like Elisa enjoys being the only friend the gargoyles have. She might not admit it, even to herself, but she enjoys the privilege. Being a cool person’s best friend feels great, right? She’s one better: she’s best friends with a mythical species.


Elisa sets into questioning, but she doesn’t have to work too hard in the interrogation. Fox is more than happy to spill the beans. David – Fox calls him by his first name, unlike everybody else in the series – had her tell Hyena to hit the Diamond Exchange.

What about the assassination attempt? David made himself the next target. He set up his own assassination attempt.

Why? Because what David Xanatos wants, he gets. And he wants Derek. That’s…rather unsettling. She doesn’t say why he wants Derek. She does however say that Xanatos is “the most brilliant man on the face of the earth.” Well now, look who’s a fellow Xanatos fan! I love how one of the main antagonists has extremely loyal, intelligent, and capable people on his side. I assume this goes beyond just admiration of the man, though.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - fox triumphant

Light from above as she praises the virtues of David. <3

But why is Fox telling Elisa all this? Was that because Xanatos left her here to rot? Fox flat-out laughs. She’s enjoying this game. “You’re so far behind him it’s pathetic!” Fox is spot-on.

Fox says David doesn’t have to hide his plans from Elisa. Indeed, he doesn’t. Elisa needs to realize she’s not the biggest fish in the pond. Xanatos could have just as easily had her and Derek killed. He didn’t. And he’s certainly not afraid of her. He’s miles ahead of her, and happy to show her just how impotent her anger is.


According to Greg: When they wrote The Thrill of the Hunt, they didn’t know David and Fox were an item.


Outside in the parking lot, Elisa pulls out the tape recorder. Is it legal to record prisoners’ conversations? I really don’t know. She’s going to play it for Derek. Again, trying to run his life.

Over the River and Through the Woods

Goliath lands on a car beside her. Thanks, buddy, I’m sure the owner will be thrilled with you. He reports that Xanatos’s chopper went north.

I’m sorry, did no one call the police on the whole aerial combat escapade? Derek was okay with just letting it go? I’m pretty sure an onlooker or two would have reported the one-sided dog fight.

Elisa surmises the helicopter is headed for Xanadu, Xanatos’s upstate retreat. Xanadu! What a perfect name. How can you not love a guy who names his retreat that?

xanadu

Yes, I went there. The 1980s were great, weren’t they? I’m told so, anyway.

On a side note, is there no other place north of town he could be going? Why does it have to be Xanadu? It’s not like she has access to his day planner.

She, Goliath, and the Trio pile into the upcycled Pack chopper. It’s got black wing things on the sides. Broadway is the light of reason, or at least the thrower of lampshades. He wonders why they need a chopper when they have wings, then he notes that the thing looks like a flying junk heap. Again, attempts by the writers to apologize for the chopper.

Seeing more of an antagonist’s holdings is always fun. We don’t see much of Xanadu, other than the residential facilities, which is in a heavily wooded area. Its main facilities are designed to follow the castle theme while remaining modern.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanadu xanatos derek

My kind of camping!

Xanatos and Derek step outside for a stroll around the property. The sidewalk and streetlamps mean nobody’s going to be tripping over possums. However, they also mean anybody in the surrounding woods can see the said possums and people.

Xanatos is saying how he’s more and more convinced he was right to hire Derek. David’s life “is anything but dull,” which gives Derek a lot of excitement to look forward to. I still say it’s an odd selection for a bodyguard and pilot. Derek doesn’t seem the type to bend or ignore the rules like Fox and Owen do.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanatos derek walk

Xanatos seems to be doing his best to make friends with Derek.

Jackal and Hyena are hiding in the shadows. They have laser rifles and night vision goggles. They take out the streetlamp above Xanatos.

Derek shoves his boss to the ground.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - derek pushes xanatos down

Well, Xanatos thought the place was secure, if that’s any consolation.

Meanwhile, Hyena locks her laser rifle sights on Xanatos. Ah, I love the old days, when you could say waste, assassination, and dead man, and then almost shoot somebody in the head on an animated Disney series.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - hyena reticle over xanatos

Suspense: you’re doing it right

Who should show up but the clan in their helicopter. Wow, that sounds really dumb. But moving briskly on!

Lex is pilot and gunner. He shoots the laser rifle out of Hyena’s hand. I…just don’t get me started. It still sounds dumb.

A battle ensues in which Lex uses the spotlight, laser beam, and net missile on the chopper. He also saves Brooklyn, who gets smushed under a tree.

Long, improbable fight-scene short, the good guys win. Jackal is unconscious thanks to Broadway punching him in the face (being a syndicated series, Gargoyles could get away with this face-punch move). Hyena is hands-up on the business end of Elisa’s pistol.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - hyena surrenders to elisa and goliath

If you think she can just turn and run, you’ve never been in a forest at night.

Hyena is…smiling though. Smiling. As is she’s accepted what happened, but she’s got plans. It’s an odd smile.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - hyena smile

Smile. It confuses people.

Sibling Rivalry

The clan, Elisa, Derek, and Xanatos are gathered for a quick debrief. Snow is falling. How is there no snow already? It’s the end of January in upstate NY! 


According to Greg: The snow is symbolic. Greg made extra sure the animation studios didn’t have any snow on the ground at Xanadu before this first fall. I’m assuming it means chilling of relations, covering of faults, the coming of winter, the changing of the seasons of life. Or whatever. Snow means bad driving conditions, IMO.


Xanatos thanks them, though he thinks Derek could have handled it. Then David leaves Elisa and Derek so they can have a “private moment.”

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - xanatos, elisa, derek talk

Yeesh, if he acted any more magnanimous he’d be the Pope.

Derek is amazed the gargoyles are real. Elisa is shocked he knows. Who told him? Xanatos. That’s right. Elisa couldn’t work up the courage, but Xanatos showed Derek a video of the clan. Xanatos said he tried to help the gargoyles, but they rejected him. In the Edge, this is accurate, even if slightly tweaked in the context department. David also admitted “he made a few mistakes” dealing with the clan and Elisa. We knows the main mistake was underestimating them.

At this, Elisa goes off. Then Derek goes off. Goliath breaks them up. They don’t know how lucky they are to have siblings to fight with! His family is all dead. Goliath knows how to bring the guilt trip. This is a sibling-themed episode, one that brings its point home powerfully: appreciate the siblings you have, work with them, respect them, but let them be themselves.

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - elisa derek snowing

How annoying would it be to have Elisa as a sister?

Elisa apologizes. She was wrong to try to tell Derek how to run his life. BUT she’s not wrong about Xanatos, she’s sure of that. She gives him the recording.


According to Greg: Did Derek ever listen to the tape? Greg didn’t really say. He hedged and wondered why it would even matter. Yes, it’s weird to recruit an employee the way Xanatos did, but his is a rich guy, so he could qualify as being eccentric. Also, Fox never said why Xanatos wanted Derek. That’s up to interpretation.


We end with Elisa and the clan back at the clock tower. The gargoyles turn to stone, leaving Elisa to look off into the snowy morning. Winter has come. What will she do about it?

Disney Gargoyles - Her Brother's Keeper - snowing on elisa clock tower

It’s a poignant ending. It makes you go, “Hmm,” and ponder what happened.


Semi-Final Thoughts

Now that we know Xanatos’s plot, let’s slow down and take a better look at each phase of his gambit.

Step 1.) Jackal and Hyena hit the Diamond Exchange. They have to hit it at the exact time he’s buying the Coyote Diamond, because they have to steal it directly from him. I suppose they don’t need to be exactly on time, just so long as he’s in the building with them. This is in theory easy to arrange, as he just has Fox tell them when to go.

Step 2.) The cops arrive, namely Derek. This is tougher. He needed Derek to be in a chopper for this. How did Xanatos know Elisa would upgrade to a chopper and follow him on that night? Did he get the roster lists from the cop shop to know who was on duty? It’s amusing and ironic that Elisa’s grand idea what exactly what Xanatos wanted.

Step 3.) The chopper gets in some sort of trouble that requires Derek to show his skills. Again, tougher but not impossible. Fox would tell the psychos what weapons to bring and how to escape. They sure didn’t think of this on their own. The tackle-misfire move stretches belief a bit, as it happened as Xanatos plowed in to Jackal. The RPG could have hit the main cabin, or (worse, for the plan) missed entirely. If it hit the cabin and blew up Elisa and Derek, oh well. It’s a bonus that Elisa’s along anyway.

Step 4.) Hyena and Jackal escape. Not too tough, considering the cops are busy not dying, and Xanatos didn’t do anything but knock Jackal down and walk off.

Step 5.) Hope Derek accepts the offer. Money helps. Plus, Elisa’s urging Derek not to will make him more determined to do it.

Step 6.) Arrange the assassination attempt. Not tough on paper. Tell them to use the chopper. Tough part in real life? Not dying. What’s the contingency plan if Derek doesn’t dodge the enemy fire? What happens if the gargoyles aren’t successful in stopping Hyena and Jackal? I’m assuming there was a “critical weak point” on the enemy chopper that Xanatos would hit of the gargs failed. It’s a chopper XE supplied them, after all.

Step 7.) Fox tells Elisa everything, rubbing it in the detective’s face. Easy. Elisa is bound to go to the source of the problem. This will convince Elisa to take step 8…

Step 8.) Hyena and Jackal attempt to murder Xanatos again, this time in Xanadu. Kinda tough. Fox tells them where to go, but how does he keep from dying? Hyena was a millimeter away from blowing his skull apart with a laser. It wasn’t critical that the gargoyles show up, only that Derek get to prove himself. Of course, Xanatos knew the gargs would show up. Again, what was the contingency plan? Zig zag and get to a weapon? David is never more than two yards from a firearm of some sort, so I imagine there are a few stashed around the retreat. The end game was to have the psychos arrested.

Additional notes: Xanatos’s plan is incredibly audacious. He’s confident enough in his knowledge of Derek’s nature and human nature in general that he not only didn’t keep the plan a secret from Elisa, he told Fox to tell Elisa. It was a source of great amusement between him and Fox, no doubt. While Fox’s words might sound like bragging, but she was 100% accurate: Xanatos was ahead of them the whole time, he got what he wanted, and they couldn’t do anything to stop him.


Final thoughts

This is an interesting episode. We know Xanatos isn’t by nature a vengeful man, but here he is going out of his way to recruit Elisa’s brother. Is it a way to discover where the gargoyles are? Does David even still care? Sure, it’d be nice to know, but it’s not a priority. Is it just to annoy her while getting a good chopper pilot? It’ll be interesting to see where Derek goes as a character. Perhaps this is about putting Elisa in her place so she stops bugging Xanatos. It’s nice to have a bit of leverage against Elisa. Maybe she’ll reconsider her constant tailing and snooping. She needed to know she was running with the big dogs.

Will we see that idiotic chopper again? If so, how are they getting fuel?

Next up is another favorite episode, Reawakening. We meet some old friends and enemies. Science and sorcery makes an unholy union, while antagonists form an unholy alliance to make a creature straight outta literature.

What did you think of the ep? Did you guess Xanatos’s plan? 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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