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ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT
I never misunderstood the title, although it wasn't until I actually read "A Midsummer Night's Dream" years down the road that I got the reference.
Our travelers are finally back in Avalon again. Sure, they may have stopped off between trips, but this is the first time since AVALON part 3 that we actually meet the characters again. I sometimes think Angela's line ("I'm beginning to think this Manhattan is a myth.") and Elisa's homesickness are nods to the audience as well as character moments. By this point, I was quite ready for them to get home. And I had a suspicion that it was going to be soon--both because of the above referenced lines, and also because I knew we'd be getting the big card and seeing Oberon and Titania. The "Previously on..." segment hinted that this would be the episode in which they made their appearance.
In answer to your question, Greg, I can't remember if I thought we'd be seeing Titania as early as the appearance of Titania's Mirror. I think not, simply because I didn't expect the plethora of Children that the World Tour brought out. And, after THE MIRROR, it wasn't until AVALON part 1 that Oberon was at all mentioned again.
The Lord and Lady's entrance was indeed grand (make a platform for yourself and materialize in a bolt of lightning), and their designs were nice. I'd always wondered about the skin-color choice, and I can appreciate and support the decision to not specify any human skin color on their preferred forms. I do wonder about the choice of color though--blue for Oberon, green for Titania. Was the choice based on their distinctions of "King of the Night" and "Queen of the Day" (I'm not sure, but I thought I heard them referred to as such)?
The female gargoyle with the triceratops plate finally speaks! And later on we learn her name, Ophelia! I was very glad for this--by virtue of both design and exposure in the AVALON three-parter, Ophelia really stood out. I'd hoped she'd be given a bit more in the way of character and was pleased to see that happen.
The "conversation" with Oberon always struck me as an exercise in "leaping before looking." Here you have two beings making a flashy entrance, and one of them the Weird Sisters refer to as "my Lord." So what do you do? You *demand* them to declare themselves while partially drawing your sword. You threaten to throw them out. You leap at them. You basically do all you can to piss them off.
Goliath was the one to have the right idea. I like his line "These strangers may fail in courtesy, but we need not." He actually manages to respectfully phrase a request for identification that Oberon finally answers. Of course, by this time Elisa had already pulled her partially-iron gun on Oberon and definitely pissed him off, so Oberon starts to "quicksand" everyone.
"Once and Future Queen"...I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but flash back to King Arthur with that line.
It always struck me that Oberon spoke in the third-person plural ("the Royal 'We'"). Really makes him sound like royalty of old.
Titania intervenes on behalf of our heroes (and just before Goliath's face was about to be covered with soil). "You are over-pert, my Queen." That's such a strange phrase, "over-pert." I'm not sure of its meaning (nor its proper spelling for that matter).
"Why bother with such foolish fairness." That has to be one of the most cliched-villain lines I've ever heard Oberon say. And his reaction when Titania offers herself as prize is just so great--he loses his dignity for a moment at his joy at the mere thought of remarrying Titania. Well, she is kinda hot.
Goliath, Angela and Gabriel are the chosen champions. Somehow, I just knew that was how things would turn out. I mean, they're the main gargoyles on this Island. It's kind of like Kirk, Spock and McCoy. You don't send out Kirk, Spock and Ensign Ricky unless Ensign Ricky's going to die horribly. Similarly, you don't send out Goliath, Angela and Job unless you want Oberon to make Job die horribly. It's all in good fun!
Now we have the "iron" discussion. This was a new aspect of the Oberati for me--they have a weakness! And I loved the "silver be for vampires and weres" line.
Sadly, this is one of the more foolish cuts I've seen Toon Disney make. They seem to want to cut out any close-ups of the gun or scenes where the ammo casing is shown being removed (they can't show how a gun can be loaded, Heaven forbid!). As a result, the whole conversation skips over this IMPORTANT bit of information. It goes from Elisa saying, "Oberon didn't seem too pleased when I pulled my piece on him," to the Guardian saying "Oberon's children have always been vulnerable to it..." It's like they're talking about the gun now! They can at least TRY to edit it in a way that doesn't screw up the information.
Sorry, my digression.
Gabriel complains about "running away from a fight" and Goliath says, "Consider it a strategic withdrawal." I kind of laugh at that simply because I just start thinking of other "pleasant euphemisms" for the same thing--kind of like, "I'm not going to the bathroom, I'm freshening up."
Angela says "Oberon's no stronger than a child now." Goliath corrects her, "As strong as any of Oberon's Children," but it's too late for me, my brother and some of my friends. I just get this vision of a mini-Oberon running up and kicking them in the shin or something.
Back at the ranch--er, palace--the forging has begun. I like Guardian's almost pleading line, "I still think a sword makes more sense." Here, Princess Katharine points out that Titania gave them a clue. Now I was quite interested to see what the weapon was going to be.
Oberon's "pillar of flame" bit is very nice. Even as a Child he has great power. But he still falls into the pit-trap. It's rather funny just how sure Angela and Gabriel are that it worked.
"Dare you try to make me look foolish, mortals?!" Every time Oberon says that, I just want to yell out, "Who needs to try?!" I don't know if I'd do that if I was actually in that situation, but it might almost be worth it to see Oberon's reaction. Is it possible for Oberati to have conniption fits?
Despite having his powers reduced, Oberon is able to pull rank over the terrain quite admirably.
I will confess, when Angela and Gabriel grasped hands in the air, and smiled at each other, I was one of those who misread that. Looking at it now, it seems more like a "coming up with an idea" expression. Immediately after this, they dive towards the volcano.
The flight over the lava is...problematic somewhat for me. Visually, it's gorgeous. This is the best lava in the series, period. And the hands are great (ironic that Oberon conjures up gargoyle hands to catch the gargoyles). And I love the way they turn Oberon's trick against him. However, once again, reality just wants to cut the suspension wires of disbelief. The fact that they fly so close to the lave without their skin searing off, the way they're able to maintain a steady altitude with all the hot air beneath them. Thankfully, the scene is still well done in the visual and staging department, so in the end, I'm all right with it.
I have to agree with you on the forging, Greg. I think I was okay with it until my brother pointed out that you're supposed to cool it AFTER it's been hammered into a proper shape. I never thought about the lack of a mold before, but pouring it on the ground never made much sense to me. Still, I love your little "forgotten scene," Greg.
Ophelia really did raise a good point here. And even though Elisa's argument seems to close the discussion, it really was kind of lame (at least my mother thought so we she saw this). I mean, how would Elisa feel if she came back from the World Tour and found a bunch of strangers squatting in her apartment? Oberon and his Children may have been gone for 1001 years, but as Luna said, "What is time to an immortal."
A better argument would have been that while Oberon can afford to be magnanimous and allow them to stay with no real problem, the Avalon clan couldn't so easily pull up stakes and leave to a world they are not really prepared for. Thus it becomes a question of necessity and survival. They HAVE to use the weapon, whether they like it or not.
Goliath typically tries to send Angela and Gabriel away, and typically they remain. "Gargoyles stand together. That is our way." So things have come to where Angela is reminding Goliath of the Gargoyle Way.
I love the way Oberon's hand looks when he calls up the ground to attack the gargoyles. I also enjoy Goliath's little dig, "But did Titania want the Island to defeat us, or you?"
Goliath has a real "Hulk" moment here. His eyes glow brighter then I've ever seen them, his roar manages to sound fiercer, and he breaks the rocks in front of him with a two fisted smash as he lunges at Oberon.
Then Oberon turns into a diamond. Jerk. I did love the "Now you're just quibbling" bit. And it's a wonder Angela and Gabriel didn't cut their knuckles on Oberon's cheeks and chin (those edges could probably cut glass). Even though his power is reduced, Oberon uses it more effectively than most of the Children we've found in this series.
But even after taking out Angela and Gabriel, Oberon gets caught off guard by one last attack from Goliath. His "Good, very good," actually sounds impressed.
A tangent here, I wonder if maybe Goliath really did impress Oberon--more then anyone else even. I mean, Goliath was the first one to speak to him with some amount of respect and decorum, and has displayed great strength and at the end a bit of wit and cunning. Of course, Oberon still knows that Goliath could never beat him, but maybe he gained a little respect for the gargoyle.
Oberon returns home to what was supposed to be victory and winds up facing defeat. I had not expected a bell--having not been as familiar with the old legends as Todd--but when Elisa gave a little re-statement of Titania's lines, it started to make perfect sense.
I don't know for certain if the Guardian was going to kill Oberon and only let up at the last minute. I kind of hope not, I hope it was more of a show for Oberon, but I admit it would be more interesting if that was the case. At any rate, Ophelia seems pleased that they weren't going to kill the proper Lord of the place. And heck, Goliath helps Oberon to stand.
Oberon says he will reward the "strange behavior" of mercy by allowing the clan to stay with his blessing and bestowing upon Goliath's clan the Honor Guard position as well as immunity to the arts of the Oberati. Still, the cynic in me wonders if maybe Oberon's just trying to save face with that "reward" bit. ;-D
When Titania calls Oberon "husband"...he smiles. He has a very quiet, but at the same time a very strong joy. I guess he really did miss her.
While Titania is speaking with Goliath, Oberon is in the background talking rather animatedly with...I think it was Angela and Gabriel. Complimenting them on their performance in the chase? I guess he can be a rather nice guy to speak with when he's not pulling rank.
And then Titania says she helped "To repay a favor rendered." I had not picked up that both she and Anastasia were voiced by Kate Mulgrew, and didn't until Anastasia spoke in THE GATHERING. As a result, this left me racking my brain trying to figure out when they came across Titania and whether or not it was in one of the two episodes I missed.
I figured, with all the talk from our travelers about going home, and with finally seeing the Lord and Lady of the Third Race, we'd finally get home in the next episode.
I wasn't quite right. :-))
A nice payoff to nearly a season's worth of pipe-laying.
Hey, I'm nothing if not a good pipe-layer.