In the third episode of the second season of Gargoyles, an old friend returns. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.
Oh my god, the Shakespearean tragedy of it all. I must confess to being repeatedly impressed with the layered, complicated writing that I’m getting to experience, which is made all the more entertaining and rewarding by the incredible voice acting in Gargoyles. I love stories without easy answers! I love storytelling that accepts that sometimes, things are just going to be complicated!
Thus, it’s probably easy to see why “Legion” thrilled me so much. The return of Coldstone is immediately complicated by the computer program that Xanatos put in his head, which more or less controls his body as if his mind is separate from it. Unfortunately, we learn that one of the ways that Xanatos and Demona constructed Coldstone was by capturing two other souls within him.
In a lovely reference to Hamlet, we’re shown how two unnamed gargoyles vied for Coldstone’s attention and trust a thousand years prior. One was his lover; the other was the jealous and bitter competitor who set Coldstone against Goliath, convincing him that his rookery brother was trying to steal her away from him. It’s not true, but at the start of this episode, I had no way of knowing that. Instead, I believed that Coldstone was flashing back to something that had really happened, that he was remembering how Goliath had betrayed him.
It is, of course, still possible that this is true. Lexington does make mention of the fact that Coldstone wasn’t really Goliath’s friend before, so I suspect there was some truth to the images in Coldstone’s mind. If anything, it makes sense that Xanatos’s computer program exploited these memories in order to gain Coldstone’s obedience! However, the show bewilders the audience. What’s real? What is Coldstone’s programming telling him to do? How soon until Xanatos intervenes and takes Coldstone back? Things are just as confusing for the gargoyles, who watch Coldstone switch between appreciation and rage. I think there’s something to be written about how this episode deals with an apparent mental illness, though I’m not sure I am the one to do that, since this is out of my depth. On a very simplistic level, I’m glad that the writers don’t write off Coldstone as being impossible to deal with or saying that he was beyond hope.
Instead, Goliath fights very hard to save him, which includes GOING INTO A VIRTUAL REALITY VERSION OF HIS MIND. Like… this is an actual plot point, and it’s not garbage at all!!! The show’s continued blend of science fiction and fantasy blows me away, and this is no exception. Dark magic combines with the VR device to give us a creepy, visceral experience within Coldstone’s head. Those Shakespearean themes crop up again as the older gargoyle tries to manipulate Coldstone into betraying Goliath, all so he can have Coldstone’s lover to himself. In the end, Coldstone’s lover’s soul asserts itself and helps Coldstone destroy the soul of the older gargoyle and Xanatos’s programming. Yet even then, there’s still not a prefect resolution here. Coldstone still has to find his way out of his own head, and we’re not given that here in “Legion.” Someday, Coldstone and his lover may rejoin us, but he’s got to heal before that happens.
Meanwhile, in utterly unsurprising news, Xanatos is still the worse. What did he want those government plans for???
The video for “Legion” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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