While Macbeth distracts the clan from what they think is an ensorcelled statue of Hudson, the real Hudson is verbally sparring with Xanatos from behind electrified bars. Xanatos is using the magical Cauldron of Life to cook up a brew, which includes a piece of stone skin from a gargoyle, that will grant immortality. Hudson argues that immortality has a high price, one that Macbeth and Demona are paying. Xanatos knows that death and old age have a price as well, and it’s too expensive. In the end, his desire for immortality will cause an unlikely person to pay a high price.
Go read part 1 of The Price Episode Review if you missed it.
Nightfall. And Macbeth is back! Well, I guess that immortality deal worked pretty well! He says the same lines as he did the night before. “You’ll have to do better than that.” “Mine enemies.” “Trophies!” He’s like an NPC.
Meanwhile, Goliath and Lex are at Elisa’s. G is desperate. They need Elisa to track down Demona, since they need a sorcerer to save Hudson. Elisa of course doesn’t know where to start.
They decide to check on Hudson.
Never Say Die
Back at the cage, Xanatos is pestering Hudson. You get the feeling he’s intrigued by the old garg. Goliath is really the only gargoyle David has talked to one on one. Owen isn’t around this time.
20/20 moment: This episode may be why Puck had Xanatos “die” fighting Hudson in Future Tense. Hudson and Xanatos make good opponents.
Hudson asks why choose him?
“Because you’re old and getting older.”
“Growing old terrifies you, doesn’t it.” Hudson gets to the point. He sees through the facade, the calm, the sarcasm. Death and old age are what keep Xanatos up at night. Because of this, I’ve always thought that Renard creeps David out.
Xanatos is 40. He’s at the top of his game, his wealth, and his power. He’s fit, handsome, and wickedly intelligent. But old age will crash all this, he knows. Then what? Death. Then what? I don’t know what his beliefs about the afterlife are, and I’m not going to speculate. But what is obvious here is that he’s taking a proactive role in avoiding death – and I don’t mean he’s downing vitamins. If there’s one thing in life that will make our struggles and triumphs fade into the background, it’s staring down death.
Humans are eternal beings. And it is misery for a being made for eternity to have to exist in time and see its effects on the body. Death and old age are unnatural, thus we resist them. They are the great equalizers, however.
In Brian Jacques’s Outcasts of Redwall, there’s a poem:
Mightier than the warlord
who must come to his call,
I am but a messenger,
Death rules over all.
AW Tozer, the powerful preacher, says,
“Life is but a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down.”
I’ll say it again: people don’t like to die. Thus, I don’t see why Hudson is so scornful of the desire to live on.
Xanatos does not take kindly to the accusation that anything terrifies him. “Nothing terrifies me, because nothing is beyond my ability to change!”
Now he’s sneering, pissed, and snippy: “What about you? Still wasting your evenings in front of the television set? You’re of little use to your clan; you might as well be of some use to me.” Brutal. And honest.
Let’s break it down. First, he claims nothing terrifies him because nothing is beyond his ability to change. This is actually a great attitude to have toward fears. Instead of letting them rule you, either change the object of your fear in some way, or change your response to and view of it.
As for death and old age, they make him very uncomfortable. They likely make him feel weak. But he’s not wallowing in self pity or giving up. No, he’s trying to change them. Life is a terminal disease. He’s trying to correct that.
Xanatos tires of hearing Hudson’s lectures. As he storms off, Hudson picks up a shard of stone skin. Looks like he’s going to try a Krazy-8 move, but he doesn’t have to wait for Walter White to drop a plate. Hudson comes with his own shrapnel.
Broadway and Brooklyn meet Macbeth. Again. This is getting old. But it’s all with the aim of Xanatos not getting old.
Macbeth runs the clock out. The sun comes up and turns Broadway to stone in mid air.
At that moment, Elisa, Goliath, and Lexington arrive. Ever the quick thinker and Mary Sue, Elisa draws her duty weapon and shoots out a rope that’s holding up a crate of carpets.
The box splinters upon hitting the ground, spilling rolls of carpets. Broadway drops at least four stories to land in the pile. He’s completely unscathed.
Macbeth laughs and flies away on his air scooter. If he’s after trophies, he should hang around. It’s not like Elisa’s a huge threat. Bit of a slip up on Team Xanatos’s part regarding his cover story.
Now we’re back in the castle dungeon. Xanatos is brooding as he stares at the stone Hudson. Owen approaches with “a field report from Macbeth.” Mac kept the gargs distracted all night.
Xanatos comments offhandedly that Owen better watch out, as Macbeth might be gunning for Owen’s job. “He’s already died for me once on this project. It’s hard to top that.” Eh? Seriously, is everybody insane during this episode? First off, we all know David and Owen are BFFs. Second, Macbeth doesn’t work for anybody, and he’s certainly not gonna be a majordomo. He’s a king!
Owen says nothing, only raises an eyebrow in…bemusement? Acceptance of the challenge?
20/20 moment: This is Xanatos messing with Owen/Puck. Xanatos took a lifetime of service from Owen over a wish from the Puck. Considering that Puck likes him, the wish might have been a real wish rather than one that screws you over. So of course there’s no real risk of Xanatos ditching Owen. Especially since “Macbeth” is a robot. This scene is a perfect example of how their relationship runs for the whole episode. Xanatos is particularly snarky. He actually exceeds Owen’s snark level in Double Jeopardy. He’s downright brutal.
Xanatos doesn’t indicate he’s joking in this scene. It’s like he’s trying to prank Owen/Puck. Hard.
What always bothered me about this scene is that it sounds like Owen doesn’t know Macbeth is a robot. I find that very hard to believe, though, since Owen knows more about the projects and operation of the company than Xanatos does (remember the force field in The Gathering?). That’s not to say David can’t have a few projects Owen doesn’t know about, but it doesn’t sound likely. Besides being rather pointless other than for prank purposes, keeping “Macbeth’s” identity a secret from the security chief would be a royal pain.
The best explanation is they’re both using “code words,” so to speak, and making an inside joke (like when you refer to a friend of a friend as their “girlfriend” when they’re not). That, and Xanatos is in a foul mood.
At the carpet store, the gargoyles are waking up. They wonder why Macbeth left when he could have taken his “trophies” easily in the day. Then everyone remembers Hudson! Good job.
Speaking of the old guy, he’s continuing his discussion with Xanatos about immortality. Hudson is trying to convince the billionaire that living forever isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. “What you seek demands a heavy price.” Well, that’s a compelling argument! A “price.” Could you get any more vague? Everything has a price! Breakfast has a price. The internet has a price. Staying in shape has a price. Keeping abreast of current events has a price. It’s not like you have to sacrifice your humanity. Macbeth hasn’t.
Problem is, Hudson never studied debate. Heck, he’s not even using common sense at this point.
First of all, you rarely are able to argue someone out of their opinion, especially when said opinion is not regarding some scientifically provable fact. Even then, good luck. People believe what they do because their beliefs are really justifications for their actions.
Second, Hudson’s examples just plain suck. He points to himself: He’s been around for over 1100 years. Uh, not really. You were ASLEEP for 1000 of those years. You’re basically just a 60-70 year old guy. That’s not even that old! “Most of my clan is dead and dust, and I am a stranger in a strange land.” My, that’s relateable! Cut me to the quick, there.
Hudson, there’s a slight difference between you and Xanatos. Like, in almost every way, other than you speak the same language and are both males. Think about it: You’re a landless gargoyle who’s been in this millennium for less than a year and is hiding in a clock tower. Xanatos…is a human billionaire with a wife, a kid on the way, more power than you could dream of, and big plans. So, way to go on picking an argument Xanatos can’t possibly identify with. Not that he would even if you were similar, since he’s obviously got his heart set on living forever.
Xanatos lets him ramble.
Then Hudson says Demona and Macbeth are immortal but it didn’t bring them happiness. Srsly? That’s your augment? Xanatos isn’t even listening here, because those two’s situation is so different from his. They didn’t know they were going to be immortal. They’re joined by sorcery. They’re under the thrall of the Weird Sisters. Neither Hudson or Xanatos know all the details of M&D, but their situation is still dissimilar. Also, Demona’s done pretty well for herself. So has Macbeth. Mac is the only suicidal one. Demona was maddened by revenge way before she was immortal.
Xanatos finally shuts him up: “Save your breath, Hudson. Death and old age have their price as well, and it’s too expensive for me.” Now THERE is an argument! We all know what their price is. I don’t know anyone who, when thinking of death and old age, doesn’t shudder a little. Growing old is unpleasant, just ask a senior citizen (if I had a nickle for every time I heard, “Don’t get old!”). And death? You might be looking forward to Heaven, but dying is not an easy thing. Unless, I guess, if you get annihilated instantly in an explosion, or maybe a gunshot to the brain stem.
Dust to Dust
At the Hudson statue, Macbeth is back. There’s a protracted fight, then he blasts Hudson. This incenses the clan, since they believe that really was Hudson.
Goliath punches through Macbeth’s chest. Wow, if you want Goliath to kill, just kill one of his clan, huh.
Oh, it’s a robot. Like Coyote, but without the high-level AI.
Live by the Sword
Xanatos takes a moment out from tossing and catching Hudson’s sword to tell the old garg, “Without your sword, you’re helpless.” (I don’t know why he’s doing this, other than it’s a writer’s device to get the sword in the room. Just use a fidget spinner like everyone else, mate.)
Anyway, enough chit-chat; time to test the brew. The Steel Clan robot takes Hudson by the wrists and carries him over. Hudson whips out his
plate skin shard and stabs the bot in the face.
Then he launches off its chest and across the room to kick Xanatos in his chest.
Hudson grabs his sword, which David drops, and turns just in time to hold Owen at bay. “Behave yourself, boy,” Hudson growls. Hah!
20/20 moment: Little does Hudson know he’s talking to a being who’s far older than him.
Unfazed, Xanatos hops up and compliments Hudson on his ingenuity. Eh? It’s not surprising, coming from David, but still! All this and now he’s just, “Good show, old man! Smashing!”
Then David assumes Hudson will destroy the Cauldron. I rather would assume the same. Goliath would. But Hudson is more circumspect. If Xanatos wants to risk it, and if it really does make him immortal, more power to him. If not, well, Hudson warned him.
That cheers Xanatos up.
Hudson can’t leave without a last piece of “wisdom.” Life’s not about the time you have, but what you do with it. “When all your scheming’s done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?” Wow, did you get that off a Hallmark card, Hudson? Cuz it’s about as deep. It’s rather amusing that Hudson doesn’t realize Xanatos has a legacy: his kid. That’s probably what David is thinking about right now, how he wants to be around for his child.
Also, how can you judge what a person’s legacy is? You don’t know everything about them. I’d argue that the gargoyles actually know very little about David. Protags usually don’t know much about the antagonists, which is part of what puts the protags at a disadvantage.
Xanatos doesn’t have a witty rejoinder. He just glares after, thoughtful.
Owen starts dialing security, but David stops him. “Let him go. He’s earned it.” This is quitting while you’re ahead, sparing your dignity. But it still feels like he’s saying, “Well, you outmaneuvered me fair and square! We’ll meet again!”
Back at the scene of Hudson’s “death,” the clan is giving a very poor effort in the mourning department. It’s interesting to see how gargoyles grieve for their dead. Goliath freaked out, understandably, when his clan was wiped out. But they’re taking Hudson’s death well. He died a warrior, full of years, with a great track record for clan service. No tears are shed.
Hudson returns and claims his stone face. The clan is quite glad to see him, but they act like he just got back early from vacation, not death.
Although Hudson left the Cauldron, Xanatos is fresh out of test subjects. Again, just go hire some junkie off the street! Or a college student. You didn’t have any trouble when you wanted to make cat hybrids.
Xanatos is disappointment but not crushed. He’ll come up with somethi-
Wait now, what’s this? Owen is jacket-less and rolling up his sleeve. “Allow me, sir.” Slow down there, Sparky!
Xanatos stares, caught off guard. He doesn’t leap in to stop his majordomo. Owen can make his own decisions. And decide he does. He’s going to prove once and for all his loyalty is beyond question. He doesn’t dip a toe in. No, he dunks his whole ARM in. I’m pulling my hair in frustration now. Owen, you’re the rational one! What are you doing!
His arm glows, then fades. It’s stone. He slams it against the Cauldron to emphasize this state. “It would seem immortality has a price,” he deadpans. It’s like nothing more surprising or unfortunate than his wireless mouse’s battery dying happened. Um, Owen, your arm is STONE.
You’d think Xanatos would be concerned now. His right-hand man just lost his left hand. But nooo. David isn’t even surprised. If anything, he’s amused. Excuse me? That settles it. Everyone has lost their mind in this ep.
Xanatos turns and saunters off, unfazed, with the dismissive, “That will be all, Owen.” …I…I can’t even! I know Owen has the right to autonomously make his own decisions, but… You’re acting like a bloody jerk. Yes, I know, you didn’t tell Owen to shove his arm in there, and anyone with any common sense would know better, and yes, you can probably just slap a robotic hand on there, considering you came up with whole new bodies for Hyena and Jackal, but come on! Show a little bit of concern. Even, “Ooh, that’s too bad, man,” would be better than, “That will be all.” But that’s how these boys roll!
According to Greg: because the brew used gargoyle skin, it turns the subject into the same biological stone material that gargoyles transform into. Thus the subject would be frozen in stone, preserved ageless. If you want to time jump one way, and if you have a loyal ward who will revive you – think vampires hibernating – this is a great way to do it. It would be fitting if to break the spell you have to do something at sundown involving the moon.
Well, not that there was ever any question about Owen’s loyalty, but now no one can ever doubt him. Now every time Xanatos looks at Owen, he sees a reminder of his scheme’s failure and Owen’s sacrificial loyalty. I doubt Owen has to explain his stone fist to people, either, since he’s too intimidating for most people to get the nerve up.
20/20 m0ment / Bland headcanon: The stone fist amuses Xanatos for about 2 days, then he asks when Puck is going to change it back, since it’s bothersome. Owen replies that that would be cheating.
Secondary bland headcanon: Puck teaches Alex how to reverse the spell.
So, a very merry Christmas to Owen and his new hand. And to Hudson on his stone face.
I wonder, did they just dump that magic brew down the sewer system? Are there stone rats now? Or does it only work if it’s in the pot?
This is the end of the Third Tier. Next is the Avalon World Tour. Mmph.
Xanatos was in rare form. We don’t see the respect he usually shows Owen. I imagine he feels Owen can handle the ribbing, but it backfires on David.
It’s interesting that this second attempt to gain immortality backfired in a similar way as the City of Stone plan. It’s a theme. But why stone? I’m just wondering if Owen’s hand will magically be back to normal next we see him.
This episode tries to make a case for immortality being bad. It fails miserably. It didn’t make sense to me when I saw this at age 10, and now, twenty years later, it doesn’t make any more sense. It actually makes less sense after having gotten some XP points built up from adulting.
The series that I really loved and still adore was one I first saw at age 14 (fittingly during October!). It embodied all my arguments for why immortality is good, and it put this episode to shame. Any guesses? Eh? It’s Hellsing.
It’s main protag, Alucard, and his protege are both immortal vampires. Many of the antagonists are also immortal, or nearly so. Sure, Alucard is bored, but he gets over it quickly when the baddies arrive. He’s not exactly seeking death. Er, permanent death, that is, since he’s the No Life King. He’s okay with dying at the hands of a truly worthy opponent, and kind of wants to, but he ain’t going down without a legendary battle!
Funny thing, that: immortals aren’t generally suicidal, except for Macbeth, and that didn’t last long. Immortals are usually pretty okay with their state. Gee, you think all the mortals that diss immortality are just jealous?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go watch a Hellsing ep or two. I’m in the mood to watch Alucard regenerate from a puddle of gore into a maniacally laughing bringer of death and destruction. Immortality is just sooo unfortunate!
Next up, Avalon and all it represents. Pack your life jackets and let’s go!