An ancient struggle rages on a remote island off the Pacific coast of Canada. The old ways that once kept the land fertile are falling by the wayside in the face of science. But the dark forces that seek to take over the island didn’t get the memo about the power of SCIENCE. As long as the people’s chief refuses to take a stand against the enemy, the land will suffer. Avalon sends Elisa and the gargoyles to straightened out the mess, but when they become separated, they find themselves on opposite sides of the struggle. What’s more, it involves another gargoyle clan – or what remains of it after the humans destroyed them. Or did they? There’s a trickster at work here…
Miss last week’s ep? Read Shadows of the Past episode review.
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 25: Heritage
Reason(s) for existence: To show the importance of heritage. To introduce more fey and explain some of their laws. Probably some other themes too.
Main antagonist(s): Raven
Time(s): January 4th, 1996
Location(s): Queen Florence Island, Canadaland
Last week the skiff ran into a storm. This week it’s facing a sea monster. I kid you not. A leviathan rears out of the water and sends us into an extended aquatic fight scene.
End result: the creature trashes the skiff. Elisa gets separated from the gargoyles.
Overhead, a yellow-beaked cawing crow circles. Is it Diaval?
Goliath, Angela, and Bronx wash ashore in front of a totem pole. They’re all impressed, thinking it’s gargoyles. Now, this is surprising, because Goliath is pretty well read. He hasn’t heard references to totem poles during the year he’s been in the 20th century?
The crow lands on top of the pole as the sun comes up.
In the native village on the island, the last family is leaving. There’s no future on the island.
The chief, Nick, wishes them well. He’s a scientist who’s run every test he can think of on the island to figure out why it’s a wasteland. (And is it ever! All the trees are leafless; there’s not one blade of grass on the whole island.) He’s got nothin’.
An old woman in traditional tribal attire, and who has very pointy ears, says it’s not about science, it’s about sorcery. Nick has to go back to the old ways. This means going to the volcano at the island’s center and battling Raven. Nick is too fixated on science to think about this.
Their argument doesn’t go farther, though, because Nick spots Elisa washing up on shore. Somehow despite being unconscious in the water, she’s not dead. Hmm…
When the gargoyles awake that night, another winged creatures greets them. He has a garg’s body but a raven’s head. Wait a minute…the old woman said Nick had to fight Raven. Is this the same Raven?
He’s interested in the newcomers, but they just want to find Elisa. He doesn’t understand why. Humans are on his crap list because they wiped out most of his clan. Even so, he’ll help them look for her. But first they have to meet his clan. He takes a moment, though, to explain that an evil sorceress called Grandmother is killing the island. Wait a minute…the old woman is the villain? Or is this Raven fellow the baddy? Ooh, I love it when you just don’t know!
In the village’s longhouse – which has satellite, I might add – Grandmother is ministering to Elisa while Nick babbles about needing to get her to a hospital. He’s dismissive of Grandmother’s herbs and roots. For being such a big scientist, he’s totally forgotten that our drugs came from plants.
Raven takes the gargs to his volcano lair.
His clan consists of three gargs who look more like forest critters with wings stuck on. They make animal sounds when Goliath greets them. Raven writes it off to them being “crippled by grief” for their destroyed clan. Uh…right.
At the longhouse, Grandmother slaps some Vicks on Elisa’s (bare) chest. The Life Flight can’t get through the convenient storm. More arguing between the herbalist and scientist follows.
At the volcano, Goliath is explaining that protecting is gargoyle heritage. Title reference!
See why this is one post?
Elisa recovers enough, thanks to Grandmother’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, to stumble outside. She sees a totem pole and asks if it’s gargoyles. Seriously, Elisa, is this the first time you’ve seen one of these things?
Granny says nope, no gargs lived here.
Nick has to put in that gargoyles and Raven are a myth.
While Elisa bumbles around in the woods, the crow scares up a bear to chase her. Bronx leaps in. Cue joyful reunion.
Goliath says the totems are monuments to the destroyed gargoyle clan. This confuses Elisa, since Gran-gran said there weren’t any gargoyles. Well, she WOULD say that if she was a villain, wouldn’t she.
Elisa doesn’t believe G’s claim that Grandma is a sorcerer. As luck would have it, they stumble upon the old lady, who is meditating. She doesn’t look like a sorcer- Hold up, she just turned into a giant bird that has a face and mouth for a stomach. Nuts.
The gargoyles attack. Cue extended aerial battle scene. When Raven shows up, Thunder Meema leaves. But Angela notices that the other gargs aren’t what they seem: the thunderbird’s wings go right through them.
She tells Raven they haven’t seen Elisa.
They track Gran down and ask what’s up. Well, she just wanted to show Nick (Natsilane is his real name) that legendary creatures are real. Uh, why didn’t you do this earlier? Turns out she was also the leviathan. I’m not sure if she meant to attack the skiff, or if it was an accident. I think it’s clear she helped save Elisa from the sea, though.
Turns out that Raven wants to rule the island. I’m not sure why. The chiefs have always gone up to the volcano to put him in his place. Why didn’t he just move on?
Abuelita can’t act directly to convince Nick, since she’s a Child of Oberon. So’s Raven.
Slow down! Isn’t this offensive to native peoples? You’re basically saying their spirit beings are fey. Isn’t that demeaning? Or…maybe it isn’t. After all, what are the deities but powerful magical beings? All I know is that this ep wouldn’t have gotten past the Snowflake network standards nowadays. Kinda like how sports teams have to stop using names like Red Skins? Ridiculous.
Elisa takes matters into her own hands: she shows Nick the gargoyles. That does it.
They all pack up and head to Mt Doom. Raven is amused by the “boy” who’s come to face him. Nick wears the traditional garb and wields a shield and bone/antler ax. Raven uses a regular a sort of halberd thing. There is much sparkling as the magical weapons strike their targets.
Meanwhile, the gargoyles fight the totem pole’s animated critters.
Nick succeeds. Raven withdraws for the time being. Why don’t you just move on, mate? He’s not defeated for good.
20/20 moment: Actually, he is, since he’ll be on Avalon next we see him. Raven isn’t evil, he’s just a trickster.
So he’s the same type of antagonist as Xanatos in that regard. He’s not trying to cause serious damage; he’s in it partially for the kicks. I like trickster characters because it’s a lot easier to explain why they don’t go full-throttle on the protags. Like Xanatos: he could destroy the gargs easily, but that’s not his style. It would waste a resource and kill his fun!
Uhg. this episode just doesn’t do it for me.
How did they get another skiff?
That crow was a raven? Trust me, it wasn’t. I spent many a month listening to and watching ravens. That, mate, is a crow.
For not being allowed to intervene directly in human affairs, they sure did a lot of intervening today. I can only surmise it’s due to a bargain they had with the humans: fight Raven, have a pretty island. I’m not sure why this would be a thing, or why the fey would be obsessed with the island for so many (human) generations.
Next week we FINALLY get back to NYC. By we I mean us viewers. We’re checking in on the clan, who’s freaking out since Goliath, Elisa, and Bronx disappeared. Xanatos is of course their first suspect. In addition to not having G around, they have to deal with the Mutates. See you next Tuesday when we learn every faction has its own Kingdom.