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Avalon, Part III

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


by Kieran Dunn


by Harvester of Eyes

Act I

Goliath, Angela and Gabriel are on their way to launch a pre-emptive attack against the Archmage. As they approach his grotto, Goliath tells the other two that he will create a diversion, so that Angela and Gabriel can try to take the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate.

Meanwhile, back at Oberon's palace, Katharine and the Magus tell Elisa about King Arthur Pendragon, who is sleeping in the Hollow Hill of Avalon until his country needs him. Elisa decides that they need to risk waking him from his enchanted sleep. She and the Magus then set out for the Hollow Hill.

Back at the grotto, Angela and Gabriel are crouching behind a bush at the edge of the surrounding forest, waiting for the right opportunity. Suddenly, the barrel of a gun jams into Angela's back and a gruff voice tells her and Gabriel to put their hands up. They turn to see Demona and MacBeth, with weapons drawn. Goliath suddenly appears out of nowhere and attempts to stop them from shooting by appealing to their better natures. But the Archmage materializes and tells Goliath that his efforts are useless: MacBeth and Demona belong to him. He then says that he has great plans for Goliath, but the other gargoyles are expendable. As he gives the order to kill Angela and Gabriel, Bronx (who had followed the others from the palace) suddenly leaps from the bushes and tackles the Archmage, Demona, and MacBeth to the ground. Angela attempts to rip the Eye of Odin from the Archmage's brow, but is shocked by a jolt of magical energy when she touches it. The gargoyles, realizing their attack is failing, retreat back to the palace. The Archmage, furious, shouts, "I generously allowed them to live until dawn, but if they're so eager to die?" He and his two puppets then disappear in a burst of Phoenix flame.

Elsewhere, the Magus and Elisa are on their way to the Hollow Hill. As they travel through the woods, Magus tells Elisa that he is used to being alone. Elisa doesn't understand, saying that she thought the Magus, Katharine, and Tom were like a family. The Magus said it started out that way when they first arrived on Avalon. But as Tom grew older, he and Katharine fell in love, and Katharine came to rely more on Tom instead of the Magus. Eventually, Katharine and Tom began living as husband and wife, raising the gargoyle hatchlings like their own children. Elisa realizes that the Magus still loved Katharine, and asks why he didn't fight for her. He replies by saying that without the Grimorum, and his magic, he had nothing to offer. The main reason he stayed on the island was to look after the eggs, in an attempt to atone for the wrongs he committed against Goliath and his clan.

Finally arriving at the hill, Elisa and the Magus proceed up a staircase and through a tunnel carved into the hillside. They then enter an enormous, high-ceilinged cave where, on the other side of a bridge leading over a seemingly bottomless chasm, they see a pedestal, upon which rests the sleeping king. As they start across the bridge, two sets of iron armor that rest on either side of the pedestal suddenly spring to life, and move forward to attack. Elisa fires several shots from her pistol, but it doesn't slow them down. Finally, the Magus plants his staff against the bridge and recites an incantation. The enchanted guards become enveloped by magical light, and Magus commands them to go to sleep. Moments later, both suits of armor fall to the ground in pieces. The Magus, weakened by his sudden use of magic, falls to his knees. Elisa is confused, saying she thought the Magus had no magic left. Magus explains that magic is the lifeblood of Avalon, and the Hollow Hill possesses it in abundance. His training allows him to tap the source, but he says that without something to act as a conduit (such as the Grimorum), it is extremely difficult. Elisa continues across the bridge, and after a leap of faith, finds herself in the center of the cavern. The pedestal with Arthur's body lowers itself down to her level. Elisa leans over his sleeping form and says, "Arthur Pendragon, king of all Britain, you are needed." Arthur's body begins to glow as beams of magic shoot out from him, and then, when the energy has dissipated, his eyes open.

Act II

The gargoyles are regrouping at Oberon's palace when Elisa and the Magus return with the newly awakened Arthur Pendragon. Elisa tells Goliath that MacBeth and Demona are two of the greatest warriors ever. Goliath admits that even though he's fought both of them to a draw on numerous occasions, he's never actually beaten either one. Elisa responds by saying that they need the help of the greatest warrior ever, and with those words, she introduces King Arthur to the group. Arthur, confused, asks to know what's going on.

Back at the grotto, the Weird Sisters tell the Archmage that they've sent Demona and MacBeth to the palace, to kill all of its inhabitants. The Archmage, unaware that Arthur is already awakened, instructs the sisters to go to the Hollow Hill and dispatch the sleeping king. When Luna asks the Archmage what he will be doing, the Archmage replies that he will wait at the grotto for Goliath.

Meanwhile, in the palace, Arthur has finished hearing the clan's plight, and says that despite the fact that he was awakened early (and is thus lacking several things, such as Excalibur, his knights, and his mentor, Merlin); he will do what he can to help. Gabriel rushes in and says Demona and MacBeth have been spotted in the orchard. It seems the Archmage has decided not to wait until sunrise. Arthur says that this could work to their advantage, since it is still night, which means the gargoyles have strength in numbers. An attack party is quickly formed. While Katharine stays behind to guard the wounded, Arthur takes Elisa, Tom, and Gabriel to deal with Demona and MacBeth; Goliath and Angela go off to face the Archmage; and the Magus goes to deal with the Weird Sisters.

In the palace orchard, MacBeth and Demona advance towards the palace itself, when they are ambushed. While Arthur, armed with a mace in lieu of his legendary sword, fights MacBeth, the others try to stop Demona. After a brief struggle, Demona manages to get airborne and glides towards the palace.

Meanwhile, the Weird Sisters arrive at the Hollow Hill to find Magus waiting for them. After exchanging a few words, Magus once again taps into Avalon's magic, striking the Sisters with a blast of energy. The Sisters deliver a burst of magic right back, and the Magus seems overwhelmed.

Back at the palace, Demona makes her way past the meager resistance on the walls and soon finds the infirmary. She raises her gun, preparing to shoot one of the gargoyles, when Katharine steps into her line of fire, screaming that these are Demona's children. Demona does not seem swayed. Out in the orchard, Arthur is successful in disarming MacBeth of his gun, but in a surprise move, MacBeth knocks Arthur to the ground and then draws a broadsword, holding the blade inches from Arthur's throat.

In the grotto, the Archmage is waiting for Goliath, who swoops down out of the sky at him. After a brief battle, the Archmage subdues Goliath with a blast of magic.

In the infirmary, Gabriel and Tom arrive in time to stop Demona from killing Katharine. Demona remarks that now they can all die together, when Elisa suddenly appears in the doorway and asks, "Wouldn't you rather have me?" Demona throws her gun aside and goes at Elisa bare-handed.

In the grotto, Goliath is crouched at the Archmage's feet, seemingly beaten. He hits Goliath with another magical burst, relishing in the gargoyle's pain. The Archmage announces that he has waited a millennium for this moment, and starts to laugh cruelly.


In the palace infirmary, Demona seems to be gaining the upper hand, when Gabriel and Tom succeed in helping Elisa pin Demona to the ground. Katharine, seeing Demona's laser cannon lying on the ground, picks it up and tells everyone to get clear. As soon as they are, Katharine fires on the wall behind Demona, and buries the immortal gargoyle in a pile of rubble.

Outside the Hollow Hill, the Magus is still battling with the Weird Sisters. After he knocks them into a lake with a counterspell, they begin battering him with a fierce windstorm. Magus plants his staff in the ground, using the magic of Avalon to turn it into a tree, thus giving him something to hide behind. Magus, physically weakened by the effort of tapping Avalon's magic several times, then flees into the cave. The Weird Sisters pursue him.

Meanwhile, in the palace orchard, Arthur is still fighting MacBeth. When the old Scotsman charges Arthur with his sword, the former High King of Britain meets it with his mace, breaking MacBeth's blade in half. A short time later, after he has pinned MacBeth against the trunk of a tree, Arthur knocks him unconscious.

Back inside the Hollow Hill, Magus makes his way to the pedestal that Arthur recently awoke from. The Weird Sisters find him there, and insist that he is only delaying the inevitable. Magus uses the last of his strength to cast a spell on the remains of the iron armor that guarded Arthur, turning it into a chain which he uses to bind the Weird Sisters. Then, his energy spent, the Magus collapses onto Arthur's vacant stone bed.

In the grotto, the Archmage continues to torture Goliath. Just then, Angela swoops in, taking the Archmage by surprise. The Archmage turns his magic on her, but Angela has created enough of a diversion for Goliath to recover and pounce upon the Archmage. After a lengthy struggle, Goliath is successful in tearing the Eye of Odin from the Archmage's brow. Without the eye, the Archmage is unable to control the Grimorum (which, as we saw in "Avalon, Part II," has become a part of him). He is then consumed by the book's magical energy from the inside out, leaving behind no remains except the other talisman he wore: the Phoenix Gate. Goliath remarks that the battle is over. But Angela, through the magic of the grotto's water pool, sees that the Magus is dying.

In the Hollow Hill, the Magus is now lying on the bed recently vacated by Arthur. His comrades are gathered all around. Goliath tells Magus that he owes him a great debt for saving the clan's children. Katharine pleads that Magus cannot leave her now. The Magus, with his dying breath, says that he will never leave her.

Later, on the shores of the island, Goliath, Elisa, and Bronx make ready to depart. Gabriel suggests that Goliath's clan join the others on Avalon, and Goliath declines, saying that gargoyles and humans must learn to live together in the outside world. Angela then announces that she would like to join Goliath. Goliath says that she would be welcome. When Elisa asks Arthur what he plans to do, he says that he too would like to explore the world, but on his own. Goliath tells Arthur that if he ever finds himself on an island called Manhattan, to look up his clan. After Arthur departs on his own skiff, Goliath commands the Weird Sisters to free MacBeth and Demona, who are unconscious in another skiff. After the two are released from the spell, Goliath pushes the skiff out into the water, where it disappears into the fog. Selene tells Goliath that they will have no memory of anything that has happened since they were first placed under the spell (which was shortly after the events of "City of Stone, Part IV"). Goliath frees them from their iron chains, and the Weird Sisters immediately vanish.

A few moments later, after goodbyes have been shared, Goliath, Elisa, Angela and Bronx cast off in the remaining skiff. As they push away from land, Elisa notices a leather pouch hanging from Goliath's belt. Goliath says that he is personally going to see to it that no one ever uses the Eye of Odin or the Phoenix Gate again. Elisa remarks that her own personal goal is to get home as soon as possible. From the shore, Tom calls out to her, saying that Avalon does not take them where they want to go, but rather it sends them where they need to be?


by Juan F. Lara

The "Avalon" epic wraps up with a disappointing finale.

The whole episode was one fight that kept going and going until the good guys got the better of the villains. Well staged fighting as always, particularly during the third act. But unlike "City of Stone", "Avalon" did not build up to a compelling climax. The spell the Sisters placed on MacBeth and Demona effectively made them zombies. So these characters fought with no personal motivation to keep one interested in watching. And the Sisters apparently DID NOT have an ulterior motive after all, and therefore lost the mystique they had in CoS. (I really hope I'm wrong about the Sisters.) Finding no interesting motivations behind the characters' actions, I just didn't care very much about what happened to "Avalon".

But the Magus did have a moving death scene. The Magus brought up the wrong he committed against the Gargoyles again, and Katherine recalled all the service the Magus had given her and her friends. But the writers projected the Magus's death early in the third act. Also, the Magus faded into the background during Part 2 such that by Part 3 I didn't feel as strongly for him as I did during Part 1. Thus the Magus's death didn't have as much impact on me as the climax to this multiparter should've had.

King Arthur was wasted. The creators spent the first act building up anticipation about his arrival. But when he actually appeared, he became just another good guy. Since MacBeth was not in control of his mind, his fight with King Arthur had no dramatic impact at all. Even so, I'm looking forward to whatever future adventures the creators have in store for him.


I wish that Demona and MacBeth kept their memories of Avalon. I'd love to see how Demona would change if all at once she's met her rookery children. Likewise I'd love to see MacBeth encounter King Arthur again. He showed great respect for Arthur in "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time". I bet that MacBeth would really want to fight side by side with him. The brief moment when these two came out of their spell was a highlight of the episode.

Dyn: The gargoyle children were in flesh form during the daytime. Do gargoyle children not turn to stone by day, or was this just a gaffe?

I cringed when Demona DROPPED her weapon to fight Elisa. She would've won if she hadn't made this big mistake. Speaking of cringing:

"No one harms my eggs!" [ :-P Oy. Katherine looked ridiculous striking a Ripley pose. BTW: Did MacBeth feel that rubble crushing Demona? ]

"All my lovely magic!" [ He melted! He melted! :-) ]

Seoul Movie Co. backs up Koko in this part. They did as well as Animal Ya, doing mostly a good job but having a few awkward moments, like how the Archmage moved at the end of Act 2.

Cast: John St. Ryan joined the cast as King Arthur.

Elisa: We needed the best warrior who ever lived. We needed...King Arthur.
Arthur: Mmm, that is all very flattering. But would someone kindly tell me, what is going on?

Elisa: And you, your majesty?
Arthur: I, too, will explore this new world, but on my own, and thus a bit less conspicuous.

Elisa: Wait a minute. What does he mean "Where we need to be"?

Actually, I think this review came out more negative than I intended. I still thought the episode was O.K., but Part 2 and Part 3 felt like a big letdown from the superb Part 1.


by Todd Jensen

As I had suspected, Elisa's inquiry into the Sleeping King leads to her awakening of him - and he is indeed revealed to be King Arthur, as I had suspected from the start. Arthur's introduction combines two different legends about his enchanted sleep: one has him waiting for his time to return on Avalon, while the other places him in a secret cave, surrounded by his knights of the Round Table, all bound by the same slumber as himself. "Gargoyles" placed Arthur on Avalon, but within a "hollow hill", fulfilling the latter legend. And while Arthur sleeps alone, there are a series of niches in the sides of the chamber within the Hollow Hill, each one containing a suit of armor with a coat of arms placed above it - symbolic representations of his knights?

Elisa, needless to say, has to face two obstacles in awakening Arthur; first, a pair of magically animated suits of armor which the Magus disposes of, and then a "leap of faith" as part of the bridge before her gives way (to magically reform itself after she has jumped over it). The latter was an obvious borrowing from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which weakens the sequence a little, but still gives some sense of the challenges to be overcome by the series' heroine in achieving one of her most dramatic deeds.

In the meantime, Goliath's attempt at taking back the Eye of Odin and Phoenix Gate from the "enhanced Archmage" have only made him angrier, to the point where he decides to attack the palace now rather than wait until morning (paradoxically, as Arthur points out, this actually saves the Avalon clan, since in the daytime, they would have been mostly in stone sleep, thus ensuring an easy victory for the evil sorcerer if he had struck then). He hurriedly directs his forces, sending the Weird Sisters to the Hollow Hill to dispose of Arthur and Macbeth and Demona to the palace to slaughter the gargoyles, while he stays behind to wait for Goliath.

Arthur, while understandably a little confused about the situation at first (this should not be interpreted, as some have seen it, as a reflection on his character - remember that, with the exception of the Weird Sisters, none of the combatants had even been born yet when he had been brought to Avalon over fourteen hundred years before), quickly takes command of the situation, organizing the defences - and in the process, setting things up so that each of the attacking forces is given a thematically appropriate opponent to fight against. Macbeth faces Arthur, both famous legendary kings from Britain's past (which is all the more appropriate given that Macbeth had featured in the first episode of "Gargoyles" to allude to the Arthurian cycle). The Weird Sisters do battle again with the Magus, whose original defeat of them a thousand years before had prompted their goal of vengeance. Demona is pitted against the Avalon clan in general, but specifically against Elisa (whom she especially hates - and her hatred is strong enough to overwhelm even the magical hold that the Archmage and the Weird Sisters have over her) and Princess Katharine (whose initial distaste for gargoyles had helped motivate Demona to participate in the betrayal of Castle Wyvern to the Vikings so long before - and who now defends the gargoyles against Demona's fury). And Goliath and the Archmage, the "leaders" of the respective forces, confront each other once more (though Goliath is given a little help from Angela).

The ensuing battle is properly dramatic, with many great scenes. A few that stand out in particular are:

The Magus's battle with the Weird Sisters, particularly when he transforms his staff into a tree to anchor himself against their attack. (His cry of "Mystical Avalon, hear my plea/ Fill me with your energy!" feels a little too doggerelish, but the Sisters' counter-spell of "Avalon! Aid your children!" works.)

Princess Katharine laying low Demona with her laser cannon, shouting "No one threatens my eggs!" (Admittedly, the scene is a trifle improbable - would a person native to 10th century Scotland who had never set foot outside Avalon since 995 be able to so quickly pick up on how to operate a fire-arm, whether conventional or laser-based? - but one can always assume that Katharine's "mothering-instinct" was strong enough to counter this). Tom is certainly impressed by it, crying out in admiration, "My princess!"

The scene where Goliath seizes hold of the Archmage, and the two of them proceed to undergo a series of disappearances and reappearances all about, courtesy of the Phoenix Gate.

It is in the battle with the Archmage that the evil wizard's weak spot surfaces; though he has grown in power, he has not laid aside his petulance and tendency to allow his anger to get the better of his reasoning facilities. He had already decided to hasten the attack upon the palace out of utter impatience, thus throwing away the advantage that he would have had if he had struck during the daytime. Furthermore, instead of disposing of Goliath straightaway, he indulges himself in subjecting him to one bout of magical torture after another; when Goliath asks him what the audience must be wondering at this point, why he does not simply finish the great gargoyle off in one blow, the Archmage answers, "Because I'm having too much fun!" But this finally seals his fate, for it gives Goliath the opportunity to finally tear the Eye of Odin away from the Archmage; once the Eye is gone, the Grimorum consumes the evil sorcerer from within in mere seconds. The battle is over.

But not without its cost, for the Magus has sacrificed himself in the course of defeating the Weird Sisters again. His death culminates the effective exploration throughout the episode of his tragic life. As he explains to Elisa, on Avalon, he saw Princess Katharine and Tom fall in love, and believed that he could do nothing to prevent it, since he considered himself useless without the Grimorum, unable to compete with Tom for her affections. And he had to remain there to look after the eggs that he had helped orphan, raising them. The Magus is genuinely contrite over the rash act of his youth, making no attempt to justify or excuse it, shouldering his responsibility for it, and is committed now to making amends for its consequences. In his final moving scene, as he lies upon Arthur's marble bed in the Hollow Hill, the clan bid him farewell. Princess Katharine shows how clearly she cares for him, even if not in the way that the Magus had hoped that she would, and Goliath warmly thanks him for saving the clan's eggs, much to the surprise of the old man, who had hardly expected (or believed that he deserved) such words from the gargoyle whose clan he had cursed. And he is given the honor of being laid to rest in the Hollow Hill where Arthur had once slept - almost Avalon's equivalent of a burial plot in Arlington National Cemetary.

With the war for Avalon over, the cast go their separate ways. The bulk of the Avalon clan set to work in rebuilding the palace. Macbeth and Demona are set free from the Weird Sisters' hold over them. King Arthur decides to go exploring on his own (I was already hoping to see what would come next). And Goliath, Elisa, and Bronx take their leave of the others, only to be joined by Angela, who now becomes a new regular in the series. As they head off into the mists, however, they hear the warning cry of Tom: "Avalon does not send you where you want to go! Avalon sends you where you need to be!"

The only serious flaw in this otherwise very dramatic and exciting multi-parter is the Weird Sisters. In "City of Stone", the Sisters served (particularly in the present-day portions of the story) almost as a voice of conscience, repeatedly reminding or warning the characters that revenge is a terrible evil and that all life is precious. In "Avalon", they appear to have forgotten their own words, eagerly delighting in vengeance and the slaughter of the Avalon clan. Greg Weisman has explained that the Sisters in "City of Stone" were really delivering their noble statements only for the purpose of manipulating the situation with Demona and Macbeth so that it would turn out according to the Archmage's instructions, though there was an additional level of complexity in their representing both Vengeance (in their Furies mode) and Grace (in their Graces mode) - presumably their Grace role was (very briefly) uppermost while in New York, only to be submerged by their Vengeance role when they returned to Avalon to join forces with the Archmage. And the simple explanation that the Sisters were being hypocrites does ring true all the more when one recalls other literary cases (such as Iago in Othello) of villainous figures speaking lofty sentiments that they themselves did not believe one word of. All the same, the Sisters' analysis of Macbeth and Demona's pasts in "City of Stone Part Four" was too perceptive to be credited to a mere case of "The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose". I will confess that the shift in the Sisters' apparent characterization jolted me severely the first time that I saw "Avalon" (it made them seem even worse than the Archmage in some ways, for he had never been portrayed pretending to be anything other than an evil wizard), and it still jars me a little to this day. Perhaps the revival of the series in the upcoming comic book will eventually provide a more satisfactory explanation for this dichotomy; I certainly hope that it will.


Boudicca, the Avalon clan's gargoyle beast, is first named in the dialogue here. She receives her name from Boudicca (more properly "Boudica" - also popularly known as "Boadicea"), a queen of the Iceni (a British tribe in what is now Norfolk) who rebelled against the Roman occupation of Britain in A.D. 60, after the Romans had confiscated her lands and, when she protested, flogged her and raped her daughters. Although she won a few initial victories against them (and sacked the towns of London, St. Albans, and Colchester in the process), she was finally defeated and promptly poisoned herself. Presumably all that Princess Katharine, the Magus, and Tom knew of her was that she was a brave warrior-queen; the historical Boudicca's career almost evokes that of Demona in the sense of fighting back against an oppressor with deeds just as bloodthirsty and brutal as the original wrongs.

Originally, Greg Weisman considered having the Magus survive the battle and leave with King Arthur afterwards. He changed his mind when he realized that one of Arthur's activities after leaving Avalon was to find Merlin, and did not want to wind up having Arthur with two wizards in his following; after rejecting this original fate for the Magus, he quickly developed the idea of having him die in the battle as a sign of the cost of war.

The flashback scenes accompanying the Magus's story to Elisa of how Katharine and Tom fell in love have gained much controversy among "Gargoyles" fans, for they have been claimed to show Katharine and Tom playing with "toddler" versions of Gabriel, Angela, and Boudicca in the daytime - obviously impossible! In fact, a closer look at this scene shows that it is taking place at night; however, it is immediately preceded by a daytime scene of Katharine and Tom together as the Magus looks sadly on. Perhaps fan memories unwittingly combined the two scenes.

Incidentally, in the first of these flashbacks (set when Tom is still a small boy), Tom is shown wearing his old peasant boy garments from "Awakening", even though, during the journey to Avalon, he was wearing his Guardian uniform instead. (Maybe he took along a change of clothes?)

The battle between Macbeth and King Arthur takes place in an apple orchard - an appropriate piece of topography for Avalon, since its name means "island of apples".

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