Mark Watches ‘Gargoyles’: S02E02 – Metamorphosis

In the second episode of the second season of Gargoyles, there are literally no scenarios in which I am prepared for this episode. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.

Trigger Warning: For consent and non-consensual medical procedures, body horror.

I am in awe of what I just watched. What did this show just do WHAT DID THIS SHOW JUST DO???

Where do I even start? How do I talk about this? Fifty billion storylines just advanced at once and everything’s a mess and this is only the second episode of the show. My god.

Experiments

This show is so deeply complex, and I admire that the writers are so willingly to give us stories like this. We already knew of a connection between Genutech and Xanatos, but we’re given a confusing plot here. Somehow, Xanatos knew that Genutech was working on creating gargoyles, but he was unaware just how far Dr. Sevarius was willing to go to meet his goal. I was immediately suspicious of Xanatos, especially since he was so upfront to Derek. That seemed to be too good to be true, you know? I believed that he was trying to play into Derek’s need for transparency and honesty by speaking so openly about how he’d messed up here. But why? What was his end goal?

In the short term, he wanted his own gargoyles since he couldn’t have the original ones, but I couldn’t see how Derek figured into this. Dr. Sevarius was every bit the “mad scientist” trope come to life. (Which convinced me that Xanatos had to have known how terrible he was.) Why introduce Derek to him? It seemed like such a risk! More so than anything else, though, I was perplexed by the decision to introduce Derek to the new gargoyle hybrids. On the one hand, I saw the manipulation for what it was: a chance for Xanatos to show Derek that he was flawed, yet redemptive, that he could make a mistake and then immediately rectify it. It was a brilliant move, one that would keep Derek doubting his sister’s claims about him. But was it too much? The sheer horror on Derek’s face once he saw those creatures made it seem like Xanatos might have played his hand too early.

EXCEPT HE HADN’T AND I AM STILL MESSED UP ABOUT THAT.

Monsters

There’s another plot unfolding here that deserves attention. Brooklyn learns the hard way that simply wanting to help someone does not mean that you are entitled to helping that person. He immediately sympathizes with Maggie Reed when he finds her cowering in an alley. (Maybe you should have thought how that would look, dude. You swooped down on her in a dark alley in Manhattan. She wasn’t gonna be amenable to pretty much anything in that context.) And I get that! He sees her as one of the group without hesitation, so he wants to help her acclimate to New York City as they have.

Unfortunately, it’s simply not that easy, especially since Brooklyn is missing a crucial detail: she was initially human. She doesn’t want to stay that way. Thus, Brooklyn’s offer comes across as terrifying to her. She views them all as monsters and she’ll do anything to avoid remaining as one herself. To add insult to injury, this whole nightmare was planned from the start as a way to solidify these gargoyle-hybrids against the original gargoyles, so Brooklyn’s behavior actually helped Xanatos! WHY IS THIS SHOW SO MESSED UP.

Metamorphosis

I was shocked when Derek was hit by a tranquilizer dart. I was even more surprised when Dr. Sevarius revealed that the dart actually created the mutagen that would transform him into a combination between a human, a jungle cat, a bat, and an electric eel. And then, I was numb in awe at how ridiculously far this show took this twist. There are absolutely no easy answers in this episode, and I am damn impressed with the writing choices here. One thing that I admire about “Metamorphosis” is that the writers respect the perspective of each of the characters. They’re all operating under some form of ignorance about what’s actually going on, which means that alliances are complicated and messy. Elisa supports the gargoyles wholeheartedly, but Derek comes to view them as an antagonist because their incursion led to Dr. Sevarius’s death. (That death scene was so shocking, I COULD NOT BELIEVE THEY ACTUALLY SHOWED IT.) And that death meant that the cure for Derek’s change died with Dr. Sevarius. So the show commits to it! Derek begins to accept that, at least for the moment, he is this thing. He accepts that Xanatos will find a cure for him, not knowing that Xanatos manipulated him into believing that delusion. And the gargoyles themselves, like Elisa, know in their hearts that Xanatos is evil, yet they’re left without a way to stop them.

I’m just so fucked up by that ending. ELISA IS DEVASTATED. DEREK IS NOW TALON. And Dr. Sevarius DIDN’T ACTUALLY DIE, HE FAKED IT, THEY PLOTTED THIS WHOLE NIGHTMARE TOGETHER.

Again: What the fuck is this show.

The video for “Metamorphosis” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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