A Station Eight Fan Web Site
For ASK GREG and the DCV, here's my ramble on "The Cage"...
Director: Dennis J. Woodyard
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia C. Marano
We'd seen a photo of Beth Maza before, but this was the first time we actually met her.
This is also, arguably, Vinnie's first real appearance. We'd heard his voice before, and we later decided that he had appeared two or three times before. But here was the inspirational moment. The character that we fell in love with, that went on to STAR in "Vendettas" and "The Journey". Throughout our viewing of the episode, my wife kept asking who did this voice, who did that voice? Every single time, I answered "Jeff Bennett." Then at the end, she asked: "Who's voicing Maggie? Don't tell me it's Jeff." For the record, it's Kath Soucie.
And here's the first real characterization for Fang & Claw as well. Fang was voiced by Jonathan Frakes for his one line in "Metamorphosis". But we cast Jim Belushi to play Mr. Obnoxious from this point out. I fell in love with Jim's take on Fang. His performance alone was one of the big inspirations for BAD GUYS. He's got some great lines:
--"Cat got your tongue... don't you get it?"
--"Like you're some kind of expert on evil monsters!"
--"I'll have to clear my social calendar."
Note also, to save money, Diane Maza never speaks. This episode had a huge cast. Making Claw a mute was a fun way to save money.
LITTLE THINGS I LIKE:
--Elisa refers to her brother as Derek. Goliath uses the word Talon.
--I love how Xanatos says: "Goliath and Elisa are always welcome here." He's so slick. He's far from in control in this episode. But he never stops playing the various characters against each other. He's constantly adjusting to new information. Never flustered.
--I like how Sev is basically talking to himself in his cage. With only the growling monster for feedback. Amazing how much one can gleen from a growl.
--Broadway praises the concert music simply by virtue of it's volume.
--Brooklyn's line: "I'm not a man. I'm a gargoyle." And don't you forget it.
Goliath kidnapping Sev and withholding info from Elisa to 'spare her pain', presiges his behavior in "Eye of the Storm".
Maggie is interesting to me in this. Though she's never going to be an action hero -- we intentionally didn't want to make her a strong female, because it seemed like every other female in the show was strong -- she seems to come into her own a bit here. She speaks her mind. She wields some power over Derek, even if she doesn't realize it. She's still stronger than she gives herself credit for. (Geez, I must suck at weak women characters.)
Although it's not used in the body of this episode, in the credits we refer to Maggie as "Maggie the Cat" for the first time. A Tennessee Williams "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" reference.
Lots of 'em. The recap. And TWO separate internal flashbacks in the show. I'm trying to remember if the board was short or if we just really felt like this was a tough story to get if you didn't have a TON of back-info.
Elisa even has a line, that I think works pretty well, where she's imagining telling her family about Derek -- and in one quick speech, she spews out all the pertinent details. We were clearly nervous about this episode being able to stand alone. Did anyone else have problems with this? Particularly anyone who saw this one without having seen "Metamorphosis" already?
When you see Maggie in flashback, book-ended by her current appearance, you can really see how different the designs were between "Metamorphosis" and "The Cage". I greatly prefer the later designs. Though I think I miss the tails.
--Throughout the episode, I have numerous problems where identities seem to me to be given away before I want them to be given away.
In the opening scene, we want the audience to think that the snooping winged creature is Goliath. But there are two problems. One is all the Talon scenes in the "Previously on Gargoyles..." recap. The second is that we get too clear a glimpse of Talon.
Later, Goliath kidnaps Sevarius and holds him captive. But we wanted the audience to think it's Talon. But again, I think we get glimpses of Goliath that are just too clearly Goliath.
The concept of seeing a character "in shadows" or in partial "silhouette" just seemed tough to get across the ocean and back with our production team on this ep.
Did anyone think that Talon had kidnapped Sev? Was anyone shocked when it was revealed that Goliath was the kidnapper?
--On my tape, Anton's briefcase mispells his name: SERVARIUS. I hope that was corrected for later airings. I hope.
--The scene between Talon and X in the latter's office is clunky. The cityscape visible through X's window looks to be painted onto the window. And Talon's footsteps are very labored and clunky.
Xanatos admits that Sev's original "Metamorphosis" cure was just a placebo. If we stop here, then Talon should stop being angry at Goliath. Goliath neither killed Sev nor did he destroy a viable cure, nor did he have any impact on Talon's chance at a cure. But at this point, Talon's blinded by rage.
There's some really nice animation of Brooklyn and Fang climbing through the air.
My daughter Erin thought that Fang looked more wolf-like than cat-like.
She also figured out pretty fast that Goliath was the kidnapper. And when it was revealed she said, "I knew it all along."
Brooklyn acts as leader in Goliath's absense. But we don't have anyone comment on it. That was just in case this episode wound up airing before "Upgrade". I think Brook makes some wise moves here though. I also like his emotional resonance with Maggie: "You know I wanted to be your... friend."
I also like when he refers to her "persecution complex". Is he projecting?
We re-intro Cyberbiotics Underground Lab from the pilot, in preparation to turning it into the Labyrinth.
I like Goliath and Elisa's exchange in the lab. Lines like:
G: "You were in so much pain."
E: "Who would we test it on?"
E: "The ends can't justify the means. That's Xanatos' way. Not yours."
Other cool lines:
Fang: "I like this body."
Maggie: "Is your vengeance more important than our humanity?" The ultimate question to put to anyone pursuing vengeance.
Xanatos: "You always over-play your hand, Anton." Anton's just a ham to the core.
Xanatos: "He's the scientist. You're just the experiment."
Xanatos: "Hello, Goliath. Didn't even notice you there."
(X is so cool.)
Talon finally, finally figures out what Elisa has been trying to tell him since "Her Brother's Keeper". Took long enough. This arc for Talon was something we had been planning out as far back as our original unsold first dramatic over-pitch to Eisner. Back when Talon was both Scientist and experiment, and the character (created by Fred Schaefer) was known as Catscan.
I like Talon & Maggie's relationship. Don't know if they ever would have gotten together as humans. But they are so natural with each other as Mutates.
Talon: "We're not strong alone. We're strong together."
Goliath verbalizes here that Elisa is part of the clan.
Talon has his own clan (the Mutates) and his own family (the Mazas). The Mazas learn about the Mutates and are reunited with their son. But Goliath is hiding behind the curtain. Elisa's still not ready to share that secret.
Ending: Contrast this (relatively) upbeat ending with the endings from "Metamorphosis" where Elisa is left in tears and "Her Brother's Keeper" where she is left alone in the snow and wind. Things are looking up.
And, of course, we end on the image of the open cage door. That was important to me, because the cage was never more than a metaphor. We didn't really need it for Sevarius. We needed to see that Maggie and Talon were in cages of their own making. (Sev too, really. And Goliath. And maybe Elisa, although now I'm stretching it.)
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?