In the fourteenth episode of the third season of Gargoyles, Fox hatches a plan to get at Cyberbiotics, while Goliath comes to terms with the ramifications of something he did a year prior. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.
This show has this really fascinating way of getting me to think an episode is about one thing and then revealing that a story is really about something else. “Outfoxed” loops back around to the Cyberbiotics plot in the end, despite that the Goliath story was far more interesting to me at the time. It was hard to find much to be engaged by with a new character, Preston Vogel, as the major focus of this plan. He felt a little too much like Owen and also looked like him. Plus, I didn’t understand his motivations. Why did he want to usurp his boss, Halcyon Renard? Why was that important to him?
So that’s why the intense morality play that unfolded between Renard and Goliath was way more exciting. I’ll admit that it’s an odd thing to stick inside of an action show, and even for Gargoyles, it’s strange. I don’t want that to come across as a criticism, however. Ultimately, the show ties this conversation into larger themes we’ve seen before, so I don’t believe it’s out of place at all. At first, though, I simply thought Renard was obsessed with personal responsibility, to the point that he wanted to torment Goliath for this perceived slight.
But even looking at it this way is flawed; what Goliath did the year prior with Demona really was messed up! Xanatos most certainly duped Goliath, but does that mean he shouldn’t be held responsible for what he did? “Outfoxed” lands equivocally on the side of holding Goliath accountable, and I’m perfectly fine with that. This is a great example of the adage that intent isn’t magic, that it can’t wipe away the impact of what a person does. Goliath’s intent the previous year was to help Xanatos get back his stolen property, but the impact was that Xanatos manipulated everyone and Goliath was inherently responsible for Renard’s ship plunging into the East River. That’s real damage, the kind that can be measured in dollar figures, and don’t even get me started on the emotional costs. Those are high, too. I admit I didn’t start this episode off feeling much of any sympathy for Renard, but the writing for “Outfoxed” has a funny way of sneaking under my skin. As Renard pushes Goliath further and further, I found it rewarding to watch the gargoyle grapple with the weight of what he’d done. It wasn’t something that I expected from most fiction, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that Gargoyles isn’t like most other television shows, for that matter.
For all the positive that I’ve got to say about this subplot, however, I still felt that the action sequences merely went through the motions. It wasn’t surprising to find out that Fox was behind Vogel’s mutiny against his boss. I also didn’t think that that (frankly, hideous) new ship was going to crash in the river again. (Though a part of me thought it would be hilarious if it did.) Vogel’s ultimate change of heart was like the nice bow at the end of it all, a way to wrap up the story as neatly as possible.
BUT THAT LAST MINUTE REVEAL MEANS THAT THIS WAS ALL A FAMILIAL CONFLICT. FOX IS REALLY JANINE RENARD AND HALCYON IS HER FATHER AND SHE WANTS CONTROL OF THE COMPANY AND I WAS NOT READY. Except this show can’t even leave it at that because she’s pregnant??? OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH GARGOYLES PLEASE STOP DOING THIS TO ME.
The video for “Outfoxed” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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