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Todd Jensen writes...

This is more a thought than an all-out question.

In Season One, we see Goliath reading in the libraries at both Castle Wyvern (after the gargoyles' re-awakening) and the public library adjoining the clock tower. We know, also, that he'd been reading the classics (Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, specifically).

In the archives, you offered a list of a few major "classics" writers: Shakespeare, Homer, Cervantes, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. As I looked over that list, I noticed that all of those writers, except Homer, lived after the Wyvern Massacre, meaning that Goliath first had the opportunity to read them after he re-awakened. (Furthermore, I've read that Homer's writings were unavailable in western Europe during medieval times - even Dante, when mentioning him as one of the great poets of classical antiquity in the "Inferno", knew him only by reputation - so Goliath most likely wouldn't have had the opportunity to read the Iliad and the Odyssey before the thousand-year sleep.) It gives a strong sense of just how much of world literature he'd be encountering for the first time. (Not to mention, as I remarked once, that the size of those libraries in both the castle and adjoining the clock tower must have seemed miraculous by tenth century standards, thanks to the printing press.)

I've also reflected that some of those classics must have presented worlds as initially foreign to Goliath as modern-day Manhattan. Homer and Shakespeare's writings would have probably presented a reasonably familiar environment, but the more relatively recent authors would have been another matter (the world depicted in Jane Austen's works would have seemed, indeed, very different from Manhattan as well as from tenth century Scotland)

For that matter, since you included Thomas Hardy on the list, I wonder what Goliath would have made of the cameo of an architectural gargoyle in "Far From the Madding Crowd", if he'd read that one....

Greg responds...

I do think it's fascinating to think about Goliath's reactions to various works. Frankly, if it was me... I think I'd be hit with near paralysis as to where and with what to start.

Response recorded on February 17, 2022

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NoOneSpecial writes...

Hi Greg. Decided to watch Gargoyles now that it was on Disney+(or at least it was on at the time of posting this). Really enjoyed seeing again and I’m happy it’s now on a service that may give it more attention again in the future. Always hoping for more content someday.

I have a few episodes I really love (and some I really like and some I kinda don’t care much for. Can’t all be winners). One of my favorites is Future Tense. What I enjoy most is how you can re-watch, after knowing the reveal by the end and pick up so, so many details that make it so much more enjoyable, or at least for me.

Unlike the typical World Tour adventure, which usually open with us already inside the new local the group will be visiting, this one opens with the group sailing through the fog, Goliath lamenting how homesick he feels and wishing the journey will be over soon for them.

You wonder if Puck chose this moment to strike when Goliath was being particularly vulnerable emotionally or if he just got lucky. That also got me thinking, how exactly does Puck circumventing Oberon’s law to pull off his dream trick? The dream itself I can get since it’s ‘only a dream’ and not real interference. But that lightning bolt seemed pretty direct.

We arrive at the Future Tense Manhattan and there’s moment where you wonder if this is real or not. I can’t remember if kid me knew that this was all fake, but then again I was particularly genre savvy at that age. Normally when you see these kinds of horrible futures, there’s gonna be a reveal that it’s a dream or illusion.

I think one of the most underlying disturbing things about the Future Tense world is how well Puck seems to know Goliath (and the rest of the cast) to play out this dark fantasy. Subtle hints are everywhere

When they arrive, they are attacked so no time to ask questions. Both Elisa and Angela are captured. Now Elisa’s capture is important as she is always a good way to motivate Goliath into action, but Angela’s departure is crucial, because Puck doesn’t know anything about her. He can’t guess her character well enough to know how she would react. I could see Angela suddenly breaking down and begging Goliath to the Phoenix Gate to save them, except that is not the Angela we know. Like Goliath, she would rather take on problems in the present and not the past.

Next, we see Bluestone and Claw. A weird paring to say the least. I wonder what the significance of those two (if any) there was to Puck’s story? Claw can’t talk so I guess he’s an easy character to mimic, and Bluestone is an ally, but also not someone Goliath is emotionally attached to, so he works as good way of easing Goliath into the horrors to come.

Next, we meet the Manhattan Clan. Hudson is gone and we know this hits Goliath hard. I think a part of him has always still seen Hudson as the leader of the clan. Someone Goliath could always relay on for guidance and now he is gone.

Brooklyn is a harden and bitter leader, hating Goliath for putting him in his position. This also makes me wonder, how aware Goliath was of the fact Brooklyn was leading the clan in his absence. Maybe it did cross his mind, but I kinda like the idea that Golaiath didn’t fully realized that Brooklyn must have taken charge in his absence. And of course he is now with Demona, someone he once hated, which tells Goliath that Brooklyn must have gone through pretty messed up stuff to be with her.

Then we have Broadway, the heart and soul of the clan. Puck doesn’t kill him, but cripple him by making him blind, yet despite his suffering he didn’t lose hope that Goliath would come back.

Lexington is a cyborg and the real villain of the piece. He always was a favorite of mine, mostly because I just liked how he had the most distinct design out of the Manhattan clan. And again, we see Puck’s understanding everyone’s character come into play. Lexington has more of an ambitious streak than the rest, a sense of drive. This fits well his intelligence, his thirst for knowledge. He doesn’t just want to protect; he wants to achieve. He wants to learn because he wants to do something with the knowledge he gains.

Brooklyn name drops Talon, Maggie and Coldstone as being dead, again to further disturb Goliath as much as possible. He doesn’t mention Thaliog, likely because Goliath wouldn’t be that upset over him.

Another character that is never mentioned in this story is Macbeth, which I can’t help but find to be odd. I always wondered why he is left out? I could see him becoming some kind of evil general serving Xanatos. But then again, how could you spin that to be Goliath’s fault specifically?

Fox is also absent. Maybe she gone to help further the idea of Xanatos’s apparent newfound loss of humanity. Owen is not around either. Puck obviously won’t screw with his magnum opus.
“I knew Xanatos was evil, but killing his own son”

Maybe I’m reaching a little here, but I think it was at this moment that Puck realized he had made mistake with his portrayal of Xanatos and decided to make Lex the villain. In this story, he had built Xanatos (or the Xanatos Program) to be this big ultimate evil. But Goliath, both here and later, is able to unknowingly see through this ruse, because he knows Xanatos well enough to know that he isn’t this petty or destructive or power mad. This cannot be the real Xanatos, because the real one wouldn’t do these things, meaning it’s some kind of imposter, which of course it is, in more ways than one. Lies within lies.

And again, this is just an interpretation, but maybe Puck was underestimating Goliath’s opinion of Xanatos. Maybe he thought Goliath was readily and even happily believe Xanatos became this absolute monster? Maybe he thinks this fits Goliath’s sometimes strict black and white sense of morality. In the past I think it would, but Goliath has seen that the world isn’t that simple, and neither are people. Much like with the ad-libbed line about Thailog, I think maybe Puck re-worked the story a little to make Lexington the villain, since that is more plausible than what he was doing with Xanatos. But again, maybe that is just me reaching.

By the time we get to the final battle in Cyberspace all the rules seem to be getting broken and continuity goes out the door for once, which makes sense in this context. By now we know more or less that this isn’t real and something else is going on. It’s one of my favorite moments animated. There are admittedly some episodes with a little questionable animation, but this episode couldn’t have been done without such incredible sequences.

I imagine at the end, Goliath must be completely broken inside. He doesn’t have the will to go on anymore, which is saying something, because I only think of one other occasion this has happened to him, which would be after the Wyvern Massacre. But he quickly recovers once he sees through Puck’s ruse. Sure, it all ‘felt’ real as it happened, but that’s the way a dream can be. It feels so raw and powerful as it happens in the moment, but once you start to feel awake again, the effect wears off. It was after all, only a dream. In those brief moments when Goliaths struggles to accept the shock of what he is seeing, like the scene with Hudson’s statue, he must be telling himself that this has to some kind of nightmare.

Puck, of course, gets off scout free in this episode, which is why I help can’t but enjoy him getting some well-deserved comeuppance in the Gathering.

Anywho, that’s my ramble of one of favorite episodes. There are still many other episodes I love (Double Jeopardy, City of Stone, Awakening, the Mirror, Deadly Force, Kingdom), but Future Tense may be my absolute favorite for everything that it packs in, the striking animation and what I think makes it very scary in a real way; the future may actually be just as terrifying as you can imagine it to be.

Greg responds...

I'm glad you like it. Puck was definitely adjusting the scenario as it played out, as needed. I did think that he had always planned to reveal Lex as the villain, but I like your interpretation, as well. And I'm fine letting everyone decide for themselves...

Response recorded on November 11, 2021

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Tim Mischka writes...

Hey Greg, I was wondering if you'd taken the time to watch the new DuckTales show Disney's been doing? I know you only worked on a little bit of the old one, but it's fun and it's stuffed with Disney references, including the revelation that Manny the Headless Man-Horse (it makes more sense when you watch it) is basically their equivalent to Goliath (complete with Keith David voice and Gargoyles theme playing). Were you amused by them doing that? It was certainly unexpected (given that it happened in the series finale, and they'd covered basically every other Disney show from the 80s and early-to-mid 90s).

Greg responds...

I'd heard about it, and I think it's great that they did that, but no, I haven't seen the new DuckTales. That's not meant to be any kind of comment on its quality. I just haven't gotten around to it.

Response recorded on November 10, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "Hunter's Moon" yesterday (Sunday) on DVD - all three parts.

I've mentioned before spotting a lot of mentions of hunting, usually applied to humans going after gargoyles with hostile intent, and it struck me that this made it appropriate that the Hunters would be the gargoyles' adversaries in the finale. (Well, the Disney Afternoon finale/Season Two finale.)

And it struck me that the Hunters were the most dangerous opponents that the gargoyles faced in modern times, judging by results. They blew up the clock tower, destroying the gargoyles' home, and then exposed them to the public. The former was partly undone by the gargoyles getting their old home (the castle) back by the end of the episode, but not the latter - now the gargoyles are facing an alarmed public (even though they're safe at the end - for the moment). None of the gargoyles' other adversaries in modern times have been able to inflict that much damage on them. To top it, you'd have to go back to 994 and the Wyvern Massacre.

A few things that struck me this time around:

Goliath and Elisa are actually openly speaking to each other and even sharing a brief embrace on board the passenger train, just after foiling the robbery; fortunately, the passengers apparently didn't notice that.

Hudson greets the returning gargoyles as "lads" - then quickly adding in "And lassie, of course", for Angela. It reminded me of his use of just "lads" for the younger gargoyles in "Possession" that I mentioned in my post on it - apparently he's getting more adjusted now to Angela's presence in the clan.

The trio's clash with Demona in Part One seems the last "trio action" in the series; they're increasingly split up (or else acting with the rest of the clan present) after this.

Lexington and Brooklyn's shared uneasy glances when they return to the clock tower with Goliath near the end of Part Two seemed all the stronger when I realized "the audience knows that Robyn and Jon survived Goliath's fight with them, but Lex and Brooklyn don't - from their perspective, Goliath had apparently killed those two."

Jon Canmore's cry about the gargoyles when he's facing Jason at the end, "They killed dad!", struck me as a sign of how (even before shooting Jason) he was losing it; it was Demona who killed Charles Canmore, none of the Manhattan clan were even present at the event, and Jon was there so he knows it.

Broadway shows how much his attitude towards reading has changed since the start of "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" when he's talking to Angela about how great the castle library is (and we'll see them there together in "The Journey").

This story really does seem like a good conclusion for the series in so many ways - the gargoyles are back in the castle again, their war with Xanatos is (seemingly) over, they'd defeated Demona's big scheme to wipe out humanity, Elisa finally admitted her feelings for Goliath and even kissed him. Except there's a big loose end with the gargoyles' existence being made public, and most of the New Yorkers aren't too happy about it. (Brooklyn's "And so it begins" remark does also support the feeling that the story could continue past this spot.) But it certainly makes a good season finale.

Oh, and I counted the number of "claw-mark transitions" in the entire two seasons during this review - 28 in all.

Greg responds...

We were pretty happy with it.

Response recorded on August 17, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "Future Tense" on DVD today. Things I noticed this time on it.

Bronx looks sad when Hudson's death is revealed; given the bond the two had showed throughout the series, I thought if both fitting and touching (even if it's not really Bronx).

Goliath tells Brooklyn "we thought our odyssey was fated". I thought "odyssey" an appropriate term, since Odysseus spent twenty years away from Ithaca, and Goliath supposedly spent forty years away from Manhattan - and since gargoyles age at half the speed of humans, twenty years for humans would translate to forty years for gargoyles. (I'll admit I'm reaching here - and it feels odd to be linking Goliath to Odysseus when I'd normally think of comparing a different "Gargoyles" character to Odysseus - a fellow Greek trickster....)

The Xanatos Program's intention of using the "World Wide Net" to download itself on every computer marks one of the extremely few occasions I can think of where the Internet was alluded to on "Gargoyles"; the only other example that comes to mind was Sevarius receiving his instructions for "kidnapping" Thailog via "electronic mail". (It also got mentioned in one of the Goliath Chronicles episodes, but that doesn't count.) The near-absence of the Internet from the series certainly makes it appear
technologically dated" from today's perspective.

Greg responds...

I think "odyssey" is a particular apt word. And though Goliath and Odysseus don't have a lot of character traits in common, I do think the comparison here was intentional. And they are both big, strong heroes.

The absence of something like the internet is less of a problem for me - in terms of dating the series - than, say, the brick-sized cellphones that Xanatos and others occasionally use.

Response recorded on August 17, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "The New Olympians" on DVD today.

Continuing the "hunting" theme in "Gargoyles" that I've paid closer attention to this time around, I noticed that Ekidne described the New Olympians' ancestors as "hunted". (I also spotted a New Olympian extra who looked a lot like traditional depictions of Artemis/Diana, the goddess of the hunt - though I think I'm reading too much into that.)

Goliath's words to Angela about how they cannot wage war on an entire city remind me of his words to Demona in "Awakening Part Five" of how he cannot wage war upon an entire world.

Greg responds...

Also intentional. I love those kinds of callbacks.

Response recorded on August 16, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "Mark of the Panther" on DVD today.

I've mentioned before how I've noticed a strong "hunting" motif running through "Gargoyles" during my reviewing it; this episode included more of that theme, though, for a change, it didn't involve humans going after gargoyles. Instead, it was the Panther Queen and, later, Fara Maku, hunting for Anansi, and then Tea and the poachers hunting panthers.

Elisa lists the body parts of panthers that poachers are after as skin, teeth, and claws. When Diane Maza tells the story of the Panther Queen shortly afterwards, her description of the Panther Queen stresses those same three attributes (well, fur rather than skin, but it's close enough), but now focusing on their beauty, rather than the monetary worth that motivated the poachers. (And when Anansi turns the Panther Queen into a human, the story stresses the Queen's loss of those same attributes.)

Goliath's explanation to Diane, when they're trapped in the pit, that he can only glide, not fly, echoed (for me) his explanation to Elisa on the ledge back in "Awakening Part Three". Like mother, like daughter....

Greg responds...

Yep...

Response recorded on August 16, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "The Hound of Ulster" yesterday, but I didn't have any new thoughts on it, so I skipped it over - and "Walkabout" today.

Things that struck me about "Walkabout" this time around:

I'd noticed this before, but Bronx growls at a kangaroo near the beginning. I wonder what he dislikes about them. (I also spotted a koala up in a tree - that I *hadn't* seen in past viewings.)

I was amused by Elisa's description of Dingo as "not one of the good guys" - since that could so easily be tweaked to "one of the bad guys". I don't know if you'd come up with the name for that spin-off at the time, of course.

Goliath at one point says "Aye, for now" - probably the one occasion where he says "Aye" - he usually leaves those Scottish-toned words to Hudson.

During the battle with the Matrix in the Dreamtime-world, Goliath imprisons it briefly within a dome that looks a lot like the domes it was producing in the waking world, and conjures up a shield with a sun-design upon it - a strange emblem for a gargoyle to bear.

Greg responds...

Maybe Bronx just had never seen a kangaroo before...

Response recorded on August 16, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "M.I.A." today. One detail stood out to me this time; the human Londoners grouped in the background at the very end are the same ones we saw in Act I staring at the gargoyles in shock and alarm, when Leo and Una are confronting Goliath outside their shop. It made a pleasant touch, I thought, to see that those people have now recognized (judging from the way they were shown at the conclusion) that they didn't need to be scared of the gargoyles.

Greg responds...

Yep.

Response recorded on August 16, 2021

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Todd Jensen writes...

Rewatched "Monsters" on DVD today. (Appropriate timing, I thought, since November 30 is St. Andrew's Day, dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland - and on that day, I was watching Scottish gargoyles encountering Scotland's most famous monster.) A few fresh thoughts on it.

When Elisa describes herself to the man at the souvenir stall as "not really the adventuring type", I found myself thinking of her statement in "High Noon", "I'm no hero; I just do my job". Certainly, whatever her incliations, she's had plenty of adventures.

I wondered whether Elisa's remark about theme parks doing "robot Nessie-type" stunts five times a day was Disney poking a bit of fun at itself - we'd see something similar in "Bushido".

And when Elisa says at the end how some legends need to stay that way, she looks in Goliath's direction as she speaks, making me wonder if it was just the Loch Ness Monster she was talking about. Certainly Elisa's been zealous about preserving the gargoyles' secrecy - maybe too zealous, in light of "Revelations" and "Mark of the Panther".

Greg responds...

She wasn't just talking about Nessie.

Response recorded on August 16, 2021


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