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Saw "VOWS" last night with the family. I'll ramble on that one shortly, but here's the memo from November '94. Shari Goodhartz wrote the outline, which Michael Reaves edited. Shari's entire story was more or less set at the Eyrie Building. It was about Demona and Xanatos using the wedding to get half of a magical talisman from Goliath. Goliath prevents them from using this macguffin, but realizes once and for all that he and Demona are over.
As I noted below, it seemed like that wasn't enough. So I took ALL of Shari's story and CRUSHED it into Act One. Then I came up with the Time Travel story that was the heart of VOWS. All of Acts Two and Three as presented in the memo below are my work. But I think Shari and Michael did a great job of executing it in this jam-packed episode.
One little tidbit. Petros was my original name for Xanatos' father. (I went to college with a guy named Petros.) But Shari and/or Michael named the dad "Stefan", which I went with here. At the recording session, Marina Sirtis pointed out that the name didn't work for some reason that I can no longer recall. (Aris, any thoughts?) So I jumped in and rechristened him Petros. Later we realized that both Elisa and David had fathers who had been named variations on Peter. To me, that was a very cool thing.
Notes on "Vows" Outline...
Basically, it still didn't seem like we had enough story. So I compressed what was here and tried to extrapolate forward to fill out acts 2 and 3.
I'm calling it the PHOENIX GATE. It can be used as a gateway to anywhere and anywhen. (The Gate will, I believe, eventually give us our Battle of Britain Story. And give the Archmage a powerful weapon for reaching and conquering Avalon.) By combining the two halves of the Phoenix Gate and invoking the Latin translation of the phrase: "Burn down the walls of time and space!", the gate opens in flame and sucks up anyone in the immediate vicinity, transporting them to the place and time chosen by the invoker. But choosing requires incredible concentration. Otherwise, the chooser's emotional or mental whim of the moment may cause the gate to drop everyone off at Burger King instead of Fort Knox.
So we're going to do a time travel story. Which means we need to establish traveling rules for our series. I'm going with the most conservative, most restrictive rules possible, because more than any other type of fantasy or science fiction convention, time travel is really subject to logic abuse. So...
Whatever's happened in the past has already happened, including the actions of our time travelers. Recorded history may be incomplete or incorrect, but true history cannot be changed. When Demona and Goliath go back in time to meet the young Demona, both of the older gargoyles are seeking to change or influence the young Demona's history. But this meeting already took place. The older Demona remembers it. (Maybe not every precise detail, and maybe she didn't fully understand the event at the time, but she does remember it.) Whatever influence the modern gargoyles had on her has already been figured into the events that followed, many of which have already been depicted in other episodes. (Sadly, in this case, neither Goliath or Demona had any real sustained influence on the younger Demona at all. That's the tragic flaw of both Demonas. They just never learn.)
WHERE AND WHEN ARE WE GOING?
Castle Wyvern. 975 A.D. The castle is ruled by the 21 year old Prince Malcolm of Wyvern. Malcolm's chief advisors are the 35 year old Captain of the Guard [NOTE: per my recent work on the timeline, the Captain was 29 years old in 975.]; the Archmage (nine years younger than when he appeared in "Long Way to Morning"), and Hudson who is biologically 49. Young warriors, Goliath and Demona are both biologically 19, (in "Long Way..." they were more like 23). If you have space for them, Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway are all biologically nine. Bronx hasn't hatched yet. In contrast, our modern Goliath is biologically 29 years old and Hudson's 59.
That's the theme. Vows. When you keep them. When you can't. Why you do or don't. Don't hesitate to play it up.
In thinking about it, I think Stefan Xanatos should be a naturalized American Citizen living in a north eastern fishing community. Maybe somewhere in Maine. He's still Greek, but he emigrated before David was born. That way, David Xanatos could have been born and raised to pursue (and pervert) the American Dream.
1. Night by some landmark, (maybe the Goldencup Bakery Building or the Cyberbiotics Tower). DAVID XANATOS (in armor) and GOLIATH fight. No stolen Cyberbiotics devices. I really don't want to sweat this scene too much. There are a hundred ways that this could have begun, and in the interest of getting to our main story quicker, I don't want to spend a lot of time "prologing" our prologue. But for the sake of consistency, I'll posit the following: Xanatos left a vaguely menacing message for Goliath with ELISA, whom he can reach easily enough at the precinct house. (The location of the rendezvous itself may have suggested bad news.) Goliath, prepared for a trap but not about to hide from danger, went to the stated rendezvous and, expecting the worse, waded into battle before Xanatos could get a word in edgewise. Well, Xanatos is always up for a little workout, so he fought back with relish, taking his time to reveal the real reason he had asked Goliath to come: He wants Goliath to be best man at his wedding tomorrow night. As a little incentive, he's invited DEMONA, and wrested a promise that she'll be on her best behavior throughout the event. [Reveal as much or as little of the "prologing" as necessary in order to make the scene play.]
2. Clock Tower just before Dawn. HUDSON seems strangely ambivalent, but Elisa and BROOKLYN can't believe Goliath would even consider going to the wedding. They have a hundred reasons each why it's obvious lunacy. Goliath doesn't put up much of a counter-argument. He knows they're right. He won't go. Dawn comes. They all turn to stone. Elisa heads home.
3. Castle during the day. In the courtyard, Xanatos waits for something, still in his armor but with the helmet off. A helicopter lands, piloted by FOX and carrying STEFAN XANATOS, a big, tough, weathered but honest Greek fisherman. Stefan is a little put off by his son's armored attire, but tries at first to make the best of an awkward situation. He is teasingly superstitious about his son seeing Fox on the day of the wedding, but the happy couple make their own luck and patronizingly ignore his concerns, which darkens Stefan's mood. Fox exits to get dressed. David asks his dad, what he thinks of the place. Stefan is frankly appalled by the conspicuous consumption. Why does his son need a place like this? "Oh, reason not the need, father. I wanted it. So I took it." Stefan is disgusted by his son's attitude. Why does he need to wear armor? David assures him, the armor is purely defensive. Defense against what? What kind of life does his son lead? He think David would have been better off being a humble fisherman, like himself: "In fact, if I ever get my hands on the man who sent you that coin, I swear I'll teach him a lesson for meddling with my family." David smiles when his Dad brings up "the coin". That's ancient history, Pop. Besides, that coin was only worth about 20 grand. David's now worth "considerably more". But Dad's not letting him off the hook. If he had never received that coin anonymously, he'd never have become what he is now. "You know, Dad, someday I'm going to prove to you that I really am a self-made man. And that's a promise." Besides, if the castle and the armor upset you, wait until you meet the best man.
On cue, OWEN enters with the JUDGE who is to perform the ceremony. Owen has prepared a little videotape of the gargoyles for Stefan and the Judge to watch. That way, they won't swallow their tongues when they see Goliath and Demona. As they all head inside, Owen questions whether this is necessary, will Goliath really show? He'll be here, Xanatos assures him, "I'd take an oath on it."
4. Back at the clock tower during the day, we push in on the stone Goliath and ripple dissolve to his dream/memory.
5. Castle Wyvern, 975 A.D., night. YOUNG GOLIATH finds YOUNG DEMONA standing on the tower with YOUNGISH HUDSON. Demona seems ridiculously happy to see him. Goliath doesn't want to miss PRINCE MALCOLM'S Wedding. She seems a bit distracted. She looks at Hudson, who says "Go on, then." She and Goliath glide down to one of the upper windows of the Great Hall. From there, they watch this strange human ceremony of bonding, including the exchange of rings. Goliath comments on the beauty of the symbolism or something, and Demona takes out the PHOENIX GATE. She separates the two pieces and hands him one. She swears she will never stop loving him. (If she seems a little too intense, we'll chalk it up at this stage to the emotion of the moment.) Goliath takes his half of the gate, and somewhat awed by her intensity, makes a similar vow. They embrace, stroking each other's hair. (The Gargoyle equivalent of kissing.)
6. Dissolve back out to the Clock Tower at Dusk. Goliath and the others explode awake. Goliath goes to a secret hiding place in the clock tower. (Behind the comatose, COLDSTONE, perhaps.) We see the GRIMORUM and the EYE OF ODIN, as well as Goliath's half of the Gate. (He had hidden it a thousand years ago in a hollow brick at the castle, which Xanatos had transported to NYC unaware of its contents. Goliath had retrieved it before moving to the Clock Tower.) He clutches the gate-piece in his huge hand and leaves, never giving the other gargoyles a chance to talk him out of what even he must realize is a foolhardy quest. Hudson watches him go.
7. Night at the castle. Xanatos and Owen wait in the courtyard for Goliath. Both are now dressed in tuxedos, and Xanatos is wearing a lapel pin that depicts a pyramid with an eye at its apex radiating light. Owen questions whether he should be wearing the emblem of the ILLUMINATI SOCIETY in public. Xanatos says cryptically that it's a necessary risk. [By the way, I have no idea if this is an Illuminati symbol or not. But it seems to fit.] Goliath arrives. Owen offers him a bow-tie. Goliath is not amused. Xanatos gives him Fox's wedding ring to hold. That's what the best man does, you see. Hold the ring, until the couple exchanges vows.
The three enter the Great Hall. Everyone is there. The judge and Stefan have already seen Demona, but Goliath is even more startling thanks to his imposing size. Fox is wearing a white dress, but something non-traditional and sexy. And Demona broods. Goliath approaches her, clutching the gate-piece tightly in his fist. She does not even want to talk to him. She feels she has to attend this farce because Xanatos insisted, and she needs to keep him as an ally. But she cannot fathom why Xanatos wants Goliath here. Goliath attempts to remind her of the last wedding they attended together, but she is not interested in reminiscing.
The wedding ceremony begins, rather informally at first. Keep it very short. (At some point, the Judge should ask Fox's real name. Fox coldly informs him that "Fox" is legally her real name now.) We get to the exchange of rings. Goliath hands Xanatos one for Fox. Demona hands Fox one for Xanatos. Demona looks across at Goliath and seems to break down. Just as the Judge pronounces David and Fox, HUSBAND AND WIFE, Demona runs from the Hall. Goliath pursues. Xanatos & Fox, exchange glances. "Now the fun really begins." They start to follow the gargoyles. Stefan tries to restrain his son: What are you up to now? You'd interrupt your own wedding to engage in Machiavellian scheming? But Xanatos is in a bit of a hurry. He and Fox head out the door pursued by Stefan. The Judge turns to Owen very confused. Owen says something dry and witty. And then both men follow the rest.
Outside, Goliath catches up with Demona before she can glide away. Does she remember their vows? Is there still a chance for them? He shows her his gate-piece. He's always kept it. She gently removes it from his hand and takes out hers. So has she. She puts the interlocking pieces together to form the PHOENIX GATE. And then... she laughs. Goliath is such a fool. He's fallen right into Xanatos and Demona's sentimental trap. Now she has the Gate. And she intends to use it. And just as the Xanatos clan approaches, she speaks the incantation. A huge bird of fire seems to engulf Goliath, Demona, David, Fox and Stefan Xanatos. The fire consumes itself. Owen and the Judge arrive just in time to see the last spark go out. There is no sign of the wedding party. Owen: "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected."
8. Wyvern, Scotland, on the cliffside near the forest overlooking Castle Wyvern. (This is where Hudson and Goliath froze the morning of the gargoyle massacre of 994 A.D. Only now, it's 975 A.D. -- the night of Prince Malcolm's wedding.) Our five time travelers materialize out of the flaming gate. Stefan asks "Where are we?" David: "The question isn't where... but when?"
9. Pick up right where we left off. Demona laughs and launches herself off the cliff. Goliath pursues, leaving the humans behind. Xanatos doesn't waste any time. "Follow me!" He runs back into the forest followed by Fox and a very confused Stefan.
10. Air chase. Demona manages to put some distance between herself and Goliath. She chants the incantation and vanishes into the flaming "Gate", leaving Goliath alone.
11. In the forest, Clan Xanatos comes upon TWO HOODED RIDERS who are being attacked by FOUR ARMED BANDITS on horseback. Although he is unarmed, Xanatos never hesitates, wading right in against the bandits. Xanatos, Fox, the larger of the two riders and even Stefan make short work of the bandits. The bandits are forced to flee without their horses, which Xanatos commandeers for his family. The large rider is grateful but suspicious of these strangers in bizarre garb. Then he notices Xanatos' Illuminati pin and warms up fast, briefly drawing back his cloak, to reveal that he wears the same Illuminati emblem. He tells Xanatos that he is the NORMAN AMBASSADOR. He and his "companion" bring "priceless gifts" to Prince Malcolm of Wyvern. Xanatos may wear strange garb, but he's a great fighter (and a fellow Illuminatus). The Ambassador would be honored if Xanatos' would accompany them the last few miles to Castle Wyvern. He also promises that Prince Malcolm will be very grateful for their help as well.
12. Having lost Demona, Goliath soars closer to the castle, debating with himself whether or not he should land there. Then he spots Demona again from a distance. He circles to intercept her, but as she lands on a castle battlement, she is greeted by a young Goliath. And the adult Goliath realizes that he wasn't tracking his enemy, but her younger counterpart. He comes in for a landing on one of the high towers of the castle, and surreptitiously watches the young lovers below him. It almost tears his heart out. And then he hears Hudson's voice behind him, demanding to know what he's doing up on the tower when he had been assigned to hold watch on the battlement. Adult Goliath turns to see his MENTOR, (the YOUNGER HUDSON). When Hudson gets a good look at him, he immediately sees that something is wrong. And when Hudson sees young Goliath and young Demona, below on the battlement, he's ready to cry sorcery, and Adult Goliath has to slap a hand over his mouth.
13. At the gates of the castle, Xanatos, Stefan, Fox, the Ambassador and the hooded rider are greeted by young Prince Malcolm and the ARCHMAGE. The rider is revealed to be PRINCESS ELENA of Normandy. (I made this name up, and have no idea if it's accurate to tenth century Normandy.) The Ambassador had hoped that by arriving in secret, he and the Princess would avoid just the kind of trouble that Clan Xanatos saved them from. Malcolm is very grateful. He was to marry Elena tomorrow, but because the princess was attacked, he has decided to move up the wedding to this very night. He tells his SERVANTS to prepare the Great Hall. At the Ambassador's prompting, Elena pulls out her father's wedding gift. It is a priceless golden treasure known as the PHOENIX GATE, which she will officially present to the Prince after the ceremony.
14. Meanwhile, with great difficulty, Goliath is trying to convince Hudson that he is not a sorcerous creature, but a visitor from the future. (He does not choose to reveal how far in the future.) Goliath is a bit flustered himself: he doesn't know how much to reveal, and he has to remind himself not to use anachronistic names like Hudson and Demona. He manages to babble out the fact that sometime in the future, he attended the wedding of an enemy and that he and his... enemies were sent back in time by some kind of sorcery. He is particularly concerned for the younger versions of himself and Demona. He needs his MENTOR's help. (This conversation will explain the older Hudson's ambivalence in Scene 2. He remembered meeting the adult Goliath after the latter had attended the wedding of an enemy.) Hudson isn't sure what to believe, but he looks deeply into adult Goliath's eyes and decides to trust him.
15. The Archmage returns to his laboratory. He is furious. At first we think he's ranting to himself, but then we realize he's talking to his apprentice, who cowers a bit in the shadows. It turns out that the Archmage hired the bandits to steal the Phoenix Gate from the Normans. To Malcolm, it is just a gaudy bauble, but to him it is the second talisman of power that he needs. (He has the Grimorum. Doesn't yet have the Eye of Odin.) With it he can transverse space and time in a thought. He needs his apprentice to steal it from the Princess before the wedding. Hesitantly, the apprentice steps forward out of the shadows. It is the young Demona.
16. Fox and Stefan watch as Xanatos hands the Ambassador a letter, and returns to face his father. He tells him that the letter contains instructions for the Illuminati society and two sealed envelopes. The Society is to wait 1000 years and then deliver the first envelope to a young David Xanatos of Bar Harbor, Maine. The envelope contains a small coin, a minor reward requested of the Prince for saving the Princess. The coin is practically worthless in 975, but by 1975 it will be worth about 20 grand. The second envelope is to be delivered twenty years after the first. It contains a detailed account of how the coin was obtained. That's how Xanatos knew how to set all this up. He had received instructions from himself last week. "So you see, Pop. I am indeed a self-made man." Fox beams with pride. Stefan is quiet for a beat. Then asks: "All right, Mr. Big Shot Time Traveler. You sent yourself your little letter before you answered one important question: How do we get home?"
17. Young Demona sneaks into the Princess' room through a window and grabs the Phoenix Gate, while Elena's back is turned. She leaves by the same window, but she doesn't get very far. Suddenly, her older counterpart appears before her in a fiery flash of Phoenix flame.
18. Up on the tower, the burst of Phoenix flame attracts the attention of Goliath, Hudson -- and Young Goliath down on the battlement! Adult Goliath knows the flame signals the arrival of his... enemy. But his younger counterpart MUST NOT investigate. Hudson agrees to waylay young Goliath. Adult Goliath takes off in the direction of the fading flame.
19. Meanwhile, the older Demona confronts her younger self. Both hold a complete version of the Phoenix Gate. (Don't you just love time travel stories?) Anyway, the younger Demona is obviously stunned by what she sees. The older one is right to business. She knows for a fact that her arrival is about to attract some unwanted attention. They need to go somewhere private to talk! She invokes the Latin spell and her gate opens into fire that sucks in both Demonas. At the last possible second, Adult Goliath flies into the fiery gate, and all three vanish.
20. Castle Wyvern. The highest tower. 994 A.D. A few nights after the Massacre. The 994 counterpart of Goliath is frozen in stone (in Thinker pose) at night! Small fires still burn. Fragments of other gargoyles litter the ground. On the cut, the Phoenix Gate deposits Young Demona, Adult Demona and Adult Goliath a few yards above the tower. The Demona's drop down gently enough, but Goliath's momentum from scene 19 sends him crashing into the stone floor of the tower. Adult Demona seems ready for this as well. Before Goliath can recover, she slams him across the back with all her might, plus both fists and the anger of 1000 years. He is knocked unconscious.
And then her real work begins. Young Demona is still in a state of semi-shock. Adult Demona wastes no time. Yes, she is her older self returned from the future with a warning. See the destruction. The death. Goliath frozen in stone at night! Humans did this! And you can stop it! You have the Phoenix Gate. All you have to do is think of a place and time. Hold it in your mind, and by speaking the incantation you are there. With its power you can accomplish anything. Do not give it away to the Archmage. Do not share it with... Do not share it! USE IT!! Destroy all the humans! Rule the Gargoyles! Rule the world!! It's all within your grasp!!!
Goliath starts to come to. Young Demona rushes to his side. Adult Demona intercepts her. "Believe me, I know exactly how you feel." But you cannot trust Goliath. He is weak. He cares more about the humans than the gargoyle clan! The greatest favor you can do him would be to put him out of our misery. (And here is where our Demona has made her big mistake. A mistake made despite the power of hindsight. Because Demona never learns. And because at this time, the younger Demona loves Goliath with all her heart.) Adult Demona: "You must know I'm right! Can't you see I am what you will become?!" And young Demona, still largely innocent and good, snaps: "I will never become like you!" Young Demona attacks adult Demona! Fight scene. Frankly, Young Demona wouldn't be a match for adult Demona, except that the latter is a bit reluctant to trash "herself". Still, it's for her own good.
Goliath regains consciousness and joins the battle. The tide turns and Adult Demona is knocked out this time. Goliath takes her version of the Phoenix Gate from her. Young Demona is pretty near shattered by this whole experience! She turns to Goliath, pleadingly. What should she do?
Goliath is reluctant to use Adult Demona's methods. But he also wants to undo some of the damage the Adult Demona did. Young Demona is touching the frozen version of Goliath. Our Goliath approaches her. Tells her not to worry about this. Not to fear it or look for it. It is not the big catastrophes that must concern her. It is the little slights. The little jealousies and angers that prey upon the heart. Fortify yourself with love and trust, and you need not fear this future.
Goliath looks at Adult Demona. He holds up her Gate. He's not sure he knows how to use it. The younger one lifts her version. She knows how. She speaks the words and the three of them disappear in flames.
21. They reappear in flame on the same tower in 975. Xanatos, Fox and Stefan are there. (The highest point on the castle was the logical place to watch for the Phoenix flames.) Goliath would be tempted to leave Xanatos behind if he wasn't afraid of the damage the guy could do to the future. Goliath says good-bye to young Demona. By now, he's figured out how the gate works. Young Demona steps back out of range. With some hesitancy, Goliath speaks the Latin and our five time travelers disappear.
Young Demona is left alone. She still has her version of the Phoenix Gate, which she holds tightly behind her back. The Archmage comes running up the stairs, clutching the Grimorum. He had seen the Phoenix fire and jumps to the conclusion that young Demona let somebody else get away with the Gate. Before she can reveal that she still has her Gate, he punishes her with a bolt of lightning, and threatens to tell the Prince that she stole the Gate. Hudson glides in, landing between Demona and the Archmage. Hudson wonders why the Archmage would expect Demona to have the Prince's wedding present? If Demona did steal it, who would she be stealing it for? The Archmage takes the hint, begrudgingly. But he won't forget this. He heads back downstairs, grumbling: Those strangely dressed strangers have disappeared. The theft of the Gate can be blamed on them. Obviously, Young Demona never reveals that she still has the Gate.
Young Goliath glides in and in a repeat of the first half of scene 5, Demona seems ridiculously happy to see him. Goliath doesn't want to miss Prince Malcolm's Wedding. Demona seems a bit distracted. She looks at Hudson, who says "Go on, then." She and Goliath glide down to one of the upper windows of the Great Hall.
22. Xanatos' Castle in Manhattan, 1995. A repeat of the end of scene 7: Owen and the Judge arrive on the scene just in time to see the last spark go out. There is no sign of the wedding party. Owen: "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected."
Our five time travelers reappear. Demona is recovering. Goliath may have defeated her, but he failed too. Demona remembers his little speech from when she was young. She never forgot it. And it didn't change anything. "More's the pity," he says. And he glides off with the Gate.
In excellent spirits, Xanatos approaches his father. "Did you have a good time at the wedding?" Xanatos Senior takes a penny from his pocket and flips it to Xanatos Junior. David catches it and asks, what's this? Stefan says, "It's called a penny. It's not worth much now, but in a 1000 years, who knows. It's my wedding present to you. Because it's all you seem to care about." Stefan turns his back on his son, and walks away.
23. Goliath arrives back at the Clock Tower. Elisa and Brooklyn are there, ready to blast him for going to the wedding. But Hudson takes one look at Goliath and stops them. Goliath puts the Phoenix Gate back in its hiding place with the Grimorum and the Eye. When he turns to face us, there's a single tear rolling down his cheek. Push in on him and ripple dissolve...
24. Castle Wyvern, 975 A.D., night. M.O.S., Young Demona separates the two pieces of the Phoenix Gate and hands one to Young Goliath. They embrace, stroking each other's hair. FADE OUT.