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The Price

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


by Kieran Dunn


by Leigh Ann Hussey

Act I

"Previously on GARGOYLES" shows highlights from Long Way To Morning. The Gargoyles are finishing the night's patrol over a snowy Manhattan. Suddenly they are attacked by someone on a rocket sled. It is MacBeth, who calls out, "I've been looking for you!" "Why do you attack us?" Goliath demands. "Trophies!" MacBeth responds. One by one, he puts the gargoyles out of commission -- first Brooklyn with an electrical bolt from his blaster, then Broadway and Lexington with an electrified net, then Hudson with a packet of some sort of sparkly, blinding dust. Goliath lands on the sled, grabbing MacBeth from behind -- "You'll have to do better than that," MacBeth says, placing his gun against Goliath's side and blasting him. Goliath falls and lands precariously, though safely, on some ornamental ironmongery on a building across the street from where the others have ended up.

Hudson, the dust still sparkling around his eyes, is hauling the net off of Broadway and Lexington as MacBeth pulls up on the sled and draws a bead on them. "Farewell, my enemies," he says. But before he can shoot, Goliath wrenches an iron spike from his perch and hurls it at MacBeth. It strikes the sled controls; the sled tumbles into the street and explodes. "I had no choice," Goliath says. "No one's questioning you," Hudson assures him, brushing dust from his shoulders. "We'd best prepare to sleep right here," he continues. "Dawn is upon us." The five take up fierce postures, all facing out in a circle, before the sun turns each to stone.

The sun sets, but though the others awake, Hudson remains stone. Goliath suspects sorcery, borne of the powder that MacBeth threw on Hudson, but MacBeth is dead. Goliath and Lexington take off for MacBeth's mansion to see if they can find a cure, leaving Broadway and Bronx to protect Hudson.

At the mansion, Goliath and Lexington must first destroy the laser cannons (cf. A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time) protecting the mansion, which track and fire automatically upon detecting intruders. They land each on a gun, causing the auto-tracking to aim and fire each gun at the other. The gargoyles go to see what they can find.

Meanwhile, Broadway worries that even if an antidote is found, they won't be able to use it, not being sorcerers. "Let's just focus on protecting Hudson," Brooklyn replies, as they turn toward him. "We can't let anything happen to him."

Fade to: Hudson, eyes blazing in rage, in a cage with glowing bars that burn his hands. He shouts, "You can't keep me in here forever! I'll get out, d'ye hear me? I'll get out!"

Act II

Hudson paces in his cage. Its floor is slotted, and bits of his stone skin, shed when he awoke, lie under it. "About time you came back!" he barks at two approaching shadows. "What do you want of me?" "Nothing much," replies Xanatos, coming into the light. "Just your skin." "You'll have the devil's own task gettin' it!" Hudson warns. Xanatos clicks a remote, the cage bottom slides out, and he picks up a shard of stone. "Gee. That wasn't as hard as you made it sound."

One of the steel clan bots brings in a crate containing a huge iron cauldron -- the Cauldron of Life, Xanatos calls it, whose legend is that whoever bathes in it will live "as long as the mountain stones." "Ah," says Hudson, comprehending, "you wish to be immortal." "Of course," Xanatos replies. "What good are all the riches on earth if Fox and I can't enjoy them forever?" One of the key ingredients is the stone skin of a gargoyle. Hudson points out that the ancient talismans are often dangerous, as the Eye of Odin proved. "Maybe it would be a good idea to test the brew first," Xanatos agrees. "Any volunteers?"

A garg-bot pours water into the cauldron as Hudson demands, "Ye mean ta dunk me in that oversized chamberpot?" "Eventually," Xanatos replies, tossing in the skin shard. The brew begins to seethe; legend says the skin must boil a night and a day. Hudson points out, "My clan will never rest until they know where I am." "But they already know where you are," Xanatos replies as Owen holds up a very accurately-detailed statuette of Hudson. It's only a model, Xanatos tells him. "The real one is life-sized, and very lifelike. The hardest part was finding a replica for your sword." Nevertheless, Xanatos tells Owen to distract the other gargoyles. "And what's in this for you?" Hudson demands of Owen. "Service is its own reward," Owen replies. "I would've thought you knew that."

On the roof, Broadway and Brooklyn are attacked again by MacBeth. They fly off, trying to lead him away from Hudson. MacBeth gives chase, saying "I've been looking for you!"

At Elisa's apartment, Goliath and Lex report their fruitless search. "There's only one other hope," Goliath says. "We need a sorceress. We need... Demona." He asks for Elisa's detective skills, but she answers that though she'd do anything for Goliath, she wouldn't even know where to start looking. Lex warns them of impending dawn, and they take off for the rooftop where Hudson is, Elisa riding in Goliath's arms.

Hudson remarks to Xanatos that he's gone to a lot of trouble, and demands, "Why me?" "Because you are old, and growing older," Xanatos replies. "Growing old terrifies you, doesn't it?" Hudson needles him. "Nothing terrifies me," Xanatos retorts, "because nothing is beyond my ability to change. What about you? Still wasting your evenings in front of a television set? You're of little use to your clan, you might as well be of some use to me." "Open this cage," Hudson growls, "and I'll show you just how useless I am!" Xanatos leaves. Hudson notices a long, sharp shard of his skin between the slats, and seizes it like a weapon.

Meanwhile, MacBeth easily evades an attack, remarking, "You'll have to do better than that." Lexington, Goliath and Elisa arrive. "The sun's about to come up!" Lexington says in alarm. They land, Goliath shocked to see MacBeth alive. Elisa and Lex both hold him back from flying to help, crying in unison, "The sun!" And indeed the sun catches both Lexington and Goliath before he can take off. Elisa and Brooklyn (right before he turns to stone) look up aghast to see Broadway turn to stone in mid air and plummet earthward.


Elisa fires her gun at a rope holding a crate of Persian rugs suspended from a crane. It breaks, the crate falls and bursts open, and Broadway falls safely onto the scattered carpets. She leans up against Goliath with a sigh of relief. "Trophies!" MacBeth calls, as he jets away.

Owen tells Xanatos that MacBeth kept the gargoyles busy all night. "Better watch out, Owen," Xanatos says. "This MacBeth fellow may be gunning for your job. He's already died for me once on this project; it's hard to top that."

Meanwhile, Elisa supervises the crane hoisting Broadway to the rooftop.

The sun sets. Hudson awakes and tucks his gargoyle-skin knife into his belt.

Everyone (including he himself) is relieved that Broadway survived. Brooklyn flies up crowing, "Jalapeño, you're alive! It's a miracle!" Goliath affirms, "A miracle named Elisa." Brooklyn wonders, if MacBeth wants them for trophies, "why didn't he come back for us while we were stone?" "Hudson!" Goliath exclaims, and they hastily take off with Elisa.

"Your bath is ready, Hudson," Xanatos calls cheerily. While Xanatos remotely controls a garg-bot to grab Hudson as soon as the cage is open, Hudson tries to get Xanatos to understand. "What you seek demands a heavy price. I've been alive for over 11 hundred years. Most of my clan is dead and dust, and I am a stranger in a strange land. Demona and MacBeth are immortal; has it brought them happiness?" Xanatos says, "Save your breath. Death and old age have their price as well. And it's too expensive for me!"

The others arrive to find the statue safe. Brooklyn wonders how MacBeth lived through the crash, and why he keeps attacking them. "It's almost as though he's trying to keep us off guard," Goliath muses, "while something else is going on." Just then, MacBeth attacks, saying, "Farewell, my enemies." Brooklyn groans, "This is gettin' old." Elisa tries to shoot, but finds her clip emptied from rescuing Broadway. They all look on in helpless horror as MacBeth blasts the stone Hudson to smithereens. Battle rage seizes Goliath; despite hits from MacBeth's blaster bolts, he succeeds in getting to MacBeth on the sled. Crying, "MURDERER!!" Goliath punches clear through MacBeth's body -- and cables and conduit spill from the wounds. "You'll have to do better than that..." the robot says haltingly as it begins to break apart; it falls from the sled to explode below.

Meanwhile, the garg-bot holds Hudson struggling over the cauldron. "Relax," Xanatos tells him, casually tossing the sword. "Without your sword, you're helpless." "Swordless, maybe," Hudson growls, "helpless, never!" He pounds his stone knife into the garg-bot's eye; it drops him. Springing off the cauldron's rim, he delivers a flying kick to Xanatos and regains his sword, then warns Owen off: "Behave yourself, boy."

Xanatos, congratulating him on his ingenuity, supposes that Hudson will destroy the cauldron. "And why would I be doin' that?" Hudson replies, tucking his sword away. "What you do with your life is your own affair, as long as it's got nothin' ta do with me." He departs with "a friendly word of advice. True immortality isn't about living forever, man. It's about what ye do with the time ye have. When all ye'r scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?" Xanatos stops Owen from calling security, saying, "Let him go. He's earned it."

The gargoyles and Elisa mourn over the pieces of Hudson's statue. Hudson arrives as Broadway says, "I wish it hadn't turned out this way," and replies, "All things considered, I'm just as glad it did." He fends off their questions, saying it's "a long story best told over a hot cup of tea," and picks up the face of the statue. "I think I'll keep this as a souvenir," he says. "Not everyone can reclaim their head after losing it. Let's go home."

Xanatos rues having no one to test the brew on. "Allow me," Owen says, rolling up his sleeve, and plunges his arm in the cauldron. He hauls it out, turned to stone. "It would appear that the cauldron's spell of immortality has a price," he remarks coolly. "Whoever bathes in it will live 'as long as the mountain stones,'" Xanatos recalls. "How literal-minded! Thank you, Owen. That'll be all." And he leaves, as Owen contemplates his stone arm with a sour and vaguely disapproving expression.


by Juan F. Lara

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING (Like "The Silver Falcon", I'd recommend that one watches the episode before reading this review.)

Good Points

This episode had plenty of instances where I didn't guess immediately what was really going on. Since we already knew about a spell that can keep gargoyles in their stone state at night, I believed right along with the other Gargoyles that Hudson was under a similar spell. Then I still thought that MacBeth with or without Demona was behind the scheme up until Xanatos appeared. I assumed that MacBeth survived his crash because of the wierd sisters' spell, and figured that the writers were using irony in having the Gargoyles not know what the audience did know. I didn't realize until the third act that it was the AUDIENCE that didn't know the truth. :-) "Gargoyles" is one of a few cartoon series that can keep me from guessing how everything turns out in the end.

The episode also had very strong characterization. Xanatos constantly mocked people cleverly but showed uneasiness about things that he couldn't control, while Hudson was proud and insightful. These two characters had very compelling dialogue throughout the story. The other Gargoyles demonstrated how deeply they cared for each other's safety, from Brooklyn's elation when he found out that Broadway was still alive to their mourning when they thought Hudson was dead. Owen also got some focus, showing how concerned he was in serving Xanatos. The character depth shown here distinguished "Gargoyles" from most superhero cartoon series.

Again we got superb WD-Japanimation, with impressive direction for the fight scenes and details like Hudson brushing off the dust.

Bad Points

The "epilogue" happened too suddenly. I would've placed it in the next episode as a longer scene. And Xanatos's flippancy came off as just too bizarre.

Apart from that I only had nits. The pacing seemed uneven: The fight scenes in Act 1 went on for too long, and at other times they seemed to be trying to cram in as many references to other eps as possible ( I was glad that Demona didn't appear. :-) In Act 1 Hudson pulled out his sword with an anime- style "swishing" background, even though he wasn't moving fast. So that scene looked silly.

Quotes and Dyns

Hudson knew that MacBeth and Demona were immortal, but thought with everyone else that MacBeth was dead in Act 1. Did he know about the spell that links MacBeth and Demona?

People who wondered what would happened if a gargoyle turned to stone while in flight now know. :-) I guess it's debatable if those rugs could really provide enough of a cushioned landing, but Broadway was lucky that no appendages broke off. :-)

Hudson: You'll have the Devil's own task getting it!
Xanatos: Oh, really?
(moves cage out the way to get at stone fragments.)
Gee, that wasn't as hard as I thought.

Hudson: You mean to dunk me in that oversized chamberpot?!

Hudson: And what's in it for you?
Owen: Service is its own reward. I would have thought you knew that.

Xanatos: The soup's cooking nicely.

Brooklyn: Jalepeno! You're still alive! It's a miracle!
[ "Jalepeno"? :-) ]

Brooklyn: Oh, this is getting old.

Hudson: I think I'll keep this as a souvenir. Not everyone can claim their head after losing it.


by Todd Jensen

This episode is so filled with deliberate deceptions aimed at the audience that it would be difficult to list them all; they were so well-handled that I fell for every last one of them the first time that I saw it!

The main trick in the episode is that Hudson appears to have been trapped in his stone sleep by Macbeth. It was all the easier to fool the audience into believing this because we had already seen the Magus do the same thing to the clan, back in "Awakening", so we knew that it was possible. Goliath and the other gargoyles are certainly duped into believing the same thing, doing all that they can to protect the statue that they believe is Hudson, while the real Hudson is imprisoned in the castle. (Even when I first saw the scenes revealing the truth about Hudson's fate during my initial viewing, I originally thought that it was a symbolic representation of his trapped condition, rather than a literal imprisonment by Xanatos.)

A further touch was the role of "Macbeth" in the story. His apparent death at Goliath's hands in Act I, only to "return from the grave" to hunt the gargoyles again, was another amusing way of misleading the audience; the natural assumption that it would make is that the reason why Macbeth had survived was because of the Weird Sisters' spell which prevented anyone but Demona from killing him. At the same time, I found myself suspicious about "Macbeth"'s behavior here, in light of his constant claim that he was hunting the clan to provide himself with "trophies". While Macbeth had never hesitated to do battle with the gargoyles before, he had always done so for serious reasons, rather than to just have something to be stuffed and mounted in his mansion; trophy-hunting sounded a more appropriate motive for, say, the Pack. So it made sense when it turned out that he was really another one of Xanatos's humanoid robots in disguise.

But "The Price" was about more than just clever tricks; it also provided us with an in-depth look at Hudson, Xanatos, and Owen. Xanatos displays once again his breezy cleverness, particularly in the delightful moment when we see just how he obtains a piece of Hudson's skin (in a scene that shows once again why it's so hard to dislike the guy, even if he is the main antagonist in the series). On a more serious note, we also learn for the first time that his big ambition is to become immortal and why (one of the best moments comes when Hudson comments perceptively that Xanatos is motivated by his fear of old age, and Xanatos at once replies indignantly - so indignantly that it's clear that Hudson's gotten under his skin - that nothing frightens him). Hudson again shows his wisdom and experience, pointing out to Xanatos the cost that immortality would come with, including a thoughtful little speech at the end about the only immortality that's worth having, the legacy that one leaves behind. He also proves himself to be not as useless as he appears (or fears himself to be) when he finds a means of rescuing himself by secretly holding onto one of his fragments of stone skin, a feat that impresses Xanatos himself with its ingenuity - impresses him so much, in fact, that he orders Owen not to hinder Hudson's departure from the castle, on the grounds that "he's earned it". Another intriguing touch is that Hudson makes no effort to destroy the Cauldron, as Xanatos (for a moment) assumed he would, commenting that he only objects to Xanatos using him for a guinea-pig, not in Xanatos having an interest in the Cauldron and the immortality that it supposedly promises.

As for Owen, he comes to the fore again in his role as Xanatos's ever-loyal-and-efficient servant, with a peek into his thoughts about that role. When Hudson asks Owen what advantage he is getting out of the scheme, Owen merely replies, "Service is its own reward". But when Xanatos jokingly comments that "Macbeth" could risk replacing him, on the grounds of "How can you display your loyalty better than laying down your own life in action?", Owen is subtly hurt - and responds by volunteering to test the Cauldron himself after Hudson's escape. His price is a stone hand that he will be burdened with henceforth (a permanent change to a major character that definitely raised my eyebrows when I first saw the episode), and the final scene is of Owen silently studying his petrified hand, with amazing calmness under the circumstances.

There are a number of other lovely touches in this episode. In a pleasant change of background, we see Manhattan once again snow-covered, as in "Re-Awakening". Elisa saves Broadway's life with her gun in a reversal of "Deadly Force". Goliath, Elisa, and the trio all have a moving moment as they mourn the seemingly-dead Hudson - until interrupted by his arrival in the middle of his eulogy. The very atmospheric setting combines with the drama of Xanatos and Hudson's confrontation to make "The Price" one of the best single episodes in the first half of Season Two.


"The Price" was initially aired out of order, on October 12, 1995, between "Outfoxed" (which initially aired on September 28) and "Revelations" (which initially aired on October 26). As a side-effect, we have the jarring effect of seeing Owen with a normal hand in "Double Jeopardy" and "The Cage", which appear in this schedule to be taking place afterwards.

This story was inspired by a "Gargoyles" story in comics form written by one Lee Nordling, which used the core concept of a gargoyle in stone sleep being kidnapped and replaced by a lookalike statue (though the gargoyle in Nordling's story was Goliath).

In the original screenplay, Goliath and Lexington, during their visit to Macbeth's mansion, had a run-in with Banquo and Fleance (both feeling perturbed by their employer's mysterious absence). This scene was changed in the televised version to Goliath and Lexington facing Macbeth's automated defences instead.

Hudson makes the only reference in the entire series to bathroom functions when he calls the Cauldron "an oversized chamber-pot".

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