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G2003 Journal (6/29)

SUNDAY, June 29, 2003:

Got up relatively late.

Made a couple more attempts to get into see the Othercon art, and still couldn't.

Went down into Penn Station to the Krispy Kreme store. Now, the thing is I've gotten Krispy Kreme's at a bunch of different places (Dodger Stadium, in particular). But I've never been to an actual Krispy Kreme store where I got their full line-up of donuts to choose from. I restrained myself and only bought and ate three. (And you wonder why I put on 11 pounds over a two week vacation.)

Speaking of sweet treats... PEANUT M&M'S. All weekend long, various different people walked up to me and kept handing me little bags of Peanut M&M's. I happen to really like Peanut M&M's so I was fine with the thing. But it started to get a little weird. Particularly when I left the judges table Saturday night with Vic and Thom to make our costuming picks, only to come back and find a huge pile of those little yellow bags on the table. (We gave them out as prizes for the costume/cosplay contest.) It's not like I minded, but I was pretty stumped as to who or what was behind it all. Eventually, Kathy Pogge revealed herself as the culprit. Seemed I had made one offhand comment at some point about how I was more of a peanut M&M guy than a regular M&M guy. And she ran with it. Hey, free food. I won't complain!

Anyway, after Krispy Kreme I headed up to Auction and Signing. Not many autographs to sign. I guess most people have my signature already. It was nice to see the materials for my Team Atlantis episode "THE LAST" (copies of my director's script, the Demona redesign, the audio-tape of the cast recording and the partial storyboard) all go for a whopping $740 to IRC GOLIATH.

But then it was time for Vic and I to take the elevator down for our last panel.

Speaking of elevators, it seemed odd at first that most of the elevators had t.v. sets playing CNN non-stop. Except that by the end of the weekend, if I got into one of the elevators that didn't, it really felt like something was missing. I'll never forget where I was when I learned that Katharine (note the spelling) Hepburn had died. In an elevator, watching CNN.

Anyway I finally got down to see the Othercon art. A bunch of people, Hudson in particular, watched me watch the art. Having an audience, while being an observer, was a little strange. I think they thought my head was supposed to explode or something. But I just thought it was pretty cool. I smiled and moved on. They all seemed very disappointed.

Next was the Team Atlantis panel. We showed the materials that Seth had just won in the auction and I played the tape of "THE LAST" which went over very well. I'm bummed that Disney never made the series and that episode, giving you guys another shot at seeing Demona on the screen. But I'm glad we at least got as far as recording the episode, so that I have a radio play to add to my opening ceremonies tapes every year. We also showed some clips from the new Atlantis DVD, featuring many garg voice actors, including Tom Wilson, Clancy Brown and Morgan Shepherd as a guy who thinks he's Odin.

Back upstairs for Closing Ceremonies, which is always bittersweet. I gave one last speech, trying to rouse the crowd to register for G2004. The new staff, by the way, is already in high gear. Montreal is going to be great. You don't want to miss it.

But I think my speech was just so-so. I remember the fire&brimstone thing I did in Florida to try and sell G2001 in L.A. I think I had the whole crowd on their feet that day. Sometimes you just can't recapture the magic.

But I'm amazed at how often you can. I think that's one of the many, many reasons why the Gathering is so fun for me every year. (Of course 72 hours of non-stop adulation might have something to do with it too.)

I said good-bye to some people. The auction restarted. No one had bid on my kids' painted ceramics. (Though they shared third place in the 3-D category.) So I tossed their pieces in with mine at the charity auction. I think Uriel picked them all up for about $40. I was grateful that someone wanted them. But this may not have been my most intelligent charitable contribution. It cost me $70 to make the things. Plus I had to give each kid $5 as their "profit". So next time, maybe I'll just hand the con $40 instead of trying to be so creative. They'll make more and I'll lose less. We also auctioned off a signed Atlantis poster, and scripts from "The Journey" and "The Reckoning". But I don't remember what they sold for.

Somewhere in here, I missed saying goodbye to Thom. So I said goodbye to Vic instead, even though he wasn't actually leaving NYC for another day.

Next up was our school field trip. There were 27 of us total, including myself, Kathy, Patrick, Kelly, Liz, Sean, Montreal Rob, Leo, BrooklynMagus, Mandi, Sarah, Erik, Dylan, Wingless, Seth, Ayami, Ethan, BiZZ and... and... well, more.

I was very concerned about someone getting lost, so I was constantly counting heads. A nightmare.

We stopped first at Ground Zero. I'd love to say I was blown away. But to be honest, I felt so distant from the place most of the time. I think it's too immense. And it looks too much (now) like a construction site. Plus so much is gone, I couldn't get my bearings. Couldn't picture what I remembered. It was so unreal, I guess. I think I was more effected by the effect it had on BrooklynMagus than the effect it had on me.

Back on the subway then, the 27 of headed for Coney Island. We arrived and split up, agreeing to meet back at 10pm to find out who wanted to stay and who wanted to go. I immediately knew I'd be wanting to go at 10pm. (I must really be getting old.) It just occured to me that I'd rather spend those hours hanging out and talking than spinning around on the kinds of rides I could go on at any county fair.

But Kathy and Patrick and Wingless and Seth and I tried to hit the things that really made Coney Island special, i.e. the original Nathans, the Cyclone and the AstroTower. Missed out on the Ferris Wheel, which I only realized after the fact was unique. We took a walk down the boardwalk and then met up with everyone. Miraculously, all 27 people showed up and all wanted to go. So we did.

Made our way back to the hotel. I did a final headcount and we scattered. A bunch of people joined me on my pancake hunt, but all I can say is "City that never sleeps, my foot!" Places were closed or closing right and left. We couldn't find a diner. We couldn't even find an ice cream parlor. Finally, we found an open ice cream place deep below Penn Station in the Labyrinth. Well, actually near the LIRR. After sheparding 27 people all night long, it seemed for a good long five minutes that we had lost Kathy somewhere underground. But she showed up with Popeye's chicken in hand. I was inclined to be cross until she offered to share. (I'm such a food whore.)

We all wanted to drop stuff off in our rooms and then hang out. So we agreed to meet in the Consuite in ten minutes. I was there, right outside the door, when Mandi came out. She needed a drug store and no one would go with her, so she and I went on a trek to a 24 hour pharmacy that made the Pancake hunt look like child's play. By the time I got back to the consuite, most of the people I had agreed to meet up with weren't there. Those present were quietly focused on some anime. Wasn't in the mood, so I headed off to bed. Not a big deal, but I do want everyone to know that I didn't blow you off on purpose.

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR GREG'S FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE CITY THAT SEEMS TO SLEEP A LITTLE...


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Vanity writes...

Hi Greg:

I was just watching "City of Stone". It is a beutiful piece of work. I am very fond of it.

I espicially like the one scene where that woman runs up to Travis Marshall to relate what had happened and he just totally blows her off as "crazy". That got me thinking we ALL do that (as humans) completely discount the minority view as absurd and stupid. Classic example "The Flat Earth Society", oh, we just love to make fun of them. I have decided to be more open minded to even the most seemingly crazy ideas or beliefs. I have watched "CoS" many times but that scene never really hit me like it did just today. Was that intentional on your part? To show the err in human ways. You've said all things are true and what she said was true, just because no one believed her doesn't make it no less right. It reminded me of a Greek Philosopher I think his name was Isocrates I am not sure and his quote went
"If all mankind, minus one; were of a common opinion except the one of a differing opinion. All of mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one, than he, if he had the power; would be justified in silencing all of mankind..."

More things I loved about this episode.
King Duncan's death, in my mind one of the top 10 animated deaths ever.
Demona, saves Gruoch and Macbeth when she could have had her vengence, she chose the nobler of the two courses, made me feel all happy inside. I must admit though killing Gilcoumgain then would have saved her a lot of trouble and heart break later on.
Her plan was very sinister, and her killing of the statued humans was a very dark contrast to her more kind-hearted younger self we had just seen earlier in eps like "Vows". I also liked this too, she's not soft and weak as she is commited to her cause and for that I commend her. I agree with her goals, her means are brutal and me being human will make me possibly feel the urge to resist being smited, but I hope she sees her dream out and accomplishes it, power to her.
One thing very much dissapointed me, relating to Demona when she gave the access code to Goliath and Xanatos the code was "ALONE", not one you'd imagine she'd pick, totally took me by suprise when I first saw it; but Goliath was apparently unaffected by her choice of a password and the huge water works under her eyes. Does he have a heart of stone? She's not even real (I think), and I feel a lump in my throat, every time I see that; yet he knows she's real and didn't even care, creep.

MacBeth, what can I say I think he is great. I think his story is one of the more tragic on the show. Considering all that happens, he always loved and still loves Gruoch. The one time that we see him actually take interest in life and love again he is set up by Dominique and Thailog. His plight is very dramatic. Living but having to as Gruoch said "Remain dead", dead to his country, his home, and his family.

Gruoch: Even though she gets very little air time on the series I think she is great. My second favorite female character. She is strong, smart, wise, intuitive, loving, radiant, and very honest in commiting to her duty. I espicially like how she stood up to Demona at the end, what courage. She even scorned the Hunter as "Oh mighty" with her sarcasm, 'your not mighty your a coward'. I cannot see how you could not love her.

"COS" has its share of humorous wit to it as well. I absoulutely love this:
Elisa: "..the signal came from Pak-Media studios you own it so as usual this is your fault!"
Owen: "Mr. Xanatos is trying to fix things. What are you doing to help?"
I love Elisa's expression, that's good stuff.

-Since I do not want to go into great lenghty deatail about every detail of the show..-

King Duncan- Very paranoid.
Hudson+Trio- not much to say
Boudie(SP)- Probably has his heart in the right place but man what a --well cowardly guy--
Demona's Betrayl of MacBeth- this shocked me, leave him to die at the castle but she actually contacted Kenmore?
Wierd Sisters- I HATE them. I think they are corrupt, vile, and wicked, they should burn in a fiery lake in the seventh circle of Hell somewhere. For a very, very long time. (I make this judgement with my Knowledge of the "Avalon" eps)
Vengence begats nothing more than a vicious cycle of further vengence- true perhaps, but highly over exaggerated.
The betrayl of the Cast Wyvern- I want to know who slept at Demona's roost. When the Vikings sacked it.
Bronx and Demona's encounter- I loved it. Good job.
Demona and Macbeth- It's amazing how it goes, I like when Demona came back from the fight all happy and swirled Macbeth high off the ground. Her joyous attitude was refreshing, yet all to short in length.

That's all for this post. Thanks for listening.

Vanity~

Greg responds...

A few responses to your comments...

1. Yes, the scene with Travis and the woman was a comedic way to make exactly that point.

2. Can't say I'm rooting for Demona to succeed. I'm rooting for Demona, but not in that way.

3. We had an entire contest to explain "Alone" and got some very interesting responses. You might check them out in the contest archive here at ASK GREG.

4. I think it's presumptuous of you to assume you know exactly what Goliath was feeling. But one thing to keep in mind is that he had just witnessed the results of her mass murder spree.

5. I've said this before, but we all got to watch Emma Samms blossom as a voice actress over the course of just these four episodes. She had never done cartoons before. She was a bit stiff in Gruoch's first appearance, but, MAN, by COS4, she was just ROCKING!!! I give her and voice director Jamie Thomason a ton of credit for really bringing Gruoch to life when we needed it most.

6. I'm not sure that Bodhe did have his heart in the right place -- until, I like to think, the very end.

7. The notion that vengeance begets nothing more than a vicious cycle of further vengeance, is not only true but is if anything UNDERSTATED. Hardly exagerated. One only has to look at a newspaper to see that the Montagues and Capulets of this world simply refuse to recognize this obvious, obvious FACT. It drives me insane. Your casual dismissal of the notion doesn't thrill me either. (Sorry.)

8. You're welcome. I like your posts.

Response recorded on June 20, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

Who were the VAs for Hippolyta and Hudson's mate?
Who was going to be the voice of Queen Mab, Propero, Calaban, Nought, Nimue, the Green Knight, Morgan Le Fay, and the unknown member of the Pack?

Greg responds...

1. There were none.
2. We never got that far.

Response recorded on June 05, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

1.Who were you planning for the VAs for Sphinx, Terry, Medusa, Jove and Boreas's two sons?
2.What about Duval, Blanchefleur and Merlin?
3.And Samson, Nick Maza, Delilah, Zafiro, Fu-dog, Katana, Nashville, Taichi and Coyote-X?

Greg responds...

1. I haven't made those plans.
2. Ditto.
3. For Samson, Keith David. For Delilah, Salli Richardson. For Fu-Dog, Frank Welker. For Coyote-X, Jonathan Frakes. The rest, I have no idea.

Response recorded on June 05, 2003

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Treena writes...

I have seen on some sites Coldstones girlfriend being refered to as Desdemona just wondering if that is offically what she is called or just a name someone tagged her with and if it is offical what is the thought behinded is it in reference to Orthelo??

Greg responds...

The Desdemona and Iago names were used in our scripts to identify the characters before they got their Coldfire and Coldsteel names in "Possession". The name Othello was also used in the script to refer to Coldsteel in flashback scenes, before he became a cyborg.

None of these names were ever used in dialogue on the series. But both Desdemona and Iago were used in the credits to identify the actors (C.C.H. Pounder and Xander Berkeley) who voiced the two characters. (Othello was never used, because we simply listed Michael Dorn as Coldstone.)

So obviously, yes, we saw the relationship between the three characters as being very "OTHELLO". Particularly in their first appearance, "Legion". With Goliath in the Michael Cassio role.

Response recorded on June 03, 2003

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Lynati writes...

Oh. and while I'm here...

Do you think when Aaron finally tracks down Marina Sirtis and asks her to sign the Demona tatoo on his chest that she'll do it gracefully, or will she have someone distract him and then run away really fast?

Greg responds...

Even odds.

(Although I can't imagine she hasn't encountered far weirder/scarier Trek fans than our Aaron -- who still reminds me of a young Tom McMinn.)

Response recorded on May 14, 2003

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adam writes...

who played the voices of Desdemona/Coldfire and Iago/Coldsteel.

Greg responds...

C.C.H. Pounder (who, I believe is a regular on 'The Shield') was Desdemona/Coldfire.

Xander Berkeley (who most recently was the belatedly noble boss on '24' who died saving Los Angeles from an atomic bomb) played Iago/Coldfire.

Response recorded on May 13, 2003

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ATTENTION FANS OF MATT BLUESTONE

Tom Wilson (the voice of Matt Bluestone) is currently recurring on the NBC series Ed, playing a widowered fireman and a potential love-interet for the Molly Hudson character, played by actress Leslie Boone, whom I've also worked with on 3x3 EYES. (Leslie is a very good friend of Thom "Lexington" Adcox.)

I've worked with Tom on most of the series where I had some control over casting, like MAX STEEL and TEAM ATLANTIS. He's one of my absolute favorite performers, and he and Leslie make a very cute couple. He's already been on two episodes. I don't know how long a run he'll get. But I hope he sticks around.


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Chapter XLII: "Sanctuary"

Time to ramble...

This episode was directed by Dennis Woodyard, written and story edited by Cary Bates.

The one word title, as usual, was one of mine. I thought initially that we'd be even more focused on the Cathedral. That we might play a Quasimodo character. Heck, if Disney's "Hunchback" movie was going to have living gargoyles bouncing around, then I could have a Quasimodo swinging from the bell-ropes.

But the story, thank goodness, rightly evolved into a family drama with Goliath, Elisa, Angela, Demona, Macbeth and Thailog (and Bronx) providing us with one very ODD family. Quasimodo went away in favor of Thailog.

And we had to work a bit to make sure the thematic idea of the heart as a Sanctuary worked its way into the picture. Thank God for that French minister, eh?

During the "Previously..." recap the following exchange was heard between my eight year old daughter Erin and my five year old son Ben, after Angela learns (in that scene from "Monsters") that Goliath is her biological father:

Benny: He IS her father. He laid the egg.
Erin: Girls lay eggs.
Benny: His wife laid the egg.

ROMANCE

Enter, for the third time or the first (or, depending on your point of view, maybe this one doesn't count either), Ms. Dominique Destine. She tells Mac, "We have all the time in the world..."

This for me (and I know for Bond expert Cary) was a very memorable line from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." And always a good sign that a relationship is going to come to a bad end.

Elisa tips her hand, which she can do cuz no one is awake, about how she really feels about Goliath here. "The most romantic city in the world and Goliath isn't awake to share it with me." (Or something like that, all quotations are approximate.) That's what she'd like to do, I'd wager. Soar over Paris with G. the way they soared over Manhattan in "Awakenings". Now had he been awake, do you think she would have made that request? Or would she in fact be distancing herself from him simply BECAUSE she had that impulse?

After her adventure on the Loch, it's nice to see Margot on a pleasant little stroll through Paris.

THE GARGOYLE WAY

Why is Goliath so resistant to parenting Angela? After all, though they're really more like younger brothers, he does his fair share of parenting the Trio.

He falls back on "The Gargoyle Way", but that's certainly inadequate, as Diane Maza will later point out. Yes, he's only one of her rookery fathers, but he's (a) the only one there and (b) the only one left alive except for the two souls trapped inside the AWOL Coldstone.

Ultimately, I think the answer is that Angela's sudden obssession with her "BIOLOGICAL" parentage makes him nervous because of the obvious extrapolation to what comes next. If she's obssessed with me as Daddy, then what happens when she learns who Mommy is?

And that's the key. He's divorced Demona. His wife who laid the egg. It took centuries and months, but after "Vows" he moved on. Now he sees Demona as a nemesis. A painful one to be sure, but a nemesis none the less. He's afraid of what the knowledge will do to Angela. He's afraid of what Demona will do with Angela, should Angela share that knowledge. And is he perhaps afraid of what -- under Demona's influence -- Angela might become?

THE CATHEDRAL

There's some nice animation in this episode -- but none of it is at Notre Dame. That sequence put us through fits in retakes and editing. Ugghh. It's still painful to look at.

But there's some nice stuff going on...

Demona says: "In here my love." to Goliath before she realizes its not Thailog. What did you all think of that line? At this point we had only seen one silhouetted monster from a distance. And since you knew Demona was in town, we intentionally tried to lead you to belive that she was the Monster at Notre Dame. Were you expecting Thailog? Or did you think that Demona was addressing G as 'my love'?

Goliath's arrival is a shock to her, so what did you think then?

Then Thailog's arrival is supposed to be a bigger shock to you guys. Was it?

I love hearing Thailog say: "My angel of the night."

Demona has a good line too: "Jealous and paranoid."

Later, we set up Nightstone Unlimited and their two "human" identities, Alexander Thailog and Dominique Destine.

At this point in production, we knew that Fox was going to have a baby but we had not named it yet. I couldn't think of a better first name for Thailog and later I couldn't think of a better first name for Alexander Xanatos. At first this bugged me. But I began to realize it made perfect sense. Xanatos had programmed his "first" son well. If X would pick Alexander, why wouldn't T have picked it as well. And there's something so symmetrical about both his kids being named Alexander.

TOURISTS

Elisa sits at a french cafe talking out loud to herself. Ugh. Very awkward. Obviously, we couldn't come up with a solution we liked better. I'm sure it occured to me to do it in voice over, but just chucking a V.O. sequence in the middle of an ep is very awkward too. Suddenly, the movie is POV Elisa, and we weren't doing that here. (Cf. "Revelations" and Matt's VO narration.)

I do like her last line though, coming as it did from a long time Superman scripter, Cary Bates: "This is a job... for the Gargoyles!"

THE WEDDING NIGHT

We had Macbeth use the Lennox Macbeth name instead of Lennox Macduff because we thought it would be too confusing to give him an entirely different name to any new viewers. And it makes sense that he has multiple aliases. But it still bugs me and I think in hindsight, I wish we had just been consistent.

Demona kicks Macbeth into unconsciousness, and Erin asks: "Why didn't she get hurt?"

And that's a very fair question. As usual with D&M's Corsican Brother connection, we tried very hard to be faithful to it, but it was very hard. And we wound up being a bit inconsistent. The best I can suggest is that when Demona knows she's going to hurt M and it isn't just on impulse, she can more or less steel herself against the magical feedback. It's still painful. But she doesn't show it as much.

The Gargoyles wake up and Elisa says: "Look alive, guys!" Well, they do now, don't they?

I love how Thailog slips Mac the gun and then later yells at Demona, "Didn't you search him?!" He's an evil genius that one. And passive-aggressive too.

Thailog's plan is brilliant, I think. So elegant. So simple. And if not for Elisa, so effective.

Mac's suicidal tendencies resurface. Demona's legendary temper gets the better of her common sense.

Thailog really comes into his own in this ep. Sure, Xanatos said he may have created a monster, but now Thailog has outsmarted X, D and M. Who the hell is left to outsmart?

And he has some great lines too:

"You and what clan?"

"Teamwork is so overrated."

"Aren't you spunky?'" (Another Lou Grant reference of course.)

To be fair, he couldn't immediately know that Angela was blood kin, but still doesn't his reaction to her give you the creeps? When X says Angela is lovely in "Cloud Fathers" I don't think anyone thought he was being salacious. But T? Yeah, baby.

Of course, Goliath finally gets the picture after this one. Up to this point, he was thinking Demona's the lost cause but maybe Thailog is salvagable. Now he knows better. At least about T anyway.

BATTLE

There's a lot of water in that water tower. It looks cool though. The animation here makes up for the Cathedral stuff.

I love Goliath's two-handed punch.

I love Demona's punch-drunken sway, as she makes her move to, as Mac says, "put us out of our misery..."

But I've always wondered why the background painters put multiple pictures of Elisa on the wall of Macbeth's chateau. Odd, that.

When I was young, I used to love MASH, particularly back in the Wayne Rogers days. (And, yes, Wayne is a friend of my dad's now. But they didn't know each other back then so I was unbiased.) But one thing that used to drive me nuts was the repetition of the following exchange:

<LOTS OF SHELLING IS ROCKING THE HOSPITAL. SUDDENLY, IT STOPS.>

Hawkeye: Do you hear that?
Someone else: Hear what?
Hawkeye: Silence! The shelling's stopped!

This was fine the first time they used it. By the twentieth time it got VERY old.

But we do a version of it here after Elisa shoots Demona ending the battle.

Why? When it used to drive me nuts? It's amazing what I'll pay tribute too.

KEITH meet MR. DAVID

I love playing Thailog against Goliath, because I love those Thailog/Goliath exchanges where Keith plays both roles. That's one of the main reasons we created Thailog. To enjoy listening to Keith go to town.

1st Epilogue:

Goliath: "She has done you a favor, Macbeth."

That line should be a bit of a shock when G first says it. But it makes a lot of sense after he explains. And I love the look that Goliath and Elisa share. They aren't even pretending they don't share those feelings. They just won't act on them.

And how about Goliath actually telling a joke: "Just make sure you get a good look at her at night." Word.

2nd Epilogue:

One of the things I like about our series is we didn't have to end each episode the same way.

This one ends rather darkly. Goliath won't acknowledge the obvious. He just broods. Angela turns to Elisa: "Elisa, I have to know." And Elisa confirms that Demona is Angela's mother, because it's ridiculous to either lie or to not confirm the obvious that Angela has already figured out. But she knows G didn't want A to know that. So everyone is left unhappy as we sail into the fog.

And Erin ends the episode saying: "I think Elisa should be her mother."

(Me, I've always seen them sharing a more sisterly relationship. But I thought Erin's idea was sweet, and certainly came out of the sexual tension between E&G.)

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


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Chapter XXXXI: "Golem"

Time to Ramble...

This episode was directed by Frank Paur and was really based on an idea of his that pre-dated the introduction of Renard in "Outfoxed".

The episode was written and story edited by Gary Sperling. Gary selected this episode, because he felt he had an affinity for the subject matter and because his brother, a Rabbi, was able to advise him on things like the Hebrew, etc. (But I tell you, recording some of that Hebrew was a bitch.)

I love most of the backgrounds on this episode. Very striking and atmospheric.

RENARD & CO.

My eight-year-old daughter Erin spotted Renard, and immediately recognized him as "Fox's father." I think Robert Culp does a great job with Renard. And (futzing aside) with the Golem as well.

Vogel's back with no explanation or indication that he fell out of favor. I guess Goliath's speech to Renard at the end of "Outfoxed" carried real weight. I think it shows something in Renard that he's able to give Vogel a second chance.

And Renard's other compatriot is Brod. A new gangster of the new Eastern-European school. I can't remember if I already had plans to pit Brod against Dracon. But I liked the contrast between them. And I like how tough and fearless Brod is. And also how outside-the-box he is in his thinking. He'd rather have the hovercraft than a cash payment. He sees the advantage.

Goliath spots Renard (and vice versa). Renard isn't pleased, cuz he knows he's doing wrong and doesn't need a reminder that he used to lecture people on integrity.

Goliath IS pleased, initially, because he sees Renard as a potential ride home. Here, and for the last time until probably "Ill Met by Moonlight" and "Future Tense", the focus is still on GETTING HOME.

But for Renard, the focus is on living. ("Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford.") Goliath is stunned. He calls Renard someone "I thought I knew."

There's some nice climbing here. Just visually, the way the gang climbs up the bridge. The way Angela and Bronx climb up the tower. The way Bronx later climbs down. I just think it's cool.

ELISA & MAX and GOLIATH & THE GOLEM

I also like Elisa and Max's little exchange at the beginning.

Max: What are you looking for?
Elisa: New York.

Max was consciously designed to parallel Elisa. And she at least, notices the connection. When she says "The Golem needs you as much as you need it." I think she's thinking about her relationship to Goliath. (It may be a touch arrogant, but it's accurate too.)

He's the human ally and advisor (sometimes guide) to a protector made of stone and clay. The parallels of Golem to Gargoyle are obvious, and the main reason why I felt we HAD to do this episode. (Probably the main reason why Frank suggested it in the first place.) I love how Keith read: "So this Golem is a protector." He likes the whole idea. It's almost sweet in a way.

Max is just less confident than Elisa ever was: "What if it doesn't like me?" I don't think Elisa ever worried about that, at least not after she learned that Goliath could talk.

Elisa actually has a bunch of fun lines here:

"Hit it, Bronx!"
"Don't worry. We're the Good Guys!"
"And you get used to the weirdness."

I like how the Renard/Golem turns the lamp-post into a pretzel. But on my tape, he smashes a car that was already smashed. Did that get corrected for later airings?

I also thought it was a nice touch when he knocked over Edgar Blosa's tombstone. I know that was an homage to some movie. Maybe an Ed Wood film? But now I'm blanking out?

POWER-DRUNK/POWER-SOBER

Renard as the Golem is corrupted rather rapidly (if shallowly) by his newfound power. That was the idea. That a man who had been trapped in the prison of his own body would get flat-out drunk on the freedom and strength that the Golem offered: "Instant respect. I could get used to this."

But like any high, one eventually comes down.

And Elisa is the first to start to sober him up. "You're enjoying this!" she yells. It stops him. Cuz he is. But cuz he's not so far gone that he shouldn't know better. He flees. Not because anyone has yet provided an adequate threat. He's really running from himself. But that translates to: let me just get out of here.

Renard actually says, "It's not my fault!" which of course was the one phrase that used to drive him crazy.

Goliath has a great comeback: "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit." That's classic Goliath, I think.

I love the close up shot of the Renard/Golem looking over his shoulder, weighing it all. Wondering what his alternative is beyond accepting his fate, i.e. his death by whatever disease was killing him.

And I love Goliath's next follow up too: "You've given up all you believe in... for a piece of clay."

I'm sure some people thought Renard's turn-around was too sudden. But between Elisa, Goliath and some well-chosen words from Max ("Can you live with yourself"), and Renard's basic decency, I have no problem accepting it when he finally says, "What have I become?"

THE FINAL BATTLE

Elisa really rocks in this episode I think. That may have been the thing I most noticed in this viewing. I don't think of this as one where she was particularly featured, but she really does great. I love her little "Hi there." close up moment before she decks the bad guy with a punch that comes right into camera and flashes red. (Of course, I doubt you could do that these days.)

I like all the stuff with Golem and the hovercraft.

I'm also reminded here of the end of "Awakening, Part Five" when Goliath is holding Xanatos and on the verge of dropping him to his death. Elisa and Hudson talk him out of it. And Max fulfills the same function for the Golem. And I love Max's line, which is traditional: "Love Justice and Do Mercy." So simple and eleoquent. So right.

In any case, I guess that makes Brod the Xanatos of Prague. Except clearly he didn't fare as well. The Golem's appearance must have convinced him to seek out new "Turf", if you know what I mean.

THE WORLD TOUR

Finally, Goliath has learned something about all Max's talk about destiny and making choices. He finally realizes that Avalon isn't simply messing with them. But that there is purpose and need and destiny. He could choose to skip it. He could hitch a ride with Renard back to Manhattan. But he won't run away. So instead he'll take the Skiff.

Now the World Tour can finally start in earnest. Sure, the audience still wonders when and if the quartet will ever get home. But I think the tenor of it changes now. Now there's an expectation. I think, had we not had to air so many damn reruns during the original run of the Tour in winter/spring of 1996, the audience would have been much more patient after this episode. Like Goliath, they would have understood.

Elisa makes the same choice. Although for her, it's less about quests and destiny than about abandoning her friends: "You guys would be lost without me." And again, kidding or not, there's a certain arrogance. But a lot of accuracy as well.

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



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