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Time to ramble...
Chapter LI: "The Green"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Directors: Kazuo Terada, Takamitsu Kawamura
Use a voice actor. Pay a voice actor. That's the rule, and it's a good one. What that means practically is that even the guy who says, "Previously on Gargoyles" needs to be paid for that episode. Or rather, we won't use someone to say "Previously on Gargoyles" unless that actor is already appearing in the episode, because we don't want to pay someone JUST to say "Previously on Gargoyles..." Now, if you know that one fact, then when you hear our good friend Thom Adcox saying "Previously on Gargoyles" at the beginning of the episode, then it's a pretty safe bet that Lexington is going to appear... and yet, as the episode begins, it seems, at least by this time, to be a fairly standard World Tour Adventure: Goliath, Elisa, Angela & Bronx in the exotic locale of the week. So where in the world (since it ain't gonna be Guatemala) is Lexington going to pop in?
The origins of this episode ("The + [one word title]" attributable to me) come from two semi-competing desires. 1) I wanted to make sure we hit every continent, including South America on the World Tour. And I believed that the stunning visual image of Quetzacoatl, the Flying Serpent was another great inspiration for a Gargoyle character. 2) Frank felt strongly that we had not seen enough of Hudson & the Trio during the Tour. I'll admit, as I have before, that I underestimated their popularity and probably overestimated -- at least at the time -- the interest in our little odyssey 'round the world. But even then, I could see Frank's point. I didn't want to not do our Mayan adventure, so Cary & I constructed a story that would give us an interesting experience in the Green, but would also bring us back to the deep purples of Lex & Broadway's Manhattan.
IT'S ALL IN THE DELIVERY
Some great lines in this one, mostly from Hyena & Jackal:
"Hey, he's a fan."
"Have I mentioned how much I hate Gargoyles."
"They get no mercy." (This right before H&J get slammed by a pretty darn impressive throw of a bulldozer shovel.)
"Bowling for Gargoyles!" (To which my daughter Erin responded with: "That was disturbing." I found it interesting that in all the gonzo stuff in this episode, the thing she found most disturbing was Hyena rolling up into a ball. I mean is that really as disturbing as Jackal's dream of "resculpting" Goliath's head?!!)
"If a tree falls in the forest... do I get to hear it scream?"
Zafiro had a good line too: "There's no such thing as a few trees."
And Goliath: "What's left of their world is rapidly dwindling."
And Broadway: "Leave our mothers out of this." (Broadway always thinks in clan-parentage mode. My son Benny wondered if they even knew whom their mothers were. Of course, they did. Not biologically, but they knew which females gargoyles were their rookery mothers. All gone now.)
And Morgan (to an unconscious Hyena): "You have the right to remain silent."
"WHAT IS THE GREEN?"
My kids wanted to know.
First off it's hot. Elisa takes off her jacket, revealing her (in this instance) short-sleeve black t-shirt. Even this slight clothing change for her comes off as exciting to me.
Second, it's full of potential herbal medicines, admirably demonstrated by Obsidiana.
Third, it's got Obsidiana. And Turquesa and Jade and the amazingly designed Zafiro. And the revelation, that long ago, Gargoyles were everywhere in the world. In hindsight, I wish that all four characters had had the serpentine lower body. Though I'm glad that only Zafiro had the feathered wings and snake-like head. There's a great Mayan/Aztec flavor to all four gargs. And you wouldn't believe the trouble we had figuring out their names. Now they seem so right. But we went through many permutations, before figuring them out. I think at one point, Zafiro was named Jose.
Fourth, it's got that cool pyramid.
Fifth, it's got amulets which defy the basic Day/stone dynamic. We had some fun with that. And my son Benny liked seeing them alive in the morning. It was different.
Sixth, what didn't get mentioned was Oxygen. I had a line in there which talked about the dilemma of losing the rain forest on the basic level of how much of our oxygen it produces. I felt that was a VERY important message. Frank felt it was preachy. I lost that battle, or ceded it or something. But the line's not in there.
FOR A CHANGE OF PACE
Elisa is accepted fairly easily by the Mayan Clan. Obsidiana takes a particular shine to her. Despite having undergone a Wyvernesque massacre, none of the Mayan gargs have a knee-jerk negative reaction to humans. And certainly nothing on the level of what Elisa had just experienced in New Olympus.
DID YOU NOTICE THE HOMAGE?
To THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN & THE BIONIC WOMAN? I think we did some cool things with Hyena's bionic ear and Jackal's seven-figure eye.
Also, Jackal has a built in hair dryer?
And there's a moment in the museum when Hyena activates her rear jetpacks, when both my kids and my wife thought that she had "rocket-boobies". The shot switches from front to back, and her jets emerge from bionic shoulder blades. But if you miss the camera-angle switch, it can certainly look briefly as if her breasts have become rocket powered. Top that Lyndsey Wagner!
Heck, Jackal even has a built-in Bionic wrist-watch. For some reason, I find that particularly hilarious. ("And he tells time...!")
Just a taste of him here. He's largely a place-holder. A bad employer of our two bad villains. But we tried to make even this little bit of Vogel interesting. He's still somewhat morally-challenged. And he reveals that he has gained more responsibility as Renard's affliction has worsened.
This episode is, by the way, loaded with references to OTHER World Tour episodes. That's supposed to be a no-no. We couldn't guarantee that they would all air in order within the World Tour Tier, i.e. between the AVALON Three-Parter and the GATHERING Two-Parter. But I guess, we had some confidence that "The Green" would air after "Golem", after "Grief", etc.
THE GOLIATH & ELISA FANCLUB
I love how they disagree with each other without losing respect or concern for each other. It's so DAMN mature.
WE TRASH ANOTHER LANDMARK
Yep, we're knocking down and burning down the rain forest right & left (in an attempt to save it by influencing public opinion, no less). But we also trash another museum. I was SO cavalier about it at the time, but when I see that Mammoth skeleton go down now, I cringe.
Cool amulet though. It rolls. It frisbees with a great sound effect. Since we had the NYC plot ending -- before the Guat-plot ended -- with Hyena's defeat, we wanted to maintain some suspense. So we have Broadway and Lex come to the incorrect but believable conclusion that the Amulet must be destroyed. Fortunately, they decided to confiscate it instead. And, yes, it survives the destruction of the Clock Tower in Hunter's Moon. Then back in Guatemala, we have Obsidiana lose her amulet so that we could see her in stone and wonder if Broadway had destroyed it so that all four Mayan gargs would be sleeping.
Speaking of Hyena's defeat, she goes down after a head injury. In today's world of S&P there's no way we would be allowed to give her that head injury in the first place.
WHAT IS THE GREEN PART TWO
Seventh, I hope, without getting TOO preachy, it managed to teach a lesson. Erin thought so. Which is perhaps good enough for me.
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?