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Avalon, Part I

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


by Kieran Dunn


by Adam Cerling

Act I

Sunset--the Gargoyles awaken upon the clock tower. Hudson, Lexington, Brooklyn and Broadway leave to fly the night's patrol. Goliath remains behind to finish a book; Bronx keeps him company.

From the depths of the fog upon a lake in Central Park, a figure emerges in a wooden boat. He is encased in full armor; his lowered visor resembles Goliath's visage.

The figure strolls down the streets of New York, drawing curious stares from its citizens. Before long, three thugs, anticipating an easy mark, shove him into an alley. The armored warrior dispatches them bloodlessly, but as he begins to leave, one of the three throws a trash can at him. The warrior knocks it aside, shattering a display window and sounding an alarm. The thugs laugh and flee upon seeing the police arrive. Officer Morgan approaches and tells the warrior to lay down his weapon, identifying himself as the law in the city. Recognizing a fellow "Guardian," the warrior submits to Morgan, kneeling and offering up his sword.

At police headquarters, other officers' jests in Morgan's direction attract Elisa's interest. Morgan sits down and describes the armored figure, who has told the police that he seeks Gargoyles. Elisa nearly dismisses the warrior as another nutcase--"Another one, huh? These guys oughtta start a club."--before Morgan relates the rest of the warrior's quest: he searches specifically for the Gargoyle named Goliath.

Inside the clock, Elisa tells Goliath the news. They decide they need know more about the warrior. Elisa decides to bring him to Belvedere castle in an hour. Goliath and an enthusiastic Bronx will meet them there.

"Now remember, I took a big chance telling the sergeant that I know your family," Elisa tells the warrior in front of Belvedere Castle in Central Park. The warrior smiles. "If you know Goliath, one could say that you do." Goliath arrives carrying Bronx. The warrior is delighted to have finally found Goliath. He hints that they have met before, and Bronx displays an immediate affection for the armored stranger. The man compounds Goliath's confusion by revealing his knowledge of Princess Katherine, the Magus, and the Gargoyle eggs [cf. Awakening, Parts I and II]. Only then does he reveal his identity--Tom, a boy present at the sacking of Castle Wyvern, a thousand years past. A friend. "But there's no time to explain now," he says, "we must go-- the eggs are in danger!"

Act II

Goliath is shocked--the Gargoyle eggs from the Castle Wyvern rookery still exist! Tom leads Goliath, Elisa and Bronx to his boat. Goliath attempts to assuage Elisa's doubts, but Tom urges them into the boat--they must hurry lest the Archmage destroy the eggs. Goliath is once again confounded--he had thought the Archmage dead before Tom was born. Soon the four are in the boat, poled by Tom into the fog. As they move, Tom incants an arcane spell. When he finishes, Elisa asks him how he came to the twentieth century if he hails from the tenth. Tom begins to tell the tale....

...Scotland, 994 AD. The Magus, Princess Katherine, Tom, and his mother Mary have just finished loading thirty-six Gargoyle eggs onto a cart full of hay. Mary hopes that the eggs will all reach the castle of Katherine's uncle, Kenneth, intact. Tom swears to defend them from any who would threaten them. Princess Katherine, taking the boy at his word, designates him Guardian of the Eggs. The four set out on the journey.

After a long trek, they arrive at King Kenneth's fortress. A banquet is held in Katherine's honor; the king lauds her bravery and determination. The dashing Lord Constantine toasts Katherine as well, earning an angry look from the Lady Finella, seated at the King's left.

That evening, Mary tells the Princess about the castle gossip: The king yearns for Finella; Finella yearns for Constantine; Constantine craves only power. Constantine courts Finella as a means to reach the throne.

The king and his son Chalvim leave the stables later that night after a visit with Katherine. Chalvim quietly expresses distrust of Constantine as the pair passes by the latter.

Constantine enters the stables, where Katherine is attending the eggs, and invites her with flattery to walk with him. Katherine declines, pleading responsibility to her task. Constantine leaves, offended.

Finella intercepts Constantine on his way out. She draws him aside to discuss their relationship. The King proposed to her, but she wants only Constantine; she knows King Kenneth will consent to their marriage if only to see her happy. Constantine suggests that Finella reveal her feelings to the king, alone, in a nearby drying-house. Tom overhears it all.

Later, Tom ascends the roof of the drying-house and peers through the opening at its center. Finella and Constantine await the arrival of the king. Kenneth soon arrives, but before Finella can utter so much as a word to him, Constantine leaps from the shadows and murders King Kenneth with a dagger. The king's crown is a triumphant Constantine's trophy. Tom, above, is horrified.


Constantine's forces lost no time establishing his authority, imprisoning all those who refused to swear fealty to him. Katherine is imprisoned in her chambers with Mary. Chalvim soon dispatches the guard and opens the room, admitting the Magus and a miserable Tom. Chalvim advocates immediate escape; he is pursued by Constantine's men. Katherine refuses--her duty to the eggs is of the greatest importance. She needs time to move them. Katherine tells Chalvim to flee, and the prince does so to preserve his life. She offers the same option to the Magus, Mary and Tom, but they loyally choose to remain.

The next day, at Constantine's coronation, Katherine is forced to swear fealty to the new king. Constantine then announces his plans to take the princess as his queen. Finella, looking on from the crowd, flees in tears; Katherine is outraged. Constantine gestures to the stables, remarking upon thirty-six excellent reasons to cooperate. He retreats into the castle. The princess speaks with her friends, and the Magus reveals an idea to rescue the eggs and themselves.

That night, the Magus uses illusion to disguise the Gargoyle eggs as broken crockery. Tom takes them in a cart down to the docks. The Magus then conversely makes broken pottery look like Gargoyle eggs, and he, Mary, and Katherine begin to place the decoys in the stables. A suspicious Constantine arrives just as they finish, but he is fooled.

In Katherine's chambers, Tom returns to report that the eggs are on the boats. Katherine fears to go; Constantine will hunt her. The Magus reassures her that he can take her past the ends of the earth. Mary arrives then, with Lady Finella on her heels. She has arranged a secret meeting with Constantine.

At that meeting, Finella secretly serves Constantine a sleeping potion, buying time for the conspirators to escape with the eggs. Three boats depart in the night, bearing the Magus, Tom, Mary, Katherine, Finella, and the eggs. The Magus incants a spell from the Grimorum which will bring the travelers to Avalon--the spell can be used from any body of water.

The landscape dims around the boats, and they soon approach an ornate barge upon which the Weird Sisters [cf. City of Stone] stand. The guardians of Oberon's island, they prevent any magic but Avalon's from entering. Tom impulsively defies them. The Sisters, annoyed, enwrap themselves in sorcery, stirring the waves and enlarging themselves immensely. They hurl green fire down at the Magus, but he shields himself with the Grimorum and turns their magic back upon them; they are turned to a trio of barn owls. They dive angrily at the Magus, but he bats them away with the boating-pole. The Sisters are forced to fly off. Katherine is overjoyed at the Magus's success, but the Magus is reserved. He cannot enter Avalon with the Grimorum. Catherine persuades him to leave the Grimorum; he does not need it, for he is her friend. Finella volunteers to take the book back and protect it from Constantine. Mary decides to go back with her. After a sad parting with Tom, Mary and Finella depart, and the Magus, Tom and Katherine sail with the eggs toward Avalon....

...The memory of that parting haunts Tom still. Goliath is profoundly moved by how much Tom has done for his clan. Elisa, wiping her eyes, still expresses confusion over the manner in which Tom is yet alive. Tom explains: for every hour that passes in Avalon, a day goes by in the outside world. He returned every hundred years to learn whether Goliath had awakened. Goliath then asks how it is that the Archmage survives; Tom knows only that he besieges Avalon. The fog then parts and Avalon comes into view. Upon landing, Bronx is the first off the boat. Tom points: "He has found the eggs!" On a cliff high above, other Gargoyles appear to regard the newcomers...


by Juan F. Lara

The creators revealed the fates of the rookery eggs and the Wyvern residents in this three-parter, which began with an EXCELLENT first part.


Princess Katherine and the Magus became three-dimensional characters in this story. At one point Chalvim had to flee to escape Constantine, but Katherine insisted that she stay to protect the rookery eggs. The episode had many similar examples of Katherine showing dedication and courage in her commitment to the eggs. But in that scene one could detect strong feelings of sadness in Katherine's voice, and concern about whether she can save the eggs. Kath Soucie could convey deeply felt emotions in Katherine's lines, making the princess a very believable character. The Magus was comparably convincing in his devotion to Katherine. You could feel how deeply he cared for her when he vowed to stay by her side during the siege. He also proved resourceful and clever, finding ways out of trouble in the Grimorum. By the episode's end, Katherine and the Magus had become two of the most appealing characters in the series.

Constantine was a classic Disney villain: an usurper of a throne who could endear himself to characters but also be menacing. He seemed believably friendly to Finella in order to trick her to set the King up. But later he scared Katherine by smashing that barrel nearby the eggs in a classic scene for the villain. The great writing of his lines and Ian Buchanan's delivery made him very interesting.

Finella's character development took many intriguing turns. At first she seemed to be a co-conspirator with Constantine. But her dialogue with him in Act 2 showed that she did love Constantine, but was mature enough to care not to hurt the feelings of the king. After the overthrow, Finella showed that she could think for herself and could be as brave as Katherine and the Magus. So she also became a compelling character by the end of Part I.

And through Tom the creators followed the Disney convention of seeing the story through a child's perspective. A memorable scene was when Katherine swore Tom to loyalty to the eggs, and Tom got into the wagon to guard them. Tom showed how sincerely he felt about his vow, giving the scene a strong impact.


The big advantage of these multiparters is that the writers have enough time to move the plot along at a controlled pace. No moment in this episode felt rushed or awkwardly contrived, and characters could show depth through their dialogue.

I thought the lines were excellently written. People spoke casually and believably, as opposed to the writersspeak of most cartoons. This was particularly true in that scene of Constantine and Finella talking together. Constantine never seemed obvious in his attempt to get Kenneth into his trap.

Great scene: Tom's run-in with the muggers. Tom easily defeats the muggers as expected. But then the lead mugger fought back when he was provoked and Tom temporarily felt disoriented, with the muggers laughing at his expense. So the characters involved in this scene had considerable interaction with each other.

Another great scene: When Constantine drank the sleeping potion. I loved how the action happened as the Magus explained the plan.

The one plot point I had a big problem with was Mary getting left behind. I really didn't see how she could be a help in protecting the Grimorum, and her taking care of her son seemed compelling reason enough for her to stay in Avalon. So the scene of her tearful departure from Tom felt a little cheap.


Animation by Koko Entertainment, and the legendary Dong Yang. I thought WD-Japan did the superb animation in this ep until I read the credits. I especially loved the vivid facial expressions of the characters, such as when Goliath first found out that the eggs still existed.

I'm glad that only Elisa, Goliath and Bronx have gone to Avalon. Emphasis on small subgroups of the main cast is an appealing aspect of the series, just as it was in "TaleSpin". Bronx himself got a lot of focus in Part I.

The episode revealed one of the main duties of the Weird Sisters, as guardians of Avalon. It also revealed that the Sisters aren't impossible to defeat. :-)

Jeff Bennett had some trouble with Maol Chalvim's voice. One point he sounded like one of the Beatles. The other like Owen. :-) Even so, Jeff Bennett did a remarkable acting jobs for all the characters he voiced in this part.

Likewise Kath Soucie got to play a large number of characters, and did exemplarary work for all of them. This ep was a tour-de-force for Bennett and Soucie.

Other notable voices: singer Sheena Easton played Finella, Morgan Sheppard played King Kenneth, and Gerrit Graham played Tom as an adult. Buchanan, like Michael Horse, is a "Twin Peaks" alumnus.


Tom: You are a guardian, like myself. I will submit to your law.

Goliath: Tom was a friend to my clan when friends were all too few.

Elisa: If you're from Goliath's time, how did you get here?
Tom: My journey has been a long, and strange one.

Finella: I've arranged to meet him in the drying house at Midnight, supposedly to beg for his favor. Huh, the irony was irresistable to him.

Chalvim: My cousin Katherine is a strange one. To travel all this way with gargoyle eggs and then fuss over them like human babes.

Here's hoping that the following two parts are as good as part one. Once again "Gargoyles" presented a story that had all the qualities of a classic Disney feature, told in a very sophisticated manner.


by Todd Jensen

Until this episode first aired, I hadn't given any thought to the eggs that Goliath had entrusted to Princess Katharine's care. I'd always assumed (even after I found out what he was really like) that Xanatos was telling the truth about them being long-since gone in "Awakening Part Two", simply because I didn't think it probable that gargoyles had a life-span long enough to incorporate a thousand years; it seemed most probable to me that the gargoyles from those eggs had hatched, grown up, lived out their lives and died long before Xanatos moved Castle Wyvern and its gargoyles to the top of the Eyrie Building. So the revelation about their actual fate took me by surprise: the one thing that I had not considered was the possibility of a place in the Gargoyles Universe where time flowed at a much slower pace.

Part One of "Avalon" focused on explaining (through a now grown-up Tom) how Princess Katharine, the Magus, and himself had taken the eggs to Avalon. In so doing, it incorporated a fresh element of early Scottish history into the series, this one far less well-known than Macbeth's story: the murder of Kenneth II by Constantine III in 995. (After I saw this episode, I eagerly looked up everything that I could find in the local libraries on this event - I wasn't able to find much, but that was due to the sparse historical records of 10th century Scotland.) Again, I found the medieval flashbacks highly enjoyable, especially such little touches as Constantine setting his wedding to Katharine at Michaelmas (an important holiday on the medieval calendar, though now almost forgotten).

Constantine himself made a fine antagonist, both wily and ruthless. He particularly displayed his cunning in providing a convincing reason for why Finella should meet with King Kenneth in private that would not have raised her suspicions: the argument that in so doing, she would spare the old king the humiliation of having his suit turned down by her in public, before his court. He goes on to demonstrate his ruthlessness by abandoning Finella now that she has outlived her usefulness to him and pursuing Princess Katharine, using the gargoyle eggs as hostages to force her to yield to him.

Finella, Constantine's unwitting accomplice, serves as a memorable figure herself here. Despite her serving as Katharine's ally in helping her and the eggs to escape Scotland, her main motivation is anger at him for using and then discarding her, rather than any strong sympathy for Katharine's plight. (Her response during the coronation scene to Constantine's proclaiming his intent to wed Katharine particularly brings this out.)

Maol Chalvim, Kenneth's son, has only a brief role in this story, but also an interesting one. According to both Greg Weisman and actual Scottish history, he would later on become King of Scotland (through betraying his cousin, Kenneth III, who would overthrow Constantine two years after his usurpation and Princess Katharine's flight to Avalon) and be the grandfather of both Duncan and Macbeth. Maol Chalvim's few scenes show some subtly-worked in danger signals about him. He displays suspicion about Constantine's motives, which prove to be justified - yet, in light of his own future actions, one can't help wondering whether this could stem as much from an attitude of "I suspect him of treachery, because that's what I'd do in his place" as out of good judgment of character. He also indicates himself to be anything but fond of gargoyles, twice openly viewing Katharine as foolish to care for the eggs as if they were human infants. It is tempting to ponder the possibility that Maol Chalvim will later on communicate those same outlooks to his grandson Duncan; if this is so, Duncan's behavior in "City of Stone" shows all too clearly how well he imbibed those lessons.

One of the most pleasant elements of this episode is seeing how Princess Katharine, the Magus, and Mary have all changed for the better since "Awakening Part One", no longer the prejudiced people that they once were. The three of them (and Tom, who had accepted gargoyles from the start) now dedicate themselves to protecting the eggs from Constantine's villainy in a truly impressive fashion - Katharine even sacrifices the opportunity to escape that Maol Chalvim offers her because there was not time enough to take the eggs with her. It offers us yet another sign that Goliath's hopes that humans could learn to live in peace with gargoyles were well-founded.

The Weird Sisters reappear as Avalon's guardians, defeated by the Magus; in contrast to their noble speeches about the preciousness of life, they now appear as thoroughly callous and unconcerned about the plight of Princess Katharine and her charges. They will display this same outlook throughout the rest of "Avalon"; I will have more to say about it in my review of Part Three. In the meantime, their scene serves as a sign that we are soon to find out the reason for their actions in "City of Stone" and "High Noon".

Part One concludes with an additional surprise - as Tom announces the presence of the eggs, and what we see appearing on the cliffs of Avalon above are definitely not eggs....


Originally, the production team had considered having the eggs secretly raised in Brigadoon, to better reflect the gargoyles' Scottish "nationality". After their research had discovered, however, that Brigadoon was purely a creation of the Lerner and Loewe musical and therefore not in the public domain, their refuge became the isle of Avalon instead - which choice would have its own consequences in Parts Two and Three....

(Despite this, Greg later on, when he wrote a "Gargoyles" parody for "Captain Atom", briefly mentioned Brigadoon in it, bestowing upon it the role that Avalon had in the animated series.)

Maol Chalvim's actual name in the history books is Malcolm II (King of Scotland from 1005 to 1034). His name was changed in the script for the same reason as Canmore's in "City of Stone", to distinguish him from Prince Malcolm.

This is another good episode for appearances from the familiar "bit characters" (who have all the more reason to show up now, just before the series would take its long holiday from New York). Brendan and Margot are among the passers-by staring in astonishment at Tom in his armor, his confronters are the three street thugs from "Awakening Part Three", and the policeman who arrests him is Officer Morgan.

Mary and Finella's fate is not revealed in the series, but according to Greg Weisman, not long after their return to Scotland with the Grimorum, they were inadvertently transported forward in time by Brooklyn and the Phoenix Gate (see the Tidbits section for "Future Tense" for further details) to the 1970's. They would later on prove instrumental in turning the Grimorum over to Xanatos and helping to arrange the events that would culminate in Xanatos and Demona's transferring Castle Wyvern from Scotland to Manhattan. (In a particularly astounding coincidence, Christine Morgan, in her Gargoyles fanfics, provided a similar fate for Mary and Finella - before Greg made this revelation - though with a different agency of time travel than the Phoenix Gate!)

Constantine mentions the Stone of Destiny in his coronation oath, but this time (unlike at Macbeth's coronation) the Stone does not appear.

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