Gargoyles: The Cage – Episode Review

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The eel cat bat Mutates are back in the Eyrie Building with House Xanatos. Meanwhile, Elisa’s family is wondering what happened to their son and brother, Derek. They have no idea he’s now called Talon, is the Mutates’ leader, and is basically a winged panther. When Dr Sevarius, creator of the Mutates, disappears, the suspicion falls on Talon. But he’s not the only one with a motive for kidnapping the Good Doctor. Do the ends justify the means in this ep?

Last week’s ep was all about Dracon and his gangsters => Protection episode review.

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


Season 2, Episode 19: The Cage (A note on episode order: I’m going by the DVD order, which is how Greg intended them to run, not the screwy TV air order. )


Reason(s) for existence: To explore the theme of family, which is a common one on Gargoyles. To bring the Mutates’ and Xanatos’s relationship to a head. To bring the Mutates onto the clan’s side. To explore Sevarius’s character more. To bring Talon back into the Maza family. To help Maggie Reed come to terms with her transformation. To show Talon’s clan. To explore the theme of self-imposed cages. To explore if ends justify means. To explore the price of vengeance. To show how anger blinds.


Main antagonist(s): The Mutates, Xanatos, Sevarius, Goliath (whaaa?)


Time(s):  December 20th, 1995


Location(s): New York City, New York


Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - title

Hi, Talon! Oh wait, are we supposed to know it’s him?

Previously: We get the Mutates’ story and that they think Sevarius is dead.
We open on a winged creature, like a gargoyle but with a cat tail, flying over the city.

Family Time

Now we’re in Elisa’s apartment, where’s she’s having supper with her mom, dad, and sister. This is the first time we’ve met Beth, who’s in from Flagstaff, AZ. She’s a student there. She jokes about Derek calling dibs on the pot. When this dumps a load of awkwardness on the fam, she realizes her mistake.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - maza family

I question Elisa’s taste in decor.

Derek isn’t back yet. Peter Maza is a few days away from filing a missing person report. 

It’s a little surprising that Elisa hasn’t done more to “take down” Xanatos over this. I think part of it is that maybe the gargoyles and especially her bro might come into the public eye. Not good. So yet again, Xanatos’s “Whatcha gonna do about it?” defense is spot on.

Outside, there’s a flash of winged-creature-silhouette movement. Beth sees it, but Elisa waves it away.

At the clock tower, Elisa unburdens herself on Goliath. She’s basically rationalizing why she hasn’t told her family about Talon. Like many a rationalization heard by an outside party, it doesn’t hold much water. She does however admit that a lie by omission is still a lie. Well now, that’s something not many people realize.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - elisa talks about derek to goliath

While she’s saying how ridiculous it is for her to tell her family about Talon, Goliath must be wondering what she thinks would happen if she introduced him to her family.

Goliath confesses that Talon and Co are back at the Eyrie Building. He didn’t say anything before because he didn’t see how they could change matters. He also wanted to “spare” Elisa the pain. Mm, just like Elisa’s doing for her family?

Where have the Mutates been all this time, and what are they doing back with Xanatos? Are they simply seeking asylum? Did he contact them and offer a cure? Who initiated the reunion? I’m thinking it was Xanatos, but you never know.

Side note: G doesn’t say castle, did you notice? He’s accepted that the castle is now the Eyrie Building, which is 100% House Xanatos property.

Side note 2: I wonder what Fox’s view of the Mutates is? What’s her opinion of her husband’s fascination with keeping giant, winged, bestial humanoids around? First Thailog, now the Mutates. I guess the building is big enough that they may never cross paths, but still…awkward if they do.

Obvs the next step is to storm the gates. Goliath and Elisa go alone to the Eyrie and set down in one of the courtyards. 

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - talon claw fang attack

Well, they’ve come along in the mutation department.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - talon electric attack

That looks wicked cool.

Instantly, Talon and Co attack. Maggie, however, steps in to stop them. Talon calls her Maggie, which is interesting. Of all the Mutates, only she has kept her human name. The others are named after animal parts: Talon, Claw (voiced by Jim Belushi!), Fang. She’s still attached to her human life. Or maybe they took all the cool names.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - maggie stops talon

I’m not a Furry (*shudder*) or an Anthro fan, but he does look good as a panther.

Two seconds later, Xanatos comes striding out. Gotta love the security around this place! He agrees that they should stop fighting, calling it “unnecessary.” Not that he’s against violence, it’s just that this scuffle isn’t advancing his plans and will probably end up damaging the place. Again.

He tells the mutates that Goliath and Elisa “are always welcome here. They’re not the enemy.” What antagonist says this? Xanatos, that’s who. They’re opponents, playmates, pawns, but not enemies. If they want to visit and test him, he’s more than happy to oblige. But if he’s not in the mood, Owen gets to go deal with them. It’s also a great move in front of the crew here, as it will make Goliath and Elisa look like liars if they try to claim Xanatos is evil. 

I also wonder what “enemy” he means. The public? The scientific establishment? Both are threatening to mutants. He knows the Mutates are against the wall here. Who wouldn’t side with him, given the options?

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - xanatos breaks up goliath talon fight

As the My Fair Lady song goes, “Oozing charm from every pore.” Gotta love Slick!

Elisa of course says that he’s the cause of the mutations.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - xanatos annoyed at elisa calling him a liar

Xanatos is good at keeping up his act, but getting called a liar to your face is always annoying. Especially when you are one.

Talon insists it was all Sevarius. Maggie doesn’t believe Elisa either.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - maggie and xanatos

He must be having a blast right now, watching the people he mutated stand up for him and deny the obvious truth. Hah, smug rascal!

As they argue, Xanatos gets a wary look on his face and melts back into the shadows.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - talon angry, xanatos wary

Xanatos can see the bad moon on the rise.

Keep Your Head Down

Xanatos goes to Owen’s office (no need to knock). Owen is in no way concerned about what was going on in the courtyard. He’s busy studying the label on a manila folder. I’m sure he watched it all on the CCTV.

Xanatos instructs Owen to “tell Sevarius to disappear for a little while.” Nice preemptive move to protect assets!

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - owen and xanatos watch talon leave

They’re watching the winged beasts fly away, hence the odd angle.

At Gen U Tech, Sevarius is heading to his car. He waves at Vinnie, the guard. But before the doc makes it to the car, a winged creature swoops down and grabs him.  Is this Talon? Sevarius drops his briefcase.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - vinnie and sevarius

Vinnie, this is why you can’t hold down a job: Gargoyles.

A few seconds later, Elisa drives up to the gate. Vinnie tells her she just missed Sevarius. She looks up and sees a winged creature on the corner of the building. Goliath?

Vinny lets her in to look around. She finds Sevarius’s briefcase. Well now, that’s evidence, right? Not that it’s really admissible in a court of law, but still…

Lockup

In Cyberbiotics old underground research facility, which made at least slightly more sense than their obelisk in the middle of the river, and their airship fortress, we find Sevarius in a cage.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - sevarius in cage

Why is there a cage down here? And right next to the computers? What was Cyberbiotics doing? This isn’t a monkey cage, either. I thought Cyberbiotics was just into computer-type technology?

We cut to the Eyrie Building’s library.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - xanatos in eyrie building library

Look at this land of wonder! So beautiful…

For once, Xanatos is taking it easy, enjoying his home. He’s reading a book. I enjoy seeing antagonists just hanging out, being “normal” people. It humanizes them – and makes it that much more disturbing/impressive when they execute their antagonist schemes.

Owen comes in to tell Xanatos that Sevarius is “unreachable.” David knows what that means: Talon got to him first. 

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - owen tells xanatos sevarius is missing, xanatos reading

I really want to know what he’s reading. Looks like a classic of some sort.

In the courtyard, Talon has just returned. He’s been at Gen U Tech. He tells the others that Sevarius is still alive and well, and working for Gen U Tech. Oh boy, Xanatos will have to really spin this story if he wants to salvage his status with the Mutates.

It’s a Trap!

Talon accuses Goliath of being in league with Sevarius, because after all, it was G who kicked the doc into the eel tank. At this point, Talon doesn’t want to believe Xanatos is behind all this. If Talon did believe it, that would mean Elisa was right all along, and he was dead wrong. Nobody wants to be in that position. It would also mean that Derek was partly responsible, since he didn’t notice the warning signs and get out of Dodge before that fateful day of cats, eels, and bats.

Maggie defends the gargoyles, creatures Fang calls “evil monsters.” They seemed nice enough when they took her to their home- 

Wait a minute. Talon is all over that. Ah, poor Mags. All her efforts to calm things down end up making it worse, as the boys storm the clock tower. They even have the audacity to use her as bait for Bronx and Hudson.

Now, I wonder if the Mutates have tracking chips in them? It would make sense. Putting the Gen U Tech tracker bracelets on would just make them think that the bracelets were the only trackers involved. Knowing Xanatos’s love for trackers, I’d be surprised if he didn’t chip them.

Back underground, Sevarius is insisting to the growling silhouette that’s imprisoning him that he can’t make a cure for the Mutates. No resources, no notes, no lab… But he will “make the attempt.”

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - goliath's fist

Obey the fist!

At the clock tower, Hudson and Bronx are tied up. The Mutates are waiting for Goliath and the others. 

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - hudson chained, fang

Why does Fang look like a canine? It’s cool, but it’s not a feline.

Think Fast

In Xanatos’s office, he and Owen are looking at security footage of Gen U Tech. Elisa has been for a little look around. No doubt David’s figuring out a way to use this.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - owen shows security footage

Yeesh, David. Either queue the footage yourself, or give Owen your chair.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - xanatos looks at footage

Eeeehexcellent. Well, not really. (Those eyebrows though!)

That’s when Talon barges in. He isn’t happy about Sevarius still being alive AND working at Gen U Tech.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - talon angry, xanatos calm

A massive, enraged creature that you were responsible for mutating has just barged in, slapped your lamp across the room, and now is about to come over your desk because he knows the truth. What do you do? If you’re Xanatos, you talk your way out if.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - xanatos hand on talon's shoulder

Tell me David’s planting a tracker on Talon. At any rate, he’s getting handsy again.

Xanatos keeps his perpetual calm and rolls into a masterful excuse: Goliath helped fake Sevarius’s death. In fact, the first “cure” that Goliath “destroyed” back in Metamorphosis was only a placebo. (Then why is Talon still mad after hearing this? Because Xanatos plows on.) They were working together so Anton would create more gargoyles. (This doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but Xanatos presses on before Talon, who wants to believe what Xanatos is telling him anyway, can apply any critical thinking.) David kept Sevarius around to work on a cure. David didn’t tell Talon, because he didn’t want to get Talon’s hopes up. “I still don’t.”

Then Xanatos edges into asking Talon, even calling him Derek, to give up Sevarius. Talon looks shocked at the accusation.

Disney Gargoyles - The Cage - talon shocked at accusation

I take that as a denial?


Halftime!

We’re ramping up for a great ep! Oh, if the review felt short, it’s due to the long, long flashbacks I skipped.

What’s most impressive in this episode is Xanatos’s ability to think on his feet. He’s got a silver tongue and a lightning-fast mind. He knows he’s dealing with people who want to trust him, and who are desperate. This gives him a definite edge. 

Stories where the mad scientist is at the mercy of the monster are great reversals.

Will this be the episode that breaks the ties between Xanatos and the Mutates? Or will he salvage their relationship?

Tune in Friday to learn who kidnapped Sevarius, and what the fate of the Mutates will be.

Thoughts? Comment!


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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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