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RE: Thrill of the Hunt
When I first saw this I was still getting used to the characters myself, so most of the impact this ep had on me came in later viewings.
What I did like in my first viewing was the Pack itself. They were very interesting antagonists to me for some reason. Possibly it was because they were human and managed to give the gargoyles a hard time there for a while. Also, the Xanatos Tag. I almost missed that the first time I watched the show. I thought it was over when the gargoyles went to sleep, so I went to get a drink or snack or something. Then I came back and there's Xanatos talking about how "the test was most...informative [smirk]". I was completely blown away by this (and gained even more respect for how dangerous Xanatos could be). I also remember liking the fact that Xanatos's ownership of the castle was addressed and not swept under the rug. It was refreashing to have previous events being referred to and having an effect on the present.
In later viewings, I found even more things to like. My favorite part in the whole episode is when Goliath and Lex have the advantage. After seeing the Pack mercilessly come after them, I got kind of a vindictive pleasure in having the gargoyles now acting as the silent stalkers. It's kind of like a horror movie almost--only this time you want the "monsters" to win. Come to think of it, I've always gotten a big kick whenever any of the gargoyles were scaring/beating the living tar out of their opponents. I never really thought about how they became "borderline cuddly" as the series progressed. Maybe we all just got familiar with them. But I always liked seeing them cut loose when they did.
As for the whole stunt show--so insanely corny I almost couldn't watch. Great send-up of the P--uh, you-know-whats.
I hadn't given much thought to Wolf's display of brain's or Fox's lapse in judgement until you mentioned them. Fox's is easy to forgive (for reasons you have already stated). Wolf--wow, it surprises me I never noticed it before.
Pointless note: I didn't expect the Pack to appear again after this. I didn't know there were any ideas to bring them back in at any later point, so when Jackal and Hyena showed up about 6 eps later I was surprised (and a bit delighted).
As for the animation, I never saw what the problem with it was. Even after the multiparter, I thought the animation here was still good (at least above the level of quality reached by your average animated show).
Oh, and I agree with you wholeheartedly about television.;-)
I was concerned that the Pack might seem too generic as super-villains, but I think we managed to make them come alive as interesting characters. New stories just kept suggesting themselves, so the Pack keeps coming back.