Mark Watches ‘Gargoyles’: S02E32 – The Hound of Ulster

In the thirty-second episode of the second season of Gargoyles, Bronx accepts his destiny. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.

OH, THIS WAS SO GOOD, Y’ALL. Bronx got an episode! Bronx saved the day! AND IT WAS WRITTEN BY DIANE DUANE AND PETER MORWOOD OH MY GOD. I mean, I knew Diane Duane had an episode or two somewhere in the run of this show, but this one was perfect for her. It’s a reworking of the myth of Cu Chullain, yet it sticks both Rory Dugan and Bronx at the center of it. They come at it from such different places, too! I wouldn’t say that Bronx was ever reluctant to be a hero; rather, he’s always been a supporting force instead of the main star.

Rory, however, is reluctant to do anything. He hasn’t had a job in a long time. (Perhaps ever?) When we first meet him, he’s running away from the police after his friend Molly stole a leather jacket. (Which makes me wonder… was Molly ever real? Or was the Banshee hiding in Molly’s form the entire time just to keep Rory from ever achieving his destiny?) His father gives him grief for his listless behavior, so the idea of becoming some mystical warrior is about as far as humanly possible from him. Rory can barely conceive of what he might do the next day, let alone fighting it out against a Banshee.

Let’s talk about that Banshee, though. BRAVO TO THE SOUND DIRECTION AND VOICE PERFORMANCE, because that thing was terrifying. I love the interpretation of banshees here into a single entity, who also happens to be one of Oberon’s children. That’s… what? The third time we’ve heard about Oberon’s children? I feel like it’s more than that, actually. When are we actually going to meet him? Is it significant that Avalon’s magic keeps putting Oberon’s children in the path of the gargoyles? I FEEL LIKE IT IS. But this isn’t the same context as, for example, Grandmother from “Heritage.” The Banshee refuses to come home. And apparently, they’re supposed to? Soon? I DON’T GET IT.

Anyway, I’ll put that aside from now because I suspect it will come up again in the near future. In “The Hound of Ulster,” the Banshee might initially be a source of conflict because she kidnaps Goliath, Angela, and Elisa in order to learn about Oberon, which they know nothing about. It’s a trope that was invoked for maximum frustration, since no matter how much the Banshee tormented the three characters, they’d never be able to give her what she wanted. They haven’t even met Oberon yet! But it’s also a momentary distraction, and I mean that in the best sense possible. The shift from the scene below the bog to Rory/Bronx is where “The Hound of Ulster” truly finds its footing. Rory meets a gargoyle, but believes it to be the Hound that his father had told him about growing up. Even if he doesn’t realize it at the time, it’s part of his transformation. Duane and Morwood’s script highlights both a physical and mental metamorphosis in this character, and I appreciated that it was layered like this. This character, who normally thrives on reticence and inaction, willingly decides to enter the Cairn na Culainn (DID I SPELL THAT RIGHT, I DON’T KNOW). That’s a big deal! That’s not something the Rory we met at the beginning of the episode would do.

But with Bronx at his side, Rory transforms into Cu Chullain, and the two of them defeat the Banshee. That’s obviously one ramification of this, but Ireland now has its mythical hero back. Rory has a destiny. He has a reason to get out of bed every day. So there’s a personal element to this episode that makes it so rewarding to watch. ALSO: BRONX GETS TO BE THE HERO, TOO, AND HE’S THE HOUND OF ULSTER AND HE’S SUCH A GOOD DOG/GARGOYLE. Everything is perfect.

The video for “The Hound of Ulster” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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