Valid XHTML 1.0!
Valid CSS!
Episode List

Previous Episode |  Episode List |  Next Episode

Deadly Force

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



Act I

At the docks, Owen is overseeing the offloading of several crates. A worker tells him that he was worried for nothing, and Owen answers that he certainly hopes so. There is movement behind some nearby crates, and sevreal men in gas masks attack with gas grenades. Most of the guards and workers run while the men hijack the truck. Owen knocks out one of the men and steals his mask. He runs after the truck, which is now speeding away. In the back of the truck, one of the men removes his mask and laughs. It is Tony Dracon.

The sun sets on the castle and the gargoyles awaken. Broadway immediately flies off. Golaith asks where he is going, and Lexington answers that he is going to see "Showdown" again. Goliath is puzzled, and Brooklyn explains the it is a new western movie that they all saw and enjoyed the other night. Goliath jokes that it must be good since Broadway left before having dinner. "Movies, television, video games. These days it's hard to tell what's real and what's not," Hudson comments. The gargoyles then go inside.

At a police station, Elisa and Captain Chavez are in an argument. Elisa wants to arrest Tony Dracon for the raid at the docks, but the captain refuses to give her a warrant for lack of evidence. Elisa concedes for the moment and asks what was in the crates. Own walks in and explains that they were "non-projectile weapon prototypes from Xanatos Enterprises." Elisa asks if they were lasers and Owen answers that they are the latest in high-collimation particle beam weaponry. He informs Elisa and the Captain the 322 weapons of various sizes were stolen. Elisa turns to leave. When Chavez askes her where she is going, she answers, "To do my job."

At the movie theater, Broadway drops in through the ceiling and lands on a pile of popcorn. He tears open a bag and takes a seat on the balcony just as the movie starts.

At a lavish hotel, Tony Dracon and his henchmen are on their way out when Elisa stops them and questions Dracon about the arms heist. Dracon insists that he is innocent, and that he is just a businessman. Maza asks for an alibi and Dracon says that he was out on the town with his friends. Elisa warns him that sooner or later he will slip up, and she will be there. Dracon says that even if she did have the right guy, she couldn't do anything about it.

The movie is at the scene of the big showdown. Two men are on the street. One draws, shots are fired, and one man lies dead. "Cool," Broadway chuckles.

Elisa returns home and hangs her jacket and gun by the door. She greets her cat who is named Cagney.

The movie is over and Broadway slips out through the roof. He flies through the city and pretends that he is in the movie. He draws and shoots his imaginary gun. He lands on a rooftop and opens a window. It is Elisa's apartment. She greets him and tells him that she will cook some steaks for him. While she is cooking, Broadway explores her apartment. He sees a picture of her family, and then he sees her gun. He picks it up and begins to act out the movie again. The gun goes off. Broadway is surprised. "Sorry. My fault. I was playing with the gun. Stupid of me. Hope I didn't break anything," he apologizes. Elisa is nowhere to be seen. Broadway looks for her and finds her lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.

Act II

Broadway huddles over Elisa and apologizes. She does not respond. He picks her up and flies out the window. He lands at a hospital and sets Elisa down on a stretcher. He gasps at the sight of her blood on his hands. A pair od paramedics see Elisa on the stretcher and run to help. Broadway is watching from the shadows and then flies off.

It is near sunrise, and the remaining gargoyles are taking their positions on the castle parapets. Broadway has not returned. Lexington guesses that he stayed to see the movie a few more times. Goliath says that he hopes Broadway finds a comfortable place to roost. Owen walks in and says that he has bad news. The sun is nearly up, so Goliath tells him to speak quickly. Owen says that Elisa has been shot, and it is uncertain if she will survive. Goliath turns to stone with an expression of shock on his face.

In a forest outside the city, Dracon and his henchmen are testing the stolen weapons. They exchange chuckles about Maza being shot. One of Dracon's men explains that he had to sell off a few guns on the street as a means to cover expenses.

In the hospital operating room, the doctors work on Elisa.

After sunset, the gargoyles burst into Owen's office and demand an explanation. Owen says that he is not sure how it happened, but that she was in on the investigation of the particle beam weapon theft, and that it meant a lot to her. Hudson asks where she is. Owen replies that she is in Manhattan General. Owen excuses himself and leaves. Goliath turns to follow, but Brooklyn stops him and expresses his concern for Broadway. Goliath tells Brooklyn and Lexington to go look for him. He will check on Elisa while Hudson guards the castle.

On top of a building, Broadway is in tears over what he has done.

At Manhattan General Hospital, Goliath peers through a skylight a Elisa. He ducks into the shadows when her family walks through the door. They listen as the doctor explains the seriousness of her injuries. The doctor leaves as Captain Chavez walks in. The Mazas ask who shot their daughter, and Chavez answers that it was probably Tony Dracon. Goliath overhears the conversation. The family leaves and Goliath comes into the room. He tells Elisa to keep fighting, and that he will finish what she has started. Anthony Dracon will pay.

Goliath flies to Dracon's headquarters and overhears that the guns will be sold at midnight by the docks.

In Central Park, a man is walking down a dark path, when a mugger jumps out and aim a particle beam weapon at him. The man reaches for his wallet just as a rustling in the bushes is heard. Broadway jumps out and attacks the mugger. He takes the gun, smashes it, and demands to know where the mugger got the gun. The mugger answers that he bought it near the docks. Broadway drops him and flies off.

At the hospital, Elisa flatlines.


The doctors revive Maza.

Dracon and his men are driving toward the docks with the police following. Dracon loses them and continues toward the docks, but doesn't see that Goliath is also following.

At the docks, Drancon's henchman, Glasses, is selling another gun. Broadway interrupts the deal and demands to know who he works for.

Dracon arrives at a warehouse on the docks with Goliath close behind. Dracon inspects the guns and waits for their buyer. Broadway arrives at the warehouse. Goliath explains the situation, but before Broadway can say anything, Goliath attacks. Inside the warehouse, Dracon gets a frantic call from Glasses. He gives an order to move the guns, but Goliath and Broadway crash through the wall. Dracon and his men grab the guns, but Goliath knocks out the lights. The gargoyles systematically put each of Dracon's men out of commission, and then Goliath collars Dracon. He holds Dracon over a catwalk and annouces that Elisa will have her revenge. Broadway stops him and confesses that he accidentally shot Elisa. Goliath ties up Dracon and his men for the police. The buyer, Owen, walks in and explains that Xanatos had to get the guns back somehow. Goliath asks if all the guns are present. Owen checks and says that there are 37 missing. Goliath picks up one of the weapons and destroys the rest. He smashes the remaining gun and puts it in Dracon's lap to link him with the theft. Owen says that Xanatos won't be happy, but Goliath is unconcerned. He and Broadway fly off to visit Elisa.

In the hospital, Elisa wkaes from her coma, much to the delight of her gathered family. They explain that Dracon was arrested for the theft, and was babbling something about monsters. Elisa manages a little smile. Goliath and Broadway peer through the skylight as the nurse asks the Mazas to let Elisa rest. The gargoyles come into the room, and Broadway apologizes for playing with the gun. Elisa says that she should not have left it out. "We both made mistakes," she says. Goliath and Broadway leave to let her rest. The sun rises and the gargoyles freeze outside of Elisa's window, guarding her through the day.


by Juan F. Lara

This episode is my favorite regular episode of this series, yet.

Good Points

Of course, the highlight of this episode was when Eliza gets shot. I thought this scene was excellently directed: the gunshot blast sounded realistic and the music score goes silent. Broadway acts casually at first ("Sorry. My fault. I was playing with the gun. Stupid of me. Hope I didn't break anything". Excellent acting by Bill Fagerbakke here.) There's that pan of the kitchen before we see Eliza. The direction was as good as in a prime-time drama, or a feature film.

And they actually showed Eliza bleeding, with a pool of blood underneath her. I don't think that's ever been done on an afternoon cartoon series before. The last shot of Act I is a memorable image.

Also memorable - Owen telling Goliath about Eliza just as he froze. I liked the expression on Goliath's face. Also, I wondered if he was conscious while frozen, and could imagine how disoriented he must've felt when he next woke up. The creators may be doing the freeze scene too often, but at least they're coming up with imaginative ways to do this scene. :-)

Owen was more visible here than usual. He showed at the beginning that he has some combat skill in fighting with one of the gunmen. I liked the "crocodile tears" tone of his voice in those two scenes where he talked with the Gargoyles, and how he casually left them after telling them where Eliza was. It's cool to see a villain's sidekick that's not a comic-relief bumbler. Owen's like a dangerous Smithers. :-)

We meet Eliza's relatives here. Michael Horse (Hawk in "Twin Peaks") plays Eliza's father while Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from "Star Trek") plays her mother.

We get the expected well-choreographed-action-sequence-in-Act-III. :-) I particularly liked how the lasers brightly lit up the room whenever someone fired, almost like a strobe effect. And I loved the drama when Broadway tells the truth about the shooting to Goliath. There's a long moment of silence before Goliath says something with a stern tone ("We have much to talk about."). I was glad that Broadway didn't let Dracon take the rap.

Owen: Mr. Xanatos isn't going to like this.
Goliath: I'll be happy to discuss the matter with him.
(I laughed at the way Goliath got back at Xanatos, and Goliath sounded more sophisticated than before in the above line. )

At the end, Broadway and Goliath freeze next to Eliza's window. They look like they're "guarding over" her. Great artwork, (though I hope no one wonders where those new statues came from. :-)

Bad Points

The writers forgot about the food Eliza was frying when she got hurt. Someone had to have attended to it before it starts a fire. They were also a bit contrived in getting Broadway to Dracon's hideout. Broadway seems to have only coincidentally stumbled upon that crook with a laser.

I wouldn't expect Xanatos to pay off "ransom" to Dracon to get the weapons back. Then again, maybe Owen was setting Dracon up with the hopes that the Gargoyles would blame him for Eliza's shooting and go after him. I'm not sure.

Goliath wanting to kill Dracon is inconsistent with him not killing Xanatos at the end of "Awakening".

These bad points don't compare with the episode's good points, IMHO. Overall, the "Gargoyles" creators did an exemplary job in handling difficult subjects about guns.


by Todd Jensen

The third and last of the "trio trilogy" episodes, "Deadly Force" takes a particularly somber mood in its focus on Broadway. Graduating from mere ever-hungry comic-relief status, the portly gargoyle proves himself to be far more than that when he inadvertently shoots Elisa and grieves over his act.

Like "The Thrill of the Hunt", "Deadly Force" carries an obvious moral - "Guns aren't toys" - but again keeps from being preachy. This is in part thanks to the same reason as the case with "The Thrill of the Hunt" - the gargoyles are new to the modern world and its features, including guns - but also because of the drama in it, as Elisa fights for her life in the hospital, her family visits her there, fearing for her (as do the gargoyles themselves), Broadway is so overwhelmed with grief and guilt that he won't even return to the castle, and Goliath, convinced that Tony Dracon was the one who shot her, sets out to hunt the mob boss down. Even Hudson's comment at the beginning, "Movies, television, video games. These days it's hard to tell what's real from what's not", feels natural, as the words of a 10th century person still adjusting to the 20th century and attempting to comprehend the changes of the past thousand years. (The first time that I saw "Deadly Force", in fact, I thought of Hudson's line, not as a foreshadowing of what was to come later in the episode, but as a reference to the events in "The Thrill of the Hunt" and particularly of the old gargoyle's musings at the end of that episode.)

The episode also proves significant in fleshing out Elisa herself. For the first time, we meet her family (except Beth, who is only mentioned offstage as being in Arizona - but we get a glimpse of her in the family photo in Elisa's apartment), her pet cat Cagney, and her boss, Captain Chavez. We visit both her apartment and her work place (the 23rd precinct police station, with its soon-to-be-important clock tower). Elisa shows herself to be far more than just the gargoyles' human ally in the modern world.

Likewise, Broadway shows himself to be more than the "garbage disposal with wings" that he must have appeared to be, to some "Gargoyles" fans, in "Awakening". (Although he is still excited to find an enormous bag of popcorn at the movie theatre.) We now see him as the gentle soul who, in his post-western excitement, can't resist re-enacting the shoot-out that he just saw with Elisa's gun, and who, after discovering to his horror the consequences of his act, is devastated over it. (Fortunately for Elisa, he has the presence of mind to take her to the nearest hospital almost immediately afterwards.) In succeeding scenes, we see him weeping atop an ornate building (one of the greatest scenelets in the episode), and then confronting the criminals using the stolen particle beam accelerators, with such fury as to seem even more terrifying than Goliath himself, leading up to the point where he has to tell Goliath the truth about who shot Elisa before the latter can kill Dracon for the one thing that he's not guilty of and, at the end, apologizing to Elisa at the hospital. By the end of the episode, he has truly emerged as more than comic relief.

While the episode is mainly about Broadway and Elisa (and, to a lesser extent, about Goliath and Dracon), Owen also shines here in his regular understated fashion. At the beginning, he displays his capability in outfighting one of Dracon's men and getting his gas mask away from him. He continues to show his calm efficiency as he reports the theft to Chavez and Elisa, then Elisa's shooting to Goliath. (A particularly nice touch here is the sun rising just as Goliath has heard the news of Elisa's precarious condition, trapping him in his stone sleep before he can do anything about it except stare in shock and horror.) He even shows up at the end as Dracon's "mystery buyer", as part of his plan to recover the stolen weaponry. While anything but flamboyant, Xanatos's executive assistant shows himself to be clearly one of the most intriguing figures in the series from the start.

The ending is particularly touching, with Goliath and Broadway perched protectively outside Elisa's hospital room, watching over her even in their stone sleep.

It is of interest that all three episodes of the "trio trilogy" share the same basic plot: one of the trio, exploring the modern world, makes a serious error (partly through his naivete) which endangers either Goliath or Elisa, feels contrition afterwards, and even develops a lasting nemesis as a result of the events in the story. (Broadway's case regarding this last element differs slightly from Lexington's and Brooklyn's. Lexington and Brooklyn's subsequent feuds are directed towards the antagonists of their respective episodes, the Pack and Demona. While Broadway remains anything but fond of Dracon, the antagonist in "Deadly Force" - and confronts him in all three succeeding episodes involving the mobster - his actual vendetta following this episode is directed towards guns rather than Dracon; from this episode onwards, he crushes to pieces any gun that he gets his hands on.) The similarity is strongest between "The Thrill of the Hunt" and "Deadly Force", since in both cases, the error is linked to a misinterpretation of 20th century entertainment media (Lexington confusing the Pack with their television personas, Broadway seeing guns through the prism of a western as exciting rather than as dangerous), but even in "Temptation" we see the same pattern. It is a mark of the skill of the "Gargoyles" production team that it kept these same three episodes distinct from one another, despite their strong similarities, giving each its own mood to differentiate it from its fellows.


"Showdown" is described as "a new western", but appears in black and white on the movie screen. This can be explained, however, in one of two ways: in the modern world, anything made since 994 would seem new to the gargoyles (in "Enter Macbeth", Lexington would refer to Shakespeare as "some new writer"), or, alternately, the production team for "Deadly Force" might have imagined "Showdown" as having been deliberately shot in black-and-white for artistic effect.

Bruno, the leader of Xanatos's commandoes in "Awakening", gets a brief cameo as the head of Xanatos's security team in the opening scene.

Matt Bluestone is introduced in a non-speaking role, serving as Captain Chavez's driver during her pursuit of Tony Dracon.

It is in "Deadly Force" that we first learn about Elisa's family background, as part Native American, part African-American - a background that was inspired by that of her voice actress, Salli Richardson. (Salli's physical appearance also strongly influenced Elisa's character design.)

Owen, when reporting that the stolen particle beam accelerators were produced in various "power ranges" pronounces the latter word in such a way as to sound strongly evocative of a certain competitor to "Gargoyles" (and one which helped kill it in the ratings wars, alas), in a negative way.

Peter and Diane Maza, Elisa's parents, were named after Peter Morwood and Diane Duane, two of the writers on the "Gargoyles" production team.

Previous Episode |  Episode List |  Next Episode