Last week’s episode, The Thrill of the Hunt, was all about Lexington. This week we’re riding with Brooklyn. We meet an old friend, who challenges Brooklyn’s world view. Will he change his opinion of humans? No matter his choice, he’ll find his actions affect those he cares for the most.
As usual, spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 1, Episode 7: Temptation
Reason(s) for existence: To give us more insight into Brooklyn’s character. To explore the theme of man’s inhumanity to man. To reveal more about Demona.
Main antagonist(s): Demona
Time(s): November 11th-12th, 1994
Location(s): New York City, New York, USA.
We open on a garage in the back alleys of NYC. The Trio is working on…a motorcycle. Lex is welding.
I don’t know what to do with this scene. Who’d they steal the welder from? How’d he learn how to weld? Maybe the castle has some welding books in that massive library of awe and wonder. (Not that I’m at all jealous. Nope. Not me.) Maybe the welding torch also came from the castle. If it did, I’m sure Owen was just overjoyed about them stealing it. Running the castle with the gargs there is 100 times worse than pet sitting.
Brooklyn wants to know what’s taking so long. Well, it’s no mean feat to make a motorcycle out of spare parts. I’ll agree on that. It’s even harder to make one with custom parts that would require a metal-works shop and machining skills to produce.
According to Greg: The bike’s point is purely for toy sales. The toy company Kenner worked with Disney on the Gargoyle action figures and memorabilia. Greg Weisman, Michael Reaves, Brynne Reaves, and Frank Paur had to surrender their arguments about it not making sense. The point of making any TV series is to make money. But they had their revenge with the destruction of the bike. Wise, wise people.
They may not have been acting as good partners here, but they were acting to safeguard the spirit and credibility of the series. In the long run, the payoff would be greater than if they’d caved and just used the episodes as a vehicle for toy sales. Plenty of shows were and are thinly veiled advertisements. Those shows are inferior – if we can even remember them. (Pokemon and Yugioh excluded, on the memory front at least.)
Why do they need this? They have wings! It’s the challenge factor, not to mention a new toy. Boys will be boys.
As the Trio member who’s the quickest to leap into action, Brooklyn grabs a helmet and customizes it, then dons a leather jacket. He does so by wrapping his wing around himself. I still don’t know how the gargoyles can turn their wing-supporting bones into jelly. Are there many tiny bones? Is it a new kind of tissue? These creatures turn into stone when the sun rises, so it’s not too much of a stretch.
Brooklyn goes on a little joy ride, but he doesn’t find much joy. Instead, he finds gets chased by Morgan the cop, then runs into a biker gang.
Like Lex in the Thrill of the Hunt, Brooklyn attempts to make friendly advances. It goes great until he takes his helmet off. Evidently they thought the beak was part of the visor. Somehow they missed the tail and clawed feet.
They respond as you’d think: attack! It’s a great fight scene. Brooklyn kicks serious butt. He looks darn fine doing so, too.
The lead biker draws a handgun. Will Brooklyn bite the bullet? Nope.
Another gargoyle swoops in to stop the threat. Sadly, the biker fires the weapon, hitting Brooklyn’s motorcycle. BOOM.
Related Link: If you want more about Brooklyn and his bros, and more about the ep in general, check out the Gargoyles Reawakening Podcast episode #16.
Brooklyn gets to high ground. We saw who the gargoyle was, but he didn’t. It’s Demona. What? How’d she survive? And why is she helping him?
She reveals herself. Not being an idiot, he backpedals, pointing out that she shot at him with a bazooka last they met. Oh, come on, Brook, she was just in one of those nasty moods! Tell me you’ve never wanted to shoot anybody with a bazooka. There’s a difference between wanting and doing, you say? Picky, picky.
I don’t trust her. Demona has a plan, but she sure picked a tough target. The rescue was a good idea, as it showed her good intentions toward him. The fact that it was humans who perpetrated it is even better for her plan. Did she have another such “random encounter” set up for him if a confrontation/opportunity failed to manifest naturally? Was she hoping to approach him without any “cupcakes of sorry-ness”?
Her argument for why he should trust her is interesting: she was mad with rage and fear when she attacked him. Uh…why was she feeling either of those? She was rage-y at Goliath for not siding with her on her quest to wipe out humans. As for fear…she’s working with Xanatos, and she has a bazooka. But it seems to work, or at least it distracts Brooklyn.
Demona follows with a line about seeing humans commit atrocity after soul-blasting atrocity over the hundreds of years she’s been alive. Hundreds? Brooklyn is shocked. So I take it the natural lifespan of a gargoyle is not hundreds, much less the 1000 years since 994. She also looks no older than when we saw her back then. What sorcery is this?! That’s a story for another episode. Another four episodes, to be exact. “It’s a long story,” she cops out.
As for how she survived the fall from the castle? “I always survive.” Okay, taking long life and surviving a fatal fall, I’m going to say she indeed does have sorcery involved. Now I’m really interested. If I were Brooklyn, I’d refuse to listen to anything but her explanation. …It’d be a lie, probably, but whatever. She offers to tell him, but he doesn’t want to hear.
All she wants of Brooklyn is to show him humanity’s true nature. No killing him. No attacking the clan. He agrees, though not happily. Remember, for his entire life he’s known her as a fellow warrior, as Goliath’s lover, as the clan’s second in command. Maybe she just had a fit of insanity. Maybe she just snapped and went on her murder rampage. It could happen to anyone! In all seriousness, though, it is easier to forgive the transgression of a life-long friend than someone you just met.
He thinks he knows her character. This is dangerous. You might think you know your friends, but odds are you don’t. People change. If they’ve been off having adventures without you, odds are you really don’t know them. Even if you have an experience together, the same event can have very different effects on people.
Mayhem Tour ’94
First stop, a purse snatcher. This is pretty minor on the list of evils. Start small?
Brooklyn wants to help. Demona stops him. If they turn the guy over to the cops, he’ll be out on the streets in a day. See, this is my point with Xanatos’s sentence. They threw the book at him out of frustration. They couldn’t convict him of the serious charges, so they slammed him for an offense (receiving stolen property) that should’ve gotten a few hours of community service and a month or two of probation.
But I digress! Next up we have the Domestic Violence stop. A husband and wife are arguing about their son. The wife starts throwing knickknacks at the husband. Demona, if this is the worst you’ve got, you have really thin skin, or you must think Brooklyn got soft after sleeping for 1000 years. The gargoyles are used to the Middle Ages, where slavery and slaughter were the order of the day. Domestic abuse was probably normal. People treated their kids like chattel. Women weren’t much different.
Her argument is that humans can’t even keep peace in their own homes. Well now, Demona, didn’t you and your mate have a monumental domestic just a month ago? You used a bazooka.
Demona saves the best for last: a chalk outline and a body bag.
Hold up. A dead body on a “kids’ show”? A DEAD BODY. A corpse. A carcass. This would never fly today. It’s integral to the story, though, which is how they got away with it. I love the 1990s. *sigh*
This is a show aimed at younger viewers, so they couldn’t exactly go into gory detail about how inhuman humans are. She doesn’t have to, though. Brooklyn has seen what humans do, and so have the viewers. What she uses primarily is her argument. That drives the nail into the coffin.
Demona pushes the thought that humans treat each other’s lives as worthless. What would they do with gargoyle lives?
Goliath says that if the humans got to know the gargoyles, responds Beaky, they’d –
They’d kill them in their sleep, just like the humans did 1000 years ago. Of course, part of why they did that was she betrayed the clan. But she does have a point: the castle residents who benefited from the clan still treated them like beasts – or worse.
What about Elisa? She’s a good human. Demona has to admit, though it sounds like she’s gonna puke, that Elisa may be an exception. With 6 billion people in the world, what does one person matter, though? She can’t protect them from the world.
Demona’s involvement with Xanatos, a human, doesn’t come up at all. The fact that her betrayal of the clan goes far deeper than being temporarily mad with rage and fear is ignored.
If the clan continues to make overtures to the humans, they’ll have more disasters like Lex and the Pack’s meeting. Brooklyn has enough brain to wonder how she knew. How did she know? Xanatos could’ve had her informed, but why would he bother? I doubt he tells his “allies” more than absolutely necessary. Maybe she stalks the castle, watching where the clan members go?
According to Greg: This episode, #7, is the moment Greg and Michael decided Gargoyles needed to be sequential/linear, not episodic. That means you can watch the show fine of you missed last week’s ep, assuming it’s not a multi-parter, but you’ll enjoy the series far more if you’ve seen the preceding episodes.
Episode order matters. This is a break from almost every other animated show at the time. The networks required that shows be episodic, airable in any order. That really limits that you can do with the characters and plot. In Gargoyles, characters’ lives change irrevocably throughout the series. There’s no way you can make sense of the episodes out of order. I use my experience as proof: the first ep I saw was The Gathering part 1. It’s the ep I like to call The Spoilering.
What are the gargoyles to do, then? Hide in the shadows like “mice”? Isolationism is Goliath’s plan right now. Demona says the only way is to fight back. Living in harmony with the humans obviously isn’t an option. They can’t even live in harmony with their own kind! If the gargs want a place in this world, they’ll have to fight for it.
Brooklyn is buying it, at least to a point. She gives the deathblow: if humans are so great, reveal yourself to them. Beaky doesn’t move, proving he doesn’t believe what he says. (What a wonderful piece of writing!)
Demona is smart. Very smart. Being around for 1000 years gave her plenty of time to become of student of human and gargoyle nature. She chose Brooklyn out of the four clan members as the most likely to side with her. She saw him grow up, remember. She probably helped educate him. I’m sure she knew his parents as well.
There’s something in his nature, or his experience, or his way of thinking that makes him susceptible to her argument – and she knew it. He doesn’t seem too convinced about the need to make friends with humans. His argument that humans will get to know gargoyles comes from Goliath. It’s not an internalized belief for Brooklyn. He saw what happened to the clan when the trusted Xanatos and what happened to Lex when he trusted the Pack. Brooklyn is smart and capable. He’s not going to let those incidents go without analysis.
So how, Brook wonders, can they get Goliath to come around?
Demona asks that Brooklyn get the Grimorum Arcanorum, the book of arcane lore and spells that Xanatos inexplicably keeps in a flimsy glass case in the middle of the great hall. The book will help Goliath see the light. Hah, and Xanatos called Goliath naïve? He should have seen Beaky!
Brooklyn feels guilty about helping her. It’s like he’s going against his better judgement. But her argument makes sense, and he is trying to act for the best of the clan.
Home Sweet Castle
Back at the castle, Elisa is stopping by after work. It’s almost dawn, so she doesn’t have long. She has one thing on her mind: David Xanatos’s jail sentence. It was officially recorded today. He’s getting out January 4th, 1995. That’s around two months from now. She doesn’t say this, though. Instead, she says he’ll be out in a month. She wants to push her point. Aside from adding suspense, this is a great continuity bit.
Side note: Something Elisa and the clan didn’t anticipate when they got David arrested was him turning into a ticking time bomb. Even when he is in jail he’s still a worry for them. They brought on the storm that’s about to break. He doesn’t have to do a thing, yet Elisa will lose sleep over the problem. Passive antagonism. Love it.
I’ll give Elisa credit for having a solution to the problem, though. The clan can live in the clock tower above the police station. How convenient!
Goliath will have none of it. NONE. OF. IT. Xanatos is defeated, and that’s all there is to it. Big Guy couldn’t be any more closed minded if he tried.
Brooklyn takes Elisa’s side, but the sun comes up. Another argument ends in stony silence! (Come on, that was funny!) The writers agreed not to end arguments with sunrise again…at least for a little while.
This is an ep that pushes an overt theme. All the eps have a theme, but only a few push the main idea to the forefront and have an actual argument about it. The writers are masters, though, managing to keep the arguments from feeling preachy. How? They back up the characters’ points with examples in their behavior and/or in events. Demona makes her point with real-life examples. Elisa demonstrates the validity of Brooklyn’s argument.
Go read the review’s conclusion! What does Demona plan to do with the most powerful spell book known to man? Nothing good.