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


by Guandalug la'Fay


by Leigh Ann Hussey

Act I

On the roof of the Golden Cup building, Goliath and Xanatos (in Steel Clan armor) are fighting. Xanatos gets in a kick that staggers Goliath momentarily; Xanatos backs off and removes his helmet. "It's so unlike you to attack first," he says. "I simply invited you here to talk." Goliath replies, "Our previous encounters have not encouraged me to trust you." Xanatos shrugs it off, telling Goliath that he and Fox are getting married and he wants Goliath to be the best man. He adds that Demona will be there, on her best behavior.

Day is nearing back at the clocktower. Hudson tells Goliath that only he can decide for himself what to do, while Elisa says it's crazy for Goliath even to consider going. "You're right," Goliath sighs as the sun turns him to stone.

A chopper lands in the courtyard at Xanatos', where Xanatos waits in armor. The pilot opens the door and an older man gets out. Xanatos smiles; the man scowls. "Hullo, Father," Xanatos says. The pilot comes closer; it's Fox, and she embraces Xanatos and kisses him. His father, Petros, says, "Don't you know it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding?" [Note: I like his Greek accent!] "Fox and I make our own luck," David replies as they kiss again before she leaves to change. Petros is unimpressed with the evidence of his son's wealth. "You would've been better off as a poor fisherman like me. If I ever get my hands on the man who sent you that coin, I'll teach not to meddle with my family." David dismisses that. He's now worth much more than the 20 grand the coin was worth. His father scorns him, "All this came from that. You didn't earn any of it." David says, "Some day I'll prove to you that I'm a self-made man." They come into the greathall, where Owen is escorting in Judge Roebin. David invites the judge and his father to view a video of his "unusual" best man and maid of honor before the ceremony. As they pass into an adjoining room, Owen asks, "Will Goliath actually show up?" David replies, "I'll bet my future on it."

As Goliath rests in stone on the clocktower wall, he remembers...

Goliath and his love meet and embrace passionately, then fly to look in on Prince Malcolm's wedding, arriving in time to see the ring exchange. "Exchanging tokens to seal their pledge of love," Goliath remarks. "A strange custom -- but fitting." His young angel pulls out a golden amulet with a phoenix on it, which she breaks in half -- it breaks with a silent, magical corruscation -- giving half to Goliath, telling him to cherish it as she will her half, pledging on it her heart to Goliath forever. "I accept your token, my ... angel of the night. And vow that you and I are one, now and forever."

Awake in the clocktower, Goliath walks through a storeroom where rest the Eye of Odin, the Grimorum, and -- his half of the phoenix talisman. Growling softly, he takes it.

In Xanatos' castle courtyard, Owen question's his employer's wisdom in wearing openly the symbol of the Illuminati society. "A necessary risk," Xanatos assures him, looking at the small golden plaque on his lapel. Goliath lands and Xanatos hands him the wedding ring to take care of until the vow exchange.

In the beautifully decorated greathall, the judge and Petros react in shock as Demona walks in. She addresses Goliath sharply, saying that she's only attending to keep Xanatos as her ally. Goliath tries to get her to remember that this is not the first wedding ritual they've attended together, but she's not interested. The ceremony begins; Goliath and Demona produce the rings as prompted. Demona stalks out as soon as the judge pronounces the couple married -- Goliath follows her. David remarks to Fox, "Now the fun begins." They follow, over Petros' objections that it's not respectful. Petros refuses to be blown off and goes after them.

Goliath comes out to Demona, who's standing on a balcony brooding. He produces his half of the talisman, saying, "I promised to keep this always, and I have." Demona says, "So have I," taking it and joining it to her half with a wicked laugh. With a sorcerous incantation she holds the pieces, which seal together and produce a sphere of fire and light around herself and Goliath, into which David and Fox run, followed closely by Petros. As they vanish, Owen remarks, "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected."

The enspelled travellers emerge in a dark wood. Petros says, "Where are we?" David answers, "The question isn't 'Where?' but 'When?'" as they gaze at a familiar-looking castle on a crag under the full moon.

Act II

Scotland, 975 AD. Demona flies, with Goliath in hot pursuit. She joins the talisman halves together again, speaks the spell and vanishes. Below, masked swordsmen on horseback surround and attack two other riders. One, a woman with a shield but no sword, is driven from her saddle to the ground at the feet of one of attacker, who lifts his sword to strike, only to get a flying kick to the ribs from David. Fox likewise brings down another rider, and a third is hauled out of the saddle by the elder Xanatos, wielding his jacket. The fourth is unhorsed by the woman's male companion, and flees. The one David kicked pulls himself together for another try. "C'mon," David says. "Impress me." With a sidestep and a whirling kick, Xanatos sends his attacker flying, disarmed, across the clearing. The masked men pick themselves up and run off. "Having fun?" David asks Fox as they mount the abandoned horses. "A marvellous time," she replies wryly. The man thanks them for the help, then notices David's lapel pin. "Ah, good friend!" he exclaims. "I am the Norman ambassador", he says as he throws back the hood of his cloak (to reveal what happens to be a historically accurate Norman haircut...) and pulls off his glove to reveal a signet ring with the Illuminati symbol -- the same pyramid and eye as on David's lapel pin and on the back of the dollar bill. They exchange a special handshake. His companion and he, he says, have come with gifts for Prince Malcolm. "You wear strange garb, but you are also an excellent fighter, and," he adds in an undertone, "a fellow Illuminatus." He invites them to accompany his companion and himself to the castle.

Meanwhile, Goliath lands at the castle to see Demona and himself as they once were, embracing. He looks on glumly -- the Hudson-that-was (before he lost an eye) chides him for being away from his post, but something about Goliath makes him look again. "Is that you?" he asks, then looks over the crenellations to see the couple below. "Sorcery!" he exclaims before Goliath muffles him.

Elsewhere in the castle, Prince Malcolm greets the ambassador, saying, "But where, prithee tell, is my bride?" The ambassador explains, as the woman takes off her cowl, that by travelling incognito they'd hoped to avoid unwanted attention. "We were wrong," she says, as the old Archmage steps up with an anxious look. "But zeez kind strangers rescued us most valiantly," and she points out David, Fox, and Petros. David bows gallantly. Malcolm hands him a few coins, as the elder Xanatos looks on amazed, assuring him that this is just the first of their reward. "You'll get fine food, fine lodging... and fine clothes." He had planned the wedding for the next day, but now Malcolm, made anxious by the attack, orders that the greathall be prepared for the wedding that same night. Princess Elena assures the ambassador that her father's wedding gift, the Phoenix Gate, is safe and that she'll present it to her husband after the ceremony.

On the tower, Goliath attempts to explain to his "Mentor" that he is not a creature of sorcery, but a visitor from the future. "And I suppose you glided back in time on the wind." Goliath stumblingly explains that at the wedding of his enemy, he was -- or will be -- sent back in time by sorcery. He doesn't know his enemy's purpose, but fears for his younger self, "and his angel love." He begs the Mentor to protect them from their future. "Quite a story," the Mentor says skeptically, but agrees to help.

In his workshop, the Archmage rails against the three strangers who thwarted his plan to steal the Phoenix Gate. He needs the Gate, the Grimorum, and the Eye of Odin to secure the ultimate magical power. He orders his apprentice to steal the Gate from the princess and bring it to him. "As you wish, Archmage," replies the young Demona-to-be.

In the courtyard, before the Ambassador rides away, David hands him a sealed envelope. "What are you hatching now?" his father demands. David explains that the envelope contains two further sealed envelopes and instructions to the Illuminati to wait a thousand years and then deliver the first envelope to a young David Xanatos of Bar Harbor, Maine -- it contains one of Malcolm's coins, almost worthless now, but in 1975, worth... "About 20 grand." The second envelope, to be delivered 20 years later, contains a detailed account of how the coin was obtained. "That was how I knew how to set this all up. I received instructions from myself, last week. So you see, Pop? I am indeed a self-made man." His father is little impressed: "Alright, Mister Big-Shot Time Traveller, how do we get back home?"

The Gate is all too easy for the Archmage's apprentice to snatch as it sits out on a window-side table while the princess brushes her hair. But as she escapes to the tower, a fiery sphere appears and her older self emerges. "Demona!" exclaims Goliath, from above. "Who?" says the Mentor. Meanwhile, Demona speaks the spell to carry her and her astonished younger self to "someplace private," but the glow is noticed by young Goliath. "He must not investigate!" the older Goliath tells Mentor, who flies to waylay the young one while the old one flies into the fire and vanishes with the other two.


994 AD. The castle is in flames, the gargoyles destroyed, and Goliath already in his brooding thousand-year sleep. The Gate opens, casting loose the three gargoyles, and Demona immediately attacks Goliath and knocks him senseless. She launches into a rant at her younger self: "This is your future. You can stop it, you hold the power in your hand. Do not give it to the Archmage, do not share it, use it. Destroy all the humans, rule the gargoyles, rule the world, it's all within your grasp!" Goliath is rousing himself, groaning -- they turn toward him. "Believe me," Demona says, "I know exactly how you feel. But you cannot trust him, he's weak, he cares more for the humans than for our clan. Put him out of our misery. You must know I'm right -- can't you see I am what you will become!" "I will never be like you!" the young angel exclaims. "I do not wish to hurt you!" Demona says. "And I do not wish to be you!" the angel retorts. Demona threatens to beat the lesson into her, but Goliath stops the blow from falling, and the young angel in turn stops Demona from hitting Goliath by flinging her against a wall and knocking her out. She goes to stand by the stone Goliath, weeping and wondering what to do to prevent this future. "Do nothing," Goliath tells her. "Live in the moment. Attend the petty jealousies and angers that prey upon your heart. But most of all, fulfill the vows of love you make, for they can surely save you." "I shall," she says, "you have my oath." "I had hers once, too," he replies, and picks up the unconscious Demona. With the young angel remembering the spell, the Gate opens and they leave 994 behind.

975. David, Fox, and Petros stand on the tower. The Gate opens. "I think we've found our ticket home," David says. Goliath growls, "If I didn't fear the damage you would do to the time stream, I'd gladly leave you here." "But you won't," David retorts, "because you didn't. Time travel's funny that way." Goliath bids good bye to the young angel, saying, "Remember your promise." Speaking the spell, Goliath spirits the travellers away.

Seeing the phoenix fire, the Archmage rushes up -- the young angel hides the Gate behind her, and he berates her for losing it, attacking her with magic fire. "I will tell Prince Malcolm that you stole the Gate!" The Mentor lands between them. "And why would you suspect this child of stealing anything from the Prince? And if she had, precisely who would she have been stealing it for?" Frustrated, the Archmage turns and stalks away, vowing, "I will not forget this." Taking himself down the spiral stairs, he decides to blame the theft on the strangers, who have disappeared. On the tower, Goliath flies down and the young angel embraces him, just as in Goliath's flashback memory.

Back in Manhattan, as Owen says, "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected," the phoenix fire appears and the travellers return. Demona wakes. "Get away from me, you sentimental fool!" She says that he, like her, failed to change the past -- she has memories of his "little inspirational" about keeping her vows of love, which she never forgot or denied, but which changed nothing. "Obviously, history is immutable," she tells him. "More's the pity," he sighs, turning away from her and flying away. "Well, Pop," David says, "did you have a good time at the wedding?" In answer, Petros flips his son a penny. "Not worth much now," he says, "but in a thousand years, who knows? It's my wedding present to you. Because it's all you seem to care about."

Back at the clocktower, Elisa and Brooklyn plan to rescue Goliath. Hudson says, "I don't think that'll be necessary," as Goliath swoops down to them. "You promised you wouldn't go!" Elisa begins, but Hudson gently restrains her as Goliath walks past them into the clocktower without a word.

Once again we see the young angel break the Gate and hand half to Goliath -- this time in front of the inside of the clocktower window; they embrace as the light fades, leaving them in silhouette. Is it indeed her, remembering her vow, or is it merely his grieving memory?


by Juan F. Lara

Eh, I thought this episode could've been better. It was one where I thought you could like it more if you DID read the spoilers.

Bad Points

This episode had too much information crammed in. They had to have Petros give a plot explanation about how Xanatos started his fortune, and they introduced the Illuminati symbol too suddenly for me. Also, Petros and Fox wound up as only plot devices with little to do after the first act. I thought that "Vows" would've worked better as a multiparter, with flashbacks of Xanatos receiving the coin and a more gradual introduction of the Illuminati society. But in its one-episode length I found it a very confusing episode that I had to watch a second time to understand.

When Demona first appeared serving the Archmage I thought that meant that she was as villainnous as she currently is even then. So I went "huh" at how "innocent" she seemed during Act 3. It took the second viewing for me to realize that she was merely a cruelly treated apprentice of the Archmage who was not as evil as he was.

I didn't like the episode opening midway through a fight. Too disorienting, and it did seem out of character for Goliath.

Animation by Sae Rom Productions (I think a new studio for Disney). I didn't like the artwork Sae Rom produced. The characters looked awkwardly drawn; I thought Wang was doing the animation. The old and young versions of Goliath and Demona looked exactly alike, hurting the dramatic effect of some scenes. The studio also didn't put in details like markings on Xanatos's coin.

Good Points

For once we had a time travel story that involved no changing of history, as opposed the approach taken by "Back to the Future" and "Quantum Leap". This different approach gave the series a fatalistic tone that I found very compelling.

Petros Xanatos did have a couple of good scenes. I liked how he remained clueful and calm throughout all the fantastic occurances he's witnessed, even though it's the first time he's heard of the Gargoyles. And I liked the way he blew off his son at the end. I wish the Petros/David plotline was a more developped subplot.

I did like Act 3, the second time I watched this episode. The futility of Demona's and Goliath's attempts at changing history were very downbeat. And in the second viewing I understood Demona's relationship with the Archmage better; his attack on her chilled me ("Stupid beast!!")


I didn't expect the Illuminati Society to be so old. It resembled the Masonic League. (Does anyone out there have any information about the Masonic League?) I laughed at how at ease Xanatos was with the Norman ambassador.

Loads of referencing: We found out where they're keeping Coldstone until further notice, and they showed the Golden Cup factory again. The Illuminati society is shown to be real for the first time. The Archmage pointed out the significance of the Eye of Odin.

Goliath was bleeding from the mouth during the fight at the beginning.

Since the older and younger versions of the gargoyles looked so alike I wondered if this was a hint that gargoyles do have very long lifespans.


old Demona: I do not wish to hurt you.
young Demona: And I do not wish to BE you!!

Goliath: If I didn't fear the damage you would do to the time stream, I'd gladly leave you here.
Xanatos: But you won't, because you didn't. Time travel's funny that way.

Xanatos: What's this?
Petros: A simple American penny. It's not worth much now, but in 1000 years, who knows?

Demona: Obviously, history is immutable.
Goliath: More's the pity.

I really disliked "Vows" the first time I saw it, but I liked it more the second time.


by Todd Jensen

With Xanatos and Fox engaged in "Eye of the Beholder", now we get their wedding, and with Goliath once again involved - only this time, it's part of Xanatos's plan from the start. "Vows" adds to the development of Goliath, Demona, and Xanatos, and introduces the concept of time travel into "Gargoyles" through the Phoenix Gate to boot.

For the first time in the second season (and almost the last) Xanatos and Demona renew their alliance from "Awakening", each having his or her own reason for wanting to use the Phoenix Gate to visit the 10th century. And their reasons fit their characterizations perfectly. Xanatos's reason is based on his usual practicality; he needs to go back to set the events in motion that result in his vast fortune. Demona, on the other hand, is seeking to further her war of revenge upon humanity, by attempting to persuade her younger self to keep the Phoenix Gate for her own use rather than to share it with Goliath at Prince Malcolm's wedding. And while Xanatos succeeds in his goal, Demona fails (though she can console herself with the fact that Goliath's own attempt to change the past failed as well).

Xanatos's portrait continues to gather depth. For the first time we meet his father Petros, a fisherman from Maine, who is clearly unhappy with his son's amoral nature. Petros also notes that Xanatos didn't even earn his fortune; it all came from a rare coin that had been mailed to him from persons unknown twenty years before, which Xanatos apparently sold to a collector and used the proceeds to build up his wealth. Xanatos is undisturbed, proceeding to show his father through their time travel adventure that he really can take responsibility for his riches; he receives the same coin from Prince Malcolm in 975 for rescuing Princess Elena from her bandit assailants and sets up instructions (with the assistance of the Illuminati - now revealed to be real outside of Matt's suspicions) to have that same coin sent to his younger self a thousand years later. Not that Petros is seriously impressed; he merely hands Xanatos a modern-day penny at the end with the remark that "it's all you seem to care about".

In contrast to the entertaining nature of Xanatos's time travel stratagem (if colored by the drama of his relationship with his father) is the more somber tone of Goliath and Demona's own adventures. Still yearning to have his angel of the night by his side, Goliath sees the wedding as another opportunity to reach out to Demona, reminding her of when they secretly attended Prince Malcolm's wedding and shared the broken pieces of the Phoenix Gate. To his shock, Demona proceeds to use his feelings for her as her tool to reunite the Gate and venture back into the past. In a particularly touching moment, Goliath watches his younger self and the more innocent Demona of 975 joyfully embrace, sadly aware of the tragedy that awaits them.

We quickly discover that in 975, Demona is already headed down a dark path, as the Archmage's secret apprentice - but one who serves him out of fear. She is genuinely unnerved to meet her future self and cries out upon learning the agenda of the Demona of 1995, "I do not wish to be you!" She is also terrified at the vision of the Wyvern Massacre, aware now of the horrible fate that awaits her clan in only nineteen years. Goliath does his best to comfort her, urging her to defend herself with her love, particularly that for the Goliath of 975; unfortunately, she will still follow that path to become the Demona of 1995, bitter, vengeful, and alone.

For, as Goliath discovers, the past is immutable - for the simple reason that you were already there from the beginning. (This is established throughout "Vows"; even before the time travel adventure takes place, Xanatos's instructions to the Illuminati and himself are already in existence, and the Demona of 1995 remembers that the Goliath of 1995 will follow her and her younger self to the Wyvern Massacre even before he does so.) In this way, the series made certain that the Phoenix Gate and the time travel that it enabled could not be used to upset the series by changing the past (and particularly by averting the Wyvern Massacre). No matter what Goliath does, Demona in the present will still be hostile and estranged from him - and now he knows, as he returns to the clock tower in a somber silence, that never again will they be a couple. Their relationship is forever at an end.

The Archmage returns, just as petulant as in "Long Way Till Morning", but now we learn of his desire to unite the Grimorum Arcanorum, Eye of Odin, and Phoenix Gate to achieve the "ultimate power", a desire which will come to the fore later on in the season, in a memorable fashion. Hudson also plays a small but significant role, as he (in 975) agrees to help the time-travelling Goliath and comes to the rescue of the young Demona in a way that hints that he already has his suspicions about the Archmage. The first time that I saw this episode, I was disappointed that the Hudson of 1995 made no mention of remembering Goliath's visit to the past at the end, but further viewings convinced me that this was a good thing; it would have only distracted from Goliath's grief and loss. Instead, we see Goliath remembering the time from so long ago where he and Demona treated the Phoenix Gate as a mere symbol of their love, with their embrace then receding into the distance, until it is lost to sight.


As mentioned above, we discover for the first time in "Vows" that the Illuminati Society is real - and that Xanatos is a member of it. We also learn that the Society already exists by 975 (with the Norman ambassador accompanying Princess Elena being a member of it), and that its symbol is a fiery eye atop a pyramid (tied in with the conspiracy theories relating to the similar symbol on the Great Seal of the United States).

We also learn that Princess Elena, Princess Katharine's mother, is of Norman descent. Since the Normans were the descendants of Vikings who had settled in northern France early in the 10th century (the very name "Norman" is a shortening of "Norseman" or "Northman"), it appears that Princess Katharine might have been more closely related to Hakon than would have pleased her....

Greg Weisman originally conceived of the Phoenix Gate in "Vows" as merely a magical object that Demona was attempting to take from Goliath, using its significance to him as a memory of their love for each other to manipulate him; the notion of its particular power being time travel came very late in the episode's development. He has since admitted that the episode should have been a two-parter to introduce the concept of time travel more effectively into the series.

As Goliath retrieves his half of the Phoenix Gate from its place in the clock tower, we see the dormant Coldstone, the Grimorum Arcanorum, and the Eye of Odin all in storage nearby.

Xanatos and Goliath have their opening battle atop the Golden Cup Bakery Building, which first appeared in "Legion".

Xanatos's "Reason not the need" comment to his father (when Petros asks him why he needs his many possessions, such as Castle Wyvern) is a Shakespeare quote, from King Lear, Act II, scene iv. There, the parent-child situation is reversed, for it is Lear who utters that line to his daughter Regan, when she asks him why he still needs so many knights attendant upon him following his abdication. (Trust Xanatos to so cheerily adapt that quote to what would almost be the opposite context!)

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