Gargoyles: The Thrill of the Hunt – Episode Review

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What’s better than awakening? The thrill of the hunt. We’re kicking off the series-proper with an episode that keep the throttle on the action wide open. Plot twists and turns up the intensity. If that isn’t enough for you, the antagonists are more dangerous than ever

Read episode 5, the Awakening finale if you can’t remember where we left off.

Note: I write as if this is my first time thorough the ep. Spoilers are in 20/20 moment sections. Info from Greg Weisman, Gargoyles’s creator, are in the According to Greg sections.


Season 1, Episode 6: The Thrill of the Hunt


Reason(s) for existence: To bring in new villains while further teaching the protagonists about the new world. To show that antags and protags are learning about each other. To give us insight into Lexington’s character.

Main antagonist(s): The Pack, David Xanatos

Time(s):  November 4th-5th, 1994

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


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From here out we have writer credit up front, where it should be.

Time Hop

We jump ahead a month. No fair! Let’s look at the stuff and thangs that went down. They’re relative. They’re all from Greg, making this…


According to Greg:

October 7th, 1994:

The Steel Clan falls to the gargoyles. The authorities arrest David Xanatos. Last episode, we asked what he was arrested for. Answer: he was charged with multiple felonies, including but not limited to grand theft and industrial espionage. Those are serious charges. In truth, he’s guilty of them all, but…that’s why God made attorneys!

I still have no idea what hard evidence Elisa managed to turn up. She didn’t have any warrants, either, meaning anything she found while trespassing on Xanatos Enterprises property would not be admissible in court. I chalk it up to Xanatos’s many enemies taking the opportunity to dog pile the billionaire. Kick a man while he’s down, right?

To add insult to injury, the court classified Xanatos as a flight risk thanks to his wealth and international connections. (As if he’d make a run for it and forfeit his US assets, not to mention trash his media image even more.) That means no bail. Good new? “Time served” starts now in the county jail.

October 26th, 1994:
The court revokes Vinnie’s driver’s license after he says gargoyles crashed his motorcycle

October 31st, 1994:
I’m not sure how much time Elisa spent in court testifying against Xanatos, but she must have spent some. Greg says that because Xanatos and Elisa share a common goal of hiding the gargoyles’ existence, David reaches a plea deal with the District Attorney’s office. I don’t see how Elisa could have that much sway, so she must have withheld some evidence? The main explanation, and a version of the one she gave the clan, is his vast wealth bought attorneys who were at the top of their game. An ace legal team can move mountains and rewrite history.

He pleaded guilty to a single count of Receiving Stolen Property. The judge throws the book at him, with a six-month sentence to be served in…the county jail. If you have to serve time, you want prison, not the county jail.

The fact that he was even sent to a detention center smacks of retaliation by the court. Even Elisa was surprised the sentence wasn’t suspended. It’s as if the judge was annoyed that they couldn’t stick a truck load of felonies on Xanatos. The fact that Xanatos is “very rich” and is the owner of a “multinational corporation larger than many countries you could name” probably caused bias as well. After all, street trash that commits GTA, breaks all manner of drug-related laws, and generally does whatever it pleases simply gets booked and released. Not Xanatos. This was Example Time, as far as the courts were concerned. I’m still surprised he couldn’t bribe, buy, or otherwise manipulate his way out. I lay this totally at the feet of the writers.

Due to time served, good behavior, and excellent attorneys, the sentence is reduced to three months. So the total time boils down to four-ish months, roughly a semester.

The plea deal happened on this date, Halloween. It’s a trick and a treat for Xanatos: a reduced sentence, but still a sentence. Another blow is that he has to spend Halloween incarcerated.


All this sets the stage and tone for this episode.

We open with Owen Burnett escorting Elisa Maza up the Eyrie Building’s elevator and to the parapet where the clan is sleeping in stone.

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No more unsupervised trips around the castle, Elisa

Elisa remarks that she’s surprised to be “asked” back after, and I paraphrasing loosely, she threw Owen’s boss/BFF under the bus, backed it up, and demanded an oil change. Asked? Did Owen call her? I’d have loved to hear that conversation.

Owen is as cool as usual. I’d expect him to be controlled, but I’d also expect more of an icy bitterness and/or veiled hate. She put his friend and employer in prison, not to mention she caused Owen a mountain of extra work.

Owen explains that Xanatos “not the type to hold a grudge and wouldn’t dream” of stopping her from seeing her friends. This sounds like a direct quote from David. The sarcasm must’ve squelched.

If this is the first time you’ve seen the series, you probably just rewound that scene to make sure you heard it right. Yes, Gargoyles is a unique show that respects its viewers and remains startlingly realistic despite the presence of magic and mythological creatures. But this is groundbreaking! On two fronts, no less.

Front 1: Xanatos is still incarcerated. He hasn’t “escaped Arkham” or gotten off Scott free.

Front 2: A main antagonist isn’t consumed with the lust for vengeance after his painfully humiliating defeat at the claws of the protagonists.

After all the hassle and embarrassment Elisa and the clan put David through, I would be 100% understanding and probably supportive of a grudge toward the gargoyles. Yet…he decides to keep his enemies close and his wounded ego far. He’s got a use for the clan and Elisa right now. We just aren’t privy to it.

It might be a half nod in Elisa’s direction for not blowing the gargoyles’ cover and thus helping Xanatos achieve a plea bargain. I doubt it too. It seems more like Xanatos showing off by being magnanimous. This is surprisingly effective. Your enemies love to see you squirm. If you don’t give them the pleasure – if you act like their attacks don’t bother you – they lose the satisfaction of hurting you. It’s the old “I don’t care” trick we used at school to deter harassment.


20/20 moment: I love that from the word Go, the writers show Xanatos’s feelings about grudges and vengeance. He realizes being consumed with thoughts about avenging yourself upon your enemy limits your ability to think outside the box. It also wears you down, makes you bitter, drives you to distraction, causes depression…the list goes on.

After seeing how he handles his opponents throughout the series, we’re not surprised in Leader of the Pack when he says that “revenge is a sucker’s game.”


It takes a big person to admit their mistakes and to let go of wrongs. Xanatos realized he lost the Awakening battle. How’d he lose? Through gross underestimation of his opponents. He had contingency plans for losing the Steel Clan to the gargs, but not for dealing with law enforcement. Saying he was blindsided is an understatement. He won’t be making that mistake again, I bet!

Given Xanatos’s MO and general state of boredom, he’s probably pleased to have an opponent worthy of him. The clan isn’t his enemy in the classic sense. They’re antagonists to him, that’s all. He could’ve done without the whole jail thing, though.

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And it all belongs to David Xanatos. Not the clan.

Elisa is surprising here, and not in a good way. If I were her, I’d have urged the clan to find a new home right after Goliath tossed Xanatos down the stairs. David was within his rights to dispose of those ugly stone statues he owns.

It’s a tribute to Owen’s loyalty, his understanding of his boss’s wishes, and self-control that he didn’t follow his original plan and pulverize the gargoyles. Everyone forgets Owen exists. They don’t realize he can be as great a threat as any other antagonist in the series.


20/20 moment: Puck doesn’t seem to hold any animosity toward the clan for what they did to Xanatos, despite him being a Xanatos fanboy. Puck took a page from David’s book: David considers the whole debacle a learning experience. This is the best route to take when you get taken down a notch. He was defeated fair and square by impressive opponents. There’s no shame in that. Not that he feels shame. Ever. He learns from his mistakes. He moves on rather than being consumed with blaming himself and/or others.


Owen stays on the parapet with Elisa as the clan awakens. He might as well be watching cement dry for all the interest he shows. He excuses himself and returns to the depth of the the castle. Owen exemplifies the characteristic of being polite to everyone while simultaneously having a plan of how to kill every person in the room.

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$10 says Owen went back to the office and watched the CCTV feed of this conversation.

Protag Powow

Goliath is glad to see Elisa, who shrugs off her presence as it being a “slow night” at work. As she was involved in the investigation, how does it look to an outside observer when she keeps coming to the Eyrie Building and is on civil terms with Owen, the interim lord of the castle?

Too bad the writers didn’t put in a Freddie Lounds character to harass Elisa – and/or even the antagonists. If Hannibal and Will found Freddie infuriating, imagine how much more annoying life would be for the gargs if they had to keep dodging a reporter?


20/20 moment: Jon Canmore, Travis Marshal, and to a point even Matt Bluestone fill the role, but not like Freddie. They have the Daily Tattler, after all! Why not use it more?

According to Greg, the writers let the gargs have fairly free range, not worrying about who saw them, because the “urban legend” only grew when people saw them.


Reporters aside, what does Elisa do at work? Doesn’t she have other cases she’s supposed to investigate? The writers made her a detective. Even Dexter had to do, you know, work stuff between his serial killing.

Goliath is triumphant, since he’s “defeated” David. It’s a tribute to Greg, Michael, and the other crew/writers that they worked hard to keep Goliath authentic. He just woke up after a 1000-year sleep. There’s a learning curve with this culture shock. In 994, all you needed to do to take over a castle was kick the current owners out and keep them out. How can Xanatos be any threat when he’s in jail? How can he own a place he doesn’t occupy? Again, Goliath doesn’t see Owen as a threat.

Elisa tries to convince Big and Purple that he can’t stay here. Xanatos will be out of prison soon (see the October 31st note above). Since David bought the castle “lock, stock, and gargoyle,” he’ll come right back in a matter of months. Not exactly the housemate you want when you were the one who landed him in prison. Owen might continue to be chopped liver in the protags’ estimation, but his boss isn’t.

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The universal expression when dealing with stubborn people who won’t see the truth even after you slap them in the face with the facts.

Goliath is stubborn. Not leaving. Nope, nope, nope. He believes they defeated Xanatos once and for all. The idea of a person being convicted, sentenced, then released once they serve their time doesn’t compute.

Boob Tube

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Does Hudson spend all night in front of this thing?

Below, in the same TV room I ranted on earlier, Hudson is trying to watch his shows. Trying, because all the channels play a live-action series that looks like it’s a combo of Power Rangers and WWF. It features a group of human warriors with animal motifs. There’s Fox, Wolf, Dingo, Jackal, and Hyena. Together, they are the Pack.

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A gauntlet…

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with ninjas! It’s like Mortal Kombat.

Hudson is rightfully confused about why, for the past few nights, every channel plays the show. Nobody else cares, though, since they’re fans. None of them are future savvy enough to realize how disturbing the all -Pack, all-the-time programming is. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! *waves dryer-hose arms*

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Their costumes are kick-butt, just sayin.

 

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We’ve all looked like this at least once in our lives.

 

The Pack will be in Madison Square Gardens for a live appearance that night. The Trio goes nuts. Lex, though, is the fan among fans.

Behind the Scenes

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Don’t make that an acronym.

We grab Chekhov’s gun and drop in on the Pack at Pack Media Studio.  The Pack members are scattered about, training. They look good. I mean really good. Cut and ripped, with combat skills in melee weapons and hand to hand combat.

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Typical studio building. It shows how fake their show is.

Wolf is complaining about being bored. Fox, the redheaded leader, responds that “you never had it so good.” She doesn’t say we. She also doesn’t complain. Already we see she’s set herself apart from the others. She’s the alpha, no question. Her voice actor is Laura San Giacomo, who does a perfect job.

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BroScience has an ally in Wolf. The wonderful Clancy Brown, who also voices Hakon the Viking, is his VA.

One of the ninjas appears – then takes his mask off. Fox tells him to work on his back flips. While the gargoyles think the Pack actually fights ninjas, the writers want to clarify that…it’s a TV show. You know, in case we missed it. It’s fun to have scenes that show the reality in a fiction series even while the protags see it differently.

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I wish we’d seen more of Harvey.

The other Pack members join Wolf’s whining. They might be big-time stars, but they feel unfulfilled. Fame and fortune just aren’t cutting it. They “were promised fame, money, and action.” They haven’t gotten the last one, per Wolf.

Makes me wonder how the producers of the Pack show cast the stars. Dingo (VA Jim Cummings!) mentions that he’s getting soft and wouldn’t survive a week in a central American war. Meaning he’s been in one before? Wolf talks about needing to hunt, since…”wolves gotta hunt.” These people aren’t just athletes turned actors, or actors who are in great shape. They’re individuals with a bent toward violence and adrenaline.

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Dingo sensibly has a gun. No wonder, since his homeland of Australia’s pretty much banned all guns.

Fox maintains her air of calm despite the others’ posturing. Who is she? What’s her story? We haven’t seen much of her yet, but I suspect her being leader isn’t just a the invention of the Pack’s show writers.


According to Greg: Fox is 27 here. He and the other writers didn’t know her back story yet.


I love females who are realistic: able to handle themselves, not intimidated, intelligent, strong… She looks like a character who fits the bill.


20/20 moment: We know Fox is Halcyon Renard’s and Titania’s daughter, but we don’t know much about her back story otherwise. Her parents divorced. She began dating David Xanatos at least a few years ago. What kind of education and experience she’s had is a mystery. She is a master at melee combat, can fly a chopper, is proficient with firearms, and is wickedly cunning – just like her husband.


The bellyaching makes a nice segue: Fox pulls out a manila envelope. Out spill pictures of Goliath taking on a Steel Clan robot. Everyone stares. Nothing else came in the envelope. Does Fox know more than she’s letting on? She was obviously waiting for the right time to show her packmates the pictures. She wants to hunt too, but she doesn’t broadcast the desire.

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Manila envelopes are made for mystery.

The group’s only interest is to take on the new challenge. Welp, so much for them being friends for the clan. Welcome to the antagonist club, guys! You’re in good company.

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Ooh, only one place those pics could’ve come from.

Hyena, who’s downright scary being voiced by Cree Summers, says she saw stories about the gargoyles in the Daily Tattler. Heh, nice Hannibal/Red Dragon reference there, guys. Again, where’s Freddie? Hyena and her brother, Jackal (Matt Frewer is smooth!), are up for some sport. Wolf calls them “clowns,” but I wouldn’t want to tangle with them.

They can’t dwell on the pics for long, though; they have a public appearance to make!

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With names like Hyena and Jackal, you know you’re in for trouble. She reminds me of the Lion King hyenas.

Cheap Seats

The Trio is in the rafters at Madison Square Gardens. Below, the Pack is making one heck of an entrance. Lights, ninjas, back flips. And Fox is the queen of back flips, FYI. The Pack looks amazing.

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Heads up for the Evil Ninjas of Eeeevil!

While Brooklyn admits that these guys are all right, Lex is in a complete fanboy joygasm. He wants what all fans want: to meet his idols. Broadway and Brooklyn fly off, leaving Lexington to his obsession.

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He would totally cosplay as a Pack member.

The Pack is back stage. They’re pleased with their show, but Wolf says it best, “Another night, another half million dollars.” Fortune and fame only go so far. You’d think they’d use some of that F&F to buy the action they’re craving.

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Sometimes weird fans get backstage, but this is ridiculous.

Lex drops out of the rafters, landing in front of them. He introduces himself as a friend. Wolf is just shocked “it can talk.” Wolf is sadly not as bright as his namesake. He tells Fox the obvious: the one in the pic was bigger. Fox elbows him. You get the feeling she humors her teammates but believes they’re idiots in their own ways.

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Wolf acts like second in command. At the least, he and Fox seem to talk more with each other than with the others.

Fox deploys her feminine wiles before Lex can get his brain together. That chin stroke she does would win anybody, much less a fanboy. She says she’s heard stories of a creature like him, but…bigger.

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Every female on this series knows a face-stroke on a man drops the male’s critical thinking skills to zero.

Lex volunteers Goliath for a meeting.

The Pack looks like Christmas is coming early! Nothing like a good ambush.

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They are so painfully obvious. Lex is blinded by his fandom goggles.

Do As I Say

Lex lands at the castle just before dawn. He’s thrilled because he found them new “friends.” The Pack defends the innocent and is generally made of awesome. Gotta love when a protag accidentally praises the antags! Goliath is stuck on the idea of Lex being dumb enough to let the Pack see him.

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Nice POV shot from Lex.

Lex is quick. Goliath has human Elisa as a friend. How’s this different?

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Kudos to Squirrel Boy for standing up to Goliath. Lex has a great point, too.

It just is. Goliath doesn’t need a reason.

This isn’t the greatest way to lead. Having one standard for you and one for your underlings is a great way to start a mutiny.

The argument will have to wait until sunset, though.

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Don’t let the sun go up on your anger?


Halftime!

This is Lexington’s episode. So far, we’re on a roll! We’ve got five new antagonists who look like they’ll give the gargs a run for their money. We’ve got tension between Lex and Goliath. And we’ve gotthe mystery of the TV that only plays the Pack…and who sent the letter to the Pack. Okay, so it’s less of a mystery about who and more about why.

At this point in the ep, what did you think would happen with the Pack? Who did you think sent the envelope, and why? Thoughts on Pack? Comment!

Read the continuation. You don’t want to miss the ending!


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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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