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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?