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THE NEW OLYMPIANS
(I had written a rather lengthy ramble on this last night, but due to some glitch or other, lost it. So, here I try to recreate that which was lost.)
This episode is always a little difficult for me to watch, mostly because of the unreasoning hatred and bigotry displayed by many of the New Olympians. It "angers the blood" in me, if you will. Things like Helios' "What a foul stench, it must be coming from the human!" just rankle me. I mean, I know that they have legitimate grievances (or, at least, their ancestors had them), and if they had only avoided Elisa, I might be a bit more tolerant. Despite the wrongness of his decision, I can like Boreas because he at least seems to try. Even Taurus, who has the seed of hatred inside him, does not always make decisions based on it, and even breaks up the riot. But the behavior of the rioters and their ringleaders--Ekidna, Kiron, and especially Helios (I don't know why I single him out, but if feels right)...it's just completely inexcusable (and loathsome).
Oddly enough, I don't feel the same way about Proteus, who is arguably more evil than any of the rioters. I mean, this is the guy who performs evil acts BECAUSE they're evil, right? And yet, I enjoy watching him. Why is that? Is it because Proteus does not make any excuses for his evil (at least, not here)? It's like...okay, you watch ANGEL, right Greg? You've seen that episode with that one guy, Billy (I think that was his name), the Hell-freed misogynist who could incite instant and violent hatred for women in any man he touched? (If you haven't, please skip to the next paragraph) It turned out that Angel was immune because he had worked past hate a long time ago, but he admitted that even as Angelus (his evil side) he was never motivated by hatred so much as a perverse sense of glee from inflicting suffering. And while I can actually kind of enjoy watching Angelus work (no matter what he does), I could feel only raw disgust and hatred at Billy, who tries to justify his bigotry. It's the same way with Proteus and the rioters, here.
Anyway, on with the episode.
I loved the music that played when the skiff passed through the "shimmering" area and New Olympus was first revealed.
Also, the designs for this episode were great--I love the many and varied character designs of the New Olympians themselves, especially Boreas and Helios.
And I echo Erin's assessment of the city: "Wow."
As soon as Elisa shoved the gargs off to the side and said, "No telling how they'll react to gargoyles," I immidiately put two and two together and figured out where this episode was going. I mean, whenever anyone says something so obvious like that it's almost like asking for the reverse to happen.
Interesting restraint system the N.O.s have. There's not much more I can say about it, but I did find it rather peculiar.
I agree with you about the Senate House walla, Greg. I must have heard that one guy say, "Humans can't live with us! They're dangerous! They're animals," or something like it, about two, maybe three times.
Also, theres a moment here that I always find a bit odd. When Taurus removes his helmet/mask, the way it's staged--the camera angles, and Goliath's spreading his wings--seems to indicate that this is some sizeable revelation. And yet, it was rather anticlimactic. Taurus, if anything, looked exactly as I expected him to look.
I like it that the "Leader" of the New Olympians holds a "lightning staff"--sort of harkens back to Zeus. Or is that thing particular to the Boreas of New Olympus?
And there's a moment towards the end of the Senate House scene that I missed until the third or fourth viewing: Goliath and Elisa embrace.
I do have to wonder about Boreas' decision here. What did he expect to happen? Did he have too high an opinion about the behavior of his people or did he suspect what would happen (which would make his decision somewhat malevolent)? I'd like to believe the former, but if that's the case, then he may be just a bit too optimistic.
And then we have the riot, which I've already touched on. Helios gets things rolling with his "stench" comment (kind of a racial slur), but Kiron throws the first punch. Like Todd, I find these two particularly reprehensible because they're supposed to be peace-keepers. Ekidna I actually find myself being more tolerant towards (maybe she reminds me of Demona). It's odd, but the way she talks about how the human's treated the N.O.s in the past sounds almost as if she experienced it personally. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into that.
While Taurus' arresting Elisa is unjust, it did probably save her life in the immediate moment.
Actually, I find Taurus very interesting here as he's walking Elisa towards her cell. Whatever hatred he may have for humans, it doesn't stop him from telling Elisa about his father's murder by Proteus. He even manages to sound a little nice when he says "Make yourself comfortable, you could be here awhile." He also breaks up the riot, threatening to arrest everyone, and fire Helios (I love Helios' meek, "Y-yes, sir!"). Of course, I think a little of Taurus' own bias still shows through when he says "If you've got a problem, take it up with Boreas." It almost sounds as if he has a few things he'd like to say to the winged-one. Of course, I may again be reading too much into this.
Like I said, Taurus strikes me as someone who, while subject to prejudice, TRIES to act in spite of it. He's not always successful (he arrests Elisa instead of just moving her out of harm's way), but I'd like to think his effort counts for something.
And now we come to Proteus. I have to admit, my interest in him increased when you mentioned in a previous response that he was probably the closest thing to "pure evil," "evil incarnate," what-have-you that we have yet encountered in the GARGOYLES universe. There are many reasons I would have wanted to see the New Olympians spin-off, and a further exploration of Proteus' character was one of them. I would have loved seeing him in action beyond the scope of this one episode. And the late Roddy McDowell...what a great voice and performance.
I love how Proteus immediately begins quizzing Elisa about her mode of transportation. You can tell he's already thinking of escape.
Admittidly, Proteus may not be the best actor--"Who's that guy?" is probably the worst Goliath impression I've ever heard--but then again, he didn't have a heck-of-a-lot of time to study his subjects. I mean, if any of us had shape-shifting powers we could probably pull off a decent impression of the characters because we've watched and studied them so much. For what little time he had, Proteus' acting got the job done (up to a point--I'm not sure how convincingly he can turn to stone).
I find it interesting that Proteus' voice doesn't change when he becomes the Cyclops (is that a sort of secondary, "preferred form" for him?). I also find it interesting just how easily he seems to be hurt in that form. His fist connects with a collumn and he's in pain, and immediately after this he is felled by one punch from Taurus (granted it's to his EYE, but...).
One of my favorite sequences is in this episode. Proteus-as-Taurus, heads up to the Collinadium (however that's spelled) and begins to overload it. As he's doing this, Talos is explaining why this is a bad idea, and asking him to stop (while displaying missles) in such a frustratingly calm voice! I find it hilarious! Maybe that's why I feel sad when I see Talos' inert body hanging from Proteus' fist--I like the robot.
Angela does real well at dodging the restraints. If the sun hadn't rose, she probably could have kept it up for a while.
I always wince when Kiron tips over Bronx. It looks like something might have broken off.
Back to Proteus really quick--I love his transformations in this episode. The way he just sort of liquifies. The change from Goliath to Cyclops (with the two eyes becoming one) was especially well-done.
Taurus has his "I don't understand" moment, which is kind of required for episodes tackling subject matter like this. When the character actually says those words, I usually find it a bit too on the head, but Michael Dorn's acting helps make it work. And I love the wink Taurus gives Elisa.
One thing that I think many viewers may miss the first time is that Elisa DID NOT change the whole island--which is what would happen in another, more standard series (kind of like what TGC did with ANGELS IN THE NIGHT). Only Taurus and Boreas have really come to trust Elisa (Taurus even waves to her).
"The time may soon come when the world will have to face the New Olympians." When I first watched this, way back when it first aired, my mother watched it with me. As soon as Boreas said this, she turned to me with a smile and said, "I smell a spin-off." If we only knew how right we almost were.
(Then there's my brother, who thought that line sounded more like a threat...).
A little note on voices here. Having been an admirer of Rob Paulsen's work, I was glad to see him finally show up on GARGOYLES. I only wished I'd gotten to see more of him as Helios.
Overall, the voices were all well done (especially when the actors played Proteus-as-their character).
Yes, Taurus and Coldstone do sound a little too much alike, but Taurus has a slightly different speaking style than Coldstone, so that helps somewhat.
Of course, now that you've mentioned that Taurus, Talos and Proteus each had different voices originally, I'm going to be going crazy trying to figure out who they were!
This is a nice episode, with some rather difficult subject matter for me, but I like it. And I know I would have loved to see the NEW OLYMPIANS series.