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To Serve Mankind

Synopsis |  Review by Juan F. Lara



by D. Taína

WARNING: Proceed with caution. The synopsis that follows may kill a few neurons. Also, The Name That Shall Not Be Spoken is mentioned on multiple occasions. However, I will try not to say it too often. But, don't say I didn't warn you...

Opening Monologue

Courage. Virtue. Struggling to do what is right. Gargoyles and humans want to believe that we are always in control; that we can aid our loved ones in any crisis. But there are times when life mocks our pride. That is when we learn humility and that the greatest of our strengths is the simple will to persevere.

Act I

The episode starts with Goliath, Brooklyn, Lexington, and Broadway gliding through the city. Lexington points at a building, saying that's the one. Broadway comments that there are no new gargoyles and thinks that Elisa's tipster was "jerking her around." Goliath insists that they must investigate and find the gargoyles before the Quarrymen do. Brooklyn makes a sarcastic remark about needing some "fresh blood" around here.

Lexington spots two gargoyles walking on a rooftop. The clan quickly lands on the rooftop, but the gargoyles have disappeared. Goliath notices claw marks on the rooftop, saying it will lead them to the gargoyles. Brooklyn points at a broken door that leads to a staircase, saying that it will also lead them to the gargoyles. The clan gathers around the door. Goliath gives Brooklyn an unreadable look, and they go down the staircase. Goliath warns them to be careful, and the trio comments about finding new "female friends."

They come across what appears to be an artist's studio. There are statues everywhere with blankets over them. Broadway asks if the statues are supposed to be moving, and they finally notice the shadows of two gargoyles. Lexington turns on the lights, and the two gargoyles cringe from the flood of light. Goliath walks up to them and tells them, with a smile on his face, to not be afraid and that they're friends. One of the gargoyles laughs and takes off his mask, calling Goliath a monster. The floor turns into some kind of elevator, and they disappear.

Goliath roars angrily, and then all the doors are sealed as well as the windows. Goliath yells that they've been tricked. He tries to escape through a window, but a steel barrier goes down just before he reaches it. Broadway tries to push on the barriers and Brooklyn tries to claw through them, but their efforts are futile. A green gas escapes through the vents. The clan starts coughing uncontrollably and they eventually fall to the floor. Goliath sees someone walk in, saying "So far, so good," just before he passes out.

Broadway awakens in some kind of padded room. His first impulse is to demand the identity of whoever trapped him there and to show himself. The person wearing the strange robes tells him that that would serve little purpose. He pushes a button and the room starts filling with water. Broadway tries climbing a wall, screaming to be let out, just as the room is completely filled with water. The voice says, "Perhaps, if you survive."

Lexington is in another room, feeling the walls, trying to find a way to escape. He hears a loud growling and he looks over his shoulder to find a robotic leopard behind a glass wall. Someone pushes a button. The wall lifts, and out comes the leopard, eyes glowing red. Lexington gasps in horror.

Brooklyn is also trapped in another room, saying there has to be a way out. Someone turns a knob, and the wall Brooklyn was touching becomes extremely hot. He gasps and takes his hands away from the wall. The wall is so hot that it turns red, and it covers the entire room. Brooklyn tries to avoid the heat, but the entire room becomes incredibly hot. Brooklyn starts sweating and demands to know if this is some kind of sick joke. The voice says that he never jokes and the heat goes away, replaced by ice and snow. Brooklyn starts shivering from the cold and falls to the floor, curled up into a ball.

A man wearing a red and yellow robe (who is later referred to as the "doctor") is watching the experiments from another room. He says the creatures are fortunate because they're performing a valuable service for mankind. By studying the results of the experiments, he will learn much from "a species so near our own. So animalistic, yet psychologically so human."

Goliath says, "How can you be so cruel?" He's shackled by his wrists and ankles to some kind of contraption and he's wearing some kind of helmet. He's struggling to free himself, but he can't. The doctor says that he's simply executing the will of Egon Pax, whose visionary experiments will transform the world. Goliath demands to know why he's not in a cage, and the doctor says that Pax expects him to serve them for a very long time. Goliath yells that they're not lab rats. The doctor pushes a few buttons and a wall opens, revealing the sun. Goliath struggles against it, but he turns to stone. The doctor tells him to rest because tomorrow he will need his strength. "We have special plans for you," he says as he touches Goliath's face.

Act II

The Illuminati members are sitting at a round table, with chairs that have tall spikes on them. They're all dressed in robes and their faces are concealed in shadow. They have shields on their robes with Roman numerals on them, signifying their "chair number." The one who appears to be their leader (Chair I) is talking about their achievements, such as the bankrupting of a major munitions competitor (Chair V) and the starting of the revolution in Costa Verde (Chair VI). He asks the doctor (Chair II) to deliver his report.

The doctor clears his throat and begins to talk about the purpose of his experiments with the gargoyles. He makes three strange cylinders appear. By holding his hands over them, pictures of the gargoyles going through great perils appear, such as Broadway fighting snakes, Lexington surrounded by green gas, and Brooklyn falling to his doom (it is unclear whether these images are live or not, or if they even happened). He says that each of the gargoyles is contributing to the true focus of their work. He makes the image of a man wearing a green suit and holding his hands in a praying gesture appear. He is Egon Pax, the beloved peacemaker in the fighting among the shattered remnants of the former nation of Latvonia. He will arrive in New York that night to address a gathering of world leaders in hopes of securing their help toward permanent peace. Since their front industries supply weapons for all sides of the war, to the Illuminati, he is a very dangerous man. One of the robed men asks if his "assistant" is ready. The doctor says that he almost is. He reminds them that brainwashing used to take months, but with their new technology (a red chip with the Illuminati logo on it); they've reduced the time to hours. "He will be ready," he says.

Later, Goliath is fighting the brainwashing process, screaming and fighting his restraints. The doctor is going on about his friends' torment and that Egon Pax is responsible for the attacks. Therefore, he must be eliminated if he wants to save his friends. The brainwashing consists of saying his name again and again while images of the trio's torment and Egon Pax himself appear on the screen. There is a montage of scenes of Brooklyn being attacked by flying missiles, the walls closing in on Lexington, and Broadway drowning. Sometimes, Brooklyn is in the hot room, Broadway is being attacked by snakes and Lexington by a leopard. Goliath is roaring and screaming, even clawing his own hand in a fit of rage and frustration, saying that the doctor's lying, that he won't listen to this madness, and that he would never betray his own leader.

The doctor tells him that his friends will pay the price for his obstinance. Goliath continues screaming and fighting. The doctor tells him that if his friends mean anything to him, and that if he wants them to live, he'll go after Egon Pax. The name is chanted again and again (more times than I dare to count). Finally, the doctor places the chip on Goliath's neck, which starts glowing, and the chanting continues. Goliath finally goes limp, not even blinking. The doctor happily screams, "Yes!" and keeps chanting along. With the final "Destroy Egon Pax," Goliath throws his head back, says the line, and falls to his knees.

The doctor returns to the panel with the controls. He says that it is too late for his friends and makes an image of the trio collapsing on top of each other appear. Goliath tearfully says, "My clan." He shows Goliath a clip of Egon Pax's limousine, driving to his hotel on Park Avenue. "What a shame you didn't get to speak to him about your poor friends," he says. He releases Goliath from his restraints and opens the door from the first act. Goliath stands up and leaves through the door, finally having lost it, saying, "Must destroy Egon Pax. EGON PAX!" He glides away with murder in his mind. The doctor watches him leave and then walks away with a smile on his face.


Broadway is fighting to keep his head above the water, yelling that somebody's going to pay. The room is completely filled with water, and seconds later, the water is drained and he sinks to the floor. He sits there, coughing up water. One of the robed men walks into the room, calls him by name, and asks if he's all right. Broadway angrily says, "What do YOU think?" and pushes him into a wall. He demands to know where his friends are, or else. The man says that he's there to help. Broadway tells him not to lie to him, and takes a swipe at him, but he dodges his claws. He reveals himself to be Xanatos (who appears to be Chair VII), and Broadway is shocked, asking if he "did this to us." Annoyed, Xanatos tells him to shut up and listen and tells him that he's saving them from the Illuminati. Xanatos says that he often finds his membership distasteful, but that it often proves useful. He tells him that his "lodge brothers" will return soon and that the gargoyles should be gone by then.

They go to release Lexington. Growls and snarls can be heard, and Broadway tells him to hurry because it sounds like something's tearing Lexington apart. The door opens, and Lexington crawls out, saying that he may be small but he's still a gargoyle. Two pairs of red, glowing eyes are seen, growling mournfully, and returning to the dark.

Then they go to rescue Brooklyn, who's lying there on the floor, unable to move. Xanatos and Lexington help him up. Brooklyn asks where Goliath is. Xanatos tells them that he's "no longer here" and that they'll have to hurry if they want to save him from himself.

The trademark claw-swipe rips through the scene and reveals the limousine Egon Pax is in. There are two other limousines and policemen in motorcycles following. Matt Bluestone is leading them, asking if everybody's in place because if anything happens to Pax, many people will find themselves back in a nasty war. Goliath is perched somewhere, watching with glowing eyes, growling fiercely.

Egon Pax asks Boris (one of the bodyguards) to let him listen to some "American radio." Music plays, and he says that "hidden in this box," he's not getting the spirit of "this great city." Just then, Goliath lands on the limousine and starts clawing at it, roaring like a maddened beast. Egon Pax's bodyguards quickly pull their guns. Boris yells, "Get us out of here!" at the limo driver, who starts swerving in an effort to shake Goliath off. Goliath does fall, but claws himself to the limo. He claws his way back up and starts ripping apart the roof of the car. Boris shoots at him, but he dodges the bullets. He growls angrily, pulls Boris out of the limo and throws him into a dumpster. Goliath rips another hole into the limo and lifts Egon Pax out of it. He tells him that for all the evil he has done, he must be destroyed. Then he glides away with him, with Pax squirming and looking absolutely terrified. The limousine finally stops, and other police cars gather around it.

Goliath drops Egon Pax off at a rooftop. He lands in a heap, finally catching his breath, and looks at Goliath, saying that he doesn't know why he attacked him. He has been a man of peace all his life. Goliath growls, but looks confused. "Peace?" Just as he starts to wonder, the chip glows brightly and the name "Egon Pax" rings inside his head again. Goliath loses it again, telling him that he's lying and that because of him, his friends are dead. He won't hurt anyone ever again. More police cars gather around and start firing at him. Matt tells them to stop because they'll hit Pax. Goliath looks down at the police, then at Egon Pax again, saying, "No one can save you."

He's shocked when he hears Brooklyn begging him to stop. Broadway and Lexington tell him that they're fine and to just put the guy down. Goliath starts to wonder again, but once again, he hears the name in his head and we get a close-up of the glowing chip. "No! You're trying to confuse me!" he says, "I only know one truth. Egon Pax must be destroyed!" The trio tries to stop him, but he swats them with his tail like flies and they land in a heap. He starts rubbing his throbbing head, and Pax tries to talk sense into him, saying that he doesn't want to do this and that violence solves nothing. "Do not do this terrible thing," he says, "If not for my sake, then for your own." Goliath growls furiously and lifts him into the air, ready to deliver the final blow. The name rings inside his head yet again, and this time, he's fighting its influence. Matt says to himself, "Come on, pal, what's it going to be?" and Brooklyn yells at him to stop as they rush to stop him. Goliath has more or less started to regain his senses. We get multiple close-ups of the chip and more of Goliath's internal struggle.

Finally, sparks come off the chip and it falls to the floor. The chanting finally stops. Goliath roars and throws Egon Pax away like a ragged doll, then falls to his knees grabbing his aching head. "I have failed," he says in defeat. Finally, he slams his fist on the chip, crushing it. Egon Pax walks up to him and places his hand on his shoulder, saying that by choosing peace over violence, he has succeeded. Goliath asks, in a low voice, what he almost did. Broadway tells him that it wasn't his fault because he was brainwashed. Lexington says they (the Illuminati) wanted him to "nail President Pax" and that they're lucky that they (the trio) got there in time.

A policeman below yells at them to freeze or they'll shoot. Goliath growls and they go to the edge of the rooftop to look down at them. Matt urges them not to shoot. Egon Pax urges them to not make a mockery of all his work. Just then, his bodyguards appear and pull him away from the gargoyles, saying it's not safe there. They take him away, and the policemen start shooting at the gargoyles. Just when all hope appears to be lost, the Xanatos helicopter (oddly piloted by Xanatos himself) comes and they hop aboard. The police keep shooting at it, and finally, defeated, give the order to cease firing. The doctor, now wearing a suit instead of the robes, tries to get in his car, but someone stops him (presumably Chair I), saying they need to talk.

The gargoyles are at the castle courtyard, waiting for the sunrise. Xanatos walks in, saying that having news accounts of Goliath's attack broadcast to the world isn't likely to inspire much love for gargoyles. Broadway says that it wasn't his fault; that he was brainwashed. Elisa walks in, saying, "You know that, and I know that, but try telling it to them." Goliath says, sounding very sorrowful, that all their efforts to make the humans accept them were destroyed in one moment of madness. Lexington asks what they're supposed to do now. A moment of silence passes, and Goliath says, "The only thing we can do, is tomorrow, we start over." They adopt their poses for the day and turn to stone.


by Juan F. Lara

Dang. I wanted to see the Illuminati again, but not like this.

I remember people complaining about how outlandish the Hotel Cabal was in "Revelations", but still liking that episode because of the character development of Matt Bluestone. "To Serve Mankind" consisted of nothing but the Cabal's outlandishness.: Dr. Nexus presented his gargoyle experiments using a hologram projector that seemed gratuitously flashy. The three young gargoyles wound up put in unimaginative "Perils of Pauline"-style dangers. ( "See! Lexington vs. the Gargoyle Eating Leopard!" ) And the brainwashing process consisted of the cliches of one name repeated over and over again accompanied by a cheesy montage. Instead of feeling any intensity, by the sixth time Dr. Nexus repeated "Egon Pax!" I was laughing at how silly this process seemed. So much to my disappointment I couldn't take the Illuminati or their evil plan seriously.

The writing overall was very sloppy and unsophisticated. In Act 1, Dr. Nexus started his demonization of Pax to Goliath with a very stiff and awkwardly worded false explanation of what he was doing. Maybe Len Wein meant to sound stiff to clue people in on the doctor. But the real explanation Dr. Nexus gave to his colleagues in Act 2 seemed just as stiff and awkward, regurgitating all the facts about their plan.

The way Dr. Nexus went about brainwashing Goliath didn't make any sense; I was wondering along with Goliath why the Dr. would suddenly be turning against his benefactor.

The creators also seemed to have gotten lost in keeping track of the trio's perils. In Act 2 they were in completely different perils from Act 1, and then they changed to a new group of perils later on. Since the amount of time passing was never made clear I wondered how the Gargoyles were making the transition from one peril to another: Were they kept in one peril for only a few minutes and then yanked into another one? Then Act 3 started with the trio back in their original perils! Huh??!!

BTW1: How could the temperature changes affect Brooklyn when such changes aren't supposed to bother gargoyles? Or was Brooklyn pushed to the extreme?

And Egon Pax himself had a one-dimensional characterization, forced to speak only in platitudes.: "In the end, by choosing peace over violence, you have succeeded."

The poor animation particularly hurt this episode. Everyone caught the cheesy reuse of a scene from "Generations". (the walls didn't even look the same between scenes.) Likewise, the images of the trio shown on Dr. Nexus's screen consisted of repeated loops of the same animation, or even stills where the Gargoyles didn't move at all. Perhaps Dr. Nexus filmed these scenes hours before and was repeating them to Goliath? I wasn't sure if this was the case or if those images were supposed to be live.

BTW2: At least Xanatos's actions left me curious about how the Illuminati will react to him destroying one of their plots.

I thought that the Illuminati would never reappear after "The Journey" but wished they would. But when they reappeared they wound up ruined. I don't want to hear the name "Egon Pax" ever again. :-)

Broadway: Xanatos? You did this to us?
Xanatos: Shut up and listen, Broadway. I'm saving your life.

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