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I have to admit, when this first aired, I was more than a little surprised to see Arthur showing up again (or at least, so soon after AVALON). Likewise with Griff. And it was even more surprising that you guys teamed them up like this. Surprising and delightful.
I was also pleased to see the return of Macbeth (for the last time in the regular series). I have to admit, at first I was a little disappointed that Macbeth was the antagonist, simply because after CITY OF STONE and SANCTUARY he had become such a tragic and sympathetic figure, you wanted to root FOR him, not against him. Also, I'm not sure, but I think a lot more of Macbeth's reverance for Arthur could have been shown. In fact, when he and Arthur are crossing swords (well, sword and mace) he says, "You will kneel to me" in an almost spiteful way. Of course, in the end, Mac shows himself to actually be a bigger man than Arthur when it comes to admiting defeat--he does so instantly, unlike Arthur who had to be coached (and I had never thought about the similarity to those who had challenged Arthur's legitimacy back in the legends).
Anyway, back to London. I agree with your reasonings for not giving Arthur a sword (though, personally, I would have preferred a double-bladed axe to a mace, but that's just me). I just love Arthur's surprise at a locked church--says a lot about how times have changed.
BTW, you said that one of Arthur's trips was to the Guggenheim in NYC--New York City, yes? I must say, I find that a bit surprising. Since he didn't run into the clan, I can only guess that it must've taken place during the day. And if I were him, I would have been more than a little cheesed-off that my path looped on me like that ("Aww, I just LEFT here!").
The Stone was a surprise, but cool (and I love Frank Welker's voice). If the Stone's speaking didn't surprise Arthur, though, I wonder what Arthur was reacting to when he gasped and lept back into Griff. He might have felt someone else in the room, I guess.
As for Griff's design, for the most part it's okay in this ep, except for where he recites the poem (nice poem, BTW). At this point, he loses his neck. It just looks like there's this huge LUMP in the middle of his shoulders that has a beak, eyes and a mohawk.
At any rate, I really like Arthur's portrayl (sp?) here. A lot of times in popular culture, it seems, he's turned into this infallible, wonderfully wise, Paladin-like character. While that is definitely a side of his personality, I like that it's only a side--Arthur is a human, and as such, imperfect. He's not terribly humble, he perfers acting to thinking (like you said), and continually refuses to accept the possibility that he may NOT be destined for Excalibur again. Actually, this makes him easier to identify with.
One bit I like: As Macbeth is performing the summon spell, Banquo yells over the wind and rain, "HE AIN'T PAYIN' US ENOUGH FOR THIS!" In hindsight, it's like a bit of foreshadowing for him and Fleance leaving Macbeth's service (and joining up with Castaway).
Arthur immediately recognizes Macbeth (no fond memories there), and Macbeth, of course, has no memory. I like how that doesn't really phase him, though.
The gargoyles expertly handle Macbeth and his goons (it's great how they disarmed them all in less than 5 seconds). Brooklyn displays his leadership of the clan when he opts to stay and collect "some answers" rather than pursue Macbeth.
And then the clan gets a big ol' 1-2-3 punch. 1) There's a gargoyle standing right in front of them--when they thought they were the last all this time. 2) King Arthur is there as well--THE King Arthur. 3) Both the gargoyle and King Arthur have seen their missing leader and friend, Goliath. It's a heck of a lot of information to take in, and that (coupled with their trying to find Excalibur and deal with Macbeth) kind of numbs them to the ramifications of Griff's very existence for the moment. Or, at least, that's my guess. I would have loved to hear them wonder whether or not Griff was the only other one.
One nit, here: The poem says "Ebon glass in emerald frame." And they (correctly) figure it's the lake, but the lake is just a dark blue. Ebon should be black. Oh, well.
Finally, we meet the Lady of the Lake. A fun little note, here: a few months ago, I turned some of my friends onto GARGOYLES, and sometimes they had interesting observations. One of them was along the lines of, "The Lady of the Lake would HAVE to be a Child of Oberon to have a body like THAT in the Dark Ages."
I like how Macbeth plugs in his crystal ball, and uses a monitor screen as his "scrying pool." Ah, the conveniences of modern technology.
Can't add much to what you've already said about the Water Djinn sequence, mostly because I find myself agreeing with you. Still, you guys only had 22 minutes or so to work with.
I got a kick out of the whole "Brooklyn" exchange. There are some inconveniences to being named after a location.
Like Todd, I was a bit surprised that Banquo (and Fleance as well, it seems) know about Macbeth's true identity. Mac must have a LOT of confidence in them.
At about this point, the Trio and Hudson largely take a backseat to the main action--Arthur and Griff vying with Macbeth for the sword. That's not to say that they don't have some good fight moments with Banquo and Fleance.
While it was never readily apparent that Banquo and Fleance were wearing power-suits, that knowledge does help explain a couple things I'd always wondered about: 1) How Banquo didn't lose his legs when Hudson hit them with what looked like the sword's cutting-edge, and 2) How Banquo wasn't crushed under the weight of both the tree AND Broadway.
Actually, Fleance seemed to be the more competent of the two in this battle--almost single-handedly taking out all four gargs. And she's got a tough hover-bike, one that crashes, but can still be used as stairs later on.
Griff encourages Arthur to continue fighting for Excalibur--yup, our king's found his first uber-loyal supporter.
The dragon...I am a BIG dragon buff, and I was indescribably pleased to see one in GARGOYLES, even if it was technically made of stone. The "vents" on the neck were an interesting and unique touch. And of course the whole "fight-and-flight" sequence was fun. The Trio and Hudson seemed to have the roughest time of it, being knocked back at the first, and then dodging fireballs while flying around the dragon's head, (Hudson whacking it with his sword...which right now reminds me of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where Lancelot whacks the French castle with his sword before retreating).
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is Griff's way of freeing Arthur--making the dragon drop him and then grabbing him by the *corner of his cape* as he starts to fall! Arthur never even blanched. Then again, this is the same guy who a few seconds later plunges his had into the magical fire to retrieve Excalibur. I loved that part, BTW.
Poor Macbeth looks so sad when he drops the remnants of the false sword. I like that Arthur asks Macbeth to join him. As I recall, that was something he often did in the old legends: make a friend and knight out of a former foe. Of course I also recall reading somewhere that Excalibur could burst into blue flame or some such thing, so what do I know?
Arthur pretty much states what his next quest is (find that old fart, Merlin), and then does something I didn't quite expect...he knights Griff. I have to admit, maybe it's a bit prejudiced on my part, but I never contemplated the idea of a gargoyle-knight. I like it though.
I didn't get the idea that this was a sort of "backdoor pilot" to a spin-off, but once I found out, it made perfect sense. If this ep was any indication, it was already shaping up to be a fine show.
There's my ramble, and tomorrow I start replying to EYE OF THE STORM.
I think you misunderstood me. The Stone sent him to the roof of the Guggenheim. I can't imagine that I said that he'd been there before. I don't think he'd been to Manhattan before. Of course, it's been two years, and I have no memory of what I wrote at all. But that seems unlikely.