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Chapter XXIII: "City of Stone, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Xanatos again does equally well as hero and villain, as he opens the episode saving his and Fox's lives.

He's got some nice lines here too:

Another reprise of Launchpad McQuack's old: "Any landing you can walk away from..."

"At least she's not chipped."

"Demona and I need to have a little talk."

"No sense hailing a cab." Or stealing one. I'm not sure if it's clear, but we wanted to give the impression that traffic was hopelessly stalled by all the stone people behind the wheels of their cars. And that Xanatos would have to hoof it.

And then it's back to the clock tower where my favorite line is Brooklyn's as he's looking at what he thinks is a statue of Elisa:

"The nose is all wrong." Gotta love a critic.

Goliath doesn't objectively know that the statue is really Elisa, but his instincts are clearly firing up early warning signs.

Meanwhile, my daughter Erin is busy advising all of us: "They should make sure... cuz that's really her!" and "I bet they're going to Elisa's house." Which they weren't.

CONTINUITY
Originally, we had planned to (as usual) leave Hudson behind with Bronx. But we switched it to Broadway, so that Hudson could come with and reestablish his fine relationship with Robbins. I should point out that we BEGAN work on City of Stone before Lighthouse. We knew we needed a blind man for City. That blind man was then developed for Lighthouse, making for a great scene in City. Sometimes, things just seemed to work.

Brooklyn still hates Demona intensely. Forcing Goliath to compensate.

My son Ben was all nervous that "They're gonna turn to stone again." He was vague on who the "THEY" were.

Demona's reign of terror on the statues presented us with interesting S&P problems -- and some bizarre but VERY FUN solutions. Adrienne understood the necessity of having Demona blow up and/or smash a few of the stone humans. Even though the implication was death for those people. She was okay with it on the condition that we didn't spell it out, because, at worst, the death's were so fanciful, they certainly weren't imitatible. But she did want us to limit the number of deaths. So at one point she nixed the idea of blowing up yet another statue, but allowed us to blow up the shopping bags (and hand and arm) of one. This seemed less harsh to her. Of course, bloodthirsty lot that we were, we loved it. Because if you think about it, it was certainly more horrific come sunrise.

I finally saw the two statues that people thought were Brendan & Margot. Certainly, they looks like them a bit. But trust me. Two different people got destroyed. That woman was a brunette. And the guy was wearing a toupee.

At this point, Benny became as concerned as Goliath that Demona would shoot Elisa.

Then we segued into our flashback and Benny was still trying to figure out why Demona scratched Gillecomgain in the previous episode. Erin, meanwhile, wanted to know why Gille was wearing a mask.

Me, I'm still fascinated with Bodhe for some reason. I love how he talks big at first, until Mac makes it clear that he's not going to obey. Then he goes into pleading mode.

I also love the scene with Gruoch on Lunfanan Hill. Very heartbreaking and romantic. Did kinda make me wonder what would have happened if Macbeth had just said "Screw it!" and spirited Gruoch away with him. What would there lives have been like then?

The Weird Sisters are fun at the wedding. I like the line: "Certainly not our hero." It's one of those self-aware-tv-moments-that-ride-the-edge of which I'm so fond.

I also really like Duncan's scene with Macbeth after the wedding. He's such a manipulative bastard.

And now we begin to parallel similar scenes in City One. The Weird Sisters again go to Demona to get her to ally with Mac.

Demona: "Ally with a human. Never Again." Well, obviously Demona should never say never again, but in this context she's thinking about her alliance with the Captain and the tragedy that led to.

There's a nice little beat with Gruoch's rose. Gruoch seems cold to her new husband Gillecomgain. We wonder if we should feel some sympathy for a man who has married a woman who loves another. We wonder if he has feelings for her as he gently takes up the rose she was sniffing. But then he crushes it underfoot, so basically we feel okay about hating him again.

Erin asked: "Why'd he step on it?"

And I didn't want to answer, because the writers are trying to manipulate you.

Ben answererd for me: "Because he's a bad hunter." A much cleaner explanation, don't you agree?

Notice here that Mac is not yet the fighter that he someday will be.

Notice also if you watch all four parts of City of Stone together that Emma Samms who voiced Gruoch -- but had never done voice work before -- gets progressively better with every episode. She's somewhat stiff in City One. As with many live-action actors, she's unused to using her voice alone to project subtleties. She's a bit better here. But by City Four, she's rockin' the joint with some really powerful work. I can't remember when I've ever seen any performer push the learning curve that quickly. Most either get it or don't. A few of those who don't, slowly improve with practice. Emma just revved UP.

Did anyone else feel that we went to the well with that long drop from the Terrace at Castle Moray once or twice too often? Again, we were trying for parallelism, but I hope it didn't get boring.

Erin: "I like Macbeth when he was a little boy. I don't like him when he's a grown up." (I think she meant she liked the younger red-headed heroic Macbeth in general in these City flashbacks. Didn't like him as a present day villain in Enter Macbeth, etc. This actually pleases me a great deal. It's the ability to create sympathy in villains that separates Gargoyles from many of its rivals.)

I love that moment when Demona rips the mask off. Gille indicates his scars, "'Tis you're handiwork, remember?" And Demona honestly and simply answers "No." And he goes BERSERK! Bad enough she scratched him and altered the entire course of his life. But that the event was so insignificant to her that she doesn't even remember it...! Now THAT pisses him off.

Gillecomgain should have known: "Live by the drop, die by the drop." As he follows Findlaech's course to doom.

I also like the little moment o' connection between Mac, Gruoch and Demona. Demona actually says Thank You to a human.

And another wedding. Two in one episode. Bodhe introduces: "Lord and Lady Macbeth!" I wanted to get the designation 'Lady Macbeth' in here somewhere. Just to provide more obvious contrast between our version of Gruoch and Shakespeare's.

I also get a kick out of the chilling little scene back in the present with Brooklyn & Goliath. Brooklyn bringing up the "Massacre at Castle Wyvern". Fearing that Elisa could wind up a victim too. This sets Goliath off to the point where he is CLEARLY thinking that he needs to KILL Demona now. "Once and for all." And then those creepy little stone Weird Sisters. Yikes.

Then Xanatos has finally made it across town and is back in hero mode. He saves Owen. And shuts off the broadcast, clearly thinking that that will break the spell. At least, I hope that was clear. Honestly, I'm not sure if it was. I wanted the audience to think that would work. Then be surprised when it doesn't. Did that work for anyone?

The "Hunter" shows up. Demona at first recognizes only the mask. How many times must I destroy you?! she says. A hint to events in the past of both City and Hunter's Moon. But than when she sees him feeling her pain, she knows exactly who's behind that mask. I'm curious how many people picked up on that. This was the first time we showed them feeling each other's pain. The first time we had them in real proximity to each other.

Their fight is kinda cool. There's a neat moment when Macbeth is flying Demona like a kite. And he's very gutsy throughout, leaping after her. Of course, he's semi-suicidal, so it's no surprise he's fearless. But we don't know that yet.

And finally, our cliffhanger. X is so sanguine. "You want vengeance or a solution?" And we end on a surprising image: Goliath and Xanatos shaking hands. Now, it's like no big deal. They ended up teaming upfrequently. But I thought that then, it would be startling.

WHAT DID YOU ALL THINK?


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Melissa writes...

Hey Greg

I don't know if you have ever heard of the VH1 show, "The List", but on Monday (12/4), Salli Richardson was a guest on the show!

I was so thrilled when I found out that it was her. I had seen her before in a Deep Space Nine episode, but since then I was waiting to see her again . Infact, I didn't even recognize her because she cut her hair really short. I thought she looked great and it was really good to hear Elisa's voice again.

Greg responds...

I don't watch it, but Salli is, I believe, a regular (short hair and all) in FAMILY LAW, a CBS drama that airs on Monday nights, I think.

Response recorded on December 22, 2000

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Corrinne Blaquen writes...

Greg, have you done any voices on Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

I was the second commando, who said: "Nice Mask" in Awakening, Part Two.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Ithica writes...

About Milord Arthur:

Who provided the voice for King Arthur? I loved his performance, and I'd like to know his name.

Also, my favorite thing about him is the way you designed him. It's the best visual embodiment of the Pendragon that I've yet seen. What talented person or persons designed him?

Thanks.

Greg responds...

Ryan St. John did the voice.

I'm fairly certain, that Greg Guler designed the character, but I can't be 100% on that. It was a long time ago.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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LSZ writes...

A weird question, but I just finished the movie version of Camelot, so: can King Arthur of the Gargoyles universe sing well?

Greg responds...

I don't know. I guess it depends if John St. Ryan can sing well.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Maxy Steel writes...

Yeah, I just keep sendin' 'em in. I hope I'm not bothering you to insanity.

1. If L'Etranger is not a robot, and he's not a person in a suit, then is he a cyborg, like Smiley?

2. And wouldn't hair and eye color "naturally" changing be counted as DNA reconstruction?

3. In your world, did Mairot die in "Shattered?"

4. Which voice actor does who in the show, of the characters that show (somewhat) regularly. I already know ones like Max, Rachel, Berto, Smith, Laura, Pete, Smiley, Mairot, and Dread. But what about others, like Sophia, Vitriol, Dragonelle, Woody and Annabelle Barkowski, and L'etranger?

Thank you soooooo much!
-Maxy Steel

Greg responds...

1. In my development, yes. I can't speak for the new producers.

2. No. I consider it part of the color/light warping abilities of the Max-probes.

3. No.

4.
--Sophia and Dragonelle were voiced by Mia Korf. (She's great. She also did a voice for me [Natsuko] in 3x3 Eyes.)
--Woody was the amazing Jeff Glenn Bennett (voice of Brooklyn, Owen, the Magus, etc.)
--Vitriol was an actor named August Paro, that I had never used before. But I thought he had a great voice.
--Annabelle was done by the same performer who voiced Claw and Nought in Gargoyles.
--L'Étranger was voiced by John DeLancie. Better known as "Q"
in Star Trek.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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LSZ writes...

Do you have any vague ideas in mind as to voice actors for the major characters we never saw on the show or got a leica reel, particularly Mab and Katana?

Greg responds...

Mab & Katana, no. I haven't thought about it.

But for some others, yes.

There are obvious ones like Samson, Delilah, LXM, etc.

And a few others.

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Ray Kremer writes...

Vows. I always prefer this style of time travel theory, when you affect events in the past you are fulfilling history, not changing it. Too few time travel stories do this, most instead taking the track of messing up the time line and then putting it back, or else just changing an unpreferred event into something else. New timelines, alternate timelines, erased timelines, it all just gets too messy sometimes. Also fun are the "cause it by trying to prevent it" stories, done with prophecy in Greek myth and time travel today. MIA even got into the act, though in a most unique fashion.

"More's the pity." I love that line too. And Morgan Shepard's wonderfully expressive voice just adds to the whole experience. I'll be the one to ask this: In the plan for Dark Ages, would we have seen the events of Vows from the other side of things?

Greg responds...

Eventually. Dark Ages begins in 971. Vows was set in 975.

Morgan Shepard was great, but Keith David said "More's the pity."

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Chapter XXI: "Vows"

Written by Shari Goodhartz
Michael Reaves, Story Editor

Benny: "But Daddy, when it's dark they get alive. But when it's light, the get frozen like a statue."

Last night, the kids, my sister, my wife and I all watched "Vows" together. Time to ramble.

Back to the Golden Cup Bakery Building. As I noted in the previously posted memo about this episode, I wanted a little opening battle, but I didn't want to waste time in a tight, packed script explaining how this came about. It does beg the question though. Assume that X contacted Elisa. She told Goliath. He went ALONE? His friends allowed this? Hmmm.

Xanatos knows from the letter to himself what to do, but I sometimes wonder just how detailed the letter was. I like to think it was fairly sketchy. That exactly HOW Xanatos got Goliath to come was his own machinations. Otherwise, though he takes the credit for the letter, the truth is that the plan itself wasn't his idea. He got the idea from the letter. And he wrote the letter based on what he had done, which he had gotten from the letter. None of this is really his to own, though he does claim ownership. So I like to think that at least some of the details were X's. For example, X knows what G will respond to, i.e. Demona.

Hudson, on hearing about the wedding, suddenly makes the connection to the long ago incident when he met the Goliath from the future. So he's strangely ambivalent. Elisa on the other hand, seems flat out jealous to me. After the events of "The Mirror" and "Eye of the Beholder", she's much more aware and focused on her feelings for Goliath. SHE DOES NOT WANT TO ACT ON THOSE FEELINGS. At this time, she thinks it's impossible. But that doesn't change how she feels. And now, she's jealous. Goliath's feelings for Elisa are just as intense, but so are his feelings for the "Angel" of his youth. He HAS to give it one last chance. (And this will be the last chance. The final nail in the coffin of his and Demona's "marriage".) Brooklyn, meanwhile, is just knee-jerk against anything involving Demona.

PETROS XANATOS is introduced. Again, I wonder why he was invited. Was he also included in the letter? Or did Xanatos invite him to prove something to his father. Is X that needy? Or did X invite him to the wedding, because of course he'd invite his father to his wedding, and his already planned "honeymoon" to 975 shouldn't alter his decorum. Perhaps he's mildly surprised his father winds up coming along? Anyway, Petros was a fun character. A tough hard physical man. With morals. A great contrast to the son. I knew even then that we'd give Petros and David an arc to their relationship, (one that eventually would culminate in Gathering2).

"Oh, reason not the need." A little King Lear is always nice. And I love Petros' attitude on the line, "And the armor?" I mean what would you say to your son if you saw him dressed like that? I'd like to know how many people had sort of forgotten that X was even wearing armor (we're so used to it) until Petros made an issue of it?

I love all the irony in the dialogue between Petros and David. David knows what he's planning. He must be smiling when Petros says "I'd like to get my hands on the man who gave you that coin." And when David says, "Someday, I'll prove to you that I'm a self-made man," he must really be patting himself on the back.

I love the voice work of Keith and Marina when doing their teen-age counterparts. So subtle, yet it's always clear which Goliath and Demona is talking at any given moment.

CONTINUITY:
Gotta love that storage room in the clock tower. The Eye of Odin, the Grimorum, half the Phoenix Gate, and, oh, yes, a comatose Coldstone. By the way, despite what the memo said, I think generally, Goliath carried that Gate in the pouch attached to his belt. Not behind some brick. We hadn't actually come up with that pouch yet, not until the World Tour. But using RetCon, I think that's where he kept it until they moved to the clock tower and Demona tried to kill him, Hudson and Elisa in "Long Way to Morning".

One interesting thing: this is the first episode where we actually CONFIRM that the ILLUMINATI does exist. Matt's mentioned it. Even chased it in SILVER FALCON, but we've never been shown any proof of it's existence until now. Was anyone surprised by that?

Judge Roebling was interesting in theory, though not so much in the episode. I'd like to do more with him some day. I also thought that it was interesting that despite seeing the tape of the Gargoyles in advance. And not reacting outwardly when he saw Goliath, he still gasps when Demona enters. What is it about her? When she entered, Benny turned to me and said: "She's queen of the Gargoyles." Oh. So that's it.

(And everytime Xanatos and Fox are on screen together, Benny likes to point out that he and Erin dressed up as them at the last Gathering. "That's me. That's you, Erin.")

To some extent, X must have filled D in on his plan. I love her "acting" when she enters and gives her bitter "excuse" for being there to Goliath. She's playing hard to get!

I love Petros: "Unnacceptable." He's still trying to teach David the error of his ways.

The Gate itself is very idiosyncratic. It's size, the size of its portal, and the duration the portal stays open seems to vary not just from episode to episode but from scene to scene. Sometimes it annoys me, like when Princess Elena removes the Gate from her sleeve, and suddenly it's bigger than her hand. But now I'm just amused by it. Again, if you think of it as a steam valve for the timestream, it explains a lot.

I love the little sound that Paca put in when the two pieces of the Gate first come together. What a tip-off that was, yet it's subtle. Did anyone think about the significance of the talisman that Demona had shared with Goliath before she started speaking in Latin and flames appeared out of nowhere?

It was hard to make people understand the time loop a bit. But it seemed really hard to make them see why I kept wanting to repeat scenes to show the connective tissue. We had to squeeze in Owen's "Honeymoon" line the second time. No one left space for it.

For the first of many times in the series, someone (X) says the line: "It's not where, it's when". (Erin: "I know when.")

I love X & Fox's relationship. "Having fun." "A marvelous time." Great stuff.

Hudson gets a close look at 1995 Goliath and immediately sees the age and wear and tear on the guy. (I love the shot of Goliath gagging him.) That says a lot for Hudson, because the visual difference between the two Gs was extremely subtle in the animation -- when it existed at all.

Knowing what we had planned (more or less) for Avalon, we were already laying groundwork here for that. Setting up the combined power of the Gate, Grimorum and Eye. Setting up the Archmage's desire for that power. Further demonstrating his enmity for the people he'd wind up using. Of course, making Demona his apprentice was fun. Tells a lot about her own desire for power that even when she was a good girl, she was still willing to work for the Archmage in order to learn his secrets. Willing even to steal for him.

The Norman Ambassador and Prince Malcolm make a BIG deal about how odd the Xanatoses' clothes are. But were they THAT strange? Was Fox's wedding gown that odd? And even if they were strange, did they look as shabby as Prince Malcolm seemed to suggest?

Not every episode gives you a double wedding. Fox and David. Elena and Malcolm. Hey, did anyone notice that we married off our lead villain? That was very daring, and we all but threw it away in Act One. Was anyone expecting Fox and X to really get married? And once they were, did you think you'd see them have a kid by season's end? I think we broke new ground there.

I like the exchange between Goliath and Hudson. Goliath's trying to explain that he's not a creature of sorcery, but a time traveler. H: "And I suppose you came back in time on the wind." O.k., well sorcery was involved if you're gonna get technical. And Goliath has some amusing tense problems while trying to describe what happened in his recent past, Hudson's FAR future. Then Hudson looks him in the eye and decides to trust him on no further evidence. Cool.

I knew a girl named Bryant from Bar Harbor, Maine once. That's where we got X's home town.

Fox is so proud of her man. But I love Petros' "Mr. Big-Shot Time Traveler" line. Or rather I love the way Morgan Shepard read the line.

How hard did Demona try to do things differently from the way she remembered them being done? She knows Goliath is going to fly down to try and join her and her younger self. She tries to leave before he can get there. But the gate stays open long enough for him to go with. Did it ever occur to her to go somewhen else other than 994? I guess part of it could be chalked up to dim memory. It was over a thousand years ago. And Demona lived through that 1000 years. Even for a very significant event in her life, it must still be very hazy.

That exchange between Demona and Demona is a lot of fun. Demona is so brutal to Demona. (And, hey, she spells out the Gate's power to any audience member who hasn't yet caught on.) "Do not share it with-- Do not share it!" I love that line. Also:

"I am what you will become."
"I will never be like you."
"I don't want to hurt you."
"And I don't want to BE you."

pretty cool stuff.

I also like the moment when we have two gates rolling about on the floor and young Demona and older Goliath both bend over to pick them up. At first we had a lot of discussion as to who should pick up which gate. But the discussion became moot, since after the gate pieces were reunited, they almost always seemed like they had never been broken in the first place. Magic.

And the young Demona, older Goliath scene is also gorgeous.

"What am I to do?"
"Nothing."

Love that. Love his whole "Do nothing/attend the petty jealousy" speech. I think it's very pretty. Very sad. At that moment, does Goliath hope he's changing the future? Or is he simply trying to spare this young Angel a couple extra decades of pain?

Showing Demona's natural bents again: Goliath isn't sure if he remembers the incantation, though he's heard it multiple times by this point. Young Demona, having only heard it ONCE, does remember and uses the Gate perfectly.

"Time Travel's funny that way." At least it is in the Gargoyle Universe with the strict, strict rules that I imposed. Of course, I've always thought that those strict rules made the stories more challenging for the writer and, yet, more fun and satisfying for the viewer.

I also really like Petros' "American Penny" speech. For once the "Xanatos Tag" of victory doesn't go to David.

Where did the expression "More's the pity." come from? I've heard it many times. I know what it means, though that's more from sound and context than from the words themselves. What am I quoting when I use it? Does anyone know? (This isn't a contest. I really don't know.)

Finally, my tape has the weird mistake ending that first aired, which shows Demona and Goliath in the clock tower. It's pretty, but it drives me nuts and I think it's really confusing. But I've talked about that many times before, and I'm sick of it, so this time, I'll let it go.

COMMENTS WELCOME!


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Warrioress writes...

Do Kate Mulgrew and Laura San Giacomo know what Titiania whispered to Fox???

;-)

Greg responds...

Ask them.

Response recorded on November 10, 2000


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