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Joshua P. Christie writes...

Hi Greg- first time posting but a well educated fan of the show. I am now in the process of showing the series to my girlfriend and she recently posed a question following 'M.I.A.' that even I cannot justify or find an answer for. Question being, if Goliath is able to utilize the Phoenix Gate to return to the past and save Griff by bringing him to the present day, then why is it he cannot use the Gate to return to Scotland prior to the slaughter of the clan and bring them into the present where they may be alive with the remaining gargoyles?

Now I have exhausted the archives and I realize that this question has been asked before although not in this exact scenario. Problem is that people are writing essays on the subject in rough draft form and thus their respective points, along with your answers/explanations, are lost to me.

Now, knowing full well that history cannot be altered, the closest thing to an answer I found was you citing that Goliath did not in fact change the past but rather fulfilled it. To the effect of Leo and Una having recognized Goliath from 1940 demonstrates it was not anybody elses history being altered but rather Goliath playing out his role in something that already had happened TO HIM.

Armed with that, it still makes no logical sense to me. First off, if Goliath had in fact saved Griff once before, why did he have no recollection of him, the war, Una, or Leo? Also, in 1940, wasn't Goliath still in stone sleep as
Xanatos had not yet found them and broke the spell? If that is the case, how could have Goliath ever been there to fight alongside Griff in the first place?

Perhaps the answer is that the line between altering the past and fulfilling it is a fine one given all of the intricacies of time travel. Anything you might wish to
expound on this matter would be of great appreciation Greg.

Greg responds...

It hadn't happened to Goliath already, but it HAD happened in the past to Una and Leo already. Goliath then went back and fulfilled the role that from there point of view he had already played but from his perspective he had yet to do.

His 1940 self was unaffected. His 1940 self was indeed frozen in stone sleep. But his 1996 self went back in time. In essence for a few short hours, there were TWO Goliaths in Great Britain. One flying over London, one frozen in stone in Scotland.

The past was not altered. Goliath going back to Wyvern solves nothing because those gargs were not saved. They did not "disappear" as Griff did in 1940. They were reduced to rubble by Hakon and his men in 994. We saw this -- or at least the start of it. So we know it cannot be altered.

(I know I promised not to get snippy, but I swear I feel like I JUST answered this question, and that it was phrased in almost the exact same way. Is this a double post?)

Response recorded on November 13, 2003

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RAMpage writes...

In Avalon Part 3(I think) after the, shall we say, "newer" Archmage uses the Phoenix Gate to travel back in time to get... well, himself, the "older" Archmage says something along the lines of " I thought he would never leave" then promptly goes off to face Goliath and the others alone only to fail. If the whole point of getting his doppelganger was to attack en force to take over Avalon, why did he do the final battle alone? Also, when the Archmage returned with himself, did he ever wonder where his older self had gone to?

Greg responds...

The point was NOT to get a doppleganger to attack "en force". The point was to get himself up to his level of power. To complete the time loop.

I don't understand your second question. But I'm guessing you don't understand the loop.

Response recorded on October 30, 2003

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Chapter XLIII: "M.I.A"

Time to ramble...

Haven't done this in a while (over a year, actually), and I definitely feel rusty. Anyway, I watched "M.I.A." last night with my wife Beth, my nine-year-old daughter Erin and my six-year-old son Benny.

This episode was directed by Kazuo Terada, story edited by Gary Sperling and written by Robert Cohen.

The (semi) one word title, as usual, was one of mine. (As was the springboard, but more on that later.) It's appropriate both because of Griff's disappearance and because of the wartime setting. Although I don't know if they actually used the M.I.A. acronym as far back as WWII. I associate it with Vietnam. Does anyone else know?

Benny read the title and thought it said Mia. He has a friend named Mia, whose birthday party he had gone to earlier in the day. So the title required a bit of explaining.

INTO THE MYSTIC

This was one of my ideas that I really fell in love with. The idea that a magic shop never goes out of style. The idea that these gargoyles have been running this shop right in the midst of London's teeming humanity for a millenium. I just love the idea that you could stop by there in 1940 or 1996 or 1809 or 1776 or 1595 or whenever. Different gargoyles manning the store, of course. But the store itself largely remains the same. It's a place where Lennox Macduff and Will Shakespeare might have ended up after a night of carousing together.

My notion, which I've stated here before, is that the London Clan has an estate in the burbs, and that the shop helps fund them.

Responding to the guys line about the shopkeepers having "incredible" masks, Benny takes a good look at Una and says: "That's a unicorn. A real one."

And Erin: "Those aren't masks."

Of course, these kids have both seen the episode before. But it was so long ago and they were so young it's like they're seeing it for the first time.

LONDON

We get some gorgeous shots of London. So gorgeous that when the animation on PENDRAGON came back weeks later looking not so good, we reused some of the "M.I.A." footage for that ep.

[Of course the animation here was done by Walt Disney Television Animation Japan, GARG's Best studio. It still kills me that Disney has shut down that unit. They did SUCH great stuff.]

Elisa talks to the Cabbie. In my mind, this Cabbie appears during the 1940 sequence as a little boy, running downstairs and into a bomb shelter with his sister. It's not important, but that's how I saw it.

And we explain (include) another legend. That of Gremlins. Not Gremlins from the Spielbergian movie. But gremlins that caused damage to airplanes during the war. This was/is a very famous legend among pilots. Roald Dahl (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) wrote a book about them, which Walt Disney himself optioned. Eisner once had us develop a tv series based on the idea. I handed it off to a couple of producers who COMPLETELY redeveloped the idea. They came up with a good show, but it was unrecognizable to Eisner. (It also had a toupee joke, which probably didn't go over well.) Anyway, he didn't buy it.

SOHO

Actual racists thugs. We didn't do much of that. We usually went with anti-gargoyle types, who were metaphors for racists. But here we actually go with the real thing.

Their attack is very reminiscent of Awakening 3.

I love Brigitte's work here. Angela sounds like a tough warrior one minute, like a naive innocent the next. All within her character.

And that shot of Bronx leaping down from the roof is just gorgeous.

Leo and Una come out and confront Goliath, whose confusion is a lot of fun.

They're all in conflict, but everyone can agree with Elisa to take the argument inside...

We go inside and see the portrait of Griff.

Benny makes a connection: "There's a statue of him on the airplane."

UNA

I love Una's line: "I know my merchandise."

Throughout this episode, I think she comes across a bit like a junior Demona. I don't know if I felt that way at the time. But we have a female garg with sorcerous powers in denial about her own feelings of guilt and rewriting history to blame Goliath for things that were really not his fault.

Una was in love with Griff. And still is. But in the interrum, in my mind, she mated with Leo. She LOVES Leo. But she never got over being IN LOVE WITH Griff.

AWKWARD MOMENTS

Two of them.

One is having Goliath black out and instead of using it as our act break, we just go to black, wait a beat and then come back. We had a much better act break coming up, so I guess I don't regret it, but I also don't like it much.

The other awkward moment is giving Goliath that voice over of his interior thoughts, where he states his plan to use the Gate to figure out what the hell happened in 1940. I'm sure I resisted doing that VO. But we just didn't have a better solution.

I do love Goliath's frustrated: "I don't know any Griff!" line.

G uses the gate and Benny asks "What did he just do?" Beth explains it to him, but it illustrates my point that it has been so long since the kids last saw an ep, that their memories of the show are very vague.

WWII

We meet Clive and Douglas Bader. I've stated this before, but Douglas Bader was a real person. A true war hero. Douglas Bader lost both his legs in a plane crash, and became a war hero and fighter ace AFTER he recovered and learned to walk on two artificial pins. He was a hero during the Battle of Britain. Later, he was shot down over enemy territory and put in a POW camp. He escaped twice but was recaptured both times. Years later, he was knighted.

I met him once. My father, Wally Weisman, is a real Spitfire afficionado, and Bader was one of his heroes. My dad eventually met Sir Douglas in London and at the RAF Museum outside London. When I was a kid, Sir Douglas and his wife came to Los Angeles and we all went to Disneyland together. He never used a wheelchair. Always just moved along with his hip-swinging walk. An amazing man.

So there was no way I wasn't going to pay tribute to him here (and indirectly to my father as well -- in my mind, this ep is dedicated to my dad). I gave Gary Sperling the Bader biography, "REACH FOR THE SKIES," knowing that it would be tough for him to incorporate much into the episode. But we tried to base the design of Bader on one of his photographs. And we made sure that his first and last name were both used in dialogue so that he could be indentified by those paying attention.

And most of all, we tried to show that these pilots were the true heroes. Sure, Goliath and Griff save them. But Bader saves the gargoyles too, and he's the one who takes out the most dangerous of the Nazi fighter pilots.

This was important to me. Influenced by both Dahl's Gremlins book and my father and Bader, I'd wanted to do a Battle of Britain story pretty much since the series' inception. It's even listed in the bible. This came out of the notion we once had that (while the other gargoyles may have been asleep for a thousand years) Goliath had been awake and alone for 1000 years.

Imagine, if you will, that scene in Awakening-2, when Goliath comes back and finds Hudson, Bronx and the Trio asleep. Instead of joining them, he watches over them for a millenium. (This was back when we had a more magical view of Garg biology.) I thought Goliath would have largely spent a thousand years brooding. But that during WWII he might have ventured forth to fight the Nazis, if for no other reason than to prevent the bombing of Wyvern.

We, obviously, didn't end up going that way, but the visual of Gargoyles fighting in the Battle of Britain stuck with me. (And man, is that visual brought to life here beautifully.)

But having decided to do that, I didn't want to give the gargs all the credit. Real men and women gave their lives during the Battle of Britain. I didn't want to undercut their contribution in order to make my fictional gargs look good. That just seemed like it would be both irresponsible and disrespectful. A betrayal of the very reasons why we were doing the ep in the first place.

GRIFF

Casting... we had used Neil Dickson to tremendous evil effect as Duncan and Canmore in City of Stone. Here he gets to play Errol Flynn. Neil is a Brit. As is Charles Shaugnessy who played Bader and Sara Douglas who played Una. (Leo/Gregg Berger, on the other hand, is a Yank.) And they all really brought life to their respective roles. I have to admit I was worried about whether Neil would be right for the role. I should no better, but Duncan especially was so memorable, I really had that fixed in my head. But Neil's voice just worked perfectly for Griff. I'm still sorry we didn't get to see more of Griff with King Arthur in the Pendragon spin-off.

Griff was conceived as a real swashbuckling hero. A Robin Hood of the 1940s. As opposed to our rough-hewn "Scottish stock", this was a good-old-fashioned patriotic English Hero to put up against the Nazis. His costume was influenced, I think by the Blackhawks. And his look was inspired by British Heraldry. He was the Griffin to Una's unicorn and Leo's lion, three of the most striking heraldic beasts. Again, going back to my earliest development of the series, I thought that adaptations of heraldic beasts might be the English version of gargoyles. So Griff has Eagle and Lion qualities. Feathered wings. A mohawk-like main. An eagle-like beak, but lionesque limbs.

I know that Greg Guler, Frank Paur and I went over and over Griff's model. We were never 100% satisfied with it. But it must work, as I've never any complaints from the fan. And I think Neil (and Jamie Thomason's voice direction) deserve much of the credit for that. Because even with the great Japanese animation, he still looks a bit too Foghorn Leghorn for my tastes.

TIMELOOPINESS

Goliath (after Griff saves his life): "It was supposed to work the other way."
Erin: "I think this is how it started in the first place."

So, hey, she got it!!

Benny even jumped ahead, figuring out: "So he can take Griff back forward in time."

So he got it too. Did you guys get it right from the beginning? That Goliath would take Griff "back forward" to the present to reunite him with Leo and Una?

I love the scene between Griff, Leo, Una and Goliath over tea in the shop. Everyone's motivations are so clear that I often use this scene when I do voice seminars.

Griff wants to sell everyone on going on the offensive.
Leo wants to sell everyone on sticking with defense.
Una is more subtle. She'll use any argument that will promote Griff's safety.
Goliath is trying to stay out of trouble.

But I love his line: "In my experience, human problems become Gargoyle problems." How true... (witness the cancellation of the show...)

And then later, Goliath AGAIN realizes a lesson that he and the audience would have to relearn again and again. Fate cannot be cheated. History cannot be changed.

And once again, we show our lack of imagination and/or our desire to stick with something once we find it works by using the line "Not where, when."

We can say "1940" but we were discouraged from referring to the present by an actual year -- so that reruns would still sound current. I'm surprised that Goliath got to use the phrase "the 1990s". How short-sighted of Disney to not think we'd still be airing these reruns in the 21st Century. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Griff almost gets hit by a car in the present and Goliath says "Let's not start that again." A mini-tribute to the English Vultures in "A Jungle Book".

At the very end, Elisa's confusion is fun: "Just explain it one more time." That probably came out of my fear that the audience might not get it. If Elisa didn't get it either, the audience wouldn't have to feel so bad about it.

DOGFIGHTS

Everything I could have asked for.

I have a VERY vague memory that we were discouraged from using Swastikas. I can't remember why or even if this is true.

But the skull-like pilot with the skull & crossbones on his plane certainly looks like a bad guy, doesn't he?

The planes themselves just look great. I found out later that Bader didn't fly Spitfires during the Battle of Britain. He flew Spitfires later, but flew Hurricanes during the Blitz. This fact drives me crazy.

But I love his line about the Gargoyles (which in my mind, he viewed as Gremlins): "They're real, and they're on our side!"

Benny noticed that they shot a hole through Goliath's wing. I had to reassure him that he'd be okay after getting some stone sleep.

Parachutes. No one dies in this episode. At least not in theory. Of course, we KNOW people died during the Blitz. But we couldn't show or even imply that.

THE WORLD TOUR

We end of course by creating new heroes out of old. Griff has returned. And Leo and Una have been reinvigorated. They take back their neighborhood.

Leo: "Or we'll make it our business." Leo's spent years worried only about business. Now he remembers what his business is supposed to be. The nation of shopkeepers is once again ready to defend the realm. So to speak.

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


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Cha-Cha writes...

Seline: "Are you mad? The Eye and the Gate were forged on the island..."
--Avalon: Part Two

Who forged the Gate? Were they human or one of the children?

Greg responds...

The gate forged itself out of flame. Or out of the timestream or whatever. Think of a Phoenix.

Response recorded on August 21, 2003

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Vanity writes...

Time Travel Question/Fate vs. Free will

1. Time flows in one direction. To travel back is merely to go on the bank run up stream and jump in up there. No matter what you do though, you will flow down stream back to the point where you were when you got out. You will see the same trees and scenery as you did previously. The river will not change that. I think that is a fitting anology, after all historical events are just scenery. They only act as landmarkers.

1-B: That being said I see that where ever you decided to get out of the river on to the bank. (Which as far as I am concerned is mostly impossible do to the force of the water and steepness of the bank. Not that somebody will not be able or has not been able to do it). But once you jump back in you will have in effect stopped the river. It can no longer push beyond the point of where you got out. Because the bank is where the scenery is and once you jump out you become the scenery for however long you wait or far as you run upstream. So every time you flow back to that point where you had gotten out you will have to get out again, as that was the scenery and now will always be the scenery for that duration of the river bank. Others may or may not know you got out and their lives would go on only untill you jumped in because the river never revealed anything up to the point past the duration of however long you had remained on the bank. The longer you stayed on the bank the longer everyone else lives thier future. And vice versa. (Do you accept my assertions so far)?

2- Free will, I will continue to use the above anology; is in action up to the time that you get out of the stream and then jump back in upstream. You decided when to do it. But once you have you kill free will. No longer do you decide to do it. You have to because you did. Everybody in the river looses thier free will, they can no longer choose to do or not do anything, they have to do it, or not because they did or didn't.

2-B Fate-Pre-destination or fore ordainment of events. Is not a polar opposite to free will. (Would you agree so far)? If God, a god, gods, or Gods decided to plant a shrub or build a structure a set of scenery 300 miles upstream. It does not affect your free will. You will see it once you get there, because it is there. You didn't put it there but not because you were destined not to do it but because the Gods put it there. You had nothing to do with that. The scenery's free will is in question. If Gods put it there before the river flowed down to that point we would say that that scenery was destined to be seen. But in effect even out own scenery will be destined to be seen by any who look at it. Because it will be there because we will place it there because we put it there. The question of free will is not at issue, it is a prophesy "This is what you will do", choose to do whatever you want but you will still do this becuase you will because eventually you did. You didn't know you did but the Gods knew you did they divert the rivers they watch them, they do because the did and alway have. After the river runs its course it starts again, and the Gods watched and they saw and still see because the river of time flowed and will continue to flow because it did and will always do.

3- Can multiple persons travel back in time at different times in the river? Of course but only depending on the duration of the time that the first person who jumped out stayed out. And if you were able to get out of the river whilst the person before you was able to jump back in. Ultimatley the first one to jump back in destroyed free will. But the latter has a chance to make the former(s) mysteriously vanish.
---If you get out of the river on to the bank before I do but I jump in before you do, not as far upstream as you, then you will forever be gone to the people after you climbed on the bank. YOU NEVER GOT IN THE RIVER, AND YOU WON'T EVER GET IN BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T.--"unless by the grace of thier tender mercies the Gods are with you"

- Just remember that, if you ever go time traveling -;)

I want to say that I very much love the way time travel worked on Gargoyles. It was definatley very unique and I absolutely love that. You have said you wanted strict rules for time travel. And as far as I can remember Gargoyles never betrayed the basic guidlines for time travel that were made evident in earlier episodes.

There are however things that bug me about M.I.A. Goliath was there in WWII Britain before he was awaken from stone hybernation. Goliath says something to the affect that their (Una and Leo's) memories of him where accurate he just hadn't lived them yet. And he saved Griff, who wasn't saved, because he hadn't been, because he died and will have died because he is dead, yet will have been saved because he had will be, by Goliath. (whew). Is this like the Gods just planting some scenery on the bank, regardless of what else was going to happen on the banks of the river? (I hope you understood my anology enough to answer this). If the answer is yes then that would mean that as I suspect Goliath's free will was not tampered with, even though he was lead to believe, by Leo and Una; that it might well have been. Is this also a correct assumption?

Greg responds...

1. A lot depends on your model for time travel. I tend to use the roll of film model when explaining how it works in the Gargoyles Universe. But your analogy here sounds okay. Don't know if it tracks. Rivers are so changable, don't you know. I also don't see you floating back to the point where you exited. You may not live that long, for starters. And you can float beyond that point easily... in fact you will flow beyond that point unless you do something to stop yourself.

1-B. No. You don't have to get out again. You're younger self is doing it. Already did it. You can just keep going. (Cf. the Archmages.)

2. Well, I see what you're saying. But Free Will is always relative only to YOUR own future and subject to the FACTS OF LIFE around you. Forget time travel for a moment. You can say, "I don't have Free Will unless I have the ability to fly under my own power." So you jump into the air and are disappointed when you fall right back down to Earth. If you say, "See, I don't have free will," then my response is, "Well, you had the free will to look goofy." Likewise, you could argue, "I don't have free will unless I can uneat that knish I just ate." I can respond, well I suppose you could induce vomiting, but otherwise I think you're defining Free Will as Omnipotence, and if you are then I guess I agree: no free will. But if you define free will as freedom of choice, then that NEVER goes away, even under the Gargoyles system of time travel. Goliath could have chosen to knock Griff out and drag him back to the shop. But both would have likely died. He could also choose to knock Griff out and walk into a moving airplane propeller. And again both would have likely died. Reality happens, right? Doesn't negate free will just because you realize that somethings are going to turn out bad no matter what you do. See?"

2-B. I'm not sure I followed all of that, but it sounds about right.

3. Again, Free Will is never destroyed unless you define Free Will as Omnipotence. So I'm not at all getting why one persons time travel would restrict other persons time travel. I just don't get what you're trying to say here.

I can't answer your question, because you're definition of Free Will and mine don't seem to match up. And I haven't, I'll admit, completely followed your analogy. But I can assure you that there's no problem with MIA respecting the rules of time travel in the gargoyles universe. I'm VERY confident about that.

Response recorded on July 17, 2003

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Vanity writes...

Besides watching "City of Stone" all of it I also watched "The Mirror" and "Vows". Hey it's Saturday.

I want to talk/ask about Vows.

I have read the archives about Time Travel and you said about the Archmage saving himself, that even then how did he know Macbeth? His older self told him. How did HE know? HIS older self told HIM. and so on. I however am still troubled with this. Here is my thougts.

Demona said that she had clear recollection of Goliath's inspirational speech. But shouldn't she have already had them, after all, in 975 she had gotten a visit from her future self and Goliath, we saw him tell her. Why did it take her the going back to remeber it. It already happened in 975, she was there. And the events in 994 may not have happened at all if she hadn't of gotten the visit from herself in 975. Her trying to rid Wyvern of humans was an attempt to avoid the prophesy she had gotten in 975. But for her to go back to 975 would most likely not have been possible if the events in 994 didn't unfold as they had.
**note and don't tell me that she didn't remember because it was the first cycle** (see below) I know she wouldn't remember it on the first cycle but...I'll explain it below

Hudson visisted with the future Goliath in 975 so he knew what would happen that would put him back in 975. He should have had memories of Goliath holding his mouth shut when Hudson was at the clocktower with the Trio, bronx, and Elisa.

And the First time it ever happened it would be brand new memories. He would have been telling the trio and Elisa "Wait I see him, he says he's from the future. I don't remeber this before". Because the first time it happened he wasn't visited from the future because Goliath wasn't there yet, and Xanatos hadn't got his coin yet because the very first time it happened he wasn't around to go back in to 975 to get the coin. Without Xanatos' money Goliath would be a statue. Thus never being able to give Demona his half of the gate, thus she could never have went back to set the stage for it all to happen again, by creating not only another gate but the motivation for it to be split and shared between herself and her lover, Goliath.

So I guess there could have never been a first time. The closest we can get to is the second or third time. I would have to think about it the second time may not be possible either because it would have required Demona to travel back to 975 AD and to do that she would have needed the Phoenix Gate which was broken in half and forever intombed with Goliath as stone. I summize the earliest one we can get to is the third cycle of course the old 'ad infintum' principle could be applied. I won't apply it because it would make the whole garg universe stall. Time would go on nations would rise and fall, but Goliath would not be ressurected by the same guy, in the same manner, with same manipulative reasons, and probably not on the same day, year, month, so on and so forth. And whoever that lifted the spell would most likely not be Xanatos and may not wish to go back into time anyway. And even if he had would Demona want to, she's the only one who know's the incantation.

So the third cycle of time minus 'ad infinitum' is the closest thing we can get to the very first time.

What do you think? Do you follow me? Do you want to?

My thought on the episode though:

Animation was probably the worst up to this point.

Check out the Gate in grows and shrinks unrestrainably,

Demona dissapears magically at the end of the episode when Goliath glides away. One second she's bitching him out next second she's gone, solid gone.

Also Demona's eyes are open on second and close the next (as if blinking, or awake) when Goliath is carrying her after the climax of the fight scene.

One thing to help redeem it, is that the ending of the show was the same as the begining where Demona calls "My love, you're here", and embraces him, it is different. When she sees him as stone in 994 and comes to him in 975; as opposed to the preceding cycle (the flashback) when she hadn't yet visisted herself in 975 to show her 994 to return to 975. She hugs him a little more vigorously, passionately, and I think that was too cool. It would have been easy just to re-shoot the first flashback. Great work!!

That will end this post I am getting sleepy.
Again Greg thanks for listening, I appreciate it.

Vanit~~

Greg responds...

Your premise is faulty.

For example, Demona did NOT require going back to remember Goliath's speech. As she said, "I always have."

There's no cycle. No first time vs. 2nd time vs. 3rd time/ad infinitum. The timeline (in the garg universe) just IS.

What happened, happened.

Response recorded on June 20, 2003

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gargoyle fan writes...

hey greg i have been wondering about demona lately so here are my questions

1.In the episode city of stone why did't demona stay in wyvern was in it much safer then in a cave or it it would bring to much painful memories

2.I notice that in city of stone in the cave where demona and her clan lived there was a beach behide it so i am wondering since castle wyvern was next to a beach was the cave near wyvern

3.does demona approve of angla's relationship with broadway

4. in vows why did't demona use the phenoix gate to stop
the death of her clan

Greg responds...

1. The phrase "The Horror. The Horror." comes to mind.

2. I don't recall a beach behind that cave, and I always thought of that one being more interior to Scotland. But in any case, no, it wasn't Wyvern.

3. Well, as of when I left the show, Demona didn't know about Angela's relationship with Broadway. Only Angela, Broadway and Brooklyn knew. But assuming she found out, I think she'd have mixed feelings. Broadway is a Goliath loyalist, for starters.

4. A careful viewing would show she couldn't. If you're asking why she didn't try, I think one answer is that she did. Not by going back to the daylight hours of the massacre, when she couldn't have done anything anyway, but by going back to a point when her past self might -- had time travel worked that way -- have been able to change everything from that point forward.

Response recorded on January 29, 2003

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Chapter XXXV: "Avalon, Part Two"

Time to Ramble...

"PART TWO"
Director: Dennis Woodyard
Writer: Lydia Marano
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves

I guess you guys were used to longer multi-parters from us, so you probably didn't think this was the last part when you saw Part Two come up after the title. I tried something different at the end though. Instead of writing "To be continued" I had them put down "To be concluded". It seemed (at least in my head) to increase tension to know that the next part would be the last.

I've been told by people that out of context, this episode is incomprehensible. I hope it's not quite that bad, but I will say that unlike the rest of our eps, I felt that multi-parter eps don't quite need to stand alone in the same way.

Still with all the time travel stuff, it's very complex. I remember Lydia having to come into my office after her first draft and needing me to diagram the time travel for her. The loop that the Archmage takes. I love it. But I guess it's not that easy to follow.

Anyway, this ep was designed to be the second part of a tryptich. This is the one where we focus on our villains and bring them all up to date, just as in part one, we focused on our heroes. All gearing to a MAJOR BATTLE coming in Part Three.

THE EGGS

Picking up where Part One left off, Elisa looks at Angela, Gabriel and Boudicca and says: "These are the eggs?" I love her tone there.

Guardian: "Sorry, I always call them that." It was a cheat to buy us, at least with some percentage of our audience, the shock value of expecting eggs and finding fully grown gargs and beasts instead. Still, I believe that a guy like Tom, dubbed "Guardian of the Eggs" would continue to use that term to refer to his kids, even after they are grown.

Goliath is initially shocked that the gargs have names. Angela says the standard human response: "How else would we tell each other apart?" This was done intentionally to both cover the issue of non-garg naming (which I still think is neat, but which is often a massive pain) and to indicate that these are gargs raised by humans.

BEACH FIGHT

So I'm in my office one day, after the script to "Avalon, Part Two" has gone final. And Supervising Producer Frank Paur and Producer/Director Dennis Woodyard come in. Frank hates the script. Dennis is calmer, but he seems to clearly agree with Frank, more or less.

I'm annoyed because it's VERY late in the game for them to be giving me these kind of notes. Things get heated between me and Frank.

I yell something like: "Well, what do you want me to do?!!!"

And he yells something like: "We need some action! Like a fight on the Beach with the Archmage!!"

And I start to object for about a second. Then I go, "Oh, yeah. A fight on the beach with the Archmage. That'd be cool. Would that fix it?"

"Uh. Yeah."

And that was it. Our fights were always like that. We always only wanted to make it better. He'd get worked up, but the solution wound up being simple and when push came to shove (we never actually pushed and shoved by the way) we agreed on nearly everything.

It was also good to have Dennis' calming influence. Frank and I would go momentarily nutty and Dennis would always maintain.

So anyway, after the fact we added the memorable fight on the beach. Now I can't imagine the episode without it. It forced us to trim down some the Archmages travels (cause we were already long) but it definitely improved the episode.

I think, not sure, but I think I wrote that fight because it came so late in the game. It's also possible, I might have taken it back to Brynne and/or Lydia to write. I really don't remember anymore.

Either way, there are some great lines:

Goliath: "Don't be too insulted!" I love how he goes nuts here. We really get a reminder of his warrior-ness.

Archmage: "Don't crow too loudly, after all, what have you accomplished: you beat up a beach." You beat up a beach. That's one of my favorite lines in the whole series.

Archmage: "At dawn you all will die. Get used to it!"

Tom: "Let's get out of here before the very air attacks us!"

The fight itself is pretty cool too. I like how Bronx and Boudicca immediately team up. I like the symbolic nature of the Archmage growing wings, turning to stone and then shattering. I think that was a board-artist's addition. I don't remember seeing that in the script. (And I'm too lazy to stand up and check right now.)

At the end of the fight, my five year old son Benny asked: "Why can't they glide to the castle?" I had to explain the flight rules.

ANGELA & GABRIEL

Elisa slides up to Goliath: "Angela sort of looks like Demona, except her coloring is different. Exactly whose daughter is she?" Again, I love Salli's reading here. That need to know. The jealousy. The feeling for Goliath -- who dodges the question by saying that all children belong to the clan.

But of course Elisa knows. Knows something that I believe never occured to her before. Sure, she knew that Goliath and Demona had been mates, lovers. But she didn't let her mind traverse to the next logical step. Parents. Together. Goliath and Demona.

And of course, the audience knows it too, I hope. It was never meant to be a secret to anyone but Angela who her biological parents are. These lines also served to point that out.

On the other hand, we didn't make a big deal of Gabe's bio-parentage. But I wanted it to be semi-clear that his folks were Othello and Desdemona (Coldstone and Coldfire). Anyone get that at first viewing?

REUNIONS

Everyone returns to Oberon's Palace. There are many injured and Gabe is apologetic. As Leader, he feels responsible. But there was 'never any need to hone our combat skills' before this.

Tom & Katharine are reunited. Elisa, the cop, picks up on the human dynamics, the relationships, immediately. She sees the Magus' reaction to their reunion.

I also really like the exchange between the Princess and Goliath.

K: "This is more than I could have hoped for."
G: "What you've done for the eggs is more than I could have dreamed of"

SLEEPING KING

We kept dropping hints. He's mentioned by the Magus, but the conversation moves quickly on.

Later, the Weird Sisters mentioned him. The Archmage is surprised to hear he's not a myth, causing Seline to say her famous: "All things are true." line. The Archmages promise to kill the king later.

And Elisa brings the guy up at the end. This policy was me trying to play fair and make his awakening in Part Three not seem artificial. But also not to allow the guy to distract from the matter at hand.

Of course, most of THIS crowd must have known the s-king was a ref to KING ARTHUR. Particularly when the Hollow Hill ref was thrown in too. But did anyone not know on first viewing?

LOOSE ENDS

This was an episode for tying up Loose Ends in a big way. Solving some mysteries.

Why did the Weird Sisters do what they did? (At least objectively.)

Why were Demona and Macbeth working together in "High Noon"? (Elisa: "They hate each other." Guardian: "I saw no sign of that.")

And how did the Archmage survive?

Tom unwittingly hints at the truth when he says that the Archmage seemed to be able to be in two places at once.

Now let's reveal...

WEIRD SISTERS

Wow! Did we get negative feedback from fans when we played the Sisters as villains here. Of course, I always had it in my head that the Sisters had three aspects. Grace, Vengeance and Fate. Sometimes one aspect is ascendent, but there is always a touch of all three in anything they do. But after the Sisters' Fateful appearances in "City of Stone", many fans rebelled at the notion that the objective reason they did all those things was for simple petty vengeance here in "Avalon". Oh, well.

[When Benny saw the Sisters for the first time, he said "Weird Sisters" with an interesting tone of awe. They're his favorites. But he didn't comment on them being bad guys here.]

The sisters have some nice lines...

L: "What is time to an immortal."
Phoebe: "This is true." (in ref to what cannot be broken can be bent).

ARCHMAGESES

Okay, this was just fun for me. In many ways the origin of much of this was the flat out talent of David Warner. He brought such life to the underwritten (and clichéd) part of the Archmage in "Long Way to Morning" that I just knew I'd have to bring him back. Many of the events of "Vows", "City of Stone", "High Noon" etc. were all geared toward bringing him back as a real THREAT!!

Yet with all this, I didn't want to forget the character's roots. We tried to set a balance between his clichés and his new power.

Think about it. The Archmage+ (as we called him in the script), had only been plussed for about a day. Still he's full of arrogance. His power hasn't raised him above that hybris nor above the thirst for vengeance nor above gloating or above impatience. That's his flaw, but also the fun, I think.

And of course, David. Wow.

Praise for Salli Richardson as Elisa. For Kath Soucie as Princess Katharine and all three Weird Sisters. For Frank Welker as Bronx and Boudicca.

But this Archmage stuff here is a tour de force, I think. David just went through, playing both characters. Both versions of himself. Keep in mind, he hadn't been privy to all that the writers had planned. He had come in for his small parts in both "Long Way" and "Vows". Now suddenly, he's this guy(s). Amazing.

"Do you know what to do?"
"I should. I watched you do it."

"Show some dignity."

"I could put you back where I found you."
"No, no." (I love that no, no. So tiny and fearful.)

"Not where. When."

"If you don't know, don't guess."

"The book must remain in play."

"Try to keep up."

"We're not doing her any favors."

"The rules that cannot be broken can surely be bent."

"Nine hundred and seventy-five YEARS??!!"

"I hadn't thought that far in advance."

"What am I supposed to do, eat it?!"

"Now I understand."

"As it did. As it must. As it always will!"

All great fun.

FLAWS

All these episodes were being produced simultaneously. All in various stages of production. So inconsistencies were bound to happen.

The Egg boats are messed up here. Demona's model in her flashback. Etc.

And storywise, what's the deal with Macbeth? I can see why the Archmage wants to include his former apprentice Demona in his plans. He felt betrayed by her, and is glad not to be doing her any favors by enslaving her.

But Macbeth?

Okay, it's not a true flaw. Macbeth is included because the 'plan of the Archmage' -- birthed whole from the timestream without the Archmage ever actually coming up with it independently (though he takes credit) -- included Macbeth.

It is the provence of Luna, not Seline, at work.

But still, I'd have liked to have been able to figure out some connection between the Archmage and Macbeth so that he wouldn't question the boy's inclusion. Thankfully, the Archmage+ is so arrogant, he takes credit and thus never questions. It occurs to me now, that I could have made a connection between Mac and his ancestors, all related to Katharine and Malcolm. Oh, well.

CAPTIONS

These became fun for me. Adding Captions indicating place and time is one of the very last steps in production. So I'm in there for the "On-Line" with Jeff Arthur, our post-production supervisor, and I'm just indulging...

Sure we start with...

"Scotland, 984 A.D."

But pretty soon we're at "YESTERDAY" and "SIX HOURS AGO" and "ONE MINUTE AGO" and finally "NOW".

It still makes me smile.

POWERING UP

So the Archmage gets the eye. Power. But he's still an idiot. He needs wisdom. He eats the book, which I always thought was really creepy and cool. Now he understands. Now we truly have two Archmage+es. But they can't coexist forever. Aside from how complicated that would be to choreograph, and aside from the fact that the timestream needs the younger of the two to fulfill his role....

They also couldn't coexist because both are too arrogant.

So we repeat the scene of departure to close the circle and tack on: "Finally. I thought he'd never leave."

BATTLE FLASHBACK

We get to see a new clan awake from stone. I hoped that was fun.

Ophelia appears (pre-injury). She looked way cool. For all those people who thought that Gabe and Angie were a couple, take a look at the way Gabe is holding Ophelia and looking at her after she's injured.

LAYING PIPE

In addition to the Sleeping King, we were also laying pipe for our whole fourth tier WORLD TOUR. Tom says: "Avalon dropped me in your laps." He credits Avalon with sending him to Goliath.

The Magus declares that he is without magic and useless. Katharine rebels at that: "Don't say it, and don't think it!" She loves him. Just not the way he wanted her to love him.

Bronx and Boudicca want to go with Goliath.

Elisa asks about the Sleeping King...

And Goliath, Angela and Gabriel take off on a stealth attack.

And we immediately see that the Archmage knows they're coming.

Uh oh.

As the Archmage says... "[We've layed all the damn pipe we could possibly need and more], Now the fun really begins!"

To be concluded...

And that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Cha-Cha writes...

Can the Phenix Gate be used to go foward in time into the future??

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on February 14, 2002

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matt writes...

in "Vows" Xanatos says a line and i'm not sure how/what he means with it?

does he say "Time travels funny that way." meaning that time is traveling funny or does he say "Time travel's funny that way." meaning that time travel itself is funny that way? does that make sense? i keep reading over it and i think it makes sense...

anyway, kinda a pointless question, but one i've been wanting to ask for a while now...

but on a related note, right before Xanatos says that, Goliath says he wishes he could leave Xanatos in that time and Xanatos says "You won't, because you didn't..." how did Xanatos know that? Goliath could've very well left Xanatos there and that may have been what always happened! you could say, Xanatos would've sent a letter to the Illuminati warning himself of his fate or some excuse like that, but as we've seen in "MIA" that letter would've been lost or something and all his ways of warning himself would've fallen through cuz the point is he did end up in Goliaths time and if he warned himself it would have created a paradox! so, there is no way Xanatos would have known for sure that Goliath wouldn't leave him there. was he saying that to Goliath to kinda trick Goliath into thinking that he had to bring him home or something, or was Xanatos just being confident and egotistical of his abilities to have a plan all worked out?

i hope all parts of this post make sense to you. if they don't, i apologize, its late...

Greg responds...

Time travel IS funny that way. Again, I think it's fairly self-evident. Meaning, hey, it's quirky.

It makes sense. It's just ANNOYING!!!

Sorry.

You're logic is flawless. I agree with everything you said.

Let's move on now.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001


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