Both protagonists and antagonists will learn something about themselves in this ep. Know thyself.
If you missed the first half, go read The Edge.
Clash of the Clans
Goliath and Co are gliding back home. Goliath refuses to discuss what Xanatos said. What if the Trio wanted to try out Xanatos’s offer?
A laser blast knocks him out of the air before the discussion goes farther. Woah! Wasn’t expecting that.
Behind the clan are the three Steel Clan robots that were running amuck in the city. The red one we saw on the security footage, who stole the Eye of Odin, is in the lead.
A storm of laser blasts ensues. I dunno where they’re all going. There’s got to be some collateral damage, right? An aerial battle begins. Despite being three against four, the Steel Clan takes out the Trio. That’s new. Previously, the gargoyles were able to handle five. These robots have better AI, I guess.
The clan shelters next to a brick chimney. It’s no match for two giant robots blasting through. These suckers are tough!
The three robots roar in for the final attack – or so it seems. What’s this? They pull up to stare at the clan, which is under a pile of rubble.
Goliath knows what the holdup is: Xanatos doesn’t want to destroy them, he wants to dominate them. No doubt he wants them to lead him back to their new home.
20/20 moment: Silly Goliath, Xanatos hardly cares about that right now!
I’m not sure when Xanatos learned of the clan’s location, but he was aware of it during Hunter’s Moon. It shouldn’t take much effort to find them. They’ll be hanging out on a ledge all day. Odds are they’re not moving around, so just break the city into a grid and check the roofs. Or have Elisa followed for a day. She’ll lead you straight to ’em. Or watch her apartment. When a garg showed up, track him. I’m sure Xanatos came up with more interesting ideas.
Below, the SWAT team and media are gathering. Elisa and Matt are in the audience too. So much for low profile. Time to go!
Off they go to a more secluded area: the Statue of Liberty. Great idea, guys. Tear up a cultural icon, a historical site. My tax dollars will have to clean that up!
Goliath takes on the lead robot, the red one.
It’s 3 on 2 for the Trio and the Steel Clan. Broadway makes short work of a gray robot with the old follow-BOOM! trick. That bit of AI needs work.
Lex and Brooklyn have more trouble. Lexington lands on the last gray bot but gets a zap from it. Again, despite not being grounded, this works.
Broadway grabs the arm of the first robot he crashed. He throws it like a spear, impaling Lex’s ride.
Meanwhile, Big Red and Big Purple are doing aerial acrobatics in a wild dog fight that involves body-checking, slashing, and lasers. The red bot is doing excellent against Goliath. It’s not falling for any tricks, and it’s maneuverable as heck. It isn’t using its laser as much as at first, though. Now the robot is seemingly dragging out the fight.
Goliath takes the fight to the ground, or rather to Lady Liberty’s hair.
The Steel Clan’s performance so far has been limited to the sky. This red robot is as good on the turf as he is in the air. Goliath lands a few punches and rips its laser off, but the bot swings in for a Seoi Nage (shoulder throw).
It also scores a roundhouse kick to Goliath’s face. Goliath succeeds in sweeping it, sending it rolling. It recovers easily…and finds the Trio and Goliath surrounding it.
Then it does something none of the other bots ever did: it looks at each destroyed Steel Clan member, then at the missing laser on its forearm. Calculating the odds as unfavorable, it launches into the night.
20/20 moment: We’ll see the choreography from this Xanatos vs Goliath duel again at the beginning of Vows, when Xantatos meets Goliath to ask him to be best man at the wedding.
The gargoyles can’t hang out for long, though, as the police chopper is inbound. On board are Matt, Elisa, Travis Marshall, and Derek Maza. Always good to see recurring characters.
Back at the clock tower, Goliath is out of his funk. Hey, exercise does help with depression. I guess beating on a robot does too? He’s feeling heartened that they were able to beat the Steel Clan. Again. Sometimes you have to face the person who’s getting to you. Other times you can only face your feeling about them and move on. You give them power over you by obsessing on the hurt they caused.
Elisa is glad he’s feeling optimistic.
As far as the robots go, the cops “reassured” the public that the gargoyles running around causing terror were actually robots. “Who created them is still under investigation.” WELL THEN! Only robots! Whew, I can sleep sound tonight knowing they were only robots. Cuz, you know, robots are known for their crazy antics. Normal as apple pie. It’s also totally reassuring that you don’t know who invented them or why. I’m not at all concerned that this might happen again.
I Am Steel Clan
No Xanatos episode would be complete without a Xanatos Tag Ending!
The red Steel Clan member is atop the castle’s highest parapet, the one Goliath used. Throughout the scenes with this robot, we’ve noticed that in addition to the coloring being red and black rather than silver/gray and black, it has pipes that run along either side of its neck. There’s also a dial in the center of its chest. Now it reaches up and turns the dial to release jets of steam. Ah, this isn’t the usual make. I’m beginning to suspect that… Yes, yes indeed.
The “robot” lifts its “head.” It’s a helmet. Underneath is David Xanatos! We know he’s skilled at martial arts and firearms already, but now he’s at a new level: exo-armor capable of flight. That beats a Corvette to handle your midlife crisis any day!
Xanatos had this armor in the works for awhile. It’s fair to assume he started it as soon as his plan for the gargs in Awakening crumbled. After all, it’s not like you can whip the suit up in a week.
According to Greg: While Tony Stark and David Xanatos share similarities, Greg did not base David in any way on Tony. Greg does admit it might have been a bit of a subconscious nod, as he watched Avengers as a kid, but it wasn’t on purpose.
Some people will say Xanatos is a rip off of Stark, since both men are rich and charismatic, and both have goatees and red battle armor. But if you have even a passing knowledge of the characters, you’ll see the resemblance is only skin deep. I don’t have to go into the differences, right? I don’t have to note that Tony is a narcissistic playboy who lacks responsibility and shirks his duty as CEO. I don’t have to point out that Xanatos is, well, an adult compared to Tony’s immaturity? Xanatos always has a contingency plan. He doesn’t lose his cool. He’s a born leader.
That said, Tony is my favorite Marvel character. I can watch the Iron Man movies thousands of time and they’re still fun. Stan Lee created him after someone challenged him to make a character who is insufferable and who you hate, but who you also absolutely love. Done!
Another interesting fact is that he kept the Steel Clan design for his own armor. The bots are copies of Goliath, whom Xanatos considers one of the “greatest warriors” to ever live.
According to Greg: Xanatos genuinely likes Goliath as a person. David enjoys facing off against the gargoyles’ leader. Finally David has someone on his level to “play” with (my words, not Greg’s).
Despite being seemingly defeated, he’s in a great mood. He explains to Owen his victories: he has the Eye of Odin back, he’s successfully tested the battle exo armor prototype, and best of all, he’s proven himself. He was worrying that he might have gotten soft. I guess a few months in jail where all you can do is shadow box and use the gym will do that to you. He stood up to one of the greatest warriors to live, landed good blows, and would’ve done more had the rest of the clan shown up. That’s nothing to sniff at.
Let’s slow down here. Most people justify or rationalize their failures. There’s always an excuse. Not Xanatos. He noticed what could be a weakness, and instead of ignoring it, he addressed it. He went out of his way to test himself. He did all he could to give himself a new edge while sharpening his existing skills.
Bland Head Cannon: Tony Stark tested the Iron Man suit himself. Xanatos has other people do it. Who? And the follow up to that is that David had to get used to using the armor. I imagine there’s a learning curve. That had to be fun.
Irony moment: He just got out of jail for accepting stolen property. As if to spit in the face of the law, he goes out not ten days later and steals the Eye of Odin. He’s back to framing people for stealing his stuff, while he’s the one doing the burglary this time! Now he’s added breaking and entering. And battery on a guard. Guess what? The law can’t do a thing about it.
I’m interested in seeing what the Eye of Odin brings. It’s built up a lot of “story gravity” in this ep. It can’t be a throw-away item.
Owen is stoic through his boss’s monologue. While Owen does point out that David failed to learn the whereabouts of the gargoyles’ new home, he doesn’t have any other critiques. It has to be a relief that Xanatos is 100% back in the game.
20/20 moment: Puck must be ecstatic! His playmate has a new toy, one that’s sure to bring lots of fun shenanigans. And how cool is it to work with a guy who has battle armor that can fly? Puck’s probably thinking, “That’s my David! Never a dull moment!”
What an amazing ep! I did not see the reveal coming when I watched it as a kid. I thought the red Steel Clan member was just a better robot. Even if I thought it was piloted, I’d have guessed remote control, like Lex mentions. No way did I think it was Xanatos!
The episode premise is excellent. Giving antagonists/villains doubts is rarely done, but it should be done more often. It makes them deeper characters.
Xanatos’s gambit felt believable yet cunning on a super-villain level. It’s harder than it looks to come up with a good antagonist scheme – one that fits the character and isn’t predictable.
The ending makes me smile. Both the antagonists and the protagonists started out with self-doubt, but now they’re both happy and confident. How often does that happen? They both think they’ve won, and they have. Xanatos comes out with more points, though.
This is one of the first eps where we see how effective Xanatos’s plans can be when he’s fully in control and knows his opponents. No more taking him down with the law. That’s something else that sets Gargoyles apart: the antagonists aren’t constantly in and out of jail. This isn’t Batman: The Animated Series. Stonegate Pen and Arkham Asylum aren’t solutions – not that they were in Batman either.