By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! Time for one of my favorite cartoons of all time. Even for Disney, they had a wonderfully dark, and detailed plot, which may explain why it didn’t last long. Anything too interesting or clever tends to get canceled, which is upsetting to those of us who grow attached to such creative works. Oh well, we accept the limitations the masses have placed on us, and continue to try to find ways around it. Until such a time as that happens, thank the creator for DVD collections. Let the geeks begin!
For staters, they just have the episode title show up. No credits. No Goliath, spoilery voiceover. They just throw us right into the action. I appreciate that in a show. I like having to figure a little of it out without it just being spoon fed to me. More kids’ shows need to do that. Force us, er, them to use their brains so they don’t go to mush. We open in what at the time was modern New York, but it’s 1994, so for us it’s old New York. Once, New Amsterdam. Why they changed it, I can’t say. People just liked it better that way. Yes, random ear worm. Sorry ’bout it. At the top of a cloud covered skyscraper, we can see the flash of explosions. From the street view, we see chunks of concrete and girders falling. Now, if jet fuel can’t melt steel beams, how strong of a blast must be going on up there to send girders crumbling? People flee the wreckage, as the cops arrive, and try to keep the gawkers away. Detective Maza arrives, and asks what’s going on. Cop thinks it must be one heck of a party. Elisa nearly gets flattened, and orders others away so they don’t become street pizza. Another chunk of concrete falls, and this one has four claw marks on it. More concrete, this time taking out a hydrant, and causing it to gush everywhere. As it covers the stone, Elisa asks what could be strong enough to claw solid stone. GARGOYLES appears on the screen. Are you excited? I am.
Flashback to Scotland 994 AD. Yep, no Tardis, but we’re a thousand years in the past. It’s nearly sunset, and Castle Wyvern is under siege by Vikings. Catapults take out chunks of the wall, and in an act of self preservation, the guards try to flee. The captain tells them they can hold the intruders off. The guards say they can catch boulders with their teeth while they’re at it. The captain draws his sword, while brandishing his mace, and says it’s the catapults or him. The guards get back in formation. Captain says at sundown, they’ll have some fun. Down on the battlefield, one of the Vikings says it’s crazy to attack a castle with gargoyles this close to sunset. Their leader says questioning his sanity within earshot is crazy. He says gargoyles are nothing but stone, and even if not, the bounty in the castle is worth it. They throw grappling hooks up the walls, and somehow the leader manages to get his to the very top of the high tower. I know it’s a cartoon and all, but I call bull shit. It’s not a short tower, and he’s not a super strong Viking. As the leader reaches the top, the sun sets, and the gargoyle he’s next to begins to crack. It sheds it’s stone skin, and picks up the Viking leader by his wrist and tells him that he’s trespassing. All over the castle, other gargoyles are waking as well. Not wanting to miss out on whatever treasure he thinks is there, the Viking captain swings his sword at Goliath, who catches it. Blood starts to trickle down his hand. Yes, red blood from a sword injury. In a Disney cartoon. Reality! Love it! Viking captain tells his men to keep fighting, and that the gargoyles aren’t invincible. As his men begin fighting, he pulls Goliath off his perch. The captain gets away on a rope, as Goliath glides off.
Other gargoyles are taking on Vikings, as three look on from the top of a tower. They are red, yellow, and green, and until they are named in-show, I’ll call them the stoplight trio. Red asks the others if they’re going to let their brothers and sisters have all the fun. Yellow accuses green of being scared, and green says nature trembles at his passing. Yellow pokes him in the gut and says he can see why. Elsewhere in the castle, old gargoyle is fighting, and Goliath stops an attack from behind, telling the old man to watch his back. The old one says he should watch his own. As the gargoyles fight, the guard captain uses his mace to break a sword. He thanks Goliath for his help, and suspects the invaders followed the refuges that they took in the other night. The big green gargoyle lands, grabs a mutton leg, and starts eating. As humans fight in front of him, he smacks one on the head with a bone, the resumes eating. A young boy watches as various other gargoyles fly through the sky. The Viking captain runs into the gargoyles “dog”, and tries to flee. He runs into Demona, who tells the human to face her if he dares. She then bares he fangs, as her eyes glow red. Diva! Fierce! Caught between a dog and a hard place, before he can escape, Goliath lands and tells him that he’s grown weary of this, and tells him to take what’s left of his men, and escape. He then proceeds to throw him into a hay cart. Viking captain says it isn’t over and that he’ll be back, as he and his men flee the castle. The castle guards celebrate, like they did all the heavy lifting. Their captain tells Goliath that he owes them their lives. Goliath says that they owe the humans theirs every day.
Banquet hall of undeserved human celebration. Princess, Magus, and several people and dogs are enjoying their evening. One soldier says to another that he was worried they were under the sword. The other says the captain of the guard is a fine soldier. The other says it’s more like captain of the gargoyles, as the guard captain walks behind them and hears it. The princess thanks the captain, but he says the credit isn’t his to take. Without Goliath and the gargoyles, their defenses would have been useless. Being a princess, she says not to mention the monster’s name in her presence. On cue, Goliath and Demona appear in the doorway. Magus is so upset his drops his goblet. The guard captain says he asked Goliath to appear, and be recognized for his bravery. Princess is most offended. Beasts in the dining hall?! Um, bitch, you have a minimum of two dogs in there, neither of which did anything to protect your sorry ass, you ungrateful snob. Magus of the brown nose agrees with her, saying they are unnatural creatures, and no good can come from associating with them. Ah, racism. It’s not just a modern invention. Goliath approaches the princess, spreads his wings, and bows in respect. The guard captain says they did right naming him Goliath, after the soldier that fought David. Princess running mouth says the biblical Goliath was also a bully and a savage. Demona hisses at her. Goliath excuses them, and leaves. Princess ball buster tells the captain in the future he can make his reports to the Magus, not her. Magus looks so satisfied you know he just pre-came a little in his pants. The captain catches up with the gargoyles, and apologizes. Goliath says it isn’t needed. Demona on the other hand asks where his pride is, since they’re the ones who saved the castle, and are getting treated with contempt. She says the cliffs were their home long before the humans built their stone fortress, and they should be bowing to them. Which begs the question, since castles aren’t built in a day, clearly the gargoyles worked out some kind of alliance, right? Therefore, Princess Thistletwat shouldn’t be so uptight about them saving her ass. Anyhow, in an Xavier moment, Goliath says it’s human nature to fear what they don’t understand. Demona says his patience astounds her.
Elsewhere in the castle, presumably later, Magus is going through his book of spells. Cut to what I presume is after sunrise, though the sky looks more like sunset. Someone in a white cloak leaves the castle, as the gargoyles sleep. At the Viking camp, the person asks the leader if he still wants the fall of Castle Wyvern. Perhaps a bargain could be made. Viking captain is listening, and throwing away perfectly good food.
After sunset. Guard captain tells Goliath that the Vikings may return at daybreak, and that he should take all of the gargoyles, and make sure they’re really gone. Demona agrees that they should go out in force. Goliath says it’s too dangerous, and he doesn’t want to leave the castle unprotected. He’ll go alone. Demona says that’s too dangerous for him, and to at least take her. He says no, and orders her and the others to guard the castle. She and Goliath are one, now and forever. Awwww. As Goliath walks off to get backup, Demona looks disappointed. The guard captain looks upset. Wonder what’s going on.
In the castle, the stoplight trio is playing keep away with a roast, as their gargoyle dog tries to catch it. Demona watches from a tower. The young boy from earlier introduces himself as Tom, and asks their names. Yellow says aside from Goliath, they don’t have names. Tom asks how they tell each other apart. Yellow says they look different. Tom asks what they call each other. Red says, friend. Tom’s mom tells him to stay away from them. Red says he wouldn’t hurt the lad. Mom throws a stick at him, and Demona steps in. Yes. She’s not supposed to have a name yet, but “lady gargoyle” isn’t befitting her fabulousness. Plus, it’s my article, and I say she’s earned her name. We good? Red says they want monsters, they’ll get them, and wiggles his fingers at the humans with his eyes glowing. Yellow and gargo-dog does it too. The humans run away, and of course, that’s when dad shows up. Goliath orders them to the rookery, and to take the dog with them. Red says they didn’t mean any harm. Demona says it wasn’t their fault, it was the humans. Goliath doesn’t care. He won’t have his people fighting with the humans.
Goliath and old gargoyle fly out to try and find the Vikings. Old one looks at the tracks, and says they’re light for horses that are supposed to be carrying armored men. Goliath says they’re close, and they run into the woods.
In the rookery, red says it’s embarrassing. Green says he hadn’t been there since he hatched. Then he sniffs some slime on the wall and eats it. Yellow hopes they aren’t down there long, or green might eat them. In the weaponry, someone is examining the strings on the bows.
Back in the woods, the old one says it’s close to sunrise, and suggests they return. I’m guessing they’re like vampires, and can sense the passing of night, or arrival of the sun. Goliath finds the Vikings and horses. As they charge, I notice a lot of bare back horses, and very few men. Where’s Akbarr? It’s a trap! Well, more like a diversion. They reach the edge of the woods right as the sunrises, and are turned to stone. I’m curious what evolutionary advantage that gives them as a species. Don’t get me wrong, love the cartoon, and the characters, but seriously, what’s the point of a living being turning to stone? There aren’t any real advantages to it, as opposed to say, becoming stone at will. Just food for thought.
At Castle Wyvern, the Vikings attack again. This time, as the guards try to defend, their bows break. Someone opens the gate to let the Vikings in. The princess goes running down the stairs, calling for the captain, shouting that they’re under attack. He grabs her wrist and says it’s worse than that. Dick.
Fade to near sunset, as the castle burns, and the people are being taken away. Viking leader tells the captain he’s grateful, but asks why he betrayed his own kind. The captain says they aren’t his kind. Viking leader doesn’t care. He has work to do. He readies his mace to smash a gargoyle. Captain tells him it isn’t necessary. Viking says they’ll be flesh soon, and his men will he their prey. Captain says they aren’t like that, it isn’t their nature. Viking leader shoves him against a wall, and asks if he wants to discuss it further. Obvious answer, no. Captain watches as the Viking leader smashes one of the gargoyles. Even though they’re stone, and we’ve seen Goliath bleed, it’s still done off camera. Though again, here’s a prime example of bad evolutionary planning. I know this moment is a horrific plot device, but damn. After sunset, Goliath shows up and sees the damage. He screams into the night as the words, to be continued… Appear on the screen. Yep, they end the first episode with gargoyle genocide.
Still love the cartoon, and I know later episodes more than make up for what we just witnessed, but that moment is still a rough one to watch. You’re there, asleep, defended the castle when you you awake, but are smashed to bits never to rise again. I wonder what happens to their soul/spirit/essence when they’re stone. Are they sleeping? Are they “dead” and inanimate until the sun is gone? I’d assume they felt no pain, but I wonder if they were aware they were dying. In humans, we generally do. Yes, I’m over thinking a cartoon. I do it all the time. You will too. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!