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Evidentally, I went out of town in late June / early July of 1993. My very capable and talented Development Associate Paul Lacy was holding down the fort.
Walt Disney TV Animation Japan had been asking for a more creative role in the division. Gargoyles would represent a new opportunity for them. (Something that I believe Roy Sato could comment on more directly.) Paul wrote up some character descriptions for Goliath and the Trio to get them started. This document, as far as I can tell, is the first one in which Brooklyn and Lex were assigned the basic personalities that they'd wind up with. Previous to this, the two characters had always been assigned each others traits. So I think we can credit Paul (or his confusion, at least) with giving us the Brooklyn and Lex we now know and love.
Also by this time, we had moved away from a female Broadway. One of my bosses, Bruce Cranston, still raised the suggestion that we go back. But I believe my other boss, Gary Krisel (and Kenner) wanted as many males in the group as possible.
July 2, 1993
Gary wants to give Tokunaga, the head of the Disney Studio in Japan, a shot at showing us what they can do design-wise with the GARGOYLES, so he wants us to send them descriptions of GOLIATH, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY. The descriptions need to be brief and put in general terms to allow them room to be creative.
I've enclosed my pass at these descriptions for your changes. Although I remember the "types" we were thinking of for Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway, I don't remember who was assigned which attribute. Bruce asked about making one of the kids a female, should we open that up to the Japanese as an option?
Gary and Bruce looked at these today and I incorporated their changes. We need to get these to Lenora Hume early Tuesday so she can fax them to Japan.
Hope you had a great trip. See you on Tuesday.
And here's Paul's memo to the Japanese Studio.
GARGOYLE DESCRIPTIONS (Lacy 7/2/93)
Below are general descriptions of the look and feel of GOLIATH and the three teen-aged Gargoyles, BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON and BROADWAY.
The Gargoyle-master. Physically imposing, muscular. At least a head taller than an average human. Weighing approximately 500 pounds, Goliath is solidly built. Although he possesses many human-like features, Goliath's gargoyle features set him apart from man. When angered he resembles a raging beast. When relaxed there is a gentle nobility to his appearance ... in a strange, rugged way, he's handsome. Goliath's wings enable him to glide and, as such, must be big enough to support his weight. They are not simply attached to his back. Rather, they are an integral part of his skeletal and muscular structure, as organic to him as arms and legs are to humans. When sitting, Goliath's wings drape around him like a cape. When spread wide, they act as a backdrop that frames his body.
BROOKLYN, LEXINGTON AND BROADWAY
As adolescent gargoyles, they're awkward and not as physically developed as Goliath. To a human, however, they're still imposing and beastly. Although the three are part of the same species, each one is physically different enough to establish their individuality.
BROOKLYN: If there's a leader of the group, it's Brooklyn. He's the most physically fit of the group and is the one who most aspires to be a gargoyle warrior like Goliath. In the modern world Brooklyn wants to be "cool" and stylish, following all the current trends.
LEXINGTON: The smallest of the group. He's not as muscular as his pals, though he still is powerful. Lexington natural resting position is more a squat than the other two. Lexington is fascinated by gadgets: in medieval times it's catapults and siege engines. In modern times it's airplanes, traffic lights, video games, etc.
BROADWAY: The chubby one, Broadway's also bigger than the other two. Despite his fat, he has well defined muscles like the other gargoyles. Broadway is happy go-lucky, always looking for a good time.
Some of different wing types for these three characters include sprung from the back (like Goliath) for gliding, attached to the back but too small to be of any use, draped from the arm (like a bat), or non-existent.
So the meeting between us and Kenner happened, most likely on June 30th, 1993. They brought this document to the table. It's very enlightening, I think, as to how a major toy company thinks. You'll notice that their "main concerns" didn't cause us to alter the show at all. Save for adding in a motorcycle and helicopter here and there. There were some things that they were concerned about that we were just able to reassure them about. That the Trio would not just be silly. That Xanatos would eventually get down and dirty with his own armor, etc.
My handwritten notes at the bottom were things we discussed at the meeting, also to help aleviate their concerns. "Franken-goyle" eventually became Coldstone. "X's Metal/Steel/Titanium Gargoyles" became the Steel Clan Robots. We were trying to show Kenner that we'd have some "male villain gargoyles" in addition to Demona.
MAIN STORY ELEMENTS
* Ageless goodness and loyalty vs. modern opportunism.
* Powerful myths.vs. powerful high tech "realities".
* Goliath vs. Demona.
* Goliath vs. Xavier.
* Goliath and his five ancient gargoyles.
* Elisa and her gargoyle team; especially Goliath.
* Xavier and Demona.
* Xavier and his subordinates.
* Huge, powerful, and ugly.
* Immortal by night; inert and powerless by day.
* Ancient, decent, loyal, and wise.
* Possesses leadership qualities.
* Visual power, strength of living gargoyles.
* Day vs. night power phases of protagonists.
* Humorous possibilities of gargoyle assimilation into contemporary New York.
* Traditional good vs. evil conflict.
* Severe visual contradiction of scary/ugliness as good (Goliath); deceptively normal is bad (Xavier, his gladiators, etc.)
* Limited number of heroic characters.
* Key human ally is female (Elisa).
* Key/only evil gargoyle is female (Demona).
* Industrialist as the evil adversary is very familiar and very difficult to translate into an exciting toy. A visually more powerful and more unique enemy would be preferable or increase his powers through armorment [sic].
* Lack of significant special hardware and vehicles for both good and evil.
* Described back story (especially enduring- love/hate relationship between Goliath and Demona) may be too complex for 5-year old boys.
* Four of the six gargoyles (Trio and Dog) appear less aggressive and silly than heroic.
* Breaking the Gargoyles kills them.
[My handwritten notes on the document follow:]
* Franken-goyle & Demona
* Pack / Xavier / Scarab Corp / Vehicles etc.
* X's Metal / Steel / Titanium Gargoyles
Time to Ramble...
My three year old son Ben watched the opening titles for about the five hundredth time. On the one hand, he made the point that it was getting dull seeing this same opening. He wanted me to fast-forward to the actual story.
On the other hand, he spent the time reviewing "the rules". How the gargs turn to stone during the day. How Goliath is the leader. Etc.
One thing we always cheated on was how Fortress-2 landed. There it is on the ground awaiting it's maiden voyage, and I just don't see any landing gear.
Vogel is introduced. This is another thing where I had to carefully explain my long-term intent behind the screen in order to get a model for the character that really looked like Owen but wasn't his twin. I remember a lot of people on the Disney Afternoon mailing list reacting negatively to Preston in this episode. Like he was a feeble imitation of Owen. Like we didn't know how to do any other kind of executive assistant. I was simultaneously amused and annoyed by those kind of comments. So now I'm curious. What was your initial reaction to Vogel? And what do you think of him now?
As usual, Travis has old-school attitude when interviewing his subjects. I like that. Makes him more of a character and not just a reporter place-holder.
Fox in casual clothes. With a very casual, yet strangely intense attitude. "I know what happens next," Fox says to David.
My six year old daughter Erin asked, "Why is she watching [Travis' report] like that?" She could tell something was up there.
And in fact, like UPGRADE, this was another episode where we were intentionally trying to show that Fox was David's equal. We show it physically in their martial arts work out. And we show it by giving her a ruthless and complex plot to take Cyberbiotics. In fact, in this episode, when you add in the fact that David is clearly in the dark about her pregnancy test, she seems to be a little equaler than he is.
Fortress-2 takes off. And Goliath sends us into flashback. This is flat-out padding. For some reason, though the script is the same basic length as any of our scripts, this one timed out short after story-boarding was done. (Most of my stories time out too long.) So we added this flashback. I think it was a mistake. It kills the stories momentum, and we already had the sequence later where Renard shows all the important scenelets to Goliath. Those become incredibly redundant. When you add in the "Previously on Gargoyles" opening, it was just too much.
Elisa reveals the show's Hill Street Blues influence by telling Goliath to "be careful out there."
Goliath gets attacked by cybots. As noted, any individual cybot is no match for him. But they have strength in numbers. I wanted to show that Goliath can still kick some ass when motivated. So the cybots shoot at him. And his only response is "That. Stings." Very intense. Unfortunately, I think sound-wise the line gets buried.
And that's a general problem with the episode. On a technical level this just wasn't one of our best. The animation isn't awful, but it's mediocre. Goliath's size relationship gets screwed up here and there. (Particularly in the brig sequences.) The story's padded by flashbacks. Our normally great sound team, didn't do the most inspiring job on this one either. It just generally feels like one that got away from us.
I still think there's some great stuff in it. And the revelation of Fox's pregnancy actually makes it something of a landmark (both for our series and for animated series in general), but the execution never quite lived up to its potential. Oh, well.
CONTINUITY & INTRIGUE
Did anyone remember Cyberbiotics before this ep? Had you ever wondered who Xanatos was stealing from in the pilot? We knew that Cyberbiotics abandoned their underground base, which became the home of the Mutates. Now we were rebuilding the air fortress and revealing that the CYberbiotics Tower is still in business.
Also, Renard mentions Gen-U-Tech. And the revelation that Sevarius and Burnett used to work for Cyberbiotics. Of course, Renard thinks that Xanatos stole Sevarius and Owen away. We know better. We knew even then that Sevarius is much better suited to work for a man like Xanatos than Renard. And of course, now we know why Owen was Xanatos-bound as well. But what did you guys think of that minor revelation at the time?
Renard's opinion of Xanatos is probably colored by his relationship to his daughter: "And that's the least that viper has stolen from me." Did you stop at that moment to consider what that meant and what he meant by the "My Anastasia. My Janine." line? Did anyone (from Renard's name, if nothing else) guess that Fox was his daughter, before the tag? Who did you think Anastasia and Janine were at that time? Or did Goliath's follow up line, "My angel of the night." distract you from considering these questions?
At this point, just before the Janine line, Erin (who has seen these before, but not recently) remembered: "That's Fox's daddy!"
Goliath has some cool lines here too. "I belong to no one." "I serve no master."
And Renard (voiced by Robert Culp to perfection) has some great lines too: "Not my fault, not my fault. You sound like every human employee I've ever FIRED." and "Take some responsibility."
What was fun for me, although maybe for no one else, was (a) to get some hard thoughts about both the need and the difficulty of maintaining personal integrity up onto the screen and (b) doing that by lecturing to Goliath, arguably one of the most "integrous" characters I've ever written. (b) served (a), by showing that even Goliath can be prone to slipping.
The thing is that integrity really matters to me. And yet, I don't know how much of it I exercise in my own life. I really do try. But it's so hard. And not because I'm a dishonest person, but more because I'm lazy. It's easier to shift blame, to tell white lies, etc. The alternative takes effort and vigilance. I think the rewards are immense, even if the costs are too. But I ain't kidding myself about the difficulty.
The martial arts scene. Reminiscent of the scene from the Edge where Owen toppled David. Here we hinted even more strongly that Fox is Renard's daughter. David is basically giving her permission to back out of the plan, to save face and exit, BEFORE she destroys her father. It's not that David really cares about Halcyon. I think he's thinking about his relationship to his own father. David likes to believe (at this stage in the series) that he's evolved beyond the need for a parental relationship. But "Vows" sort of demonstrates that his relationship with Petros is much more complex than that. David still needs parental approval and is somewhat amazed (at least subconsciously) that Fox does not. Again, in this episode, Fox is more than his equal.
And now the doctor calls with test results. David shows legitimate fear here for a moment. He's not thinking pregnancy. He's worried maybe she's sick or something. She enjoys toying with him. Maybe she's just in a mood. But her armor is on in force in this ep. We won't really get INSIDE Fox until "The Gathering" two-parter.
Finally, Goliath acknowledges his crime: "I was wrong." Cary had this great line for Renard: "I'm glad you're gargoyle enough to admit it."
Robert Culp and Peter Scolari were an interesting pair as Renard and Vogel. Culp was tough in the booth. Very precise. Very clear ideas about how he wanted to play the character. Tougher on his performance than Jamie and I were. And the results show.
Peter was a dream to work with. We spent an hour talking after the recording (about Busom Buddies, mostly). He's an incredibly nice guy. And he picked up the character right away. Despite the fact that we didn't have Jeff Bennett there to do a little Owen for him. He just got it.
Until the end, Vogel really plays Renard in this. He knows how much Renard hates whining blame-shifters, so he's constantly saying things like "You can place the blame on me if you like." in order to defuse any of Renard's suspicions.
But in a more subtle way, Renard is unwittingly playing upon Vogel as well. He doesn't intrude on Vogel's phone calls. He treats him with respect and gives him credit ("You and I built this ship together"). Insists that Vogel save the people in the tower, even if it means Renard's own life. We can see that Vogel was willing to take Fox's money for a bit of corporate espionage. But Vogel is not a killer. (It's important to see that he views Goliath as a creature.) This partially explains his turnaround at the end. (Which some people complained about.) All along he's been trying to get Renard to GET OFF THE SHIP. But Renard forces his hand. And when push comes to shove, Vogel likes Renard too much to see him die. "Mr. Vogel, I knew you wouldn't let me down." "You have that effect on people." And then Goliath basically bluffs him at the end there into confessing, screwing up their relationship.
But Goliath fixes it again. His last discussion with Renard sets up the reconciliation between them that must have taken place before "Golem".
At any rate, it's also nice to see Goliath make a NEW friend. This was important, because that has always been Goliath's goals. To make friends with humans on his own terms. Every once in a while, we had to show it working. Couldn't just be ONLY Elisa forever.
Ben weighed in at this point and said, "Daddy, I love Xanatos. And I love Fox." Of course, Ben and Erin dressed up as David and Fox at the last Gathering. In fact they dressed up in the martial arts outfits from this episode. Thus the affinity. I once played Theseus in the play THE WARRIOR'S HUSBAND. And Edmund in KING LEAR. It gave me an on-going affinity for both characters and awakened my interest in "The Bastard" archetype.
Now the tag. I'm usually pretty proud of our tags. They often advance the overall story as much as the entire episode. But this is one of my favorites. "Hello, Janine." "Hello, daddy." Was anyone ready for that? And her attitude: "Almost got you that time, didn't I?" The whole sense that Fox is in all this just for kicks. She's not as acquisitive as her husband. He'd always take the path of LEAST resistance to a goal. If Renard would give Janine the company, X would suggest she ask for it. But she doesn't care about the company. ONLY the game. X likes the game. But he's about RESULTS. All established in one little scene.
And of course that slick little pregnancy revelation. I think that was one of the most revolutionary and flat-out subversive things we did on the whole show. Was anyone ready for that? We had hinted at it with the "genetically compatible" line in "Eye of the Beholder" and obvioulsy with "It's your doctor... with test results." But I think it was quite the shocker.
And Fox is so tough. Pregnant and back on the hang-glider. I love it.
Okay, I'm done. You're turn. Ramble away...
Kenner had competed for the Gargoyles toy license and won. They were enthusiastic partners. This was pretty early on in the process, but their initial main objection was that we still had the gargoyles able to fly under their own power at this stage. They didn't like that, because it removed the need for kids and parents to buy flying vehicle accessories. We eventually acquiesced (over my initial objections) because my boss Gary Krisel felt that it could be to our advantage to only allow the gargs to glide on "currents of wind" instead of fly. It hampered them some. I was dubious, but this turned out to be all for the best. So thank Kenner -- for that at least.
Me, I still have the Nerf guns.
JUN 25 1993
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
A Tonka Division
June 23, 1993
Mr. Gregory David Weisman
Wait Disney Television
5200 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
We're looking forward to seeing you and Gary next week and getting further into the Gargoyles concept (are they still flying?).
I'm bringing Rm Hayes again (VP of Product Concepts) as well as Howard Bollinger, really, (Sr. VP of Product Concepts), Bruce Stein (Kenner's President), and possibly Ginger Kent (Sr. VP of Marketing). We've spent Kenner development time on the project and will have something to show you during our discussions on June 30.
I'm sending you some of our current action figures from Aliens, Batman and Jurassic Park to refresh everyone's awareness of how we market our action figure toys. The Nerf weapons in the package are for your internal entertainment and are not to be used on us if you don't like what we've done on Gargoyles. Enjoy!
See you next Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
James R . Black
Vice President, Licensing
CC: R. Hayes
Eric Luke turned in an outline on our multi-part pilot on 6-3-93. I'm afraid I don't have that document anymore. But my response (from a week later) is still in my computer files. And it does give a sense of what he was up to. But more, it gives a sense of where I wanted to take the story.
One might argue that my greatest strength as a writer is in fact... that I'm a good editor. I do think I have a knack for taking solid work by other professionals, and finding the core story inside that work. Bringing that story out and helping it to shine. I think I have a good mind for both the big picture and the little details. (At any rate, that's largely been the basis of my career.)
So that's what I was attempting to do here. And I think you can begin to see the details of the story beginning to see the light in my notes here.
To: Eric Luke Date: 6-10-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext: 818)754-7436
Subject: Notes on 6/3 GARGOYLE Outline
Hi, Eric. Big improvement. I've collated a bunch of specific page notes, and I apologize in advance for their length. But we are getting so close, we wanted to make sure everything's nailed dead-to-rights. As before, we're largely concerned that everything tracks logically and that we've fully explored the relationships between our leads. So here goes.
Don't overdue the notion that no one's ever seen a gargoyle (in the tenth century). They are rare. But not that rare. Basically, Cole, the lead Marauder assumes that like most castles, this one has "bluff" gargoyles made of actual stone. He's taking a calculated risk. A risk he may feel absolutely confident in taking, but a risk nonetheless.
Although you DON'T have to use them in the treatment, when we get to script, we'll probably want to bring back the boy, Robbie, and his mom, so that we can play the anti-gargoyle prejudice beats. These will parallel w/Goliath's anti-human prejudice in the modern day sequences, and help give an overall theme to the piece.
We might want to show the Captain helping out in this battle, in some (perhaps minor) way, so that we see that he and Goliath are comrades-in-arms. [We've abbreviated the events of the 10th century sequence by cutting a day from the original beat outline. That's o.k., but it makes it tougher to show Demona and the Captain's complex motivations and loyalties. We have to compensate in other ways.]
The "after you, alphonse" dialogue seems a little on the silly side. It might play in script.
Right now, Gary is leaning toward a male Broadway.
At the bottom of page, it's unnecessary for Goliath to suspect treachery at this point. He's merely horrified at what he finds. The Captain's treason comes as a greater surprise when Goliath confronts him a bit later.
Remember, Captain (and Demona) had hoped to remove the gargoyles to safety. Goliath (unwittingly) had not cooperated. That's what left the gargoyles vulnerable to Cole. (From Demona's point of view, the plan backfired in a big way.)
Just a cautionary, but we don't want to flag early on that Xavier is a villain. At first we should consider him a rich eccentric. Cheerful, even.
Remember, when the Gargoyles awaken, they burst free of their stone shells, shattering them.
Xavier should not be so matter-of-fact about the Gargoyle's appearance. Remember, he's pretending this is the first time he's ever seen this reawakening. He should be appropriately impressed.
One of the elements that we want to be able to play with the Pack is the notion that they are the heroes of their own American Gladiatoresque t.v. show. For example, that's how Elisa would know them, as pseudo-athletes, not villains. If we don't have room to play that here in the pilot, than perhaps the Pack isn't the best villain team to use. Another notion we had was a group of armored villains w/names revolving around a demolition motif (the natural enemies of the sometimes-stone gargoyles): i.e. Piledriver, Bulldozer, etc.
If you do use the Pack, the twins are Jackal (male, cunning and vicious) and Hyena (female and practically psychotic).
The robot is CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Intelligence), and his bodies are interchangeable, not his head.
Elisa is a plain clothes detective, and therefore doesn't drive a black and white. Though she could have one of those removable cherry-tops on her car.
Xavier could help the gargoyles fight, to show (a) how tough and formidable he is for a "normal" human and (b) how trustworthy he is...paralleling the Captain's actions from the 10th century.
Perhaps the Pack (or whoever) pretends to get away w/stealing something. (Xavier will later claim it was the 3 disks.) After all, this whole attack was staged.
The whole notion of the Gargoyles not appearing on videotape because they're magical creatures doesn't work for us and doesn't seem necessary. It adds a fairly sophisticated new rule (usually associated w/vampires) and confuses the issue as to whether the gargoyles are their own race of creatures, as opposed to magically animated stone. They exist. They're real. We think they show up on tape.
In this particular scene, we think we can leave out the camcorder and the scene at the police station. Elisa's fairly independent. Also, she doesn't necessarily need to see what's happening from the ground. Better if she doesn't know she's looking for "creatures" 'til she finds them. She could just be investigating the falling debris, though that sounds like something a building inspector would do. It would be nice if there was something that would attract a police detective's attention. (Laser-fire?) Some sign of a crime.
Does she initially question or try to question Xavier? Does she suspect him?
The gargoyles should probably be the first bizarre entities that Elisa (and the city) encounters. If she's been dealing w/super-villains the last few weeks, than Goliath won't seem that strange. Also, her initial fear of him should not be based specifically on the notion that he is one of a group of villains, but on a visceral reaction to his appearance and threatening size. Prejudice. And the fact that there are a lot of Gargoyles doesn't hurt either.
The idea that "the whole city is her responsibility and she has a right to know what's going on" anywhere in it, sounds a bit egocentric or even vaguely fascist to me. This may not be the right moment for bravado. Again, she can be legitimately scared at this point. No shame in it. She doesn't have to ask about turf wars, or even be aware of what took place. In essence, we can reduce the talkiness of this scene by having her react the way any of us would.
Obviously, when Goliath saves her life, it'll have a profound effect, probably on both of them. It's a powerful event. It probably signals a truce, an end to hostility. And their mutual insight might hint at what's to come, but they're a long way from friends yet...or even trusted allies.
Here's where they can start to talk a bit. Get the basics on each other. Since we want the Gargoyles to lead weirdness into the modern world, she doesn't recruit him to fight super-villains, rather she offers to show him the best and worst of his new home. Maybe, she's hoping he'll see for himself it's worth fighting for, or maybe she hasn't thought it out that far. Maybe she plays on his need to get acclimated to his new surroundings. He needs a tour guide in this brave new world, she offers to be that guide. From his point of view, he's had bad luck leaving the castle, which would tend to make him reluctant to take her up on her offer. His agreeing is probably a sign of things to come coupled with the admission that he doesn't know what he's up against in the 20th century. He needs to learn, and learning does appeal to him.
Goliath probably can't be goaded into joining her. He knows enough about "puny" humans and their betrayals to WISELY be afraid of what they are capable of. She needs to appeal to his better nature--as above, his curiosity and desire to learn, and perhaps a hidden desire to find (or be reminded of) the good in humans that he once recognized.
Again, we don't need to make the Gargoyles invisible to electronics for them to steal the disks. Make the three sites where the "stolen" disks are being held, three entirely separate locations, each uniquely inaccessible to a normal human. Also, Xavier can claim that these disks were stolen from him during the previous night's attack by the Pack (or whoever). He doesn't want to go to the police, because they'd investigate the site of the theft and the signs of battle that might lead to the Gargoyle's being revealed. Xavier's not making "a proposition", he's "asking" for Goliath's help. Coupled w/Elisa's request, Goliath may be on the verge of softening toward humans again. As you wrote, he'll think about it.
After Goliath leaves, perhaps Xavier talk to a shadowy figure (Demona) about how everything is going according to plan. He's confident that Goliath will come around.
I apologize, but I think I led you astray when we discussed how "super-heroey" this universe is. Though we are eventually going to have multiple paranormal characters, we don't want to make their introduction casual, nor their existence commonplace. I like the idea that Xavier is stealing technology in order to power up his operatives or build Scarab Corp robots or both, but I don't think he'd be giving out this or any technology so that "the Crippler", et al, could wander the streets doing as they please. Too wasteful for Xavier.
Is Xavier aware of Goliath's deal w/Elisa? If so, would he want to use it to his advantage, perhaps staging another conflict with the same villain team that attacked the castle? Something to convince Goliath that he must help Xavier recover the disks? [The trick to these villains obviously, is to make them powerful enough to be threatening to Goliath and Company, but missing some necessary ability like flight or stealth, that would have enabled them to liberate the disks for Xavier (something other than the invisible-to-video rule). Their abilities can be enhanced for the climax when Xavier makes use of the stolen info on the three disks.]
Boots on Brooklyn are a bit awkward design-wise. Let's trade Doc Marten's for Ray-Bans or Aviator sunglasses.
It's an interesting question whether or not the teen gargoyles can read, but let's not address it here.
Let's have Bronx chewing up the car interior, instead of stinking it up. He's an omnivore.
Goliath's attitude on the first night that humanity is not worth saving doesn't seem to follow. He's always known, even before the Captain's betrayal, that there were bad humans. He used to think there were also good humans worth saving. Since the Captain, he's lost faith in that. Now that he's met Xavier and Elisa, he's probably regaining his faith, despite himself. The way to bring him back to his prejudices is with an ungrateful victim that he has saved. Some modern day equivalent to the queen or wizard. Humans will never stop fearing, blaming or hating the gargoyles. They don't deserve his assistance. Elisa, as a cop, can actually relate to this. But by example, she's trying to show him not to give up on humanity and it's potential.
To cement Goliath's gratitude, it's probably better if Xavier claims to have sought Demona out. Found her for Goliath. This was always part of Xavier and Demona's plan. Although Goliath will be overwhelmed by her reappearance, all the Gargoyles should be very glad to see her. And she, sincerely glad to see them. (She still hopes to turn them to the dark side.)
Again, we don't need non-detectability. Let's put the three disks in three very separate locations in the city. Let's send Goliath and Demona after one. The trio after another, and stick Hudson (much to his annoyance) w/Bronx to go after the third.
The disks must be largely inaccessible. (One in a tower; one in an underground vault, etc.) And they should each be protected by security systems and well-armed human guards. But only a guy like Xavier would create Spiderbots and Wardroids, so let's keep things clean by leaving them out. However, a good complication would be for the disk's real owners to call the police. Elisa, who's been waiting for Goliath to show, takes the call. She confronts Goliath and Demona. It's a horrible moment for everyone. He flies away w/the disk. But after turning it over to Xavier, he insists on going back to talk to Elisa. Demona would be against it. She'd relate Elisa to the Captain. Xavier might start making contingency plans...if Goliath is so honorable that he has to clear his conscience with the authorities, then it may not be so easy to turn him and keep him turned.
The trick is probably not to let Goliath come off as a big dope. It's o.k. that he's been fooled, as long as it's been a convincing con. He's a smart guy.
We need to contrast Elisa's responses w/Demona's knee-jerk ones. Elisa could be deeply disappointed. Goliath could try to explain why he did what he did. To Elisa it all sounds fishy, and at any rate, he shouldn't have taken the law into his own hands. That's where he might scoff at human law...and humans, in general. Don't let him get pouty. He's got legitimate gripes. But this disappoints Elisa further. She thought they had connected. Plus, she's been put in an awkward situation. He's a criminal now. Does she arrest him? He takes that decision out of her hands by leaving.
We're not clear on the meaning of Elisa's: "You're blaming humans because you can't face the blame yourself!" What blame?
If we use the Trio in the action-packed disk-raid, then we can cut the Artless Dodger. Again, we don't want to make "paranormals" too commonplace.
It's tough to believe that the Pack (or their replacements) would really think the gargoyles had stolen their money. And it's impossible to believe that Fox would betray her boss by giving away his well-mapped out plans. Xavier's control should be fairly complete. Basically, the multiple changes that these notes have suggested are going to require some major restructuring of the last few pages.
Xavier's "contingency plans" from above could help set the final act in motion. Maybe, he decides to test the gargoyles' loyalty to him once and for all. This is important, because Xavier would not just toss aside valuable "assets" like the Gargoyles, just because they had already accomplished the specific mission he acquired them for or because their talents were now largely redundant. If he thought there was a chance to keep them, he'd go for it. Maybe the loyalty test involves Elisa. That way, we can get that moment when Goliath refuses to betray Elisa. This cements Goliath and Elisa's relationship. Further enrages Demona, etc.
When Goliath fails the loyalty test, Xavier can then decide to destroy Goliath (and probably the other gargoyles as well). He can utilize the disk technology that the gargoyles stole which he has already used to enhance the Pack (or whoever) or build killer robots (or whatever). This personalizes the final battle. They're not saving the city. But themselves.
It's unlikely that Xavier would give away his plans just to gloat. He's too smart for that.
We want to reveal Demona's true colors to Goliath and our audience at the same time. The last great shocking secret revealed. Perhaps Goliath discovers the truth after failing the loyalty test. She tries to convince him one last time to change sides. If in the course of the loyalty test, he was physically defeated, this'll be like kicking him when he's down. And then it's Elisa who saves him and helps rally his spirits for the coming final confrontation.
How did Demona stay young for a thousand years?
Given the above, it's hard to see how the trio could refuse to help Goliath.
Obviously, we can now lose the army of paranormals. I'll miss Mister Billious the most.
We can probably reduce the talky-nature of the final battle scene by giving Elisa and Goliath a moment of calm before the battle begins. Remember, the key relationship is theirs. She may fear that the betrayals of Xavier and Demona will drive Goliath further into his shell. But she has unwittingly kept her promise. She has shown Goliath that humanity is worth saving, because she has shown Goliath herself. And it's enough, because she's a very special individual who considers herself fairly typical of humanity.
Demona can be armed with "modern" bazooka-laser Kirbyesque weapons to even out the odds in her and Goliath's one-on-one final battle.
Xavier's "death" may need to be rethunk. Perhaps Demona, who's been our secret betrayer from the beginning, should "die". (Maybe her weapon explodes?) Xavier, the human villain can be arrested by Elisa. He's not worried though, he'll have the best trial money can buy...or as Elisa counters: "The best cell."
Whew. That's it. Let me know if you have any questions.
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy
In anticipation of watching "Outfoxed" anyday now, I'm going to go ahead and post the memo I wrote to Cary Bates, after he turned in his outline for that episode, originally titled, "After the Fox".
Notes on "After the Fox" Outline...
Well, one of the advantages of having you as one of my story editors is that I can be brutally honest. We got some problems here. The main one being that the story doesn't get going in earnest until the last scene of Act Two. We're horribly padded here. Normally, I would give this back to you for a second draft outline, but -- my fault -- I didn't read it in time. So I'll beat it out here.
FOX vs. RENARD
First off, let's make Renard the last name. I know I said it was o.k. to make Renard the first name, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't want Fox's only connection to the Renard/Fox name to be that it was her father's first name. I don't think she could admit to herself that she was borrowing anything from him. So let's make her given name Janine Renard. He still calls her Janine. She rejects that and has her name legally changed to her nom de guerre: Fox. (Like Cher or Madonna, it's just the one word. Remember, she was a performer.) The "Fox" is the part of herself that she believes in. The irony, of course, is that the name did come from her father.
I don't think Fox consciously hates her father. I don't think she consciously admits to having feelings that could cloud her judgment. There's no vengeance kick here. No line of dialogue where she says she wants to see him suffer or that she only saved his life so she can continue to torture him. That all may be subconsciously true, but if so, she doesn't realize it. Remember, she's Xanatos' perfect mate. Neither her nor her husband get that emotional. They enjoy the game for its own sake. Playing it against her father may give it a special tang, but from her point of view, there's only one reason to do this: Cyberbiotics. She wants it, so she decides to take it. If it wasn't worth having, she wouldn't have bothered.
The investor scenario doesn't work. Just because the investors aren't killed, doesn't mean these five terrorized guys are now gonna invest. The damage is done. The stock price will still fall and Cyberbiotics will still belong to Fox by close of business tomorrow.
The solution, I believe, is to change the location. Renard has just rebuilt the CYBERBIOTICS AIR FORTRESS. He's determined to prove that it's safe and effective. It's a corporate icon, like the Good Year Blimp -- and the public does think it's really cool -- but it's still not the smartest investment. It's hybris. Worse... it's Euro-Disney. Renard's had to invest way too much to rebuild it. If it's destroyed so soon after it's reconstruction, Cyberbiotics will be bankrupt and easy prey for Fox. This'll tie in nicely with Goliath's growing sense that he owes Renard a debt. Goliath helped destroy the first Air Fortress. Now, he must save the second one. And if you save the ship, you save the company from Fox.
INTEGRITY: GARGOYLE vs. HUMAN
For once, this should not be an issue. Renard accuses Goliath of not having as much integrity as humans do. But Renard doesn't believe humans have very much integrity -- that's why he's automated his operations -- so we're arguing the wrong premise. Integrity is not the province of either race. Deep down, Goliath may have a vague prejudice that gargoyles are generally more honest than humans, but in his head he knows that his race does not have a monopoly on integrity. Thanks to the events of our pilot, Renard may have a general mistrust of gargoyles, but that's not the point he should be making. Renard firmly believes that integrity is an absolute. You have it. Or you don't. Cut and Dry. Black and White. He's got it. Most humans don't, including Xanatos and his daughter. Machines can be programmed with absolutes. People can't. So he's populating his world with machines. His assumption is that Goliath is no better than Xanatos and that all of the creature's protestations about being duped are nothing more than whining excuses. Will Goliath take responsibility for his actions or won't he? Let's not distract this important theme, with issues of race.
Though I loved the line: "You're gargoyle enough to admit it."
Who is this guy exactly? Security man? Computer programmer? Born-again? Was he hired on a project basis to complete the automation? Is he helping Fox because he knew Renard was going to fire him? Has Vogel automated all of Renard's operations or just the security? If it's just the security, than what are they securing? Why does he repent? Basically, the character is coming across as very vague and contradictory. We have to clean this up.
Let's also make sure we fit Vogel into our theme. He is corrupted by Fox. Ultimately, Renard will use Vogel as another example of why humans cannot be trusted. But Goliath will point out that the cybots were just as corruptible, while incapable of experiencing a change of heart, as Goliath has had.
"After the Fox"... I don't get it. Am I missing something?
1. Open quietly with FOX at the EYRIE BUILDING. She turns on the evening news. TRAVIS MARSHALL is on the air, reporting from JFK or LaGuardia or wherever. It is the Maiden Voyage of FORTRESS-2, the CYBERBIOTICS airship. Marshall had hoped to get an interview with the reclusive head of Cyberbiotics, HALCYON RENARD, but has to settle for Renard's right-hand man VOGEL. Fox watches all this with some interest.
2. Out at the airfield, Marshall, a tough journalist, questions the wisdom and expense of Fortress-2, particularly since FORTRESS-ONE crashed into the river last year. Vogel counters that the cause of that crash was an act of corporate espionage that was only successful thanks to human error on the part of Fortress-One's crew. Fortress-2 is fully automated, run by patented CYBOTS. Human error is not possible. No humans aboard at all? After this test flight, human scientists will occupy it's laboratories to research new wonders, but there is no human crew, except for Vogel and Mr. Renard, himself. Marshall asks if it's true that Renard has invested all of his personal fortune into Fortress-2, and that if it doesn't perform both he and Cyberbiotics will be ruined. Vogel has no comment on that, and heads inside the ship.
3. We follow Vogel, as he heads for the command center. Everything is automated, and there are little Cybots everywhere. All with very specific functions. No waste. At the command center, Vogel contacts Renard in his private office, elsewhere on board. Cut briefly to a shadowed Renard hovering in his ultra-chair, watching Vogel on a vid-screen. Renard gives permission to launch.
4. Fortress-2 launches. Huge turbines and compressors roar. And GOLIATH and ELISA watch from a nearby roof or hilltop. Goliath claims to be here because he is concerned that XANATOS might attempt to attack this ship, just as he tricked Goliath into attacking the first one. But Elisa probably knows that the air fortress is a symbol of Goliath's own guilt -- a guilt that Goliath has yet to come to terms with. Goliath decides to follow the airship, just to be safe.
5. In the air above Manhattan, a cybot alerts Vogel to their pursuer [Goliath]. Vogel informs Renard. Renard says Vogel knows what to do. (It doesn't hurt if we briefly misdirect the audience into thinking that Renard is a villain.)
6. Goliath glides a short distance behind the airship. Suddenly, flying cybots swarm out of a Fortress-2 hold. There're not very big, and they have very simple attack programming. They fire medium strength stun bolts and they miss more often than they hit. Goliath can swat them away easily. Clearly, these cybots don't seem to be on a par with Xanatos' STEEL CLAN. But if results are what counts, they turn out to be superior. There are just too many of the little things. No matter how many Goliath trashes, there are more coming at him. They hover, which Goliath can't do. And eventually, the stun beams add up. Finally, he gets hit with a barrage of them and passes out. Two larger cybots are waiting to catch him and bring him into the airship. (Let's consistently depict the cybots as mono-functional. Each model capable of doing only one thing.)
7. Inside the airship, Goliath regains consciousness in the brig. The bars on the cell might be bendable for Goliath, but he is forced back by Cybot guards with built-in cattle prods. Vogel is there, and a large metal pneumatic door slides open to finally reveal Halcyon Renard. He floats in on his hover chair. He has silver hair and a very sharp mind -- but he is definitely not "robust and vital".
Renard hovers around Goliath, sizing him up. "So this is what the boys at Gen-U-Tech have been up to. Xanatos must be very proud." Goliath responds that he is neither Gen-U-Tech's creation nor Xanatos'. Renard laughs. Goliath demands to know why he is being held prisoner. "Because if you're my prisoner, than I know you can't destroy Fortress-2 for your master." Goliath: "I have no master." "No? Then why did you do this?" Renard flicks a remote button on his chair, and the walls slide back to reveal a large screen. Another button, and video clips from "Awakening, Parts IV and V" show Goliath's participation in the destruction of Fortress-One. Chastened, Goliath tries to explain that he had been duped by Xanatos: "It wasn't my fault." But Renard doesn't let up: "It's not my fault. It's not my fault. You sound like all my human employees. My former human employees. Crush them all together and you couldn't squeeze an ounce of personal integrity from the lot of them. Don't make excuses, creature! Take responsibility for your actions! Stop whining!"
"I DO NOT WHINE," says Goliath, as he rips the bars off his cell and uses them to smash his cybot guards. But Renard doesn't even flinch. "You don't whine, but you also don't hesitate to destroy more of my personal property." He presses another button, and two stun cannons on his chair blast at Goliath until he is knocked out again.
Vogel apologizes. "All my fault, sir. I'll make sure he can't get out of the next cell." We see that Renard respects Vogel for taking the blame. A cybot informs Vogel that he has an incoming personal call. Renard exits, not wanting to impose on Vogel's privacy.
As Cybots drag the unconscious Goliath away, Vogel turns to a vid-screen and activates it. Reveal Fox on the other end. Is it safe to talk? Mr. Renard always respects my privacy. Is Vogel ready to sabotage Fortress-2? He is if the money's been deposited in his Swiss Bank Account. All taken care of. Vogel: "Then we're ready. And the good news is..." He looks at Goliath. "We've got a perfect candidate to take the blame."
8. A short time later, Goliath awakens shackled to a wall in a new cell, with MUCH thicker bars, and even more cybot guards. Renard is there in his hover chair, brooding. If only Goliath could make him understand that Xanatos is to blame. But Renard: "Oh, I have no doubt of that. You aren't the first poor soul Xanatos has corrupted. Owen Burnett. Anton Sevarius. They both were Cyberbiotics employees... and they're the least of what that viper has stolen from me. I've no doubt he was behind the attack and no reason to doubt that he tricked you into participating." But if that's so, than why does Renard hold Goliath responsible? "Someone has to. And you obviously don't." It doesn't matter to Renard whose idea it was. It doesn't matter whether Goliath believed he was doing the right thing. Now he knows the truth. What's he going to do about it? Goliath grimly rattles his chains, then says, "I think a better question might be, what are you going to do about it."
9. Xanatos and Fox are working on their Kung Fu at the Eyrie Building. Make a point of showing that they are evenly matched. While they fight, they talk casually. Xanatos: "Weren't you mounting a hostile take-over of Cyberbiotics today? Your not having second thoughts about taking it from old man Renard?" Before she can answer, OWEN enters to alert Fox of a phone call from her physician. When Xanatos looks concern, she misinterprets and tells him not to worry: Cyberbiotics will be hers before morning. And as she says hello into the phone, we cut...
10. In the command center, Vogel instructs a random cybot to shut down for repairs. When it does, he opens it up and installs a chip into it's programming matrix. Then he reactivates the cybot, but when it turns on, an arc of electricity flashes around it, briefly. Vogel taps it on the head. Off you go.
11. Goliath and Renard are still talking practical philosophy. Renard has been brooding over the question of what to do with Goliath. He's trying to decide what the honorable thing would be. He'll probably just turn him over to the authorities. Goliath is aghast. "Look at me, human. Is that an equitable punishment? Was my crime against you heinous enough to justify turning me into a laboratory specimen?" Renard smiles. "Well, we're making progress. You've finally acknowledged that you committed a crime."
12. Elsewhere on the ship, the first cybot that Vogel infected passes another cybot. The same arc of electricity shoots out of the second 'bot. Then both 'bots move off and infect two more...and so on... and so on... and so on...
On Vogel's read-out screen, the percentage of cybots infected keeps rising. 13%... 27%... 32%...
13. Goliath eyes Renard. Almost despite himself, Goliath is beginning to regard the man with a grudging respect. "All right. I've admitted I was wrong. No more excuses. Now what?" But Renard doesn't have any easy answers for him. "Integrity is not easy. It is a daily struggle. A costly struggle. If you only knew what it cost me. My Anastasia. My Janine." Goliath lowers his head, "...my angel..." Renard looks at him closely. "So you do know." Goliath speaks slowly: "I know I owe you a great debt for what I did a year ago. And a greater debt for the education I received tonight. If the text was not new to me, it was at least... worth revisiting."
Now during this entire conversation, a cybot enters and approaches a guard cybot by the door. The guard cybot is infected, and approaches the other cybot by the door and infects it. Neither Goliath nor Renard notice until the cybots flanking Goliath's cell are infected and the arcing electricity catches the attention of both.
14. On Vogel's screen the percentage goes up from 99% to 100%, and "Right on cue" he gets a vid-call from Renard. He affects panic. Somehow that creature in the brig has infected every cybot on board with a computer virus. Renard says, "Nonsense. I've been sitting here talking with him the whole time." Vogel doesn't know how Goliath did it. But the Cybots are not responding to commands. They've set Fortress-2 on a collision course with the CYBERBIOTICS TOWER. They must abandon ship and activate the emergency self-destruct mechanism or both installations will be destroyed, and Cyberbiotics will be history. Renard is beside himself: If Fortress-2 is destroyed than Cyberbiotics is ruined anyway. Vogel shakes his head, flips a switch and a 10 minute time counter appears on the vid-screen. "I'm sorry, sir. You can place the blame on me if you must, but now we have no choice. At our present rate of speed we will hit the tower in ten minutes. You have nine minutes to meet me at the escape pod. After that I will jettison, and use my access code to destroy Fortress-2."
15. Goliath offers to help Renard try to save the ship. Renard is so furious, he's half ready to believe that Goliath was responsible. But Goliath knows that Renard doesn't really believe that. Goliath helped destroy Fortress-One. "Let me help to save Fortress-2." Renard agrees and presses a button on his chair which releases Goliath. The Cybot guards interpret this as an escape attempt. Renard cannot override them. But between Goliath and Renard's hover-chair, they manage to destroy the cybot guards. They leave the brig. The seconds tick away.
16. Vogel monitors them from the comfortable escape pod. He can't believe the old fool is going to try to save the ship. Why doesn't he just admit defeat and head for the escape pod? Vogel's made sure that route is clear of cybots. He'll just have to discourage anymore heroics. He orders all the cybots to kill the creature and drive Renard toward the pod. (Note: he does NOT want to kill Renard.)
17. Now every cybot on the ship is against Goliath and Renard. The little flying ones that knocked Goliath out in the first place. The big ones that carried him inside. More cattle-prod guard 'bots. Zippy little messenger 'bots. Maintenance 'bots. All of them. The good news is that in the airship's small corridors, there are only so many that can go at our heroes at once. But the situation is intolerable. They can't destroy the 'bots one at a time. They need to cut off power to all the cybots at once. And it's possible. There's a power station at the center of the ship that transmits power to all the cybots. But if they destroy that then they destroy the cybots that pilot the ship. There won't be time to get to the power station, shut it off and then go to the bridge. They have to split up. And time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
18. Intercut between Goliath fighting his way to the power station; Renard fighting his way to the bridge, and Vogel getting very nervous in the escape pod. [Turns out that even Vogel didn't know how much the old guy had grown on him. Destroying his empire is one thing. But Vogel is no killer. He doesn't want Renard's death on his conscience. And/or he had explicit instructions from Fox that Renard not be killed.] And time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
19. Goliath gets to the power station and destroys it. All the 'bots shut down. But time is ticking away. And the Tower gets closer and closer.
20. With the cybots down, Renard is able to zoom the rest of the way to the bridge quickly. He puts Fortress-2 on manual override, but time has passed the nine minute mark. The tower looms right in front of him and navigation and the helm are located on two different consoles. At the last second, Vogel appears and between the two of them, they are able to turn the ship away from the tower and save it.
21. Aftermath between Renard and Goliath. At first, Renard is bitter. Vogel has confessed his betrayal. Further proof that the human species is devoid of integrity. But Goliath disagrees. Vogel's example hardly proves the wisdom of putting one's trust in single-minded automatons. Automatons are tools. They know nothing of honor or betrayal. They do what they are programmed to do. But a living being knows nothing of programming. A living being must choose. And, ultimately, Vogel chose honor.
Renard lets all that sink in. He's got a lot to think about, but one thing he knows is that Goliath has paid his debt. A ship for a ship. Renard: "We are even." But Goliath: "No... We are friends."
22. Goliath soars off into the night. And he doesn't notice a small hang-glider land on the now defenseless airship behind him. The newcomer abandons the glider and tosses a cloudy ball against the metal hull. The ball shatters and a corrosive substance is released that quickly burns a hole in the hull. The stranger enters the airship, and as she does, we finally get a look at her. It is Fox.
23. Back in Renard's office. He sits in his chair. Quietly. Fox enters behind him, and for a moment we think she's there as an assassin. But he seems to be expecting her. "Hello, Janine," he says. "Hello, Daddy," she replies. "I almost got you that time." "Yes, but why? I built this company for you. I'd have given it to you by now if you hadn't married that villain Xanatos. I'd still probably give it to you if you just stood up and asked me for it honestly." "Oh, Daddy. You and your integrity. Asking for it wouldn't be any fun at all." Renard: "And fun is more important to you than honor. I can't understand that." Fox: "Well, maybe you'll have better luck with the next generation." Renard: "What?" Fox: "That's right, Daddy. You're going to be a grandfather."
Our second Garg writer, Eric Luke turned in his first draft on our pilot outline. This memo was my response.
What you may be able to see here is that the structure of the story was beginning to come together in my mind. (If not Eric's.) The brief prologue. Xavier's [Xantos'] motivations, etc.
To: Eric Luke Date: 5-17-93
From: Greg Weisman Ext: 818)754-7436
Subject: Notes on GARGOYLE Outline
Hi. A few major notes for the rewrite, before we get to the page-by-page stuff. First, we really believe we need to focus most of our attention on the Goliath-Elisa relationship. Really give it an arc and a progression. Elisa is intuitive, but she's only human, and when she first sees a monster, she has to be freaked out by it. Even after they stop perceiving each other as potential threats (and we don't think this can all happen in one scene), there needs to be an uneasiness at first. And then, a growing friendship that is the focus of our tele-film. They need obstacles to overcome, not all of which are plot-driven. Again, this is the most important relationship in our story. We must explore it, not just establish it.
The second major note is more plot-oriented. We believe that Xavier needs a more specific plan and motivation. The desire for human chaos and anarchy might sound good to Demona, but for Xavier it seems counterproductive. What good is all his current wealth if the world economic system crashes? What good his bribed officials if the government collapses? And anyway, how would the escalation of gang wars and crime really activate all this? Xavier is basically an acquisitive guy. He sees something. He wants it. If he can buy it or possess it legally, he probably will, because it's safer and easier. If he can't, he'll find a way to take it. This "it" could be an object of art or a huge cash reserve or power or some kind of weapon...the list is endless. If he can perceive it, he'll want it and go for it. A specific plan, visual and exciting, ala Goldfinger or something, would probably serve us well. Part and parcel of this should be a specific need for Goliath and the rest of the gargoyles. Having Goliath run an errand that any messenger could handle isn't effective enough. Xavier should have some larger purpose in mind for our heroes.
We don't think we can get too far into our story and still have our full flashback. Perhaps we could have just an extremely brief prologue in the present, where Elisa discovers the claw marks or somesuch, before segueing back to the tenth century. Our prologue is too short to reveal anything beyond the fact that something mysterious is going on in the present...something that we'll come back to. We don't even reveal the castle atop the skyscraper. We just spend enough time for Elisa to ask the question: "What could have caused this?" and then we fade back 1000 years. (Of course, this transition is tricky too, but we think it accomplishes our goals more smoothly.) We end our backstory and flash forward to the twentieth century with Xavier buying the castle and ordering it's transportation to Manhattan. Since we've in essence told the story chronologically, we can now have fun with the Gargoyles awakening in the modern world. Reveal the castle in the clouds. See their first reactions. They're first meeting w/Xavier, and how he comes across. From the audience's point of view, Elisa's search (activated in our prologue) is an open (i.e. Columbo-style) mystery. They know that she's gonna discover the gargoyles. The fun is how.
Page 1 - Remember, Elisa is a plain clothes detective. She doesn't need a uniform.
Is the "promotional ladder" really an issue with her? It doesn't seem to pay off.
Do we want a crooked Captain McCoy? That didn't really pay off either. If he is crooked, how should he act on the surface? If we decide to make him honest, what should he be like?
Page 2 - Remember, Goliath is not stone at night. Though he's got tough hide-like skin, he's flesh and blood.
We need to avoid talky scenes, between Elisa and Felix, between Elisa and Goliath, etc.
Also, the mystery should last longer than it does. Perhaps we can build up Elisa's investigation. Perhaps she's been investigating Xavier for weeks. (Maybe she's undercover in his organization.) Or perhaps she's been investigating, Gargoyle related stuff for weeks...(really a clue that Demona's been around for longer than she claims.) There are a lot of options.
Is Goliath really afraid of the police? Does he even understand their significance?
Let's not make Elisa too perfect. Her initial reaction to Goliath should be one of real fear. And we need to discover what changes that for her. Does he save her life or do some other admirable thing?
Page 3 - Keep in mind that in the 10th century, Gargoyles are not considered a myth...just rare. With a lot of phony gargoyle statues placed on castle walls, to scare off attackers.
Remember that Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are teens, not kids.
The flower picking bit didn't go over too well here.
Page 6 - Why have the trio been reluctant to explore the city up to this point?
The generic crimes that Goliath and Elisa fight on night one should probably wind up being clues, part of the puzzle toward Xavier and Demona's master plan.
Page 7 - Again, we have to track Elisa and Goliath's relationship clearly. Particularly Goliath's mindset. He thinks humanity's past saving? Does he include her at this point? Does he feel "some excitement" or is he "dejected"? He's basically territorial; how did Elisa convince him to help protect more than the castle in the first place? When he rediscovers Demona, is he fooling himself about how good the good old days were?
Is this all Xavier needed him for?
Page 8 - We're concerned that the rock band stuff might be a bit hokey, not visually fun enough. Particularly, without real rock music. Also, have the gargoyles found a use for money?
How does Elisa feel about Demona? What is the state of Elisa and Goliath's relationship at this point?
Is "electronic detective work" exciting visually? Would computer bank accounts literally list "The Raven" as depositor?
Why does Xavier send his Wardroids to attack Goliath at this point in the story?
Page 9 - How does Elisa find out about the weapons shipment? Does she suspect McCoy?
Do we want to reveal Demona's betrayal here, or do we want the audience to find out at the same time as Goliath? Our last surprise.
How did Demona survive into the present?
Page 10 - Where does this scene between Goliath and Elisa take place?
What changes Goliath's attitude?
Page 11 - A lot of talking is theoretically going on during an extended fight scene.
What does Goliath admire about humanity? How is he different from other Gargoyles, particularly Demona? Is there anything in humans that he aspires to? Does he shift from being instinctually territorial and protective of a specific location to being protective of humans (and gargoyles) in general?
cc: Gary Krisel, Bruce Cranston, Paul Lacy
Late 1994. Writer Lydia Marano and Story Editor Brynne Chandler Reaves had turned in an outline entitled "Thieves in the Night". This memo and beat outline was my response to their work.
And before you ask... I have no memory of "the Zompanos". Perhaps a pre-cursor to the Sopranos? :)
Notes on "Thieves in the Night" Outline...
The main problem for me here is the first act. From a plotting standpoint, everything with the Zompanos is largely immaterial to what follows. As with the outline for "The Mirror", the action of this story only begins at the end of Act One, when Mac and Demona stage their first attempt to steal stuff. We have to move that event up to the beginning of the act.
FOCUS ON COLDSTONE
Let's fool the audience into thinking he is the focus of the whole thing. It's a Coldstone story that turns out to be the set-up for something more dangerous. (Avalon.) To accomplish this, let's misdirect even more than we are.
I've basically cut Matt out of this story. I didn't like doing it, because I thought you gave him and Elisa a lot of nice character stuff. I even added some stuff to what you had done -- stuff that I also wound up cutting. The story was just too crowded and unwieldy with him there. (And thematically, the Elisa/Matt arc was just slightly off point.) Every time I worked on a scene, Matt got in the way. I wouldn't mind revealing just a little to him here, but there didn't seem to be any way to reveal "just a little". (Matt's not the type to just let things go or to settle for a partial explanation. And he's certainly shown a willingness to stick close to Elisa even when she's made it clear he's not welcome.)
I also would not be opposed to revealing the whole truth to Matt, but this story seemed to be too complicated to reveal just the simple truth about Goliath and company. We'd also have to tell him about Macbeth, Coldstone and maybe even Demona. It was just too much. But don't lose track of these ideas for Matt. We'll get to them all eventually.
THEME: HIGH NOON
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing." Or put another way, "You can't crawl into a hole, no matter how nice the hole is, while others suffer." Obviously, this is Othello's arc to a tee.
I'm also giving it to Elisa. And since this is a lesson that Elisa really has already internalized 100%, I'm putting her through the wringer, so that in her exhaustion, she can have a moment of weakness, a crisis point where she can consciously reaffirm her belief. It's high noon, she tells herself. Is she gonna fight the good fight or not?
To a lesser extent, Goliath and the gargoyles reaffirm this belief every time they knowingly walk into a trap. Because the only alternative -- to do nothing -- is unacceptable to them.
We can't destroy the clock tower or even "all but destroy" it without attracting considerable attention from the precinct full of cops downstairs. A thunderstorm can cover a lot of noise, I suppose, but not extensive damage or explosions that might shake the building.
I don't want to count on the fact that our audience will have seen either "City of Stone, Part Four", "Legion" or "The Mirror". I don't want to be ham-fisted in our exposition, but I do want to make sure that we find a way to reveal that when we last saw Demona and Macbeth, they were in the custody of the Weird Sisters. Also that Coldstone has three personalities due to the fact that he was created from pieces of three separate gargoyles. And finally, that thanks to Puck's spell, Demona is now human during the day -- a situation which pissed her off at first, until she discovered the benefits of it.
The "tentacle vines" and the "vortex" were all the result of the computer virus. I think we can assume by this time that the virus has wiped out all programming, including itself. All that is left inside is the personality of the three gargoyles and whatever fantasy they create inside their mutual mind.
Don't forget that Macbeth and Demona feel each other's pain. And also, as you had it in the outline, that they each share the opinion that the other is a royal pain.
1. Prologue: Coldstone's Mind. Othello and Desdemona enjoy an idyllic life in a virtual reality fantasy world that they've created. Electricity water-falls. A circuit-shaped moon. Whatever. They know it's not real, but it's close enough. They are together.
They are also aware of Iago's presence hovering darkly on the outskirts of their paradise, but he no longer has the power to come between them. They are content to let him hover.
2. Clock Tower -- Shortly before Dawn. Elisa has just ended a long night's shift and is stopping upstairs (via the broom closet) to see Goliath & co. before she heads home for some much needed sleep. Brooklyn is helping Hudson and Broadway with their reading lessons. Lexington is off in a corner working on Coldstone. Lex has opened up a metal plate on Coldstone, to get access to the circuits inside. He's hooked his laptop up to it and is checking things out. Goliath asks: is there any real hope of bringing him (her, them) back? As far as Lex can figure, the computer virus that attacked Coldstone has wiped its programming clean. Nothing's functioning, but nothing's broken. It's a blank slate. Even the virus is gone. After it finished attacking Coldstone's programming, it devoured itself. But none of that should have affected the souls of the three gargoyles that were used to create Coldstone. They were put there by magic, not programming. They've got to be in there somewhere. If Lex could devise a simple operating program, they might wake up. Well, he'll work on it some more tomorrow night. The gargoyles take their places. Sun rises. They get stoned.
3. Police Precinct -- Minutes later. Elisa's heading out the door, saying good-bye to Officer Morgan, who's also heading home. Coming in, is a uniformed female cop with red hair, pushing a felon who's got his cap pulled low over his eyes and his hands handcuffed in front of him. [Obviously, this is the human Demona and Macbeth.] Elisa pauses, and watches them head into the building and out of view. They both looked vaguely familiar, but she can't place either of them. Does Morgan know them? No, but the cop is obviously a rookie. Why else would she have cuffed the guy with his hands in front of him? Especially a guy that big.
Yeah, someone should tell her. Elisa heads back in. She spots them heading up the stairs. Sees them going around a corner. Always a step behind. Finally she sees them head into the broom closet. Horrified by what that might mean, she draws her gun, and follows them up into the clock tower.
4. Despite her precautions, she is ultimately jumped by the "felon" and the "cop". There's a struggle. And Elisa recognizes Macbeth, just before she is stunned into unconsciousness by Macbeth's lightning gun. Sweet dreams, he says. And the screen goes black.
5. Inside Macbeth's Airship - Twenty minutes later. Macbeth and the "cop" are flying along. The "cop" is angry that Macbeth wouldn't let her kill the gargoyles and especially Elisa, once and for all. Macbeth won't apologize for having a code of honor. But he's in a good mood. Their stolen cargo is safely stowed away in back, plus they got away without anybody else spotting them. "So lighten up... Demona!"
6. Clock Tower - Several hours later. Elisa comes to. She feels lousy, but she's basically all right. How long was she out? She checks her watch. Wow, most of the day. She looks around. Coldstone is gone!! Obviously taken by Macbeth and that woman. But how did they get him out of here in broad daylight? They couldn't just walk him out the door or even fly Macbeth's airship in to pick them all up without somebody noticing. Still, how they succeeded in doing it isn't as important as the fact that they did. She slumps into Hudson's recliner. "Might as well stop talking to myself and wait. It'll be sunset soon."
7. Macbeth's Mansion - Just before sundown. Human Demona is waiting for the sun to go down. Macbeth's a bit impatient. He thinks that despite her appearance, Demona's still thinking like a gargoyle. Why wait for night? Put the disk in now. She refuses. Coldstone doesn't know Macbeth, and wouldn't recognize her in her present form.
The sun goes down. Demona changes from a human into a gargoyle. The process is not without some pain. As she catches her breath, she wryly observes that despite an initial distaste for the human form, she's come to appreciate Puck's gift, although the fact that he made the transformation painful was probably his way of keeping her from appreciating it too much.
But, to work. They insert the operating program disk into Coldstone. And we push in hard and fast on Coldstone's eyes!!
8. Inside Coldstone's mind -- Same time. A tunnel of electric light appears before Othello and Desdemona. Des wonders if they should investigate, but before Othello can answer, Iago pushes them aside and glides down the tunnel out of sight. Now Desdemona is convinced they should stop or at least follow him. But Othello talks her out of it. Let him go. We are here and happy and together. What else matters?
9. Macbeth's Mansion -- Right then. Coldstone awakens and Iago is in control. He recognizes his rookery sister. (It doesn't really matter if Demona knows about Coldstone's multiple personality disorder.) She asks him how he feels. He quietly responds: vengeful. Demona and Macbeth smile at each other. They've found a friend.
10. Clock Tower -- About the same time. The gargoyles woke up and got the gist of Elisa's story while we were at commercial. But everyone has questions. Goliath left Macbeth with the Weird Sisters, how did he escape them? And how did Macbeth know about the clock tower? And who was the human woman with him? Did Elisa recognize her? She seemed really familiar, but Elisa can't quite place her. Well, there's one thing they do know: Macbeth stole Coldstone. They have to get him back. So it's off to Macbeth's mansion. Elisa'd like to go with, but she's supposed to report to work in thirty minutes. Goliath assures her the six of them can handle it. She has an entire city to protect. She's not happy about being left out, but she can see his logic. She heads downstairs, talking to herself again. (Good thing I got that long enforced nap.)
11. Macbeth's Mansion -- A short while later. The place is very quiet. The gargoyles split up to search for Coldstone. Lex with Goliath. Brooklyn and Bronx. Broadway and Hudson.
12. Macbeth's Control Room. -- A bit later. Lex and Goliath break in, prepared to battle Macbeth. He's not there. Lex hits the control panel and soon he's found Coldstone on one of the screens. And what's more, he's found the creature awake and straining against chains that bind him to the floor of the dungeon. It must be a trap, but Lex can't figure out what the trap is. Goliath's all for heading straight down to the dungeon to free Coldstone, but first Lex reminds Goliath of some hard truths. Somehow, Macbeth got Coldstone operational again. That's the good news. But there'll be no way of knowing which of Coldstone's three personalities will be in control. One of the three hates Goliath's guts. Goliath has to be careful.
13. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Demona attacks Brooklyn and Bronx. They weren't expecting her at all, and it looks like she's got the upper hand.
14. Another area in the mansion -- about the same time. Broadway and Hudson find Macbeth. This is exactly who they expected to find and they're ready. It's a tough battle, but the good guys win.
15. Same as Scene 13. -- exactly the same time. When Macbeth is taken out by Broadway and Hudson, Demona doubles over in pain. She recovers quickly, but she's lost the upper hand, and Brooklyn is not about to let her get it back. He and Bronx defeat Demona.
16. Dungeon -- a few minutes later. Goliath and Lex approach Coldstone. Coldstone yells a warning: It's a trap!! But from another door, Broadway's voice calls out: "Not anymore!" He and Hudson enter, toting an unconscious Macbeth. But Coldstone still warns them away. Demona is still out there. And from a third door come Brooklyn and Bronx with the unconscious Demona as well. Goliath is surprised. Demona and Macbeth obviously escaped the Weird Sisters together, but who could have predicted they'd team up? They hate each other. But he can't worry about that now. He turns to Lex. Coldstone's warnings would seem to indicate that the right rookery brother is in control. Lex: "It's probably o.k. Just stay on your guard." So Goliath and Broadway help Coldstone break his chains. He greets them all warmly. Then approaches the fallen Macbeth and Demona. He effortlessly lifts them up by their shirt fronts, in a very threatening manner. But then his rocket jets turn on and he hovers a foot above the floor. Before the gargoyles have time to react, he says, "Now." Macbeth, who, like Demona, was only faking, has a small one-button remote control hidden in the palm of his hand. He presses it. The entire floor of the dungeon electrifies and all six gargoyles are knocked out.
17. Coldstone's Brain -- right then. Othello and Desdemona hear the deafening sound of Coldstone's laughter.
18. Coldstone's Brain, in front of the electric tunnel -- a few seconds later. Obviously, Iago's up to no good. But Othello's being stubborn. Let someone else take up the cause. We have earned this peace.
19. Clock Tower -- Several hours later, just before sunrise. An exhausted Elisa is there (wearing at the very least, a different colored t-shirt, one would hope). She anxiously awaits the return of the Gargoyles. She tells herself that if they're not back by sunrise, she doesn't know what she's going to do. But before she can figure it out, she sees a winged silhouette approaching. She's initially relieved, until seconds later when Demona comes in for a landing. Elisa isn't exactly terrified. After all, the sun's coming up right now: Demona's about to turn to stone. But Demona merely laughs. And then transforms into the human woman that Elisa had seen 24 hours ago. As Demona grimaces from the pain of transformation, Elisa, despite her shock, draws her gun. If Demona's human, then she's subject to human law and under arrest.
But even unarmed, Demona has the upper hand. She, Macbeth and Coldstone have the gargoyles. If Demona doesn't return, the gargoyles won't either. She tells Elisa why she came. Before she kills Goliath, she wants to prove to him once and for all what humans are really like. So she's inviting Elisa to a high noon rendezvous at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. She warns Elisa that her only chance of surviving the encounter is to avoid it. Either Elisa dies or Goliath sees what human loyalty is really worth: either way, it works out fine for Demona, who then calmly takes her leave via the trapdoor. After a defeated beat, Elisa follows.
20. Ext. Precinct house. Elisa gets outside in time to see the Human Demona hail and get into a yellow cab. The cab pulls away, and for a second Elisa starts to follow, but then she says to herself, what's the point. I know where she's going. Officer Morgan exits the building, again on his way home. "We gotta stop meeting like this, Detective," he jokes. She's a bit dazed and just says, "I'm sorry, what?" He looks at her with concern. "You're looking a bit frayed around the edges."
Elisa: "Maybe that's because I haven't gotten any real sleep in the last 40 hours. I'm tired, hungry and, yes, afraid. I could just go home now and go to bed. When I woke up, it would be over for me. The world would suddenly be normal again. No more monsters -- good or bad. Just normal life."
Morgan: "Normal life would be nice."
Elisa: "But it isn't nice enough, Morgan. My life could never be nice enough or normal enough to make up for letting them down now. I can't crawl into a hole by myself and pretend that no one else matters."
Morgan, thinking he's finally getting it: "That's why you put on the badge."
Elisa: "Yeah, that's exactly why. Thanks, Morgan. You've been a big help." And she takes off.
Morgan, still a bit confused: "Sure, detective, anytime."
21. Belvedere Castle -- a few minutes before noon. The gargoyles are there in stone and in chains. Coldstone/Iago, Human Demona and Macbeth are there as well. Coldstone can't get over seeing the sun. He doesn't understand why he didn't turn to stone. Demona explains that he is no longer a gargoyle: day or night, he is Coldstone. Fine. But that doesn't explain how come no one in the park seems to notice their presence. Macbeth answers: "It's enough that they don't. Don't concern yourself with it." The answer satisfies Coldstone for the time being. He's in too good a mood to argue.
22. Inside Coldstone's Brain -- same time. Desdemona isn't sure that she and Othello are doing the right thing. Is this the gargoyle way? Othello tells her they are no longer really gargoyles. But he turns away, when he says it. He can't look her in the eye, cause he knows he's doing the wrong thing. But when he looks at her again, instead of seeing one Desdemona, he sees three. One with Blonde hair, one with Silver hair and one with Black hair. The Weird Sisters doing their thing.
23. Belvedere Castle -- Noon. Elisa arrives. Demona is surprised, but not upset. She lifts her plasma cannon. But Elisa says she's unarmed. Demona doesn't care, but Macbeth gets the message. This doesn't sit well, with his own strange code of honor. What's wrong, Demona? Afraid to face her on an even playing field? Thus Human Demona is goaded into a hand-to-hand match against Elisa. Demona's had a thousand years of warrior training. But not as a human. So it's pretty evenly matched.
24. Coldstone's mind -- Same time. The three Desdemona Weird Sisters confront Othello. Would he really be happy here in this false paradise knowing that he could have stopped all the damage that Iago is doing in the real world. Othello finally admits that he couldn't. The three Desdemona's merge together, leaving the real one there, a bit woozy, but still determined to help Othello fight Iago. They head down the electric tunnel together.
25. Belvedere - Right then. Coldstone/Iago suddenly cries out that he's under attack, then freezes up.
26. Inside Electric Tunnel - Right then. Iago blocks Othello and Desdemona's path. They fight. Desdemona will hold Iago at bay so that Othello can take control of Coldstone and try to repair the damage that Iago has done in the real world. With a last look back, Othello heads toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
27. Belvedere - That second. Coldstone/Othello awakens. Macbeth asks if he is all right. Coldstone simply asks for a moment to access his memory banks. He does. And then he attacks Macbeth. This catches both Macbeth and Demona off-guard and helps give Elisa the upper hand in her battle against Demona. Ultimately, Macbeth is forced to grab Demona and flee. (Maybe he summons his airship?) Coldstone starts to pursue, but Elisa needs him to help her get the chains off the guys, besides there's been enough fighting for one day. Coldstone uses his wrist cannon to snap the hold on all six. When they wake up at sunset, they should be able to shrug the chains off. Elisa asks him to stay. She knows that's what Goliath wants too. But Coldstone knows that Desdemona and Iago are still at war inside of him. The other gargoyles aren't safe from "Coldstone" until that battle is decided. He promises, that if he can, he will return someday. Then he rockets off into the sky. A few seconds later, a jogger jogs by. "Hey, where did those statues come from." Elisa heaves a big sigh. She sits down and leans back against Goliath. "Don't ask me. I'm just taking a nap."
28. Macbeth's Mansion - That night. Macbeth and Gargoyle/Demona are summing up. Demona's pissed that they failed to kill Elisa and the gargoyles, but that wasn't the primary objective. Plus they lost Coldstone, but that was always just a blind anyway. They've got the Grimorum, the Eye and the Portal-to-Avalon-Talisman. They stole all three when they took Coldstone. (They even used a spell from the Grimorum to hide their escape from the clock tower and to keep their fight in the park private.) If they had left Coldstone in the tower and only stolen the magic items, Goliath wouldn't have rested until he got them back. This way, it will be weeks before he notices that they're even gone.
But then they start to question they're own motivations: why did they want these items so badly? How did they know their secret location in the clock tower? For that matter, how did they know that the gargoyles lived at the clock tower at all? And why the heck are they working together when they hate each other's guts?
Just when they're about to murdilize each other, the Weird Sisters step in and put them both into a trance. They just made it under the wire. The "geas" spell on Demona and Macbeth was about to wear off. And of course they had no spell on Coldstone, which was why they wanted him separated from the other two. Besides they don't need Coldstone. Each of the three Sisters picks up one of the magical items. These will do quite nicely in the coming battle.
ONE LAST QUESTION: Given the above changes, does the title still work for you? I'm kind of mixed on it now.
Following fast on the heels of City of Stone, here's my ramble on High Noon...
The recap is interesting here. It's all Coldstone oriented. Demona, Macbeth and the Weird Sisters aren't mentioned. Nothing from City of Stone, despite this being a direct sequel to those events. The reason is that the recaps got early criticism on a Disney Afternoon mailing list for giving too much away. We'd show a villain who didn't appear until the end of Act One, thus cueing our audience to expect that villain all along. A valid criticism. So we tried to adjust here. Coldstone's participation wasn't a secret. The episode opens in his "internal cyber-world" and he's shown dormant in the Clock Tower in the very next scene. But when Demona and Macbeth first walk past Elisa and Morgan, we're not supposed to know who they are. So I intentionally kept them out of the recap to preserve that reveal.
The heather Othello gathers has no scent. Why not? Everything in that world, except for the souls of the three gargs was simply a mental construct. Sight, sound, touch. So why not smell? No chemical senses, you might argue. But why no chemical senses? Why touch and not taste? I think that the lack of smell was an unconscious or subconscious boundary that Desdemona did not want to cross. Something to remind her that this world is not real. For all we know, Othello and Iago could smell whatever they imagined they could smell.
I like seeing Hudson and Broadway learning to read. We cheated a bit. I'm not sure they could have progressed as fast as they did in the short time since "Lighthouse". But we took that liberty to show that they had been working assiduously at it.
I have mixed feelings about Hudson's "Why would she want to 'hit a sack'?" line. On the one hand, I'm not sure we ever did enough of this. Playing with the contrasts in language and expression between their world and ours. On the other hand, it just seemed a bit late in the game for Hudson not to have heard this one already. (And for that matter, I have no idea when that particular phrase originated. For all I know they've been hitting the sack since the Middle Ages.)
Elisa makes a point of saying that she's "no hero". Just a gal doing a job. But of course, we know that's not true. It's simply how she'd prefer to view herself -- particularly when she's so tired. I tried to use this episode to emphasize that Elisa works the night shift. That she gets off work just before sunrise. Starts work just after sunset. (I actually imagine that she works a four day ten hour shift, plus mucho overtime.) Sometimes it seemed like the fans had forgotten that. I got a lot of questions back then like: "She works during the day and hangs with the gargoyles at night. When does she sleep?"
Morgan has a real nice role in this one. Keith is great as Morgan. So distinctive from Goliath in a part that was a mere throwaway in Awakening, Part One. Morgan and Elisa's easy rapor in this episode and Avalon One is what gave me the idea that he might someday ask her out (on that 2nd Halloween episode I've mentioned a few times). And the notion of a Keith-Salli-Keith triangle tickled me a bit.
Enter Macbeth as a perp with a human Demona dressed as a cop. (Always nice to show our characters in different costumes on occasion.) I'm curious how many people IMMEDIATELY recognized Demona as herself? After all, you'd only gotten a BRIEF glimpse of her human form in "The Mirror". And we hadn't shown it at all in "Vows" or "City of Stone". In fact, City of Stone began what we then called our Third Tier of stories. (Tier One was the first season. Tier Two was the first eight episodes of the second season: Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Silver Falcon, Mirror, Eye of the Beholder, Vows.) And of course, City of Stone was transitional, so one could argue that Tier Three was beginning here with High Noon. Anyway, Demona's in atypical dress and species. Who knew it was her?
And once you did know, what were you thinking? The gargoyles have the same questions, I'd imagine. Last they (and you) saw, Mac and Demona hated each other, and had been taken away by the seemingly benevolent Weird Sisters. What was going through your heads about all this? Did you wonder at the seeming inconsistencies, like their knowledge of the Clock Tower? Their ability to get Coldstone out of the tower in daylight, unseen?
When my son Ben saw Demona, he thought it was one of the "triplets", which is what he calls the Weird Sisters. (They've fast become his favorite characters.) When I pointed out that she had red hair and not white, yellow or black, he was resistent to giving up on the idea that they weren't going to appear. (I was glad they eventually did. And now I wonder what he's going to think about the next seven episodes in which they do NOT appear.)
Throughout this, we cheat a bit on Elisa's exhaustion. We knock her out, but keep her tired. The subtle differences between various means of being unconscious and their effects on how tired one is confuse me.
I love Mac and D's exchange...
Mac: "You're still thinking like a gargoyle."
D: "I am a gargoyle." And don't you forget it.
Again, back in those days I just thought the audience would get revved up merely because we were teaming up THREE of our major villains. Macbeth, Demona and the villainous side of Coldstone. In Batman or Superman that would be a BIG EVENT. A huge threat to the hero. Did it have that effect on you guys? I feel vaguely that in a strange way, it did not. That our villains were so complex, that for once they backfired on us. That it wasn't viewed as, "Wow, our heroes have barely survived an encounter with one of those guys, how will they handle three?" Rather, the conflict was less interesting than the machinations and personalities. Am I being clear? Your thoughts?
This episode had some truly gorgeous animation in it. And the transformation scenes are both very cool. The Pain Link plays well here, though occasionally seems more geared to comedy than drama for some reason. The theme of gifts coming with a price... particularly the gifts of tricksters is emphasized in this scene.
Meanwhile Othello is desperately trying to remain an ostrich with his head in the sand. A position that on at least one level, Elisa 'believes' she'd like to take as well. With Othello, I think it's a real possibility that he will never act. With Elisa, I don't think we believe it for a moment. That's part of the reason they're both in there. To make sure that the theme of "Standing Up" is emphasized. Which brings us to the title, "HIGH NOON". That was one of mine, I believe. And I stole it right from the Gary Cooper movie. Sure we'd have a battle at High Noon. Because this was Elisa's story, not the gargoyles. Because the gargoyles would be asleep and vulnerable. But also because it was that kind of archetypal the-hero-stands-alone western battle.
You may notice that Xander Berkeley (the voice of Iago) does not appear in this episode. Because Iago has no lines when he's not in control of the Coldstone body. Again, I'm always so impressed with what a great job Michael Dorn does contrasting the Othello and Iago personalities without actually changing his voice.
I like Elisa's line when Brooklyn asks her if she recognized the woman with Macbeth. "She seemed familiar." Think about this for a second. If this was real life and not a cartoon, do you think you'd recognize Demona in Dominique? And yet I completely buy that Elisa recognized something in there. There's a strange nega-intimacy between Elisa and Demona. (Which is one of the sick reasons why I created Delilah, later.)
Goliath and Elisa engage in a little dueling patronizing here. Elisa has to go back on shift, so can't accompany the 'goyles to Mac's place. Goliath is pretty smug when he says the six of them can handle it. (The smugness, I hope, is undercut when he follows it up by saying, "You have a whole city to protect." Which is how he views it.) Then Elisa talks to them like they're little kids. She wants a full report when they get back. (Who says these two weren't made for each other?)
Lex, who has been and will continue to be very adept at breaking alarm systems, etc., for once admits that it's all too easy.
I like the moment when Goliath taps the camera with his wing. A nice little touch. And very well animated.
Lex is always the voice of warning in regards to Coldstone. This is important. Goliath listens to Lex this time. And Lex is fooled when Coldstone reveals Demona's involvement, seemingly before they know Demona is involved. I thought that was very clever on the villains' part.
Bronx smells Demona behind the closet, just as he did behind the tapestry.
I like how the marble bust flies and crashes. Another nice touch in the boarding and animation. Nice weight to the whole Brooklyn-Demona-Bronx fight scene.
I liked staging the Macbeth, Husdon, Broadway fight in a library. Felt like a thematic rematch from "Lighthouse".
The pain link here is a BIT of a cheat. Usually with them in different rooms on different floors, it wouldn't be quite this intense. Maybe the library is directly above whatever room Demona was in.
Lex is sure Coldstone's wrong about Demona. Brooklyn's "Uh, guess again." line is fun.
The entire battle at Macbeth's place is part of a technique I enjoy using on occasion called "Suspended Structure". This is really an Elisa and Othello Story. But we let the gargs carry the action for a period of time, while the true protagonists can't or won't take action. This keeps the story moving, without compromising the inaction of our "leads".
Demona confronts Elisa at the clock tower. The animators get a little carried away here with some of Demona's body language. God knows, it's fun to watch. But would she really do all those sexpot poses? Is that in character?
It is fun to see her hail a taxi though.
Morgan's back. Elisa now looks VERY tired. Again, great work from the animators. It's all in the eyes. Morgan helps Elisa though he thinks she's just talking about normal copwork. It only proves there's really no such thing as a "Normal Life". Morgan certainly doesn't think he has one.
Meanwhile Desdemona's gettin antsy. It's the "in" that the Weird Sisters need. They take over. Unfortunately, here, the animators screwed up. The three Desdemona's were supposed to have silver, gold and raven hair. Instead, in most shots, they just look like three Dessies. Then when they finally do get the hair right, it's just before they merge back into one Desdemona. At which point, the hair color should have been Des'. Instead, I think it's Luna's -- briefly. Oh, well. Anyway, I could have just done this with Desdemona herself. But I wanted to give the audience a hint that the Weird Sisters were still involved. Ben was thrown by the hair. He almost didn't believe these were the triplets.
I like the line: "Even shadows must be true to their shade."
High Noon at Belvedere Castle. Coldstone wonders that he can see the sun. Again, that's me making sure people are clear that Coldstone is RE-ANIMATED STONE, not flesh. I don't think it's visually clear. (Part of the problem being that Othello's coloring is too similar.)
Then Elisa arrives -- counting on Macbeth's honor to keep Demona from shooting her. For that reason, she intentionally doesn't bring her service revolver to the party. Quite the gambit. Elisa also counts on Demona's temper -- and on the fact that Demona is unaccustomed to fighting with reduced human strength. She goads Demona: "I'm here to save him." and "You fight like a rookie." I love, positively LOVE, the former of those two lines. Elisa is a hero in her own right. Though Goliath has rescued her on occasion, I felt we did a pretty good job of always evening the score. She's no damsel in distress.
Mac & Coldstone: "This is diverting." "You have no idea." (Quotations approximate.) I like that. A tip of the hat to my being a guy, if you will.
We cheat a bit here on the pain link too. One could argue that Mac IS feeling the pain. But he's ready for it and covering. He does seem to be grimacing a bit when he says, "You have no idea." But still, I think we cheated.
I love the animation on the Othello, Desdemona, Iago fight.
Battle over, Coldstone leaves. Sends himself into exile. This is the gargoyle way.
And hey, our jogger is back. Again wondering where all these statues are coming from. That's just fun continuity for me. And Elisa: "Don't ask me. I'm just taking a nap."
And then the whole final scene between Mac and D and the sisters is so much fun. I love the sense of the fog lifting from their eyes. "What Primary Objective?" "Why are we working together?"
And I'm also proud of the trick. A very Xanatosian tag here. Steal Coldstone to distract the gargs from noticing the thefts of the gate, book and eye.
And how about that reference to "The coming battle..." that the Sisters end the episode on? What did you all think of that at the time?
I'll try to post the High Noon writer's memo tomorrow. (Meant to do it yesterday, but I forgot.) Anyway, Done rambling. You're turn. (Again, I'm interested in both your original and current responses to the episode.)
You know once upon a time -- particularly when Cary Bates and I lived in NYC and had no real life outside DC Comics and spent every free moment going to movies -- I used to see over two hundred movies a year. I'm not kidding.
But no longer.
The oscar nominations were announced. And I went down the entire list and realized I've only seen EIGHT of the nominated films. That's 8 out of ALL the films nominated in ANY category.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Meet the Parents
The Emperor's New Groove
Not that anyone asked, but here's my assesment of the eight. (Obviously, I can't speak to any of the others.)
Gladiator - I was really enjoying this film most of the way through. I never thought it was Oscar callibre, but I liked it --right up until the end. I thought the ending however was so preposterous and awful, it spoiled my enjoyment of the whole film. Blech.
Cast Away - I just thought this was plain awful all the way through. The only section I was interested in was what happened (SPOILERS) after he got off the island. But that was given preposterously short shrift. Double Blech.
Meet the Parents - I disliked this so intensely, I walked out of it partway through. Went to a bookstore while my wife and friend Tuppence finished watching the movie. This is only the second film I've walked out on in my entire life. (Not counting movies I had to leave because of baby-sitting emergencies or bomb threats.) Triple Blech.
102 Dalmations - Oh, how I wish I could have walked out on this. But I was there with my kids. They enjoyed it well enough at the time, but have already forgotten about it. Double Blech.
Now the good news.
Almost Famous - I really enjoyed this one. Very well-acted, well-written. Funny. I didn't LOVE it the way some of the critics did. But I was really surprised it didn't do better at the box office. Smile.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - I really enjoyed this. Structurally, it's a bit odd. But I liked it a lot. Definitely one of the best films I saw this year... but as you can see, that's not saying much. Double Smile.
The Grinch - Another film I took my kids too. I enjoyed this one though. No, it's no classic the way the old Christmas special was. But there's a lot to recommend. And I had fun. Smile.
The Emperor's New Groove - A third film I took my kids too. This was a very pleasant surprise. A straight-forward simple story played for laughs. From the previews, I didn't think I'd like it. But, hey, I liked it a lot. Smile.
Now as for the nominations...
Picture - I have only two to choose from Gladiator and Dragon. Obviously I'd pick Dragon.
Actor - Russell Crowe over Tom Hanks. I liked Crowe's performance. (I just find it hard to believe it was the best performance this year.)
Actress - I saw none of the nominated performances.
Director - Again, I'll pick Ang Lee for Crouching over Ridley Scott for Gladiator.
Supporting Actor - Joaquin Phoenix by default. The only one of the performances I saw. But I thought he was much better in THE YARDS.
Supporting Actress - This is tough. I think I'd pick Frances McDormand over Kate Hudson (both from Almost Famous). But it's close.
Original Screenplay - Cameron Crowe's for Almost Famous over the three guys from Gladiator in a second.
Adapted Screenplay - The three guys from Crouching by default. (I don't think the screenplay was this movie's strong suit.) Does anyone remember if High Fidelity was a 2000 release? I loved that movie and can't believe it wasn't nominated.
Foreign Film - Crouching by default.
Art Direction - I think I will pick Grinch over Gladiator and Crouching.
Cinematography - Crouching over Gladiator.
Costume Design - Crouching over Gladiator, Grinch and 102 Dalmations.
Documentary Feature - I've seen none of these.
Documentary Short - I've seen none of these either.
Film Editing - Almost Famous over Crouching and Gladiator.
Make-up - Grinch by default.
Original Score - Gladiator over Crouching.
Original Song - "My Funny Friend and Me" by Sting and David Hartley from Emperor's Groove over "A Fool in Love" by Randy Newman from Parents and "A Love Before Time" from Crouching.
Animated Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which is odd.
Live Action Short Film - I've seen none of these. Which isn't odd.
Sound - Gladiator over Cast Away.
Sound Editing - I've seen neither of the nominees.
Visual FX - Gladiator by default.
Of course, there's a slim possibility that I'll see a couple more of the nominated films before the award show itself. I'll let you know if my opinions change.
But mostly I reiterate the word I started with. Pathetic.