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AVALON PART THREE
One thing I forgot to mention in my thoughts on Part Two (and it's still relevant because it was featured in the recap): the Archmage's devouring of the Grimorum. I, too, found that a great image, and a nice way of sidestepping the "no magics" rule. Not to mention I love the little "[gulp] Ah..." the Archmage does.
Anyway, onto the fight.
When the folks at the palace decide to check out the Sleeping King, and Tom prepares to go, the Magus looks at Katharine's worried face and then volunteers to go instead. Yet another something I had to watch several times before I could fully appreciate it.
Angela and Gabriel check out the grotto (is that what it's called?). I like it when Demona jabs the laser rifle in Angela's ribs, and the younger gargoyle's first reaction is to elbow Gabriel and say "Stop it!" It was cool how Goliath temporarily overrode Macbeth and Demona's mind control by "appealing to their better natures," and then how the Archmage so easily reasserted his control. He had become quite a bit more powerful here, afterall. And then, of course, once things turn sour, and one of his enemies tries to take the Eye, the Archmage loses his cool and decides to start attacking NOW. His lines here are pretty neat and chilling ("They're my creatures now," and "...if they are so *eager* to *DIE*!" are ones I rather like, too).
It never ceases to amaze me how the Magus, a 72 year-old scholarly type, is able to make Elisa, a 27 year-old athletic type, ask him to slow down. I like Magus' line about being used to traveling alone, and how Elisa's mention of "the Princess and the Guardian" is contrasted with the Magus calling them "Katharine and Tom." His story was both a surprise and heartbreak to me--I had really thought from AVALON PART ONE that he would "get the girl" as most heroes do. As I said then (three weeks ago), the Magus had never looked quite so heroic. I had disliked him quite a bit in AWAKENING ONE and TWO, yet by the end of his appearance in TWO, his remorse kind of mitigated my disdain for him. In the first part of AVALON I really got to like him--you could see the depth of his feeling for Katharine, and his resolve and cunning with the way he saved the eggs and all. In PART TWO he showed how weak he felt without his magic book, and here...well by this time, the Magus had become a character I really liked and sympathized with.
Perhaps that's one reason that I became pretty much goggle-eyed upon learning that Katharine had fallen in love with Tom and vice versa. Then again, I did (and to some extent still do) suffer from a sort of "agism in male and female relationships." Of course, for that reason, I also applaud the princess and the pauper getting together simply because it now becomes a bit more unique. And I love the baby gargoyles!
BTW, Greg: rest assured that Elisa's lips were corrected in later airings, and on my tape the scene with the baby gargs actually looks more like a night scene (don't ask me how, maybe it's just my tape).
The Hollow Hill sequence was cool! I loved the Magus' spellcasting (now he has to ryhme like an Oberati), though I was of course confused until the Magus explained how he was able to do that. The "leap of faith"...Indy Jones, yeah, but I like how Elisa looked jumping.
And then the pillar lowers with (to me) some guy on it. She walks up to him, and says his name, "Arthur Pendragon..." It was at about that point that my jaw hit the floor and my eyes became as big as the moon. This was something I had not been expecting (due to my unfamiliarity with Arthur's "death") and as such became a huge, and enjoyable surprise to me.
I also like his presentation to the rest of the good guys. Until Elisa mentioned it, I had never realized that Goliath had never truly beaten Demona or Macbeth. I really liked this--it made them seem even more dangerous than before. And of course, King Arthur Pendragon, the legendary hero, reveals that he hasn't the slightest idea "what's going on." A funny moment that shows that, though legendary, Arthur is still a human.
I like how the Archmage looks when he says "I will wait here...for Goliath." An uber-villain look without a doubt.
Arthur's taking command of the situation and showing his strategist side is a nice scene (and he later proves that he is indeed a great warrior as well), and I noticed right away how (thematically) well paired off the adversaries were.
I think I'll follow your lead, Greg, and divide them up:
Arthur and Macbeth: The way Macbeth had spoken of Arthur in LIGHTHOUSE, this battle was only to be expected. I didn't mind Arthur's "manner of magic" as oppossed to "sorcery" (a little variety is alright in my book). I was surprised at Macbeth's sucker-kick when it took down Arthur. *That* part of the cliffhanger--Macbeth's sword at Arthur's throat--really got me (they were all tense, but Mac had the greatest warrior in legend at sword point!). Of course, Arthur still manages to defeat Macbeth (marvelously, I might add) with that oh-so-cool image of his ringed fist heading straight for Macbeth's face (the camera).
Demona vs. half the cast: I guess it says something that Demona needs THAT many people to take her down. One thing I love about this fight is how badly Gabriel's wings get torn up. The poor guy really gets battle damage here. Another moment--the gargoyles on the battlements fire arrows point blank at Demona...and MISS COMPLETELY!! "Not prepared...never honed combat skills" indeed! And then Demona goes after Elisa. I wonder if maybe somewhere in Demona's ensorcelled brain she sees this as a rematch of their previous hand-to-hand in HIGH NOON. Eventually, Katharine gets into the act in a very unexpected way. A bit of a stretch with her firing the gun perhaps, but still kind of fun.
The Magus vs the Sisters: I never caught the full meaning of Luna's "There is no future for you," but somehow I knew that the Magus was going to die in this battle. Something about his character, the tragedy and struggling. It made sense to me, from the moment he said "Leave them to me" about facing the Sisters, that he would die fighting them. His use of the magic is extrodinary, and I liked how the Sisters became outraged by his using Avalon's power. I also love Phoebe's fearful "Where is the Sleeping King?" when the Sisters finally make it into the Hollow Hill. And then the Magus casts his last spell. To be honest, I thought he was "all dead" when his hand went limp and fell backward onto the beir (sp?). I was actually kind of glad that we had a little bit more time with him afterwards.
Goliath and the Archmage (and Angela): This was a big one for me. The Archmage is pretty much the oldest adversary of the Wyvern Clan (with the possible exception of Iago). There is a sort of "epic" quality here with the way the Archmage and Goliath talk to each other (A: "I've waited a millenium for this." G: "You lose again, Archmage"--how many times have superheroes said that last one to their archfoes?). I remember wondering how Goliath was going to get out of this, until Angela showed up. One of my favorite scenes in this ep is when the Archmage freezes the lake, Goliath sinks out of sight as the Archmage laughs, and then the Archmage's eyes go wide as Goliath shoots up from the depths, giving a gurgling roar, and leaps through the ice. Finally, Goliath removes the Eye and the Archmage almost seems like he will continue being a threat. Then he gets incinerated by "magic energy" and dissolves in a cool death scene. Count me as another one who thinks the final line of the Archmage is pretty cool. There is a sort of sense of that "epic" quality coming to an end here. Goliath has defeated what was (as far as we know) the first true arch-villain he had ever encountered. There could be a world of meaning within his "It is over." And then the Archmage's scrying pool, as if to spite them, displays the dying Magus.
The death scene is a good one. In some ways, I find it more moving now than I did then (again, don't ask me why). I like the final exchange with Goliath.
G: "I owe you."
M: "You...but, I cursed your clan."
G: (shaking his head) "You saved my children."
And of course Katharine's grief over the passing of her friend from childhood caps the touching moment. Good voicework from Jeff Bennett and Kath Souci. It took me several viewings to notice it, but I thought the shooting star was a nice touch.
I always wondered why the "good-byes" seemed so strange to me. I suppose individual good-byes would be more realistic, but for a narrative...eh. I kind of got that Arthur would be visiting Manhattan eventually, so the foreshadowing was not wasted.
Goliath should laugh more. ;)
Angela's coming along. A new regular. This was something I had been wondering about for some time--if one of these new gargoyles we had just been introduced to would actually come along for the rest of the show. It made sense that it was Angela, what with all the angst her parentage would bring to light.
When Tom spoke about Avalon sending you where "you need to be," I kind of got a smile as I thought to myself "Oh, you guys aren't going to be getting back home for a while..." and got prepared for a world tour. Perhaps my reading about gargoyles in Guatemala, London, and Japan influenced me here.
One last interesting note. As with the previous two, I showed this one to my mother when it first aired. YEARS LATER, as I was telling her about your original plans for sending the Magus with Arthur, Greg, and your reasons for giving him a "good death" instead, she said, "Well, they also probably had to kill him off because his voice was too expensive." I, confused, looked at her and asked "What do you mean?" She, now looking confused herself, said, "Well, he was voiced by Michael York...wasn't he?" So when you see Jeff Bennett again, you may want to pass onto him that he does a good York!
This was a good ep with a feeling of closure and a sense of something exciting coming just over the horizon. It could have been a season finale, even. Just my thoughts.
I've never worked with Michael, though he's an acquaintance of my parents, but I know that other shows have used him, and I've never heard that he charges more than the typical going rate. I'd love to work with him some day. But I don't think that Jeff was doing Michael, per se. Jeff "created" the Magus voice back on Awake1. He's just phenominally talented and versatile.
The redemption of characters like the Magus and to a lesser extent the Captain of the Guard is one of the things I'm proudest of in the series. The Magus' story is sad, certainly, but he is so much more ennobled in his death, because of how hard he worked not to wipe out his sins, but to make up for them.
And on a more creative note, it's just fun to take a character who everyone hates, and find a way to turn him into a character who everyone feels for. It's very rewarding.