Gargoyles: Vows – Episode Review Continued

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David Xanatos and Fox have sworn their Vows. Now they and David’s surly father Petros are in 975AD Scotland, courtesy of the Phoenix Gate. David and Fox aren’t on honeymoon yet. No, they’re here to guarantee Xanatos’s past, present, and future with the help of a coin and the Illuminati Society.

Demona and Goliath are abroad as well. Unlike Xanatos, Demona wants to rewrite her history. Her younger self offers the chance to avoid the mistakes of youth. Namely, letting the humans betray her and destroy Clan Wyvern. Never mind that she was a betrayer too. We’re about to learn how time travel works in the Gargoyles Universe. Hint: this ain’t Star Trek.

Lost? Read part 1 of the Vows episode review.


What Sorcery?

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - young demona and goliath

The same face-stroke she used when they reunited in Awakening.

We pick up where we left off, with Goliath explaining to Mentor!Hudson, aka Hudson who’s 20 years younger than the Hudson we know, how he got here. It’s SORCERY, yes, but not that kind of sorcery. He attended “the wedding of an enemy” and was tricked into handing over the time-traveling Gate.

An enemy, eh? Fox doesn’t count, I guess? Why?

Also, David doesn’t think of himself as Goliath’s enemy. Opponent at times, antagonist even, but not enemy. That was apparent when he shrugged and said “If you say so” to Goliath’s assertion that he couldn’t trust Xanatos’s invite to “talk” atop the Golden Cup Building. It’s doubtful David even thinks of Goliath as a rival. I stick with my idea that the billionaire considers Goliath a playmate and sparring partner. David considers himself a trickster, meaning his plots are not malicious. Dangerous, destructive, and even deadly, but not malicious. Even changing Elisa’s bro Derek into an eel cat bat was more of a cruel joke than revenge. He could have easily had Derek killed or mutilated, as many a Batman rogue would’ve done. The metamorphosis might have even been a sort of bizarre prank gift. Derek does seem to enjoy his wings.
Here’s a fun fact: Both Demona and Goliath want to protect Young!Demona from her future…and her future self. Both gargs think it’s totally doable and a wonderful idea. They don’t take into account how much would change if Demona didn’t turn out the way she did. If she stayed on the straight and narrow, Castle Wyvern might not have fallen to the Vikings. We wouldn’t have the show!


20/20 moment: Aaaand Xanatos wouldn’t be rich, because he wouldn’t have gotten the Gate. That would have changed a lot of things, probably even his marriage to Fox. Then there’s Macbeth. The history of Scotland would be different if Demona and Macbeth hadn’t made their bargain. Hunter’s Moon never would have happened. With a change in the timeline over 1000 years ago, the repercussions are so far-reaching that it’s impossible to say how things would have changed, other than to say that they would have changed greatly. I mean,  on a monumental level. Amazing how one seemingly small cog in the machine can change the course of history if it’s not in the right place.


It’s also amusing that Demona thinks that telling Young!Demona to destroy the humans is how to save her and the gargoyles. Goliath thinks the opposite. Neither understand time travel!

But I digress! The Arch Mage is up to his scheming tricks. He hired the bandits to steal the Gate. He wants to combine it with the Eye of Odin and the Grimorum to get a Yahtzee. Well, a magical one anyway. He’ll have vast power if he can match three. Y’know, if Goliath gets the Gate tonight, he’ll have all three in the clock tower. Hmm…

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - angry arch mage

No wizard lair is complete without a skull candle holder. They sell em at Witches, Wizards, and Beyond.

The Arch Mage asks his apprentice to steal the Gate now. Oh look, it’s Young!Demona. No wonder she knows how to work magic.

In the courtyard, more scheming is going down. Xanatos, Fox, and Petros, all looking mighty fine and fit for the Renaissance fest in their 975 garb, are in the courtyard.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos, fox, petros in medieval clothes

Petros is pissed cuz his boy is schooling him.

David hands a letter to a rider, who departs.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos gives norman ambassador lette

Just drop it in the FedEx box when you ride by, k?

Petros grudgingly asks what his boy is “hatching now.” David is all grins as he explains his plan. Finally he’ll get Pop to see how he’s a self-made man! Aside from wisely investing that 20k and growing a company into a conglomerate, he also sent himself the original coin that was worth that 20k.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos explains to petros his dad

He’s hatching a golden egg. Chill out, Captain Negative.

See, he just sent two letters. One tells the Illuminati Society to wait 1000 years, then deliver a coin to a young David Xanatos (age 20) in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos and coin

I love how he takes a few home with him. Hey, another $100k or so will cover the honeymoon. Wonder where they went?

I’m wondering if that coin is part of the reason the Illuminati ended up inducting David, in addition to him being obscenely rich and powerful. The second letter was to be delivered 20 years after the first. So, last week, David received a letter from himself that explained how to set everything up. “So you see, I truly am a self-made man.”

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - happy david and fox

Aw, he’s so proud of his accomplishments, and rightly so.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - happy xanatos and fox

But Petros won’t even give him a pat on the back.

Fox jumps in to literally pet him, like all the females in Gargoyles do when they’re buttering up their males. He smiles like a cat that’s just shredded the couch, walked on the counters, and eaten the parakeet.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - proud fox pets xanatos's face

Face-strokes are the key to loving your man in Gargoyles.

Petros doesn’t miss a beat. You almost have to admire this man’s devotion to negativity. “All right, Mr. Big Shot Time Traveler, you sent off your little letter without answering one important question: How do we get back home?” I…I don’t know where to start. You should really read my Tumblr post part 2. It’s hilarious yet incisive.

What impresses this man? Not castles on buildings, not gargoyles, not time travel, not the Illuminati Society. You know what impresses him, I bet? Fish. And boats. And gyros.

David contents himself with Fox’s attention and her comment that  she’s “so proud” of him. Yep, this is why you leave you mother and father and cleave to your wife, sir.

Meanwhile, Demona grabs Young!Demona and Gates out. Goliath comes along at the last moment. Demona puts him down when they land, though.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - demona and young demona use gate

Two Demonas. Have mercy.

She shows Young!Demona the fate of the castle and clan: destruction. She says the humans did it. Ooh, now we know why Demona did what she did. She was trying to prevent this. This was a majorly traumatizing event for Young!Demona, so it’s no wonder she was so intent on getting the clan out on that fateful night.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - demona kicks goliath

Whoa, that one drew blood!

Demona screams that Young!Demona should use the Phoenix Gate to kill the humans – all of them – and rule the gargoyles. Rule the world, for that matter! Ah, you’re sounding a bit maniacal, Demona.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - demona tells young demona

Curling invisible dumbbells also helps with world domination.

However, Young!Demona does not like who she became. “I do not wish to be you!” Wow. But that doesn’t even make Demona flinch. Instead, she decides to resort to beating Young!Demona into understanding. Uh…why would this work? You’re losing it, Demona.

Goliath comes-to and stops Demona. He tells Young!Demona not to worry about anything, but to instead keep her vows of love and to “attend the petty jealousies that prey upon your heart.” What’s that supposed to mean? Why not tell her not to betray the clan to the Vikings?

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - goliath holds demona's chin

It’s like he’s burning her image in his mind so he thinks of her instead of Present!Demona when he remembers their past.

Young!Demona takes Goliath and Present!Demona back to the highest tower of the castle in 975AD. House Xanatos is calmly waiting for their ride.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - house xanatos waits for goliath and gate

It’s the Commander Riker pose!

David picked this tower as it was the tallest and gave the best view to see the Gate’s fireball. Plus, it’s Goliath’s favorite parapet. Xanatos was never worried about being left behind. When Goliath says he’d leave David behind except he fears the damage Xanatos would do to the time stream, David waves it off. “You w0n’t, because you didn’t. Time travel’s funny like that.” You know, of everyone here, Xanatos is the only one who understands the rules of time travel. He knows that if you step on a butterfly in 975, it’s OK, because you already stepped on that butterfly. You really can’t mess up time travel to the past, because anything you do has already been done by you. That’s how he could set up his coin and letters.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - goliath returns for xanatos

I love how Xanatos is almost never surprised by anything.


According to Greg: The idea to set up Xanatos’s coin and letters “came from the time stream.” It had to, really, because it’s a chicken-egg situation. Xanatos couldn’t have set up the coin plan without Young!Xanatos getting the coin and making him rich enough to have access to the Gate…that would enable him to go back in time and send to coin. Man, I love time travel! Kinda makes my head hurt, but that’s fine.


Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos smug and happy

When you’re the only one who understands time travel.

As for how David knew Goliath didn’t leave him, Xanatos must have hit the history books. See, he had to send the letter before he knew Goliath would pick him up. David probably assumed that if Goliath had left him, there would have been a country or two named Xanadu or the United States of Xanatos. All hail the Merchant Emperor! He wouldn’t even dream that maybe Goliath left him there and the locals murdered House Xanatos that night, and that’s why history doesn’t mention him. Then again, anybody who knows Goliath as well as Xanatos (and Owen) knows Goliath would expect him to bring them back home.

They all blaze back to the future.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - return with gate

You didn’t bring me back a turkey leg from the ren fest? Come on!

Back in 975, the Arch Mage is blaming Demona for losing the Gate. Hudson steps in, intimating that he’ll tell everybody what Archy is up to. Ah, no wonder the wizard blew out Hudson’s eye. Retreating, the Arch Mage blames the “strangers” for the theft of the Gate.

In the present, Demona revives. She tells Goliath that she remembers his little speech, and it didn’t make any difference. Goliath thinks it’s a pity. Uh, G, you really don’t have the knowledge to say that. It’s sad for her and the clan, yes, but good comes from bad. It’s how God designed the world. It’s why the “hero always wins.”

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - demona tells goliath not helping

Instead of scratching his face off, she just tells him he’s a failure. Nice.

Well, that was all incredibly fun, thinks Xanatos. He turns to Pop and asks, “Well, Pop, did you have a good time at the wedding?” He’s concerned about his family enjoying it, even though the whole thing was mainly to get his past secured.

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos asks petros if had a good time

Aw, look at him, still holding out hope that his dad won’t be a raging jerk.

Because apparently being a nasty, abrasive, miserable old codger for the last 24 hours wasn’t enough for Petros, he lays out the piece de resistance: He flips a penny at David.

All the joy’s gone from the younger Xanatos now. “What’s this?”

Disney Gargoyles - Vows - xanatos unhappy with penny wedding gift

I bet he kept that penny, though. This is such a sad scene. Poor guy just wanted some approval. It’s so rare you get to see antagonists’ deeper problems and hurts.

It’s Petros’s wedding present. “It’s not worth much now, but in 1000 years, who knows? It’s my wedding present to you, because it’s all you seem to care about.”

Let me quote you what I said in my Tumblr post:

Excuse me? There are a lot of ways I would describe David Xanatos, but money-hungry is not one of them. From the very first time we meet him atop castle Wyvern he makes it clear that, while he isn’t wasteful and he is an excellent businessman, money is not his first priority. It was Owen who insisted that the castle-raising adventure cost would be “astronomical.” David responds with, “Make the offer now, Owen. This instant!” Throughout the series he’s spent untold amounts of money on his plans. None of those plans were specifically aimed at getting more money (it may have been a side effect, but not the ultimate goal). Even this plot achieved more than just wealth. And really, who would turn down time travel? David likes to mix business with pleasure.

Petros is grasping at straws. Since he can’t use the “you didn’t earn any of it” line anymore, he’s switched to “you’re only concerned with money,” which isn’t even partly accurate. If David had gained success in some other field, like say writing or construction or farming, Petros would still find a way to harp on his son. To David’s unending credit, he takes all the harassment like a gentleman, either explaining politely and clearly why Petros is wrong or simply ignoring it. Family is the only thing that can drive me to rage, so I would have lost it in the first 20 seconds. David really deserves more credit in the self-control department.

All I can think, other than Petros is a giant jerk, is this is why David is the man he is. That latent need for fatherly approval runs deep in his heart. But maybe that’s okay. He’s always striving for more, always achieving new heights, always upping his game. That’s a good thing. Now that he’s got Fox, he can do that for her instead of his father, who will never approve of anything he does. (Unless it involves fish. But even that wouldn’t be good enough. I give up.)

Speaking of Fox: She doesn’t get many lines in this ep, I think because her VA was on a different project. Her role isn’t even that important, other than to sex up her man a little, get married, and knock out a couple bandits. So let’s give her some love.

This is her first wedding, and hopefully her last. I’m sure she had ideas about how she wanted her wedding to go. But instead, she agrees to a wedding that is exactly how David wants and needs it to be. I don’t know how much he explained to her. She said she was proud of him after he laid out the plan for Petros, but this could just be her way of sticking up for him in front of the ever-exasperating Petros. At the least, David must have explained that everything needed to be just so, including having Demona be her maid of honor, in order for them to have the life they do. When you compare a wedding plan to billions of dollars and immense power, it’s no contest. Still, this proves how pragmatic Fox is and how well suited she and David are to each other. She already thinks “he’s the most brilliant man on the face of the earth,” or close to it even if she was using some hyperbole for Elisa’s sake. He got her out of prison early. He saved her from the Eye of Odin. If there’s one man she can trust to be on top of things and act in her best interest, it’s David Xanatos. She trusts him implicitly. And he lives up to her expectations.

I have a little head cannon that David and Fox had a good discussion about all this, and she helps him come to terms with his rocky relationship with his dad.


Final Thoughts

Finally a series with a time travel system that makes sense!

We’ve seen the Arch Mage a number of times now. He’s no longer the throw-away character Greg thought he would be. What’s he planning with all those magical items?

Fox and David are married! Now what? Two heads are better than one, so I’m sure the schemes will only get better.

Will we see Petros again? I hope not. I want to smack him. I’d get his negativity all over me, though.

What about the Judge? Will he be back?

Another scheme of Demona’s is foiled. She’s not going to give up. How’s she going to follow this one, though?

What will become of the Phoenix Gate? Having  a time travel artifact with very little rules, other than the user must say the incantation while envisioning the time and place they want to visit, is a dangerous move in any series.

Next week we answer the question of how Demona will respond to this latest defeat. It’s a heck of a reaction! It takes four eps to lay out, involves the whole city, and goes deep into her past. Macbeth also surfaces. Tune in for City of Stone part 1!

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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2 comments on “Gargoyles: Vows – Episode Review Continued
  1. GregXB says:

    This is such a great episode. And jam-packed. So much set-up.

    Demona is my favorite character, and having this episode set just before City of Stone is perfect. This is just so sad… she was completely traumatized, and… every time I think of what young Angel had in the back of her mind for nineteen years, it’s no wonder things went down the way they did.

    I think Goliath was trying to spare her a few more years of pain. Maybe he hoped to cause a change in her, maybe he didn’t know what he would accomplish, if anything.

    Xanatos is in top form in this episode. I won’t lie, his relationship with Petros fascinates me. I wonder how this all started. I know Greg said that the death of his mother played a part.

    CoS are my favorite episodes, so I look forward to your take.

    • LC Champlin says:

      It’s hard to believe that this ep was originally just set in the Eyrie Building, according to Greg W’s memo, and the time travel bit was his semi-last minute addition. I absolutely love the plot of Vows.

      Great point. Without what we saw in Vows, CoS would lack some of its force. Now we know she was thinking about meeting her future, bitter self the whole time. That puts things in a new light.

      I almost wonder, now that you mention it, if it was one of those “I didn’t expect to get this far, so my plan’s a bit sketchy” moments for Goliath. He wanted to save her from her future/past, but…the execution was played by ear.

      Saying David’s mom played a role doesn’t narrow it down, but Greg W won’t go farther. So, we’re left to speculate. Thee needs to be more fics about this.

      I just watched CoS 1 tonight. I think you’ll be pleased with my take. I’ve been wanting a chance to dig in to Demona’s MO and character, but before CoS, there’s scant material. So stay tuned!

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