In the final episode of Gargoyles, I am emotionally compromised and shall remain that way forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Gargoyles.
Oh, Gargoyles. This show really was something created for people like me.
In the five years since this show was first recommended to me, I have seen a lot of great television. Some of it was older, some newer, but I hadn’t really done anything from this specific era of animated television. When I started the show earlier this year, I had a lot of fun with how weird and genre-bending the show was, but I was truly not ready for how mind-blowing this journey would become. I know there’s a technical third season, and I’ve heard whispers of there being comics? Look, we’ll talk about that stuff tomorrow during the Gargoyles party. As it stands, I agreed to watch the first two canonical seasons of this show, and I’m gonna talk about this finale in that context.
IT FUCKING RULED, IT WRAPPED UP MOST OF THE PLOTS, YET IT STILL HINTED AT POSSIBILITIES IF THERE HAD BEEN A REAL THIRD SEASON, HELP ME.
It’s difficult to accept that this show is now over, though. I have been delighted to watch it, analyze it, and pick it apart. And to think that some of y’all watched this brilliance IN REAL TIME and got to experience the complexity of Gargoyles as the intended audience! I’d say I’m jealous, but you know what? This has been pretty damn fun, too.
So, let’s start with the resolution of that cliffhanger, which results in the writers of this show taking Gargoyles to an unreal place immediately. First: I worried that one of the gargoyles had died, either Lexington or Hudson, so YEAH, THAT WAS UPSETTING. It didn’t matter that this was a show for children; the stakes on Gargoyles increasingly felt real, so as the show went on, I started believing the threats they doled out. But the one thing that felt most final was Goliath claiming that the clan’s home in the clocktower above the NYPD headquarters was no longer salvageable. In that instance, it really hit me that this was the last episode of the show. And if they had no home there, were they leaving Manhattan forever? Was this it? Had they decided that there simply was no room for them in this city anymore?
As they flew away from their home – their second in the show – I was full of emotions. So you better believe me when I say I was not fucking prepared for JOHN TO REVEAL THE GARGOYLES TO ALL OF THE WORLD ON THE NEWS. I WASN’T READY FOR IT THEN, I’M NOT READY FOR IT CURRENTLY, I SHALL THINK ABOUT THIS PLOT TWIST UNTIL THE END OF TIME. I kind of wanted it to happen long ago, but I was also very satisfied with the way Gargoyles toyed with public knowledge of these creatures. More and more people were aware they existed; I loved that Bluestone knew about them, as well as other members of the NYPD. Plus, the gargoyles got to choose who they developed human friendships with! YOU ALL KNOW I LOVE FRIENDSHIP.
And then it’s all blown wide open, changing the entire dynamic of the show. Not only do they not have to hide in a traditional sense, but the angry, riled-up public of New York becomes a new character, too. They’re pissed that the gargoyles “attacked” the NYPD, and that means they’re another variable to worry about during the end of the world.
Oh, right. This episode finally reveals Demona’s plan, which is to LITERALLY COMMIT GENOCIDE AND WIPE OUT EVERY LIVING INTELLIGENT CREATURE EXCEPT FOR HER AND GOLIATH’S CLAN. I just!!!! I don’t think it negates the thoughts I made in the previous review. Demona is a layered character, and there’s no dissonance in her mind when she values the life of Angela and Goliath, only to then later devalue every human ever. That’s pretty consistent with Demona, who only ever expressed interest in a single human (Xanatos) because of what he could provide her.
The thing is, that’s like twenty percent of the conflict of this episode. TWENTY. BECAUSE: there is also the Hunters plot. BECAUSE: Goliath tracks down the Hunters out of a desire for vengeance, no matter that his entire clan begs him not to, and then he throws down with Jason. BECAUSE: IN THE ENSUING FIGHT, BOTH JASON AND ELISA FALL OFF A DAM AND BOTH OF THEM APPEAR TO DROWN AND THIS SHOW HAS THE FUCKING NERVE TO HAVE THE SCENE MIRROR THE PILOT EPISODE WHERE GOLIATH SAVED ELISA EXCEPT HE DOESN’T SAVE HER AT ALL AND IT’S SO INCREDIBLY UPSETTING AND
This is barely the halfway point of the episode. The second half of “Hunter’s Moon, Part Three” is the final confrontation between these three parties. The Hunters are in grief over the loss of Jason, yet Robyn wants to stop pursuing the gargoyles. She only wants to focus on Demona because Demona is GONNA KILL EVERYONE. This is then given a brilliant parallel with Jason, which is paralleled with Elisa, because the resolution of the incredibly brutal fight is (most) of these characters realizing that they don’t have to have blood feuds anymore. Let’s actually break that down, because feuds/rivalries are a huge part of fantasy narratives. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself. But the joy of Gargoyles (or one of them, at least) is that the writers are so willing to toss out tropes and stereotypes for the genre because… well, why not? If it tells a good story, why not do it?
The story here is that this epic, thousand-year feud has spilled a lot of blood. One side nearly lost Elisa, the other nearly lost Jason. And John shot his own brother and paralyzed him. Robyn watched her father die. And the gargoyles have been fighting for a long, long time, against Demona, against Hunters, against Macbeth (who I was surprised did not make an appearance). That doesn’t mean there won’t be conflicts in the future. John escapes, as does Demona once Goliath destroys the artifact that would have kept the gargoyles alive. (IT’S SO IN CHARACTER FOR HIM, HE WAS WILLING TO DIE WITH ALL THE REST OF THE HUMANS, WHY IS HE SO GOOD.) That’s absolutely something that could have been developed in season 3, alongside Jason’s rehabilitation, his re-introduction to the gargoyles, and perhaps XANATOS DOING A GENUINELY GOOD THING AND HELPING THE GARGOYLES ESCAPE AND GIVING THEM BACK THEIR CASTLE. HE FINALLY GAVE IT BACK. THEY GOT THEIR HOME BACK. I mean, bare minimum of decency and all that, but STILL. STILL. IT’S SO OVERWHELMING!!!
And what a note to end on. Elisa and Goliath kiss briefly, and he’s turned to stone at daylight with a smile on his face. It’s a sign of hope for these characters, that no matter how uncertain the future is, they still have each other.
So… can this show never end? Please?
The video for “Hunter’s Moon, Part Three” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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