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Thanks for the "Future Tense" ramble, Greg!
The first time that I saw this episode, I thought that the lightning striking Goliath was some sort of time warp that had sent the skiff forty years into the future (I certainly didn't believe that "Avalon time" was responsible for what had happened to them; all of the previous World Tour adventures had been in the present day, after all). Of course, now it's clear that it was Puck who was responsible for it (and I'd picked up on Goliath's wish giving the little trickster his loophole).
I don't remember too much else of my initial response, but I know that, the moment the skiff got blown up, I was wondering how they were going to undo that. Of course, Bronx's death (followed by Angela's) raised that question even more, though I don't know if I was specifically wondering that any more by that point. (I find myself reminded of a similar response that I had when I first watched the episode of "Buffy" where Cordelia wished for a Sunnydale that Buffy never came to and Anyanka granted her her wish, when the vampires killed Cordelia; the moment that that happened, I began wondering in earnest how they'd undo the situation with Cordy dead. But that's another story.)
The Steel Clan robots being redesigned to bear Xanatos's goatee was a great touch. Another was when Xanatos's image appeared on the Eyrie Pyramid to deliver his Xanatopia broadcast; the way that it was set up made it look as if he had three heads.
I don't know if I picked up on it when I first watched the episode, but it's clear now that it wasn't the real Xanatos. I certainly can't imagine him now taking over New York in an open dictatorial style (as you pointed out yourself in the Gargoyles Season One Bible, he doesn't need to take over the world because he's able to get almost all of what he wants under the current system), forcing the remainder of the populace to huddle in the streets eating rats, etc. Much too cliched villain-style for him.
I liked the contrast between the trio: Brooklyn bitter, Lexington worse than bitter (gone evil), and the blinded Broadway (in contrast) being a gentle soul who never gave up hoping for Goliath to return and believes that what's important was that he did come back. (Not to mention getting such a touching death scene, and I'm glad that you convinced Adrienne to let you include it.)
The part about Brooklyn and Demona being a couple that really amused me was that not only was Goliath shocked by it, but so was Bronx!
Lexington strikes me as an example here of "You can become like what you hate". As you pointed out, his cybernetic nature echoes Jackal and Hyena - and I noticed that he also had lines around one eye that bore an eerie similarity to Fox's eye-tattoo in shape. A great touch.
Lexington observing the deaths of Matt, Claw, and Bronx struck me as a bit of a cheat in how it was handled, in that it was the one scene in Puck's nightmare that wasn't done from Goliath's point of view (since everybody in the "Future Tense" sequence other than Goliath is just an illusion of Puck's). Though I'm not certain as to how else it could have been handled. (I also noticed that the Xanatos Program's eyes had the same design to them as Lex's eyes in that scene - another hint as to Lexington being behind it?)
I'd picked up on the cybernetic implants of the Thailog Shock Troops, but hadn't realized that the helmets that the Mutates were wearing were also implants.
Lex's capture by the Thailog Shock Troops didn't set off any warning bells; I'd just assumed that it was another "loss of a good guy" moment and was therefore genuinely surprised to see Lexington resurface as the villain.
Goliath and Xanatos definitely got a great fight to the death in cyberspace, which stands out all the more in contrast to how their feud would *really* end (as the next few episodes would show). And it struck me as just like Xanatos to quote from both "Hamlet" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
I really thought that the Phoenix Gate was gone for good at the end and so your mention of the plans for "Timedancer", when I first read the MasterPlan document, definitely took me by surprise. (I'm glad that there was still a little time travel left - I like time travel stories, especially ones into the historical past, and when Goliath threw the Gate away, I had felt a little sad that it looked as if we wouldn't be getting any more of those in "Gargoyles".)
Thanks for a great ramble, Greg!
You too, Todd.