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I re-watched "Legion" the other night. I'll post my Rambling on it sometime this week, but first here's a memo from September, '94, written by me to Michael Reaves in response to Bob Skir & Marty Isenberg's first draft outline on the episode [reprinted here unedited]:
Notes on "LEGION" Outline...
Lots of great stuff in here. I just want to make sure that (1) we're clear on the theme and we milk it for all it's worth; (2) we're not skipping beats that will keep things mysterious and interesting for our audience; (3) we clarify the relationships (and names) a bit, and (4) we divorce it all from the 994 Viking attack.
General notes, in no particular order:
O.K. I'm as well versed in our series as anyone is going to get, and even I found myself confused by (and backtracking because of) our name problem. Coldstone... Pre-Coldstone... Coldstone's Love... Coldstone's Foe... Coldstone's Dyslexia could cause Coldstone's Ulcer. So let's give our "internal characters" names. I would suggest carrying these names into the script for use in character descriptions and stage directions. Use the names to indicate who is controlling the Coldstone creature at any given moment. And when we are in the inner world of Coldstone's psyche they can also be used as headings for the dialogue. The only place where we should not use these names is in the actual spoken dialogue. They are for our designation only, since, as we all know, gargoyles had no names in the tenth century.
COLDSTONE = The cyborg/gargoyle creature currently known as Coldstone and voiced by Michael Dorn. Use this name only when referring to him in the present. Or in stage directions when referring to the external creature. And obviously, this is the one name we can use in spoken dialogue.
OTHELLO = (Hey, we've already done Macbeth.) The situation you described naturally brought Othello to mind. Othello will refer to Pre-Coldstone (also voiced by Michael Dorn) when he is internally depicted as he was in the tenth century.
DESDEMONA = Will obviously refer to Othello's female gargoyle lover. (Please remember that Desdemona was a warrior in her own right. She can justifiably be confused by this new and bizarre situation, but she shouldn't be weak, clingy or changeable.)
IAGO = Will refer to Othello's male gargoyle foe.
The main problem I had with this backstory was its tough-to-swallow interweaving with the Viking massacre. I sense you were trying to explain how all their gargoyle parts got mixed up together. This isn't necessary. I think it's safe to assume that when Demona and Xanatos were gathering parts to create Coldstone, they couldn't find enough usable parts from any single gargoyle. We don't know the magical and scientific details that were necessary to revivify this creature, but I think we can safely assume that neither Demona or Xanatos simply wanted to graft Othello's head onto a robot body. Demona especially would have wanted the creature to be as much a gargoyle as possible. So she found a large chunk of Othello's head and a few other usable pieces. She chose him because the Viking who shattered him was lazy and left some chunks intact, but also because she may have had reason to believe that Othello had shared her negative views of humanity. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of him to build Coldstone. So she turned around and found a nice unbroken piece of Desdemona. And over here, a piece or two from Iago. Toss in Xanatos' computer parts and you've got yourself a creature. She didn't have to be mixing them together by accident. We can posit that she did it out of necessity.
That gives us the freedom to remove this event from the Viking attack. We don't need to imply that Goliath is distracted by an impending Viking attack (which frankly I don't think he was expecting). And we don't need to sandwich in Othello's pursuit of Goliath on the fateful night. And we don't have to toss Demona into this particular story at all. (It's crowded enough as it is.) In fact, the incidents of this story's flashback could have happened months or years before they were all destroyed by Hakon's men. Let's give ourselves this breathing room.
I think Coldstone only has one voice-box: Othello's. No matter who controls the creature from the inside, from the outside he sounds like Michael Dorn. I'm not simply suggesting this for logic and/or economy (we'll still cast a different actress and actor for Desdemona and Iago in the mind-world sequences), but because I think we'd be missing a bet by not keeping our audience guessing until the third act as to what's causing the odd behavior of Coldstone. When Othello is in control, he will remember the events of "Reawakening". Neither Desdemona or Iago will, and they will react very differently to being awakened in the 20th century. When the computer is in control (i.e. when Xanatos is issuing simple and direct commands), Coldstone will respond like an automaton. But in every case, he will speak with Dorn's voice. This does more than present an interesting challenge for Dorn. It keeps our audience guessing as to what is going on.
However, we have no desire to keep our storyboard artists and animators guessing. Please resist the temptation to write the script as a mystery that only reveals things to the reader when the audience discovers the same truth. We need this teleplay to be a blueprint: as clear and straightforward as possible. We need to track who is in control of Coldstone at all times. (And if the above paragraph goes without saying, accept my apologies in advance.)
The theme of today's adventure is TRUST. And I really want to emphasize it as much as possible. Misplaced trust. Lack of trust. The need for trust. Betrayed trust. All those good trust beats. Goliath puts his trust in Coldstone, who seems to betray it. Othello trusts Iago instead of Desdemona and Goliath. Iago puts his trust in Xanatos. Etc. Etc. Etc. Just at the point where you've put the trust brick through the plate glass window of our audience's attention is the point where we've hit the mark. Anything short of that is liable to get lost in the shuffle of such a complex story. Playing this theme in action and dialogue will help keep us focused.
Goliath's goal is to restore Coldstone to the clan. Goliath misses his rookery brother. Remember, there are so few gargoyles left, that Goliath would value every one.
THE POLICE TICKING CLOCK
Rather than create a whole new character in charge of the police probe robot, I'd like to use Matt Bluestone. It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but there've been episodes of Hill Street where normal everyday cops were given the opportunity to test and evaluate new hi-tech material to see how it performed in real life situations. I think we can buy into it here as well. Particularly given Matt's personality. He's the kind of guy who would study the manuals and learn how to use this stuff. He's seen Goliath and Coldstone battle in Times Square. And he's an odd combination of compassionate idealist and minor paranoid. He might feel that it's better to know how this stuff works than be at the mercy of it. He could get into it.
And once the VR hook-up was "borrowed", he'd be pretty intent on finding out what was going on. He knows weird shit has been happening in Manhattan, but we've kept him an outsider to the world of the gargoyles. Though he's a decent guy, his ignorance makes him a viable threat to our heroes.
SCIENCE, SORCERY & CYBERSCAPE
In the beat sheet that follows, I've tracked the story in the most basic terms. [The science mostly.] But as you noted in your outline, Coldstone was created from both science and sorcery. So feel free to embellish the basics which I describe here. Particularly in the cyberscape scenes. Here, I've laid out only the bare bones to make sure the story tracks. The cyberspace reality should be fluid and changing, easily influenced by the thoughts, emotions and memories of the players involved. (Particularly Othello, but also Desdemona, Iago and even Xanatos and Goliath if appropriate.)
ACT ONE - (The idea in this act is to depict Coldstone under the control of each of his four masters (Xanatos, Othello, Desdemona and Iago) in turn, without revealing to the audience or our characters what exactly is happening.)
1. The George Washington Bridge, just before sunset. Coldstone's red robotic eye burns awake in the muck beneath the bridge. Automatic repair work begins. (Remember, the last time we saw him, Demona blew him away with a cannon.)
Intercut between these repairs and brief flashbacks to 10th century Scotland. Fleeting images of Othello and Desdemona in love. Of Iago sewing seeds of jealousy in Othello while Desdemona confides with Goliath. Of Othello attacking Goliath. Of Desdemona coming between them.
Then repairs complete, Coldstone rockets into the night sky. The creature speaks with Coldstone's voice (Michael Dorn) but in a modulated automaton-like fashion. "Repairs complete. New programming downloaded. Initiating Prime Directives."
[Basically Xanatos has broadcast a new binary code and reactivated the creature. It is Xanatos' computer programming which is now in control. Othello is still dormant.]
2. Goldencup Bakery Building, dusk. (Since this is a fictionalized location anyway, let's relocate it to Manhattan, so that we can pretend that it is located within Elisa and Goliath's "beat".) Coldstone [still under complete computer control] raids the government installation. His approach is anything but subtle. Alarms sound.
3. Clock Tower, just after sunset. Elisa's tosses Lex a headset receiver/transmitter. She tells him that she and Matt had been put on alert and now they got the call. Something's going down and they're going to test "the thing". It's clear from dialogue that they've discussed this already, as Lex is very excited to see how and if "the thing" works. Goliath is curious. What are they talking about? A new police robot probe for dealing with high-risk situations. The cops control it by using a virtual reality hook-up. Goliath: "Virtual... Reality?" This he has to see. He and Lex will follow her by air. They promise to stay out of sight.
4. Back at Goldencup, Coldstone moves like a juggernaut towards the computer room. He does not fight against the building's security forces, he simply ignores all opposition. Finally, he plugs into the computer. Suddenly Coldstone seems to have no idea where he is, what he was up to or why everyone is shooting at him.
[Although we shouldn't reveal what's going wrong yet, the computer virus has begun its attack on Coldstone's programming. It causes the creature to freeze up for a moment, and then Othello wakes up within his own body.]
Not knowing how he came into the windowless room, Coldstone doesn't even know the way out of the building. Well, he may not have the answers, but he can do something about his attackers. He begins to fight back. The humans are driven out.
5. Outside, Morgan tells Elisa & Matt that some kind of semi-robotic creature is pinned down inside. Matt is putting on the VR interface visor. Elisa asks him if he's sure he knows what he's doing. Matt says "Trust me, I didn't study all those manuals for nothing." The probe robot moves in. (Obviously, this thing shouldn't come close to being on a par with any of Xanatos' robots, but let's not make it a push-over either.) Lex and Goliath watch from building-tops, despite Elisa's warnings that they could be mistaken for the "creature". Lex is fascinated with the probe. Goliath is more interested in seeing what kind of creature the probe flushes out.
6. Meanwhile, Matt is getting the hang of the probe robot. At first it doesn't seem to be responding well. It freezes up by a computer bank and the visor goes dark for a few seconds, but then it kicks into gear. The robot approaches Coldstone. Matt tries to get Coldstone to surrender, via his connection to the Probe. But Coldstone's still a 10th century warrior at heart. He won't surrender to some Iron Tree stump (or whatever it looks like). So now it's Coldstone vs. the Probe. The Probe gets in a couple good shots, but soon it's on the ropes. Matt whips the visor off, just before the probe is destroyed. The feedback could be dangerous. (But note, the robot should not be blown to bits, just wrecked.) At any rate, the battle has led Coldstone to an exit (or at least to a small window, which he cannons into an exit). He takes off. Spotted by Lex and Goliath who pursue.
7. Goliath, Lex and Coldstone are reunited. (Maybe Coldstone is defensive and antagonistic until he gets a clear look.) They pause on a building top to talk. Goliath is thrilled that Coldstone is still alive. Coldstone is mightily relieved to see a friendly face. Lex is a bit dissatisfied with Coldstone's non-answers to his questions about what he was doing at Goldencup. But Goliath happily invites Coldstone to join the clan at their new home. They take off. Lex glides up close to Goliath and quietly questions the wisdom of taking a former enemy (and a guy who's acting pretty strange) into their home. But Goliath TRUSTS his rookery brother.
8. They arrive at the clock tower. Coldstone is especially thrilled to see his "Old Mentor", Hudson. Coldstone didn't see Hudson in "REAWAKENING" and is thrilled that Hudson survived the centuries. Nearly overcome with emotion Coldstone says there's only one other that he would be happier to see alive. And suddenly, he begins acting very odd. "Where am I? Goliath is that you? What's wrong with my voice?" That kind of stuff.
[The virus has had a systemic effect on Coldstone. It broke Xanatos' pre-programmed control, allowing Othello to regain control of his body. But as the system continues to break down, other voices are coming to the surface. You could call them ghosts, if you want. But they are the personas "haunting" the pieces of Coldstone that were neither Othello nor electronic. The first to surface is Desdemona, summoned to some degree by Othello's intense emotional memory of her. She has not been briefed on her circumstances and is legitimately confused.]
Somewhere in here, Coldstone catches sight of its own reflection, freaks out and takes off. Goliath and Hudson pursue. Brooklyn and Broadway are about to follow, when Lex stops them. Something's wrong inside Coldstone's head. And he thinks he knows how to find out what.
9. Goliath and Hudson catch up to Coldstone (after a chase?) at Ellis Island. As they approach, Coldstone stands very still, out of breath. Stunned by the huge city of Manhattan.
(Note: somewhere in here, Brooklyn glides toward them, spots them and then instead of landing, doubles back.)
Goliath asks "What's wrong?" Coldstone's whole demeanor changes: "What's wrong? Why, nothing. Nothing at all."
[The enormity of events has weakened Desdemona's hold over Coldstone. Iago has stepped in. The difference is that Iago arrives prepared. He has been briefed by the Xanatos programming. More on this later.]
Goliath hesitates for a moment, but in for a penny, in for a pound. He trusts Coldstone, approaches him openly. And Coldstone takes the opportunity to blow Goliath away.
ACT TWO - (In this act, Coldstone's deterioration continues. The personality shifts come quicker and ultimately don't wait for Othello to vacate control.)
10. Hudson moves quickly to Goliath's side. Good news. Coldstone used his concussion cannon, so Goliath is still alive. Of course, that could change. Goliath and Hudson barely avoid a blast from Coldstone's other cannon. The one that could kill them. Goliath can't understand what's going on, but Hudson points out that he's not going to have a chance to figure it out if they don't start fighting back. So it's a fight.
11. Meanwhile at Goldencup, Elisa and Matt are tying up loose ends. Lex arrives, and via his headset hook-up and her hidden microphone and ear piece, he tells her that the creature was Coldstone and that he's acting really weird. She's not surprised. Coldstone had plugged into a computer usually loaded with military defense secrets. But Goldencup had received a tip that there might be trouble. (That's why the Police had the Probe Robot ready.) But Goldencup took extra precautions, the defense computer was loaded with a new computer virus. It's probably destroying Coldstone's internal programming.
Lex takes this all in and then makes his request. He needs Matt's VR visor and the interface off the wrecked Probe Robot.
12. Back to Goliath and Hudson vs. Coldstone. Just as the tables might be turning, Coldstone's demeanor changes again. Why is Goliath attacking him?
[Iago was afraid of losing. During that moment of doubt, Othello regained control. As yet, Othello is unaware of the changes Coldstone's been going through.]
Now at this point, both Goliath and Coldstone [Othello] are pretty suspicious of each other. Goliath doesn't want to be fooled again. Coldstone says he blacked out at the clock tower. Now he's here and fighting with his rookery brother? He's confused and his head hurts....
And now Coldstone goes through some major mood swings.
[Rapid fire changes from Othello to Desdemona to Iago, etc.]
And now things get really strange. Coldstone can't seem to control some of his body parts. He's arguing with himself -- out loud. (Note: all these voices are still Michael Dorn.)
[Though Othello retains partial control, the other personas are bubbling to the surface as the whole system continues to break down. Now for the first time, Othello can hear the other voices, but it is a cacophony that is driving him nuts. I don't think he yet recognizes them specifically as Desdemona or Iago.]
Some of the voices tell him to trust Goliath. Some say destroy him. Some reiterate the events we saw in the flashback.
The "argument" gets more violent. Coldstone holds his head. He demands silence. He begins to fire blindly in all directions as if he could silence the voices that way. He's losing it. Goliath and Hudson dive for cover.
Suddenly Lex dive-bombs in, smashing into Coldstone and, not-so-incidentally, installing the VR interface hook-up. Coldstone collapses to his knees, begging for quiet.
Brooklyn and Broadway come in for a landing behind Lex. (While Lex was getting the equipment from Elisa, they had been scouting for Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. When Brooklyn spotted them, he doubled back to tell Lex where to find them.)
Goliath tells them that Coldstone is being destroyed from the inside out.
Lex agrees and holds up the visor. If they want to save him, someone's going to have to go inside to do it.
13. Back at Goldencup, Matt tells Elisa that the VR visor and the hook-up have been stolen. Since secretly she took them and gave them to Lex, she shrugs and says they'll turn up. He's sure they will. This was expensive equipment with built-in homing beacons. He shows her a tracking device. They'll find them, all right. And when they do, he won't be half surprised if they find their creature as well.
14. Back on the Island, Lex is not at all thrilled about Goliath's decision to put on the visor himself. Lex feels that he's the best qualified to handle the technology, which is exactly why Goliath needs him on the outside in case something goes wrong. Goliath puts on the visor. An aura of Electricity and Magic surround him and Coldstone.
15. Goliath finds himself in cyber-sorcer-limbo-space . In front of him is a bridge leading over a swirling vortex [the virus] . There's nowhere to go but across. So he goes. There are already holes in the drawbridge. And the holes are getting bigger.
[The virus is now eating away at the VR interface.]
Goliath realizes that he's going to have to fix this problem, and get back across the bridge/interface before there's nothing left of it. On the other side of the bridge rising out of the cyber-mist is a dreamscape version of the 10th century Castle Wyvern. There are three gargoyles (Othello, Desdemona & Iago) frozen in cyber-stone. And half-hidden in the shadows is another familiar face -- Xanatos. He welcomes a shocked Goliath as we fade to black.
ACT THREE - (Revelation and conflict inside the deteriorating mind of Coldstone.)
16. The vortex is everywhere, and the castle is slowly sinking into it. Goliath demands an explanation from Xanatos, who steps out of the shadows and reveals that his body is full of cyber-holes, and is partially gone. Like the bridge, he is being eaten away by the virus. Xanatos explains that he is not in fact Xanatos, but a computer program with a primary objective to enslave Coldstone to Xanatos' grand design. Goliath is determined to stop him.
Suddenly the three gargoyles explode free of their stone shells. Othello again drops to his knees. Still traumatized. Desdemona runs to Goliath. (She was his rookery-sister, and he would remember her and greet her as such.) Now she fills in the blanks. Xanatos used more than one gargoyle to build his creature. They all live on inside it. But Iago is trying to wrest control of the creature from Othello. He's made some kind of deal with the human (i.e. Xanatos). But she won't let it happen. She loves Othello. Goliath must help her save him.
But meanwhile, Iago and Xanatos haven't been wasting any time. They whisper in Othello's ear. "See how Goliath steals your love away? It was the same 1000 years ago and now, once again, they have betrayed your trust."
Othello turns on Goliath. Knocks him back. Basically, tries to drop-kick him into the vortex.
17. On the outside, a catatonic Goliath and Coldstone seem to reel from the blows of invisible foes. Lex doesn't know what to make of the glowing aura that surrounds them. But Hudson recognizes sorcery when he sees it. Coldstone was created by science and sorcery. It was something Lex hadn't counted on. Then, via headset, Elisa alerts Lex that Matt is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and that he and the authorities are closing in on them by SWAT helicopter and police boat. They better make tracks. Lex tries to take the visor off Goliath but the aura throws him back. It ain't gonna be that easy.
18. Inside, Desdemona tries to separate Goliath and Othello. Othello: "Again, you come to his defense." But she protests. He is forgetting what happened. 1000 years ago he was jealous of Goliath, but needlessly. Her love for him is eternal and true. And Goliath was not and is not his enemy but rather his brother and true friend. He has been tricked again by Iago. It's a crucial moment. Who will Othello trust? Desdemona & Goliath or Iago & the human Xanatos? Othello will trust his heart. He turns to face his true enemies.
But it's too late. The partial Xanatos is already merging with Iago. Together they are transformed into a Cyborg version of Iago, but giant-sized. The giant Cyborg-Iago smashes Goliath and Othello and prepares to throw them over the ramparts and into the vortex. With his other hand, Iago lifts Desdemona to eye level and invites her to merge with him as well. Then they can finally be together as Iago always knew they should be.
19. Outside, Lex stands watch over Coldstone and Goliath, while Hudson, Brooklyn and Broadway try to sabotage Matt's attack force without hurting anyone or being seen. They cut fuel lines on the choppers. Overturn the boats or whatever.
20. Inside, Desdemona tries to hand Cyborg-Iago his head. She's a warrior and will choose her own love. This gives Othello and Goliath the chance to recover. Now it's the three gargoyle heroes against the giant cyborg-monster. Maybe the castle landscape itself begins to change and mutate into a hollow vision of Coldstone. (They are battling for the soul of this creature-amalgam.) Ultimately, (surprise, surprise) it is the giant-cyborg-Iago that is tossed into the vortex.
But time is running out. Othello and Desdemona insist that Goliath return to his own body before the vortex swallows everything. But what about them? They are finally together. If they can halt the vortex, so be it. If they fall to it, so be that. At least they will be together. The bridge appears. Goliath crosses it, just as it collapses into the vortex.
21. Outside, the magical aura fades away just as Broadway, Brooklyn and Hudson return. Authorities are still coming. Couldn't do anymore without revealing themselves. Goliath removes the visor. Lex removes the interface from Coldstone. For the first time since scene one, Coldstone's red robotic eye dims and fades.
22. Matt and Elisa finally arrive on the island. Matt uses his tracking devise to lead them to the equipment. They find the visor and interface on the ground. The area is otherwise deserted. Not a creature in sight.
23. At Xanatos' castle, Xanatos asks Owen if there were any problems. Besides the minor setback of losing Coldstone, no. Xanatos' Scarab Corp. Robotics Division confiscated the remains of the Probe Robot (including the interface and visor) which they had supplied to the police in the first place. Coldstone was the perfect cover for the Probe Robot to get what Xanatos really wanted: the virus. Forget defense secrets, the virus is the deadliest weapon he knows of. It even defeated the mighty Coldstone.
24. Inside the clock tower, Goliath has installed the dormant Coldstone in the corner. Someday, he trusts, his rookery brother and sister may fight their way to the surface. He wants them among friends when they do.