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The Phoenix Gate

Comment Room Archive

Comments for the week ending January 24, 2021

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I'm usually busy during the week, and by the time I'm done with work usually the last thing I want to do is open up my computer and type for a while, so unless I have some reply I really want to make I'll usually wait to the weekend.


Terrors and Homefront are actually some of my favorite episodes for how they let us see these characters. Our first impression of Conner was as the meathead, hit-first-think-never fighter, but he's been changing quite a lot, and while this is still pretty early in his arc, it's really cool to see how he's improved! He's still got his anger issues, and he snaps at M'gann when he thinks she's bringing up his strength compared to Superman's but she just meant that a collar for Tommy Terror would shut down his strength too, but he's clearly improving at long-term planning and thinking on his feet. There's one little moment I love when Freeze figures things out and comes to get answers, where Icicle is saying that obviously they stopped the collars from turning back on, where Conner's eyes flick back and forth and you can just see the "Wait, has he seriously not caught on yet? Well OK then" run through his head.

Also, I wonder if Artemis ever told the others that she was the one who got the intel on the prison break from Icicle Jr? I don't think it's something she'd think to hide past the big reveal in s1e25, of course, but it was also just an afternoon mission months ago, and I'm not sure it would come up in passing afterwards.

I do wish we'd gotten to see a little more of M'gann's adventures on her side of the prison, but of course, they only had 22 minutes, and I wouldn't want to give up any of the time with Conner to fit more with her in. The sad choices writers have to make, I guess!

Homefront is actually one of my favorite episodes in the whole show. Of course the Die Hard in X formula is well-worn, but it's like that for a reason! Seeing our familiar environment turned against our heroes, a desperate scramble through back corridors and tunnels, all that drama is very enjoyable. Artemis and Dick are also one of my favorite duos in the show - they both have a lot of similarities, and I think that this episode forged a lot of trust and mutual understanding between them. After this point, we often see them tag-teaming enemies in fights, and I don't think it's coincidence that the two times Dick needs to recruit someone to help in a scheme outside the Team, he goes for Artemis (when Kaldur needed backup for his deep cover mission, and in the s3 premiere - given how it's the assassinations of Victor and Ilona that spur Dick to bring in Conner and Jefferson, it seems likely his original plan was to just take Artemis.) This show tends to lean a lot on romantic relationships, but when it does close platonic relationships, it really can shine.

Also, I think a lot about how, although Artemis is first characterized by having a tough, not-here-to-make-friends facade, it's, well, a facade. When Jade leaves, and tells her she should get out too, Artemis is the one to say that she has to be there when Paula gets out, and who wants to keep the family together. Of course, she's young then, but I don't think she ever lost that - hm, drive? focus? - to keep people together, to be part of a family that she could care about and that cared about her. She's the first to call the Team her family, after all, and relatively early into the series.

Just one little side thing before the end - I actually really like the delivery on Robin's "Blacked out though." I mean, it just tells you so much about Dick that he's able to say that he figured his only chance was to play dead, but it didn't work before he lost consciousness - which, obviously, would've meant he'd lose control of his breathing and drown - and play it off like it's just a minor thing. It doesn't exactly say good things about his own self-preservation instincts, especially at age 13, but it does set his character up well!

Karrin Blue

I haven't had much to say about Matthew's "Young Justice" reviews (beyond their being well-written and insightful - well-organized, too, with sections in each one about voice actors, quotes, etc.), since, as I mentioned earlier this week, the show hasn't wedged itself firmly enough in my memories. Certainly far less than "Gargoyles" did - most likely because the "myth and medieval history" elements that were an important part of "Gargoyles" resonate far more with me than straight super-hero comics. (I've noticed that the parts of "Young Justice" that most lingered in my memories were generally the ones linked to myths, legends, etc., like Kaldur recalling the story of Cadmus sowing the dragon's teeth while explaining the significance of Cadmus Labs' name - though some of the storytelling moments have stood out to me as well - such as, in that same episode, the Light being introduced as "the Board of Directors", in a way that suggests this is no ordinary Board of Directors.)
Todd Jensen

Oh, I adored Young Justice top to bottom. As a lifelong DC fan, it's my favorite iteration of the DC Universe that exists out there, and while I have quibbles on certain minutiae I've greatly enjoyed all three seasons on the whole.

And I do look forward to reading your summaries, Matthew. It's just that, as I've expressed before, I've had to take a step back from a lot of things (Station 8 included) over the past year as the response to COVID-19 has overtaken a lot of my personal workload. One may notice, for example, that it's also been many months since I've had a chance to approve questions in the Ask Greg queue (which, thankfully, is closed so my sabbatical hasn't been too big of an issue...but I'll need to set aside some time to catch up before Phantoms drops).

I can only speak for myself, of course, but while this has been a year of significantly increased free time for certain folks, for those of us working in healthcare it has been...a slightly different experience, LOL. I still stop in daily to read and enjoy the discussion, but I can't pretend my energy for participating at length hasn't been reduced (today excluded).

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"Straighten up, and give me the life I deserve already! SPOIL ME WITH LUXURY, DARNNIT!!!" - Lady Aqua

--overall cast of characters and how it distinguished itself from other popular DC shows.
Alex (Aldrius)

Yeah, I don't think I have anything more to add anyway. I will say I don't really like the word "collaborator", especially in regards to Goliath -- that was too harsh. I'll probably add more thoughts about future episodes when my cousin and I re-watch them, but I'll try to keep my thoughts on the episodes a little less controversial. Probably more on the direction stuff I like and bits of cool animation.

I dunno how many people in the comment room watched Young Justice. I really enjoyed it, but I think the general consensus here was that it wasn't for a lot of the folks here. It has my favourite version of Nightwing, though (who's my favourite comic book character) and I love the

Alex (Aldrius)

I kinda hoped my covering of Young Justice would bring in some discussions but it doesn't seem to be the case.
Of course opinions like that are almost certain to bring up conversation.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

At least it resulted in the comment room bustling again, for a while.
Todd Jensen

I also have to agree with Masterdramon that this seems like a good place to end the discussion. As much as I like a spirted conversation or debate (and I think we'll be getting plenty of those once I start covering seasons 2 and 3 of Young Justice). We do need to recognize when something should come to an end.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

I agree with Masterdramon. Fighting back against the humans would have only convinced them that the gargoyles really were evil monsters, and made things far worse.

The real problem, I suspect, was that there were no (or, at best, very few) helpful precedents back then for handling fear and prejudice against a "demonized" minority group in a non-violent way.

Todd Jensen

I really fail to see how delivering such an ultimatum would achieve any kind of workable results, and Goliath doesn't strike me as the type to make a threat on which he doesn't have the ability to deliver.

Because "take up and leave" really wasn't a valid option at the time. The Wyvern Clan had something in the neighborhood of 40-50 members and 36 eggs at the time of the massacre. Simply storming off without a new, secure place to ensconce themselves during the day and also a new rookery for the eggs would've been colossally idiotic. Especially with the knowledge that there were roving bands of very anti-gargoyle marauders all throughout the known world at that point.

Their human allies may have been taking them for granted by 994, they may have been scorned and jeered, but we're never given any indication that they were slacking in the key part of their end of the bargain (protect us and our children during the day). Goliath would indeed be a failure of a leader if he tossed that benefit aside without first having a backup plan secured...and in the world of medieval Scotland, I'm genuinely struggling to come up with any such plan that he would've had easy access to.

And of course, that's setting aside that he would've surely experienced intense resistance from his own "constituency" over such a gambit. As Demona points out, the Wyvern cliffs were their home long before the humans set up a castle there, and abandoning it would go against all of their territorial and protective instincts.

Really, if anyone's political decisions are to blame for the situation the Wyvern gargoyles found themselves in, it was probably Hudson's initial choice to ally with Malcolm and allow a human castle to be built over their home in the first place. But Hudson wasn't omniscient, and the decision made sense at the time. As noted above, a giant walled castle with human archers manning its battlements is a lot better protection for your vulnerable children then...like, just hunkering down in a cave and crossing your talons that nobody with a Hakon-esque mindset happens to stumble upon you this time. Hudson saw the changing times, and did his best to adapt with them - he just didn't foresee that regime change on the human side might sour what was initially a very mutually beneficial pact.

Now, does that mean I think it was likely Goliath's strategy of "be as noble and chivalrous as possible and hope that eventually gets through to these lunkheads" was going to pay dividends at some point? Probably not. But he was making the best of a bad situation, holding up his end of the old bargain to ensure the humans (however bitterly, ruefully, and dismissively) held up theirs.

And I'm never going to blame someone for making the best of a bad situation, even if that makes them a "collaborator" in the eyes of some. It's a political judgment I fundamentally disagree with. If there are no good choices, the best choice available is the just one. Hell, I'm personally of the belief that in 2198, the Resistance is morally wrong for opposing the Space-Spawn on a small scale without having any kind of alternative against their planet-busters...a point on which I know I've never managed to find a single other fan who agrees with me. But that's veering pretty far off-topic.

As for your other proposed solution? That one just seems even less workable than the first. Sure, if the Wyvern Clan instigated a coup against Katherine's regime, they'd almost certainly win (assuming they took out the Magus first). But who would they install in her place? I know that if was a human in that situation, I would never trust the gargoyles again. I'd turn tail and run the moment the sun went up. After the inevitable mass exodus, during the day they'd be left with...what? King Robbie, maybe half a dozen likeminded fellows, and otherwise an empty castle. If Hakon or similar ever decided to show up, they'd be overrun and slaughtered in hours.

And that's assuming the remaining Wyvern humans wouldn't just smash the gargoyles as soon as their "revolution" is over, in vengeance over the perceived betrayal. It's sort of hard to lead a successful rebellion when 100% of your "side" becomes completely vulnerable every 12 hours like clockwork.

Okay...that seems like a good place to stop for now. Aldrius, I don't personally think you're arguing from a position of bad faith and I'm actually rather grateful for sparking this lively back-and-forth discussion (heaven knows this CR needed it). But I do fundamentally disagree with your positioning of the issue.

Action is not automatically better than inaction, when every available action would result in verifiably worse outcomes.

Masterdramon - [kmc12009 at mymail dot pomona dot edu]
"Straighten up, and give me the life I deserve already! SPOIL ME WITH LUXURY, DARNNIT!!!" - Lady Aqua

I think we can have this conversation without impugning my character over a TV show. If I'm victim blaming (which I don't think I am) I'm victim blaming a fictional character. Maybe keep that in mind if you wanna keep dragging *ME* and *MY CHARACTER* into a conversation about a fictional show. Especially when you don't know anything about me, or my own history with abuse.

D. Taina - I'm not saying any of those things that you're implying at all. I've *repeatedly* made that clear. But his interest in Elisa I don't think is entirely platonic, and him going to see *her* I don't think is entirely appropriate in that moment. Demona has no right to dictate who he can and can't see and nothing justifies her murderous response, but from Goliath's POV, I don't think going to see Elisa after he's had a fight with his partner is cool. If my friend had a fight with his wife, and his immediate response was to go talk to a girl he just met, I'd think that was a questionable decision. Adulterous is too strong a word, even disloyal is too strong a word but it still felt wrong to me. Maybe I'm being too prescient in my judgment there, but that's how I felt.

And I'm basing this on Goliath's interactions with Elisa *in that episode*. But honestly, even if he wasn't interested in her, I'd still probably think it was a strange decision. But it's honestly not even that important. I guess I should just leave it at, ultimately, he's not wrong to go talk to Elisa, and that he was right to get as much distance from Demona as possible.

For Fortress 1, I'm not sure how to say this without sounding like I'm equivocating the two because Demona's actions were chaotic and random and extremely foolish. But I think to a point -- that Hakon and the Captain of the Guard were as much at Goliath's mercy as the Fortress 1 guards were at Demona's, and I think Goliath fully intended on killing them. I just think, Goliath's inaction created problems. So him lecturing caution/inaction in others is a bit hypocritical.

I guess to transition that conversation maybe to something less controversial, I always kinda thought Goliath adapted to a more modern way of thinking too quickly? That Goliath's medieval way of doing things could have sparked a little more conflict with the modern world. And it felt like a missed opportunity. I dunno how the heck you get away with that on a Disney aftertoon show, but even as a kid I think that felt like a missed opportunity.

And when I mention human oppressors, I'm talking about Katharine and the Magus. But I'm not discussing them because their characters aren't relevant to my point. Demona is obviously a traitor and (eventually) a murderer & a terrorist. Katharine is obviously oppressive and racist. These are not points of contention, so I don't really feel the need to reiterate them. Malcolm is responsible in part for Katharine's attitudes as her father, but he's also a decade detached from the circumstances at Wyvern. But Malcolm's attitude also showcases the difference in time. When Hudson approaches Malcolm, as far as I remember -- he greets him as an equal, a friend. While when Goliath approaches Katharine, he kneels before her and isn't permitted to eat with them and hey, actually, he's okay with that. Things have gotten worse under Goliath's leadership. They've gotten worse under Katharine too, and if you want to have a conversation about Katharine, we can have a conversation about Katharine.

(Incidentally, while watching Awakening, Katharine bugged me A LOT too. And I'm usually extremely indifferent towards her. But I don't mind admitting that I was pretty satisfied when the Captain betrayed her.)

One thing that seems to be a point of contention, is -- I don't think I'm exaggerating about how bad the situation at Wyvern was, prior to the massacre, and I do think Goliath at least shares the responsibility for that. But like, it's not even something I feel strongly about necessarily, it's just something I noticed on this watching that I'd never even thought about before and I thought that was interesting. Especially when looking at it in a modern activist context.

IS Goliath a collaborator for not doing more to protect his people from the humans who are oppressing them? And I already said what I'd do if I were in his position. Give Katharine an ultimatum, either things change or he'll take the clan and leave. Or overthrow her and any humans who side with her and allow the humans he has a good relationship with to remain -- if we want to get medieval about it. I think these things would absolutely be justified.

To be honest, I feel like every little thing I say is getting picked apart and interpreted in the *worst* possible way. Either I'm being too wishy washy and not blaming Demona enough or I'm using language that's too strong and if I don't get the balance just right I'm a bad person? I just can't even fathom having a conversation about something with that approach. It's really frustrating that the counterpart to Goliath is a psychotic madwoman, because that's seen as the only alternative if I'm going to be critical of Goliath.

Like I know what hyperbole means. I know a lot of the language I use is probably too strong. I have a naturally snarky personality, and I can be very sarcastic (usually as a way to de-escalate a conversation with humour when I'm uncomfortable) and I'm trying to avoid that because I don't want to sound disrespectful. Hopefully the point I'm trying to make still comes across, because I enjoy discussing the show.

I apologise if this conversation has caused anyone any stress or discomfort. That was never my intention. I was certainly not trying to say that anyone should stay in an abusive relationship.

Alex (Aldrius)

Aldrius: "I'm saying in *that* moment, choosing to walk away from Demona (who is effectively his wife) when there was obviously a problem with her, when they were in conflict, specifically. That felt a little adulterous."

You think Goliath going to see a friend is adulterous? He's not cheating on Demona by going to see Elisa. She was just a friend at the time. People in a relationship are allowed to have friends. Once a spouse starts dictating who you can and can't see, and then gets violent when you go see a friend they don't approve of, that's when it gets abusive. He's allowed to take a step back from a heated argument, go see his friend, and then come back to deal with the situation with a clear head. She's NOT allowed to shoot at him with a bazooka for walking away from an argument. How are you so focused on Goliath's so-called "adulterous" ways and not on Demona's abuse?

Your whole argument reads a lot like victim blaming to me. Are you trying to say that Demona wouldn't have done the things she did if Goliath had just been a better leader and mate? Because that's absolutely appalling. I don't know if that's what you're trying to say, but that's how it's coming across to me.

D. Taína - [demona3 at hotmail dot com]
"I love my tiara." -Demona

Todd Jensen> That's the one.

Aldrius> You said, and I quote, "Goliath was pretty much single handedly responsible for the situation at Wyvern." That's MASSIVE hyperbole at best and I'm fairly certain you're aware of that. So you'll excuse me if I see most of your commentary as victim blaming.

Discussing Goliath's foibles is a valid idea. After all, the Eye will write them large in the future. The problem is most everything you've wrapped it up into reads far too much as "if only Goliath were better, Demona wouldn't have turned out that way." You literally referred to Goliath getting away from an obviously violent spouse to see someone who's proven themselves a friend (as Matthew pointed out) as ADULTEROUS (more massive hyperbole; seriously, look up the definition). You'll excuse me if I find even the implication of the idea that he should be staying with someone that dangerous repugnant.

Your arguments basically read as taking the absolute worst point of view of Goliath and trying to concede Demona is vile with a judicious use of "but if" conditionals. I don't buy it. As to your argument of the power dynamic in the early episodes, you need to keep in mind the medieval mindset for both gargoyle and human was quite different to that of the 1990s or today. Was the situation terrible? Yes. Was Goliath in the wrong letting things simply persist? Quite likely. Does that justify or ameliorate ANYTHING about the massacre and/or place the responsibility square at his feet? HELL NO.

I find it interesting that you focus on Goliath's culpability and not one word about Katherine or the Magus and the attitudes they had as being major inducements. Your later point about "Malcolm is responsible for his daughter's attitudes in a... very round about way" is also fascinating. You're honestly claiming that using the gargoyles as boogeymen to frighten Katherine didn't lead to much of her attitudes in the future? I also find it interesting that you think calling Demona's position is a half-truth is frustrating and wrong but at the same time call for complexity and looking at things from multiple sides. It reads as special consideration for HER points, but no one else's. And as to not having merely platonic interest in Elisa as of Awakening...now who's reading forward in the series?

Your "activist" point of view is valid, but only if you recognize that you're taking a point of view that is EXTREMELY black and white and missing a huge amount of complexity. "You're either fighting the oppressors or you're a collaborator." It's Demona's viewpoint; "if you are not my ally, then you are my enemy." That's as much a false dichotomy as any other. I'd also point out that neither Goliath nor Demona are anything approaching the modern concept of activist in either the tenth or twentieth century over the course of Awakening. Goliath is very much still in a medieval mindset and Demona is a terrorist and murderer.

You are right, Goliath understands rage and revenge. If Awakening didn't make that clear, Hunter's Moon absolutely does. But again, rage, vengeance, these are one thing. Still violent, still dangerous, still something to be avoided and decried. But they are also immediate. Transitory. They are not attacking anyone and everyone of the human race. Rage burns hot and fast, rapidly burning away. Goliath is not saying killing is wrong, he's saying cold-blooded murder of the innocent is wrong. I'd call that pretty accurate to a medieval mindset, wouldn't you?

(also I'm not about to get into a discussion on moral opposition to death in war and battle; that's not gonna end well for anyone)

I'd be much more interested and willing to engage if you offered something other than blame towards Goliath. Put yourself in his position. How would YOU have dealt with the situation he inherited upon becoming leader of the Clan? How would YOU deal with the humans in your protectorate, guarding you as you sleep, guarding your CHILDREN as you sleep, but being quite acrimonious towards you? How would YOU lead with a group for whom simply moving is, frankly, not a consideration? But thus far, your arguments read as tearing down Goliath to be able to try and take the load off Demona, however much you claim otherwise. Give me some points to discuss on this, and we'll talk. Keeping sticking with "Goliath is wrong and Demona is wrong but BECAUSE Goliath is also wrong..." and I'm just going to stop engaging because at that point, it's just bad faith. I'll wait until you rewatch the rest of the show in that case, if at all.

I'm gonna be frank here, Aldrius. I have no personal knowledge of abuse; I have been extremely lucky in that regard in my life. But I know people that do who are fans of this show, and the dancing around these ideas, the victim blaming, the attempts at couching things in cold logical reasoning (of which I am as much guilty of as any else, it's how my mind operates)...it does not read good. Consider that and consider if that's how you want to keep expressing yourself. And if your definition of adultery is even talking with a friend when an obviously violent and disturbed SO doesn't like it...consider whether or not your definition of how a relationship should work isn't a major example of inappropriate power dynamics in and of itself.

Hopefully three walls of text is enough for me. I know I've been pretty quiet for most of the past year (I've been unemployed for most of it, actually), but I certainly wasn't expecting to jump back in with three posts of this length this quickly. It's a little exhausting, gotta admit.

Brainiac - [OSUBrainiac at gmail dot com]
There is balance in all things. Live in symmetry with the world around you. If you must blow things up and steal from those around you, THAT'S WHAT RPGS ARE FOR!

Yes, Malcolm is responsible for his daughter's attitudes in a... very round about way. But I think that too is absolving Goliath of his role as well. that's the problem. He shows nothing but respect to people who are oppressing HIS people. And he's their leader. It's his role and job to defend them and to make things better for them. The fact that Goliath acts like a good chivalrous knight while allowing humanity to exploit his people isn't necessarily a point in his favour. And again, if I need to say it, obviously it's in his character, obviously it's an admirable quality to be contrite and diplomatic.

I'm trying to take an activist POV here. From the POV of a gargoyle activist who sees the human nobility as their oppressors, he'd be a collaborator. I don't think that's an extremist viewpoint.

And again, I'm not saying he shouldn't trust Elisa or be friends with Elisa, or that he should stay with Demona forever and ever, I'm saying in *that* moment, choosing to walk away from Demona (who is effectively his wife) when there was obviously a problem with her, when they were in conflict, specifically. That felt a little adulterous. It's totally understandable, especially with everything he'd been through up to that point. I'm not condemning his whole character.

And yes, I think Reawakening is intended as a moment of hope and symbolizes a transformation in Goliath's character. A positive one, and that is definitely one of my personal favourite episodes. Maybe my single favourite episode in the series. But on the other hand, it doesn't really change what I'm talking about. Goliath becomes a guardian for Manhattan the same way he was the guardian of Wyvern. He's going back to something comfortable that makes him feel good and gives him and his clan purpose. I don't think that has much to do with my point, though.

Alex (Aldrius)

BRAINIAC - [I'm tempted to mention a certain speech by Capaldi's Doctor (one of my favorites, I'm sure most Doctor Who fans here can guess it).]

The speech he made to the Zygon leader?

Todd Jensen

But there's just one problem, Goliath *isn't* responsible for the untenable situation in Castle Wyvern. Prince Malcolm used to use gargoyles as cautionary monsters to get his daughter to behave, and even if he did so jokingly that still had a negative impact on the impressionable young princess. A sad truth is that you simply can't make people give up their superstitions and bigotry when it comes to appearance, especially in Medieval Europe. He shows nothing but grace and respect to those in charge, the guests of court or to the refugees, the fact that humans with preestablished biases don't recognize his respectful attitude isn't his mistake. Heck it's only the massacre and the hastily-placed spell to people like Katherine, Magus and even Mary recognize their mistakes and that their own attitude led to the tenuous relationship between man and gargoyle. One of those, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" situations.

As for Demona's half-truths, that actually works as a counter to Elisa's own viewpoint. Demona shows him murder, theft, and domestic abuse. Elisa recognizes these problems but also knows that there's good out there as well and as a cop she works to solve these problems and protect what's good. There's a reason that the end of season 1 Goliath makes the proclamation that they're not just going to defend the clocktower and their little clan but all of the city too.

You can argue when his relationship with Elisa stopped being simply platonic, but it's important to remember that early on in Awakening the clan had only two major figures to help introduce them to the modern world and Xanatos was just a little too shadowy while Elisa is far more open and direct. And considering how she risked her own life not too long ago to protect him while he was at his most vulnerable, I'd say the trust in their relationship was quite earned.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

I really don't get that. For one thing, I *DO* blame Demona for the massacre. She is largely responsible. I think the lesson of Demona is more that she refuses to recognize that responsibility, and can't deal with the guilt that comes with it. And the fact that her reaction to that guilt is to lash out at people and actively blame others. But that's neither here not there really.

Demona is responsible for betraying the clan and compromising their safety, she is NOT responsible for the fact that Hakon took a mace to every statue in Wyvern -- I don't think that's fair. Just as when I say Goliath is MAYBE responsible for creating an untenable situation with the humans doesn't mean he's responsible for Demona's betrayal or the deaths of his clan. Not directly.

In general, Goliath's guilt to me reads a lot more like self-pity than contrition. I don't doubt that Goliath is in a state because of the massacre. I don't doubt that it effected him, what I question is, does he recognize the mistakes he made that led to what happened? And it's not even a problem if he doesn't. From a writing perspective it's certainly more interesting, from a character perspective he doesn't need to be perfect.

Demona can be responsible for the massacre and Goliath ALSO be responsible for creating the situation that led to it in the first place. That's not lifting Demona's culpability for conspiring against him, it's asking "Did Goliath create an untenable situation which led to the massacre?" My intention isn't to blame him for being betrayed. Because ultimately the Captain & Demona's plan is just a bad plan, and they're really fools for even conceptualizing it. It requires them to trust the Vikings, which was NEVER going to work.

But I just don't agree that humans protect gargoyles during day, gargoyles protect them at night being a-okay if half of that arrangement is being disrespected and actively condemned. Just because Demona and the Captain's plan was horrible and treacherous worse doesn't make that a good situation. But just because Goliath is willing to put up with Katharine's scorn doesn't make it right either.

Braniac, a lot of the stuff you're talking about happened later. I might have different thoughts when I rewatch those episodes, but as of right now I'm talking about Demona basically as she existed in Awakening 1. Though even in Temptation when she was talking to Brooklyn, I was kinda thinking she was genuinely right about a lot of stuff. And Goliath's response (through Brooklyn) of "eventually the humans will learn to get along with us." just rang SO hollow. And Goliath's dismissal of what Demona said at the end as a "half truth" frustrated me too. It's not half-truths just because they're inconvenient or challenging, or Demona's insane.

Like don't get me wrong, OBVIOUSLY Demona's conclusion is "therefore we need to wipe out humanity" which isn't a solution for anything. But I don't think Goliath is right either, in season 1 at least Goliath strikes me as very willing to sit on the sidelines and kinda let things happen. But it won't work out that way. There needs to be some form of activism, REAL activism. And in season 1 I don't think Goliath is ready for that. But I don't think that's even really factored into his trajectory as a character because it wasn't something that the discourse was really even thinking about at the time. You were either Professor Xavier, interested in peaceful co-existance through nonviolence or you were Magneto where you wanted to rule humanity. When I think the truth is a lot more complicated than that. And back then, it was probably a little *too* admirable to play along with your oppressors. I guess is more what I'm trying to get at.

I don't think Goliath should have stayed with Demona after her "blood for blood" speech. That's another false dichotomy. But I think leaving Demona in order to go talk with Elisa was... a bit adulterous. I think at that point his interest in Elisa is not solely platonic. And I think I can have a problem with that without necessarily concluding that I think Demona was right to try to murder him 5 minutes later or that I think Goliath is irredeemable because of this one little thing.

And I just think, Goliath understands rage. He understands the need for revenge. I don't think killing the Captain and Hakon would have been righteous any more than Demona trying to slaughter the crew of Air Fortress 1 was. I'm not trying to equivocate the two either, I'm just saying, Goliath preaching to Demona about how it's wrong to kill people is not something I think *he* has any ground to criticize her on. Him specifically. Maybe that's too fine a point, but I think "to kill in the heat of battle is one thing" is a pretty fine point to begin with.

I intended this more to be a discussion of Goliath's character more than a treatise on whether Demona is abusive or wrong or whatever, but I guess it was kind of almost impossible to avoid the latter in regards to the former.

Alex (Aldrius)

Aldrius> "And beyond having survivor's guilt I think at least passively he is responsible for it to a degree."

That reads like victim blaming to me. Call it excessive if you wish, but that's how it seems.

Aldrius> "It's just so crazy to me that Goliath was the leader of a clan that got wiped out and he's... basically guiltless, and in the eyes of a lot of people -- blameless. It's not a one or the other case."

You're basically blaming him for being betrayed. Again, if you think he doesn't have a massive amount of guilt, you're not paying attention. "Cast your spell one more time" is basically him committing suicide out of sheer grief for his loss and failure. We don't need to compound that ourselves; he's already internalized that failure on his own.

Goliath has failed his Clan and protectorate. That's a fact. If you assign fault simply on that fact, that ANY failure is his blame, his guilt, fine. But that's basically requiring a person to be all-knowing. If you can't see how you're putting expectations from your perspective on the character, there's not much I can do to convince you otherwise.

Aldrius> "And it's also kind of hypocritical of Goliath who not a week ago (from his perspective) was EAGER to murder Hakon and the Captain, and was disappointed that he couldn't."

He wanted to avenge himself upon those responsible for the slaughter of his Clan. How exactly is anyone on Fortress-1 responsible for that? How is anyone alive a millennium later responsible for that? This is not an equivalency; this is claiming Demona's desire for visiting "Sins of the Fathers" on all of humanity is justified. You REALLY don't wanna go down that line because in that case a whole LOT of us (basically all) are gonna have debts we'll never pay. Ever.

Aldrius> "I'm trying to avoid shaming him for being friends with Elisa, because I don't think that in of itself is a problem. More his eagerness to go see her, when CLEARLY something is *very* wrong with Demona. And I don't think he's responsible for redeeming Demona, or making her feel better. But he does just... leave, and I suppose that he suffers the consequences for that certainly. I'm not sure how to articulate or specify my feelings on that scene. But something about Goliath's tone or his behaviour there just frustrated me."

It's not Goliath's fault Demona wants to kill all of humanity and gaslight him into feeling as she does, BUT...

...yeah, discussion is over at that but.

Aldrius> "Though, I mean to play devil's advocate and to talk about Demona I guess, I think in terms of the Wyvern massacre specifically, Demona *does* get a lot of flak for things that were abjectly not so much her fault..."

You're ignoring the same lesson she did. "What have I...what have THEY done to you?!"

Aldrius> "Most of her crimes there are failures to act. She fails to admit to Goliath what the plan was when it falls through, she trusts the Captain when she shouldn't, she doesn't save as many Gargoyles as she can before the massacre actually happens. And she hides, she spends a 1000 years in denial that these things ever even happened."

All of which began by her ACTION of conspiracy with the Captain and Hakon. Later inaction and failure made it worse, but is not the root cause. I'm tempted to mention a certain speech by Capaldi's Doctor (one of my favorites, I'm sure most Doctor Who fans here can guess it). Suffice it to say, she believes she's justified but is wholly ignoring the consequences. Even after a certain trip in time. That says a lot.

Aldrius> "But having said all that, she *is still* a victim of this horrible violence and she *is still* a victim of prejudiced and mistreatment at the hands of humans she was helping to protect. Those don't excuse her own violent behaviour, but I think she can be a party to that violence, and responsible for that violence and have these things still be true."

Victimhood does not justify, as you said. The rest of the Clan did nothing at this scale. Goliath certainly dealt with just as much of human disdain if not more and he would not have crossed this moral line. I'd bet even Coldstone would have been opposed to this level of betrayal whereas he was fine with leaving humans to their fate.

Remember who Demona was. Remember her Phoenix loop. Remember that she had chances. And she consistently made the wrong choice. She is directly responsible for betrayal of at least two human alliances which led to massacres of the clans she was a part of. It is her fault. Blaming others diminishes that. Which is EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S DOING TO HERSELF TO JUSTIFY HER EXTERNALIZED HATRED AND VIOLENCE.

You're missing the lesson. She needs to recognize her own culpability. She needs to break the cycle. And when folks who watch the show miss the same lesson, it gets really, really worrying.

Now, as to your final point in the subsequent post, it's an excellent question. I'd say pose it to Ask Greg. But I would not phrase it in any sense of deflecting culpability from Demona. As he himself has said, "The massacre was your fault, you stupid bitch!"

Brainiac - [OSUBrainiac at gmail dot com]
There is balance in all things. Live in symmetry with the world around you. If you must blow things up and steal from those around you, THAT'S WHAT RPGS ARE FOR!

Aldrius: "Does that make more sense? Or do I still just sound like a Demona apologist?"

Most definitely. When you blame Goliath for the massacre, and not the people who betrayed him, you're a Demona apologist. It doesn't matter if he made mistakes, if he didn't make the right call with the Vikings, if he should've stood up to the princess, or if he should've stayed that night with Demona and not run off to see Elisa. None of that makes him guilty of anything. Demona was the one who betrayed the clan, not him.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Demona (just look at the "D" in my name). But you can love a character without making excuses for their wrongdoings. Demona is a terrible person, and I hope she'll be redeemed one day, but that redemption won't come until she stops making excuses for her mistakes.

As for the whole, "WERE they just going to continue playing guard dogs for people who hated them for the rest of his life?" The gargoyles protected the humans at night, and the humans protected the gargoyles during the day. It was largely a matter of survival. Yes, there were issues, but they were surviving until the Captain of the Guard and Demona betrayed them all.

D. Taína
"The story is told -- though who can say if it be true?" -Shari

One more thing (my brain moves faster than my hands sometimes) my point with the Captain & Demona is more that they didn't trust Goliath to fix or solve the issue. And I think again, to a degree, that's telling of what they thought of his capabilities. And maybe Goliath isn't responsible for that, but I think -- to a point -- what was his long term plan? WERE they just going to continue playing guard dogs for people who hated them for the rest of his life?
Alex (Aldrius)

I dunno how me saying Demona was directly AND indirectly responsible for the Wyvern Massacre is me implying she did nothing wrong. And I never said she deserves consideration. At all. Except in the first episode, when she absolutely did deserve consideration because she had legitimate concerns about the human nobility. I don't think "their ways are not our ways" is not an acceptable response in the face of someone who is blatantly oppressing you and exploiting you regardless of what the general sentiment of the other gargoyles was.

Honestly, I feel you're reading things into my post I didn't say -- I'm assuming because of what other people have said in the past. And I'm sorry, but I feel like you're all jumping down my throat a bit. Like obviously Demona trying to kill goliath is bad. Demona is morally ambiguous in every flashback we see her in, and is a murderous maniac in the series proper, I felt these things went without saying. My use of the word activist was meant more as a metaphor for how Demona is proactive while Goliath is arguably not even particularly reactive. I'm not saying Demona is good and Goliath is bad, or that she's a misunderstood freedom fighter. I'm saying Goliath is an *extremely* passive character particularly in these first couple of episodes, and his passivity results in some of the bad stuff that happens in the series. That's not a total demonification or villification of his character, or intended as a defense of Demona who at BEST is a failure due to her own weakness; where she failed to uphold her end on a an extremely bad plan where so many things could go wrong. It's my visceral reaction to his role in the first 6 odd episodes when rewatching them. That he's ignorant about a lot of what's going on and that ends up resulting in a lot of bad stuff happening. And beyond having survivor's guilt I think at least passively he is responsible for it to a degree.

It doesn't mean he's a bad character, or a bad person even, I think his stance is extremely understandable. But did he make mistakes? And are those mistakes more noteworthy in a modern context where people in power ARE held much more accountable for things going wrong? He was in charge. Under his watch, the whole clan wound up massacred. It's just so crazy to me that Goliath was the leader of a clan that got wiped out and he's... basically guiltless, and in the eyes of a lot of people -- blameless. It's not a one or the other case.

As for him leaving her in Awakening 5 -- maybe I'm being too hard on him in that moment, it just struck me as rather callous that he just walked away from her while they were discussing their whole clan being massacred by violent Vikings and what the correct response is. Like, Demona is totally wrong and Goliath is probably right, but I just found his dismissiveness of what she was saying -- again, kinda callous. Maybe dismissive is a better word. Not in an objective sense necessarily. And it's also kind of hypocritical of Goliath who not a week ago (from his perspective) was EAGER to murder Hakon and the Captain, and was disappointed that he couldn't. (Even as far as Shadows of the Past I believe). Which... obviously he's more justified in feeling that way, but I think to a degree Goliath is kind of making his own rules to a point.

And I think that take on Demona being abusive or controlling in episode 5 is kind of interesting. I'd agree under normal circumstances certainly. But I think given the shared tragedy that they experienced, at least in that moment he's basically writing off their relationship to a point. I'm trying to avoid shaming him for being friends with Elisa, because I don't think that in of itself is a problem. More his eagerness to go see her, when CLEARLY something is *very* wrong with Demona. And I don't think he's responsible for redeeming Demona, or making her feel better. But he does just... leave, and I suppose that he suffers the consequences for that certainly. I'm not sure how to articulate or specify my feelings on that scene. But something about Goliath's tone or his behaviour there just frustrated me.

But honestly, beyond episode 4, Demona is a lot more than just abusive. She's murderous. We just watched Temptation, and my reaction to her apologizing to Brooklyn for shooting at him; and Brooklyn forgiving her was just -- "seriously?" But like, outside of my general observations I wasn't really trying to talk about Demona much. In fact I was trying to avoid it because I know "Demona did nuffin wrong" kind of sets people off -- but obviously I failed.

The Palpatine thing was just a comment about the framing. How the visual direction for Demona and Xanatos got more sophisticated and complex as the series went on. Less of them lurking in the shadows, less evil smirking -- I can't think of an adjective to describe it. But I think it was a positive change. Like when Demona is first reunited with Goliath there's this shot of her smirking evilly when she MUST on some level be pretty happy to see him after a thousand years. On one level I thought this was totally unnecessary because they didn't need to telegraph her villainy like that, and on another I think it just makes her... less appealing as a character, I suppose.

Though, I mean to play devil's advocate and to talk about Demona I guess, I think in terms of the Wyvern massacre specifically, Demona *does* get a lot of flak for things that were abjectly not so much her fault and ultimately -- and I'm *specifically* talking about the wyvern massacre here and nothing else. Most of her crimes there are failures to act. She fails to admit to Goliath what the plan was when it falls through, she trusts the Captain when she shouldn't, she doesn't save as many Gargoyles as she can before the massacre actually happens. And she hides, she spends a 1000 years in denial that these things ever even happened. But having said all that, she *is still* a victim of this horrible violence and she *is still* a victim of prejudiced and mistreatment at the hands of humans she was helping to protect. Those don't excuse her own violent behaviour, but I think she can be a party to that violence, and responsible for that violence and have these things still be true.

To put things I guess more in perspective of where I'm coming from this, I think Goliath would have been totally justified, and probably should have gone to Katharine and told her that if they wanted to continue enjoying their protection, they better treat him and his clan better. Obviously that's not in his character to do that anyway, but I think that would have been the *right* thing to do.

Does that make more sense? Or do I still just sound like a Demona apologist?

Alex (Aldrius)

I think that Goliath was doing the best he could under the circumstances.

Let's not forget that the reason why the humans of Castle Wyvern were treating the gargoyles so poorly was because they were afraid of them; in their eyes, the gargoyles were frightening monsters (who would have seemed all the scarier in a superstitious setting like early medieval Scotland). Goliath was aware that this was the reason for the humans' bad treatment of his clan - fear of something strange and alien. Getting angry at the humans would have only increased that fear, like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.

Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, always appreciated. And this one was one of my favorite episodes of the series thus far.

Now my two cents on this? It's easy to shift the blame on Goliath as the curse for all leaders is the "everything is your fault" attitude. That being said, it's easy to forget that Demona and the Captain were two of his closest lieutenants in safeguarding the castle so getting blindsided by the both of them really hurt him emotionally. As for bowing to the ungrateful humans, while Goliath is a stoic figure he's not blind to humanity's faults but chooses to endure that harshness. As he said in the first episode, "It is the nature of human kind to fear what they do not understand. Their ways are not our ways." He recognizes that matching human's hostilities ultimately just creates more tension and prejudice as he punishes the Trio for doing just that. And even after the Clan's Reawakening and his attitude towards humanity has distinctly soured, he still can't lower himself to that "eye for an eye" attitude.

The big difference between Goliath and Demona is that he prescribes to "There's right and there's wrong" and she prescribes to "There's us and there's them." And as the series goes on he's willing to consider the complexities beyond that while she remains the same.

One more thing I'd like to bring up, and that's the self-destructive nature of a person's prejudice and how that affects others. Demona and the Captain's mutual hatred of humans cost the clan their lives and of their human protectors. You'll notice that there are considerably fewer humans leaving the castle after the attack then there were before hand. Their prejudice cost a lot of innocents their lives, human and gargoyle alike.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Aldrius: How was Goliath complicit in the massacre? He was betrayed by Demona and the Captain of the Guard. How was he responsible for what happened? You're basically giving Demona a free pass for getting the whole clan massacred. And that bit about how Demona and the Captain of the Guard didn't "even trust him enough to tell him about the plan"? They didn't tell him because they knew Goliath wouldn't agree with removing the humans from Wyvern.

Demona isn't an activist; she's a terrorist. She believes she's doing the right thing, of course, but I'm sure every terrorist believes deeply in their cause, too. She's killed tons of humans in cold blood. She shot a helpless woman's arms off because it amused her. And we watched as she gleefully destroyed countless human statues and laughed about it. As for Goliath, she shot at him with a bazooka, almost permanently robbed him of his free will, shot him point-blank in the chest and hunted him like a dog, etc.

As for Goliath "bailing" on Demona to go see Elisa, he'd just watched Demona gleefully take down an airship, fling humans into walls with reckless abandon and almost dropping one out of the sky, and you're blaming Goliath for wanting to "bail"? I'd take any excuse to leave, too. Clearly, she was dangerous, and he couldn't even recognize her anymore.

Demona blames Goliath for a lot of things, just as you do. In her eyes, it's Goliath's fault for not taking the whole clan with him, for leaving her to go see a human, for pointing a bazooka in his face, for casting a spell on him, for shooting him and hunting him down like a dog, among countless other abuses. That's what she does; she blames her victims for her actions. But the only one to blame is Demona, and only Demona. And I'm glad Goliath had the strength and fortitude to get out of that abusive relationship and build a relationship with Elisa. He deserves to be happy.

D. Taína
"The story is told -- though who can say if it be true?" -Shari

Aldrius, you're dangerously close to "Demona Did Nothing Wrong" and we all know where that ends.

But as to most of your points:

Goliath takes all the responsibility for the massacre he should. If you think for a moment he doesn't feel MASSIVE survivor's guilt, you're not paying attention at all. But he's dead on at the end. None of it would have happened if Demona and the Captain hadn't gone behind everyone's back. They betrayed EVERYONE in the castle and were themselves betrayed. Loyalty is something to be held onto, because when you discard it, you're most likely aligning yourself with those who have none...as was DEFINITELY the case with Hakon.

As to whether Goliath shares any true complicity in the massacre...I vehemently disagree. His primary drive is the protection of the Clan's home, Castle Wyvern. It made perfect sense given the information he had at the time to leave the bulk of the Clan to do as they always do - protect the castle. That's their core nature, their core identity. Are you saying his requirement as Leader is to make the entire Clan behave contrary to their inherent nature? Also, keep in mind, what We The Viewers know is not what They The Characters know. If people choose to withhold information from you, there's very little you can do about that in the moment. As to accepting the treatment of the humans, keep in mind, as Goliath himself put it, "Their ways are not our ways." The disdain the humans have for the gargoyles may not concern as many of the Clan as you think (the only two it definitely did by their own statements and actions are Demona and Coldstone). Honestly, if you presented everything before even someone as rigid as Halcyon Renard, I'm quite certain he would not have demanded Goliath take "responsibility" for those deaths. The events on Fortress-1 were a result of Goliath's actions, misinformed or no. But his only direct action before the massacre was in being convinced to go harry the Vikings, a point in the ploy which really only would have made ANY sense if the entire Clan went on that mission, a pointless overexertion and defense-weakening action on the part of the castle's nightly defenders. He certainly was not responsible for the sabotaging of the human defenses or Hakon covering his bets by reducing every gargoyle he found to rubble.

You seem to be missing the fact that Demona and the Captain were hiding the plan from Goliath for one single clear reason...they knew he'd be against it. And if you're saying being morally opposed to a plan that would result in the conquest of your home by an invading force that would likely enslave or kill all the human occupants, including refugees like Tom already running from them is a BAD thing, we're gonna have issues.

As to Goliath's stoicism..."I've been denied everything...EVEN MY REVENGE!" He can bear it, yes, but he's not nearly the emotionless bulwark you seem to be implying he is. He feels, quite deeply I would argue. He just isn't consumed by it like Demona or motivated horribly by it like the Captain.

The argument that Demona deserves some consideration as she's behaving like an activist just doesn't fly to me. The same argument would apply to a modern-day ecoterrorist or militant animal rights advocate. Note the words...terrorist...militant. Good intentions do NOT excuse unlawful and immoral acts. The ends do not justify the means, as much as we would like to that be the case (and as often as it sometimes seems to).

As to your comparison between Demona and Palpatine, you're gonna have to clean that text up because right now it reads like you're saying PALPATINE became more of an amoral trickster as his series progressed and...no, absolutely not.

But going back to my earlier point about Demona as ecoterrorist stand-in (at least in her own mind), keep in mind what happened in Part 4. From Goliath's point of view, he's gone from the night of the Wyvern Massacre to a new life in Manhattan. SERIOUS culture shock, but everyone among the surviving Clan is in the same boat and still the same beings they were a thousand years ago...because it HASN'T been a thousand years for them. It HAS been a thousand years for Demona. She's a different person now than the person Goliath knew intimately. Imagine meeting someone you know personally and deeply for most of your life...and then all of a sudden (to your point of view), they start acting COMPLETELY differently. They go and commit a terroristic act right in front of you. They show no problem just cold-bloodedly killing folks. They demand blood for blood for every single slight ever visited on them. And this is coming from your spouse that you thought had died. I'd need to get away for a bit for ANY reason. Elisa was as good of an excuse as any.

Geez, this got long. All right, I'll cut it off there. Seriously though, I'm not about to claim you're assassinating Goliath's character or deifying Demona, but frankly, this read of what's on screen seems off, and with all the knowledge of what is to come? It's a GIANT stretch. I would argue Goliath is just as much the tragic yet heroic figure in the 90s he is seen as today and definitely someone worthy of emulation...and Keith David certainly agrees with me since he still says he wants to be Goliath when he grows up.

Brainiac - [OSUBrainiac at gmail dot com]
There is balance in all things. Live in symmetry with the world around you. If you must blow things up and steal from those around you, THAT'S WHAT RPGS ARE FOR!

I just read a very powerful essay on tumblr... I guess that site isn't worthless.

Anyway, simple title. Right to the point.

Demona is an abuser.



Greg Bishansky

Oh, and one more thing. I forgot that Xanatos made an action series not based on an established property with a female lead. I am seriously impressed with his skills as a TV producer.
Alex (Aldrius)

So I managed to convince my younger cousin to watch Gargoyles, he's never seen it and he likes it a lot. He was particularly struck by how haunting ending the first episode with a massacre was. We've just finished watching the first Pack episode, and not having seen the first season myself in a long, long while I had some thoughts.

It's sort of weird how Goliath is pretty complicit in the Wyvern massacre to a degree, but he doesn't really take any responsibility for it. Goliath was pretty much single handedly responsible for the situation at Wyvern. The royalty and leadership treat him and his people as *worse* than dogs, and he... bows to them, and maintains the status quo. Which would be fine if he was only representing himself. But he isn't. he's representing every Gargoyle at Castle Wyvern. And he's basically saying "hey, it's okay to treat us badly."

Beyond that, his closest human ally and his mate and second in command concoct this risky, and honestly kind of horrible plan to remove the humans from Wyvern, and they don't even trust him enough to tell him about the plan to begin with.

Which I think is a key flaw of his character, that he's perpetually and almost universally going to take the stoic path in literally any situation. And this sort of goes unexamined through out the whole show.

Obviously Demona and the Captain are much more directly and indirectly responsible for what happened, and Demona doesn't take any responsibility at all. But Demiona, while obviously her actions are genocidal and destructive, she's much more of an activist, she's much more willing to change the world. At least at this point in the story. I also think there's a bit too much telegraphing about her villainous nature in the episode too. A few too many shadowy shots of her face, and I don't think we needed the "don't worry, it's all going according to plan" bit. It's a bit... not quite Emperor Palpatine-esque, but in that vein. I think this is something that got toned down a lot as the series progressed. More amoral trickster, less insidious mastermind. Same with Demona too really. I think she's a lot more fleshed out even by the time we get to Re-awakening than she is in this episode. The seeds are all there, and the scenes are great, but I think it only got better from here.

Incidentally, I found myself detesting the Captain A LOT more this time. Usually I'm pretty sympathetic to him, mostly because he's pretty benign and kind. But his cowardice this time, just enraged me. Especially given his promise in the City of Stone flashback. Did he think a few words would keep the Gargoyles safe? Was he willing to sacrifice their lives without giving his own? So frustrating.

The tone of the show is so serious that the silly comic book-y stuff like the underground base and the Flying Air Fortress bugged me a bit this time, maybe I'm just getting old. Also I really question if Cyberbiotics has a permit for their... tiny militia army that they use to protect their research facilities. That's a lot of soldiers and a lot of weapons. Also I think this is the only time that the mayor of New York is mentioned? When Xanatos says he's "expressed his apologies to the mayor".

To come back to Goliath being a bit of a git in the pilot (which is not a mark on the writing to be clear, I think it totally works for his character) he just... bails on Demona at the end of the fifth episode. Which is fair, she was practically frothing at the mouth. But he does so, not to be alone, or to have time to think, but to go hang out with another woman he just met. It just seemed... kind of ignorant and disrespectful to me. Like, I'm not actually sure if Goliath even trusts Demona all that much. He's constantly chiding her and contradicting her. She'll bring up serious issues in the castle and he'll just sort of be like "hey, no problem baby, it'll be fine." When he has no plan to change things whatsoever. It's sort of weird to notice on a re-watch. Just how ineffective as a leader Goliath is in a lot of respects.

I feel like that's maybe too harsh, but that's the way it came across to me on this rewatch. And obviously I love his character. I love that he kind of has a sense of humour, Keith David's performance is perfect (that scream at the end of episode 1 is NUTS) and Goliath's design is great -- especially when the animation is on-point and they get him looking really sleek and not too bulky. But it's just so... strange how our mores have kinda changed over time. That originally in this pilot Goliath was a wronged, tragic figure, but in a more modern 2020 context he's much more complicit in what goes wrong.

Hopefully what I'm saying is clear. What do you guys think?

Alex (Aldrius)

MATTHEW - Thanks for your review, another good one. That's another episode I'd forgotten about, though I found myself "semi-remembering" it after reading your post. ("Young Justice" doesn't seem to have embedded itself that much in my memory; I recall a few parts of it fairly well, but others not as much. I suspect that may be due to my having not much of an affinity to the "regular super-hero" genre, which I didn't grow up with; my tastes as a boy ran more towards ancient and medieval history and legend. The closest to a comic-book super-hero I read about then was Goscinny and Uderzo's Asterix the Gaul.)
Todd Jensen

We find out the downside to hiding in plain sight. Watched "Homefront" today, the "Die Hard on an X" trope is one that's pretty common in most media (it popped up all the time in the 90's.) The story line is simple: a hero finds themselves trapped in a place or location that's been taken over by a villain, they're low on resources and may not have a way to contact the outside world and the villains are pursuing them relentlessly. This episode plays around with it in that it's two heroes instead of one and instead of a slew of villains to take down it's only two as well.

To be honest, I love this episode. I mentioned before in Spectacular Spider-Man how relentless villains immediately up the tension for the viewers and that's taken up to eleven here. There's barely any moment for Robin and Artemis to even catch their breath and I love the mystery at the beginning of the episode where we can't even see who's attacking them. And that's even before they start the countdown before they kill the other members of the Team.

The Red's themselves make REALLY good opponents for the episode and actually feel tailored made to take the team down as Robin and Artemis' projectiles do nothing to them. Miss Martian has passed from the presence of fire and Aqualad is barely able to keep it together by the end, and even the strongest and fastest members of the team are still susceptible to drowning. And you got to give it to them with the image, the silhouette of Red Inferno amongst the flames pretty frightening and the inhuman, lean figure of Red Torpedo is sure to take people off guard. Especially when he starts speaking with Tornado's voice.

Aside from all the action this episode is also a character-driven one, Artemis' character to be exact. We see here that underneath that tough exterior there's a lot of vulnerabilities to her, which contrasts well with Robin's blasé but focused attitude. Despite her need to prove that she can handle herself quite well the moment she finds out her superpowered teammates have been taken down and having to constantly retreat from terrifyingly powerful foes the cracks start to appear the insecurities and more importantly the fear of loss starts to take hold. But as we've seen in "Denial" and "Bereft" a crisis outside of a character's comfort zone can ultimately bring out the best in them. I rather like that the very first trauma she experiences, the loss of her mother and sister, is what ultimately drives her to save her new friends and family. And that backflip shot off of the Red's faces is one of my favorite moments in season 1.

Some Final Thoughts: I like the buildup to the "betrayal" by Red Tornado, Aqualad tells him about the possibility of a mole being on the team and he excuses himself right before the attack with the convenient excuse for monitor duty which he is supposed to be exempt from. Then there's the little spark right as power is restored at which point his eyes glow red and he turns on the team. One little thing I had forgotten about is that for the past couple episodes Sphere is always hanging around Connor while he's working on his bike, we'll see where that leads. Kinda funny that Robin and Artemis' school would start so late into September until you remember that good chinks of it was trashed in the Amazo fight from "Schooled."

We get official confirmation that Artemis and Cheshire are sisters here; there's a bit of ambiguity about Jade's reasons for leaving Artemis behind, claiming that she'd only slow her down. And yet we see that in "Infiltrator" that there is some level of care there, as she'd rather knock out Artemis rather than deal a killing blow when she gets the drop on her. Here's something interesting, as Artemis has her breakdown and pictures all of her friends in mortal peril the first person she thinks of is Wally...

Acting MVP: While Jesse McCartney and Stephanie Lemelin manage to carry this episode, it's definitely Stephanie that takes it this episode.

DC Profiles: Bette Kane, seen briefly in the beginning, as the honor of taking on the mantle of "Bat-Girl" years before Barbara Gordon first appeared when she fought crime alongside her Aunt Kathy Kane aka Batwoman. Since then she's primarily known for her time as Flamebird and her fangirlism towards Nightwing.

Red Inferno (or Firebrand) was originally a member of the All Star Squadron team of superheroes and began her superhero career not long after Pearl Harbor. Like in the comics she met her end against the supervillain the Dragon King. Red Torpedo is the most radically different of the two, a Golden Age superhero who fought against the Axis powers with the help of his one-man submarine "The Red Torpedo." While both of them are rewritten to be androids only Firebrand actually had superpowers. I will say I actually really like the trident insignia Red Torpedo has.

Favorite Lines:

Robin: Artemis?
Artemis: Robin! I uh...
Robin: How random that you're in Gotham City, instead of Star City where your uncle, Green Arrow lives?
Artemis: I'm... uh, here to see my cousin. She was in the state spelling bee. Here... In Gotham... City.
Robin: C-O-O-L. Did she W-I-N?
Artemis: N-O.
Robin: D-R-A-G.

Artemis: Who are we fighting?
Robin: Don't know, but we're sitting ducks by the tubes. Head for the exit!
[They're cut off by a tidal wave]
Robin: Or not.

Robin: Comm is down. At least the water's helping.
[the shower faucets burst and the room starts to flood]
Robin: Or not.

Robin: We can access the hangar from here.
[another tidal wave appears]
Robin: Or not.
Artemis: Will you please stop saying that?!

Artemis: What do we do now?
Robin: We save them. That's how it works.
Artemis: Maybe that's how it's supposed to work, but those robots already took out our four super-powered friends!
Robin: You seem distraught.
Artemis: Distraught? M'gann is dying! We have no powers, and I'm down to my last arrow. OF COURSE I'M DISTRAUGHT!
Robin: Well get traught, or get dead!
Artemis: How can you be so calm?
Robin: Practice. I've been doing this since I was nine.
Artemis: What good is that now? What chance do we have against unrelenting machines?
Robin: Oh-duh! They're machines! And one electro-magnetic pulse will shut shut down any machine within reach.
Artemis: Great! Except you better have an EMP-emitter in your utility belt. Because I know I don't have one in my quiver.
Robin: I'm fresh out. But I'm betting we can make one. What'd you say KF? Doable?
Kid Flash: Totally doable.
Red Torpedo: FIVE MINUTES.
Kid Flash: You know, if you had more time.

Artemis: That might've been true about our family. But I've found a new family. And here we're all for one and-
Red Torpedo: ONE MINUTE.

Robin: Way to get traught.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

It brought back "The Wuzzles"? When?

(For that matter, the article I linked to mentioned that "DuckTales" also brought in the Fluppy Dogs, but I can't remember that part. It must have been a quick cameo.)

Todd Jensen

TODD> Hey, if DuckTales can bring back The Wuzzles anything is possible.
"He's gone." -Adora

Discovered this page just now:


I agree that it'd be difficult to fit the gargoyles into a world of anthropomorphic animals, but not impossible (there was that "Goliath" [SPOILER] though in light of who was really perched up there, I wonder if it might have actually been Thailog [/SPOILER] cameo in the Darkwing Duck comic book, after all). And I liked the point about Scrooge McDuck and the gargoyles having Scottish roots in common.

Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, I enjoyed this one, but next episode is going to be even better.

And congratulations Greg.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

And here's our interview with Greg Weisman and Victor Cook discussing the final episode of Spectacular Spider-Man, "Final Curtain". It's been a blast.


I hope you enjoy it.

Greg Bishansky

MATTHEW - Thank you for another fine review. (Again, I have only very general memories of this episode, so I can't comment much on it, but I think you did a good job analyzing it.)
Todd Jensen

A ship sets sail, watched "Terrors" today. The relationship between Connor and M'Gann has gone through some ups and downs in the early part of season 1 (and beyond) but here is where things really pick up. Now I usually don't go much into shipping unless I feel something has gone terribly wrong in terms of writing, but if things go right then there's not much more that needs to be said. Throughout the first ten episodes we've seen Superboy's emotions start to mature beyond the angry, focused attack dog he was designed to be, and by "Bereft" it's become clear that he does feel something towards M'Gann, mostly due to the fact that she's been there helping him develop every step of the way.

So this episode is a follow up to the plot point from the first episode, the unlikelihood of four ice villains attacking on the same day (though as I said before considering how many ice villains there are that's pretty likely). And we find out the big scheme is to have these villains in place so they can break every prisoner out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, I like the notion behind it especially when you consider how extreme cold can destabilize the hardiest of structures and Belle Reve has no shortage of super strong villains that can smash through the walls once they've been weakened. There's that little detail that the walls are strong enough to hold even Superman, that makes a lot more sense if you remember that Greg decided to not give him his chilling breath power in this series.

There's one thing I've always liked about this series and that's how proactive the heroes are, even before learning of the Light. We've seen the League be suspicious of the ice villains' attack and the comics even had Artemis' get information from Junior; it fits well into the more covert theme of the show and watching superheroes go undercover is always a treat. They made some good choices too, setting aside M'Gann's shapeshifting abilities it's actually kinda remarkable on how well Connor can pass for Tommy Terror (yes I know the character models are similar but that's beside the point). Still I have to wonder about the plan to send minors into a supermax prison, without many of their powers and with the guards treating them like potential threats. There's so much that can go wrong and with very little security, especially when M'Gann is frozen and they lose their only contact outside the prison.

Heck, Connor is the absolute MVP of the episode. Contrast him in the early episodes where he was angry, lashing out and quick to jump into a fight, and now he's willing to disguise himself for an extended period of time, calculating and pretty good at improvising, managing to even turn the villains against each other. Plus I really love the bro moments he has with Icicle Junior, the problems they both have with their fathers and how Junior helps him work out his feelings for M'Gann. I like to think that even after it's revealed that their not the Terror Twins, Junior still can't bring himself to ice them even while in the throws of a passionate kiss.

The big reveal at the end (and their are plenty of these) that the Light was pulling off a Xanatos Gambit is a good one, even without the cons breaking out, Amanda "The Wall" Waller has been kicked out and the crooks control the prison, albeit in a more subtle way. This is going to make a bit more sense in the bigger picture of season 1 but I'm going to have to hold off on that until we get to episodes like "Coldhearted" and "Image." For now let's just consider the fact that the prison's psychologist managed to sneak in the necessary tech for the ice villains to build their gauntlets while under the watch of the guards and Waller. And now think of what can be done now that he runs the place.

Some Final Thoughts: A couple of little things I liked, one is that every time Ojo tries to inform the others who Superboy is he gets knocked out, thrown around or mind-tricked. The other is Edward Nygma popping up here and there and generally being a nuisance, and yet he keeps implying that he knows more than he lets on and in the end is the only one to actually escape, and we don't even see how he did it. I haven't touched on this much but it's interesting how often Louisiana is used in this series, I don't mind so much as I like it when DC utilizes more than just the oft-used locations of Gotham or Metropolis.

That little moment when Connor blows up at M'Gann about her fantasy world where everything is solved in twenty-two minutes. You know it's funny that when James Remar showed up in Spectacular Spider-Man he was in the center of a prison riot and was the only one not trying to break out. Here's he's instigating one.

Acting MVP: For starters I have to give credit to James Remar, while he's no stranger to playing villains I actually didn't even recognize him when he played the guard Wilcox, guy's got some versatility. Sheryl Lee Ralph really nails it as Amanda Waller, and I was really enjoying her take as the character. And at the center of the episode I have to give it to Nolan North and Yuri Lowenthal for the the great two-man act they pull off.

DC Profiles: Hugo Strange is a villain from Batman's circle, one more psychiatrist that's also evil (and there's plenty of those in comics). He's well known for the fact that he managed to deduce that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same, but there's not a lot more to the character.

Killer Frost is an identity that's been used by more than a few characters, the one here is Crystal Frost, a long time foe of the hero Firestorm. But the cold, sociopathic attitude she displays is much more in line with the Louise Lincoln version of the character. Icicle Senior, or Joar Mahkent goes all the way back to the 40's and was a foe to the Justice Society of America. It's a nice little detail that they remembered that he has to use ice tech while his son is the one with powers.

Favorite Lines:

Waller: I am the law of last resort; my name is Amanda Waller. I am not your mother, your maiden aunt or your friend. I am your warden and you are my prisoners.

Brick: Not wise. Not wise at all!
Ojo: Don't you understand, he's-
M'Gann:[telepathically] He's Tommy Terror!
Ojo: He's...Tommy Terror?

Icicle Jr.: And really that's all you need, someone who sees the psycho that you are and likes you anyway.

Icicle Sr.: Tell me how you did this or I swear you won't thaw for a millennia!
Waller: At which point you will *still* be in Belle Reve!

Icicle Jr.: Dude! THAT'S YOUR SISTER! ["Tuppence" transforms back into M'Gann] what?...wait...Is she? And are you?...Aw dad's gonna kill me.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Second! Wasn't expecting that one!

Todd Jensen