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Watched "Protection" last Saturday with my wife and kids. Here's a ramble:
I'm immediately struck by our large supporting cast. Probably because so few of our regulars (Elisa, Goliath, Broadway only) appear in the episode.
THE CROOKS: Dracon, Glasses and Pal Joey. (All very fun to write for.)
THE COPS: Matt, Maria, Morgan. (All three go undercover and do a bit of play-acting, which is also fun.)
THE CIVILIANS: Art, Lois, Dave, Mr. Jaffe, Travis Marshall. (Each is characterized rather quickly, but memorably, I think. It was particularly cool to play off the Matt/Jaffe relationship previously referred to in "Reawakening".)
As for our regulars, we intentionally reduced the number of 'goyles in this one so that we had the space in our short 22 minutes to focus on other things. Goliath and BW seemed the appropriate two to bring along for various reasons -- established most obviously in "Deadly Force" and "The Silver Falcon".
I liked how Goliath reacted to the perversion of the concept of "Protection" and how the movie-savvy BW shakes his head but takes it in stride.
Okay, I figure we didn't fool many of you into thinking that Elisa had actually gone bad. I was pretty sure we wouldn't. At least not the older fans. So I tried to fool you another way in the first few minutes. Glasses tells Dracon about a lady cop, but doesn't mention who. Chavez accuses Elisa, but Elisa pleads her innocence. Did anyone think that Elisa was being framed?
My daughter did. But in a way that I hadn't considered, despite the fact that "Double Jeopardy" was part of the same tier and naturally led to her conclusion.
--Erin: "That's not Elisa, is it?"
--Benny: "Yes, it is."
--Erin: "Yeah, that's not her. She never dresses like that."
--Benny: "It's a wig. How'd she get her hair like that?"
--Erin: "It's a clone."
A clone? Of course! That's the problem with introducing so many concepts. Too many options for the viewer. Did anyone else think clone? Erin maintained this idea right until the end of the episode. She kept saying with increasing frustration: "That's not Elisa. It's not."
SPEAKING OF NEW CLOTHES...
I loved Elisa's new outfit, I only wish the animation -- the character modeling -- in the episode had been better. It's not always very flattering to her. Sometimes it seems to WAY flatten her out. Other times, it makes her huge. (Yes, I'm focused on her breasts. I'm a heterosexual male. What do you want from me?) But it never makes her look real. Still, it's just nice to see her wearing something -- ANYTHING -- different. I wish we had had the resources to give her more clothing options in general.
Some nice lines in this one...
Elisa to Goliath: "What are you, a puppy?"
Elisa to Glasses, et al: "You tough guys just gonna stand there all night?"
Goliath to Elisa & Dracon: "Money and power sound very appealing."
Dracon to Elisa: "Keep the jar."
Elisa to Broadway: "Keep the jar."
Dracon to Goliath: "So she's your woman. You have good taste."
Broadway to himself: "Why are bad guys always in such a hurry."
Broadway to Pal Joey: "Sorry, Pal."
Broadway's slightly dated black & white movie gangster lingo.
All of Dracon's on-going Honey, Sugar, etc. references and Elisa's reaction to them. Makes me smile still.
You've all heard this story, right?
Keith David used the exclamation "Jalapeña" all the time. More or less as a replacement for Halleluia. It was an expression he had gotten from a female jazz singer (whose name escapes me at the moment -- as it usually does for some reason). One day in the control booth, voice director Jamie Thomason turned to me and said, "I bet you can't get that into a script." I said, "I bet I can."
Shortly thereafter, poor innocent writer/story editor Gary Sperling turned in a perfectly normal script. I then added this entire "Jalapeña" subplot. (I had to add all this stuff about room service, jars, etc. to justify the last word in the episode.) I fell in love with the idea. I thought it would give us a curse word, basically. (That's how BW uses it in the ep.) Most everyone else hated it. But directors Frank Paur, Dennis Woodyard and Butch Lukic didn't know how far I planned on taking it. They thought it would be a one episode thing, so they indulged me here. In fact, they suggested the massive "Jalapeña!" echoes at the end of the episode. ("If you're gonna do it, do it!")
Jamie would later goad me by saying things like, "Yeah, but I bet you can't get Hudson to say it." And so one by one, everyone said it. Again, I thought it was fun and useful.
But eventually the art staff literally revolted against it. Frank told me I HAD to stop. So what you'll notice is that starting with this episode we ramp up and begin to use the word a lot. And then it peters out and disappears entirely from the show -- until "The Journey" my farewell episode. I put one "Jalapeña" in that. Disney executive Jay Fukuto asked me why I had done that: "I thought Frank hated it." That's why I did it, to annoy Frank and gratify myself.
Frank and I are all good again now. We look back on our Garg days and realize that we didn't even know how good we had it. But I'd say that in 1996 our relationship had deteriorated a bit. The stress of doing 65 episodes had taken a bit of a toll. We weren't at each others' throats or anything. But we were just a bit on edge. Like I said, ancient history. I'd love to work with Frank again now. But there you have it.
DRACON & GLASSES
Lots of loyalty from Glasses. These second banannas always fascinate me. Of course, Xanatos usually treats Owen with the utmost respect. Dracon isn't quite as good a boss. He has a line of contempt after Glasses tells Dracon that the shopkeep [Matt] wants to meet with the boss. Dracon to Glasses: "And he knows it's not you." You wonder why Glasses puts up with it.
I love how quickly Dracon adjusts to the Gargoyles too. The concept of controlling them is so appealing, it submerges his fears. He quickly starts referring to them as Guests, and then as Partners. He even puts a hand on Goliath's shoulder -- briefly.
BOMBS OVER BROADWAY
This guy seems to deal with bombs a lot. This time he hold it in his teeth, which I thought was cool.
THE GROCERY STORE
Poor Mr. Jaffe. He gets robbed all the time. Then he has to put up with a Werefox attack. And now a particle beam battle.
And what's with those giant bags of flour? Who buys those?
And I wish those hidden cameras had actually been hidden.
I'm not in love with the battle choreography here. Elisa gets the jump on Dracon, which is okay, I guess, as he was hoping he could trust her. But then Dracon gets the jump right back. She should have been better prepared. It's all a touch clumsy.
Goliath's roar is interesting. Usually we use more effect and less Keith. This one is more Keith. A lot more Keith.
G's eyes are glowing as he takes Dracon into the air. But you'll notice they stop glowing just before he drops Dracon. This is a clue that he never really intended to let Dracon die. His anger has already ebbed. And after all, "Gargoyle justice is not human justice." Had this been Gargoyle justice, you get the sense that Dracon would have wound up, dare I say it, "Street Pizza."
Things wrap up. Chavez of course is still largely in the dark. But you'll notice that things were staged so that you could believe that Matt may or may not have been in the dark too. Since this episode was part of the same tier as "Revelations" we didn't 100% know for sure whether or not Matt would know about the Gargoyles by the time this aired. So we tried to play it ambiguously here.
ELISA & GOLIATH
Jalapeñas aside, I like the final scene between E&G. They reaffirm their mission and their love for each other. The first explicitly. The second implicitly.
Also we use the scene to justify why Dracon would buy something that I knew the audience wouldn't. "The corrupt are the first to believe that others can be corrupted." If you never thought for a moment that Elisa was dirty then there's hope for you yet. Either that, or your hopelessly cynical about the rules of television.
But did you still think she was a clone?
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?
In the 2198 contest you said that gargoyles were experimented upon, but we never saw any gargoyle getting experimented upon or were you saving this for the third season?
Well, one could argue that the creation of the clones counted as experimentation on Gargoyles, but, yes, I did have further plans.
I asked this before
Lady Leto writes...
This is a respond to one of your ramblings. You asked:
'Is there anyone out there for whom City of Stone was your first Gargoyle experience? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Did you have a clue as to what was going on?'
Well I was getting my Dad to watch it with me for the first time. And throughout the whole thing he was asking me many question, most of them pointless like do all Gargoyles have tails? And kept on me about names. (Hudson right, nothing is real to humans till they have names.) So yes even with the flashbacks, "Previously" segment, and a hard core garg fan, he was very confused. I think next time I try to get him into Gargoyles I'll start at the beginning.
Also wanted say that it is really cool how you answer all these question. (I have been to the Archives.) It must take alot of time! And you even put up with the not so great questions! I just wanted to say thanks!
You're welcome. Too bad about your dad. I was afraid of that. Did it at least intrigue him enough to make him want to see more? Or did the confusion just alienate him from the series?
I finally got my dad into the series! I picked an episode by random, it was Revelations. And he liked it! He doesn't like cartoons at all. We watch an episode each week. His favorite character is Hudson, and episode is 'The Mirror' (he thought Puck was really funny!). Well anyway, maybe I can talk him into going with me to the Gathering in 2003 (since we live in Tampa).
I'd love to see you both there.
For those of you who don't know, the site for G2003 has been chosen: NEW YORK CITY, site of the first two Gatherings ('97 & '98) and, obviously, the setting for the series.
But, hey, Lady Leto, how about grabbing your dad and heading for Gathering 2002 in Williamsburg, VA. It's a lot closer to you both physically and temporally.
More Space-Spawn questions...
1) Will there be any main individual Space-Spawn characters in Gargoyles 2198?
2) If so, will there be more than one?
3) Are they necessarily all villains?
3. Not saying.
1.Did you intend the first part of the 2198 contest to be the opening prologue for gargoyles 2198?
2a.Do the other four spinoffs have opening prologues?
2b.Have you written all four if they do?
3.If so could you share with us the opeing prologues for Timedancer, New Olympians, Bad Guys and Pendragon?
1. More or less.
2. Not written out. (And there are five other spin-offs.)
3. Not interested in Dark Ages, are you?
[In prep for my ramble on "Protection", here's the memo I faxed to Story Editor/Writer Gary Sperling. (Actually, I'm retyping it -- old typos and maybe some new ones included -- because I don't have a computer file. Just the hard copy.) You'll notice that it's more abbreviated than usual. Note the date. I was on vacation at the time. Plus, the outline may have been in better shape. Also note that the episode's original title was "Undercover". But we realized that Elisa wasn't so much going undercover, and that we'd save that concept for what eventually became "Turf". Besides the one word title, "Protection", was hard to resist given our on-going themes.]
Notes on "Undercover/Protection" Outline...
1. Restaurant blows up. Keep very brief.
2. Glasses joins Tony in the limo. Glasses has heard that dirty cops are muscling in on their protection racket.
3. News report to Gargoyles. PRoTECTION RACKET. Goliath wants to see Elisa. She hasn't stopped by in days. Where has she been?
4. ChAvez asking Matt same question. As MATT brings in #3 to question him about restaurant bombing. Elisa arrives late. Matt: "Where you been?" Don't crowd me Bluestone. Asks for time alone with #3 Matt gives it. Elisa starts to talk obliquely about her moving in. Chavez interrupts and suspends her while she's under investigation. Maza protests that she's innocent. HAs to turn in badge and gun.
5. Elisa storms outside. Goliath and Broadway follow.
6. #3 calls Dracon.
7. Pool Hall - reveal Elisa.
Glasses and #3 comes in.
8. Pursuit.? or HUSSLES ELISA OUT.
9. Goliath and Broadway intervene. CHASE.
Elisa pulls the rug out from under G. She leaves w/Glasses.
Goliath says she's under a spell. BW says maybe there's another explanation.
10. Glasses and Dracon. Elisa in the next room. Send her in. You guys get to work.
Elisa and Dracon.
11. Grocery Store: MATT (disguised) and owner. Matt and Glasses.
12. Some phony store. Maria, Morgan and #3. After #3 leaves they make reference to one of their plans is sure to nail Dracon.
13. Goliath and Broadway have gone bad at Dracon's Penthouse.
Finish out 13.
14. Broadway helps Maria and Morgan against #3 (and Glasses?)
15. Matt and Elisa nab Dracon. He's ready with men and bomb.
Goliath and Elisa work together to diffuse situation.
(Matt and Goliath relationship should be vague.)
Elisa gets her shield and gun back.
16. Reveal clearly what everyone probably knows by now. Elisa was undercover. BW figured it out and tipped off G. Some PROTECTION TAG.
DRACON OUT ON BAIL?????????
Here's a new ramble for ASK GREG & the DCV...
As usual, I watched the episode recently with my family.
And as usual, everytime my five year-old Benny, sees Xanatos and Fox, he tells his seven year old sister Erin, "You were her. I was Xanatos and you were Fox." [All quotations (both from my kids or from the episode) are approximate.]
This is a big episode for attitudes.
Xanatos and Fox pit multiple individuals against each other in life and death circumstances and regard it all as a game.
Lex still hates the Pack.
Dingo is disgusted with the Pack's life of crime, and then even more disgusted with what his teammates do to their bodies. Cool lines like "Save the horrorshow..." or "I hope you don't eat your catch..." or "You're barely our species..." or "I still can't get over what you three did to yourselves..." or "I'm a partner in a freakshow..." or "...after they went Frankenstein on me..." all help distinguish him, perhaps for the first time. We had a notion of where Dingo was going. And this episode helped bridge the gap to "Walkabout". And eventually to the development I did with Gary Sperling, Bob Kline, Troy Adomitis, Doug Murphy and Patrick Archibald on "BAD GUYS," which some of you have seen at the Gathering.
How the mighty have fallen. My point-of-view and Dingo's matched up. The Pack were beginning to feel pathetic. The problem with villains is that after the heroes keeps beating them over and over, you need to find a way to keep them competitive. This episode (reflected in its title, which may or may not have been one of mine, but which I latched onto EARLY and stuck with) was always part of my plans for the Pack. Intro them in the first season as humans. This was necessary, because the world of our first season was MUCH more normal. I wanted to weird the world up in small steps. Don't intro Oberon first, intro Puck. That kind of thing. So once the science was established, we'd upgrade.
This dovetailed nicely with the need for Goliath to 'upgrade' one of his warriors to Second-In-Command. Goliath had been Hudson's second. Demona had been Goliath's. But it was past time to name a new successor. We always had Brooklyn in mind for that roll, but I remember asking Gary whether he felt we had succeeded in establishing that without ever having stated it. He felt we had. What did you guys think when you first saw the episode?
The battle at the bank. On my tape, there's an animation glitch where Dingo hits his head and then seems to intentionally hit his head again. I'm hoping it got fixed for later airings.
Anyway, the battle winds down. No one's done very well. But the Pack is on the run. Erin at this point says, "There's no messing with the big boys." Proving that the Pack was no longer competitive.
Wolf yells, "This isn't over!" sounding very much like Hakon to my ears.
Lex wants to pursue, but Brooklyn already the subconscious leader of everyone's choice, says, "Helping Goliath is more important."
Hudson gooses Goliath to choose a second. Refuses the job himself. This is another example of Hudson being the guardian of tradition. He knows they live in a brave new world. But he wants to preserve what worked in the old one as well.
Erin says, "I think Goliath's going to choose the red guy." Meaning Brooklyn. I am briefly horrified that my own kids don't reliably know the names of the lead characters. (Of course, before last week, we hadn't watched the series in a year. But still...)
I love the idea of Coyote's head knocking on the door of the Pack's ship. For starters it's so odd to get a knock while in flight. Second, how did he knock. Why with his forehead of course...
The trio begin their competition. Bronx is disgusted.
The new Pack is revealed. What was everyone's reaction? The Coyote-Head had laid out the options, but were you at all shocked at the upgrades when you first saw them?
I like the creepy Addams Family moment with Jackal's arm. I like that this Wolf and Dingo are now competitive in strength with Goliath.
I find it interesting that we had Goliath say, "What manner of trickery is this?" instead of "What sorcery is this?" I mean, who were we kidding, right?
Hudson then brings up the Archmage's sorcery. Just a reminder that the Archmage existed for what we knew was coming in Avalon.
I don't know if this was fixed for reairing, but their's a big mistake in this first battle. Goliath spots COYOTE the robot flying off and goes off alone in pursuit. This was supposed to be him spotting just the little head. He goes off after the head, thinking he'll find Xanatos or something. Then the giant Robot steps forward. Would have been a much better reveal.
I love the interaction as the Pack chooses a leader.
Cree is great reading: "Coyote, honey..." and "I find him very attractive." Hyena's attraction to Coyote was a fun running gag. But did it influence her choice of upgrades?
Jackal is grossed out, proving as ever, that he's just a tad saner than his sister. "Well, that's sicker than usual." He sides with Wolf, just for that reason.
Leaving Dingo with the deciding vote.
More animation errors that I hope got corrected eventually: Fox's lips don't move. So suddenly we're hearing her internal monologue.
Note that Broadway actually foils the most crime in their nightly competition. We did that on purpose. To show that was never the point.
Xanatos says, "Clever move." to end an act.
Then we come back, and he's confident saying, "I think I've still got the edge." Of course that line was a literal reuse of the line from "The Edge". We had a lot of so-so animation in this episode. It forced us to cut the show tight enough that we had to add footage. So we reprinted the shot of X&F playing chess and reused the old line to fill the space.
Everytime Hyena's hand folded backwards, Erin would say: "Eww, that's disgusting!"
CONTINUITY: Just as Lex dislikes the Pack, Bronx seems to particularly dislike Coyote. He's always chewing on that bot, forcing Coyote to threaten to "send this puppy into orbit!"
I love Hyena's line: "I wonder if Gargoyles taste like chicken?" Can't help thinking she'd sincerely like to know.
Frank Paur had this idea that when Wolf got angrier, he'd morph even wolfier. But the animation never quite worked on that. It was a great idea, but the transformation doesn't play dramatically, so it just looks like the model changes part way through the fight.
Coyote's demise was heavily influenced by the first Terminator movie. We keep destroying the darn bot, but it just keeps getting up.
Morgan reappears. I was never wild about his "Hospital, Machine Shop or Vet" line. It's okay, but it seemed a bit too flip.
Goliath, like the production staff, had his choice in mind all along. Brooklyn. By now the trio's come around to the same idea, except Brooklyn himself, who suddenly realizes the weight he'll be carrying around. A prelude to "Kingdom", as he says to Goliath, "Be careful. I'm in no hurry to take your place."
(Nice moment in their when Hudson pets Bronx. It has nothing specific to do with anything else, but it's a nice touch.)
Fox & Xanatos make such a cool couple. I love that he doesn't mind losing to her. Happier to have found a true equal.
And I love that chilling, funny ending: "Care to play again?"
Ever wonder about their next game?
Anyway, there's my ramble. Where's yours?
[In preparation for my new ramble for ASK GREG & the DCV, here's my original memo to Story Editor Gary Sperling on Adam Gilad's first draft outline of the episode "Upgrade". Note the date. At the time I wrote this, "Deadly Force" had just recently aired, but the rest of the first season was being saved for early 1995.]
Notes on "Upgrade" Outline...
My big fear is that Brooklyn didn't feel like leader material in this. To our audience he's going to come off as cautious and wimpy throughout most of the episode, with the added problem that he's subject to peer pressure. This is particularly problematic in that Brooklyn has always been defined as the MOST adventurous of our trio. Ultimately, the qualities that will define him as a leader include strategic abilities, common sense, a willingness to sacrifice... and, yes, knowing when to retreat and/or call for help. But if we make the latter quality into Brooklyn's first instinct, it will overshadow the others. And our audience won't buy him as leader. Maybe more important than all of this should be a natural unconscious quality of leadership, which parallel's Broadway and Lexington's roles as followers. When they stop thinking and slip into automatic pilot, Brooklyn naturally seems to give the orders and the others naturally follow.
These guys do work well as a team, don't be afraid to show that. We've got a competitive thing going between them that will tend to screw up their natural teamwork, but if we're going to prove our point, then we need to see moments when they forget to be competitive and just cooperate. In any case, let's not make them infantile. When you define competitiveness think Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in Top Gun. These are young warriors, not children elbowing each other as they fly.
Let's also avoid setting up non-existent flaws in Lex and Broadway. Things like Broadway being slow to awaken is just not born out in any of our other episodes. They all wake up within a few seconds of each other at sunset.
Having said all this, you'll see below that I gave them less screen time, mostly because it choreographed cleaner, but also because it really put something at stake other than the contest for leader (i.e. the lives of their friends). Plus I've isolated them from everyone that usually provides them with help or advice (Goliath, Hudson, Elisa and even Bronx). So I'm crossing my fingers that what we lose in quantity time, we will make up for in quality.
I'm also concerned that we've Upgraded the Pack, only to make them seem even more incompetent than ever. They've got to feel considerably more dangerous. We need to believe the Gargoyles barely survived this go 'round. The Pack's leadership issues cannot get too far in the way of their success. Ultimately the gargoyles do triumph because their teamwork under Brooklyn defeats a divided Pack. But if the Pack members are just at each others throats through the whole program, they'll never feel like a viable threat. Remember, despite the dangerously unstable personalities involved (including Coyote, but not Dingo), the Pack's fighting style is based on teamwork by definition. Let them play to their strength, that way it'll be even more ironic when the gargoyles defeat them through teamwork driven by sound leadership.
PACK UPGRADE SPECS
What follows may be what you had in mind, but I want to make sure we're all operating off the same page.
WOLF - gets turned into a werewolf. The biggest and most obvious change will be to his head, which will have a canine shape. Like Talon and his mutants, Wolf will be covered with hair all over, his hands will be clawed, and he'll have haunches. He cannot fly, but he can leap far distances. He'll probably have a better sense of smell and hearing, but I want to downplay these last qualities, because I think they can come off as silly. (Let's not make him an object of ridicule to his teammates simply because he's gotten more dog-like. They are all themed off canines. Both Coyote's head and Dingo's helmet will be dog-shaped as well. I would think that Jackal, Hyena and Coyote would all respect the power which came with his choice of Upgrade. Hyena might make an obnoxious comment here or there, but the only one who's really attacking his choice is Dingo -- and obviously it's not for aesthetic reasons.) Wolf will be much stronger than he was, now on a par with Goliath.
JACKAL & HYENA - become Cyborgs. Half human. Half machine. And the machine parts are NOT camouflaged as human. They have built in weapons. Cyborg legs will also allow them to leap far distances. Maybe even built in flight capabilities. And their strength will increase to Gargoyle level. Maybe not as strong as Goliath or Broadway, but equal or above the others.
DINGO - wears full body armor, including a helmet. Sort of like what we thought Xanatos was wearing as Coyote (in "Leader of the Pack") before we found out Coyote was a robot. (Model sheets are available for Coyote if you're unclear.) The focus should be on his armor, not on "weapons". All the weapons are built in. And the armor should be as flexible and powerful as Xanatos' own Gargoyle armor (screen "The Edge"), plus whatever latest innovations were thrown into this design. That means Dingo should be able to fly. Rocket jets in his boots. Or a rocket pack on his back. Probably not as maneuverable or graceful as a Gargoyle, but he can hover, which they can't do. Again, his strength level is now increased. Probably just under Wolf and Goliath range. (Note: Dingo also has less screen time than I'd like to be able to give him here, so we've really got to make his moments of uneasiness about his partners count. One visual clue that I think will help is the fact that Dingo removes his helmet every chance he gets. He subconsciously needs periodic reassurance that the helmet isn't a part of him and that he hasn't in fact relinquished his humanity.)
COYOTE - Although he's still programmed to have a slightly more vengeful version of Xanatos' personality, Coyote doesn't look like Xanatos anymore. What would be the point? He looks like a huge exaggerated version of the original Coyote. Mighty Joe Young may be a little too big, but you get the idea. If Goliath is eight feet tall than Coyote-II is more like ten or eleven, and built like a gorilla. Coyote is definitely stronger than Goliath, and he can fly. Being huge may have it's disadvantages, but not too many. This is the most powerful and sophisticated robot that Xanatos has built yet. It's computer brain (at least part of which should be the damaged head from "Leader") is well-protected in the robot's chest.
PACK ATTACK VEHICLE - This isn't and never was a van. It flies. It submerges underwater. This is super high-tech. I'm not sure if it even has an exhaust pipe. Model sheets exist if you need to see them.
OWEN vs. COYOTE'S HEAD
You can't have Owen. He's a stand-in for Xanatos, and you've already got one of those: the damaged head of Coyote from "Leader".
LEXINGTON'S TRACKING DEVICE vs. FOX
You can't have this device either. I don't want to ever make the gargoyles too high-tech in their crime-fighting. If we give Lex the ability to make one of these here, we're stuck with him having this knowledge and wondering all the time why he doesn't use it over and over. Besides, why would he create a device that tracks, but only tracks when it's inhaling carbon monoxide fumes?
At any rate, the gargoyles may not need the device. They have a secret ally that even they are not aware of: Fox. It's obvious here how Xanatos is manipulating his chess pieces. But Fox doesn't seem to be moving hers in opposition. She's simply counting on them to defeat the Pack. In some subtle way, let her "move" her pieces too. [Note: the method I use below is semi-goofy at best. If you like it you can use it, but feel free to come up with something better.]
Also, please be careful that Xanatos doesn't say anything that might imply that he threw the match. If he wasn't trying his best to win, he wasn't respecting Fox as an opponent.
MONTAGE vs. NO MONTAGE
Sorry. After cuts were made for both S&P and for things that I did not want to reveal, there wasn't anything left. So out it went.
All gargoyles sleep as stone to recharge during the day, which allows them to operate at their peak throughout the night. Hudson's peak may not be what it once was, but he doesn't need extra downtime at night.
1. Night. Bank job being carried out by what's left of the PACK: WOLF, JACKAL, HYENA and DINGO. There's an air of desperation here. They need money because they are on the run. They get to the roof, where their PACK ATTACK VEHICLE is hovering. And where it has attracted the attention of the patrolling gargoyles: BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON, BROADWAY and GOLIATH. There is a battle. The Pack is a bit out-classed, but only just. The Pack has the weapons and technology. What they lack is flight capability, brute strength (Wolf is incredibly strong for a human, but no match for Goliath) and leadership (Wolf acts like he's the leader, the others just don't naturally follow him). In contrast, Goliath leads his troops effectively. Give the Pack credit for figuring that out. They agree to take out the leader. And they do. Goliath is injured.
The Pack get away in their vehicle, but without the money. Lex momentarily wants to pursue his hated enemies, but as sirens approach, Brooklyn thinks the priority should be to get Goliath back to the safety of the CLOCK TOWER. He asks Broadway to help him carry Goliath. Neither Lex or Broadway question Brooklyn's leadership at this stage. Nor do any of the three, including Brooklyn, make a point of saying that Brooklyn is in charge. He just says some very common sense things and the others see the sense in it and follow his lead.
2. Meanwhile, the Pack Vehicle flies through the Manhattan Night. Maybe some brief sniping between the members, before there's a knock on the door... which seems odd at this altitude. Almost despite himself, Dingo opens the hatch to reveal COYOTE'S HEAD flying alongside on it's little mini-rocket. It still has half of Xanatos' face, and it asks politely in Xanatos' voice if it can come in. (There's also a model sheet completed on this damaged head. It looks pretty cool if you want the reference.)
3. Back at the Clock Tower near dawn, HUDSON tends to Goliath. It's a bad laser burn, but it'll heal when the sun rises and they turn to stone. But it brings up something that's concerned Hudson for awhile. He hates to even say it, but next time Goliath might not be so lucky. Goliath needs to name a second-in-command. Goliath chooses Hudson, of course. But Hudson declines. Goliath was Hudson's lieutenant and became his successor when it was time for Hudson to step down. Goliath needs to choose one of the trio. But first Goliath must sleep. The trio hear all this. Hudson has intentionally made no attempt to hide the conversation from them. They all straighten-up, leader-like. And the sun rises. Goliath turns to stone still cradled in his comrades arms.
4. Because the sun has risen, the Pack Vehicle dives beneath the surface of the Hudson River (or the East River or the Bay or whatever). It comes to a stop on the bottom and rests.
Inside, the Coyote Head has literally latched itself onto the ships computers. He's lowered a screen and is starting his sales pitch. Tired of being out-classed by the gargoyles? Ready to be as strong as them? To fly like them? Etc.? Well, let me show you what we can do. Is Genetic-Engineering your passion? (He shows footage of TALON in action trashing Goliath.) Or is Cybernetics more your style? (He shows footage of COLDSTONE trashing Goliath.) A little high-tech haberdashery, perhaps? (Footage of XANATOS in his GARGOYLE ARMOR trashing Goliath, with at least one shot of Xanatos with the helmet off.) Or my favorite, Robotics? (Footage of COYOTE trashing Goliath. This obviously doesn't apply to the four humans, but I want to get it in here to hint at Coyote's rebirth as well.)
Obviously, they are all very interested. Dingo goes for the armor and pretty much writes off the rest as horror show. The other three don't state their preferences. Coyote Head: "All made possible by the men and women of XANATOS ENTERPRISES." Where is Xanatos? Occupied at the moment, but happy to be of assistance.
5. At the castle, Xanatos and FOX seem to be playing chess, but we don't get to see the game board or the pieces. Xanatos has made the first move.
6. Super: ONE MONTH LATER. Clock Tower. The trio are just leaving to patrol the city separately and in competition. They've hardly done anything else, each is so intent on being Goliath's second in command. Hudson's in his comfy chair with the t.v. set on, but he's not watching. After the trio leave, he chides Goliath, who has to decide between the three young warriors. Goliath seems strangely reluctant to choose.
Just then ELISA enters. The desk sergeant just received an "anonymous" tip on the Pack's location. S.W.A.T. Teams from three precincts are mobilizing. But Elisa has listened to a recording of the tip and recognized the voice as Xanatos'. She'd like to be there in an unofficial capacity. Goliath agrees. No time to wait for the trio, but the Pack can be tough, so they'll take BRONX. They leave in such a hurry, Hudson doesn't bother to turn off the t.v.
7. An abandoned building scheduled for demolition, which the police have totally surrounded. The S.W.A.T. LEADER talks through a megaphone, giving the Pack a chance to surrender peacefully. There is no response. Tear gas canisters are shot through the windows -- followed by an explosion that practically levels the building. The tear gas couldn't have caused that. The building must have been rigged to blow.
Goliath, Elisa, Hudson and Bronx watch from a nearby rooftop. At first they don't notice the little Coyote Head, which zips around the site like a humming bird looking for food. Then the head spots them and approaches. It tells them that this little display was just designed to attract their attention. If the gargoyles really want to find the Pack, they're going to have to follow the head, which they do.
8. Goliath, Elisa, Hudson and Bronx follow the Head to a construction site. It's the skeletal beginnings of a skyscraper. As soon as they arrive the new ARMORED DINGO flies in. After Dingo, comes the new CYBORG JACKAL and HYENA, followed finally by the new WERE-WOLF. Our heroes are surrounded.
9. Picking up where we left off, we have a fight. The Coyote-Head zips away and with Hudson's blessing Goliath follows it. (He thinks it will lead to the source of the trouble.) Although the Pack works together, there are hints that they are in some competition with each other. Ultimately, the Pack knocks out Hudson, Elisa and Bronx, with Wolf personally taking down Hudson.
Elsewhere in the structure, Goliath catches up to the Head which says that it would like to introduce Goliath to its "better half". A huge shadow looms.
Back with the Pack, where we get a sense of the tension between the members. As Dingo takes off his helmet, hint that he hasn't been able to get over the horrific things that his teammates have had done to their bodies. We also find out they've been fighting over who should lead. They agreed before the fight that whoever took out the biggest gargoyle, would get to be the leader. Wolf took out Hudson, so he feels entitled.
On cue, Goliath is knocked through a brick wall. He falls unconscious at their feet. And then the rest of the wall is knocked down to reveal the new robot COYOTE-II: "Sorry, Wolf. I think my Goliath tops your Hudson."
The Pack are all stunned, but for Hyena it's love at first sight: "Coyote, honey, is that you?" A panel slides open inside Coyote's chest to reveal the Coyote Head literally plugged into the inner workings of this huge machine. No way Wolf is taking orders from a machine. No one ever said Coyote was part of the contest. Wolf is still leader. But Hyena disagrees, she's siding with her new boyfriend. Jackal can't believe his sister has fallen in love with a glorified toaster oven. He's not exactly Wolf's biggest fan, but he's got to go with old furball. They all turn to Dingo to break the tie. Dingo looks at his helmet. He makes it clear that he's not wild about his options: a robot who thinks he's human or a lunatic who gave up his humanity. But he turns to Coyote and says, "O.K. boss, what's our next move?"
10. Back at the Clock Tower, the trio are each getting back after a night of competitively patrolling the city alone. Lex prevented two muggings. Brooklyn prevented one mugging and scared off a burglar. Broadway stopped three muggings and an armed robbery: "Just have to know where to look," he says proudly. Then they realize that the tower is empty. Even Bronx is gone. And if Hudson and Goliath lugged Bronx along with them it must have been trouble.
11. Cut to the interior of some kind of hanger for the Pack Attack Vehicle. We do not get an exterior to show us where we are, but we do hear a train go by every minute or so. Goliath, Hudson, Bronx and Elisa are in a glass chamber filled with a colored gas that keeps them unconscious. Wolf isn't at all pleased about waiting around. How is sitting on their hands going to help them find the other gargoyles? But Coyote has a plan. It's midnight now. At 4:30 am they'll release Bronx from the chamber. He'll almost definitely lead them straight to the Gargoyle's Home Base. And he should get there just before sunrise, allowing the Pack to arrive just after sunrise and smash the remaining gargoyles into gravel.
12. In Xanatos' office, he and Fox are still playing chess. Xanatos: "You're in check, my dear."
13. The trio are still waiting for Goliath et al at the clock tower. It's 3 A.M. and they are very worried. It's only a couple hours 'til sunrise. And no sign of Elisa either. And the tension isn't doing wonders for their dispositions. They argue over what to do. The television gives them a clue when a report comes in about the bombing at the abandoned building. The report mentions that the fire was contained because the police were already on the scene, having received a false tip that those escaped felons (and former television stars) known as the Pack were there. They're about to head out to investigate, when they hear "The following is a paid commercial message." Lex recognizes the voice as Fox's. Brooklyn didn't think Fox was still in the Pack. But the commercial continues. "Tired of walking up Lexington Avenue? Sick of taking the bus down Broadway? Fed up with driving your car to Brooklyn? Then take the subway!" And an image appears on the screen of a place where multiple tracks criss-cross above ground. Well, that can't be a coincidence. One of them recognizes the location, he's flown over it. But is this a tip or a trap? Well, what choice do they have? Off they go.
14. Trio arrive at Train crossing. Again, there are multiple tracks crossing in multiple directions, and every minute or so, another train rushes by at high speed. They find a large metal shack, that's supposed to house train cars or something, but is acting as a hangar for the Pack Vehicle instead. They sneak in and get a look at the upgraded Pack and their sleeping friends. Broadway and Lexington are all for mounting an immediate attack. Brooklyn is reluctant. Just look at the size of Coyote, who's in the middle of putting a tracking device on Bronx. They need help to defeat these guys. But where are they going to get help? From Goliath and the rest. Our priority should be freeing them. Both Broadway and Lex try to peer pressure him. Maybe he's afraid to fight without Goliath, but they're not. But Brooklyn isn't biting. He's not scared, and he's also not stupid. They need a plan.
A little bit later, Brooklyn makes his presence known and then takes off as a decoy. Coyote figures as much, but Wolf and Jackal won't listen to reason and take off after him. And right after they leave, the power goes out inside the hanger, thanks to Lex. Dingo reaches for his helmet, but it's not there. Broadway has it and throws it with all his might at the sleep chamber. The helmet smashes a hole in the chamber, allowing the gas to pour out. But meanwhile things don't look good for the trio. Coyote slams into Broadway carrying them both outside. Hyena and Dingo pursue Lex.
So outside the battle continues amid the backdrop of unpredictable and speeding trains shooting past on random tracks. Eventually, however, Brooklyn's delaying tactic pays off. The others have been given the opportunity to recover from the sleep chamber. They join the fight, and the tide of the battle turns. The Pack is defeated. GARY, LET'S DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PACK AT THE END OF THIS SHOW.
15. Back at the clock tower, Goliath realizes that tonight's events only prove what Hudson has been saying all along. He must choose a second in command. He's had a choice in mind for weeks, but has been reluctant to reveal it, because he was afraid that it would drive a wedge between the trio. But tonight they worked together and saved the clan. He has to trust that they are mature enough to handle this. He chooses Brooklyn. (This without being aware of who spear-headed tonight's success.) The others are genuinely happy for Brooklyn. He proved himself to them. They take their places outside and Brooklyn looks across the city. A siren wails. He shakes his head and tells Goliath to be careful. He's in no hurry to take his place. They turn to stone.
16. Dawn. Fox says checkmate, and we reveal the board with its pieces based on our characters. She knows her husband doesn't like to lose. Is he upset? Of course not, he's happy to have an opponent to match his skill. Made the game more fun. "Care to play again?" FADE OUT.
I have a question. Relating to biology.
In the animal kingdom, animals(let's use chimps), chimps show a ratio in the wild and in captivity to be 50% right handed and 50% left handed. In the human population as a total about 75% are right handed and 25% Left handed. Some human societies vary of course some being 95% to 5% right to left up to 70% and 30% right to left. I couldn't find this in the archives so, do gargoyles have handedness, and if so of the gargoyle population are they like chimps with a 50/50 Right to left handers or more like humans with a heavy slant to Right handers?
Some facts about animation "handedness..."
It's very hard to keep track of.
Storyboard artists like to have the freedom to allow characters to freely use either hand, depending on how they want to stage a scene.
To some degree, particularly in an action show, this might make sense. I.e. the heroes and villains all TRAIN themselves to be at least semi-ambidextrous, because their lives may depend on it.
So although I have no idea what handed our various human characters are, I'm going to say that Gargoyles are ambidextrous. Because visually, the series seems to confirm that fact.
My family and I watched "Double Jeopardy" a few nights ago for the DCV and for my (belated) but on-going Ramblings on each of the Gargoyles episodes...
(This 'chapter'/episode was written & Story Edited by my old buddy Cary Bates.)
It's literally been over a year since my kids or my wife have seen an episode of Gargoyles. I've occasionally had to check out individual scenes and/or credits for things I've been working on, but I don't think I've sat down to watch a whole episode beginning to end in quite some time either.
Watching the opening titles, my five year old son Benny remarked to his seven year old sister Erin: "You have [Brooklyn] and I have Goliath." He's referring to the Kenner toys I gave them a couple Christmas' ago. Erin, I believe has Brooklyn, Broadway and the Steel Clan robot. Benny has Goliath, Lex and Xanatos.
Then when Benny saw Xanatos in the credits, he said, "I was Xanatos last year." Here, he's referring to the fact that he dressed up as Xanatos for the costume ball at G2000. I had to point out that that was nearly TWO years ago.
Cary must have come up with this one, I think. I tend to favor one-worders myself. His original title was "Thailog Rules", which I didn't care for. I liked "Reversals" but he must have convinced me to go for "Double Jeopardy".
Erin, who can now read, asked what "Jeopardy" meant. I said "Trouble". And she was very amused that the title 'translated' as "Double Trouble". She liked that better, I think. She also enjoys reading the various on-screen scrawls, like "One Year Ago" and "One Year Later". Reading is like a super-power to her now. I hope she doesn't lose that.
So we open with a touch of continuity. Or retcon, I suppose. Though to me retcon is a nearly derogative term suggesting that continuity has been abused to fit new circumstances and I think our little flashback here fits in nicely with what we already knew of that time. A Steel Clan Robot interrupts Elisa trying to convince G that they need to find a new home. Goliath puts the bot down hard and fast. It's a cool and well-timed scene.
It's nice to see Goliath's old stubbornness there too.
Now, to the present. There's a color error (or perhaps cheat) where we see a flash of what will eventually turn out to be Thailog's arm. It's Goliath's color, not Thailog's.
Then we hear the maniacal laughter, which Hudson will later comment on: "Do you even know how to laugh maniacally?" he'll ask Goliath. The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Though I had forgotten, Goliath laughs pretty darn maniacally in "Enter Macbeth" after Macbeth suggests that Demona will come to Goliath's rescue. Still, one of the impulses that made me want to create Thailog was Keith David's talent. The fact that he was brilliant as Goliath, but that Goliath didn't allow us to show but a fraction of Keith's true range. Creating Thailog allowed Keith to do things that he otherwise wouldn't. And I think he's amazing. There's never any question as to which character is speaking whether that character is on-camera or not. And he does it all with acting. The voice itself is the same. Thailog lets Keith cut loose and just be BAD.
Also, a touch of Jeff Bennett's amazing flexibility too. Jeff does a Schwartzenegger impersonation for the mercenary. Beth immediately recognized it as an Arnold takeoff, but didn't know who was voicing it. She was suitably impressed to find out it was yet another creation of JB's.
I like Lex's line: "Made my hair stand on end... if I had any". (Note, all quotations are approximate.)
I had some fun trying to mess with the audience's minds. Which is tough, because honestly you guys (tv watchers in general these days) are pretty savvy people who know most writer-tricks. When you saw Thailog frozen in stone on the parapet, before the real Goliath & Brooklyn appeared in the episode, what did you think was going on?
Benny (still focused on the prologue) theorized: "It's a robot that also can be turned to stone."
Erin knew it wasn't Goliath. And after a few minutes wondered if the robot had cloned Goliath. (NOTE: Both kids have seen the episode before. But long ago. And for Benny, so long ago, that there's really no possible way he could remember it. Erin doesn't remember either, at least not consciously, but she may have more of a sense of it buried in there somewhere.)
The Emir is mentioned again. I think, though I can't remember for sure, that by this time, I had some vague notion of picking up on the throw away mention of this guy in "The Edge" and using him as a character later. So we mention him having deadline problems. In theory, he's already working on the Anubis plan that Xanatos agreed to bankroll back in "The Edge" -- but which wouldn't come to fruition until "Grief".
Owen is fun here too for me: "Is this a plan you neglected to mention?" A reasonable possibility, though it's hard to imagine that Xanatos would work anything behind Owen's back. I also like the bit about how Xanatos has never lacked for formidable enemies.
And Arnold's line about Sevarius giving him the creeps is truer now than ever before. Sitting in front of me is an article from this past Sunday's L.A. Times about Dr. Severino Antinori's real life cloning experiments. I even have a picture of the guy. He doesn't look much like our Anton. But the name and the sliding ethics sure sound spookily like Dr. Sevarius. As far as I know, that's a name that Michael Reaves made up out of the blue. It's really weirding me out.
Owen & Xanatos figure out that the kidnapper is Sevarius, and Xanatos has that great resigned villainous speech about how "An example must be made." It's funny. We have to work to get him to do anything that an everyday cartoon villain would do without breaking a sweat.
Also, we get the first mention of the "Thailog Project". The word "Thailog" itself, as I may have mentioned before, was another major impetus (is that spelled right) for creating the character.
While we were mixing the 35mm movie version of the pilot, there was one scene that was giving us trouble. The guys at Disney Sound kept rewinding across this scene over and over and I kept clearly hearing the same word "Thailog" over and over again. I eventually realized it was Elisa saying Goliath backwards. I just liked the sound of Thailog and that gave me the idea of creating an evil (i.e. backwards) Goliath. Again, that would also give Keith some fun opportunities.
But one thing I didn't want to do was to make Thailog a true dead-ringer for Goliath. I felt that had been done to death. It was fun to misdirect in the first act. But after that, I wanted something different. Thus we have the 'pigmentation' change brought on by the accelerated aging process. (This was another thing that mattered to me. Clones who miraculously are the same age as the original bug me. I wanted to at least pay lip service to the notion that theoretically a clone should age normally. The color change was an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.)
The specifics of the color change were actually inspired by John Byrne's tenure on the FANTASTIC FOUR at Marvel. He did a bunch of issues where the FF went to the Negative Zone, and when they emerged, their uniforms were altered from black and light blue to white and dark blue. It always seemed like a simple but stunning change. So Thailog was a nega-Goliath. (And, yes, Darkwing's foe Negaduck also had an influence, I'm sure.)
Broadway's ongoing 'learning to read' subplot is advanced. Lex has put two and two together and guessed that what they saw might just be a clone. Which is smart o him, I think. But BW has to figure out what Lex was spelling out. Perhaps even more of a challenge for a guy that didn't care about the written word, just a few short months before.
Erin saw her birthday on the Thailog project logs, and was very tickled. (Of course, it's really no coincidence.) I felt a little bad, since Benny's birthday never appears in the show. (Since he wasn't born yet.)
BW: "This is bad news."
LEX: "You can say that again."
BW: "This is bad news."
Erin: <LAUGHS> "He said it again."
Love the X & Sev scenes. It's always fun to give Tim Curry a chance to really HAM it up. (You can see how a lot of our work was inspired by the talents of our cast.) But I just love cross-purpose conversations in general. And this one is a blast. It's also nice to see Xanatos confused for a change. Props to Jonathan Frakes, who always gave us a very non-showy but spot on performance. Particularly once the voice and animation were put together.
X: You're the kidnapper.
Sev: I guess I am at that.
Goliath sees Thailog for the first time and reacts very badly. I think it's (dare I say it) very human of him. He thinks Thailog is an abomination. I love the "...pieces out my soul" line. Love it.
***HEY! I know I've said this before, but in case everyone's forgotten... These ramblings are admittedly a little obnoxious. I'm like praising my own work here. Except (a) some of it isn't my work, but the work of my colleagues and it still impresses me and (b) I'm genuinely fond of all this stuff so forgive the indulgence.****
Anyway, Elisa points out that Thailog is almost Goliath's son.
This was another ongoing point of behind-the-scenes contention. Since Thailog appears to be Goliath's evil twin, Cary and others thought we should play them as brothers instead of father & son. But that just seemed wrong to me. That wasn't the relationship either genetically or otherwise. And I liked the notion of Thailog having three fathers that he was in constant conflict/competition with.
All the father/son stuff is great.
I love the "Chip off the old block" "All the old blocks" exchange. Pun intended of course.
And Thailog's line "...just to raise a fool."
And Sev's "You do and do and do for them."
Thailog laughs maniacally multiple times. YAY!
Round about here, Erin muttered: "This is an odd episode."
Note that Thailog is attracted to Elisa from the start. Creepy. But also he's more in touch with his body chemistry than Goliath is. Guess it helps if you haven't had a decades of socialization.
Actually, everyone admires Elisa. X for her delicate wrists. The bit with Elisa slipping out of her manacles always seemed like a bit of a cheat to me. (See, sometimes there are things I don't like.) The handcuffs line was a semi-feeble attempt to cover.
I like the idea that Sev had worked up a garg specific knock-out gas that Thailog used.
I liked the animation and sound work on Thailog tearing open the oil barrels.
I liked Thailog's line "Now I know where I got the temper." But does he really have much of a temper. He seems much more Xanatosian than Goliathesque in that regard. But I do think he holds more of a grudge. He just hides it.
Tangent, but I believe that this maybe explains his relationship (still to come) with Demona a bit. I think he knows on some level that Demona likes him because he's the Goliath she always wanted. And Thailog is very into being his own man. He wants nothing from his fathers that he hasn't TAKEN.
Thailog won't leave without his money. I'd ask in hindsight whether or not at that point the money was even still in that briefcase.
Goliath by the end is now fully on-board with the notion of Thailog being his son. His clannish instincts have taken over. And he feels that all of Thailog's rookery fathers (X, Sev and G) have failed Thailog. The notion of multiple fathers is something that's easy for him to grasp. But of course, he takes his own failure to heart more than the others. Cuz he expects THEM to be jerks.
And now our patented Xanatos Tag. Only it's flipped into a Thailog tag. I love Owen's line: "He's out there, he has the money, he's as powerful as Goliath and he's smarter than you." Only Owen could slam X like that with impunity. And X's return: "Owen, I think I've created a monster." Love that too.
Still not sure whether I love the super-imposed Thailog head. But I do like Thailog's maniacal laughter. Never get enough of that.
Erin: "[Thailog] practically is a monster. Gargoyles are supposed to be monsters. Only they're nicer. Thailog is a monster."
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?