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When this ep first aired, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.
We had Wolf going after Goliath and Hudson along with Hakon-in-an-axe, and some other guy along the fringes as just comedy relief (these are my initial impressions, mind you). Nothing much more than fighting goes on, along with the revelation that Wolf is Hakon's descendent (and I may be alone, but I rather like that connection).
Regardless, the end made me laugh out loud (and I loved the in-joke of Vinnie humming the theme song).
Over time, I've come to view this episode as being perhaps the most problematic of the series...but I enjoy watching it.
I agree with you on the inherent problems of the piece, Greg. The animation was disappointing--the fight scenes were serviceable but not really involving for the most part, and some comedy was nearly lost. It took a couple viewings before I noticed that Goliath elbowed Hudson in the face while preparing to hit Wolf--the hits occur too quickly for the joke to really pay off--and the second time Goliath nearly elbows Hudson doesn't read that way to me (it just seems awkward that second time).
Then there are the missed opportunities. The mace, of course, is the biggest. As nice as the "battle-axe night" line sounds, I'd rather have the mace. Actually, there could still be a fun line put in there, I think. Maybe not "mace night," Todd's right that doesn't have the same ring to it, but Wolf doesn't strike me as picky about specific terms for melee weapons. "Tonight is CLUB night" would have a nice double meaning to it, or "Tonight is WARHAMMER night" (probably please fans of that old pen-and-paper RPG of the same name). Sorry, I digress.
And yes, I would have liked more resonance to Hudson's battle with Hakon. You get a *little* of "Hudson taking revenge" when he gives a little chuckle as he leaves Hakon trapped in the crusher, but I would have liked more. Love the "clan-slaughterer" title, though.
These complaints aside, I rather enjoy the episode. Vinnie actually helps. It's nice to see what happened to a supposedly "random" person due to the gargoyles' actions. I raised an eyebrow at ret conning him into the role of "big nose" on Air Fortress 1, but I was willing to shrug my shoulders and go with it. I had not seen THE CAGE when I first saw VENDETTAS so the bit with Sevarius getting kidnapped left me mystified and frustrated (it did not stop me from thinking Talon was the kidnapper when I finally did see CAGE, he and Goliath have *very* similar silhouettes).
At any rate, I did like the idea of a "regular person" taking on the gargs. Losing his motorcycle and TWO jobs as well--heck, I'D demand satisfaction for that, too! And I believed Mr. Carter was a real gun (loved the Acme reference, BTW--didn't get the "Kotter" reference because that was before my time). Of course, neither Vinnie nor his gun is quite "regular." Vinnie explains himself (justifies himself, I guess) to Mr. Carter, earning stares from people passing him on the street. Vinnie doesn't seem to notice, though. Of course, not paying attention is what gives him such a difficult night to begin with. My favorite is where he tells "Mr. C" about the second job he lost and then turns around the corner and is surprised that the gargs are gone (as though the world stops when he reminisces). I guess this is part of your point on vengeance, Greg; Vinnie is so wrapped up in "creaming" Goliath--"the Big One"--that he doesn't notice imminent hurt/humiliation until it happens.
But he does not give up! When all other foes are defeated, Vinnie is still the last man standing! I'll come back to him before the end.
On to Hakon and Wolf. I didn't immediately cotton to Hakon being the axe. I noticed it laughed in the car and sounded similar to Wolf, but only when Hakon appeared as himself at the end of Act 1 did I realize who it was.
And Hakon has a LOT of powers. I guess it's a combination of being around for 1,000 years in a magical cave, being full of hate, and possessing a blood descendent that allows him to do what he does with Wolf's body. Flight telekinesis, disappearing, illusions (Hudson sees Goliath as Wolf), and the ability to become insubstantial…I wouldn't mind being able to do that! Hakon was right; Wolf was a fool to give up that power before the gargs were defeated. Of course, Wolf's always been a bit bull-headed about doing things his way and being in charge.
I had no problems with Wolf being descended from Hakon. Quite the contrary, I saw a wealth of opportunity in this development. Of course, Wolf and Hakon don't specifically tell anyone but the audience about this connection so I don't know how anything would develop. But the seed's there.
One interesting point that's made about vengeance in this episode: sometimes, the feelings of vengeance are not mutual. Hudson views Hakon as the ultimate evil, but Hudson barely matters to Hakon--the old gargoyle is just another obstacle to get to Goliath. To Wolf, Goliath, the "alpha male" gargoyle, is the ultimate target, but I somehow doubt if Goliath views Wolf that way. He views Wolf as a powerful and tenacious enemy, sure, but I don't think Goliath singles Wolf out from the rest of the Pack as a "prime" foe. As for Goliath and Hakon, yes there is resonance there, and in the past Hakon was definitely a focal point of Goliath's vengeance, but I think after SHADOWS OF THE PAST, Goliath's enmity for Hakon is no longer as strong. Hakon on the other hand, has lost no hatred for Goliath.
And none of them have any clue that Vinnie even exists until he walks right up to Goliath and shoots a pie in G's face.
That last part still puts a smile on my face. I had not expected the pie, but in a way it makes perfect sense. Why would Vinnie want to KILL Goliath? The gargoyles have humiliated Vinnie multiple times, cost him property and two jobs, but he's still alive, in good health, and not TOO badly off if he can afford Mr. Carter. Based on that, a pie in the face seems a reasonable retaliation.
One bit of dialogue I rather like in this episode is this one:
Wolf: "Come on, are you afraid to die like a man?"
Goliath: "What would a mutate werewolf know about being a man?"
That, coupled with the scene of Wolf scrounging for food in a dumpster, show just how far this former TV idol has fallen. And all just to get Goliath.
I find Hakon's "death" an interesting contrast to the Captain's back in SHADOWS OF THE PAST. With the Captain it was a feeling of peace and ascendancy. Hakon's seems more violent (I love the little electric bolt at the end). It makes sense to me.
I hadn't realized this epsiode had a different voice director until I saw the credits. Honestly, there was no decline in quality so far as I could tell. So take a bow, Greg. And if you see Clancy Brown, tell him to take one, too--he differentiated between Wolf and Hakon very well.
So VENDETTAS, while obviously problematic, is still fun for me.
I'm fond of it. That was the first episode I ever voice directed in its entirety. Of course, I chose it on purpose because it had such a small cast of TOTAL PROS, who knew me and would forgive my ... uh... shortcomings. Ed Asner, Jeff Bennett, Clancy Brown, Jim Cummings, Keith David. Couldn't ask for a more solid, talented and UNDERSTANDING cast for my first effort.