In the thirteenth and final episode of the first season of Gargoyles, Xanatos and Demona’s plan is revealed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.Â
Well, that was an experience.
I’ve watched this first season in relatively little time, since I had to write in advance of a writing trip that I was taking. Thus, this first season has felt almost like a book, or perhaps a serialized comic book run. Perhaps that’s because “Reawakening” so masterfully handles its themes of duty, loyalty, and understanding, tying in the events that opened the series with the sort of complicated storytelling we’re getting in the modern world.
While I wouldn’t sit here and claim this is the best depiction of New York City, the show has managed to make it a vital character in its own right. That’s why the opening is so personal: a local shop owner is repeatedly robbed, and Elisa’s partner, Matt, wonders how he could possibly begin to protect someone from the thief who torments him. It’s a form of foreshadowing, too, since it leads to Goliath’s understanding about his role within the city. But it’s practical as well. How is anyone supposed to defend Manhattan?
That question becomes more complicated to answer because of the events of “Reawakening.” So much happens in such a relatively short span of time, and it’s so over-the-top compared to what came before that I was left reeling from the experience. It would have been shocking enough to see the return of Coldstone all by itself. He’s a tragic character right from the start, a frightening combination of Frankenstein and Othello. (OH. DEMONA. I GET IT NOW.) He’s an amalgamation of parts, a collection of his gargoyle body (HOW?????) and Xanatos’s science. I actually feel amused at my own observations prior to this about how Gargoyles itself was an odd combination of science fiction and fantasy. I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW FAR THIS SHOW WOULD GO. And like Iago, Demona fills Coldstone’s head with lies in order to turn him against Goliath and destroy his old rookery brother.
It’s here, though, that Gargoyles does something fascinating. Up to this point, Xanatos had supported Demona. They’d had something of a mutual relationship, though it was always a bit rocky. However, “Reawakening” pits them against one another once their interests begin to collide. It’s one bit of a lot of chaos here, and I found it exhilarating. It would have been easier to stick them on the same side, right?
It also would have been easier for the big confrontation between Coldstone and Goliath to be in some sort of far-off locale, but NOPE. THIS SHOW DOESN’T CARE, BECAUSE IT’S GONNA HAPPEN IN TIMES SQUARE. Look, if I had shit to say about the gargoyles appearing in public and risking their reveal before, it’s all moot. It means nothing. BECAUSE THEY FOUGHT IN TIMES SQUARE AND THE ENTIRE NEW YORK POLICE DEPART JUST SAW THEM AND A WEIRD ROBOT/GARGOYLE HYBRID AND GARGOYLE ROBOTS. WHO ALL SPEAK ENGLISH. People acknowledge! There is barely an attempt by the writers to even try to hide this, and I respect that so much. Elisa does warn Goliath to leave before the news cameras set up, but even then? Footage airs that night of four winged creatures flying away from a massive bout of destruction in motherfuckin’ Times Square.
By the time the action moved to the George Washington Bridge (hey, I tried to identify it!), I was already blown away by this episode and its commitment to these plots. But holy shit, THE SEQUENCE ON THE BRIDGE. Like I said, this is a chaotic finale, and the writers do not draw easy lines of alliance. Coldstone is furious for what Goliath did to him, except that Goliath didn’t do what Demona said he did. He’s certainly not responsible for the technological adaptations on Coldstone. As to Goliath’s complicity in the destruction of most of the race of gargoyles? Well, that’s a sit-down conversation, not a throw-each-other-off-a-bridge conversation. But Coldstone’s reaction is purely emotional, and it’s because of Demona and Xanatos that he is so enraged. He can’t be reasoned with, and there’s nothing to stop him from destroying his rookery brother… at least until that important philosophy comes to the forefront of Coldstone’s mind. Throughout this show, we’ve seen the gargoyles do all sorts of things to protect those who needed it. We saw that in Scotland a thousand years prior; we watched Goliath save Elisa; we watched them save each other.
Coldstone couldn’t betray that mantra, if you will. He couldn’t kill when his purpose as a gargoyle was meant to protect. (And maybe the actual NYPD, as well as police departments everywhere, could stand to listen to this. WHOMP WHOMP.) And in an ultimate act of sacrifice, he dives in front of a blast meant for Goliath, and just like that… he’s gone.
I was so upset. WE JUST MET COLDSTONE. IT’S MICHAEL DORN. HOW COULD YOU TAKE HIM AWAY FROM US??? It’s a bittersweet end, but it’s temporary, too. I don’t know what the relationship between Demona and Xanatos will be. I don’t know if they’ll try to resurrect another gargoyle, since they’ve already proven they can. In the final moments of “Reawakening,” though, the title takes on a new meaning: the events of this season have reawakened the gargoyles’ purpose: to protect others. Their castle? THE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN. And given that the cops now definitively know about the gargoyles, ARE THEY GOING TO WORK TOGETHER? At the very least, Elisa will. OH, I AM SO TERRIBLY EXCITED. What an incredible season, y’all. I am looking forward to more of this!
The video for “Reawakening” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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