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Chapter XXIV: "City of Stone, Part Three"

Time to ramble...

So the sun rises on the next day. Elisa IMMEDIATELY starts talking, even though she's facing the wrong way, putting to the lie all those nice fans who tried to make excuses for why she was animated facing that direction.

It's also kind of cool to watch Goliath and Brooklyn turn to stone and then see Owen turn from stone to flesh. He's got that URGENT-Owen tone going there for a sec, then quickly regains his usual Owen composure. It's fun.

There's a line in here about mixing magics, which was supposed to be a vague, vague cover for later revelations that Owen is Puck. Owen suggests getting the Grimorum from Goliath. X responds it wouldn't do any of them any good since none of them are sorcerors and MIXING MAGICS is supposed to be dangerous. That last phrase is REALLY a reference to a notion in X's head, that Puck might be able to help. X than rejects the notion himself. He's right about mixing magics, but that isn't the main reason that Puck won't help. Puck won't help because that's not the deal that Owen made with Xanatos.

I like Xanatos' casual confidence though: "We'll just have to set the sky ablaze."

Travis scene is fun for me too. Gives me one of those oblique opportunities to semi-break the fourth wall. A woman comes up, tells Travis the truth. He discounts her story, nominally because she doesn't watch television. Anyone who doesn't watch television must be a kook. Now a report on Mass Hypnosis... (That last bit is in there to explain in passing what the world response to the City of Stone events is likely to be.)

FLASHBACK TIME: Duncan has a beard. "Some cousins are not that close." I love how Neil Dickson read that line. And I love Duncan's genuine surprise when Mac saves his life.

Mac saves Demona again. Proving what a good, loyal guy he is.

And then we bring in the Weird Sisters, in the most SHAKESPEAREAN scene in City of Stone.

But first let's talk about the title. I LOVE that title. "CITY OF STONE". I think it was one of mine. But I have to admit it's flawed. Though it's spooky and evocative it really only covers the present day story. The present day story is certainly important, but I think we'd all agree that the real juice in this four-parter is in the tenth and eleventh centuries. And the title doesn't really cover that stuff at all. I didn't notice it at the time, because the importance of the flashbacks snuck up on me. At first I thought they would simply inform the action in the present. But it wound up being more of the reverse. Still I like the title. It sounds like a Movie title to me. What do you guys think?

Anyway, we bubble, bubble, toil and trouble it a bit. I love the nasty expressions that Canmore and Luach shoot each other. [I also love J.D. Daniels work as Canmore. He's such a little nasty. Great contrast to his work as the goody-good kid Tom.]

I'm fairly certain that we screwed up on Luach's name. The name should have been Lulach. But a typo got us stuck on Luach. At first I thought maybe either name would be accurate, like Malcolm and Maol Chalvim. But now I think we just blew it.

I love Luna's line: "You would lecture US on fate."

Erin, my six year old daughter, began to get very annoyed with Duncan here. "Why doesn't he give Macbeth one chance? He just saved his life! Duncan is a fraidy-cat. And stupid." I love a good judge of character. When Bodhe ("Be reasonable, Macbeth") tells Mac that Duncan's after him, and Mac can't believe it, Erin felt quite vindicated, "See, [Mac] just asked the same question that I did."

I like Mac's sad line to Gruoch: "The Journey will be brief."

And I like D and Mac's exchange:

Mac: "You are the answer."
D: "I'm uninterested in the question."

Ben, my three year old son, was having a little trouble with how fast everyone was aging. He didn't always get that the flashbacks weren't taking place right after each other. He got the difference between past and present. But not that we kept leaping forward from say 1032 to 1044 etc. "That's a different Demona," he would say, before I explained that she was just getting older. It then occured to me that I'm not even sure if he knows that white hair specifically signifies old age in a cartoon. After all, Brooklyn's hair is white. So's Luna's, in all her forms. (It's supposed to be silver, but it looks white most of the time.)

Mac is surprised, and not a little freaked out, to hear that there's still a Hunter out there. With Gill dead, he has no clue who it could be.

He offers an alliance, and Demona -- clearly thinking of the Captain of the Guard -- says, "You sing an old song." That, for me, helped tie in our Wyvern flashbacks to the whole Mac/Demona story. I was always afraid they weren't really related enough.

The whole thing with the Sisters looking different depending on the point of view, was another idea of mine that most people thought I was nuts about. (Like having characters unaware of the change in themselves in "The Mirror".) It worked just fine, and in many ways is clearer than any alternative I can think of. But man, I had to WORK to convince people.

The sisters are pretty tricky here, they use the barest excuse of an offered trade to more or less enforce their will on Mac and D. Bending Oberon's law without breaking it. That's not too important here, but will obviously be important in later episodes.

The clues of course are planted in the spell. "Forever and eternal bound and each the other's pain resound." How many people got the implication here as opposed to figuring it all out when the sisters explained it near the end of part four?

Seline handing Mac that magic ball was another instance of us cheating a bit. We were sick of using the fall to the death shtick. But we couldn't just have Duncan skewered. So this was an S&P compromise. The good news was it looked pretty cool. Brief but scary. It even seems to scare Mac.

When Gruouch says that she's afraid Mac's made "a bad bargain," she was supposed to touch his hair to give a visual reminder that he had given up his youth to protect his clan -- and that it scared and saddened her more than a little. I gave that note over and over, but somehow it never got in there. It still works, but I really wish she had run her fingers through his hair there.

D likes Mac and Gruoch here. Look at her face. Maybe she sees a bit of herself and Goliath in them. (With Gruoch as Goliath, of course.)

I like the battle too. It's very economical staged, yet it feels kinda epic to me. Very smartly story-boarded. I really like Demona's clean sweep of Duncan's cavalry off their horses.

Mac says: "You fight like a demon." Laying the groundwork for Demona to get named. This was a bit of an argument with S&P. "Demon" was supposed to be an off-limit word for us. I convinced Adrienne Bello it was important to justify Demona's name. And my bosses backed me up. (That never happens anymore, by the way.)

There's a character in here that we never name except in the credits. He's Duncan's right hand man and Demona appears to brain him by flying him head first into a big rock. He's called MacDuff in the credits. Obviously, another name from Shakespeare. I think maybe he didn't die, but became an ally of Canmore's in part four. But I'm not sure. I know that in part Three, Charlie "Travis Marshall" Hallahan did his voice. In part Four, the character I'm thinking of (both of whom have red hair at least) is voiced by Jeff Bennett.

M&D find the mask with Duncan, and Mac says, "so the battle is truly over for us both." Which is majorly ironic, since we know the battle will continue for at least 900 years.

Bodhe comes out from the background only after "THE NIGHT IS WON!"

Bodhe, though contemptuous, is a very fun character to write. I love his little aside about Canmore: "He'll be trouble; slay him now." We like Mac better that he won't kill a child. But you'll notice that Demona won't kill the kid either.

The coronation is fun. That whole naming sequence is fun.

M: "They will learn to respect you."
D: "I'd rather they feared me."
M: "They'll do that too... 'Demona'"

A nice bow tied on that "Know her?!! I named her!!" line from way back in "Enter Macbeth".

Now as we prepare to segue back to the present, Erin recognizes the three sisters as serving wenches "Because of their hair". To which Ben says, "Me too". But when we get to the present, neither realize that the sisters are also posing as cops. Mostly, because they're police hats largely cover their hair.

Now finally, back to Elisa. Confused as hell, but beginning to catch on at the mention of PackMedia Studios. She heads for the Eyrie. X's response: "Ah, the charming Detective Maza." Love that guy.

Owen and Elisa do their little dance and we get to play a gargoyle recurring bit with them as they freeze into stone mid-argument. At this point my kids catch on to the basic rules. (All of which might have been clearer if we hadn't had such a big gap between watching part two and part three). Erin: "So the humans are the opposite of the Gargoyles. When they turn to stone, the others wake up."

Xanatos starts explaining the plan, and my son turns to me and says, "Daddy, I have to tell you something." [Which is how he starts most conversations these days.] "I had a lot of dreams about fire in the sky." I'm not sure if I believe him, but it was a nice conversation piece.

I like the way Goliath looks at Elisa when he says, "This has to work." Feelings showing.

Then everyone leaves to go pass gas. :) [I know. I'm really mature.]

Bronx goes after the tapestry. We wanted to keep that subtle so that we weren't tipping our hand. Did anyone wonder about that or did it just slide by? Did anyone remember at the cliffhanger that Bronx had been left behind to save Elisa?

Anyway, there's my ramble. Where's yours?