Gargoyles: The Price – Episode Review

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Macbeth is back, and he’s on the hunt for trophies. Specifically, gargoyles. When his magic keeps Hudson from awakening from his stone sleep at sunset, the clan is left to find a solution. But it’s all a distraction for the real action: Xanatos has kidnapped Hudson. David wants Hudson’s skin. Why? It’s an ingredient in a magic brew that, according to the legend, will make whoever bathes in it “live as long as the mountain’s stones.” After all, what good are all the riches in the world – which Xanatos essentially has – if you die?

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


Season 2, Episode 20: The Price


Reason(s) for existence: To emphasize Xanatos’s desire for immortality. To explore what true immortality is. To show how gargoyles mourn their dead. To show Hudson’s legacy. To highlight the loyalties of characters. To show a bit of Xanatos and Owen’s “off-camera” working relationship. To introduce the Cauldron of Life. To prove Owen’s loyalty.


Main antagonist(s): Xanatos, Owen, Macbeth


Time(s):  December 22nd-23rd, 1995 (Merry Christmas)


Location(s): New York City, New York


Disney Gargoyles - The Price - title

The WTC. Gargoyles made me really want to visit the Twin Towers. I never had the opportunity.

Trophies!

Previously: in Long Way to Morning, Hudson doubts himself because he is old. He proves himself against Demona, though.


According to Greg: According to Greg’s ramble on Station 8, this episode’s concept came from a story in Disney Adventures magazine called Stone Cold and written by Lee Nordling. Greg gave the idea of replacing a gargoyle with a statue to Michael Reaves. He ran with it.

If you want to see the full scripts, check ’em out:

First Draft script for The Price

Final Draft script for The Price


The clan is out on patrol this cold, winter night. It’s only three days before Christmas, but there aren’t any lights up. I guess the foreign animators forgot, or they didn’t know the date in the episode.

Out of nowhere, Macbeth zooms up on a hovercraft Segway sky-sled thing and starts shooting his electro weapon at the clan.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - macbeth on hovercraft with taser

Random encounter! Roll initiative.

Goliath says he doesn’t know how Macbeth escaped the Weird Sisters. Um, he should already be beyond that, since both Demona and Macbeth tangled with Elisa in High Noon. Maybe he correctly assumed they were still in the Sisters’ thrall.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - gargoyles surround macbeth

That’s a stiff wind if they can hover gliding. I want his Segway, btw.

“Trophies!” Macbeth laughs. Trophies? Since when has Macbeth cared about that? He’s had plenty of chances to make them trophies, too. Macbeth is a man of honor, one who always has a reason for engaging the gargoyles in combat. He’s not a Marvel or DC villain who just wants to harass the heroes for the heck of it.

During the fight, Hudson follows Macbeth. The Scotsman throws an envelope of…glitter or fairy dust in Hudson’s face. Between Macbeth’s maneuvering and the herpes of the craft world, Hudson is grounded.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - macbeth with envelope

Net missiles, electro weapons, hover scooter. But his most fearsome weapon? And ENVELOPE.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - magic dust in Hudson's face

I guess it’s not fairy dust. Maybe if he just thought more happy thoughts…?

Macbeth is about to finish Hudson off, when Goliath throws a lighting rod at the air speeder craft and sends it and Macbeth down to explode in the street.

Everyone’s shocked at what happened. Normally killing the opponent isn’t their intent. They can’t believe that Macbeth is dead. After all the times he’s tangled with them, he’s dead, just like that? Wow. Mortality check.

We the viewers know he can’t die unless Demona kills him. But…that doesn’t mean he can just grow his body back from ash, right? Or does it? Greg W says that it’s pointless to ask if they can, say, survive getting their heads cut off, because they have not encountered and will not encounter that. What will happen is one will kill the other. They do have some recuperative abilities, though, or at least enough to get them back on their feet when only one dies. Remember when Canmore “killed” Macbeth? Both Demona and Macbeth revived.

But I digress. Goliath is unrepentant; he had to save Hudson.

Morning comes, and they sleep. At sunset, everyone wakes. Except Hudson. SORCERY! Goliath is mystified until he sees the glitter on Hudson’s face. Either he’s been to a rave and is too tired to wake up, or…it’s magic glitter.  Crap, stone at night? This is Magus’s spell all over again! Tell me they don’t have to raise this building above the clouds too.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - sparkle dust on hudson

Glitter, not frost? You know, I wish somebody would figure out a way to keep them stone scientifically. Then they’d go in search of a magical cure, only to find that science is just as twisted.

Side note: the animation in this episode is stunning! It’s Awakening quality.

Goliath may not be on the police force, but he knows enough about detective work to go to Macbeth’s mansion for a look around. The auto cannons are up and running. Why do people insist on these things? They just trash the building they’re supposed to protect, and invariably the heroes use the lasers to destroy themselves. Ditto here.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - macbeth laser turrets

The fight here is really quick.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - explosion

The gargoyles have learned how to combat two or more automated laser-firing systems.

Back on the building, Broadway and Brooklyn are babysitting the stone Hudson. Broadway doesn’t understand how Goliath and Lex will know what the counter spell is. Besides, none of them are sorcerers. It’s basically Xanatos’s reply to Owen when the security chief suggested they look in the Grimorum for a counter spell to the one that turned the city residents to stone.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - broadway and brooklyn talk

Greg was being careful with this ep in case it aired out of order, which it did. He didn’t directly mention that Brooklyn is the leader.

The Cage

The next scene opens…on Hudson. He’s in a dark room in a cage with yellow, glowing bars. So all this fuss outside is a waste of time. The question is, who captured Hudson, and why?

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - hudson in cage

Economy size!

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - hudson hands burned

The animation! Also, ouch. Are those laser bars? I can see through them. Or is it just clear conductive material? Xanatos isn’t going to just rig up metal bars to a car battery, you can be sure of that!

We don’t have to wait long. Two figures emerge from the darkness.

“It’s about time you came back,” Hudson growls.

The two are, no surprise, Xanatos and Owen. David announces he wants Hudson’s skin. ‘Scuse me? First Macbeth wants trophies, and now Xanatos wants to what, make lamp shades? Or a gargoyle suit? (It puts the lotion on or it gets the hose!) Has everyone gone nuts tonight?

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - owen and xanatos meet hudson

Howdy, boys! Aw yes, now things are getting interesting.

Xanatos pulls out a garage door opener and hits a button. No, it doesn’t zap Hudson dead. It just slides out the tray under Hudson’s cage like the bottom of a bird cage. David picks up a piece of stone skin.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - xanatos gets gargoyle skin

Oooh, real funny! Ah, I love my trickster characters!

He explains he needs Hudson’s help with an “experiment.”

A Steel Clan bot walks out and sets down a large crate. The bot tears the boards off to reveal a giant black cauldron. Oh, Disney! This, however, is the Cauldron of Life, and according to Xanatos, the legend says that “he who bathes in it will live as long as the mountain stones.”

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - xanatos cauldron of life

Can you revive the dead in for an undead army? That’s kind of immortality, right?

Hudson finds Xanatos’s desire for immortality amusing. “You want to be immortal!”

David, being a sane person, says, “Of course. What good are all the riches on earth if Fox and I can’t enjoy them forever?”

Let’s look at this line. He wants immortality so he can enjoy what he’s worked for. Makes sense. One of King Solomon’s biggest laments in Ecclesiastes is that people work hard for wealth, then have to give it up to someone undeserving when they die. Also, he wants to bring Fox in on this. That’s nice of him. And remember, she’s pregnant, so this will guarantee their kid always has parents. When the time is right, I’m sure he’ll share it with his child too. As for Owen, well, he’s on his own.


20/20 moment / According to Greg: As Fox is 1/2 fey, she will live a very, very long human life. I’m talking hundreds of years.

Also, no need to include Owen, as he reverts to his “starting age” whenever he goes from Owen to Puck to Owen. Owen will live on and serve David as long as David lives. If you don’t know this, though, leaving him out of the immortality scheme comes across as cold.


They’re great motives for wanting to be immortal. I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t turn down the chance to be immortal. These are also people who don’t have billions in the bank. Shockingly, most people don’t want to get old and die!

But…are these really his motives? Xanatos has never been one to make a big to-do about money. He’s pointed out that he’s very rich and has turned $20k into “considerably” more. Those aren’t brags, though, they’re facts. He doesn’t bat an eye about spending astronomical sums on his pet projects. So while yes, his wealth is important to him, I think there’s more to it. He’s just not saying so.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - xanatos vs hudson

Jonathan Frakes and Ed Asner put on phenomenal performances!

Hudson says he thought the Eye of Odin would have taught Xanatos not to toy with magical items. He’s got a point there, but to be fair, Xanatos didn’t know it was magic like that. Also, Xanatos really doesn’t mess around with magic. He knows it’s dangerous. This item, however, he thinks he’s got a handle on. But he agrees that Hudson is right. “Perhaps I should test the brew first. Any volunteers?”

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - steel clan pouring water

It’s priceless that he’s using a gargoyle robot that looks like Goliath as a servant while he prepares to dunk a real garg into a magical bath.

David is going to use Hudson as a test subject. Lemme stop you right there, mate. You’re going to test a magical potion on a gargoyle. That species turns to stone by day, which means they have unique genetics. It’s plausible that this magical brew isn’t going to behave the same with them as it does with humans. If you want to test it, have Sevarius round up some vagrants like he did for the animal mutation experiment, and let them stick their little toe in.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - xanatos drops skin

A pinch of garg skin…

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - xanatos and owen watch magic brew

That ain’t chili. Look at their expressions. This is why Owen loves working with Xanatos: entertaining schemes.

Now, I understand the desire to toy with the gargoyles. He’s obviously gone through a lot of trouble to set this up, as he indicates by proudly displaying the sculptor’s model, and commenting that it was difficult to find a replica for Hudson’s sword. Half the time, the sword is animated as being stone, so I dunno why this was an issue. But it would have been just as easy to pin the clan down, have them go to sleep on a building roof, then pick up some skin chips when they left that night. The easy way isn’t for Xanatos, though. It’s more challenging and more fun to do this. It’s rather odd he chose Hudson, though. He and Hudson haven’t ever spoken directly to each other before, that I remember anyway.

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - owen with hudson scultors model

Think about this: Xanatos brings the model in just to flaunt it for Hudson. It’s like, “Look what I made!” Owen is angrily superior to the gargoyle, treating him as little more than an animal in a cage.

Xanatos says he’ll release Hudson if the spell succeeds. If not, Hudson will have the honor of “giving your life for science.” Both the trickster boys are smiling now.

David turns away, done with the banter, and tells Owen they can’t get complacent. They need the gargoyles distracted.

As Owen starts to follow his boss, Hudson tries a clumsy attempt at co-opting the majordomo: “What’s in this for you?”

Disney Gargoyles - The Price - owen talks to hudson

Owen gives his trademark soul-lacerating, pupil-less glare.

“Service is it’s own reward. I would have thought you knew that,” Owen rejoins. Ouch. Seriously, though, trying to turn Owen’s loyalty and conscience? Please!


20/20 moment: I’ll say this here: This whole episode changes in tone and meaning when you remember Owen is Puck. What does Puck get out of Xanatos being immortal? That lifetime of service, aka fun, just keeps going. As for this project, Puck gets the enjoyment of seeing the old spell work. Puck has to know what it does. Otherwise he wouldn’t have stuck his hand in as Owen.

If you don’t know Owen’s secret identity, Xanatos comes across as a total jerk, by the way. But if you keep Puck in mind, you see something totally different. More on that later.


Down the hall, Xanatos calls for Owen. “I want the gargoyles distracted!”

“Understood, sir.” The usual deadpan. Because this is all just another day in the life.

They have to let the soup boil for a night and a day, so Hudson will be hanging with them for a little while. Wonder if they gave him any TV dinners?


Halftime!

Did you think Hudson was really turned to stone? I did. I was also 10 years old. Even so, the writers did a fine job of making us believe.

My question is, why Macbeth? Is it because the gargoyles don’t know much about him, and he worked for Xanatos previously? And what’s in this for Macbeth? Xanatos doesn’t aim to kill the gargoyles usually, so I doubt he’d be happy with Macbeth cutting off their butts and nailing them to the mantle.

Now, I’d be overjoyed if my beloved House Xanatos achieved immortality. But that’s not gonna happen, I know. Cuz that would mean rewarding the antagonist. Never mind that Macbeth and Demona are immortal. So the only way House Xanatos will live forever is in my imaginary fan fics.

It’s rather fun to watch the clan scramble around and bark up the wrong trees in the wrong park. Goliath had Xanatos going down the wrong path last episode.

What will happen to Hudson? Will Macbeth defeat the clan again? And what about the Cauldron, will it give Xanatos immortality? Tune in Friday to find out what The Price is.

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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