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Awakening, Part II

Synopsis |  Review by Juan F. Lara |  Review by Todd Jensen



Act I

Goliath picks up Demona's shattered remains and roars in anguish. On the ground, Hudson examines the bowstrings and sees that they have been cut. "There was betrayal here," he says. Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway, and Bronx come out of the rookery and gasp at the devastation. Goliath lands and asks if any more were in the rookery. Broadway answers that it was only them. Hudson observes that all the humans are gone, probably taken prisoner. Goliath, full of rage, says that they will find the Vikings, save the humans, and they will have their revenge. They fly off with Bronx following on foot.

At the Viking camp, a victory celebration is underway. Spirits are not so bright among the prisoners, however. Tom's mother is crying, but Tom reassures her that the gargoyles will come and save them. "Nay," she says, "the gargoyles were destroyed."

In a nearby cave, Hakon and the Captain have the Princess and Magus tied. They discuss ransoming the two of them. Magus threatens them with his book of spells. Hakon laughs and dismisses his threat. He picks up the book, tears out a few pages and burns them. The Princess says that she will see them both hang. Hakon walks toward her, and warns her not to vex him. A roar is heard outside.

Hakon and the Captain run out of the cave as the gargoyles attack the camp. Hakon questions the Captain, since he said that they wouldn't follow. The Captain says they wouldn't have if he hadn't smashed the others. Hakon runs back into the cave and grabs the Princess. He says that the gargoyles have come, and she tells him that he is a dead man. He agrees, but tells her she goes first as he draws a dagger. She breaks his grasp and runs off with Hakon and the Captain in pursuit. The Magus calls for help and tries to free himself.

Goliath sees the princess running from the two men and follows. The other gargoyles make short work of the Vikings and chase them off. The Magus frees himself and walks out of the cave. "Fools," he says to the gargoyles, "she'd be alive now if you hadn't come." Hudson asks for the whereabouts of the princess. The Magus answers that she is dead, and he would do the same to them if he could wield a sword. Instead, he opens his spell book and begins to recite an incantation.

At a precipice overlooking the sea, Hakon catches the Princess. He raises his blade, but stops when Goliath lands. Goliath sees the Captain, and realizes that he was the betrayer. The Captain protests, pleading with Goliath that it was not to be this way. Goliath advances, saying that all of his kind are dead, and that the two of them will soon be as well. Thinking of his own neck, Hakon blames the Captain for smashing the gargoyles. In a fit of rage, the Captain lunges at Hakon, and sends them all flying off the cliff. Goliath catches the Princess as the other two fall to their deaths. Goliath unties the Princess and peers over the edge. "I've been denied everything," he roars, "even my revenge!" The princess starts to say something, but is interrupted by Tom. He runs to Goliath and tells him that he has to help the others.

Goliath returns to the camp and finds his friends in stone at night. "What sorcery is this," he thunders. The Magus tells him that it is sorcery, and that he will join them. The Princess walks out from behind Goliath. The Magus sees her and drops the spellbook. She asks him what he has done. He answers that he thought she was dead, and was mad with grief. Goliath picks him up and demands that he reverse the spell. The Magus says he can't, since Hakon burned the page with the counterspell. Goliath drops him and hangs his head. "Now I am truly alone," he says. The princess asks if the Magus turned them to stone forever. The Magus replies that the terms of the spell were that they would sleep until the castle rises above the clouds.

Back at the castle, Goliath gently places his friends on their perches. The Princess and the Magus apologize for the wrong they have done him. Goliath asks what the Princess will do now. She answers that she will take her people to her uncle, the king since it is no longer safe for them here. Goliath tells her that the eggs in the rookery will soon hatch. He asks her to care for them. She agrees. Goliath turns to the Magus and asks him to cast his spell once more. The full moon shines over Goliath, sleeping until the castle rises above the clouds.

Act II

One thousand years later, the castle is in ruin. David Xanatos arrives and admires it. He runs up the tower, where Goliath is still sleeping. "Magnificent," Xanatos says. He calls to his assistant, Owen Burnett, to make the offer. Own reminds him how expensive it will be. Xanatos tells him to start hiring crews. Owen replies that it will be difficult, since the locals consider the castle haunted. Xanatos smirks, "You know the answer to that, Owen. Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell."

Work crews converge on the castle and begin to disassemble it. The gargoyles are carefully packed away in padded boxes. Barges and helicopters ferry off large pieces of the castle.

Above the skyline of New York City, Xanatos flies to his headquarters in his private helicopter. The chopper rises above the clouds near a massive skyscraper. The clouds part to reveal the castle perched on top of the tower. The helicopter lands in the castle courtyard as the sun begins to set. Xanatos walks to the top to the tower and stands next to Goliath. "Don't disappoint me," he says to the statue. The cloudtops pass by beneath the castle. The sun sets and a storm brews. It begins to rain. The stone cracks and Goliath frees himself from his long slumber. He stretches and lets out a mighty roar. On their perches below, the other gargoyles awaken as well. Goliath flies down to them, and they have a joyful reunion. It is cut short, however, when they notice where they are. They see the New York skyline, and are awestruck. Xanatos walks up to them and is greeted by a growl from Bronx. "You are the one called Goliath," he asks. "Yes..." Goliath answers. Xanatos smiles, "Excellent."

The gargoyles follow Xanatos to his study. Goliath asks how long they were asleep. Xanatos' answer is that it may be a shock, but they've been sleeping for a thousand years. He explains that he learned of the castle from an ancient book that he recently acquired. The Magus wrote their story in his spellbook after he left the castle. Xanatos offers to answer any questions they have. Hudson asks how he broke the spell. Xanatos answers that it was simple, since the spell was made to end when the castle rose above the clouds. Lexington asks about the eggs in the rookery. Xanatos says that the eggs are gone and that they are the last of their kind. Goliath is confused and asks why he has done all this. Xanatos says he was fascinated by the Magus' story and wanted to see if it was true. He continues, saying that he wants to be their friend, and that they could do much for each other. "Such as..." Goliath asks. Before Xanatos can answer, the sound of a helicopter can be heard outside. Xanatos remarks that he is not expecting anyone, but he goes to investigate. He tells the gargoyles to remain there to be safe. They are not quick to trust him, and follow to see for themselves.

Outside, a helicopter rises above the battlements and drops off several commandos. They disperse, surround Xanatos, and raise their weapons. Xanatos asks them what they want. Their leader answers that he'll know soon enough.


The gargoyles watch what is going on from the shadows. Brooklyn asks who these people are. Hudson answers that they are attacking the castle, and that's all they need to know. They emerge from the shadows and attack. The commandos are not as easy to defeat as the Vikings, however. By their weapons, the gargoyles surmise that they must be fighting sorcerers. Goliath says that they will defend the castle at any cost. It's all they have left. Xanatos runs to a secret compartment in the castle wall, and grabs a laser rifle. He joins in the battle. As Xanatos aims his laser, a commando knocks him off balance. The laser rips into the castle walls and sends debris flying into the street below.

On the street level, pedestrians dodge the flying stone and metal. The police arrive on the scene. Elisa Maza pulls up as well.

In the castle, a commando throws a grenade at Goliath. The explosion sends him sailing off the wall. His wings won't catch enough air to slow him down, so he digs his claws into the side of the building, and slowly comes to a stop.

More debris falls into the street. Elisa warns the crowd back and notices claw marks in a piece of stone that has fallen.

Inside the castle, one commando has broken off from the others and runs through the castle. He comes upon a locked door, which he opens with a small explosive device. Outside, another commando throws a gas grenade and incapacitates Goliath. The other one runs out of the castle with a briefcase in his hands. The leader launches a flare to signal the helicopter. The chopper lands, and the commandos run on board. Xanatos refuses to let them leave and aims his laser at the helicopter. The leader sees him and lobs a throwing star. The star knocks the laser from Xanatos' hands, and the helicopter flies off.

The gargoyles regroup and speculate on what it was that they just witnessed. Xanatos thanks Goliath for his help. Goliath is still mistrusting and asks why he was attacked. Xanatos says that he is very rich and has many enemies. He asks the gargoyles to stay to defend their home and his headquarters. Goliath considers for a moment and agrees. He tells Xanatos that they are grateful to him for breaking the spell, but that they will never trust humans again.

On the street below, the police have cordoned off an area around the building. A uniformed officer asks Maza what she thinks that was all about. She says that she doesn't know, but that she is going to find out.


by Juan F. Lara

At first I thought the Magus turning on the gargoyles was hokey. Likewise Princess Katherine being friendly enough to Goliath that she'd take in the eggs. But those scenes do fit into the episode's fatalistic tone. I was reminded of a Greek tragedy. (and the final scene of Goliath asking for the spell also had great pathos. The best scene in Part II, IMHO)

Another thing this series has in common with the features: the villains fall to their deaths. :-)

"I've been denied everything! EVEN MY REVENGE!"

The gargoyles' reawakening was another memorable scene. Good computer animation here.

This is a series of great scenes, but the script has some problems. Too often it seems to be barreling through its plot points without good explanations for why they happen. I would've liked more background for the captain to better understand his betrayal. And I didn't like how Hakon conveniently burned the pages that would reverse the spell :-P Likewise I'll be happy when I find out what the big fight at Xanatos's headquarters was all about. :-) (Though I liked Goliath's maneuvering in the fight, and that Broadway was fighting without eating at the same time.) Hopefully we'll get more elaboration later into the series.

And so far Goliath and Demona are the only gargoyles that have gotten any character development. "Disney Adventures" gave some personality traits of the others, and so the series needs to develop those traits quickly.

Xanatos: Without you and your friends who knows what those thugs would've done.
Goliath: Someone I once trusted said the same thing to me. And then destroyed my people.

The artistic style may be patterned after "Batman: the Animated Series", but "Gargoyles" shares a lot of traits with the Disney feature films, so it still feels very much in the Disney tradition. I'm looking forward to how this series will progress.


by Todd Jensen

The remainder of the gargoyles' 10th century backstory concludes in the first act of this episode. The surviving gargoyles go to the rescue of the captured humans (there is a particularly great scene of them launching themselves from the castle battlements, followed by Bronx charging out of the castle gates, barking ferociously), and while they succeed in the mission, do so at a great cost, being trapped by the Magus's curse. This sequence is well-realized, with more rich character interplay. Goliath goes from outrage at the discovery that it was his friend the Captain who had betrayed the castle, to suicidal depression at the realization that the last survivors of the clan (apart from himself) are trapped in stone sleep seemingly forever. The Magus's enraged grief over the death of Princess Katharine (he thinks), that leads him to curse the gargoyles, is followed by guilt and remorse over his rash act. The Captain and Hakon are played off each other in the final confrontation that leads to their deaths - the Captain guilt-ridden and barely able to face Goliath, while Hakon, in his usual malice, immediately accuses the Captain of carrying the massacre. Princess Katharine's own change of heart after being rescued by the very gargoyle whom she had scorned only two nights before is well-executed as well. And it all leads up to Goliath's petition to the Magus, "Cast your spell one last time", and the sight of him, now petrified as well, brooding silently on the battlements.

We now move forward a thousand years to Xanatos's discovery of the castle and transportation of it to the top of the Eyrie Building. The first time that I saw "Awakening", I did not know what to make of Xanatos. I wanted to believe that he was genuinely the gargoyles' friend, but there were, even by Part Two, hints that he was not what he seemed to be. (His famous remark, "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell", certainly serves as such a warning.) So I was suspicious of him, in spite of myself, but remained hopeful that my suspicions would prove ill-founded until Part Five aired and I had to accept the truth.

The sequence of the gargoyles' awakening is effectively done, and all the more dramatic as their joy of being reunited is immediately succeeded by their shock and confusion over their new surroundings. It is a particularly great touch that the everyday cityscape of New York, something that would normally seem perfectly natural to the audience, appears through their eyes as a strange and alien place.

The gargoyles' attempt to adjust to the strange new world in which they have awakened continues through their first battle with the commandoes that storm the castle only a few minutes afterwards. The encounter and its immediate aftermath are filled with a series of bewildered remarks by the gargoyles that illustrate their trying to make sense of it all, and which were my favorite part of this scene. Lexington asks the female commando if she's a Viking, Hudson openly suspects, in light of the modern-day weapons that the intruders bear, that they must be sorcerers, and afterwards believes the helicopter that they got away in to be a dragon (though Lexington correctly recognizes it to be a machine). While dramatically thrilling, the battle continues to contain a few light touches, such as Lexington's first encounter with a hand grenade, and the moment when Bronx is chasing an alarmed commando. The battle above is skillfully interwoven with the fallout below that we saw at the beginning of "Awakening Part One", leading to Elisa's vow, as the episode closes, to find out what happened up there....


Hudson acquires his sword during the fight with the Vikings in their camp at the start of this episode; however, occasional animation errors would portray him as already having it in scenes set before this battle.

As Hakon burns the page from the Grimorum with the counter-spell on it, he comments sneeringly, "Magic spells, hah! Makes me glad I can't read!" It is tempting to wonder if this line of his (linking his pride in his illiteracy to the act which will ensure the gargoyles' entrapment in stone sleep for the next thousand years) could have originated, in part, out of Greg Weisman's well-known belief in the importance of literacy (which would come, of course, to the fore in "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time")

In the original version of "Awakening", it was the Magus who made the offer to place Goliath under the sleeping spell, as the best way of making amends that he could think of. Gary Krisel, one of Greg Weisman's higher-ups, argued against this, suggesting that instead Goliath, as a result of his absolute devastation over being alone now, should make this request of the Magus. Greg and his colleagues at once accepted this suggestion, realizing that this dramatically improved the story.

Greg Weisman makes a brief "voice-actor cameo" in the episode as one of the commandoes, uttering the line "Nice mask".

This detail was most likely unintentional, but Xanatos's remark, "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell", is immediately succeeded by a close-up of the feet of one of the workmen dismantling the castle (though they're in shoes rather than bare).

Xanatos's surname is derived from the Greek word "thanatos", meaning "death". There is a certain ironic appropriateness about it, since we will learn in Season Two that one of Xanatos's chief goals is to defy death by attaining immortality.

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