In the forty-eighth episode of the second season of Gargoyles, I cannot deal with this show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.
HOW? HOW IS THIS SHOW STILL ABLE TO SHOCK ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN? See, this is why the previous episode, while not terrible at all, just didn’t grab me as much. LOOK WHAT COMES AFTER IT. “The Reckoning” is the end result of a plot seeded in the very beginning of Gargoyles. While I don’t think that this is Demona’s final appearance (or Thailog, for that matter), it’s still a huge step forward for her character, one that continues to prove that she is one of the most complicated and layered characters I have ever had the chance to experience.
I know I’ve written about this before, but Gargoyles manages to straddle a difficult line with Demona, who is a series-long antagonist that the audience can understand, even while they hope she doesn’t succeed in all of her dastardly plans. (Seriously, she’s had some bizarre schemes, y’all.) It’s not easy to pull off a sympathetic villain, and I’m used to creators trying to do that, but mostly relying on the villain being a cute white dude, and that’s not enough. COOL MOTIVE, STILL MURDER. That’s not to say that Demona’s logic for hating humans is without flaws or that we shouldn’t criticize her. Look, I criticize things I love dearly. But the challenge Gargoyles has had on this show is in crafting a character who feels real and – despite being another species – human to the audience.
“The Reckoning,” then, is a culmination. Demona has spent countless years plotting to get revenge against humanity for what was done to her. She rejected her clan, started her own, lost them, then rejected Goliath’s clan again. Her alliances in season two swung from Xanatos to Thailog, but she consistently refused to accept that her views on humans were based on misconceptions and bitterness. Well, she wasn’t entirely unjustified, either! Humanity had been awful to gargoyles, and Demona was always rooted in that reality. So her latest plan exemplified that. She temporarily allied herself, through Thailog, with Dr. Sevarius, even if she hated humans. They could still be a means to an end. In this case, she could have Sevarius create obedient clones of the gargoyles that would wipe them off the map. I got the sense that Thailog was far more involved in the construction of these clones than Demona was. Which makes me wonder: did she get captured on purpose? Was that so she could get close to the gargoyles in order to steal their DNA?
I assumed that was the case, so I also assumed that her conversations with Angela were about as far from genuine as they could be. Did she really want to get to know her? Did she really consider Angela her daughter? In hindsight: yes. Oh god, yes. The thing is, Demona truly believes that the best path for the gargoyles is one without humans, and thus, she tried to bring Angela to her side out of love. That was how she believed she could protect and care for her daughter.
Of course, this doesn’t actually protect Angela, who is still just as disposable to Thailog as all the rest of the gargoyles. And when it comes down to it, Demona makes a choice: she would rather betray her love than betray her daughter. It was honestly a shocking decision to watch unfold because WAS DEMONA ACTUALLY THINKING OF A PERSON WHO WASN’T HERSELF? But I wasn’t giving enough credit to her in that instantaneous reaction. I don’t see this as all that shocking in hindsight. It’s the next step for her since she found out about Angela, and it was only a matter of time before she would have had to make a decision like this. If it wasn’t Thailog who forced her hand in “The Reckoning,” then it was going to be someone or something else. She couldn’t ignore Angela forever, you know?
So she throws down, y’all, taking out Thailog AND Cyclone??? POOR CONEY ISLAND. WHO WILL REBUILD CONEY ISLAND. (Look, I was super excited about this because I just recently took my first trip there and it was magical.) That whole final battle was INCREDIBLE, y’all, a non-stop fest of PUNCHING and FLYING and SETTING ROLLER COASTERS ON FIRE. The gargoyles use teamwork to defeat their clone counterparts, while Demona goes down with Cyclone in a fiery explosion that apparently killed both her and Thailog. I still can’t quite believe they’re both dead, though the clones’s instant confusion about what to do felt… weird? Weird in the sense that maybe Thailog really is dead. Oh god, I don’t know???? My prediction is that Demona is still alive, and we’ll see her once more.
This show, y’all.
The video for “The Reckoning” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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