Gargoyles: Shadows of the Past – Episode Review

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When Avalon sends the skiff – and Goliath, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx – to the original site of Castle Wyvern in Scotland, Goliath is excited. He wants to show off his old home. But a storm is brewing, and not just the thunder-and-lightning kind. Strange things are happening; Goliath is hallucinating. Is it just old, painful memories surfacing, or are there other powers at work? This is the site of many deaths, after all, not the least of which are Hakon’s and the Captain of the Guard’s. Does the residue of this destruction and despair pollute the region? Maybe the locals have good reason to call the place haunted…

Confused about why our protags are fighting villains in Scotland instead of NYC? Read the Avalon episode reviews from the beginning.

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

Season 2, Episode 24: Shadows of the Past

Reason(s) for existence: To establish that Avalon sends the protags where they “need to be.” To put Hakon and the Captain to rest. To set the stage for Vendetta. To further develop Angela’s ability to help the team. To show that hate is damaging to the hater. To prove the power of forgiveness.

Main antagonist(s): Hakon, the Captain of the Guard

Time(s):  January(?) ?, 1996. Happy new year!

Location(s): The original site of Castle Wyvern, Scotland

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - title

Surf’s up!

Before we start, I just have to say I will watch pretty much anything Clancy Brown is in. I grew up listening to his baritone as he played Lex Luthor, a favorite villain of mine. Then I watched him in the role of enigmatic, unwitting antagonist Brother Justin Crowe in Carnivale. He’s basically why I watched that incomprehensible series. He’s a pro at making every line foreboding. The man also looks fine in a minister’s frock. So it’s no surprise that I enjoy this episode.

Dark and Stormy Night

Where were we? Ah, right, in the middle of a storm, complete with two tornadoes, just off the coast of Scotland. Not just any coast, either. Nope, it’s Castle Wyvern’s original site! Goliath, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx land the skiff in a cave. Problem is, the cave will fill when the tide rises. So they gang climbs to the top of the cliff.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - skiff in cave

Everybody sit down! You’re gonna tip it!

Side note: Angela says it’s always summer in Avalon. It must be in the Deep South.

I guess the skiff if on its own.

Goliath is thrilled to be “home,” but Elisa and Angela are exchanging glances that apparently mean they think he’s nuts. Why? The poor guy hasn’t seen his homeland in over 1000 years.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - angela and elisa shrug

Act interested.

Now we have my favorite scene of the episode: The lighting flashes and Castle Wyvern stands on the cliff again.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - castle wyvern

Just like new!

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - goliath shocked

Either he just saw the ghost of Castle Wyvern, or he realized he left the tub faucet running.

In a blink, it’s gone, and in its place is a giant bite taken out of the cliff.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - present site of castle wyvern

I don’t know why I find this scene so satisfying, but I just do.

The missing chunk of rock is hanging under the castle atop the Eyrie Building. It’s that inverted mountain above the atrium, behind those beautiful vertical glass pieces at the top of the building. Hey, I made the Eyrie Building out of Legos when I was a kid, so I know the architecture.


See the rock chunk on the left, by the chopper? I’m not sure why it was moved. Frankly, I think it’s fake, and is just there for looks, because the structural support needed for the (useless) rocks would be massive.


Where were we? Wanting to have a scene with Team Xanatos at the Eyrie Building, right? Well, that’s where I was. I dunno about you.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - goliath disappointed

My expression when I realize this ep isn’t going to have Team Xanatos in it.

Actually, we were in the middle of being shocked at seeing the castle back on the cliff. If that’s not bad enough, Goliath hears his Angel of the Night’s voice: “Goliath, Come to me.”

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - goliath freaks out lightning

Look at this beautiful scene! The animation in this ep is wonderful.

Bronx howls.

A lightning bolt strikes the lone tree in the area. The squad heads for cover in the caves. Which caves? The very caves that the Vikings camped in after they invaded Castle Wyvern. The very caves that the Archmage lived under. Yes, there’s a labyrinth under them. Not the kind with the Goblin King, sadly. That would make a fun crossover, though. Like, he could be one of the Children of Oberon like the Weird Sisters and Puck. (Somebody write that fanfic!)

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - goliath in cave with ax

According to Greg: The ax should have been the mace that was in the beginning, where Hakon smashes the clan.

Elisa and Angela share looks of “now what is he doing?”

Goliath gives a little recap about how he had to decide between getting revenge on Hakon and Captain, and saving Katherine. Of course, he chose Kat, which in turn saved the eggs. Aw, good karma. But G is still a bit miffed that he didn’t get revenge. He clarifies, though, that they didn’t die at his hands.

Voices echo that only G can hear: “It was not supposed to be this way!” from the Cap of the Guards. “He’s the one you want!” from Hakon.

Bronx growls.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - gates to the cave

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

They stop at a pillar that depicts the Archmage fighting the gargoyles. A flash of a hallucination transforms the mage into Goliath, betraying his clan. Goliath is the only one who sees it. When the girls ask what he sees, he says “old fears ” Huh, that’s interesting. Fears, meaning he was/is afraid of betraying his clan? Not something I would have figured haunted him.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - stone image of goliath

Ah, the carving’s on the fritz again.

Elisa suggests they leave. Goliath agrees. He says the past is alive here.

As they walk out, Goliath suddenly sees Elisa and Angela as Hakon and Captain.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - hakon and captain

Cue evil laughter. And tights. It’s like they’re gonna start singing with Gaston any minute now.

By reflex he pins them to the wall. Only Bronx saves them. Ooh, divide and conquer! Making the protag doubt his senses and sanity is a great villain tactic. Psychological warfare is powerful.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - goliath attacks elisa and angela

Gotta say, that would be a little frightening for Elisa and Angela.

Goliath runs into the cave, yelling that he’s dangerous.

Demona’s voice echoes: “Join me in the dark. Goliath, don’t abandon us!”

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - demona smug

Abandon us? Well, takes one to know one. So is Demona behind all this?

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - demona othelo desdemona

Othello and Desdemona, that’s convenient.

We see the gargs’ ghosts turn into…Hakon and the Captain. So they’re doing all this? This is a ghost story? But…how do they know Othello and Desdemona, who are part of Coldstone, would provoke a big reaction in Goliath? A guess?

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - ghosts hakon captain

We’re adding ghosts to the Gargoyles Universe? I dunno how I feel about that. Next review, I’ll go into my thoughts more.

The voice draws Goliath deeper into the cave, into the labyrinth. Bronx, Elisa, and Angela follow. They point out that if he falls, he could die. Guess what happens! A flying Hakon charges him and yep, he falls.

Disney Gargoyles - Shadows of the Past - hakon ghost

Who ya gonna call? Not Goliath.


Lemme get this straight, ghosts from 1000 years ago are haunting the cave STILL and have enough power to cause storms and illusions? Wow.

This ep is interesting because we explore two things we don’t see often: Goliath’s fears, and the afterlife. Goliath apparently feels some guilt that he abandoned his clan. After all, he flew off with Hudson to chase the Vikings. Of course, there was nothing he could have done to protect them. If they hadn’t left, the Vikings would have killed them too. But that’s guilt for ya. It rarely makes sense. And it doesn’t do a thing for you unless you learn from it and then move on.

I’m assuming the ghosts can sense his fears and are playing on them.

As for the afterlife, we’ll get into that more in the next half.

This is the set-up half of the ep, so it moves quickly. We’ll get a nice reveal at the end, I hope.

Tune in Friday for the conclusion of Shadows of the Past, when we learn where the ghosts get their power. Goliath will find help from an unlikely source. Until then, remember, don’t cross the streams!

Thoughts? Comment!

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Lead researcher at Villainous Life Natures Research. Writer, reader, snarker. Lover of all things Geek and Dark. INTJ.
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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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