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Recap / Gargoyles S 1 Awakening

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  • Story Arc: Xanatos
  • Characters: Xanatos, the Manhattan Clan, Demona, the Captain, Princess Katharine, the Magus, Hakon, Tom, Mary
  • Enemies : Vikings, Xanatos and the Steel Clan

Originally released on a VHS Movie Box set (with a Board Game), the episode was broken up into 5 parts for Syndication.

They are

  • Part I - The Trio gets sent to the Rookery; Vikings attack the castle.
  • Part II - The Manhattan Clan is frozen, while Demona is apparently destroyed. 1,000 years later, Xanatos breaks the spell and is attacked.
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  • Part III - Detective Maza searches the castle, meets Goliath, and tells him about Manhattan.
  • Part IV - Demona is revealed to be alive and reunites with the Clan; they begin their attack on Cyberbiotics.
  • Part V - The Clan and Demona finish their attacks on Cyberbiotics; Xanatos tests his new robots against the Clan, causing a break up between The Clan and Demona.

The Captain, Princess Katharine, and the Magus next appear in Long Way to Morning. Hakon next appears in Shadows of the Past. Tom and Mary next appear in Avalon.

This Episode contains the following Tropes:
  • Analogy Backfire: The elderly gargoyle compares the clan's lack of names to rivers. The revelation that humans name rivers causes him to give up the analogy and take the nearby river's name (Hudson) for himself.
  • Animation Bump: Compared to the rest of the series. Within the five-parter itself, the first half of part 2 has much more fluid and bouncy animation akin to one of Disney's films.
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  • Answer Cut: At the very end of The Teaser, Elisa asks "What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid stone?" The scene then cuts to the title screen, which of course reads "Gargoyles."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Goliath intends to Pay Evil unto Evil by dropping Xanatos to his death, but Elisa says doing that would make him no different than Demona.
    Hudson: She's right, lad. Is that what you want?
    Goliath: [beat] No.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It is initially made to appear as if the Magus sold out the castle to Hakon in order to drive out the Gargoyles, for whom he has nothing but contempt. In truth, it was the Captain of the Guard, who intended for Hakon to drive out his own soldiers so that the castle would be left for the Gargoyles. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work out as intended.
  • Blame Game: Hakon tries to pin the massacre solely on the Captain of the Guard.
    Hakon: He's the one you want! He shattered them!
    Captain: Why, you lying scum! (wrestles Hakon off the cliff)
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  • Contrived Coincidence: The Magus casts a spell to turn the clan to stone. The counterspell...happened to be on a page that was ripped out and burned. Either Hakon happened to tear out the counterspell section, or the Magus picked the first spell before the pages that were burned away...
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Before falling to his death, the Captain told Goliath he should have taken the other gargoyles with him when he and Demona suggested.
    Captain: If only you'd listen!
    Goliath: TRAITOR!
  • Defiant to the End: When Goliath threatened to drop Xanatos, he tells him the gargoyles would all still be stone if it weren't for him, practically daring them to drop him.
    • On the other hand, this is the trope namer of the Xanatos Gambit we're talking about. He probably had a plan just in case Goliath did drop him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: For the Manhattan Clan, Demona, Elisa Maza and Xanatos.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Mentioned when Owen brings up the difficulty and expense of finding crews to tear down Castle Wyvern.
    Xanatos: Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell.
  • False Flag Operation: Xanatos' scheme involved the "impersonate the enemy and attack yourself" variation of this trope, when he sends his own mercenary team to attack the castle and "steal" a valuable case from him while the Gargoyles try to fight them off. It was likely also a test to see how well the Gargoyles could handle modern fighters and equipment.
  • Five-Episode Pilot: The whole story arc serves as a pilot to the series and consists of five episodes.
  • Foreshadowing: Though claiming the Magus cast the same spell on her shortly after he did so for Goliath, Demona reveals she was actually given a name "long ago" by humans.
  • From Bad to Worse: With the exception of the initial defeat of Hakon and his Vikings, the entire flashback is this for the gargoyles, and particularly for Goliath: First the Scots whom the gargoyles defended gave them no respect whatsoever. Then the Captain (the one adult human who did respect the gargoyles) had the brilliant idea of teaching the other humans a lesson by letting the Vikings take over the castle while the gargoyles couldn't protect them (resulting in the Wyvern Massacre). Then, before Goliath could take his revenge on Hakon and the Captain, they killed each other and denied Goliath his revenge. Then Goliath found out that the Magus had cursed the rest of the survivors to sleep forever. Then he found out that the only spell that could undo the curse had been ripped out of the Magus' spellbook and burned, and there was nothing left for Goliath to do but ask the princess to Take Care of the Kids, and the Magus to cast his spell one more time...
    • Adding heartbreak, after waking up Goliath is rejoiced to be reunited with his love Demona. Soon he noticed how much darker she's become. And worst of all, both she and the Captain allowed the Vikings to attack the castle, all out of hatred for humans which she, as a gargoyle, is sworn to protect. And then she appears to die again when he saves Elisa instead of her... poor guy couldn't catch a break.
  • Heroic BSoD: That's the clan's initial reaction to waking up in the middle of 20th Century Manhattan Island. Imagine your last memory being in the rural Highlands of medieval Scotland, and suddenly you find yourself in an unimaginably vast city with impossibly immense tall buildings with their own lighting so strong that it feels they were deposited in another planet. As it is, David Xanatos is there to introduce them to their new time, for his own reasons of course.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Goliath when Demona was presumably shattered in the massacre and again when she seemingly falls to her death.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • To Demona. She claims Castle Wyvern was rightfully theirs before the humans made it their home and, despite the compromise, they are fearful and ungrateful to the gargoyles. Her survival 1000 years later became her Start of Darkness into someone who wants to wipe out all of humanity.
    • Not to Goliath, but the Captain's betrayal and his remaining clan being "permanently" turned to stone out of misplaced anger caused him be distrustful of humans. He thought he gained an ally in Xanatos until Elisa tells him he was just using the gargoyles. She then admits that she needs to earn their trust if they are to regain it for everyone else.
    Elisa: Listen, Goliath, we haven't known each other very long, and I know you don't have any good reason to trust humans. But you've got to trust somebody in this world. And I think you'd be better off with me than with Xanatos.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: The three disks are kept in an underground base (land), on a tiny island in the bay (sea) and in an air fortress (sky).
  • Loophole Abuse: Magus casts a spell on Goliath's clan to remain stone statues, even at night. He could undo it himself, but the vikings stole his book and torn out a page containing the reserve spell. The only other way to break it is if "the castle rose above the clouds". A thousand years later, one David Xanatos accomplishes this loophole by transporting the castle, stone by stone, and the cursed gargoyles, to his tower, possibly the tallest in Manhattan.
  • Manly Tears: Goliath, when Demona tried to use their past love to sway him to her side.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Elisa was first introduced to the Gargoyles while investigating a case of vandalism.
  • Motive Rant: During the climax, Demona berates Goliath for protecting the humans, going on at length about her role in the Captain's betrayal and how humanity needs to be wiped out for they've done to their kind.
  • Never Found the Body: Played with. The Captain and Hakon are very dead. Demona is not...but Goliath DID find a body. However, as it was reduced to rubble, he misidentified the remains.
  • Never My Fault: After Demona's Motive Rant, Goliath points out the obvious.
    Goliath: Don't you see? None of this would've happened, if it weren't for you.
    Demona: Don't say that!
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Played with. While anyone the Gargoyles do a swooping save on lives, the two characters who fall off a cliff are VERY dead. (The Captain and Hakon)
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: Between Demona and Goliath.
    Demona: The centuries have made you weak, Goliath.

    Goliath: You said the centuries have changed me. They've changed you, too. You've become hard, unforgiving. You're not as I remember you.
  • Off-Model: Parts two and three compared to the other parts. The former as explained in the animation bump entry, the latter due to switching over to a different production team for the part.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In-Universe: Goliath noticed Demona is more cold-blooded while inside Fortress-1.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Goliath wanted to do this to Xanatos via dropping him to his death from more than a hundred stories, but it is averted as Elisa talks Goliath out of doing this and instead allows her to arrest him.
    "[Demona] wanted me to destroy humanity. I THINK I'LL START WITH YOU!!!"
  • Power of Trust: Deconstructed, as Goliath trusted humans in the past (particularly the Captain) and his clan was destroyed as a result, which leaves him jaded and cautious for much of the five-parter. It does become reconstructed for him, as he is touched by Elisa risking herself to protect him while he slept. On the other hand, Demona remarks she never trusted the Captain to protect them from the vikings and that she stayed alive all this time because she doesn't trust anyone.
  • Properly Paranoid: Demona reveals she survived the massacre because she didn't trust the Captain to protect the clan from the vikings.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The Princess in Part Two, and Demona in Part Four.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: The Captain's betrayal and the Magus' spell on his remaining clan damaged Goliath's belief and trust in humans, so he is noticeably weary when interacting with Elisa. Her defending him while he slept helps get him back on track.
  • Rock Bottom: During Part 1, the humans of Castle Wyvern are ungrateful for the gargoyles helping them and remain fearful and suspicious towards them. Between that and Part 2, the Captain conspired with the vikings in hopes of helping the gargoyles but the latter destroys most of the clan as they slept. In part 2, Goliath discovers both the viking leader and the traitorous Captain's conspiracy but they both fall to their deaths before he gets his claws on either of them.
    Goliath: I've been denied everything.... EVEN MY REVENGE!!!
    • It doesn't stop there. While the eggs in the Rookery are safe, the remaining adults are turned to stone after mistaken them for allegedly killing the princess, only for the mage to learn she's still alive. With the page in his book torn out beforehand by the vikings, he can't undo the spell. However, there is one other way: the spell would break if "the castle rises above the clouds". Goliath volunteers to join his brethren in the curse and moved back to the castle, but not before entrusting the eggs' future to the princess.
      • In Part 3 onward, they are freed by Xanatos and, after working together, they learn that he is just using them while another gargoyle, Demona, has her own goals in mind against humanity. After a heated battle, they are forced to leave their old home. Thankfully, their new human ally, Eliza Maza, help them adjust to the new era.
  • Robot Me: The Steel Clan robots are a sort for Goliath, given their facial designs.
  • Sadistic Choice: A part of the castle coming crashing down and knocking Elisa and Demona off the building. Since the former can't fly and debris prevents the latter from gliding, this gets forced on Goliath. He can either save his new friend that restored his faith in humanity or the mate he still cares despite her betrayal, but not both. Goliath saves Elisa and then howls when Demona is presumably lost.
  • Secret Test of Character: In hindsight, a double one. Xanatos probably wanted to see how well the Gargoyles fought, so he arranged for his team to steal from him in part to test that, and in part to set up his later gambit. Doubly so, because he may well have also not told his team about the Gargoyles to see how well -they- responded to unusual defensive measures. Both teams comported themselves well despite not expecting the other.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: When Hakon begins destroying the gargoyles, it is only shown as a shadow cast against the Captain's horrified face.
  • Shout-Out: Demona's line of "1,000 years of solitude" is a reference to the title of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: The commandos shoot Goliath with one of these while he and Elisa are walking through Central Park.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The humans of Castle Wyvern (except the Captain). Goliath just takes it in strides, having faith they'll come around when the gargoyles continue to defend them.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Gargoyles, for Xanatos and Demona.
    Elisa: He used you; he's been using you from the beginning.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • While not a villain just yet until the modern day, Demona brings up a fair point that the humans have been fearful and ungrateful towards the gargoyles' protection, especially when they built their castle over their land.
    • Xanatos may have used Goliath's clan, but even held over the edge, he reminds Goliath that if not for him, they would still be statues.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • "Goliath, it seems, is too hard to control. Pity."
    • Also said verbatim later in reference to the Gargoyles in general.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Demona fails it, miserably. Ditto the Captain (at least until "Shadows of the Past"). Goliath's rescue of the Princess probably counts as a success.


Video Example(s):


Does the river need a name

The elderly gargoyle compares the clan's lack of names to sky and rivers. The revelation that humans name rivers causes him to give up the analogy and take the nearby river's name (Hudson) for himself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnalogyBackfire

Media sources:

Main / AnalogyBackfire