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Blaise writes...


I don't think I expected "our heroes" to get home after just one stop, so it didn't surprise me that they ended up someplace else first. Of course, even I didn't expect them to be traveling for as long as they were....
Anyway, I love the way Angela is sitting in the skiff when she notices the sea monster. It's a small thing, barely on screen for a second, and I probably only notice it because I think she looks quite alluring there, but it's something that strikes me everytime I watch this episode.
The sea monster has an excellent design, very unique, and the ensuing battle has some real nice moments, such as when Angela appears to be riding a wave into battle.
Of course, the sea monster appears to damage the skiff during the battle, and in the next scene a hole can be seen in the upper side of the skiff (not in a "sinkble" area, per se). So, how'd it get fixed? Well, Grandmother may have "healed" the skiff as she healed the island, or the skiff may have just fixed itself (hey, it can sink itself, as we'll see with Arthur later on).
I knew something was up with that raven when it seemed to appear out of nowhere, and then landed on top of the totem pole.
Actually, during my first viewing, I had been wondering when the subject of totem poles would be addressed. From what I had heard (and that was little) they could have fit into a "inspired by gargoyles" category, and I was quite happy they showed up. I don't remember my reaction to the revelation that they didn't actually have any gargoyle connection, but thinking about it now, I'm rather glad you guys went with them being what they are in the real world, Greg. Sometimes a spade is a spade.
Natsilane/Nick fills a fairly stereotypical role, to be sure, but he is acted well, and given some nice lines and facial expressions. I also liked Grandmother, and had always wondered if she was a figure from North American myth and legend as well. Good to know that she is.
I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I had thought Queen Florence island might actually be a real place until I read your ramble, Greg. You can tell I haven't spent much time in Canada (aside from the area around Niagra Falls).
Ah, Raven as a gargoyle. It's an excellent design, I love his red eyes and the pattern of feathers over his chest. However, there are some...glitches in his gargoyle design. The fact that he has no tail, five fingers instead of four, and even his eye color differentiate him from the "normal" gargoyle design. More, in my eyes, than his having a bird's head. I'm not nitpicking the character designers, though--and for all I know, there are gargoyles out there with similar abberations (just look at Sora's two-toed feet in BUSHIDO)--I actually think those oddities are neat. They might even be considered hints that this fellow isn't exactly what he appears to be. He also has a nice entrance: assuming the form and place of the top totem pole creature he had landed on in the morning. Anyway, I kind of figured that this was the "Raven" that Grandmother had spoken about in the previous scene. When he referred to Grandmother as an "evil sorceress" I thought that maybe this was a POV problem. Two different sides with half-true gripes fighting each other. I couldn't buy for a minute that Grandmother was evil, but I wouldn't be surprised if she were a sorceress, and Raven spoke a story that seemed to resonate with how gargoyles were treated. I thought maybe bringing peace was the ultimate goal. Of course, things turned out differently.
RE: "Elisa as sexy when feverish and vulnerable." Are you sure that's not just because she's probably topless (at least) underneath that blanket? ;D
Raven leads our gargoyle heroes to the caldera of the volcano, and introduces them to his clan. I liked their designs as well--especially the wolf and eagle ones. But I found it extremely odd that they did not come out or say anything (WARNING lights began going off in my brain there, I think). Still, I did like Goliath's initial joy over the thought of finding gargoyles living in other parts of the world.
Grandmother uses Haida (is that spelled right?) medicinal techniques to cure Elisa's fever, but I wouldn't be surprised if she used just a little magic to put Elisa to sleep (I thought I heard a "magic-like" sound effect or something). And yes, I think the "...and roots" line and Natsilane's silent reaction to it are funny. Actually, my brother has caught this episode a few times, and always gets frustrated that Natsilane doesn't believe that "roots" and such can cure a fever. As far as he's concerned *all* medicine came from plants and the like. Well, I guess my brother's not too far off the mark--I know at least aspirin comes from a plant.
Our heroes start to search for each other. Raven's "disappearing clan" was a nice little confirmation for me that this guy was not what he claimed to be.
Goliath's little phrase "Humans fear what they do not understand. And what they fear, they often seek to destroy." It's a nice, truthful little phrase. Maybe that's why it has been used in so many other places (DARKSWORD book one, for example). The funny thing is, Goliath has been telling Angela truths all along that play right into Raven's lies. Sheesh, no wonder Goliath wants to rip the Trickster a new one when he learns the truth. I'd be pissed, too.
Finding the wallet was a nice touch. Another, earlier one, was Elisa wondering if totem poles were connected with gargoyles. Grandmother knows exactly what Elisa was talking about. Like I said, nice.
Bears by themselves are scary enough, but a Trickster influenced bear? I didn't envy Elisa. Of course, Bronx takes Yogi out with little problem (and manages to have a cute moment directly afterward).
Fun line from Elisa: "Are Goliath and Angela OK? Heh, right, like you're going to answer."
I think I may have jumped out of my seat and applauded when Goliath and Elisa hugged. It was so unexpected, yet perfectly natural between them (and long overdue I thought--besides which, by this time I had concluded that G & E would kiss SOMETIME during this season, and while this was not quite that, I found it pretty close).
The characters compare notes and go off to find Grandmother, who transforms into the Thunderbird at the (music-less) cliff-hanger. By this time, I was thouroughly confused as to what was going on and went to my old standby attitude--ride the storm out and see what happens.
One of my favorite bits during the ensuing battle: Angela lands on the Thunderbird, and the chest-face wraps its tounge around her leg and throws her off. The look on Angela's face is great. Then of course there's the bit where the Thunderbird's wings pass through Raven's illusions. By now, I already knew he was the bad guy, and applauded Angela's trying to dupe him. Of course, he shows up later so it's doubtful she was successful, but it's nice that she makes an attempt.
Finally, the truth is revealed. Grandmother and Raven are kinsmen of Puck (at least figuratively) and Raven shows his other preferred form. I like how the design on his shirt is evocative of his feather pattern in gargoyle form. Another thing I liked in this scene was Grandmother's quiet joy that gargoyles still live (if they don't thrive). She's a very benevolent Oberati.
Elisa shows the gargoyles to Natsilane, quoting Shakespeare for good measure, to induce him to take up the fight. I love Angela's jump to right in front of Natsilane with the shield and weapon. I also love Nick's line: "Wait! You're asking me to fight a creature of legend...with a stick. Get real." Funny, and indicative of his world view at the same time.
Natsilane's sudden appearance at the caldera always threw me. I try to rationalize it, as usual. When he takes up the cause and armements, his clothes are magically changed and he is transported to the volcano top. At any rate, Bronx, Elisa and Grandmother arrive a bit later than Nick.
I love how Raven gives his chant here: "Totem beasts entrapped in wood, the time has come to...do some good." I guess he's not much of one for rhyming.
It's a nice battle, though nothing particularly of note except for Goliath's playing possum, and Natsilane mastering the use of his weapons.
I like Raven's last two lines in this ep and the way his voice actor (and I am kicking myself for not remembering his name) delivered them. "Your people have fled!" Nicely defiant. And "This place no longer amuses me," along with his laugh (I LOVE that laugh). Now that you mention it, Greg, it would have been a bit better for him to fly off in raven form, but the gargoyle form works alright.
And then Grandmother heals the island. I liked her hair becoming the water.
A word on the repetition (sp?): Yeah, I noticed that, too. It's a bit of an annoyance, but there are little differences. In this episode the sea monster wasn't the focus, the companions were reunited well before the end of the adventure, and Natsilane is younger than Peter Maza, chose to live where he grew up, and doesn't have the "estranged father" element that Peter had. It's not much, but the little details help prevent this from becoming too tired.
HERITAGE is mostly an average episode for me (nothing that particularly grabs me, but a nice watch), and I think it says something that even an average episode compels me to write *this much* about it.

Greg responds...

Yeah. Thanks.

Raven was well-played by Lawrence Bayne, btw.

And of course Natsilane was my first exposure to Gregg Rainwater, who's one of my favorite actors.

Response recorded on April 21, 2004