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Blaise writes...


Like METAMORPHOSIS and later, KINGDOM, I missed this episode the first time it aired. I did see it after METAMORPHOSIS though, and the rest of the second season (sans KINGDOM). Consequently, I had already become familiar with Vinnie in VENDETTAS, and had seen the new designs of the Mutates in THE RECKONING. Even though I had seen Claw in FUTURE TENSE, I wasn't sure if he was the same character as the "Tiger Mutate" because he didn't have wings. Fang in a jail cell...didn't surprise me. Having seen the way he liked his new form at the end of METAMORPHOSIS, I kind of figured he was a ne'er-do-well. Regardless, I was *extremely* happy to see this "lost chapter" in the series.
Even after having seen VENDETTAS, I still remained convinced that it was Talon who had kidnapped Sevarius. I think it was the kidnapping-sillohuette (sp?) that sold me--it looked enough like Talon in my eyes. And I remained convinced until I saw the image on Vinnie's security screen.
Speaking of which, it was fun watching Vinnie here, even in hindsight.
I had seen Beth Maza first in CLOUD FATHERS, so her appearance here had less impact on me than it probably would have, but she had some nice moments (especially the reminisce (sp?) about Derek).
I did rather like the new character designs (and my Mom, who has a thing for black panthers, *loves* Talon). I also like that Maggie tries to be the peacemaker in the first battle.
Actually there's a lot of interesting things about Maggie in this episode. Even though she's not a "warrior" she is confident enough to disagree with Talon, something she does in the beginning fight, when Talon accuses Goliath of being in cahoots with Sevarius, and at the end when Talon is ready to kill the doctor regardless of the chance for a cure.
Her interaction with the gargoyles themselves presents some fascinating qualities. She's openly apologetic to Hudson when Fang and Claw capture him and Bronx, and seems rather quiet around all the others...except Brooklyn. He is the *only* one in this episode who she becomes angry or confrontational with. I really like this. It's like a holdover from their first encounter, and has her actually arguing against Brooklyn for the idea she had disagreed with in the first place (especially when his thoughts threaten the hope that Xanatos will cure her). Also, it strikes me that the ease with which Maggie can confront Brooklyn is an indication that he is...more familiar to her, maybe? She just seems (to me) to act far less awkward around him. Of course, she did take him out with an electric bolt a month and more back.
As for Brooklyn, he really showed his maturity in this ep. He does not make a decision based on his crush here, and his letting Maggie and the rest go free probably went farther towards gaining their trust than trying to argue with them about Xanatos (well, Maggie and Claw anyway, Fang was out cold).
Re: Talon and Maggie's relationship. I saw it happen pretty much right when she glided down to stand between Talon and Elisa & Goliath. The way they talked to each other, the way they touched each other--it's amazing how close a couple can become when they've got nothing to rely on but each other (and two others, one who doesn't talk and other who talks too much) for several weeks.
Sevarius (and unfortunately, Greg, the misspelled briefcase was never corrected) is a lot of fun in this ep. We see him at the mercy of a gargoyle again, and he has some fun lines here ("I dislike having to work with someone hanging over my shoulder--Oh, wonderful, now there's two of you!"). My brother (who watched this with me the first time) loved one sequence in particular: in the third Act, when Goliath and Elisa are having their heart-to-heart, Sevarius is in the background mixing chemicals that frequently produce small explosions of green smoke. Fun!
Fang I had already known at length before, so it didn't surprise me that he was a bit of a jerk to Claw and abrasive with everyone else. What surprised me was that, despite this, he seemed rather chummy with them all (especially at the end) and never even argued with Talon. Maybe he did like being part of the group at first, and didn't have a bone to pick with Talon as long as he was sent to beat people up.
I finally got to learn more about Claw, too. I liked that his muteness was a result of trauma from the transformation.
Goliath and Elisa stay true to their personalities. Even when I found out that Goliath was the one who kidnapped Sevarius, I didn't feel for a minute that it was out of character for "our hero." I had never thought that Goliath's behavior here was a sort of indicator of what he would be like in EYE OF THE STORM, but it certainly makes sense. I did like Goliath's spying on the happy reunion at the end. It's not often you get to see the big guy smiling like that.
It's both frustrating and cool the way Xanatos dupes Derek. You'd think Derek would be more likely to at least investigate the claims of his sister (whom he's known his whole life) as oppossed to a man he's known personally for less than a year. But Derek, in addition to being blinded by rage may be in a bit of denial. Maybe he's still not entirely ready to admit that he was wrong about Xanatos? On the other hand, Xanatos is just that good. Before even mentioning the "placebo" Xanatos reinforces the idea in Derek's mind that Goliath is in cahoots with Sevarius. And Owen of course picks up on it ("It appears Sevarius *left* with Goliath").
There's an animation moment that I really like: when Owen is scanning the computer for labs that Talon might have taken Sevarius to, the readout is reflected in his glasses.
In contrast,an animation moment that bugs me: twice at the clocktower, once while fighting Brooklyn, and again when he's hanging unconcious between Maggie and Claw, Fang is inexplicably replaced with Talon. It just so mars otherwise good moments.
During the fight at the tower, I love it when Brooklyn uses the clock hand to get the jump on Fang. He looks so neat doing that.
On the subject of fights, Goliath and Talon's skirmish in the Labyrinth always puzzles me. Goliath seems to fare pretty poorly in the fight, more than I would have expected from him. I sometimes wonder if maybe Goliath was hesitant to hurt Elisa's brother.
The finale in which Xanatos finally reveals himself to Talon is, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the series. Talon of course has one of those great realizations of betrayal and irony ("I trusted you! You turned me into a monster and I defended you!"). And Xanatos...doesn't gloat, doesn't patronize, he just states simple facts. And then, half-surprised half-cheerful, acknowledges Goliath. This is an antagonist for the ages.
I liked the moment when Maggie was willing to take the potion, and Talon talks her out of it. It's a great individual character & relationship moment. I really enjoy it.
Of course Goliath offers to have the Mutates join his clan. I knew that Goliath would do something like that (again, he's staying true to his personality). I also, already knew that Talon and co. wouldn't be part of the clan proper (from seeing later episodes), but I was still surprised at how the Mutates decided to stick out on their own.
It was pleasant to have a rather upbeat ending in Derek's story for a change. I was glad (and maybe a little surprised) at how the Maza family was able to deal with this change in their son. It's just so good to see such a strong family, I guess.
It was several viewings before I really noticed the open cage at the end and got the symbolism. Regardless, I liked it.
Despite some animation problems, this is a really good episode.

Greg responds...

It sounds really good when you talk about it, anyway. You're ramble was a great read. Thanks.

Response recorded on February 24, 2004