Gargoyles: The Gathering – Episode Review

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The Gathering has begun; the fey, Oberon’s Children, are returning to Avalon to pay homage to Lord Oberon. But one is missing: The Puck. Taking this personally, Oberon goes to hunt down the trickster. Meanwhile, another family reunion is taking place. The reason for this gathering? Alexander Fox Xanatos, son of David and Fox, has been born. But all is not as it seems. An uninvited guest will bring startling revelations about Alex’s heritage.

Miss last week’s? Read Future Tense episode review.

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


Season 2, Episode 44: The Gathering part 1


Reason(s) for existence: To introduce Alexander Fox Xanatos. To conduct the Gathering. To put House Xanatos in a tight spot. To challenge Goliath’s devotion to right and wrong. To reveal Anastasia’s true identity. To show Fox’s heritage.


Main antagonist(s): Oberon, Titania


Time(s):  July 9th, 1996


Location(s):  New York City, New York, USA


Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - title

Because it’s always a full moon on Avalon.

Prologue: We’re finally here! The Gathering, part 1. It’s one of my favorite episodes. It’s also the very first episode of Gargoyles I saw. To help you keep that in mind, I’ll give what I can remember of my thoughts during the first watching, before I even knew what a gargoyle was. I’ll take those as First Thoughts. FYI, I was around 9 or 10.

Previously: The Gathering is about to start. Banshee is not happy about going. Fox is pregnant.

We start on Avalon, which is hopping with activity. There’s a long line of people waiting to get into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. No, sorry, wrong Magic Kingdom. Somehow they’re all carrying torches, because it’s not like they have magic or anything. I would have thought maybe a will o’ the wisp, or even floating candles, like in Hogwarts. But no.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - avalon castle

We are sticking with the Medieval theme 100%.

Gargoyles are all over the place, acting as guards while Oberon’s Children file in to pay homage to their liege-lord. I’m sure Oberon took the credit for that, saying it was by his magnanimous grace that they were here, and they would serve as fitting guards for the Third Race.

The Children who are first in line are ones we recognize. Grandmother, Odin, Raven, Coyote, Anansi. Oh, and Anubis. Well, that’s freaky. He’s the god of death? And he’s a fake? I still don’t really understand how this works. I guess he’s just a supervisor of the Grim Reaper? He doesn’t actually do any work, so he doesn’t have to worry about breaking that command of not to meddle in human affairs. Then again, Jackal controlled the death power. The episode was just freaky and went beyond bounds.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - children of oberon line

First Thoughts: What on earth is going on here.

But I digress! Odin is bowing before Oberon. Good thing the Vikings didn’t know about this; their entire pantheon would have been blown out of the water.

The Weird Sisters appear, and with them is the Banshee. But she is not happy about being here. They drop her in front of Oberon.

First Thoughts: What is this Gargoyles show? I’ve never seen it. Huh, I have no clue what’s going on, but it looks weird and promising.

Odin — and everybody else — thinks it’s rather funny that she had to get dragged in. This sets off a scuffle between the two. They use their magic, and then like any good Disney wizard / magic user fight, they…turn into animals. Is there someone around who can pull the sword from the stone while they’re busy?

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - banshee odin animals

Remember, if this kind of battle ever happens, you just need to turn into a Ebola virus, or possibly the plague, and infect your opponent.

It’s all fun and games until Odin, who really doesn’t have an excuse since he regained his lost eye, gets a bit too close to Oberon’s mirror. Oberon tells them to stop, but they don’t. He freezes them.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon freezes odin and banshee

Well now, that’s one way to settle an argument.

He says that Banshee’s pride in her voice is what caused the disagreement. Until she shows real humility, they wouldn’t be hearing her voice. She doesn’t have a chance to defend herself, since she’s frozen in ice. But, it is a legitimate charge. This shows that not only is Oberon powerful, he’s also a benevolent ruler. He wants his people to live in peace, and he wants them to show humility. Now, he’s actually pretty humble, all things considered. If you were that powerful, I doubt you’d be very humble. Remember, it was the whole lack of humility on Titania’s part that caused him to exile everyone a thousand years ago, thus necessitating the present Gathering.

When he thaws the pair, she has a muzzle on.

The Weird Sisters remark that everyone has arrived except for Titania and Puck. Oberon doesn’t care that his queen is gone, since she comes and goes as she wills. But Puck is another matter. Puck is Oberon’s to command. Darn, how did he get that lovely role?

First Thoughts: So many names. (I hadn’t read any Shakespeare, btw.)

The Sisters are more than ready to hunt him down. And I doubt they would be gentle when they captured him. But fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, Oberon decides to go hunt Puck himself. Why do I have a bad feeling about this?

Via the mirror, he Skypes with Princess Katherine. He request the use of Boudicca, the gargoyle beast. He is very polite and respectful in his address to Katherine, treating her as fellow royalty.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - katherine and boudicca

A garg dog to track a fey? Interesting idea. You’d think Oberon could just magically do it, though. But we all love Boudicca!

First Thoughts: Who is she and why is she here? What is that dog thing?

Then Oberon uses the mirror to teleport himself and the garg beast into Central Park. Wait, Puck is in New York City? Why? Who cares! We’re in NYC again, which means a chance to see —

YEEEES! The Eyrie Building establishing shot tells me we’re about to see our favorite antagonists. After ages of no House Xanatos, we are back in the thick of things. I could not be happier!

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - eyrie building establishing shot

I have never been so thrilled to see this establishing shot!

Avalon is not the only place having a family reunion. House Xanatos and its ilk are in attendance. Anastasia, Renard, and Vogel are hanging out on the Atrium’s deck. Anastasia is pacing.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - renards and vogel

I wonder if Anastasia and Renard have seen each other since Fox married David. I get the feeling that Anastasia likes David.

The elevator opens. Owen exits with Petros Xanatos. Owen introduces everyone. It’s interesting that the in-laws have never met. It makes sense, considering everyone’s relationship. What with Renard hating David, and Petros constantly antagonizing Xanatos. Yeah it’s the Hate David Club. Anastasia is pretty much the only one who gets along with everybody.

Owen stands next to Preston Vogel. For some reason, Owen doesn’t have his suit jacket on. The white shirt really highlights his fair features compared to Vogel’s.

First Thoughts: Yep, they do look alike, but I don’t care, cuz I dunno who any of you people are. (I don’t remember realizing they were in the Eyrie Building or having any reaction to the fact that they’re obviously filthy rich.)

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - petros surprised

Petros, who has seen gargoyles, magic, and time travel, but was stubbornly not impressed by any of it, is thunderstruck to find Owen and Vogel resemble each other.

Are they related? asks Petros.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - vogel and owen

I love these two. I wish we had more instances of them interacting.

While Owen smiles in amusement, Vogel denies kinship a bit too forcefully.

Anastasia pipes up, saying that her last name is no longer Renard. This blows Renard away. I don’t know why. They’re divorced. And frankly, I can totally sympathize with her. I wouldn’t want to be around the self-righteous prick either. She says that she has remarried her first husband.


20/20 moment: I wonder what she told Renard regarding her first husband?


The other person who is surprised is Owen. Surprisingly. He blanches, or would if the animators were more detailed. Stuttering an excuse, he bolts into the elevator. Jeez, did you leave the faucet running in the bathtub? Nobody knows why this should affect him so strangely.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - owen placid

Before the announcement.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - owen surprised

And after. This is only the second time we’ve seen him surprised, the first one being City of Stone.


20/20 moment: At least, Anastasia / Titania pretends she doesn’t know. She of course mentioned this little fact in front of Owen for a reason. When she tips over this domino, she knows the game of Puck mousetrap has begun.


First Thoughts: Getting kind of soap-opera-y here.

The elevator opens again; David steps off, carrying his son. David is appropriately thrilled. This is a totally new experience for him, and one he’s enjoying to the fullest. (What a change to see him joyful about something not related to being an antagonist.) He introduces them to his boy, Alexander Fox Xanatos.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos with alex fist time

Say it with me, “Awwww!”

First Thoughts: Holy hotness, Batman! That dude is handsome. He seems nice, too.


According to Greg: “Alexander Fox Xanatos. A little bit of mom. A little bit of dad. A little bit of world conqueror. A chilling reminder in middle name and hair color of the events of “Future Tense”. We expect great things from this kid…”


After watching Future Tense, that name should raise some eyebrows. How did Puck know this was going to be the boy’s name? So, was it in fact a prophesy? Not all of it, I mean, but parts?

Also, this is the ep after we saw what adult!Alex will look like. It helps you identify with the kid more.

Alex is the cutest baby anyone’s ever seen. Unlike other newborns, who look like potatoes — and not good potatoes, but the ones that have been sitting on the bottom of the cupboard because you’re too lazy to make your own baked potato — Alex is a perfect cherub. Typical. His mom and dad are perfect 10s, so why shouldn’t he be? He’s got orange-ish hair. Oh boy, Fox & David’s genes, plus he’s a ginger? We’re in for one heck of a handful.

First Thoughts: Aw, cute.

In Central Park, the jogger that we know from, I guess most recently would be Awakening, sees Oberon emerge from a portal. When jogger man looks again, there’s just a white-haired guy with a Doberman. Granted, the white-haired guy has some pretty wicked canines, but at least he’s not blue and wearing armor and sporting a cloak that defies gravity. Or walking a baby dragon.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon in central park

Don’t mind me, just taking my dragon dog for a walk.

In the Xanatoses’ bedroom, which we recognize from when Fox tried to kill David after he didn’t put the forks in the dishwasher tines-down the Eye of Odin fiasco, the relatives are gathered around to appreciate the new edition.

Petros says the boy looks just like David.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - alex in fox's arms

Totally, Petros. He’s a spitting image, except for the fact that he lacks brown eyes and hair, a goatee, and any actual definition to his facial features.

Renard’s a little more realistic, pointing out that the boy has Fox’s eyes. Um, in that they’re green? I guess. And because the animators suddenly remember Fox has green instead of blue eyes.

Titania says that he’s perfect and calls him her prince.

Xanatos stands a few yards off, the epitome of a proud father. Seriously, he’s radiating paternal pride.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos bedroom

That room has the same footprint as my entire house.

Owen slinks in. He whispers in David’s ear not to leave Alex alone with Anastasia. It shows the extent of the trust David puts in his friend, because David doesn’t haul off and ask why on earth he shouldn’t leave his kid alone with his mother-in-law, the only relative he actually gets along with. Instead, he looks at the woman with newfound suspicion.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos suspicious

Don’t mess with David’s kid. Just don’t.

She says that the boy has marvelous potential.

When Xanatos turns to speak with Owen, he finds his chief of security has pulled a Batman and vanished.

First Thoughts: Eh? And what’s this blond guy’s relationship to everybody?

Downstairs, Oberon has entered the building. The security guard (same one from The Edge, whom Owen had to cover for when the guard failed to stop Elisa) is no match for the fey’s Jedi mind trick.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon in lobby

At least guard guy tried.

Oberon takes the elevator to the Great Hall. He’s actually quite impressed by the area, and compliments it. It’s always nice when the lord of a magical race compliments your digs.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon in great hall

It really is a tasteful Great Hall. Did you know: they don’t bother polishing the floor. There’s no point, since they’ll need a whole new floor in a few weeks after the monthly destruction of the castle occurs.

Boudicca wants to go one direction, having scented Puck. Wait a minute, what in the heck is Sparky doing in the Eyrie Building? The magical elf has absolutely no reason to be there. But for the moment, Oberon is more interested in the fact that his Titania is near. Okay, so I can maybe write off Puck being around. Maybe. But Titania too? I guess we’ll figure it out.

Back with the family, Anastasia is commenting that Fox must be tired. Well, she just gave birth, so that’s a good guess. By the way, though, she looks great for having just delivered her son. I’m not going to say anything about that nightgown, though. …Okay, I lied. Animators, what is wrong with you? These people are multi-billionaires, and the most appropriate thing you can think of for her to wear — and let’s not forget Fox is drop-dead gorgeous and has excellent taste in pretty much everything (especially husbands) — is a yellow, ruffled house dress that even martini-hammered housewives from the ’60s would abhor. Arg. I’m gonna say that her mom got it for her and she doesn’t want to offend.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos with fox, anastasia

I love how protective David is of Fox. (Now if only he’d protected her from that horrible nightgown.)

Where was I? Oh right. Anastasia wanted to take Alex.

First Thoughts: Dang, use some tact, Hot Guy.

Xanatos jumps up to run interference. I have never seen him less tactful and more unsettled. He relieves her of his son. With Alex safe, he recovers himself enough to say she must be tired from her trip. She’s not needed, because they have a nurse for Alex.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos takes alex

We’re seeing a lot of expressions on Xanatos that are new. That’s what having a kid does.

Side note: Who do they trust enough for that job, assuming he’s telling the truth? I honestly question in  just on the grounds of them being such control freaks. They’d want to be involved in almost everything that had to do with their kid. At least, David would. This is apparently the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to him in his entire life, and this includes seeing gargoyles wake up after he’s moved a castle across the Atlantic and popped it on top of his building, witnessing an entire city of people turn to stone, making a clone, saving his wife from being a werefox, and dealing with magical beings. It makes perfect sense, though. He wanted a kid, and what David Xanatos wants, he gets.

Anastasia doesn’t have a chance to argue, for who should appear but Oberon. He is not in his human guise, either. No one really seems too surprised. It says a lot about Fox and David’s experiences that seeing a blue-skin, pointy-eared, armor-wearing fey teleport in, gargoyle beast at his side, draws little comment aside from David asking, “Who are you?” They’re like, “Meh, just another day in the Eyrie Building.”

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon enters

Honey, I’m home!

I’m rather surprised Oberon did this. So he thinks it’s okay to just butt in on whatever his wife is doing? Look, nobody invited you to the party. You said she can come and go as she wants, but now you go and blow the whole secret of there being a Third Race? Granted, you can wipe their minds, but still. Zero tact.

Fox exclaims, “Mother!”

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon confronts anastasia

This is the extent of the Xanatoses’ amazement. But really, what else are they gonna do? Freak out?

This gets Oberon’s attention. “Titania, what have you been up to?”

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - oberon sly smile

You’d look like this too if you’d said that on a kid’s show.

Fox demands an explanation.

Xanatos thinks it’ll be interesting to find out. “Interesting”? Are you on Xanax, buddy?

Oberon tells Anastasia it’s time to drop the disguise. Oh. Let me guess… Yes, this is Titania, Queen of the Third Race. Again, nobody’s that surprised. I’m sorry, but if my mother turned out to be Queen of the Fey, I’d be a bit taken aback. Also, if my spouse’s mom was Queen of the Fey, I would be a bit taken aback. (I don’t have a spouse, so I don’t have to worry about that.)

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - titania revlealed

The Queen of Manipulation is in the house!

First Thoughts: Mmkay. From everybody’s reaction, this is semi-normal in their world. What the heck is this?

Titania explains. After the exile, she took to studying human science. It was only in last hundred years, though, so I don’t know what she did for the other nine hundred. She met Halcyon Renard, who had a fine intellect. She says they fell in love. Really? He must have been a much different man. Then she became pregnant. Because that’s what happens when two people really love each other. You get more little humans. But after a while, she realized Renard was too rigid to hold her interest. The only one who could keep her interest is Oberon.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - titania and renard

She’s prepared a PowerPoint to explain the last 1000 years, complete with home movies.

Oberon asks if Fox has magic. Titania says Fox’s magic has “withered.”

“Can you be so sure?”

Well, she’s been in crisis after crisis, and there is no sign of magic.

Disney Gargoyles - The Gathering - xanatos stand off against fey

Two husbands who love their wives. Two mothers who love their children.

Okay, how exactly was she supposed to develop her magic? Go to Hogwarts? Look, Mama, if you’re not going to teach her, who is? Did you just expect it to happen naturally? Good going, mother of the year.


Halftime!

Talk about a big start to an episode! This is the first 1/4 of the two-ep story, so I really don’t have much to say, other than I am incredibly happy to be done with the Avalon Arc.

I will mention, though, that I’ve pretty much forgotten about Puck, since I’m too interested in the Titania revelation.

When I first watched this, I had no idea what was going on in the wider scope of the show, but the ep did a great job of keeping me focused on the present story. I didn’t HAVE to know everyone’s history to enjoy the ep.

Tune in Friday to find out if Oberon finds Puck, what repercussions Titania’s revelation will have, and how Alex’s heritage will affect the lives of friend and foe alike. Don’t be late for The Gathering part 1 continued.

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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