Gargoyles: Leader of the Pack – Episode Review Continued

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Watch your back; the Pack is moving in for the kill! Revenge is buy-one, get-one tonight, but the price is still high. With anger clouding the judgement of our protagonists and antagonists, the upcoming battle will be merciless. At the end of the day, what does each side win? More than you’d think.

Read part 1 of Leader of the Pack if you missed it.


Let’s Get Ready to Ruuuumbllllle!

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - pack looks on

Gotta eat what you kill, you know.

Wolf strides out of the airship, one metal chair away from being a WWF star. Hyena, Jackal, and Dingo are on his tail. Xanatos, proving he’s a man after my own ranged-combat, sniper heart, emerges from the top of the ship.

Lex goes raving nuts. He’ll take ’em all on himself! Brooklyn protests that they need a plan. Lex has a plan: Attack!

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - brooklyn holds lexington back

It’s a page right out of Iron Man’s book.

A no-holds-barred fight erupts. Both parties land solid blows against each other. In the end, Xanatos throws Bronx into a wall after the beast garg tries to chomp his face.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote watches pack fight gargoyles

Every Ranger/Rogue’s view ever. Use Sharpshooter feat!

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - bronx attacks coyote

What did I say about the tennis ball last time?

Then Xanatos uses the mind-warp ray on Lex, while Dingo zaps Brooklyn with an electric control device. With three vs five in this fight, the outcome wasn’t hard to guess. Now the Pack has bait to chum the waters with. They’re after the whole clan, particularly Goliath, not just the meddling kids and their dog.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote mind warp ray lexington

According to Greg: Lex was supposed to be as intimidating as possible in this ep. He comes across as creepy IMO. Here he’s just comic.


20/20 moment: why don’t we ever see the mind warp ray in other eps?


RSVP

Goliath, Hudson, and Broadway investigate PMS. They don’t get far before the phone rings. Telemarketer? Wrong number? Broadway picks up. It’s amusing that he thinks to answer it instead of letting it ring.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - broadway answers phone

Uhg, phones. He’s not an introvert, I guess.

Owen is on the other end. He recognizes Broadway’s voice. It’s the first time Owen calls any of the gargoyles other than Goliath by name. The security chief is still in a cheerful mood. Toying with the clan has that effect on him and his boss.

Owen is standing in the walkway around the perimeter of the Atrium. He is the picture of control and precision. The pack is hosting a soiree, and the clan is invited. Three of their members are already in attendance. It’s on the oil tanker the Otoshiana Maru in the bay.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - owen in eyrie building atrium calls clan

Eyrie appreciation: The stones in the upper left corner are from the bottom of the castle. This place is huge. Owen is that dot on the center right, on the walkway.

This scene conveys the antagonists’ view of the struggle that’s playing out: it’s a game, and Xanatos is in charge.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - owen calls broadway

Owen loves nothing better than to be a part of his boss’s plots. Look at that amazing view! Working with Xanatos definitely has its perks.

Side note: Otoshiana is Japanese for trap. Maru is the suffix attached to Japanese ship names. It’s not stated if this ship belongs to Xanatos. If it does, it’s probably heavily insured. I like to believe it belongs to his rivals.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - otoshiana maru

Nah, doesn’t look foreboding at all.

In the empty cargo hold of the ship, Bronx scratches at the steel walls. Lex and Brooklyn try hammering on the walls to no avail. Brooklyn notes that whenever they take Bronx out, they get into trouble. Blame yourselves, not the dog- goyle.

On the deck, the Pack is loaded for boar – or gargoyle. They wait in the mist for their flying foes to arrive. Which they do in moments with a two-prong attack.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - pack group ready with guns

Ever dramatic!

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - pack attacked by gargoyles broadway

What happened to your circle?!

Grab your partner for the dance! Xanatos and Goliath pair off, surprising no one. Dingo, Hyena, and Jackal gang up on Hudson. Broadway hears the pounding from the hold and goes to rescue his bros.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - hudson and jackal hyena dingo

This isn’t a King Fu movie! Dog-pile him!

Ready, set, fight! Dingo, Jackal, and Hyena come at Hudson one at a time. Their time as actors has screwed up their fighting tactics. Hudson throws Hyena into Broadway, who’s struggling to open a hatch to rescue his clan mates. It’s enough force to rip the hatch’s rivets from the steel.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - hyena crashes into broadway

How this doesn’t crush multiple organs and bones in Hyena, I don’t know.

During the scuffle, oil barrels tip, spilling oil across the deck.

Xanatos leaps over Broadway and onto a walkway. Goliath follows – right into the mind-warp beam.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote mind warp ray

Who needs LSD when you have the mind melt beam?

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - goliath mind warp ray

Why are they pink?

But Goliath is hard headed; he powers through. Xanatos switches to laser, but Goliath slams the walkway, unbalancing Xanatos. The laser goes wild, hitting the oil spill. Fire!

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - explosion

Oops. Look at the animation, though!

Goliath lunges, catches Xanatos, and shoves him into the wall. The enraged purple garg rips Xanatos’s helmet off. It’s a shock to find David in the armor. I’m not sure why it’s surprising.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - xanatos coyote vs goliath

Any time a guy in exo-armor appears, especially when he’s using the Pack as his pawns, the first suspect should be Xanatos.

This is just another fun twist in the game for Xanatos. He plants a foot on Goliath’s chest and kicks off into a backflip, landing on the deck below. He’s upped his acrobatics game since The Edge. His usual fighting style is to hit hard and fast, use throws where possible, and dodge if able. There isn’t anything fancy or time-consuming in it. If he retreats, he hops backward; he doesn’t do a backflip like the Pack members do. Maybe he’s just found a new and interesting way to fight in the armor. Wings and tail don’t lend themselves to acrobatics.

Goliath lands, ready to fight. They lock hands and begin struggling for advantage. Xanatos gets his opponent’s balance first, executing a nice Seoi Nage (shoulder throw). That’s definitely a David move.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - xanatos coyote fights goliath

You don’t see Xanatos really angry often. It’s like looking into a warped mirror here.

The fight and flames rage on.

Lex tangles with Jackal.

Hudson is still fighting Dingo and Wolf.

Xanatos gets the upper hand. He’s on top of Goliath, one hand on the gargoyle’s jaw, the other aiming the laser at Goliath’s head. Is this the same man who stopped Demona from killing the gargoyles – multiple times – in Reawakening?

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - xanatos coyote aiming laser at goliath

That’s not a view you want to see. What happened to Mr. Don’t Shoot from last ep?

Bronx is loose too. From the get-go in PMS, Bronx took a dislike to Xanatos in this new armor. The beast garg tried to eat Xanatos’s face, remember? Apparently Bronx too has reached the end of his rope, because he barrels into Xanatos. It’s going to be a repeat of Reawakening, when he politely pinned Xanatos on his back, right? No! He’s…wow, he’s literally chewing Xanatos’s face off.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - bronx chews of coyote's face

WHAT. THE. HECK?

Xanatos throws Bronx off and stands up with a hand over his torn-apart face. Aw man, this is gonna be **SPOILERS** Gus Fring all over again!

Side note: The first time I saw this ep, I was shocked at this scene. Was it a dream? What happened? Surely this couldn’t happen. I’d seen The Gathering, so I knew Xanatos didn’t die. Did he regenerate? Undergo extensive facial reconstruction? I never suspected this Xanatos wasn’t who he seemed.

Turns out he’s a robot. Whaaaa? Circuits and wires and steel are under the skin.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote half face gone

It’s the Terminator reborn! What a relief, though: the real Xanatos is still around to give us more villainous plots.

Lex grabs a laser rifle one of the Pack dropped and shoots him in the center of mass. It’s a nice foot-wide hole in the robot. Cyber-Xanatos falls to his knees. “I will have my revenge!” He’s programmed for revenge, evidently. It’s a notable change from the real David Xanatos.

Goliath does a flying sidekick, tearing the robot’s head off.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote head

Hyena is actually happy he’s a robot. Uhg.

The tide has turned: the clan has the upper hand, and Lex has the laser rifle.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - hot gargoyles group shot

They’re either gonna blow stuff up or drop some sick beats.

Meanwhile, the fire has spread. Oil barrels ignite, blowing a hole in the side of the tanker. Time to leave, kids! The Pack scrambles for the airship.

The gargs gather around the robot head, ready to crush it. Too late. The head blasts into the sky. Leave it to Xanatos to think of this contingency and plan accordingly.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - coyote's head blasts off

That is so not right. So, so not right.

As the Pack airship takes off, Lex takes aim at it. But Brooklyn, knocked unconscious by an explosion, is about to slide over the edge into the water. Revenge or family? Lex hesitates. He grabs Brooklyn’s tail just in time.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - brooklyn slides off ship

BBQ!

The Pack escapes. Yet again Gargoyles gives us a surprise ending. No, the protags don’t see the villains led off in cuffs. The Pack is still out there, ready to strike. What will they do? If they have any brains, they’ll head to some Third World country and lie low. Hah, brains among the Pack? Fox and Dingo are the only ones with ’em. Fox is out of the picture, and Dingo will probably go back to Europe. An interesting destination for the Aussie, eh?

The clan flies off as the ship sinks. Brooklyn thanks Lex, who admits he finally got his priorities straight. Lesson learned.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - ship sinks

Another disaster to mess up the ecosystem and block the bay. Nice.

Free At Last!

At Riker’s Island, Fox appears before the parole board early. They’re singing a different tune today. In view of her decision to stay in prison and to help the CO, they’ve granted her an early parole. It’s Sept 6th. She’s been in prison for almost a year.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - fox before parole board

I doubt she’s going to walk the straight and narrow when she gets out. What will she get up to now that she’s not part of the Pack?

She walks out a free woman. A limo is waiting for her.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - fox limo

Hi, Owen!

Fox slides into the backseat. And promptly kisses David Xanatos passionately. Now we’re getting somewhere! I guess this answers my question about who what she’s gonna do.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - fox and xanatos kiss

My OTP is together again! Aw yis.

Side note: She whips her hair tie off, like a symbol of escaping incarceration and abandoning the restraint she faked to win her freedom.


According to Greg:  S&P was okay with this scene, as well as Fox and David being an item. They totally forgot about what usually happens in relationships. Thus, Greg was able to slide Vows and The Gathering past them.


“I’ve missed you,” Xanatos remarks. I bet he has. Now it’s really clear why he visited her personally in prison back in Her Brother’s Keeper: he loves her.

She asks who won.

Xanatos hedges. “It never mattered.” No? No.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - fox and xanatos in limo

“That was just the icing. You’re the cake.”

After another kiss, the explanation continues: The breakout was staged to give Fox a shot at an early parole. I gotta say, that is brilliant! It’s interesting too that he went through all this trouble when Fox’s original sentence was “only” 16 months. She had about 8 to go. He’s taking matters into his own hands, playing the game the judicial system set up. And he won. His prize is Fox.

As a bonus, he got a chance to test a prototype robot. Never let a crisis go to waste. It’s always good to have some live combat data, as Albert Wesker would attest. This is a quantum leap in robotics, by the way. A cyborg that is almost indistinguishable from humans, with advanced AI and combat capabilities, is the holy grail of robotics.

“What about your revenge?” Fox asks. She’s genuinely concerned about wrongs (in her opinion) against Xanatos going unpunished.


20/20 moment: Puck’s OTP is back together! He must be thrilled. Now there’ll be an exponential increase in the fun!


Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - fox and david xanatos reunite

It’s my OTP too, so screenshots abound. You’re welcome.

“Revenge, as they say, is a sucker’s game.” A wise philosophy. Who says antagonists and villains can’t be good role models? Anger, grudges, and revenge hurt the one who holds them far more than they ever hurt the object of those emotions and actions. Even if you succeed in revenge, it will turn out hollow. You’ll have expended resources and energy for a false victory. The protagonists had to spend many episodes learning this lesson. Xanatos, an amoral antagonist, is the only one in this ep and really in the series who has a correct view of revenge. Why, I wonder? Was there an experience in his past that taught him this? Or is it just because he’s a very rational, logical, pragmatic person?

He tears the paper off a round object. It’s the robot’s head. He looks at it in amusement and pride. “Robots, Fox, my dear, are nothing. I can build a dozen more like this one.” They’d be a massive improvement on the Steel Clan, that’s for sure. This isn’t an idle brag, either. The gargoyles should be grateful he doesn’t actually want them dead.

Disney Gargoyles - Leader of the Pack - xanatos explains robot head to fox

Better than bringing flowers, I say.

He follows with, “True love is so much harder to come by.” Whaaa? Love? What a way to deepen his character! Yet again, Gargoyles breaks new ground as one of their lead antagonists shows love for his girlfriend. Very few antagonists have significant-others, and none that I can think of actually love them. Joker has Harley, whom he openly abuses. Most antag relationships are built on necessity and are twisted, to say the least.

Xanatos not only says he loves Fox, he proves it with action. He spent a vast amount of time and resources on this plot to free her. He didn’t have to. I know he wasn’t feeling guilty about the fact that he was a part of why she went to prison. After all, he never told her to take a woman hostage and get photographed.


20/20 moment: Through the series, David and Fox’s relationship will be the healthiest and strongest of any of the character’s. They show respect to each other and value each other’s strengths. Fox is fully David’s equal. Instead of seeing this as a threat, he’s thrilled. At last he has someone who is at his level. In her he has a loyal friend. In him, Fox has a powerful protector. While they’re competitive with each other at times, it doesn’t matter who “wins,” because in the end they both win as a team.


The fact that David has to explain his plan means he didn’t explain it before. Fox thought on her feet, recognizing the opportunity for brownie points with the parole board. Or did he perhaps hint that if only she could give the parole board something to praise her over, maybe they’d let her out early? While it might have been a test or game to see if she could think on her feet, I doubt it. He invested too much into this plan to leave anything to chance. Plus, he really wants her out of prison and into his home.


Final Thoughts

I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off season 2 than this episode! Plenty of action, twists and turns in the plot, and a major reveal at the Xanatos Tag Ending. We’ve also opened the floodgates to more villain goodness: more robots like the Xanatos double, the Pack on the loose, and Xanatos teaming up with Fox full-on. (More Fox and Xanatos eps? Sign me up!

I was completely taken in by the Xanatos robot double. There were suspicious parts, but things change from season to season, so it was a believable doppelganger. It’s nice to see that Cyberbiotics tech being put to good use. It’s a Xanatos Enterprises development that far exceeded Cyberbiotics’s work.

Did you suspect the robot was, well, a robot? What’re your thoughts on the ep? Comment!

Next week we catch up with Derek in Metamorphosis. We’ll see some real character development, that’s for sure. We also meet a new villain voiced by Tim Curry . Don’t miss it!


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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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