Finally, THE EDGE! It’s always been one of my fave eps, alongside Eye of the Beholder, Vows, and The Gathering parts 1 and 2.
Now that everyone’s settled in their homes – new and old – we can get back to business. Rather, David Xanatos can. He dropped into his old routine without a pause, but he’s not as confident as he appears. Is he losing his edge? It’ll take more than a new Corvette to resolve this doubt. In typical Xanatos fashion, he has a plan that’ll kill two birds, or possibly gargoyles, with one stone. Or robot. Gotta love those Xanatos Gambits!
We meet an upgraded version of the Steel Clan. Will the havoc they’re wreaking in the city put the gargoyles in harm’s way? Don’t worry, Xanatos has a good reason for his maneuvers.
Let’s get on with one of my favorite episodes!
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 1, Episode 10: The Edge
Reason(s) for existence: To show Xanatos’s combat skills are still up to par while showing off the battle exo-armor. To put the Eye of Odin back in his collection while shedding more light on his attitude toward and plans for the gargoyles. To intro Matt Bluestone. To acclimate the clan to the clock tower. To intro the Emir.
Main antagonist(s): Xanatos, Steel Clan
Time(s): January 12th-13th, 1995
Location(s): New York City, New York, USA.
We kick off (ha!) with David and Owen bowing to each other on the dojo mat. We’ve seen both men in combat situations, but watching them face off against each other is a surprise! How often do you see an antagonist and his lieutenant spar?
Whenever there’s a contest where the winner doesn’t have to be the hero, the suspense jumps exponentially. I’m expecting David to win, as he’s, well, the boss.
They circle. Owen is in the zone, while David plays cool out of his range. Not for long. Owen attacks with a combo of kicks. David dodges the first, but catches the second square in the chest. Nice shot, Owen! I’m assuming they’re doing a mixed martial arts bout.
David nails the landing. He looks shocked – completely and utterly, There’s no anger, though.
The match is still on, so Owen advances.
Still mentally reeling, David concedes. Props to the animators for being accurate with this match! David even hops up correctly. Disney Japan knows its stuff.
Is David going to upbraid Owen for defeating him? It’s not generally accepted for the majordomo to defeat his employer, especially when they’re the show’s antagonists. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that David and Owen are anything but your average villains. Their work relationship is also unlike any archetypal relationship in…pretty much all fiction, TV or not.
David is still confused and a little annoyed – but not at Owen. He compliments the head of security on his win. He follows up with, “This is the first time I’ve ever lost a match to you.” It’s a wording that gives Owen full credit. I mean, David could’ve made it a backhanded compliment instead, saying, “This is the first time you’ve ever won.” (Sparring has got to get boring for Owen if he never wins…) The fact that Xanatos is good enough to take out Owen consistently shows just how much skill David has.
It dawns on Owen that he just humiliated his employer. “Would you rather I pretend to lose?” he asks. He’s being about…30% snarky, which is like 0% for most people, if you grade on a curve. If David wanted to win every bout, Owen would throw them.
David snaps, “I’d fire you if you did.”
20/20 moment: I’m going to overlook the whole “writers didn’t know Owen was Puck” issue and take Xanatos’s statement at face value. It’s more powerful that way. Xanatos values honesty in his allies, even if he doesn’t practice it or require them to practice it with anyone outside his circle of confidants (which is Owen and Fox). Xanatos also highly values receiving an honest appraisal of his abilities. If he can’t test them adequately, how will he know his limits? Knowing your own limits is as important as knowing your opponent’s. Know thyself, yes?
That’s serious. Owen is a fantastic right-hand man and security chief, yet Xanatos would fire him for putting out less than his best. Unlike 99% of all other villains/antagonists, Xanatos doesn’t want a yes-man. The very idea seems to disgust him. This fits his character and his personality (ENTJ on the Meyers-Briggs, in my opinion). Smart guy, Xanatos. Having a friend around who’ll keep you accountable and push you to be better is priceless.
An awkward silence follows, prompting Owen to ask if David’s all right. David changes gears, apparently forgetting about the match as he shifts to his schedule. Next up, a meeting with the Emir at 2pm. Xanatos is feeling edgy; move it to 1pm.
Who is this Emir? It probably has to do with a business deal. Xanatos doesn’t have to cater to the Emir, meaning the fellow works for or is subordinate to him. Is it a throw-away reference? The writers so far haven’t wasted a thing, so I doubt it.
20/20 moment: First mention of the Emir! He’s working on a spell that will make him the avatar for Anubis, the Egyptian god of death. Anibus is really a fey, but that doesn’t matter. He has the ability to grant immortality, so thinks the Emir.
The fact that our first mention of the Emir (second is in Double Jeopardy) comes when Xanatos is questioning his abilities is perfect. He’s wondering if he’s slipping. I’m sure that thoughts of old age and its price are looming large.
Saddle Up, Partner
At the 23rd Precinct, Elisa is lugging a TV in. A ginger we’ve seen before as Chavez’s driver in Deadly Force bounds up to help her.
After stashing the TV, Elisa meets with Captain Chavez. Much to Maza’s chagrin, she’s getting a partner. Guess who? Ginger guy! Well, he seems nice, anyway. His name’s Matt Bluestone. He worked with Chavez on the Dracon business, so he’s a capable detective.
Out of Chavez’s earshot, Elisa tries to put Matt off on being her partner. Why bother, Elisa? He’s yours and you’re his. Get used to it. It’s not like he can decide to quit being your partner. Getting a partner so sick of you that they ask for a transfer isn’t the best idea.
According to Greg: Matt is Michael Reaves’s character. “Bluestone” was an earlier choice for Elisa’s last name, after Chavez and Reed.
Elisa manages to shrug him off for twenty mins while she carries the TV up to the gargoyles in the clock tower. Broadway is right there to help her. It’s been an eternity in cartoon time – two episodes – since he shot her. She’s made a great recovery, as in “real” time it’s only been a couple months.
The gargs set up the TV while she goes next door to the library. Look, I don’t know why there’s no security system here, ok? Don’t ask. All I can think is Elisa somehow has security access?
Goliath is reading Dostoyevsky. In case you slept through English, he wrote Crime and Punishment, among other classics. The book addresses in part the ends justifying the means. He’s also got great quotes like,
If there is no God, everything is permitted.
To live without Hope is to cease to live.
Goliath is in the dark of depression. He’s a “man out of time,” a creature inhabiting a world and even a time that aren’t his. Who do they belong to? Xanatos. Everything belongs to Xanatos, it seems. Goliath’s whole world was the castle, and now he’s lost that. To Xanatos. In Goliath’s mind, David cheated by coming back from jail to live in the castle. David “stole” the gargoyles’ ancestral home. Goliath is stuck on this idea. Elisa has explained that David legally bought the castle. Heck, that’s how he was able to wake them!
Xanatos navigates the world with the grace and ferocity of a shark in the ocean. He’ll always be on top of the food chain. All their struggles against him, and what good did it do? There he is in the castle, and here they are hiding in a dingy clock tower.
If only Goliath could make Xanatos feel out of place and robbed! Uh, you did land him in jail for a few months…so you got that going for you, Mr. Protagonist. It’s not enough, though. Don’t we all at some point in our lives want the person who bested us or betrayed us or besmirched our good name to, if not pay a price, at least see things from our perspective? If they could feel how they made us feel, they’d understand. It would be a form of justice. Inflicting our pain on our foe, even though it wouldn’t do a darn thing to fix whatever they did to us, would feel great. It’s like poor-man’s vengeance. It’s still a sucker’s game that drags you in, makes you focus on your pain and their crime. Meanwhile, they’re happily going about their daily lives.
Elisa is upbeat, saying she wouldn’t want Xanatos’s karma.
20/20 moment / According to Greg: Greg says Xanatos got his comeuppance when Oberon tried to take Alex. But I disagree. Xanatos never received the karmic slap Elisa wanted to see. He loses here and there, but he always scrapes victory out of loss.
As for Oberon’s kidnapping attempt, it was under the control of Titania, who wanted Alex to stay with his parents (her daughter and her son-in-law) and be trained by Puck. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have actually taken Alex.
In the Media’s Eye
While the gargs have been moping around and setting up the cable, Team Xanatos is getting good PR. The clan gathers to watch a news report, where surly, no-nonsense reporter Travis Marshall is interviewing David at the Museum of Modern Art. David, the genius, billionaire,
playboy, philanthropist, is donating a piece of…art? An artifact? Why is it going in the modern art museum if it’s historical? It’s called the Eye of Odin. That’s a bit gross if you think about it. Odin traded his eye for wisdom, remember. Xanatos says it should be shared with he world, not locked in his private collection. I still want to see the collection. Besides, he boasts, it’s a great tax write off.
According to Greg: The idea for the Eye of Odin came from the interactive/gaming department. Greg and co. liked the concept, so they developed it.
Travis takes advantage of the moment to rub the whole jail-time snafu in David’s face. Waxing dramatic, Xanatos replies that he made a mistake. We know that mistake was underestimating his opponents. He paid his debt to society. Now he wants to do something to benefit others. Would Travis rather he kept the eye?
We’re practically drowning in snark by the time Owen pulls his boss off the reporter. Ok, it’s a low key “rescue,” just Owen saying the limo’s ready. But Xanatos takes the opportunity to make a grand exit. He compliments Owen, then takes his leave with a drama-queen “I’m not appreciated around here” line. Gotta love his attitude! He’s having a blast, relishing the media attention.
20/20 moment: Watch how David and Owen interact in public. Owen is painfully respectful, actually bowing to Xanatos slightly. David takes every opportunity to compliment him, or at least give him due credit for competence. In private, though, the sarcasm and snark can be intense. See Double Jeopardy, The Price, and Possession for examples. At the most extreme, David is just shy of acting superior, while Owen verges on being a brat. What else would you expect from two tricksters who share a strong friendship?
Goliath is beyond pissed at seeing Xanatos on TV. So, even the guy’s very appearance pisses off Goliath? That’s some hefty power David holds over him – and Goliath allows.
Smash and Grab
Cut to a guard and the Scream. An alarm sends him running.
Meanwhile, Matt and Elisa are driving. Matt is prattling on about the Illuminati. Even the president works for them! Elisa has had enough of Agent Mulder’s conspiracy theories, as well as his UFOs and Loch Ness.
20/20 moment: And she’ll meet them all before this series is done! I wonder if the writers had any clue they’d be going into those stories?
Matt turns into a great way of exploring the Illuminati story lines.
In the new Slave Labor Graphics (SLG) gargoyles comic, the Illuminati sends Xanatos, Fox, and Alex to DC to meet the president over Halloween. There’s a plot afoot regarding the gargoyles. Xanatos is to play one side, while the Canmore plays the other. The Illuminati runs the House, though.
Back at the MoMA, on the security cams, we see a Steel Clan robot in near-silhouette as it smashes the case containing the Eye of Odin. Alarms are screaming.
The guard is about to go the way of all guards on TV: cannon fodder! In this case, the robot punches him in the face.
The alarms bring the cops. Closest unit? Elisa and Matt. They arrive just in time to see the robot crash through a window. The robot launches into the air just as Matt shoots it- before Elisa can stop him. The bullet ricochets off the metal.
Matt is stunned and angry – at the robot/monster and at Elisa. She thinks fast for one of the best covers I’ve heard: the thing could’ve blown up. Good thinking. It’s generally not smart to shoot something if you don’t know how it will react or what it’s made of. This is a nice scene for Matt, though. It shows he’s a man of action, with skills to match.
At the station, Chavez briefs Elisa. Why are all their briefings private? Does Elisa get too loud in the group briefs? She’s sure loud here and every other time I’ve seen her in the cap’s office. Matt’s worked up too. There are three of these things around the city, causing trouble, and shooting them doesn’t have any effect.
While the cops are trying to keep things cool, Travis Marshall isn’t. He’s showing the footage. It’s great footage. You can really tell it’s a gargoyle and it’s stealing the Eye. Hmm, did Xanatos have giver’s regret? I’m sure he wants the tax write off and the Eye. But what’s up with having the Steel Clan do it? And why so obvious? He could have anybody steal it for him, like he had the Xanatos Enterprises security forces stage the attack on the castle in Awakening.
The clan doesn’t cotton to being framed. Goliath is in a full battle rage. This is the last straw! Why can’t Xanatos just leave them alone and enjoy his victory?
Goliath storms out to “deal with Xanatos.” Elisa is left to catch up.
If Goliath thought he’d catch David unawares, he’s dead wrong. At the Eyrie Building, David is waiting for Goliath in the courtyard.
I’m assuming he saw the incoming gargs on radar, then sauntered out to cut a casual, assured figure in his yard in his castle on his sky scraper. Even with the radar, he must’ve cleared his schedule tonight in anticipation of their arrival. He’s got something big in the works.
To Goliath’s credit, he lands in front of Xanatos rather than just swooping down and grabbing the man by the neck and tossing him into the nearest wall.
Down in the Eyrie’s lobby, Elisa and Matt charge in – only to meet Owen, who’d make a wicked-good goalie.
Mr. Xanatos is in a meeting, and they should leave. Elisa goes from the quick response she gave Matt, which I really liked, to this mess: “I’ve always been welcome before.”
Are. You. Serious?
Owen shows his professionalism by responding with only, “Things change detective. I don’t suppose you have a warrant?” Yeah, things change. For instance, the gargs don’t live here anymore. Xanatos does, though. Do you still walk into your friend’s house after your friend has moved out and sold the place? No.
A few thousand feet above, David doesn’t let Goliath get too far into his tirade about Xanatos going “too far.” What follows is one of the best examples of David’s style and charisma in the whole series!
Xanatos insists he’s the gargoyles’ best friend “in this world.” Props to Frakes for the excellent delivery of that line! The gargoyles aren’t welcome in the city-
Because of Xanatos! Good point, Goliath, but…
“If you want to be picky, we won’t get anywhere.” Ooh, denied, Big Guy! Xanatos shuts down arguments like he’s a politician: your totally true point is not applicable here because it clashes with my narrative.
David has a research facility upstate where the gargoyles can be comfortable and protected. They’ll be his guests. On the surface, it sounds pretty sweet. They get to have free room and board, they don’t have to worry about attackers, and they get to leave the city. If the protags aren’t offered a chance to join the antagonists at least once in a series, the writers just aren’t trying. Giving up the fight and making what Dracula would call a “dishonorable peace” is tempting. You get sick of struggle. Just compromise, bite the bullet, and soften your stance.
Goliath won’t even consider it. He knows Xanatos wants to dominate them. He’s wanted to control them since the beginning. If he couldn’t do it overtly, he used manipulation. Goliath is spot on. Xanatos wants obedience, but he loves loyalty.
It’s a nifty bit of irony that Xanatos essentially wants to have them under his thumb, just as he was under the thumb of the judicial system.
According to Greg: Xanatos is on probation. I don’t know why Greg chose it to be probation. It should be parole, as parole comes after incarceration. Probation is done instead of incarceration. Each has different requirements and rights under each.
Goliath roars. He grabs the nearest lamp post and slams it into the ground. Then he turns and bounds away. Again, credit to him for not making Xanatos experience the lamp’s fate. Goliath has learned that he can’t just kill his enemies, especially when the enemy is as high profile as Xanatos. What Goliath intends to do now is anybody’s guess.
David never loses his cool. He has a slight smile through the whole exchange. He handles the lamp smash as if Goliath had sent him a text saying, “No thank you.”
As Goliath takes off, David calls after, “You’re taking this much too personally!” Which is a hilarious line! Xanatos thinks so too, as he’s grinning. This is an outcome he was, if not hoping for, then expecting. As usual with his gambits, if Goliath accepted the offer, David won. If Goliath refused…we’ll see.
Elisa and Matt retreat to the car. Matt is confused about the whole deal. He’s wondering, what are they doing out here trying to bust in to see a billionaire at whatever-o-clock at night it is? He confines himself to saying, “That was spectacularly unsuccessful.” I like Matt. He’s got a sense of humor and is easy-going.
The gargs soar overhead. Elisa spots them and gives chase. Poor Matt, there’s no end to the nuttiness tonight. He insists that Elisa does need him, though, since the times when you think you don’t need a partner are often the times you need one the most.
I dunno about you, but I’m enjoying the heck out of this ep! Not only do Xanatos and Owen have big parts, they’re both at their smooth, snarky bests. Xanatos is flat-out having fun. It’s great to see people have a good time, especially antagonists. There’s just something about a villain/antagonist who enjoys his “job” that makes the story 100% more enjoyable.
We’re not sure what Xanatos is up to. Sure, he made an attempt to force the gargoyles to come to his research facility, but he had to know the chances of that succeeding were slim. So what’s he really after? We’ve got half an ep left to find out. This is going to be good!
Tune in Friday for the conclusion of one of the best Gargoyles eps ever. And while you read it, I’ll be at the Star Trek 50th Anniversary con in San Francisco. Who’s going to be there? Oh, only a few people you might recognize: Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Marina Sirtis.