Goliath and Co return to Avalon, but so does another party: The Weird Sisters and the rulers of Avalon. Lord Oberon and Queen Titania have returned after their 1001-year exile. The fey are none too thrilled to see mortals all over the island. But Titania proposes a contest of sorts to decide the gargoyles’ and humans’ fate: Goliath, Gabriel, and Angela will battle Lord Oberon. If Oberon wins, she will again become his wife. To make it fair, Titania decreases his magical power to that of one of his Children. But as the gargoyles are about to find out, he’s still frighteningly powerful. How can mortals who lack any magic possibly stand up to the Lord of Avalon? And what is Titania up to?
Miss last week’s? Read Cloud Fathers episode review.
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 42: Ill Met by Moonlight
Reason(s) for existence: To bring the Gathering to the fore. To introduce Titania and Oberon. To establish the Lord and Lady’s relationship with the gargoyles. To reiterate that fey are vulnerable to iron. To settle the fey on Avalon again. To make the gargs the guardians of Avalon.
Main antagonist(s): Oberon, the Weird Sisters
Time(s): Island Time, 1996
Previously: it’s all Avalon, with the Banshee talking about Oberon, and Gabe talking about how the gargoyles never saw the point of honing their fighting skills.
Mists of Avalon
The skiff lands on Avalon again. Gabe and the other gargoyles greet Goliath, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx. It’s been quiet on the island, so quiet that Gabe says the small adventure would be welcome. Well, that doesn’t bode well. Speaking of not boding well, a storm breaks over the castle, with the lightning flashing.
Side note: if this is a fey island, and if that castle was built by fey, why does it look like all the castles from the Middle Ages in Europe? Why not castles or temples or pyramids from other places? Or why not a city that looks like The New Olympians Island? Or something completely different? They’re fey after all, so why not be more creative?
Lightning strikes. In its wake are the Weird Sisters with Captain Planet and Planet Woman. Not really. They’re both fey though, if I have to judge by their pointy ears and elaborate garb. Oh, and the blue and green skin.
The Weird Sisters begin accusing the humans and gargoyles of profaning Avalon with their nasty selves.
Tom says that he doesn’t trust the newcomers, since they’re hanging with the Weird Sisters.
The male of the two looks thoughtful.
Tom, in reply to the Weird Sisters, says that the Weird Sisters attacked them.
The blue dude is not in any mood to hear an argument. He is Lord Oberon, Lord of the Third Race, Ruler of Avalon. And he’s not gonna take crap from squatters. He waves his hand, and a gold gag appears on Tom’s face. The garg beasts jump at the aggressor, but another wave puts them in chains.
Princess Katherine says that if they leave, they have no place to go. They’ve been here for a thousand years.
If anyone should go, it should be the newcomers.
Elisa gets worked up enough to draw her empty gun. Her grip is the same stupid teacup grip as usual. You think that magical creatures don’t care about the gun, but actually he looks a little hesitant.
Oberon says that they can go, or they can stay — as part of the island. Great choice. The island then begins to consume them, sucking their feet down like they’re in quicksand.
The green woman has not said anything thus far. This is Titania, once and future queen of Avalon. She has been looking on, looking contemplative. But now she points out that it was Oberon who exiled the fey from Avalon 1000 years ago. A thousand and one, he corrects. It was her disdain of mortals that prompted him to exile everyone, and what caused his and her divorce. The point was to learn humility and to learn how to dwell with mortals. She says that after so long, even Puck may have mended his ways. (Makes me wonder what her problem with him was? Too rambunctious?)
While she doesn’t say she’s concerned about the humans and gargs, she says that perhaps Oberon has not learned his own lesson when it comes to dealing with the mortals. Why not give them a fair chance at staying here? If he wins, she’ll be at his side not only as his queen, but also as his wife. (Evidently they were husband and wife before the exile a thousand years ago.) This gets his attention.
But she tells him and the group that if they would sound the knell of his defeat, another ring would be his reward.
But he’s too powerful right now. To make this a fair fight, Queen Titania (who had The Mirror)wants to see it done with craft rather than pure magical strength. He allows her to magically bind his power, limiting it to that of one of his Children/subjects.
He sees that the earth stops eating everyone. He also removes Tom’s gag. And as a last show of his magnanimity, he gives Goliath, Gabe, and Angela, who are the champions, a head start.
Titania says she can do no more for them. She’s already done quite a lot, reducing the unconditional surrender to a fighting chance. And not a fighting chance against Lord Oberon in full strength, but against Lord Oberon who has only a fraction of his power.
The humans consult each other. Elisa wonders why Oberon was concerned about her gun. Catherine says that iron is what the Magus used to find the Weird Sisters, so perhaps the iron in the weapon was what did it. Now they have an idea.
The Hunt Begins
I’m going to warn you right now that most of this episode is the writers trying to figure out a way to keep suspense up, action flowing, and the plot believable. The fight between Oberon and the gargoyles has to have enough threat to the gargoyles that we think they might lose. But it can’t be too much. It also can’t be too little, or Oberon looks like he’s not trying, incompetent, or is just lame.
Thus, we start out with Oberon falling into a pit trap that the gargoyles design. This was a really stupid idea by the gargoyles. I mean, I guess they really didn’t know how much power he had. But considering he landed in a tornado of fire, I’m thinking it’s not going to do a whole lot. And it doesn’t. He can fly. Really I guess it did do something, it pissed him off.
He uses Entangle, and wraps the gargoyles in vines and roots. The gargs rip free.
Next up, they think it’s going to be a great idea to fly over an active volcano. By active, I mean it’s a giant crater of magma. They fly low over the surface. I’m not sure how they’re not crispy critters. He throws fireballs at them, then causes great hands of lava to try and crush them. He’s not playing around. Next up, they fly through a tunnel with Lava River below them. It emerges over a cliff and falls into a lake. They also fall in the lake, which is inexplicably not boiling, even though there’s lava flowing into it. Avalon. Go figure.
The humans have finished melting down Magus’s chains. But they’re not all in agreement. Ophelia, a gargoyle, asks what gives them the right to use the weapon they’re making. After all, Oberon is the rightful Lord Of Avalon.
Elisa is apparently a proponent of squatter’s rights. Except, it’s not even squatter’s rights. Squatter’s rights exist when a landowner gives someone permission to be on the land. That person cannot then be evicted. No, she’s just a fan of moving in when it looks like the place is abandoned. This isn’t maritime law, Elisa.
Catherine is also supportive of the idea of getting rid of Oberon and Titania.
They pour the iron out. Then Tom begins working with it. I’m not sure how he learned the skill of blacksmithing. It’s still not clear what they’re making.
According to Greg: Ok, this is hilarious: “But the forging itself is a disaster. No mold. Just pour hot iron on the ground? Then cool it BEFORE you start hammering it into shape? I picture a forgotten scene where the Guardian finally looks up from his work and says, “I gotta confess I don’t know what I’m doing here.” And then Elisa says, “Didn’t you forge your armor?” And Princess Katharine says, “Actually that was two of the eggs: Michael and Raphael.” And Ophelia sighs and says, “I’ll go get them.””
The gargoyles decide to have a final confrontation with Oberon. G picks an area that’s free of any plants or lava. He points this out to Oberon. I don’t know why this would work. Because as Oberon points out, he’s the lord of the island. He’s already called the castle to try to eat them, so why wouldn’t the rocks fight for him?
In a stroke of intelligence, Goliath challenges Oberon to fight man to man. After all, Titania couldn’t have wanted him to beat them with just the island.
Oberon turns into diamond, or at least something very hard. No matter how much they beat on him, it doesn’t work. He knocks out Gabe and Angela easily. Goliath for some reason tries a sleeper hold on him.
That ends with Goliath unconscious as well. Now that Oberon has apparently won, he teleports everyone back to the castle to announce his victory to Titania.
However, the humans aren’t done yet. They come out with a bell made of iron. When they ring it, it causes Oberon extreme discomfort. From the way he acts and what he says later, they could actually have destroyed him with this. It’s interesting, since it’s the sound waves from the iron, not actually physical contact with the iron that’s doing this.
“From the perspective of “faerie-lore,” it was also extremely appropriate to make a bell the iron weapon to use against Oberon, since in traditional legend, the faerie-folk feared the sound of bells and would take flight from them. In the original tales about them, this apparently stemmed from the fact that the bells in question were usually church bells and represented the spread of Christianity, overcoming the pagan beliefs that the faeries were connected to; in Gargoyles, however, the bell’s effect upon Oberon stems from the fact that it is made out of iron.”
20/20 moment: It’s a shame no one remembers the bell trick and was able to cobble one together during the Gathering. Or that Owen / Puck didn’t know about it, or at least hint about it. He said Oberon was vulnerable to iron, and energy is energy, so hints are evidently legal.
When Oberon’s pretty much defeated, they stop. Oberon is surprised, given that humankind rarely stops destroying. Princess Katherine gives him terms: Let them live on Avalon and they won’t use the bell again.
In thanks for what they’ve done, showing him mercy, he exempts Goliath and his clan from his magic. Because they have shown honor as well as skill, he makes the gargs honorary guards of Avalon. Also, Titania plays a role in this, supporting it. She will be his wife even though he did not win. She gives him his power back as well.
Goliath wonders why Titania wanted to help them. She said it was to return a favor rendered. This of course confuses Goliath, since he’s never seen her in his life. She simply smiles.
Goliath and Company sail off into the Mists of Avalon yet again.
Then we cut inside the castle, where Titania and Oberon are walking arm-in-arm. Now that everything on Avalon is set right, nothing prevents them from the Gathering. So proclaims Oberon, anyway.
I like this episode. I love Titania, and I enjoy watching Oberon as well. But beyond that, it’s a wonderfully written episode. Here’s why. This episode is key in bringing us the Gathering and tying together events in the Avalon Arc.
20/20 moment: We know that the favor that Titania mentioned is the gargoyles protecting her, and particularly Fox and Alex when the Matrix got loose back in Walkabout. So this episode connects that favor — we’ll see later — and also introduces the gargoyles directly to Titania. This is critical when the Gathering comes about. Cuz now they owe her a favor, or at least they think favorably of her.
This episode also mentions Puck and his behavior. Titania cites him, which is significant. The Gathering has been mentioned throughout the episodes, but now it has come to a head. It’s been explained why the exile happened, and now, a thousand years later, why the Gathering is occurring. Without this episode, you wouldn’t know who Titania or Oberon were, how they thought and acted, or what this whole Gathering mess was about.
Paradoxically, the episode feels slow because of all the action. There’s little plot in the parts where Oberon is facing the gargoyles. They don’t really use much craft to escape him. They just sort of fly away. The end is good though, with fighting man to man, even though Goliath forgets that Oberon is a shape shifter.
Titania is the underappreciated star of this ep. She gives them the clue at the outset. Without it, they probably wouldn’t have figured out how to defeat Oberon. She wanted the gargoyles and humans around, but she’s dealing with Oberon, who needs everything to be his idea for him to accept it. He also needs to be shown the value of certain things, rather than just having them explained. This is quite understandable, considering that he is royalty. He even uses the Royal We when he speaks. He never refers to himself as I or me. This manipulation sets up her character quite well.
20/20 moment: That also explains Fox’s personality. She’s every bit the manipulator that her mother Anastasia Renard is.
Regarding Oberon, he’s not a villain. He’s an antagonist, and one who’s justified in his actions, too. Imagine if you’d been gone on business for a few months, or deployed with the military, and you came back only to find some stranger in your house. Now they’re telling you to get out. Oberon is Lord of the Island, even when it is vacant. He is actually a good ruler and a humble one, judging by his exiling his people so they can learn humility.
Finally, we’re at the end of the Avalon arc! But when our heroes reach NYC, they find it’s not at all what they’re used to. It’s decades in the future, and to make matters worse, Xanatos has taken over the city. And it’s no utopia under his rule. Tune in next Tuesday for Future Tense.