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Chapter LVIII: "The Gathering, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVIII : "The Gathering, Part Two"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves and Gary Sperling
Story: Lydia Marano
Teleplay: Lydia Marano and Gary Sperling
Director: Bob Kline

My initial reluctance toward calling this two-parter "The Gathering" revolved around the fact that we weren't actually showing much of the Gathering on Avalon. Basically one extended scene at the beginning of Part One. And then nothing. Nothing in part two at all.

But ultimately, I came to view "gathering" as a more metaphorical concept. Certainly, a lot of folk gather in this puppy even after we leave Avalon. Xanatos, Alex, Fox, Petros, Titania, Oberon, Puck/Owen, Renard, Vogel, Fortress-Two, Cybots, Iron Clan Robots, Goliath, Hudson, Angela, Brooklyn, Broadway, Lexington... etc. We're "all in" here.

The Gargoyle clan regathers. The extended (more extended than we knew) Xanatos family gathers. They form the start of a real alliance, laying the seeds for Hunter's Moon.

And, hey, if we hadn't called the eps "The Gathering", what would we call our annual convention now?

Goliath has clearly learned the lesson Diane Maza sought to teach him in "Mark of the Panther". He not only has no qualms about viewing Angela as his daughter, he
also has come to regard the bond between parent and child as sacred.

David has also learned a lesson or two. Not that he EVER would have let Oberon just take something (anything) that belonged to him, but you get the sense that in discovering in "Eye of the Beholder" that he really did LOVE Fox, he learned that he could love. And that his defense of his son here isn't just defending his property but, as Petros puts it, standing up for his family. That's what Petros is responding to here when he praises his son.

(And you got to admit that for a normal fisherman, Petros handles a lot of weird crap with surprising equanimity.)

Renard has likewise remembered what matters most to him. Not repairing his body or his company, but his family. He may not approve of his daughter and son-in-law, but he sure isn't going to let anyone take his grandson from them. He's a bit defeatist at the end. Maybe a tad self-involved, but being terminal, he may not want his final legacy to be failure. I thought it was nice to see Vogel buck him up some. (Though it was also fun to hear Vogel's flat sycophantic "You're a genius, sir." earlier.)

I liked the Iron Clan Robots. I wish it was clearer that they were scaled larger than the old Steel Clan. There supposed to be about 20 feet tall. But I'm not sure we ever see them beside anything that defines their height.

Benny suggested that they put the baby in an iron ball. The idea is so simple and brilliant, that I'm embarrassed that I never thought of it. But then, ahem, neither Owen nor David thought of it either, right? So why blame the writing staff, huh?

In general, I feel like we played a little too fast and loose with iron here. Presumably, Petros' harpoon was made of iron. If Oberon can be disabled by the ringing of an iron bell, you'd think an iron harpoon through the chest would have killed him. I guess he's just THAT powerful. It hurt bad, drained him horribly. But ultimately someone would have had to finish him in some way. NOW where is that bell?

Actually, there are moments of weak animation here that almost had me thinking of a whole 'nother way to defeat giant Obie. Moments that seemed cartoony enough so that the solution seemed to be for one of the gargs to fly into Oberon's ear, so that we could see him through the windows of Oberon's open eyes breaking stuff in there.

Oberon: "My decrees are mine to interpret."
Oberon: "Oberon does not compromise. Oberon commands!"

Eh, six of one, half dozen of the other.

He's promised that he won't use magic against Goliath's clan. But he interprets that loosely. He won't turn them into glass statues or zap 'em with a magic bolt. But he feels free to attack them physically with his hair. Or sic magically animated statues on 'em. (Liked those industrial age "gargs", btw.)

Of course those Industrial gargs wind up destroying themselves. Brooklyn says, "It's incredible how often that move works." Which is him covering for us the writers knowledge that we kept falling back on that same solution over and over.

And, hey, what's the deal inside Oberon's cape? Actually, I really like that. It's a nice weird, spooky cool moment to remind us how other-worldly Oberon really is.

You'll notice at the beginning of the episode that Xanatos still feels the need to come up with a cynical excuse for saving Broadway's life. He can't yet simply view him as an ally (let alone friend or fellow), but still as a resource that shouldn't be wasted. I love Jonathan's reading there. The cynicism rings so hollow. He's already going through changes.

By the end of the episode, he'll truly regard the Goliath and the clan in a new light.

So... honestly? How many of you were surprised? If not by the revelation itself, then by the details, as he tells his history to Oberon. (With "visual aids," no less.)

What we tried to do was let all thoughts of Owen AND Puck fall from your head by this time. There are a couple clues to their dual identity in episodes like "City of Stone, Part One" and "The Mirror", and I felt like there were a TON of hints in "The Gathering, Part One". But in Part Two, we tried to keep even the mention of the two characters to a minimum. So that the audience wouldn't be focused on THAT mystery and we stood a chance of at least catching everyone off guard.

I love X's line: "Owen has all sorts of hidden talents."

I also love Puck's, "I'm on a roll." This is delivered into camera. I always wanted Puck to be the one character in our series who could and would break the fourth wall. But I always met resistance from Frank and Dennis. But this ep was directed by Bob Kline, who tossed me a bone, I guess.

Puck had never played the roll of straight man. I loved that idea. That he would out Vogel Vogel. Of course, when Vogel was first introduced, many fans, as expected, were highly critical of the character. Saying he was just an Owen rip-off. It was great to turn the tables. It made us all feel so clever, as Owen is in fact a Vogel rip-off.

Puck has a bunch of great lines, some of which are probably only great because Brent delivers them so brilliantly...

"Sweet kids, but boring."

"One wish from the Puck or a lifetime of service from Owen"

"He chose Owen". Brent's reading there almost breaks your heart. As Oberon says, it's clear that Puck was impressed by X's choice. In fact, he's clearly touched by Xanatos' choice, by his loyalty. He extends a loyalty back to X that he's never, I think, felt before. As with Titania, it's Oberon's punishment backfiring on him. He sent the Children out into the world to learn humility. To learn to be ... "humane". Oberon himself did NOT learn. But many of his subjects did, and the results don't always please Lord O. Puck is loyal to Oberon because he has to be. But he's loyal to David because he wants to be. Guess which loyalty ultimately wins out?

"You hurt him with that one. Do it again." (LOVE THAT.)

"I've got a sunny disposition, and I'm always kind to animals."

It's also nice to see Puck's demeanor and Owen's side by side. Puck is horrified by his permanent banishment from Avalon. (An elegantly appropriate punishment if I do say so myself.) But Owen takes it in stride, as Owen takes everything in stride, right down to and including a stone fist. (Which is another vindication thing for me. Many people seemed willing to crucify us after "The Price" for the cavalier way that the writing staff and Xanatos allowed Owen to get that fist. But now that they knew that Owen is Puck, and that Xanatos (and the writing staff) knew it all the time, it all makes a bit more sense.)

Talk about elegant though, how about Titania's manipulations... assuming you believe her when she takes credit for everything. Do you believe her?

And no, I'm not going to tell you what she whispered to Fox. At this point, I'm quite convinced that the answer would be anti-climactic. Better left to your own imagination.

Oberon gives us the "Midsummer Night's Dream" reference. I like that.

I also like the last exchange between Xanatos and Goliath, starting with:
X: "Wait!"
G: "What?!"
So suspicious our G, huh?

And I like Goliath's line, "The future is not written yet." And it isn't. Not from their point of view. There's still free will. But certainly, Goliath hasn't forgotten the recent vision that was "Future Tense".

Is it here that Broadway calls Angela "Angie" for the first and last time?

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Secret_Agent_Gerbil writes...

Sorry for two different questions, but as I was browsing through the unanswered questions at the time, I noticed that one mentioned that they supported your move to make Lexington homosexual.

1) Is this true

1b.) If so, why?

2.) Is this referenced in the series? It probably isn't, but I've only started rewatching the show so I may have missed something about it.

As a fan of the show who is homosexual, this strikes me as strange, since this is technically a children's show. If you did do this, I commend you. If you didn't, you still rock.

Greg responds...

1. Is it true they support it? I don't know.

1b. Not sure.

2. It's not. Although I don't think we're inconsistent with the interpretation.

I'm not exactly trying to be commendable. The characters often tell us their truths. But I'm not unhappy that you like the idea.

Response recorded on January 10, 2006

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Wally writes...

I searched the archives, but I may have missed the answer...

In "Sanctuary":
Given his suicidal tendencies, why does Macbeth bother to put up such a fight against Demona at the end? As he opens his secret stash of weapons before the final battle, he says something like "Demona, it ends tonight." He's had 900 years to think about his situation, so it struck me as odd that he temporarily seems to forget that he can effectively kill Demona by letting her kill *him*. Why does he bother to jump out of the way of her shots? And why does he have such a quick change of heart after Elisa "kills" Demona?

P.S. Thanks so much for continuing to answer questions. Gargoyles was an amazing creation. I hope you feel some pride in the accomplishment. (I'm 31, and every time I watch an episode, I'm amazed at how well the whole story ties together. Truly great work. Thanks!)

Greg responds...

I think Macbeth has seen in the past that Demona is not as consciously suicidal as he sometimes (and I emphasize "sometimes") is. He couldn't count on her being willing to kill him, since she knows that would result in her own death. In fact the best way to get Demona to gun for him is for him to gun for her and raise her anger to overcome her reason.

Plus, let's be honest, the guy is pissed off and humiliated and he'd like a bit of payback on his way out the door. His preference: he kills her, kiling them both. Just more satisfying then standing there like a target.

As for jumping out of the way... see above and also instinct. The fight or flight instinct is hard to overcome no matter how suicidal you may be. And Macbeth has always been a bit ambivalent on the subject at best.

Finally, why does he calm down? Well, a lot of the white hot anger has passed. Also, once again, he has briefly experienced death, and perhaps THAT'S not all it's cracked up to be. And Goliath's words eventually help too, I would think.

But frankly, I'll leave that for each of you to interpret.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words.

Response recorded on January 10, 2006

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Chapter LVII: "The Gathering, Part One"

Time to ramble...

Chapter  LVI : "The Gathering, Part One"
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writers: Lydia Marano
Director: Bob Kline

This episode is/was so jam-packed with stuff that I literally couldn't take notes fast enough. I'm bound to have missed a ton of stuff that I might have wished to comment on. So this ramble is going to be far from comprehensive. Also, all quotes are approximate.

My original title for the episode was "Reunions". Finally, I think we all agreed that it should become "The Gathering". Originally, believe it or not, this was going to be a one-parter, with "The Reckoning" (then called "Endgame") as a two-parter. We realized that the Gathering was too jam-packed to fit in one part, and made the switch.

I think generally you'll see fewer comments from my family in the next few rambles. Having become too aware that I was writing down their responses, they started to play to THAT. And thus their responses have become, I think, less authentic and more designed to make good copy. Ah, well...

I will say that wife and kids have taken to calling out "And we live again!" along with Keith over the opening titles. They find it very amusing. :P

Sometimes you do just wish there were more hours in the day. Time to figure out who besides the usual suspects (Grandmother, Raven, Anansi, Coyote, Odin, Anubis, etc.) should have been there. Instead, we get some random designs. (Perhaps even some reuse from New Olympians where I had a similar problem?) Still it did give us Nought. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

I hate seeing Anubis laughing.

Note that Titania's mirror was broken in "The Mirror" but that Oberon clearly has his own mirror. A matching set. A wedding gift perhaps?

Love the Weird Sisters as Oberon's storm troopers.

Wish we had done more with Puck's flute. Oh, well. Someday.

Love Oberon's treatment of Banshee. "Anything to say?" he asks when she's frozen. And he won't take the magic-gag off until he can hear her be humble. Guy is tough to please.

Alexander is born and intro'd to all his eclectic genre-spanning grandfolk. Here's where I thought we were perhaps being too obvious about Owen's secret. But I do love Vogel's reaction to being "accused" of being related to Owen. And I like Owen's reaction to the news of Anastasia's remarriage.

"Alexander Fox Xanatos". A little bit of mom. A little bit of dad. A little bit of world conqueror. A chilling reminder in middle name and hair color of the events of "Future Tense". We expect great things from this kid...

The Jogger does our now standard bit where he blames something recently ingested to explain the "hallucinations".

Oberon obviously saw Star Wars. Maybe he thought "Obi Wan" was some kind of tribute to "Oberon".

Like seeing the Eyrie Nightwatchman again. Haven't seen him since "Awakening", I think.

I love the exchange between Oberon and Titania. Mortal jealousy over something as "mild" as an "illegitimate child" is beyond these two. Oberon is amused that Fox is Titania's daughter. (Of course, for S&P reasons, we had to make it very clear that Oberon and Titania were divorced and that Fox was born when Anastasia was married to Renard.) Some good lines here too:

O: "What is exactly is going on?"

T: "I'm gathering even now."

O: "Titania, what have you been up to?"

I like Anastasia's de-glamouring into Titania. It's as if Oberon's magic gives her a physical/sexual thrill. This plays into her relative descriptions of her two husbands. Halcyon proved to rigid for her tastes. Only Oberon can hold her interest. For an immortal, the one thing that she absolutely needs is variety. Only Oberon possesses that kind of infinite variety. He may not be perfect, but for Titania no one else compares.

Oberon's rationale for leaving Fox alone (as she's turned out human), but taking Alex away (as he has the potential to be one of the Children) makes perfect sense to me. Especially when you consider that he's interpreting his own laws.

I also love Oberon's version of not being heartless. "Hey, kids, come on. I'll give you one whole hour with your new born son before taking him away forever, 'kay?" (I told you all quotes were approximate.)

I dig Travis Marshall, who never resists an opportunity to point out who Xanatos and Fox really are.

Note BWay's response to seeing Elisa again. Note also the Trio's response to Angela. Broadway calls her "Angie" here. And the stuff with the chocolates is classic, I think.

I also love Hudson's line: "We're not the last. We're not alone." That, more than anything else was the main point of the World Tour. It isn't hopeless for the Gargoyles species.

Owen's abandonment is fascinating to me. There was still a piece of me here that felt like we had given his identity away earlier. But if not, this scene is so amazingly confounding. For the first time, Owen seems more in control of the situation than Xanatos. But also for the first time, Owen actually seems frightened. Then he abandons his post in David's greatest time of need. I am curious how many of you figured out either here or earlier that Owen was Puck. And if not, what did you think of this scene.

Elisa: "There's no place like home." And there's no place I won't stick a Wizard of Oz reference when given the chance.

G's basically making (or ready to make) his declaration of love right here on Elisa's terrace. But she stops him. She still views their love as impossible (the species thing). Watching it now, I'm reminded of "Tears in the Rain" that beautiful BLADE RUNNER moment. But I can't remember if we were consciously inspired by that or not.

Given all that gets revealed in this ep, this may seem minor, but it was very important to me. Avalon did not RELEASE the foursome from their quest. Avalon brought them where they needed to be, i.e. Manhattan because of this Alex conflict. After that, in essence, you have to assume that Goliath, et al, abandoned Avalon's quest. Not the other way around.

Some fun stuff with Morgan here. But I love the notion of Oberon putting the city to sleep. Summons back a bit of CITY OF STONE of course. But how can you do Oberon and not at some point give everyone a midsummer night's dream? Especially Brendan & Margot. (Who are making a comeback soon, trust me.)

Elisa and Travis are fun to see too.

And finally, KING KONG OBERON. Hey, Peter Jackson's not the only one who found early inspiration with the big ape.

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

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Happy New Year!

Gorebash, Todd and I are briefly opening the submit function here at ASK GREG. I plan on posting some ramblings soon on "The Gathering, Part One" and "The Gathering, Part Two" and "Vendettas". And I'd love to get your rambles on those episodes as well.

More than that, I'd like to get your response to the new DVD that came out last month.

I also don't mind getting a few legit new questions, but PLEASE... be reasonable. As of now, I'm still nearly two years behind in answering questions. Gore is planning a major retrofit of the site, but until then, it doesn't help to flood ASK GREG with questions that have already been answered or that could be answered much more rapidly in the comment room.

We'll be closing the submit function down at the end of January, 2006. (I don't want to get too much further behind.)

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you about that DVD,


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