In the seventh episode of the first season of Gargoyles, Brooklyn is tempted. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.
What the fuck what the fuck is this episode.
The more I think about “Temptation,” the heavier it gets. I am sure everyone ever is tired of people talking about kids’ shows as being dark and mature because honestly, it’s not that rare. At the time Gargoyles came out, though??? I don’t know that I can recall a kids’ show, especially not an animated one, that talked about the human propensity for cruelty, abuse, and murder. OPENLY. And depicted it, too!
Before we get to Demona (!!!!!), though, can we have a moment to appreciate the hilarious opening to this episode? Lexington, Broadway, and Brooklyn spent a week BUILDING A MOTORCYCLE FROM SCRATCH, all so Brooklyn could ride one himself! HE GOT A LEATHER JACKET. Oh my god, I love it unironically??? First of all, I’m obsessed with a good leather jacket, and I’ve been searching for one for a couple years now. I got close a few weeks ago, but it fit weird around the arms, so I didn’t get it. Anyway, the point is that I am very enamored with the ways these characters find out more about the world. It’s so charming and pure!
At least until a motorcycle gang beats up Brooklyn on sight. THAT’S NOT CHARMING AT ALL. It’s such a jarring scene, and it’s meant to be. Brooklyn did nothing to exacerbate these people. All he did was take off his helmet! The reaction was instantaneous: a massive fight and pile-on. Brooklyn faired well during this, but as soon as that one dude pulled out a gun, I got worried. The show wouldn’t go that far, would it? SILLY MARK, OF COURSE IT WOULD.
Which brings me to Demona, who is a fascinating character. She’s an antagonist here, but her characterization is based in a reasoning that isn’t entirely false, and that’s what makes her a complicated presence. She saves Brooklyn out of a genuine desire to keep him alive. I don’t doubt that. She really does love her kind, and she wants the best for the Gargoyles. How that’s achieved, though, is where she departs from pretty much everyone.
Yet it’s not like her beliefs are devoid of reality, and that’s the difficult thing about this episode. She is correct in her initial perception of the attack on Brooklyn. There will always be humans who will take one look at a gargoyle and want to destroy it. This attack is only going to be the first of many. Thus, how do gargoyles protect themselves in this modern world? That answer has been different for the gargoyles who were trapped in stone for a thousand years. Demona, on the other hand, has survived while alive those same thousand years. I don’t doubt that she went through hell at the hands of human, and I can easily imagine that this torment was even worse because she was alone. (I do wonder if the show will give us flashbacks to show us some of what she went through.) Therefore, her complete hatred of humans has a historical context that the other gargoyles don’t have.
Unfortunately, she loses me and the other gargoyles once she uses underhanded and immoral methods to get Goliath to see her point of view. There was another way to get Goliath to listen to you, but Demona’s hardline stance on humans prevents her from seeing it that way. Thus, casting a spell to make Goliath subservient to her is actually reasonable to her, which is terrifying. She genuinely didn’t think she’d done anything wrong! That’s how I explain her decision to finally give up on trying to protect Brooklyn when she sent Goliath after him. He finally became disposable to her, once he didn’t serve this belief of hers. She wants the gargoyles to live on their own terms, but that doesn’t include living differently than her.
I’ll use the same word I used in the last review: that’s compelling. It’s a story that shows a lot of promise for future plots without painting Demona as the sort of character who’s a one-note villain. I could see her moving in either direction, honestly! She could redeem herself, or she could double down on her beliefs. Either version is something that would be interesting to watch.
ALSO OH MY GOD I CAN’T GET OVER HOW MESSED UP THIS IS. She showed Brooklyn A MURDER SCENE. There was a body being pushed into a coroner’s van! WHAT IS THIS SHOW.
The video for “Temptation” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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