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Like METAMORPHOSIS and THE CAGE, I missed this during the first airing (an episode spotlighting Brooklyn, my favorite character, and the Mutates, my favorite arc). Consequently, this was the last "new" episode I watched. So, I already knew that Brooklyn would be trying to start something with Angela and that Fang would be imprisoned for something, but I was left wondering about how Fang got in there and what closure there was to Brooklyn's crush on Maggie. This ep was almost like a long needed salve for me.
First, let's get the animation out of the way. I must say, with all love and respect, that this really is some of the least in the series. It could have been good--the movements are very smooth, almost liquid and supple. However, some of the characters seem to go slightly "off-model" every now and then, and image continuity suffers quite a bit. Aside from the infamous scene, which I affectionately call the "Two Hudsons and a Bronx" scene, the gargoyles seem to not only change positions, but places during their day of stone sleep. What, did they all have to get up at noon to go to the bathroom/get a drink of water/have a mid-day snack--what?
Regardless, there were some things I liked in the animation. One of the big things, by either accident or design, was Brooklyn's change. He seemed a lot smaller in the beginning, both shorter and skinnier. When he accepts his responsibility though, he seems to stand taller, and become well-muscled. I also like it when the gargoyles bust through the ceiling at the end. Lex looks especially cool with the way his arms are folded.
I was also glad that Cagney was well taken care of--but I already knew he was from THE GATHERING. I did like how the clan did not instantly know that Elisa was missing along with Goliath and Bronx--Broadway had to check out her apartment first.
Brooklyn's reluctance to accept leadership in this situation was nice, and exactly what I had wanted to see through most of the World Tour (too bad I had to wait until summer reruns). I must admit, I had not figured out that Brooklyn saw accepting leadership as giving up on finding Goliath, but it makes sense. I had guessed that he was held back by fear. The fear of doing something wrong, bringing everything crashing down. So, I was half-right, I suppose.
Brooklyn still has his crush on Maggie, but he's not blindly chasing after her anymore. Showing a bit more maturity (sp?) there. He can obviously figure out the best course of action to take (like not outright attacking Xanatos, nor letting on to him that Goliath is missing--I feel like slapping Broadway when he blurts that part out). Of course, he lets his insecurities get the better of him (until Maggie asks him for help...you're right Greg, a damsel in distress is a great motivator for the Brookster). I like how his wings fold into a cape for a moment after he accepts leadership (caping wings is something Goliath tends to do more than the rest, so perhaps as a result of that, it kind of gives Brooklyn that extra majesty).
Hudson, the old soldier, gently nudging Brooklyn in the proper direction. I like him here--not only does he get on well with the cat, and admits he misses the "dog," but he allows Brooklyn to grow. Hudson's always been a very patient fellow, and a sly teacher when he needs to be. He fits the "advisor" role quite well.
Fang--I already knew he'd be a bad guy, but I wondered when the schism came up. Fang loves to have power, and so he becomes, for all intents and purposes, a super-powered bully. I thought he was pretty funny, and a good threat. I especially like James Belushi's reading of "I'll show him who rules down here." Nice and dangerous.
Talon--I always found it ironic that Talon basically goes around saying, "No one is in charge, and that's an order!" Talon's behavior actually kind of adds to Fang's character--it gives the latter a valid point ("For someone who's not in charge you sure like dishing out orders.") I find it interesting how Talon seems mocking/angry when he tells Brooklyn, "You want to be in charge? Speak now or hold your piece!" I wonder what got him in such a tizy about leadership. I would have loved to see the look on Talon's face when Fang says "THIS army--and you're our first prisoner of war" (love that line). Maggie had warned him about Fang....
Now Claw was the surprise for me. I knew he was one of the good guys, but I never thought that he originally went with Fang. Claw's an odd one--he's the biggest and most heavily muscled of the Mutates, and yet he was one of the most submissive. I liked how he took no part in the fight between Brooklyn, Fang, Chaz, and ?, and even looked worried about it. I liked how he helped Maggie escape, and I laughed at his pantomime (along with ?'s reaction of "Boy, are YOU asking the wrong guy!") and his hiding inside his wings. I liked how he never used his gun, instead falling back on his electro-blasts. At the end, he finally grows in resolve, and develops the strength to rebel against Fang. I like the look on his face there. Very nice.
It never bothered me that Maggie was the only female portrayed here, because I had never given any thought to it before. Maggie is more of a "support" sort of character, anyway--she makes suggestions and helps in more passive ways. But she can still give a good tongue-lashing (she tries to scold Fang after he riles up Talon--I like the shocked look on her face when she realizes that Fang really IS trying to get Talon out of the way).
Some comparisons. Although Talon was ultimately captured, it was only because of Chaz and ? using their guns that he fell. Talon bested Fang--in terms of power and stamina it seems to me Talon was the better. The Mutates may have limited flight capability, but judging from Broadway and Lexington's dodging of particle beams, the gargoyles still manage to outdo them in aerial manuevers (sp?). Maggie does a good acting job, and so does Brooklyn. For Maggie, this scene is so much more fun now that I know she was trying to be an actress--but she still has trouble concealing her smile as she deftly unlocks the cage (of course her's is nothing compared to Talon's pleasantly nasty little grin as he exits the tube). With Brooklyn, I wonder how he learned to act that well--did he have to talk himself out of trouble a lot when he was younger?
While I'm on this tack, I liked the closure this brought to the whole Brooklyn/Maggie arc, while also strengthening (sp?) Talon and Maggie as an item. I like how Brooklyn comforts Maggie in the Clocktower and she doesn't flinch from his touch like the first time--in fact, she ran to him. Perhaps appropriately, the plight of her and Talon seems to be what compels him to finally accept leadership (though it takes Hudson's "Is that an order, then?" for Brook to aknowledge it as such). And then when Brooklyn practices his deception on everyone at the end...I must admit I almost believed that Brooklyn would trade his integrity for a chance with Maggie (only to, of course, make the right choice at the end). But then he surprised even me. I like the expression on his face when Maggie looks at him after noticing the keycard, and the smile on her face immediately afterwards. Brooklyn's head does bow when he sees Maggie and Talon's joyful embrace, but it seems to me like a gesture of acceptance as well as sadness. I'd like to think that, even though Brooklyn only had a crush on Maggie, that those two did develop something of a friendship.
As for Maggie and Talon: they really do look happy together, and comfortable in each other's embrace. It's hard not to be glad for them.
Crikey! I almost forgot about Xanatos! Now I know I'm tired. Anyway, Xanatos and Owen were great fun. All the good lines have already been stated, so I won't repeat them. The whole "turret-cannons" thing was rather silly, and I don't think non-projectile cannons would be able to fire when the barrels are bent. Still, I like the looks on X's and Owen's faces as they dodge debris after the castle takes a pretty heavy hit. How much you want to bet that after the gargoyles and Talon started their search, X turned to Owen and said, "Get rid of that security system and fire the man who designed it...and sue him for the damages to my castle"? I, for one, kind of miss that we didn't get to see Xanatos take advantage of Goliath's disappearance--it would have been nice to see how all parties acted in such an occasion.
Pointless trivia: Owen says, "An intriguing development." Immediately after which, Brooklyn says, "Perfect." The ONLY time in the series, as far as I remember, in which Owen and Brooklyn (both voiced by Jeff Bennett) speak two consecutive lines. I would have loved them having a conversation.
Broadway and Lexington smashing the guns with the rocks. I figured the audience was supposed to, at first, think they were bashing Chaz and ? on the head, but I don't know if I ever thought that myself.
My ramble has been kind of piece-meal, but hey, I guess I'm just rather tired now and stressed from trying to find an apartment in LA. I'll just finish off by saying that I really like this episode.
Well, I hope you've found a place (after two years).
But don't worry about it. Your ramble read well to me.