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Time to ramble....
This chapter (episode) was brought to you by:
Director: Kazuo Terada
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Michael Reaves & Brynne Chandler Reaves
Plus the usual suspects, including Frank and me.
The title is one of Michael's. I had the impulse to shorten it to "Shadows", but I didn't.
THE WORLD TOUR
As the recap ended and Tom shouted out: "Avalon doesn't take you where you want to go. Avalon sends you where you need to be!" My seven-year-old daughter Erin said, "Uh, oh."
"Uh, oh," indeed.
And so we begin Tier Four in earnest. Our quartet of travelers weren't headed straight home. Of course you couldn't know at that time just how long they'd be gone. And frankly when we started writing, neither did we.
It wasn't just the quantity of episodes (23 counting the Avalon three-parter, Kingdom, Pendragon, The Green and Future Tense) that we'd spend before everyone was reunited in Gathering One. It was the reruns in between.
What was supposed to be a five week trip became a five month trip. And so, for many of the fans it became interminable.
Why all the reruns? Well, the schedule finally just caught up with us. When Gargoyles was picked up for a second season by Buena Vista, I was asked how many we could reasonably produce for the fall quarter (between September & December of 1995) without interruption.
I told them that we were prepared to do six more. That was all the scripts that had been ordered (Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Beholder, Vows). But I said we could do 13. We had done 13 the first season with a ten month sliding schedule. Now we had just under twelve months so we could certainly do 13 again.
I was asked what's the most we could do. I said, well if we start right now we can do 18.
Not 52? They asked.
52? Are you nuts? (Well, I didn't say that exactly.) I said we'll never get 52 done for the fall quarter. We'll wind up with a lot of repeats. You (Buena Vista) will not be happy with all those repeats.
They were disappointed. So disappointed, that instead of ordering 18, they only ordered six. (If we can't have 52, then forget it. [Okay, they didn't exactly say that either, but that seemed like the basic attitude.])
So we get to work to do six. Two weeks pass. Buena Vista comes back and says. No, do 13.
We respond with, uh, okay. Of course we've lost two weeks, so it'll be a bit harder, but we can do it.
Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "No, do 18."
We grumble a bit, because now we've lost a month of prep time when we could have been building crews, etc. But okay, I said we could do 18. We'll manage.
Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "Do 52."
Now we balk. We warned you we couldn't do 52 in twelve months. Now you want us to do it in 10? It took us ten to do 13.
And so we did. We built multiple crews. Our staff increased exponentially. We expanded to four writing teams from one. We expanded from one pre-production team (in Japan -- waves at Roy) to three and a half (one in Japan) and two and a half here in L.A.
And we worked like little demons to bring you 52 for the fall quarter. But it was never going to happen.
We wound up doing pretty good. I don't have my old calendar in front of me, and I can't remember exactly how many we managed to air in the fall, but it was considerably more than the 18 that I thought we could do.
But it wasn't 52. And so we had reruns. And reruns. And reruns. And most of those reruns came in the middle of the World Tour. And thus... yes... it seemed to go on forever.
Of course, other people didn't care for it for other reasons. They felt it got away from the series strengths of the gargs in Manhattan. Obviously, it left behind four of our characters, and I'll admit that I underestimated the trio's popularity a bit.
But I felt it was important. The World Tour gave our series breadth and hope. It expanded the Gargoyles Universe, added many new characters and in particular added at least four other clans of gargoyles.
And I think some of the stories really kicked ass.
So I apologize for nothing. NOTHING, do you hear me, nothing!!!!!!
Except for that outburst. Sorry about that outburst.
Anyway, our first stop was no place new. Goliath immediately recognizes the ocean cliffside as "home, my home."
Even before Hakon and the Captain start to drive him crazy, his dialogue is laced with nostalgia.
He's so into being back in Scotland, that when he climbs the hill, he doesn't even take Elisa with him. Elisa goes with Angela. Which is no big deal. But usually, G's more of a gentleman than that. Particularly with Elisa.
Angela: "It was always summer on Avalon."
Just wanted to give a sense of things on the fair island. Seemed to fit the legends as well.
I can't say enough good things about the animation in this episode. It's just gorgeous. The work of Disney's studio in Tokyo. WOW! Production AND Pre-Production was done there. All sorts of little touches, like Elisa slipping briefly and regaining her footing. And GREAT, GREAT character animation. Great lighting as the characters enter the tunnels. STELLAR effects animation in the megalith chamber. Just wow gorgeous stuff.
And boy, did we fight over this episode. [Roy, I'd love to get your perspective on this.]
When we got the storyboard from Japan, Frank and I each found something that just drove us nuts.
For Frank, it was the Wyvern cliff. The castle was gone, of course, as Xanatos had taken it away. But the cliff seemed to otherwise remain in tact. Frank was adamant that a chunk of the cliff had clearly been taken away and was part of the Eyrie Building. You could see it on that design. So obviously, we needed a crater of sorts to exist back at Wyvern.
When Frank pointed it out to me, I agreed with him. It didn't bother me as much as it bothered him, but I agreed.
What bothered me was Elisa's parka. In the storyboard, Elisa was wearing a parka with a hood. Of course, she looked great in it. And it kept her warm and safe and dry. But there was of course, no way and no place where she could have acquired that parka. (The Avalon Eddie Bauer, maybe?) So I insisted the parka had to go.
Frank agreed with me after I pointed it out. It didn't bother him as much as it bothered me, but he agreed.
So we gave Japan both these notes. And to our surprise, they balked. They felt that the only changes we were allowed to make to their boards were S&P changes.
We couldn't believe it. Finally, they relented. But on the cliffside ONLY. They felt that was a fair compromise. Since that had been Frank's BIG note, he was appeased. But obviously, I was not. All sorts of people came to me asking me to back down.
But I wouldn't. And I can honestly say it was for you guys that I refused. I knew even then that OUR FANS paid attention. That we couldn't get away with Elisa suddenly having a warm coat from no where.
So I put my foot down, and Elisa stayed cold and wet.
And our Tokyo Studio had another reason to be annoyed with me.
I regret the tension, certainly. But I still think I did the right thing, so I apologize for NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR ME? NOTHING!!!!
Except for that outburst, I apologize for that outburst.
A great movie. A husband tries to convince his wife that she's going insane. It's now a staple of melodrama everywhere. And we used it too.
So the ghosts of Hakon and the Captain try to gaslight Goliath.
We tried to gaslight the audience a bit too. Tried to let them think for a bit that Goliath might just be losing it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe.
You can hear it in Goliath's voice. How he's lost in the past. Angela tells him that he did the right thing all those years ago by saving the Princess.
His only response: "Still, I wanted revenge." I love Keith David's reading of that line.
But we also wanted to play fair, so we dropped a hint: when Goliath hears Demona's voice, Bronx howls. He senses something. Always trust Bronx.
Bronx has a pretty important supporting role in this, btw.
THE AXE OF HAKON
When Goliath and friends first enter the caves, Goliath picks up an old Viking axe. Hakon's Axe. The one he uses in "Vendettas".
Should have been a mace by the way. Should have been the same mace you can see in the opening titles EVERY episode. The one that Hakon used to smash the gargoyles at Wyvern.
Shoulda been. My fault.
Okay, for that -- I apologize. I screwed up. Dang.
THE STREET PIZZA TRADITION
A CLASSIC MICHAEL REAVES' ELISA LINE:
"This place is creepier than the morgue at midnight."
Michael was great at giving Elisa this tough contemporary feel without taking us out of the moment.
Another good one: "Old wounds bleed as bright as new ones sometimes."
GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA
When Goliath pretends that he's NOT freaking out and having hallucinations, Angela can tell he's lying.
I love Brigitte's read there. She sounds SO SHOCKED: "He's not telling the truth."
You can tell she was raised in a world where there was little cause for lying.
Goliath attacking Elisa and Angela, thinking they are Hakon and the Captain.
Very dramatic. And again, we don't know yet, objectively that he isn't just going nuts.
What did you guys all think at this point? Did you suspect the truth?
Anyway, Bronx saves the day.
And Goliath runs off. He also has a nice stumble here. Again, parka aside, much amazing attention to detail and character in all this animation. Stunning.
STAR TREK INFLUENCE
No, I'm not talking about the voice cast.
Finally, we objectively reveal that Goliath is being influenced. We see two floating entities hovering over the scene. He doesn't see them, so they're not part of his dementia. Ergo (I don't have much opportunity to use the term ergo you know), ergo, they must be what is causing this.
Of course, they look like energy beings right out of Star Trek.
We also see Demona, Othello and Desdemona.
More of us playing fair. Sure they're identifiable. But of course, they (plus Iago) would be the souls LEAST likely to be haunting Wyvern and Goliath.
Yeah, Keith was the star. And we're always going on about Jeff's versatility. But we really were blessed with an amazing cast right down the line.
Salli does Elisa SO DARN WELL. It's the little things really.
Like when Angela explains about the fissure and how Goliath could die in it. Elisa says, "Swell." Just, "Swell." In one word, she says everything that needs to be said. It's hard. Try it sometime.
SPEAKING OF FISSURES
Bronx saves Goliath (temporarily) from falling by chomping down on his arm. Always thought that was cool. Would have liked to have drawn some blood, but we knew we'd never get away with that.
And the fissure itself is way cool. I love Goliath's fall.
And Elisa's determination, as she starts to climb down feet first. And I love the contrast, as Angela and Bronx, by virtue of their claws, climb down head first.
Some fans have felt, I know, that the Captain's change of heart at the end comes suddenly. That may be so. It's hard in a mere 22 minutes to achieve these arcs and turns. But as usual, we tried to drop subtle hints that he wasn't fully on board with Hakon.
Hakon is enjoying tormenting Goliath.
The Captain says: "Make an end to it." Hinting at his ambivalence. Torturing Goliath doesn't give him pleasure.
And while we're praising voice actors, how about a toast to the late Ed Gilbert, voice of the Captain of the Guard. Wonderful work here. Evil. Tortured. Redeemed.
Ed, wherever you are... THANKS!
THE FATAL FLAW IN YOUR PLAN
Demona. The Captain must have assumed that Demona died in the massacre. He and Hakon figured that her appearance would be the coup de grace. That Goliath's will would just dissolve when faced with her ghost.
They were almost right. But of course, G is no idiot. A bit slow sometimes, but not stupid. Demona's ghost shouldn't be here. Cuz the dame ain't dead.
[By the way, the idea to have her fist morph into a mace was mine. Just a little post-storyboard tidbit that I suggested amid bitching about the parka. They must have liked the idea because that wasn't one I insisted on, but they did it anyway. When push came to shove, everyone -- on both sides of the ocean -- was just VERY dedicated to making the show better.] [See. It's a mace because that's the weapon that we associate with the Massacre. Hakon's axe should have been a mace. How did I miss that?]
Anyway, Goliath figures out the truth and, hey, we've awakened the sleeping giant. He trashes the phony Demona. And we think he's going to smash all the others.
But something even more chilling happens. They all begin to dissolve around him. It still gives me the creeps. Very cool animation AND music and effects. (Props to the gang at Advantage Audio too.)
Or rather how come we don't have ghosts hanging around ALL the time. I didn't want this episode to open a spectral floodgate, where any character that was killed or had died in the past was available to haunt us.
So the Captain offers two possible explanations: Hate and Magic. Both present in ample supply. Plus Guilt. His guilt. Unfinished business.
Again, very cool effects on the Megalith's here. But the idea emerges from an old (if not very original) idea I've had since I was a teen. The notion that Stone Dances, that Megalith Circles were like Medieval Mystic Dynamos. Circles of power. That build and generate.
Really came to life here.
I love Hakon's line: "I can feel it. I can feel again." I love that transition halfway through the line between where he can feel that the process is working and when he realizes the simple fact that he can feel things again.
But again, watch the Captain feel his own hand. You can see the ambivalence there. Particularly when Goliath becomes the Ghost and Hakon is beating on him. Cap doesn't participate in this.
And Goliath helps him remember what he has forgotten. The Captain doesn't HATE Goliath. His problem is that G's presence has reinforced his own guilt.
But here's an opportunity to redeem himself: "I can't let this happen again!"
He pushes Hakon back.
Hakon: "You've crossed the lines of power, you fool."
You can almost here the Ghostbusters say, "Don't cross the streams."
So Cap hated himself, not G.
G forgives. He forgave the Magus last episode. Now he forgives the Captain. Shows that he's a pretty decent guy.
You think if Hakon made an effort? Nah.
Anyway, I like G's line: "One enemy. And one friend."
And then a positively angelic Captain returns briefly to say goodbye and thanks. I also like the "shackles of hate and guilt" line. And the way he calls Goliath, "Old Friend".
Elisa thinks she's in for a long story.
G: "Centuries long."
And as the sun rises, and Elisa -- as usual -- leans against her stone beau for a nap....
Hakon: "Don't leave me here alone!! Not without anyone to hate!!"
Many people think I should have left him there forever. But evil doesn't rest in peace in my opinion. When left alone it tends to get out of control.
Besides I already had this fun idea. What if Wolf was Hakon's descendant?
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?