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The Gathering, Part II

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



By Harvester of Eyes

Act I

As the clan flies towards the Eyrie Building, Brooklyn wonders why they're sticking their necks out for Xanatos. Goliath replies that he would not wish the pain of being separated from a child on his worst enemy. Meanwhile, that "enemy" is sitting in a control room somewhere in the Eyrie Building, watching with his father as a now-gigantic Oberon batters the force field surrounding the building. Petros remarks that Oberon is "like a force of nature." Xanatos grimly replies that he hopes Owen left them enough defenses to withstand him. Not far away, Goliath and his clan pause atop a building, and seem taken aback when they notice Oberon beating his fists against the Eyrie Building's force field, which seems to be holding against his assault. Wasting no time, the clan takes flight again, and sets out to meet him.

At the Eyrie Building, Oberon is becoming frustrated at the ineffectiveness of his attacks, and so he throws himself against the force field, grabbing it in a bear hug. In the control room, Xanatos notes with dismay that the field is barely holding. Petros, however, notices that Oberon seems to be shrinking as he grapples with the field. Xanatos takes this as a sign that even the fairy king has limits to his energy, and so releases another weapon: several robot gargoyles, which look like bulkier versions of the Steel Clan (and are presumably constructed of iron, a weakness of the Third Race) emerge from hiding places around the Eyrie Building and begin to attack Oberon. Annoyed, Oberon grabs one of the robots, ignoring the pain that strikes him when the iron touches his skin.

Just then, Goliath and his clan show up, and after an exchange of words, in which Goliath expresses his belief that it's wrong to take children from their parents, Oberon flings the robot at the gargoyles and a fight ensues. Lexington and Hudson are both knocked unconscious in the first minute. The former is caught by Broadway, while the latter has his fall broken by several fire escapes and lands in a dazed heap on the ground. As Brooklyn and Angela start to use the iron shards of the smashed robot to free Goliath from Oberon's hair (which he had used to ensnare the gargoyle leader), Halcyon Renard and Preston Vogel come to join the fight aboard Fortress II. Scores of cybots are released against Oberon, but he manages to blow them away with little effort. Goliath, seeing Fortress II is in trouble, orders his clan to distract Oberon. In response, Oberon brings to life several pieces of stone sculpture adorning nearby buildings, and they attack the clan. Broadway is driven into the force field by one of them and starts falling to the Earth. As Brooklyn and Angela try to evade the other statues, Goliath is grabbed by Oberon and held tight in his massive fist. "I will stand for no more meddling!" he decrees as he holds Goliath helpless.

Act II

Broadway is plummeting towards the ground, but before he can hit it, he is caught by Xanatos's remaining iron gargoyle robot, who then deposits the unconscious Broadway safely onto an awning. In the control room, Petros notes with surprise that Xanatos saved Broadway, and Xanatos brushes it off, saying quickly that "he could be useful if he wakes up."

Up above, Brooklyn and Angela manage to deal with Oberon's living statues, while Lord Oberon, distracted with Goliath in his grip, has not noticed that Fortress II has released another swarm of cybots. By the time he does notice, he is too late to stop them from surrounding him and setting up an energy net. Goliath uses the distraction to get free and glide to safety. In the cockpit of Fortress II, Renard turns the energy net to full power, noting that it seems to be sapping Oberon's strength. Inside the net, Oberon begins to grow smaller, and says that his anger is clouding his judgment. Calming himself, he passes out through the energy net and unleashes a storm of freezing rain, disabling both the cybots and the rotors of Fortress II. Renard is just barely able to perform an emergency landing in Central Park. He says with dismay that he has failed his grandson, and Vogel replies that he's given the others a chance.

Back outside the Eyrie Building, Oberon, now reverted to average height, begins to fly towards the ground, with the remaining robots in pursuit of him. He then seems to pass through the sidewalk, and the machines, unable to follow, are destroyed when they strike the ground. In the control room, Xanatos notes with dismay that Oberon went underneath the building, and the force field does not extend underground. Down in the Eyrie Building's basement, Oberon appears and destroys the field's generators with a burst of magic, bringing the force field down at last.

Up in the castle, Xanatos, now dressed in his iron gargoyle armor, waits with his father for Oberon. Petros notes that despite the fact that Oberon has taken everything they've thrown at him, David is still fighting. Xanatos replies very simply that Oberon is trying to take his son. After a touching exchange between the elder and younger Xanatoses, Oberon materializes and demands that David give him Alexander. Xanatos replies by demanding that Oberon leave his home. He and his father are then joined on the battlements by the three gargoyles that are still conscious: Goliath, Angela, and Brooklyn. Goliath seconds the notion that Oberon should leave. Oberon then attacks the five of them, and despite being wounded by Petros's iron harpoon, makes short work of the remaining humans and gargoyles. Oberon notes with satisfaction that "all the nuisances have been eliminated." Owen then steps onto the battlements and says that there's one left. Xanatos remarks with relief that he knew Owen would come back, and Owen replies that it was against his better judgment. After placing his glasses in his breast pocket, Owen beings to spin around very fast, and then transforms into his true self: Oberon's trickster servant, Puck.


Oberon, now face-to-face with Puck, notes with extreme displeasure that Puck has chosen to ignore his summons in order to serve a human. Puck asks for a chance to better explain his actions, and tells a brief story. When he first noticed Titania posing as Anastasia, he wondered why the Queen would tarry among mortals, and decided to find out for himself. Using Preston Vogel (whom Puck describes as "the stiffest, most wooden mortal on the face of the planet") as a model, he created his own mortal identity: that of Owen Burnett. Under the guise of Owen, he entered the employ of Renard, but soon became bored working for him. So he started working for David Xanatos, then-boyfriend of Renard's daughter. At some point after he became Xanatos's assistant, Puck revealed himself to the billionaire industrialist, and offered him a choice: one wish from the trickster, or a lifetime of service from Owen. Puck finishes his story by noting (with a little awe) that "he chose Owen." Oberon notes Xanatos's choice had impressed Puck enough to the point where he was willing to defy his true lord and master. Puck then requests that Oberon delay the Gathering for a little while longer. Oberon responds by knocking Puck backwards in a burst of magic and then teleporting from the battlements.

Down in the nursery, Fox stands guard over her son with a laser gun, when suddenly, Oberon teleports into the room and calls for Titania. His Queen then appears by his side. Fox makes a last attempt to defend Alex from Oberon, but is soon knocked aside by the fairy king. Goliath, Xanatos and Puck burst through the doors, but are frozen in place with a wave of Titania's hand. As Oberon leans over the crib, preparing to take the child, Fox's eyes begin to glow green and a burst of magic erupts from her hands that sends Oberon flying through the far wall. Oberon, enraged, bursts back into the room and roars that he has had enough. Before he can act, Goliath offers him an alternative solution. The gargoyle leader argues that since Fox was able to tap her own underdeveloped magical ability almost as a reflex action, then Fox's son didn't need to be separated from his parents in order to realize his full potential. He could be trained to use his own magical ability in the mortal world. When Oberon asks who could train Alex, Goliath suggests Puck as a teacher, and Titania agrees with this. Puck also seems pleased with the idea. So Oberon, having seen that Puck has made his decision, decrees that Puck is hereby eternally banished from Avalon, and is forbidden to use his powers except when he is teaching or protecting Alexander. After protesting briefly, Puck then reverts back into Owen and accepts his lord's judgment.

As Oberon and Titania prepare to leave, Goliath asks them what will happen to the people of the city. Oberon waves his hand, and says that the people will awaken in the morning, "and this will seem naught but a midsummer night's dream." Titania then asks for one more moment to say goodbye to her daughter and grandson. Fox is understandably skeptical, given what Titania tried to do, to which Titania replies, "what makes you think this isn't exactly what I've been trying to do from the beginning?" She whispers something we do not hear into Fox's ear, and returns to her lord's side. The royal couple then departs for Avalon.

Up in the castle courtyard, the rest of the clan has re-assembled. Goliath soon steps out into the courtyard, and says that their work is done. As the clan is getting ready to depart, Xanatos stops Goliath and says that if it weren't for him, Xanatos would have lost his son. He says that he owes Goliath and the clan a debt he might never be able to repay, but promises that he will try. Goliath is, of course, reluctant to trust him, but he leaves Xanatos with the remarks that he does understand the healing power of a child's love, and that the future is unwritten. He and the clan then depart for home.

Back at the clock tower, the clan has assembled on the balcony to face the dawn's transformation. Angela remarks that Manhattan is quite an island. Just before the sun rises to turn them all to stone, Broadway says that she hasn't seen anything yet.


by Juan F. Lara

...But the second part more than made up for it. :-)

Good Points

Unlike in "Avalon, Part III" and "Ill Met by Moonlight", I found the episode-length fight sequence very compelling to watch. I strongly sympathized with the Xanatos's and hoped that they could keep their son, and I was impressed with the Gargoyles selflessly coming to his aide.

I instantly thought that Owen was Puck from Owen's reaction to Anastasia in Part I, but I didn't want to believe it. I didn't feel right about that revelation. But the creators wrote for Puck an inspired origin of Owen and one of the best scenes of the series. I didn't expect Puck to use his statues against Oberon, and so his heckling of him was a hilarious dressing down of a character so arrogant and seemingly omnipotent up to then. And I ROTFL when I learned the connection Owen had to Vogel. Too bad Vogel and Renard weren't around to hear it. :-)

Predictably, Fox's powers resurfaced at the climax. But the creators used this expected moment to embarrass Oberon, again. Oberon's sudden crash through the wall was surprising, and hilarious. :-)

I loved that the writers had Goliath come up with the compromise. Goliath has had a reputation of being not too bright. But here he used quick thinking to win instead of brute strength. :-)

Fox stayed angry at Titania even after she won the right to keep her child, and Goliath blew off Xanatos's thanks for the help at first. Mists of Avalon episodes like "Pendragon" and "Sentinel" had the annoying convention of two adversaries becoming completely friendly to each other at the end. So the tensions in this episode felt refeshingly more credible.

I may have been fooled, but Xanatos sounded more sincere than he ever had when he promised to make up for Goliath's help. His lines contrasted with his typical sarcasm at the end of "City of Stone". ("all this time I've wondered why I let you creatures live. Now I know. You come in handy now and then.") And in hindsight, "Future Tense" made for a relevant prelude to "The Gathering": Goliath felt that Xanatos couldn't be as evil as he was in FT, and the ending of the "Gathering" vindicated his belief.

Bad Points

Goliath's many comments about the importance of parenthood tended to be annoyingly hokey. He was just stating cliches.

I felt so-so about the Petros subplot. His reconciliation with David also seemed cliche, and Petros was never as hostile to David as he was in "Vows" at any instance in "The Gathering". This subplot would've benefited by expanding the series to three parts.


The animation was still lackluster, but an average job for Koko/Seoul Movie Co., as opposed to the off day Koko/Dong Yang had in Part 1. But I didn't like how cartoony the aged Oberon looked.

If you can believe robots that can fly, you can believe robots that can fly while heavily armored with iron. :-)


Brooklyn: It's impossible how often that move works.

Oberon: You dare attack me?!
Puck: Don't interrupt. I'm on a roll.

Puck: The trickster has played many parts over the millenia, but never that of straight man.

Puck: You hurt him with that one. Do it again.

Titania: 'Til we meet again.
Oberon: Which for your sakes hath better not be soon!

Xanatos: Owen has all sorts of hidden talents.

Great job in making a turning point in the continuity, and revealing the "big surprise" of Owen.


by Todd Jensen

Part Two consists almost entirely of the desperate battle fought by Xanatos and the gargoyles (assisted by Petros Xanatos, Halcyon Renard, and Preston Vogel) to stop Oberon from entering the Eyrie Building and making off with Alexander. It is an impressive confrontation as well, with Oberon using every trick in the book from animating statues to using his hair to entwine itself around Goliath to even trapping Brooklyn and Angela in a cold and hostile dimension inside his mantle. His adversaries are just as resourceful, facing him with cybots, iron-clad Steel Clan robots, and even an iron-tipped harpoon. But in spite of it all, Oberon wins at the end. By the end of Act II, all of his adversaries have been rendered hors de combat, except for one: Owen, who has finally returned, and reveals himself at last to really be Puck in disguise all along.

The revelation is a shocking one, even for those in the audience who had begun to suspect it (in my case, it was when Owen showed a strong desire to leave the Eyrie Building in a hurry before Oberon's arrival in Part One; others began guessing at it much earlier), but Puck makes it believable, explaining why he developed his alter ego as Owen Burnett, including just why Owen so resembles Preston Vogel! (One has to give full marks to the production team of "Gargoyles" for cheekiness; contrary to what we might have thought when we first saw "Outfoxed", it turns out that Vogel's the original and Owen's the imitation!) Adding to his cheerful impertinence, Puck provides "visual aids" for his tale by transforming some of the rubble from the recent battle into animated statues representing first Anastasia and Halcyon Renard, then Fox and Xanatos, which proceed to deliver a series of blows to a very indignant Oberon. We also learn that Puck had revealed himself to Xanatos and given him a choice between a wish from Puck or Owen's service; "he chose Owen", says Puck, with a clear tone of astonishment and delight in his voice. Small wonder that Puck is so eager to work with Xanatos and Fox; not only does he have a strong professional admiration for them as fellow tricksters, but he is clearly fascinated with the fact that Xanatos chose Owen's non-magical but extremely efficient assistance over Puck's magic. And this loyalty has finally prevailed over his fear of Oberon enough for him to come to their aid, even if it means defying his original master, who is clearly not amused by this turn of events.

But even Puck is not enough to hold off Oberon, who forces himself into the nursery where Fox and Alex have taken shelter and magically shoves Fox away from her son's cradle. Titania enters the battle now to hold Xanatos, Goliath, and Puck in position while Oberon advances upon the cradle. Fox, all alone now and disarmed, cries out in horror and desperation, and then unleashes a blast of magic that strikes Oberon head-on, sending him flying through the wall with a resounding crash.

Even this act of Fox's is not enough to stop Oberon, but, as Goliath points out, it renders the issues in the confrontation irrelevant. If Fox, even without formal training, can still wield the magic that she had inherited from Titania, then perhaps Alex can develop his own powers without needing to be taken away to Avalon. At last, both parties arrive at a solution; Puck will stay with the Xanatoses to serve as Alex's tutor, but at the price of being permanently banished from Avalon and able to use his powers only to protect or teach his young charge. (Thus Puck has, only two episodes after "Future Tense", learned the same lesson that he taught Goliath there of being careful about what you wish for. For that matter, one can't help but wonder if part of the reason why Goliath nominated Puck for the job was to get a little of his own back....) Oberon and Titania depart for Avalon, but not before Titania (in one of the most wildly-discussed scene in the series) whispers something into Fox's ear; just what it is we are not told (though "Gargoyles" fans since then have harrassed Greg Weisman with incessant questions about it!).

Titania's own response to Fox, for the first time ever, exercising her magic, raises an interesting possibility over what her real agenda was. In Part One, Titania mentions almost sadly to Oberon about how Fox had never once made any use of her powers, even though she had been in many perilous situations. Now, however, with her baby in danger and every other attempt to protect Alex from Oberon having failed, all of her allies incapacitated and rendered unable to help, and she herself having exhausted all of her regular resources, Fox finally releases the magical energies lurking deep down inside her. Could Titania's true purpose in attempting to kidnap Alex have been to place Fox in so great a crisis, the threat that she would lose her child, that her magic would finally come to the surface? The fact that Titania immediately shifts her attention to Fox's feat after it takes place and happily supports Goliath's proposal that Puck train Alex in the human world makes this possibility all the stronger; naturally, once her attempt to abduct Alexander had accomplished its true purpose, she would have no further reason to go through with it. It is also noteworthy that, when Fox displays at the end a strong note of distrust towards Titania for her original intention, Titania simply says, "What makes you think that this [the arrangement with Puck and Alex] isn't exactly what I've been trying to do from the beginning?" It would certainly fit Titania's subtlety (and also explain why she informed the gargoyles about her and Oberon's plans in Part One; it is certainly hard to believe that she would not have suspected that Goliath would have disapproved of their aims); of course, we will probably never know the truth about it.

I will confess that, although Puck's sentence works well for the series, I do find it mildly unsettling, not so much out of any concern for the Puck of "Gargoyles" as out of his status as a familiar figure of legend and literature. It is true that Oberon's permanent banishment of Puck and stripping him of his powers will not actually remove all mention of Puck from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream or any other work featuring the little trickster, but all the same, the first time that I saw this scene, it gave me a bit of a jolt, more so than would a similar scene directed at one of the characters specifically invented for the series.

The final touch comes at the end, where Xanatos speaks with Goliath before they leave. Throughout most of the battle, Xanatos had welcomed the clan's help, but in his usual pragmatic style, commenting to his astonished father "Never look a gift gargoyle in the mouth", and explaining his rescue of Broadway as simply "He could be useful to me when he wakes up". But after the battle is over and the gargoyles are ready to leave, Xanatos speaks to Goliath in a more earnest fashion; gone is the usual trickster's smile from his face. Instead, he says, in a very humble fashion (perhaps reflecting on how, after his past history with the clan, he certainly did not merit such assistance from him) that he owes Goliath much for helping to save his son from Oberon, and wants to pay the gargoyles back. Goliath is, understandably, sceptical about Xanatos's sincerity, but in the end accepts it, remembering the impact of Angela upon his own life, and commenting, "The future is not yet written". (Could this statement be a reference back to "Future Tense", as if Goliath is seeing in the possibility of peace with Xanatos a sign that the terrible events in that nightmare can indeed be averted?)

As with the first three multi-parters, "The Gathering" once again shakes up the Gargoyles Universe with new revelations and changes. The Avalon World Tour is over and the clan is reunited, with a new member in addition. We have now learned the truth about Owen and Puck, not to mention more about Fox's heritage. And perhaps most significantly, the conflict between the gargoyles and Xanatos is at an end; after this night, they will never again be true enemies. One of the original elements of the series is fading away - but, not to worry; there will be many more threads to replace it.


Oberon comments just before his departure that the humans of Manhattan will awaken from their enchanted slumber and the events from the previous night will seem to them like "naught but a midsummer night's dream", a nice little reference to the play that he, Titania, and Puck were drawn from.

Greg Weisman had further plans involving Oberon and Titania for later in the series. The chief of these was the escape of Queen Mab, Oberon's mother and predecessor as ruler of the Third Race; Oberon had long ago overthrown Mab and imprisoned her, but she would at some point break free from her prison, with serious ramifications for not only Oberon and the Third Race, but for the outside world as well. (Queen Mab, of course, was drawn from Shakespeare as well: Mercutio's speech about her from Act I, Scene iv of Romeo and Juliet.)

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