Analysis and Review: Gargoyles Awakening Part 3



Previously on Gargoyles…I forgot to mention that the second episode is the first time we see the proper opening to the show including its theme song. It’s composed by Carl Johnson and played over clips of the previous episodes, as well as a few that we haven’t seen yet. It’s entirely instrumental and has a very dark, Gothic yet magnificently  triumphant at the same I can see why Carl Johnson earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the show.

The show opens proper with Detective Maza speaking with Owen about the light show, falling debris and explosions which Owens spins as an exploding generator. Elisa however points out that an exploding generator doesn’t sound anything like automatic weapon fire, so with the prospect of her returning with a warrant Owen takes her up to survey the scene and meet with Xanatos.

Elisa Maza: What exactly did happen here Mr. Xanatos? And please, don’t try to tell me it was an exploding generator.

Xanatos: Owen was a little confused. That’s for the press. The truth is that my men repelled an invasion by a rival corporation trying to steal some of our new technology.

Elisa Maza: “Repelled an invasion”? You’re a private citizen, Xanatos. Not a country.

Xanatos: Detective, l am the owner of a multinational corporation, which is bigger than many countries you could name.


“Besides, this is America. Corporations have more rights than the average citizen.”

So while Xanatos runs his little redirection and Goliath observes from above the Trio have discovered the kitchens. I didn’t really mention this before hand, but Big Aqua has a huge interest in food. Even during battles in medieval Scotland he was seen smacking vikings around with large hunks of meat. So the prospect of foods that don’t need to be salted or cured really excites him. But because this episode primarily highlights their fish out of waterness, high jinks soon occur involving getting trapped in the freezer, accidentally turning on the stove with a hand on the burner and just generally trashing the place in a very Three Stooges manner.

“Why I oughta”

The recent disturbance causes Xanatos to cut the tour short and asks Owen to see Eliza out. But as she’s leaving she swears she sees one of the stone gargoyles move and with her suspicions not exactly allayed, she sneaks back into the castle.

They can transport an entire castle all the way from Scotland, but they still can’t clean the basement.

A sudden noise causes her to draw her gun, but much to her shock she finds herself facing the garg-dog. But even more shocking than that is when Goliath swoops in, snatches her gun and crushes it like an aluminum can. So shocking in fact that when she backs away she accidentally trips over the ramparts and falls of the building.

Oh no, gravity’s back to kill again!

Goliath swoops down and manages to catch her before she hits the ground, landing on one of the ledges. And after that little adventure as well as nearly having a heart attack the two share a little dialogue.

Goliath: What were you doing in my castle?

Elisa Maza: Who…what are you?”

Goliath: My kind have no names, but you humans call me Goliath.

Elisa Maza: “Your kind?” You mean there’s more than one of you?

Goliath: Mmmm. Barely.

“Apparently I’m on what’s known as the endangered species list.”

Elisa asks if he can fly them back up to the castle and he tells her that despite his wings can’t actually fly, only glide on currents of wind. And I’ve got to get the show credit, in a world filled with magic, lasers and nocturnal creatures that transform into solid stone, they decided to have actual physics in there.

Anyway, they decide to take the long way up, which means she holds onto his shoulders while he bare-handed (clawed?) his way back up on the side of the building until they make it back up the castle. Where Elisa once again finds herself facing the garg-dog and almost backs right off the side of the castle again. 

Goliath: Now, once again, what are you doing here? And, please, don’t fall off the building this time.

Old Brown berates the Trio for the mess they made before they see Goliath speaking with Elisa and filling her in with their backstory. The rest of the clan properly meet her and she explains her position as a detective.

Old Brown: What exactly does a ”detective” do, lass?

Elisa Maza: Well, uh. When somebody does something wrong, l find out who and arrest them.

Goliath: Who says what’s wrong?

Elisa Maza: Well, we have a justice system – laws, penalties, assessments – that the people decide.

Goliath: You mean, the humans decide.

“To be fair, a few minutes ago I didn’t even know there was another sentient species here.”

With dawn approaching Goliath informs her that she needs to leave, Elisa though wants to know more about them. Goliath realizes that they’ll need to know more about their new environment and agrees, arraigning to meet her at a nearby rooftop. After she leaves, Owen shows up and informs Goliath that Xanatos would like a word with him before they sleep.

Xanatos explains to him that the team that attacked the castle stole three hard disks from him, and that’s sure to date this episode. He says that they were stolen by a company called Cyberbiotics and each disk is held at one of three locations. A research station, an underground base and a floating air fortress, as conveniently shown on a VHS tape.

Well if you’re going to date an episode, might as well go all in.

Goliath is reluctant to do this, as he fears it will endanger the rest of his clan, Xanatos tells him to think about his offer with a friendly pat on the shoulder. After Goliath leaves, a hidden door opens in Xanatos’ office and he informs the figure hiding in the shadows that everything is going according to plan.


“Ooh, I wonder who that could be.”
“Oh c’mon, they’re not even trying to hide who that could be.”

The day comes and goes, and as night falls the gargoyles awaken and the Trio excitedly heads off to explore the city. Goliath agrees on the condition that they stay close to the building and stay out of sight and the Trio nods in a manner that if you know anything about kids then you know that they weren’t listening to a thing he said.

Goliath and Elisa meet at the designated spot and much to both of their surprise, Old Brown also shows up to make sure that he wasn’t ambushed. Elisa asks what she should call him eliciting this response from him.

Old Brown: Must you humans name everything? Nothing’s real to you ’til you’ve named it, given it limits.

Elisa Maza: It’s not like that. It’s just that, well… uh… things need names.

Old Brown: Does the sky need a name?

Yes, it’s called the sky.

Old Brown: Does the river?

Elisa Maza: The river’s called the Hudson.

Old Brown: Fine, lass. Then I will be the Hudson as well.

And that’s one less character I can refer to by-

“Well yes, also I wanted to point out you broke your own rule about only analyzing the episode when you brought up Carl Johnson’s Emmy nomination.”
“Oh for love of-who are you?”
“I’m the Elephant in the Room, it’s my job to point out uncomfortable problems and other things you want to avoid talking about.”
“Sigh. Yes, I’m fully aware that I’ve been referring to characters based upon their appearance, especially their skin color. And if I was doing that to human characters it might be seen as slightly racist.” 
“Well yes, also I wanted to point out you broke your own rule about only analyzing the episode when you brought up Carl Johnson’s Emmy nomination.”
I-I-just-never mind. Now can I continue with what I was writing?!”

Hudson brings up an interesting point that I’d like to tackle. He claims that by giving things names we place limits on it. But let’s consider the subject of the sky. Besides it’s most obvious name it has also been referred to as “the heavens,” “the celestial dome,” “Welkin” among many others. And that’s not even counting the number of times the sky has been deified by ancient human cultures. In fact Tengrism, the central religion of Mongolia, their name for God translates to “Eternal Blue Sky.” These names, both scientific and poetic, can evoke a different response from anyone who hears them. The limit from the name only comes from the limit of the imagination when it came to naming something.

At the same time, gargoyles have been shown to be hardwired differently from humans, considering the the physical differences between the species not to mention their brains undoubtedly work different from our own. They probably don’t feel the need to place identifiers on every other thing they way we do, and that includes each other. Of course I still can’t imagine it’s easy to identify one another in a group conversation if they’re just referring to each other as “friend.”

So Goliath decides to take a tour of the city, scooping up Elisa as well.

“Nothin’ lad. Nothin’.”

Hudson however takes a look at the noisy, busy street and elects to stay and protect the castle.

Hudson: This new world is too big, too bright, too loud.

“I feel like complainin’ about tha humans these days with their electric candles, horseless carriages and fiber optic cables.”

Elisa Maza: Well looks like it’s just you and me. So what do you want to see?

Goliath: The dangers that threaten me and my kind.

Elisa Maza: Lighten up, will you. You’re starting to bring me down and I’m a cop.

So we get a little montage of the two of them gliding around the city and seeing the sites, Times Square, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, after taking a moment to marvel about the architecture, Goliath decides to ask about the infrastructure.

Goliath: I see no walls to guard this city. How do you protect it from invaders?

Elisa Maza: Well our biggest worries aren’t from outside, they’re from inside.

Goliath: That I’m all too familiar with.

Back at the castle, Hudson and the garg-dog wander about their newly refurbished home, glum over their new environment. That is until they discover a little den with a Lay-Z-Boy just right for relaxing. Unfortunately said relaxation is cut short when they discover the television and the horror it contains.

Glam Metal

And Hudson beats a hasty retreat.

“Run away! Run away!”

We’re then treated to a scene involving Brendan and Margot, a couple of suburbanites who are stuck in the bad part of town with a broken down car and a non-functioning car phone (just to date the episode even further). And this couple is so yuppie-like I’m surprised that half their dialogue doesn’t consist of complaints against state taxes. The couple is accosted by a group of thugs until Elisa shows up and practically dares them to follow her into an alley where Goliath is waiting and quickly thrashes them. Brendan witnesses this and tells Margot to flee from the “monster.” Brings to mind the old adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Meanwhile the Trio are pretty enraptured over the city and Little Green is especially curious over a guy’s motorcycle. Little Green’s been really interested in today’s technology and so decides to swoop down and examine it, which freaks the guy out and he runs away, leaving the bike behind.

Gives new meaning to the term, “backseat driver.”

Green decides to try out the bike for himself, which does as well as you’d expect anyone from the Middle Ages would do on a modern day vehicle. And crashes the bike into a wall.

And that’s why you’re supposed to start with training wheels.

Elsewhere, Goliath and Elisa have taken the tour to Central Park and are walking around on foot.

Elisa Maza: We’re probably the only couple in the park who don’t have to worry about muggers.

Goliath: This world is just as savage as the one I remember.

Elisa Maza: You’re judging it the way humans have judged you. l mean, sure, this city shows an ugly face sometimes, but there’s more to it than that. There’s beauty here. Moms that sing to their kids, the way my mom used to.

But before Elisa can go into more detail about the beauty of the modern world beyond mothers who sing to their children. Goliath is suddenly shot with a dart by the same group of mercenaries that had attacked the castle. Despite their attempts to fight back, the tranquilizer takes affect and Goliath is brought down. And the episode ends with the leader of the group readying his gun at Goliath.


See you in part 4!

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