Cyberbiotics is again in House Xanatos’s sights. But this time it’s Fox, not David Xanatos, who is plotting. Unlike her husband, who only wanted a piece of their technology breakthroughs, Fox wants the whole company. After the gargoyle attacks on Cyberbiotics’s facilities last year, the company is struggling. Their new research station, Air Fortress II, is manned by only robots, and the company’s CEO and aide. Not only is it their flagship, it’s also their Achilles heel. Knowing this, Goliath tries to act as escort, but no good deed goes unpunished. Will he end up unwittingly helping Fox?
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 14: Outfoxed (originally called After the Fox)
Reason(s) for existence: To show Fox is in every way the equal, and sometimes superior, of her husband, the formidable David Xanatos. To show that loyalty and integrity have a price. To explore what loyalty means. To introduce Preston Vogel and Halcyon Renard. To reveal that Fox is pregnant with her and David’s kid. To reconcile the issues between Renard and Goliath. To explore the theme of personal responsibility – and it’s price.
Main antagonist(s): Preston Vogel, Renard (temporarily), Fox
Time(s): November 17th-18th, 1995
Location(s): New York City, New York
The Quick Red Fox Jumped Over the Lazy Brown Dog
Greg calls this ep one of the most subversive episodes of any show on TV, at least at that time. I dunno about that, as there have been a lot of subversive Gargoyles eps. I think why he gives it this distinction is because of who is involved and their relationship. You’ll see.
Previously: We get an amazing recap of Fox and David’s relationship. David is doing the narration: his proposal speech from Eye of the Beholder. Scenes illustrating his points in magnificent fashion are rolling. This is gonna be a great episode!
We open on a news report by Travis Marshall about Cyberbiotics’s new airship, the Fortress II. This is the first we’ve heard from the tech giant since Awakening, where Xanatos manipulated the gargoyles into stealing three floppy discs that somehow held all the data he needed to bring the Steel Clan online. I still don’t know why Xanatos Enterprises couldn’t figure it out on their own, or just buy it from a disgruntled Cyberbiotics employee. I mean, Xanatos Enterprises created Cyote, which was realistic enough to convince the Pack that the android was Xanatos himself. I theorize that “his” tech came from the Steel Clan OS, which Xanatos’s people massively improved upon. But I digress!
Fortress II is Cyberbiotics’s flagship after Demona wrecked #1. The man Travis is interviewing is Preston Vogel, the majordomo of Cyberbiotics’s CEO, Halcyon Renard.
Preston means “from Preston.” Vogel means “bird.”
Vogel looks familiar. He looks like a black-haired version of Owen. He has almost the same demeanor as Owen. That’s…kinda spooky? Or is that how top aides in this town are? Is this Renard guy like Xanatos? We’ve never seen him before.
Thus far, Cyberbiotics has been a faceless entity that I mentally picture as a slow-moving herbivore in the Mesozoic Era. Meanwhile, I picture Xanatos Enterprises as a Spinosaurus or a Velociraptor – fast, agile, ruthless
Vogel explains that he and Renard will be the only people aboard, as the ship uses robots for crew. …Robots freak me out, so there’s no way you’d get me on that ship.
Now we get to see who’s watching this interview: Fox. She’s in what was once the gargoyles’ TV room. Doesn’t she have like, an office or a bedroom with a widescreen? David’s TV in his office is amazing. I think the animators were just lazy.
Travis asks if it’s true that Renard sank everything into the ship, and if the ship goes down, Cyberbiotics is done for.
Vogel cuts off the interview with, “That’s two questions, Mr Marshal, and the interview is over.” Then he boards the massive hover ship. The thing is like SHIELD’s flying fortress. But it’s not for war, so I dunno why it’s called Fortress.
Fox looks smug and pleased. When she stands, we see David is holding up the door frame. “No need to turn it off on my account.”
“No big deal, David. I know what happens next.”
Cyberbiotics is in for another blow. We haven’t gotten to see Fox operate much other than waaay back during Thrill of the Hunt, before prison, before the gargoyles, before Leader of the Pack… I have a feeling she’s learned a lot from her experiences. That’s what’s so great about the Gargoyles antagonists: they evolve, learning from their mistakes to become even more dangerous. It’ll be interesting to see what she’s got up her sleeve. It’s also a nice twist that Xanatos isn’t directly manipulating the situation. He seems to approve of whatever she’s planning, though. Not good news for Cyberbiotics!
Don’t Be a Hero
On a shore cliff, Elisa and Goliath are watching the Fortress II wander out over the bay. Goliath is worried that Xanatos will try something again, so G glides out after.
Inside the airship, Fortress II, we get our first look at Renard. Sort of. It’s a behind and side angle. Um…even from here he looks like he’s like a thousand years old and revived from being a mummy, but only just.
Vogel and Renard see Goliath on the cameras. Apparently Goliath forgot that he and Demona are the ones Cyberbiotics considers responsible for crashing Fortress I. Remember, Xanatos was only convicted of receiving stolen property, not of inciting gargoyles to attack and destroy or semi-destroy three Cyberbiotics installation. So, Goliath, congratulations on being the face of sabotage!
So they deploy the Cybots. They basically have little stinger taser things. The problem is, they weenie rush you. Goliath falls, and they drag him into the ship. I’m surprised they didn’t just let him fall, or perhaps kill him outright. After all, he took down the first Fortress. Images of him from the cameras had to have haunted Renard for the last year. Did he suspect Xanatos?
Goliath wakes up in a cage, then gets tased by bots when he tries to escape. A moment later, Renard comes to glare and gloat at him. Renard is not only old as dirt, he’s also in a wheelchair/futuristic electric scooter.
He’s disgusted, as he thinks Xanatos and Gen U Tech cooked up the gargoyle. Ah, so he does suspect Xanatos. He also knows what Gen U Tech is doing. How? Do they do “respectable” genetic research that is a lot like their…pet projects? (haha pun!) Cuz I don’t think Gen U Tech exactly publishes it’s eel cat bat research results in Popular Science.
Goliath says he’s no experiment, and he’s certainly not on Xanatos’s side. It wasn’t Goliath’s “fault” that he attacked the Fortress; Xanatos duped him.
“Not my fault” is apparently a trigger for Renard, as he goes off on a tirade about nobody having any personal responsibility. Mm, I’m getting the impression that this guy isn’t a villain. He may have a right-hand man like Owen, but he’s no Xanatos. And he may have Goliath in a cage, but he’s no Macbeth.
Regarding Goliath not taking responsibility, Renard’s only half right, since while yes, Goliath attacked the ship, Xanatos conned him into it, and Demona actually did the deed. I wonder if Goliath ever thinks back on that night and cringes?
Renard says there wasn’t an iota of personal responsibility in the entire lot of people he’s fired over the years. Slow down, Renard. So you’re the paragon of integrity and personal responsibility? You realize you’re coming off as a self-righteous, preachy snob, right? Nobody’s perfect – except you. Nobody can live up to your standards – except you. Where do his standards come from, anyway? Was it his upbringing, or was it an experience that burned them into him?
Renard accuses Goliath of “whining.” That’s a trigger for Goliath, who rams out of the cage and takes out the nearest bot. Renard uses his chair’s taser on him, though.
Vogel takes blame for not putting G in a maximum security cage. Um…why are there not one but two types of large cages in this research ship? And don’t get me started on how dumb this whole idea is, having a giant airship trundling around above NYC all day and night, wasting resources. Maybe that’s why this is Cyberbiotics’s last hurrah. Greg called it hubris, and I agree. You don’t see Xanatos Enterprises pissing away resources like this. What exactly is it that you can only research on an aircraft?
Vogel’s phone rings, and Renard leaves him to take the call. Vogel takes the call via video chat. Who should be calling him but Fox!
Vogel says it’s safe to talk, since Renard never intrudes on his calls. “I’ve always respected him for that.” So Vogel doesn’t hate or really even dislike Renard. Then why’s he talking to Fox?
She’s wired Vogel a payment, and in return, he’ll upload a virus onto the Cybots. Huh. Vogel may be a sharp-dressed, clean-cut, ice-cold majordomo, but Owen he is not. Hell would freeze over if Owen betrayed Xanatos. They say every man has his price, but I really can’t imagine what Owen’s is. Vogel’s, however, is money. Simple.
How did Fox and Vogel first meet? And how on earth did the conversation get around to taking down Fortress II? It’s not exactly a small-talk topic at a gathering of the elite of NYC. Even if the topic came up, it would take some time to get Vogel on Fox’s side, assuming he doesn’t have any beef against Renard, which it seems he does not. Taking down Fortress II might even endanger Vogel’s job. Or does he maybe think it’s time for the old man to retire before the stress kills him early?
Vogel informs Fox of Goliath’s capture. She doesn’t react much, other than to smirk like Xanatos. Like her husband, she doesn’t hold grudges. It’s Vogel who suggests they use G as a scapegoat. Thinks on his feet, does this guy!
At the max sec cage, Goliath is determined to convince Renard that Xanatos is the bad guy. Welp, no problem there; the old man already hates David, calling him a viper. Renard thinks Xanatos “corrupted” Owen and Sevarius, who used to work for Cyberbiotics. Um…Renard, you are a poor judge of character. Owen is devoted heart and soul to his job and his boss. Sevarius is reveling in his role as mad scientist at Gen U Tech. These men did not fit Cyberbiotics’s “work culture,” if said culture is all about being rigidly moral. Nope, Xanatos Enterprises is their home, no question. They probably approached him! This still leaves a lot for us to guess at regarding how Xanatos met both of the men, though, and how Owen earned his exclusive position.
This animosity between Renard and Xanatos is something that’s been going on for years, and it may be part of why David hit Cyberbiotics in Awakening.
Renard has a burning need to hear Goliath say, “I did it,” even though he admits that Goliath was tricked.
Is That Your Final Answer?
On that note, we cut to the Eyrie Building’s gym/dojo. It’s about three to four times bigger than any dojo I’ve trained in. We saw it before in The Edge.
It’s Fox and David who are sparring this time. They’re going easy, probably 30-40% of their max effort. I love seeing them together. Heck, I love seeing antagonists doing their everyday stuff, not just their, well, antagonistic machinations. It’s great how these two are competitive with each other, since they’re both Type As, yet in the end are on the same team. When one wins, they both win, because they take pride in each other’s accomplishments. He doesn’t dominate her, and she doesn’t have him under her thumb.
David sweeps Fox, then asks, “You seem distracted. Having second thoughts?”
“About that last kick!”
She gets his arm behind his back.
He says that if her hostile takeover succeeds, Cyberbiotics will be wiped out. “He’s not a young man,” David adds.
20/20 moment: I’ve always thought that Renard freaks David out a little. Renard is about the same age as Petros, David’s dad. Renard may even be younger, though I doubt it. In Xanatos’s mind, Renard could represent all that is terrible about aging. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after Renard became David’s father in law, David ramped up the search for immortality.
“Oh, he’ll manage. He always has.” Then she executes a nice throw that lands him prone and her in his back. She’s every bit his equal. Cyberbiotics should be hers by morning. “We’ll celebrate over breakfast.”
Let’s look at this exchange, cuz there’s a lot to it. First, David’s looking out for Renard? It’s clear that Xanatos is in no way behind the current scheme against Cyberbiotics. He’s not disapproving, though. It’s like he’s asking, “Is that your final answer?” It’s not that he cares about Renard. No, he cares about Fox. But…how would Cyberbiotics falling or Renard getting hurt affect Fox? She married the guy who orchestrated the last attack on Cyberbiotics.
20/20 moment / According to Greg: I’m going to quote his ramble from Station 8, because he puts it so well: “It’s not that David really cares about Halcyon. I think he’s thinking about his relationship to his own father. David likes to believe (at this stage in the series) that he’s evolved beyond the need for a parental relationship. But “Vows” sort of demonstrates that his relationship with Petros is much more complex than that. David still needs parental approval and is somewhat amazed (at least subconsciously) that Fox does not. Again, in this episode, Fox is more than his equal. ”
BTW, Greg’s episode memo is also on Station 8.
What’s this always is stuff? She’s tangled with Renard before? Or is she going off David’s actions in Awakening? Perhaps Cyberbiotics has suffered other blows before Xanatos’s stab. She doesn’t sound like she bears them any animosity, either. Why does she want to take over Cyberbiotics so badly? Maybe it’s just because it’s a rival to XE, or it’s big, or…because she can. She might have even worked for them, like Owen and Sevarius did.
One of the combatants’ cell phones rings. David answers.
He hands the phone to Fox. “It’s your doctor…with the test results?” His tone suggests he’s a bit annoyed and confused. He’s also afraid, judging by the uncertainty in his face.
“Oh, didn’t I mention them? I suppose it slipped my mind.” I think David got a heck of a handful when he married her (and vice versa). But that’s why he loves her. They’re a perfect match. She’s getting a kick out of toying with him. It’s the I know something you don’t know game.
By his expression, his mind’s trying to catch up with his ears while simultaneously running through all the meanings of the term “test results.” Fox is chill, but he’s scared. You don’t see that often in him. Actually, the only time you do see it in him is with Fox.
(Me? I’m still wondering why the office called his phone instead of hers. Of course he’s on her approved contacts list, but…what, was her voice mailbox full or something?)
Run Norton Virus Scan?
On the ship, Vogel loads a little chip into one of the Cybots.
Meanwhile, Renard’s even threatening to turn Goliath over to the authorities, as it’s the “honorable thing to do.”
Goliath asks what good it would do Renard for the garg to be a lab experiment for the rest of his (short) life. “Was my crime that heinous?”
Now that’s what Renard wanted to hear!
On the bridge, Electricity arcs from the altered bot to the bots around it. And so the virus spreads.
Renard is disgusted and disheartened by humanity in general’s lack of integrity, and how much it’s cost him to keep his code. He’s apparently lost two women close to his heart thanks to it: Anastasia and Janine. (Wife? Wives? Kid?) Renard, you’re kind of insufferable, so maybe that’s why everybody ditched you?
Goliath remembers his “Angel of the Night.” Renard starts to see a glimmer of kinship with this remark. They’ve both lost face and loved ones due to the low moral standards of others.
Before the conversation gets too far, the tank bots guarding Goliath contract the virus, or control program, that Vogel installed. Good thing it spreads through a lightning bolt! It would’ve been hard to tell they were infected otherwise.
What a setup for an episode! There are some intense questions and problems that I’m dying to know the answers to. What will happen to Fortress II? Is Renard an antagonist? What are the tests Fox had?
I’m digging seeing Fox be the mastermind. She’s been the able accomplice to Xanatos’s plots before, but now we see she’s too is a formidable opponent in the planning department.
I’m also enjoying seeing David react to her plan. The family that schemes together stays together!
Friday we’ll finish this and learn the answers to those burning questions. Believe me, they’re not what you might think. There are also a number of massive reveals. So don’t miss the conclusion to the “most subversive episode” on TV.