In the thirty-third episode of the second season of Gargoyles, this was a weird one. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.
I appreciate that this show so absurdly combines science fiction and fantasy, I really do. I don’t want this review to make it seem like I don’t want Gargoyles to be weird. It’s often at its best when it’s doing things I’ve not seen elsewhere. In this case, though, “Walkabout” is packed with characters and plots, and some of them don’t exactly get that much attention. Thus, the strangeness comes from a lack of coherency. Exactly why were Fox and her mother here? Why introduce the Aboriginal character, not give them a name, and have them fulfill exactly one role? (A role, I might add, that is the exact trope of the mystical non-white person, so… okay. Also, isn’t Dreamtime not at all another dimension?) Was no one concerned about Fox’s plan to use Matrix to “reshape” the world for her and Xanatos prior to this accident? NO ONE SEEMED BOTHERED BY THIS. Surely, Anastasia Renard has some concerns, right? Did Dingo think he’d be spared in this new world? Everyone is so casual about this!
It’s a very odd thing within an episode that is deliberately surreal, so I understand it might seem weird to even address it. But I can deal with the surreal as long as there’s an internal logic to it all. The problem here, however, is that there’s just so much packed into twenty-odd minutes that something was bound to be negatively affected. It’s unfortunate because I did love watching Dingo make a transformation within “Walkabout.” I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe his claim that he wanted a clean slate when he was talking to the shaman. Considering that he kept his suit active, I worried that this was all a con. For a moment, that seemed to be the case, too, especially when we found out he was working for Fox.
Yet this season really seems to be about how the world (and the people in it) are transforming now that the gargoyles are protecting humanity. Look at Talon and his clan, or Coldstone, or the Labyrinth, or Avalon… I could keep going. Here, though, Goliath and Dingo enter Dreamtime to try and stop Matrix from destroying the world, and it’s Dingo who convinces Matrix that there’s a different kind of order. That means Dingo’s origin story has come full circle. He played a hero on a fictional TV show, then became a villain, then committed to be one of the good guys after merging with Matrix. IT’S SO SATISFYING.
Which is why it’s also confusing that Anastasia and Fox are just here. I was glad to see that Fox had a positive relationship with her mother, but we don’t actually learn much about Anastasia as a character. Again: Why doesn’t she stop her daughter from transforming the planet using Matrix? THERE IS NO GOOD USE FOR A METALLIC-SLIME PILE THAT’S ACTUALLY MADE UP OF NANOBOTS. Indeed, it actually felt like an amalgamation of bad science fiction tropes. All of them in one creature! What good could have possibly come of it? Perhaps that’s the point, that the Renards just do shit without regards to how it will affect anyone else. For such a limited length due to the medium, though, I feel like the writers bit off more than they could chew.
The video for “Walkabout” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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