Review and Analysis: Gargoyles Her Brother’s Keeper


Last time on Gargoyles.

Hudson got his focus episode while playing cat-and-mouse against Demona while carrying a wounded Goliath and juggling flashbacks.

Didn’t know he could multitask.

Our episode begins with Elisa tailing Xanatos via a police helicopter piloted by her brother Derek due to the fact that he can spot her if she follows by car.  He’s more than just a little skeptical, even insisting that he’s done his jail time fairly and Elisa’s pursuit of him is turning into an obsession.  Unfortunately for her, Xanatos is not only fully aware that he’s being pursued from the sky but has the expression that he’s counting on it as well.

At the clock tower, we get a short scene involving the Trio who are arguing over a helicopter flight video game.  It’s a classic case of who’s hogging the game and whose turn it is and suddenly I’m reminded of my third grade computer classes and that one brat who never recognized when his designated time was up and…um, anyway.  Soon the insults start flying out which causes Goliath to put his dad foot down and tell them all to grow up and stop acting like children.

Also, Microsoft Flight Simulator looks a lot different from what I remember.

Over at the Diamond Exchange, Jackal and Hyena are sizing the place up in preparation for stealing the valued Coyote Diamond.  Now if you’re like me seeing this for the first time you might be wondering how these two are wandering around free as a bird.  But it’s important to remember that only Fox and Wolf got caught doing something illegal.  Hyena even mentions Dingo going off to Europe, so a nice little detail.

While Hyena’s all for just snatching the jewel and cutting up any fool that gets in their way, Jackal suggests a more subtle approach.  But before even that can be enacted they run into a snag, and that snag is Xanatos buying the diamond.  While Jackal thinks this means all they have to do is steal the diamond from Xanatos; a fan starts pestering Hyena about her time on The Pack and that’s just the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  Soon it’s knives out and just taking the jewel in front of everyone.

They say that if you see a celebrity in public you should probably leave them alone. This is why.

The duo head up to the roof where they attempt to escape via hang gliders but Derek and Elisa cut them off with the helicopter.  Unfortunately for them Jackal and Hyena are the types to bring large guns to a jewel heist, a bazooka in this case.  Fortunately for our heroes, Xanatos shoulder tackles Jackal so only the tail rotor is clipped and Derek manages to safely land the helicopter.  With the diamond lost and now the cops onto them, the brother sister team beat a hasty retreat.  Xanatos compliments Derek on his skill even offering him a job as his personal pilot and bodyguard promising better pay and less risks.  While Elisa tells Derek to ignore this thinking that it’s just Xanatos trying to get under her skin, but Derek is incensed at the notion that he wouldn’t be considered for his skill.

Later at the clock tower, Elisa voices her concerns to the clan and Goliath suggests telling him the truth which Elisa disagrees with saying that it’s not her secret to share.  Though that argument falls apart when you consider the people involved in that secret are all telling her to share it.  Brooklyn even telling her that trust, even between family doesn’t mean much without honesty.  Lexington however is more concerned with fact that Jackal and Hyena are still on the loose.  And speaking of them, they receive new orders from Fox, to take out Xanatos.  And considering their personalities you can bet it will be with extreme prejudice.

The next day Elisa catches up with Derek, but before she can say anything he lets her know that he’s decided to take Xanatos’ offer.

That night, Elisa catches up with her father for advice.  He suggests telling him it would break their mother’s heart if he was to quit the family business.  That might’ve worked if Derek wasn’t speaking to their mother at that very moment, encouraging him to follow his own path.  Reminding him that he controls his life, not anyone else.

“And I’m sure if you talked with your father he could get your sister to see reason.”

As Derek packs up his locker, Elisa tries talking to him again, even insisting that he follow her to meet some people.  But Derek isn’t having any of it.

Derek: I’ve no doubt you can find a snitch who’ll tell me that Xanatos is the Prince of Darkness.

Elisa: He practically is!

“Are you kidding? I wouldn’t be caught dead with a ponytail.”

Elisa consults with the clan once more and Goliath agrees that they’ll watch over Derek and sends the Trio to do so.  The three of them spot Xanatos’ helicopter taking off and an attack copter owned by the pack.  Xanatos shoots back but the hull of their own helicopter is laser proof and even with Derek’s flying they soon find themselves missile-locked.  Luckily the Trio soon show up and toss the two of them out.

And like any good G.I. Joe villain the have their parachute prepped ahead of time.

Unfortunately the Trio now find themselves in control of helicopter that they don’t quite understand.

Broadway: You sure you can fly this?

Lexington: Hey, it’s just like the simulator game back in the tower.

Brooklyn: Famous last words.

Their attempt at landing goes…not as well as they were hoping for. But Lex remains optimistic he can fix it.

Yeah I’m sure those dents will just buff out.

Goliath still believes that Elisa can get through to Derek if he was just to meet them but Elisa isn’t so sure and feels like she needs something more.  So it’s off to Rikers to speak with Fox.  Fox turns out to be in a surprisingly talkative mood, filling Elisa in that the Pack was created by Xanatos, that he was the one to get Jackal and Hyena to hit the diamond exchange, even setting them up to assassinate him.  All to get Derek.  While Elisa thinks she’s just doing this because she’s in jail but Fox shoots this down, as it turns out Xanatos told her to tell Elisa all this because there’s a difference between knowing someone’s plan and being able to stop it.  Heck she even swoons a bit while going on about Xanatos’ brilliance.

Somebody’s got a cruu˜uush!

Elisa however, has been secretly recording the whole conversation.  But that’s when Goliath shows up to inform her that Xanatos and Derek have headed north out of the city.  Elisa surmises that they’re probably headed to Xanatos’ private retreat, Xanadu.  Wait…Xanatos, Xanadu?  If it wasn’t for this show’s love of literary references I’d say the good billionaire is being a little egocentric.

Luckily, Lex has managed to not only get the Pack’s helicopter up and running but also added some cool wing design that’s just screaming to be made into a toy.

In stores now! Beg your parents to buy it for you!

Jackal and Hyena have already made their way to Xanadu and are currently scoping out Xanatos and Derek who are out for a nightly stroll.

Xanatos: That was excellent flying last night. I’m more convinced than ever that l was right to hire you.

Derek: I hope that sort of thing isn’t a nightly occurrence. I might be safer back with the NYPD.

Xanatos: Let’s just say that my life is anything but dull.

“Heck the first time I showed up I was buying a Scottish castle and transporting it across the Atlantic.”

The duo of assassins take out the nearby lampposts but before they can take out Derek and Xanatos the gargoyles show up in their helicopter.  The two of them soon find themselves hoisted by their own petard as the copter’s searchlight is used against their night vision goggles, its armor repelling their laser attacks, and its weapons used in disabling them, forcing the two to surrender.

With the threat over and the gargoyles now out in the open, Derek and Elisa catch up.  Derek is pretty surprised to find out the gargoyles are real.  This confuses Elisa who never told him to which he replies that Xanatos told him all about them, how he made a few bad decisions in regards to them and how they turned him down after he offered them his help.  Elisa keeps insisting that he’s being used and soon they’re back to arguing before Goliath has to put his dad foot down once more.

Goliath: QUIET! Both of you! You don’t know how lucky you are to have siblings to fight with! All of my rookery brothers are dead. And there is nothing – NOTHING more important than family.

With the two of them being effectively shouted down, the conversation turns quiet as snow begins to fall.  Elisa admits to her mistakes and that Derek should live his own life, but she also gives him the recording she took earlier.  Leaving the choice of listening to it or not entirely to him.

At the clock tower the Trio congratulate Lex on his work with the helicopter, which never shows up again in any episode.

“Hey…We left our copter back at Xanadu!”

And the episode closes as Elisa watches the snow herald a new morning.

Review and Thoughts:


“Her Brother’s Keeper” is a fast paced episode where the action which starts off as soon the brother sister pair of Jackal and Hyena show up.  We get to see a bit more of them this time around and learn a bit more about their dynamic.  Hyena is an unrepentant psychotic and though Jackal may be more pragmatic (or at least patient) he doesn’t shy away from inflicting violence once he feels like doing it.  They’re dangerous not because they’re cunning like Fox or powerful like Wolf, but they’re very well armed and completely amoral.

The bond between siblings is the recurring theme of the episode; despite their bickering Jackal and Hyena do get on the same page due to their shared love of carnage.  The Trio get into childish arguments but can put that aside when things get important.  And hey, you can only spend so much time with your family before you start to get on each other’s nerves.

What isn’t so easily resolved is the relationship between Elisa and Derek, earlier in the episode their father said that Derek looked up to his big sister.  That may have been true when they were younger but things have changed.  It could be that the inherent idea that the elder sibling that supposedly knows better than the younger one caused some level of resentment for Derek.  It could be that Derek was worried that Elisa’s fixation on Xanatos could easily turn into harassment (which is something no good cop would want on their record) and he’s tired of reminding her of that.  It could just simply be a case of siblings getting on each other’s nerves, either way it’s clear that this friction between the two of them has been growing for a while.

We see multiple times that Elisa made excuses for not revealing the gargoyles to Derek, the first time it was because she didn’t want to give up on that secret.  In plenty of shows that involved a team of non-human characters aided by a single human ally the secrecy of their existence was something of a necessity, or just lazy writing.  But it’s easy to forget that the gargoyles were once public figures in their time and presumably would like to be so again in the future.  While they’re much more prudent about who they would reveal themselves to now as Goliath explained to Lexington they must seek out new friends and allies if they’re to survive in their new home.  They already trust Elisa with their lives, it stands to reason they would extend some of that trust to a member of her own “clan” so to speak.

But because of her hesitation the worst outcome takes place, the guy she tried to warn him about was the one to let him in on the secret, and more importantly she let Xanatos direct the narrative.  It is true that he messed up in dealing with them and that he offered to help them and they rejected it.  But he conveniently left out the parts like messing up the deal with them after attacking them with robotic doppelgangers or rejecting his help after he worked to ruin their public image.  Who we get our information from can be just as important as the information itself.  And the consequences of that are sure to come up in the future.

Next time the season comes to a close as new character emerges from the past…

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