Gargoyles: Sentinel – Episode Review

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We’re throwing convention to the wind and jumping genres! Rather than magical creatures, we’re facing an alien. On Easter Island. And not one who wants to phone home or abduct humans. No, this alien is determined to protect earth. He is a sentinel in the Galactic War. Sounds great until he decides the gargoyles are hostile aliens. As a sentinel, he can’t be a warden. He can only be an executioner. To make matters worse, he’s given Elisa amnesia. Will she figure out the gargoyles are on her side, or will she believe the alien?

Miss last week’s? Read The Green episode review.

Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits. 


Season 2, Episode 39: Sentinel


Reason(s) for existence: To provide an in for Greg’s spinoff show. To introduce aliens. To explore the theme of trust.


Main antagonist(s): Nokkar


Time(s):  February ?, 1996


Location(s):  Easter Island


Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - title

So it’s this episode. Sentinel is not one of my favorite episodes, despite the fact that there are some fun elements in it. It’s one of those episodes that tells a lot about the characters but also drives me nuts.

Previously: we get a recap of when Elisa meets Goliath, and then a bit about the researchers who had the Scrolls of Merlin.

While Elisa sleeps in the skiff, the gargoyles make landfall on Easter Island. They don’t know what it is. Odd, considering Goliath knows other places fairly well. Easter Island is one of those common-knowledge landmarks. One book on geography would do the trick. I’m sure there had to be some in the library. If nothing else, one of the other clan members might have mentioned it. Stone heads kind of remind one of stone gargoyles, which would be relevant to their interests.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - easter island heads

As you may have noticed, I’ve given up checking if the date the ep happened on actually had a full moon. It’s just always full in Gargoyles Land.

Goliath theorizes that an ancient race made the heads to ward off evil. I have a feeling we’re going to find out.

The gargs drop Elisa off by a head while they go do gargoyle things. Bronx guards her.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - elisa sleeps

When DOES she sleep? I wonder this about all the characters who aren’t stone during the day. They seem to be up at all hours, including daylight hours.

She wakes up in time to see a hill open and light pour out. Bronx goes to investigate, but gets shot with some sort of laser beam.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - bronx sees nokkar

Well, if this doesn’t freak a person out upon awakening, nothing will.

When Angela and Goliath get back, they find Bronx unconscious and Elisa missing. The gargbeast wakes up and tries to point them toward the hill, and they don’t believe him. They fly off to find Elisa themselves.

On the road out in the middle of nowhere, archeologists Lisa and Arthur (who were back in A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time with the Scrolls of Merlin), are driving a Range Rover. They’re on holiday! They pass Elisa, who’s wandering along in the opposite direction with a blank look on her face. Well, that’s odd. Shouldn’t she be looking for the gargoyles? They don’t recognize her, which isn’t surprising since it’s dark and she’s not someone they’d be expecting to see. Plus, they didn’t spend that much time with her.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - bronx chase light

Hello, continuity! I love when I don’t have to meet new characters.

Bronx is chasing – or being chased, maybe? – a glowing Frisbee. The Frisbee zaps him. Again.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - bronx chase light

A border collie you are not, Bronx.

Back in the Range Rover, they figure Elisa’s a tourist, so they go to give her a ride. They asked her name and where she’s going, but she doesn’t know either. Oh look, it’s amnesia! It wouldn’t be in ‘90s show without somebody getting Amnesia at some point in the series run. Really, though, I do like the trope. It’s always fun to mess with characters this way.

The archeologists are trying to help Elisa remember who she is. They tell her she’s on Easter Island, which she somehow knows is in the Pacific. I don’t think a lot of people would know that it was in the Pacific. So obviously she’s got some memories.

Above, Goliath sees her getting into the car with the researchers.

At their hotel room, the archeologists got a doctor to check Elisa over. Apparently this is their version of the ER. He says she must have had emotional trauma that made her block out memories. But he’s not a psychiatrist, so he doesn’t want to diagnose it. Um, you just did. And you went pretty out there for a diagnosis too. Wouldn’t you go more for an organic cause first?

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - doctor talks to elisa

Oh look, a white coat. He must be a doctor! Because all doctors wear white coats, even when they’re just making a house call.

He says she blocked out memories that were too painful for her. She replies, “You mean my whole life?” Really, Elisa? You grew up in an intact family with a caring mother and a dad who is a cop. You were not abused or dirt poor. You are healthy and very physically fit. You have a brother whom you love and who obviously loves you. You all went to school and became police yourself, and rose in the ranks. I don’t think that’s exactly too painful. And what is she remembering now that she has never told us?

We’ll never know. That’s a spoiler, by the way. The doctor says his bro in Honolulu can check her out for brain damage. What, there’s not one single MRI or CT machine on the island?

They don’t get that far though, because Goliath arrives.

Elisa doesn’t remember him. She pulls her weapon and proceeds to pull the trigger. Whoa there, sparky! Now, we know it’s empty. So does a Goliath. But she doesn’t. She even kicks him. It doesn’t have any effect, of course.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - elisa aims gun

There is so much wrong with this grip I don’t even know where to start.

Needless to say, G doesn’t take being dry fired at too well. He grabs her, but the archeologists and doctor, in a moment of utterly stupid bravery, jump on Goliath. He tosses them off  and jumps into the air.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - goliath carries elisa

It’s kind of hard to struggle when you’re a hundred feet off the ground. She’s still flipping out, though.


According to Greg: “In “Awakening” Elisa knows Elisa. So Elisa accepts Goliath. But what if Goliath had met someone, even some Elisa, who was not quite so self-assured?”

…But Xanatos, Owen, Macbeth, and all the other antags are self assured. That didn’t help the gargs. That just made things worse. But I think he means regular people. Well…they have met regular people, and it turned out fine. Remember the very not self-assured Max in Prague or Rory in Ireland?


She starts berating herself for carrying an empty “revolver.” I’m going to attribute her calling the semi-automatic a revolver to the amnesia, because I don’t know what kind of cop would mistake one for the other.

She’s pretty much a New Yorker jerk at this point. She calls Goliath  “Tiny” and tells him to shut up and land. I see she lost her fear. Goliath tries to convince her that he’s her friend. He mentions the castle, Xanatos, and the gargoyles.

In the weird hill of light, Angela and Bronx are hovering in cages made of orange rings. There’s an alien or possibly a robot at the controls of the…room. He understands the gargs’ language, and he says they – the gargoyles – are aliens come to take over the world, even calling them Space-Spawn. Odd, he looks like the alien. Albeit a very humanoid one.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - angela and bronx captive

Mm, modified cages. How techy and alien.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - alien ship control area

(That’s him on the lower left.) The alien decor just doesn’t pop… Too much feathery brown with no point.

Side note: Why are all aliens humanoid? There are so many varieties of animals in the world, you’d think there would different varieties of alien. Now, HP Lovecraft did extraterrestrial and extra-dimensional creatures right.

Back on the surface, Goliath has just finished recapping for Elisa the last 50-some episodes of the show. But she still doesn’t believe him.

Then they see Angela fly over. Goliath gives chase, then finds what appears to be Angela. It is of course it’s a hologram. It’s also a trap. Now the alien robot thing has captured everybody.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - angela hologram goliath

Pro tip: if your friend is transparent, she might be a hologram.

He doesn’t seem to be any threat to Elisa, though. He has her free. He introduces himself as Nokkar. He says the gargoyles brainwashed her. He wiped her mind to get rid of the false memories that the gargoyles/Space-Spawn planted. Temporary side effects include pretty much complete amnesia. Well, you think they might work on that technology. Not to worry, the memories will return in a few days. Hope you don’t need them in the meantime!

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - nokkar with visor

It’s like a green version of Mr Freeze. He’s sure not Invader Zim.

Nokkar is a sentinel from his planet, which for some reason is protecting Earth in the Galactic War with the Space-Spawn (what a lame name. Seriously). He’s been defending this place for centuries. He used to work with the natives, and they built the Easter Island heads. I would assume Earth would be a base for their enemies, and that’s why they don’t want them to take it. At the moment, they probably lack resources, so they let us live on it.

Now, this is all very confusing for Elisa. She says that the gargoyles messed with her brain, and he messed with a brain, so she needs to know the truth. He says he can give it. Why would you trust the creature who wiped your brain in the first place?

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - elisa follows nokkar into hill

He’s going to tell you whatever he wants you to believe, genius!

We have now reached the point where I hate this episode. When I watch Gargoyles, I expect magical and mythical creatures. I expect ghosts, werewolves, magical items, and immortals. I did not, however, sign up for a Sci-Fi series with aliens and a Galactic War. I know most of the VAs are from Star Trek: Next Gen, but this is not in fact ST:NG. Shocking, I know. Do NOT switch genres on me. I hate it.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - nokkar explains

When did she get a long sleeve shirt?

It’s hard enough as it is to deal with the number of species and powers and universal rules that are in place for Gargoyles. Running a magic system alone is a daunting task for a writer. Now they’re bringing in aliens? Look, you can’t just throw in every legend in the world. Viewers who want to watch a magic/paranormal show don’t usually want to watch one spaceships. Now, X-Files you knew from the get-go that it was a free-for-all. But when you gone this many episodes in the series and this is the first time you hear of it, it’s annoying.

It’s also annoying that we never hear another word about this in the series.


According to Greg/GargWiki: meant for this to be part of his continuation spin-off series Gargoyles 2198, which would happen 200-ish years in the future. I read his idea for this series, and I don’t like it. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I don’t like it. There are a few interesting ideas in it, but overall it’s not up to par with the original series. (And let’s not talk about Time Dancer.)

Like I say, I didn’t sign up for aliens. While Owen would still be around, as would Alexander Fox Xanatos, David and Fox wouldn’t be. Unless the show was totally about Owen, in which case I’d be on board, I’m not jumping on this band wagon. BTW, Owen in this series would join Nokkar in defending Earth. He is also Alex’s Chief of Staff. Nifty but not enough.


Nokkar decides that since the gargoyles are obviously aliens, he can’t let them free. He offhandedly remarks that as a sentinel, he’s not allowed to take prisoners. Executing them is the only choice. Yep, execution. But he’s nice! He’s going to make it painless and quick. Oh, I’m so relieved. For a minute there I thought this was going to end badly.

Elisa comes to her senses and grabs the controller. She Goliath out, and not a moment too soon. Because a snake laser gun – no, that doesn’t make any sense to me either – is slithering up to blast them. I don’t know why you would use this when you can use a turret.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - laser snake

Why. That’s really all I have to say. Why.

Of course fighting ensues. The laser blasts holes all over the ship, and then cuts itself in half. It’s like when the gargoyles face the auto-cannons that Macbeth and Xanatos thought were such good ideas. That is, until the lasers annihilated everything with rogue laser blasts.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - laser snake blasts

It’s not every day you get to ride a laser snake! Yeehaw!

An explosion knocks the alien back and drops a piece of metal on him. Trap by falling masonry. That was Xanatos’s undoing too. Well, that wasn’t all of it. Elisa and her snooping were his undoing.

But I digress. With the alien down, Goliath tosses Elisa and Company up through hole to the surface.

But Nokkar frees himself before Goliath can escape. They have another throw down. Despite being a highly evolved and technically advanced alien who’s lived here for centuries, his best way of fighting is punching. It’s very effective, but it just seems that an alien should have something more fancy. Like tentacles or the Force. I don’t know.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - nokkar punches

Incoming!

As Nokkar yells for him to stop, Goliath tears out the spaceship controls. This causes an explosion, which buys enough time to leave.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - goliath tears up controls

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the power source for the ship’s engine was actually highly toxic – like nuclear waste or dark matter – and Goliath ripped up the system that keeps it in check, thus causing a leak that would destroy the earth?

But as an X-Files, they don’t get very far. The ship hauls up out of the dirt. It’s big. Very big. It also has a very big laser cannon.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - nokkar's ship

The obligatory “well, crap” moment in alien invasion movies/shows.

Elisa stands in front of the gargoyles, though. She trusts them, even though her memories are still gone.

Just as Nokkar is about to blast them, he stands down. His mind purge only clears up false memories, so her trust of them must be genuine. He must believe her.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - elisa guards goliath

That’s right, Elisa, this ep is all in your head. That’s what I’m gonna go with, anyway.

Side note: I wonder what her memories of childhood are like now? We make a lot of false memories. I don’t think I’d want false memories cleared out, because it would mess up my carefully crafted view of reality. I’ll just keep my fake life.

Goliath of course identifies with Nokkar, saying they’re both protectors. Nokkar is lonely; he wants to share his mission. Elisa decides to hook him up with the researchers. I guess this could be a good idea. I’m not really sure. They seem like reliable folks, and they have seen gargoyles now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Disney Gargoyles - Sentinel - nokkar and gargoyles make peace

Yet again we all live happily ever after.


20/20 moment: as I said before, we never see this play out. The story line just gets dropped like a rotten egg. In the show at least.


Final Thoughts

See my rant above for my view on changing the genre horse mid-stream. The way I rationalize the alien nonsense we never hear of again is by saying Nokkar is actually a fey. He’s just screwing with them.

Or this is a dream while Elisa is sleeping in the boat.

Or this is our entry into the Lovecraftian mythos! I want this. A lot. Like, if I did a crossover, I’d cut David a break and give him some cool powers.

Thank goodness, next ep is Cloud Fathers! We’re going to Arizona, where Xanatos is about to destroy an Indian sand carving. But that just scratches the surface of his real motive, one that will give him his “first stab at real cliched villainy.”

Thoughts? Comment!


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Gargoyles: Eye of the Storm – Episode Review

Gargoyles: Pendragon – Episode Review

Gargoyles: Mark of the Panther – Episode Review

Gargoyles: Walkabout – Episode Review Continued

Gargoyles: Walkabout – Episode Review

Gargoyles: Grief – Episode Review Continued

Gargoyles: Grief – Episode Review

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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2 comments on “Gargoyles: Sentinel – Episode Review
  1. GregXB says:

    Haven’t commented in a while, but I have been reading.

    Greg Weisman doesn’t consider “Gargoyles” part of the fantasy genre so much as being part of the superhero genre… a genre he refers to as a “bastard genre” since you can put just about anything into it.

    Now every fan will have what they consider to be a bridge too far. But I think “Gargoyles” was both high fantasy and sci-fi since day one with the magic spells and the robots and air fortresses. Then we get the Third Race, the magical talismans, clones, cyborgs, nanite hive-minds, King Arthur, and the works.

    I am not fond of this episode, but I do love the premise for “Gargoyles 2198”. It’s set far enough in the future to be it’s own thing while retaining a lot of what came before. Now, if the Space-Spawn invaded in 1997… yeah, that’s too much. For me anyway.

    That and I want to see the third act to Demona’s story… her last chance at redemption or her final opportunity to destroy the human race. And, from the sounds of that, she’ll have squandered any chance of a relationship with Angela between Hunter’s Moon at 2198.

    I’m not telling you that you have to like something, I’m not that kind of pretentious ass. Just telling you why it works for me, personally.

    • LC Champlin says:

      Maybe in another 190ish years I’ll be ok with the idea of getting aliens in my gargoyles. I’m not a huge alien fan in general, which is part of my resistance to the idea of blending predominantly magical and technological with ET. I like the Star series: Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate SG-1. And of course Firefly. But otherwise they’re kind of meh for me. Even with those, I don’t like the spinoffs, like SG Atlantis and anything but the original ST and ST:NG. Don’t start me on the new SW movies other than Phantom, which I liked primarily because I was, like, 10 and Liam Neeson is hot.
      So I’m glad you like the series idea, but it’s not my thing. Seeing how things play out for our remaining characters – like Owen and Demona – is tempting, though. But that’s what fan fic is for. 😉

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