Mark Watches ‘Gargoyles’: S01E01 – Awakening, Part I

In the first episode of the first season of Gargoyles, WHAT THE HELL, THAT WAS GREAT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finally start Gargoyles.

I WASN’T READY. And in case you’re new around here, you may not be ready either. Before I jump into this, I recommend reading this ENTIRE introduction, which explains our community here as well as how video commentaries work. To start:

1) Spoilers are not allowed in any form on Mark Watches. Please refrain from ever posting (in normal text) any sort of spoiler or reference to future storylines or developments while commenting on this site. This rule is probably a lot more strict than you’re used to, so if you’re warned about spoilers or if your comment is edited because of it, trust me. This is for a reason. Please visit the Spoiler Policy for guidance.

2) You may, however, post spoilers in rot13. You will inevitably see what looks like gibberish in the comments. We use rot13 to cipher all possible spoilers so that y’all can still have a conversation about each episode if you’ve seen the entire show. Please cipher all spoilers.

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So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about “Awakening, Part I.” This show opened with a multi-part arc, thus I was not ready for Gargoyles immediately. As I said in the beginning of the video for this episode, I’ve had countless people recommend this show to me for about five years now. It first started on that tour I did in February of 2012 and continued throughout my second tour in April of that year. Over the years, it was highly requested in person and on the Suggestions page, and while no one spoiled me for anything, the basic gist I got was that this was one of the smartest, most richly-told animated series ever. I know that Diane Duane worked on some of the scripts. Otherwise? I have once more been able to approach a show ignorant of what I’m about to experience. I’m thankful for that because HOLY SHIT, WHAT AN OPENING. I was blown away by the scope of this storytelling, which jumps from modern-day Manhattan – where the gargoyles are ostensibly fighting in the clouds on top of a skyscraper – to SCOTLAND in the year 994. That is a huge jump! And yet, I already got a sense for why that happened.

Gargoyles seems to be a show about how these creatures co-exist with humans. The Manhattan storyline suggests that humans don’t know about the gargoyles, and yet? Everyone knows about them in 994 AD, from the Scottish whose castle is their home, to the Vikings who have come to conquer them, to the refugees who are terrified of them. As a whole, only the captain of the guard values and respects them. Which, of course, makes his betrayal all the more upsetting. If he cared about them so much, why? Why would he do that???

Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. For just over twenty minutes, this episode contains a lot of information. We learn that Goliath is the unofficial leader of the gargoyles, but he’s also the only one who is named. They don’t name one another! They’re nocturnal creatures who become encased in stone once the sun comes up. (Which is exploited by the captain later on.) Gargoyles hatch from eggs, which is incredibly adorable to me??? THEY HAVE A ROOKERY. (Which also serves as the room for punishment.) Gargoyles lived in the caves of Scotland – and particularly close to where the castle in this episode was – before humans were there. I’m not sure how their relationship came to be, though. When did they start protecting castles? This felt like a symbiotic relationship, though one on the way out, as if this was the act that finally pushed the gargoyles away. I mean, I have no idea if the rookery was destroyed, too, but the one female gargoyle was killed, right? (Based on what Goliath said as he handled the remains of one of his friends.)

I just don’t understand why the captain would sacrifice the gargoyles to spite his own people. The latter half of that makes sense; he was tired of being ignored and disrespected. He knew the gargoyles were advantageous to keep around; thus, I assumed that the white-haired guy (whose name I can’t recall) was the one to betray the castle. He wanted the gargoyles taken out. EXCEPT NO. STILL THE CAPTAIN.

I imagine a lot of my questions will be answered in the second half of this – Do the gargoyles eventually give themselves names or are they given them? What’s the relationship between Goliath and Marina Sirtis’s gargoyle? (I AM SO HAPPY I RECOGNIZED HER VOICE.) Is that one gargoyle basically a dog? – and so I’ll let the show speak for itself in the future. But as first episodes go, this was one hell of an introduction to this world. It’s one of the better pilots I’ve seen because it establishes a conflict, a group of characters, who we should feel sympathy for, and then cliffhangers us in a way to keep us interested. This is going to be a lot of fun, I CAN ALREADY TELL.

The video for “Awakening, Part I” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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