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Again, I gave myself hours to try and get through April. And I failed. Now, I'm beat. I'll try and finish off that month soon.
And now the big SHOCKING announcement. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to GARGOYLES 2158. And I may be doing a significant reworking of the idea. For starters, I'm no longer sure I want to set the events I have in mind for the series in 2158. So the first thing that may change is the title. More info to come, once I nail some thoughts down. (And since I don't have any kind of deadline, it could take me a while.)
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir
I just watched "Legion" again. Time to Ramble.
From the memo I posted earlier this week, you'll see that the never used on screen names of Othello, Desdemona and Iago were my idea. But I've always wondered if that's the case. The outline that Marty and Bob wrote immediately prior to that memo had all the Othello elements very, very present in the story. All they didn't do was NAME the characters. I always wondered whether they and/or Michael had the Othello story specifically in mind, consciously or un-, and I just capitalized on it.
The Goldencup Bakery Building, which semi-secretly houses a defense department hi-tech research and development installation is modeled after the Silver Cup Bakery Building -- which actually exists in Brooklyn (as I recall). That Building was trashed in the original HIGHLANDER movie in the final battle between Connor and the Kragen (who was played by a pretty damned horrific Clancy Brown). Small world.
I was always worried that the whole Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio (whoops, I mean Goliath) backstory was a bit vague in this episode. Did anyone have problems getting it?
I don't think I'd like to be one of those Goldencup Guards. Coldstone punches one of them out. That's gotta hoit. He just seems fairly unstoppable in that Xanatos-program controlled sequence. I like how that plays.
Matt says to Elisa: "You never let me drive." My wife's reaction: "Was that in homage to me?" My wife, you see, almost always drives when we're together. She gets carsick when anyone else drives. And I don't much care.
Speaking of Matt, we've got that line about him spending six months reading RECAP manuals to justify why a normal detective would be in charge of RECAP in the first place. Just trying to avoid either adding a superfluous character and/or making the situation seem artificial.
Another appearance of the Scarab Corp. Logo, even though Scarab is never mentioned by name. Oh, well...
Coldstone flees the Goldencup. Goliath and Lex pursue, and Coldstone attacks them. Then he immediately stops, when he sees it's Goliath. The problem I always had with that scene is that the lighting made it obvious that it was Goliath from moment one. (Not just to us, but to Coldstone.) If Goliath had been in shadows, it would have played better.
Minutes later Lex asks Goliath if it's wise to take Coldstone into their home: "He hasn't always been your friend." This was, theoretically, a reference not simply to the most recent attack, nor even only to the events of "Reawakening", but also a reference to the pre-Massacre backstory of the actually non-existent love triangle (or square or pentagram if you include Demona) that caused Goliath and Othello to fight way back when. Lex remembers those days too. Othello was always a bit of a hot-head.
I love Goliath's response: "Without trust there can be no clan." And I love that this is part of a Lex/Goliath exchange. It fits in perfectly with the message they taught each other in "Thrill of the Hunt". Gotta take some chances on occasion. Or else you'll always be alone. It's an anti-Demona mentality. Or rather a mentality that is strikingly un-Demona-esque.
From the moment Coldstone premiered in "Reawakening" I knew (that if we survived to a second season) we'd discover that he was created from three Gargoyles. Tried to work that conceptually into the design more, but we never quite achieved it. So basically that becomes something that the audience has to take on trust.
Which brings me to the title "Legion". It's a one-word title which usually is a tip-off that it's one of mine. I know it's a biblical reference. Some possessed guy with a demon/devil inside who goes by the name "Legion". But that's not actually where I got it. When I was a kid, I saw this tv movie based on Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. It starred Michael Sarazan or Chris Sarandon. (I always used to mix those two guys up.) It was trying to present a more realistic believable version of the Frankenstein story. I was pretty young. And I don't remember too much about it. I do remember that I was supposed to be asleep -- past my bedtime in the days before my parents gave up and I began going to bed long after they were asleep. But instead of being asleep, I was watching it, in the dark, with the volume turned as far down as possible, me sitting right by the set, so I could flip it off if I heard my parents' door opening. (This was long before remote controls were common.) Anyway, the one scene that I really remember is a scene where they put the Monster under hypnosis. The voices of all the people who "donated" body parts begin to speak. And one of them quotes the "Legion" thing from the bible. But I didn't know that. That is I didn't know back then that he was quoting anyone or anything. It just seemed like a very powerful, poetic and humanly true statement. So it wasn't until college that I read that passage in the bible and realized where it was from. Can anyone cite the actual quote? I can't remember where exactly it's from, and I don't feel like searching right now.
Anyway, all this is relevant because Coldstone was ALWAYS our Frankenstein character from the "IT'S ALIVE!" moment to the "Legion" stuff here.
Coldstone calls Hudson "Mentor". That's a "name" I've been long considering for Hudson's "designation" in the DARK AGES prequel spin-off.
Coldstone shoots Goliath at point blank range. Goliath gets up unharmed. A far cry from what happened to G in "Long Way to Morning." Now in the outline and script, it says that Coldstone uses his "concussion cannon" as opposed to his laser cannon. But nothing in the as-aired episode makes that distinction. And so it just looks irresponsible to me. Like suddenly we're saying violence has no repercussions. Did that bother anyone else?
I love the dark comedy of Coldstone going bonkers at Ellis Island. Fighting with himself. I think Michael Dorn did a terrific job playing all four aspects of CS's personality. Which of you figured out what when? I'd like to know.
The Trio has the Recap visor. Now all they have to do is find Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. How will they do that? "Three guesses?" A very elegant way to explain how in a huge city, they're able to locate three gargoyles.
Kenner's Coldstone toy is a lot of fun. With it's window into Coldstone's soul. And the spinner that allows any of the four personas to take over at random.
Xanatos doesn't even appear until the VERY END of Act Two. And it's not even really Xanatos, just a program designed by him. Normally, I'd say that wasn't playing fair. But I feel like his presence was obvious all-along. (And did David personally design that program. Or did he just put his stamp on it, management-style?)
There's a moment when Goliath, thrilled to see his rookery sister again, hugs Desdemona. She is immediately annoyed, because she knows that hug is prone to misinterpretation. It's a nice little touch in the animation.
I always wondered what if anything Demona thought about that ancient conflict way back when. Was Iago playing her as well? Trying to make her jealous of Desdemona? I think maybe he did try. But wouldn't it be cool if she didn't credit it for a second. If she just knew intuitively that Desdemona didn't present any threat at all to her relationship with G? Because, I feel the opposite is true. That Demona knew intuitively that Elisa DID present a threat. Say what you want for Demona, but her subconscious knows her man.
I love that moment where BOTH Iago and Xanatos are whispering in Othello's ears. Poor slob never stood a chance.
We've got a nice little Xanatos tag in this one too. Certainly not a doozy as in "Leader" or "Metamorphosis", but it's got a nice little kick to it, I think. And that's THREE episodes in a row. X had been busy.
And then I love the last beat back at the clock tower. Goliath has confiscated Coldstone's body, to keep it safe and "among friends" should he/she ever wake up again. I wanted to keep it in the corner from that point until "High Noon". Always present and visible. We didn't for two reasons. First, we figured it would be a bit confusing. The Batcave can get away with the giant penny and other souvenirs from Batman's cases, because there ARE multiple souvenirs. But just having one immobile gargoyle in the background, as cool and creepy as that is, would be horribly distracting for any audience member who missed this one particular episode. And second, we had our tier system. What if "Legion" wasn't ready as scheduled. We couldn't have Coldstone sitting around the clock tower in later episodes that we'd be forced to air first. Talk about disconcerting. So we invented a back room. Where Coldstone, the Grimorum, the Gate and eventually the eye could be stored.
Comments welcome, as usual...
March has bitten the dust. We're into April questions now. (Just over three months behind... <sigh>)
I re-watched "Legion" the other night. I'll post my Rambling on it sometime this week, but first here's a memo from September, '94, written by me to Michael Reaves in response to Bob Skir & Marty Isenberg's first draft outline on the episode [reprinted here unedited]:
Notes on "LEGION" Outline...
Lots of great stuff in here. I just want to make sure that (1) we're clear on the theme and we milk it for all it's worth; (2) we're not skipping beats that will keep things mysterious and interesting for our audience; (3) we clarify the relationships (and names) a bit, and (4) we divorce it all from the 994 Viking attack.
General notes, in no particular order:
O.K. I'm as well versed in our series as anyone is going to get, and even I found myself confused by (and backtracking because of) our name problem. Coldstone... Pre-Coldstone... Coldstone's Love... Coldstone's Foe... Coldstone's Dyslexia could cause Coldstone's Ulcer. So let's give our "internal characters" names. I would suggest carrying these names into the script for use in character descriptions and stage directions. Use the names to indicate who is controlling the Coldstone creature at any given moment. And when we are in the inner world of Coldstone's psyche they can also be used as headings for the dialogue. The only place where we should not use these names is in the actual spoken dialogue. They are for our designation only, since, as we all know, gargoyles had no names in the tenth century.
COLDSTONE = The cyborg/gargoyle creature currently known as Coldstone and voiced by Michael Dorn. Use this name only when referring to him in the present. Or in stage directions when referring to the external creature. And obviously, this is the one name we can use in spoken dialogue.
OTHELLO = (Hey, we've already done Macbeth.) The situation you described naturally brought Othello to mind. Othello will refer to Pre-Coldstone (also voiced by Michael Dorn) when he is internally depicted as he was in the tenth century.
DESDEMONA = Will obviously refer to Othello's female gargoyle lover. (Please remember that Desdemona was a warrior in her own right. She can justifiably be confused by this new and bizarre situation, but she shouldn't be weak, clingy or changeable.)
IAGO = Will refer to Othello's male gargoyle foe.
The main problem I had with this backstory was its tough-to-swallow interweaving with the Viking massacre. I sense you were trying to explain how all their gargoyle parts got mixed up together. This isn't necessary. I think it's safe to assume that when Demona and Xanatos were gathering parts to create Coldstone, they couldn't find enough usable parts from any single gargoyle. We don't know the magical and scientific details that were necessary to revivify this creature, but I think we can safely assume that neither Demona or Xanatos simply wanted to graft Othello's head onto a robot body. Demona especially would have wanted the creature to be as much a gargoyle as possible. So she found a large chunk of Othello's head and a few other usable pieces. She chose him because the Viking who shattered him was lazy and left some chunks intact, but also because she may have had reason to believe that Othello had shared her negative views of humanity. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of him to build Coldstone. So she turned around and found a nice unbroken piece of Desdemona. And over here, a piece or two from Iago. Toss in Xanatos' computer parts and you've got yourself a creature. She didn't have to be mixing them together by accident. We can posit that she did it out of necessity.
That gives us the freedom to remove this event from the Viking attack. We don't need to imply that Goliath is distracted by an impending Viking attack (which frankly I don't think he was expecting). And we don't need to sandwich in Othello's pursuit of Goliath on the fateful night. And we don't have to toss Demona into this particular story at all. (It's crowded enough as it is.) In fact, the incidents of this story's flashback could have happened months or years before they were all destroyed by Hakon's men. Let's give ourselves this breathing room.
I think Coldstone only has one voice-box: Othello's. No matter who controls the creature from the inside, from the outside he sounds like Michael Dorn. I'm not simply suggesting this for logic and/or economy (we'll still cast a different actress and actor for Desdemona and Iago in the mind-world sequences), but because I think we'd be missing a bet by not keeping our audience guessing until the third act as to what's causing the odd behavior of Coldstone. When Othello is in control, he will remember the events of "Reawakening". Neither Desdemona or Iago will, and they will react very differently to being awakened in the 20th century. When the computer is in control (i.e. when Xanatos is issuing simple and direct commands), Coldstone will respond like an automaton. But in every case, he will speak with Dorn's voice. This does more than present an interesting challenge for Dorn. It keeps our audience guessing as to what is going on.
However, we have no desire to keep our storyboard artists and animators guessing. Please resist the temptation to write the script as a mystery that only reveals things to the reader when the audience discovers the same truth. We need this teleplay to be a blueprint: as clear and straightforward as possible. We need to track who is in control of Coldstone at all times. (And if the above paragraph goes without saying, accept my apologies in advance.)
The theme of today's adventure is TRUST. And I really want to emphasize it as much as possible. Misplaced trust. Lack of trust. The need for trust. Betrayed trust. All those good trust beats. Goliath puts his trust in Coldstone, who seems to betray it. Othello trusts Iago instead of Desdemona and Goliath. Iago puts his trust in Xanatos. Etc. Etc. Etc. Just at the point where you've put the trust brick through the plate glass window of our audience's attention is the point where we've hit the mark. Anything short of that is liable to get lost in the shuffle of such a complex story. Playing this theme in action and dialogue will help keep us focused.
Goliath's goal is to restore Coldstone to the clan. Goliath misses his rookery brother. Remember, there are so few gargoyles left, that Goliath would value every one.
THE POLICE TICKING CLOCK
Rather than create a whole new character in charge of the police probe robot, I'd like to use Matt Bluestone. It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but there've been episodes of Hill Street where normal everyday cops were given the opportunity to test and evaluate new hi-tech material to see how it performed in real life situations. I think we can buy into it here as well. Particularly given Matt's personality. He's the kind of guy who would study the manuals and learn how to use this stuff. He's seen Goliath and Coldstone battle in Times Square. And he's an odd combination of compassionate idealist and minor paranoid. He might feel that it's better to know how this stuff works than be at the mercy of it. He could get into it.
And once the VR hook-up was "borrowed", he'd be pretty intent on finding out what was going on. He knows weird shit has been happening in Manhattan, but we've kept him an outsider to the world of the gargoyles. Though he's a decent guy, his ignorance makes him a viable threat to our heroes.
SCIENCE, SORCERY & CYBERSCAPE
In the beat sheet that follows, I've tracked the story in the most basic terms. [The science mostly.] But as you noted in your outline, Coldstone was created from both science and sorcery. So feel free to embellish the basics which I describe here. Particularly in the cyberscape scenes. Here, I've laid out only the bare bones to make sure the story tracks. The cyberspace reality should be fluid and changing, easily influenced by the thoughts, emotions and memories of the players involved. (Particularly Othello, but also Desdemona, Iago and even Xanatos and Goliath if appropriate.)
ACT ONE - (The idea in this act is to depict Coldstone under the control of each of his four masters (Xanatos, Othello, Desdemona and Iago) in turn, without revealing to the audience or our characters what exactly is happening.)
1. The George Washington Bridge, just before sunset. Coldstone's red robotic eye burns awake in the muck beneath the bridge. Automatic repair work begins. (Remember, the last time we saw him, Demona blew him away with a cannon.)
Intercut between these repairs and brief flashbacks to 10th century Scotland. Fleeting images of Othello and Desdemona in love. Of Iago sewing seeds of jealousy in Othello while Desdemona confides with Goliath. Of Othello attacking Goliath. Of Desdemona coming between them.
Then repairs complete, Coldstone rockets into the night sky. The creature speaks with Coldstone's voice (Michael Dorn) but in a modulated automaton-like fashion. "Repairs complete. New programming downloaded. Initiating Prime Directives."
[Basically Xanatos has broadcast a new binary code and reactivated the creature. It is Xanatos' computer programming which is now in control. Othello is still dormant.]
2. Goldencup Bakery Building, dusk. (Since this is a fictionalized location anyway, let's relocate it to Manhattan, so that we can pretend that it is located within Elisa and Goliath's "beat".) Coldstone [still under complete computer control] raids the government installation. His approach is anything but subtle. Alarms sound.
3. Clock Tower, just after sunset. Elisa's tosses Lex a headset receiver/transmitter. She tells him that she and Matt had been put on alert and now they got the call. Something's going down and they're going to test "the thing". It's clear from dialogue that they've discussed this already, as Lex is very excited to see how and if "the thing" works. Goliath is curious. What are they talking about? A new police robot probe for dealing with high-risk situations. The cops control it by using a virtual reality hook-up. Goliath: "Virtual... Reality?" This he has to see. He and Lex will follow her by air. They promise to stay out of sight.
4. Back at Goldencup, Coldstone moves like a juggernaut towards the computer room. He does not fight against the building's security forces, he simply ignores all opposition. Finally, he plugs into the computer. Suddenly Coldstone seems to have no idea where he is, what he was up to or why everyone is shooting at him.
[Although we shouldn't reveal what's going wrong yet, the computer virus has begun its attack on Coldstone's programming. It causes the creature to freeze up for a moment, and then Othello wakes up within his own body.]
Not knowing how he came into the windowless room, Coldstone doesn't even know the way out of the building. Well, he may not have the answers, but he can do something about his attackers. He begins to fight back. The humans are driven out.
5. Outside, Morgan tells Elisa & Matt that some kind of semi-robotic creature is pinned down inside. Matt is putting on the VR interface visor. Elisa asks him if he's sure he knows what he's doing. Matt says "Trust me, I didn't study all those manuals for nothing." The probe robot moves in. (Obviously, this thing shouldn't come close to being on a par with any of Xanatos' robots, but let's not make it a push-over either.) Lex and Goliath watch from building-tops, despite Elisa's warnings that they could be mistaken for the "creature". Lex is fascinated with the probe. Goliath is more interested in seeing what kind of creature the probe flushes out.
6. Meanwhile, Matt is getting the hang of the probe robot. At first it doesn't seem to be responding well. It freezes up by a computer bank and the visor goes dark for a few seconds, but then it kicks into gear. The robot approaches Coldstone. Matt tries to get Coldstone to surrender, via his connection to the Probe. But Coldstone's still a 10th century warrior at heart. He won't surrender to some Iron Tree stump (or whatever it looks like). So now it's Coldstone vs. the Probe. The Probe gets in a couple good shots, but soon it's on the ropes. Matt whips the visor off, just before the probe is destroyed. The feedback could be dangerous. (But note, the robot should not be blown to bits, just wrecked.) At any rate, the battle has led Coldstone to an exit (or at least to a small window, which he cannons into an exit). He takes off. Spotted by Lex and Goliath who pursue.
7. Goliath, Lex and Coldstone are reunited. (Maybe Coldstone is defensive and antagonistic until he gets a clear look.) They pause on a building top to talk. Goliath is thrilled that Coldstone is still alive. Coldstone is mightily relieved to see a friendly face. Lex is a bit dissatisfied with Coldstone's non-answers to his questions about what he was doing at Goldencup. But Goliath happily invites Coldstone to join the clan at their new home. They take off. Lex glides up close to Goliath and quietly questions the wisdom of taking a former enemy (and a guy who's acting pretty strange) into their home. But Goliath TRUSTS his rookery brother.
8. They arrive at the clock tower. Coldstone is especially thrilled to see his "Old Mentor", Hudson. Coldstone didn't see Hudson in "REAWAKENING" and is thrilled that Hudson survived the centuries. Nearly overcome with emotion Coldstone says there's only one other that he would be happier to see alive. And suddenly, he begins acting very odd. "Where am I? Goliath is that you? What's wrong with my voice?" That kind of stuff.
[The virus has had a systemic effect on Coldstone. It broke Xanatos' pre-programmed control, allowing Othello to regain control of his body. But as the system continues to break down, other voices are coming to the surface. You could call them ghosts, if you want. But they are the personas "haunting" the pieces of Coldstone that were neither Othello nor electronic. The first to surface is Desdemona, summoned to some degree by Othello's intense emotional memory of her. She has not been briefed on her circumstances and is legitimately confused.]
Somewhere in here, Coldstone catches sight of its own reflection, freaks out and takes off. Goliath and Hudson pursue. Brooklyn and Broadway are about to follow, when Lex stops them. Something's wrong inside Coldstone's head. And he thinks he knows how to find out what.
9. Goliath and Hudson catch up to Coldstone (after a chase?) at Ellis Island. As they approach, Coldstone stands very still, out of breath. Stunned by the huge city of Manhattan.
(Note: somewhere in here, Brooklyn glides toward them, spots them and then instead of landing, doubles back.)
Goliath asks "What's wrong?" Coldstone's whole demeanor changes: "What's wrong? Why, nothing. Nothing at all."
[The enormity of events has weakened Desdemona's hold over Coldstone. Iago has stepped in. The difference is that Iago arrives prepared. He has been briefed by the Xanatos programming. More on this later.]
Goliath hesitates for a moment, but in for a penny, in for a pound. He trusts Coldstone, approaches him openly. And Coldstone takes the opportunity to blow Goliath away.
ACT TWO - (In this act, Coldstone's deterioration continues. The personality shifts come quicker and ultimately don't wait for Othello to vacate control.)
10. Hudson moves quickly to Goliath's side. Good news. Coldstone used his concussion cannon, so Goliath is still alive. Of course, that could change. Goliath and Hudson barely avoid a blast from Coldstone's other cannon. The one that could kill them. Goliath can't understand what's going on, but Hudson points out that he's not going to have a chance to figure it out if they don't start fighting back. So it's a fight.
11. Meanwhile at Goldencup, Elisa and Matt are tying up loose ends. Lex arrives, and via his headset hook-up and her hidden microphone and ear piece, he tells her that the creature was Coldstone and that he's acting really weird. She's not surprised. Coldstone had plugged into a computer usually loaded with military defense secrets. But Goldencup had received a tip that there might be trouble. (That's why the Police had the Probe Robot ready.) But Goldencup took extra precautions, the defense computer was loaded with a new computer virus. It's probably destroying Coldstone's internal programming.
Lex takes this all in and then makes his request. He needs Matt's VR visor and the interface off the wrecked Probe Robot.
12. Back to Goliath and Hudson vs. Coldstone. Just as the tables might be turning, Coldstone's demeanor changes again. Why is Goliath attacking him?
[Iago was afraid of losing. During that moment of doubt, Othello regained control. As yet, Othello is unaware of the changes Coldstone's been going through.]
Now at this point, both Goliath and Coldstone [Othello] are pretty suspicious of each other. Goliath doesn't want to be fooled again. Coldstone says he blacked out at the clock tower. Now he's here and fighting with his rookery brother? He's confused and his head hurts....
And now Coldstone goes through some major mood swings.
[Rapid fire changes from Othello to Desdemona to Iago, etc.]
And now things get really strange. Coldstone can't seem to control some of his body parts. He's arguing with himself -- out loud. (Note: all these voices are still Michael Dorn.)
[Though Othello retains partial control, the other personas are bubbling to the surface as the whole system continues to break down. Now for the first time, Othello can hear the other voices, but it is a cacophony that is driving him nuts. I don't think he yet recognizes them specifically as Desdemona or Iago.]
Some of the voices tell him to trust Goliath. Some say destroy him. Some reiterate the events we saw in the flashback.
The "argument" gets more violent. Coldstone holds his head. He demands silence. He begins to fire blindly in all directions as if he could silence the voices that way. He's losing it. Goliath and Hudson dive for cover.
Suddenly Lex dive-bombs in, smashing into Coldstone and, not-so-incidentally, installing the VR interface hook-up. Coldstone collapses to his knees, begging for quiet.
Brooklyn and Broadway come in for a landing behind Lex. (While Lex was getting the equipment from Elisa, they had been scouting for Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. When Brooklyn spotted them, he doubled back to tell Lex where to find them.)
Goliath tells them that Coldstone is being destroyed from the inside out.
Lex agrees and holds up the visor. If they want to save him, someone's going to have to go inside to do it.
13. Back at Goldencup, Matt tells Elisa that the VR visor and the hook-up have been stolen. Since secretly she took them and gave them to Lex, she shrugs and says they'll turn up. He's sure they will. This was expensive equipment with built-in homing beacons. He shows her a tracking device. They'll find them, all right. And when they do, he won't be half surprised if they find their creature as well.
14. Back on the Island, Lex is not at all thrilled about Goliath's decision to put on the visor himself. Lex feels that he's the best qualified to handle the technology, which is exactly why Goliath needs him on the outside in case something goes wrong. Goliath puts on the visor. An aura of Electricity and Magic surround him and Coldstone.
15. Goliath finds himself in cyber-sorcer-limbo-space . In front of him is a bridge leading over a swirling vortex [the virus] . There's nowhere to go but across. So he goes. There are already holes in the drawbridge. And the holes are getting bigger.
[The virus is now eating away at the VR interface.]
Goliath realizes that he's going to have to fix this problem, and get back across the bridge/interface before there's nothing left of it. On the other side of the bridge rising out of the cyber-mist is a dreamscape version of the 10th century Castle Wyvern. There are three gargoyles (Othello, Desdemona & Iago) frozen in cyber-stone. And half-hidden in the shadows is another familiar face -- Xanatos. He welcomes a shocked Goliath as we fade to black.
ACT THREE - (Revelation and conflict inside the deteriorating mind of Coldstone.)
16. The vortex is everywhere, and the castle is slowly sinking into it. Goliath demands an explanation from Xanatos, who steps out of the shadows and reveals that his body is full of cyber-holes, and is partially gone. Like the bridge, he is being eaten away by the virus. Xanatos explains that he is not in fact Xanatos, but a computer program with a primary objective to enslave Coldstone to Xanatos' grand design. Goliath is determined to stop him.
Suddenly the three gargoyles explode free of their stone shells. Othello again drops to his knees. Still traumatized. Desdemona runs to Goliath. (She was his rookery-sister, and he would remember her and greet her as such.) Now she fills in the blanks. Xanatos used more than one gargoyle to build his creature. They all live on inside it. But Iago is trying to wrest control of the creature from Othello. He's made some kind of deal with the human (i.e. Xanatos). But she won't let it happen. She loves Othello. Goliath must help her save him.
But meanwhile, Iago and Xanatos haven't been wasting any time. They whisper in Othello's ear. "See how Goliath steals your love away? It was the same 1000 years ago and now, once again, they have betrayed your trust."
Othello turns on Goliath. Knocks him back. Basically, tries to drop-kick him into the vortex.
17. On the outside, a catatonic Goliath and Coldstone seem to reel from the blows of invisible foes. Lex doesn't know what to make of the glowing aura that surrounds them. But Hudson recognizes sorcery when he sees it. Coldstone was created by science and sorcery. It was something Lex hadn't counted on. Then, via headset, Elisa alerts Lex that Matt is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and that he and the authorities are closing in on them by SWAT helicopter and police boat. They better make tracks. Lex tries to take the visor off Goliath but the aura throws him back. It ain't gonna be that easy.
18. Inside, Desdemona tries to separate Goliath and Othello. Othello: "Again, you come to his defense." But she protests. He is forgetting what happened. 1000 years ago he was jealous of Goliath, but needlessly. Her love for him is eternal and true. And Goliath was not and is not his enemy but rather his brother and true friend. He has been tricked again by Iago. It's a crucial moment. Who will Othello trust? Desdemona & Goliath or Iago & the human Xanatos? Othello will trust his heart. He turns to face his true enemies.
But it's too late. The partial Xanatos is already merging with Iago. Together they are transformed into a Cyborg version of Iago, but giant-sized. The giant Cyborg-Iago smashes Goliath and Othello and prepares to throw them over the ramparts and into the vortex. With his other hand, Iago lifts Desdemona to eye level and invites her to merge with him as well. Then they can finally be together as Iago always knew they should be.
19. Outside, Lex stands watch over Coldstone and Goliath, while Hudson, Brooklyn and Broadway try to sabotage Matt's attack force without hurting anyone or being seen. They cut fuel lines on the choppers. Overturn the boats or whatever.
20. Inside, Desdemona tries to hand Cyborg-Iago his head. She's a warrior and will choose her own love. This gives Othello and Goliath the chance to recover. Now it's the three gargoyle heroes against the giant cyborg-monster. Maybe the castle landscape itself begins to change and mutate into a hollow vision of Coldstone. (They are battling for the soul of this creature-amalgam.) Ultimately, (surprise, surprise) it is the giant-cyborg-Iago that is tossed into the vortex.
But time is running out. Othello and Desdemona insist that Goliath return to his own body before the vortex swallows everything. But what about them? They are finally together. If they can halt the vortex, so be it. If they fall to it, so be that. At least they will be together. The bridge appears. Goliath crosses it, just as it collapses into the vortex.
21. Outside, the magical aura fades away just as Broadway, Brooklyn and Hudson return. Authorities are still coming. Couldn't do anymore without revealing themselves. Goliath removes the visor. Lex removes the interface from Coldstone. For the first time since scene one, Coldstone's red robotic eye dims and fades.
22. Matt and Elisa finally arrive on the island. Matt uses his tracking devise to lead them to the equipment. They find the visor and interface on the ground. The area is otherwise deserted. Not a creature in sight.
23. At Xanatos' castle, Xanatos asks Owen if there were any problems. Besides the minor setback of losing Coldstone, no. Xanatos' Scarab Corp. Robotics Division confiscated the remains of the Probe Robot (including the interface and visor) which they had supplied to the police in the first place. Coldstone was the perfect cover for the Probe Robot to get what Xanatos really wanted: the virus. Forget defense secrets, the virus is the deadliest weapon he knows of. It even defeated the mighty Coldstone.
24. Inside the clock tower, Goliath has installed the dormant Coldstone in the corner. Someday, he trusts, his rookery brother and sister may fight their way to the surface. He wants them among friends when they do.
I was really hoping to kill off March tonight. But it's 3:11 am and I'm just beat. I'm close too. On March 29th. But I have no idea if that means there are a handful of questions left or a ton.
Well, at least we've made some progress.
STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves
WRITERS: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano
The first appearance of Anton Sevarius and the MUTATES: Maggie the Cat, Fang and Claw. Derek had appeared before, but this was TALON's "first appearance" as well.
In our original development, the Talon character was called CATSCAN. He wasn't Elisa's brother. In fact, he was sorta Sevarius. That is, he was the scientist who created the mutagenic formula. At first he works for Xavier (Xanatos), but later -- when he realizes that Xavier was responsible for the "accident" that turned him into Catscan -- he tries to hunt Xanatos down, forcing Goliath to actually protect Xanatos in order to save Catscan's soul. This version of Catscan was basically the inspiration of my good friend Fred Schaefer, who was a Disney Development Associate at the time. Part of the team. Oh, and Catscan was a solo act, there were no other Mutates. And he didn't have wings either. He fired some kind of radiation bolt from his eyes.
Later, we began to prep Derek for the Catscan/Talon role. I don't remember if we knew Derek's fate way back in "Deadly Force", when he was introduced, but we definitely knew by "Her Brother's Keeper". One of the reasons we made him a pilot was to give him some flight background to justify how quickly we needed him to learn to fly. This was emphasized HERE by putting him in a glider.
Anton Sevarius became a separate character obviously. Michael Reaves, I believe, came up with his name. At first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too cartoony. Now I think it suits him.
Rereading my memo, it seems I was thinking of Brent Spiner to play Sevarius. I hadn't remembered that. Of course, no one else could be Sevarius except Tim Curry. And Brent was a perfect Puck for us too. So all's well that ends well. (But can you imagine if somehow the rolls had been switched?) Tim has some great lines here: "...Or has that changed?" is one of my favorites. He's so hungry.
FYI - That's Jonathan Frakes voicing Fang's one-liner in this episode. We couldn't afford to hire a separate actor for one line. So Jonathan stepped in. Of course, later Fang was taken over by Jim Belushi. But I don't think anyone noticed.
Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.
As I mentioned in my last Ramble on "Leader", Xanatos' plans were getting more and more sophisticated. Here we had two humdingers in a row. The one in "Leader" is just a lot of fun. This one is cruel. Throughout the story, we (I think) tend to believe in Xanatos' mea culpa and his outrage regarding the Mutates ("They'll crucify you. And if they don't, I WILL!!"). Why? Because he's so darn likable we want to think well of him. (Who was fooled? I'd like to know.) Also his story rings true. When he tells Sevarius, "I've been in prison before." We know he has. We believe he could take it again. It's that touch of truth amid the lies that makes him so sharp.
And Owen was complicit. On one level, that shouldn't be surprising, yet there's something of the Mr. Spock about Owen. As faithful as you know he is, you don't actually expect him to lie.
And frankly, the plan is SO complex. I hope it's believable when all is said and done. We made a real effort to make sure that it could have worked, that if it hadn't gone EXACTLY as depicted it would feel like there would have been alternative scenarios that would have generated the same result. Of course the master-stroke is Sevarius' death. Our S&P executive raised an eyebrow over that, as she finished reading Act Two. Fortunately, she was the type who finished the script before knee-jerking us with an objection. We got away with depicting a violent death on-screen -- because it was fake. (But who was fooled?)
We tried to play fair with a number of clues throughout. We used Xanatos' own security team as the "hired mercenaries" that Sevarius was using. Only Xanatos checks Sevarius' pulse. When Matt and Elisa are later investigating the scene, there's no body and NO CHALK OUTLINE either. They have no idea that anyone even theoretically was supposed to have DIED there. And Sevarius is SO OVER THE TOP. That should have been a stylistic clue. It was way fun to do -- and it took great acting on Tim's part to act that badly and still make it play.
For once the script came in a tad short. So the board artist added the bit where the gargoyles break out of stone and we see the debris rain down on the people below. Pigeons fly off into the night. (Just a little touch of realism.) Very nice.
I was never too fond of Elisa's Zen Master joke. Still, in the comic book story I wrote before the Marvel comic book was cancelled, I created a Zen Master character. (Just compulsive I guess.)
My original plan for Gen-U-Tech was to abreviate its name as G.U.T.S. As in the company that twists yours up. (The full name is Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems.) Instead it became Gen-U-Tech, which is probably better. But I can't remember who made the change. The script has plenty of GUTS references in the descriptions. But it may have escaped my notice that it has none in the dialogue. And the logos designed all read Gen-U-Tech, not guts. I wonder if Frank & Michael were slyly protecting me from a mis-step?
I like the conflict between Brooklyn & Broadway here. All the interplay with the trio is very well handled, I think. Were people really rooting for Brooklyn & Maggie to wind up together?
Not our best animated episode. Both the modeling and the animation leave a bit to be desired. Derek's ears look mid-transformation long before he's hit with that dart. Makes me cringe, but I guess if the audience isn't expecting him to get changed, they don't notice the subtle pointyness to the ears, until after the contents of the dart are revealed. But on a second viewing...?
Maggie Reed: "I'm from Ohio." As if that should explain EVERYTHING. I love that line.
"Morgan Reed", by the way, was one of our may early names for what eventually became Elisa Chavez, Elisa Bluestone and finally Elisa Maza. (I never waste anything.)
Observations from my daughter Erin:
1. "I like the click of their boots." [Erin complimenting the foley during the recapture of Maggie in the alley.]
2. "His hands ARE tied!" [My clever Erin catching the irony. Elisa says "My hands are tied." Brooklyn responds, "Well mine aren't." But then he turns to stone, prompting Erin's observation.]
3. "Hudson and Bronx always stay home." [Erin commenting on our proclivity for leaving Hudson & Bronx behind at the castle or clock tower when Goliath and the Trio go off. It is kind of a rip.]
Another great series of endings and false endings.
Xanatos tells Owen to bring him the "best geneticist on the planet."
The gargs arrive and fight the Mutates. Elisa arrives. Xanatos asks her to "stop this senseless violence". [Ahh, what a lovely bastard he is.]
Maggie makes the accurate observation that Brooklyn wants her to stay a monster. And yet despite that incite, she clearly still believes that both she and Brooklyn ARE monsters. She's as bound up in appearances as he is.
Talon names himself. It's kinda odd. But I think it works.
Elisa declares war on Xanatos. And for a split-second it registers on his face. Something has actually given him pause.
And then Owen brings in the best geneticist. I still wonder if it's immediately clear that this "new guy" IS Sevarius. He looks SO different. And Tim wasn't using the hoky accent anymore. Was anyone else confused, even momentarily? But anyway, it's another stunner Xanatos Tag. Did your eyes bug out? Or did you know by this time?
And finally, back to the Tower. Brooklyn is in a funk. But Elisa...
This entire episode is obviously a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper". Right down to the end. In the end of that one, Elisa can do nothing but stare sadly out at the snow. But we're past that now. Now she cries. Xanatos doesn't wind up with the Mutates, though he correctly predicts there eventual return, but this is his clearest victory yet. The Mutates blame the gargs. Talon still believes X is his best chance at a cure. And he has an emotional and physical weapon against Elisa and the gargs. I was proud of us for ending a "cartoon" on such a relatively down note. Can't always have happy endings. How many people were surprised we ended it that way?
That's it. Comments welcome...
I recently re-viewed "Metamorphosis". Before typing up my ramble on the subject, here's an unedited look at the memo I wrote to story editor Michael Reaves in July, 1994 regarding Brynne & Lydia's first draft of their outline for the episode....
Notes on "Metamorphosis" Outline...
O.K. I made a few changes, as usual. Here's a bit of the reasoning, so they don't seem arbitrary. (I may be a pain to work with, but I try not to be arbitrary.)
The theme of today's adventure is SELF-DECEPTION. (We played the family theme in "Her Brother's Keeper". And since this is such a direct sequel to that one, I don't want to be playing the same emotional beats. That's not to say that "Family" isn't a secondary or tertiary theme running through this episode as well as our entire series, but we don't need to go out of our way to emphasize it here.) Derek is DECEIVED by Xanatos and Sevarius. But the deception would not have worked without Derek's own cooperation and SELF-DECEPTION. That's the tragedy. He's a victim, but he's helped to victimize himself, by fooling himself into believing that Xanatos was either a right guy or someone he could handle. But you can't play with fire without getting burned.
We'll reemphasize the theme with Xanatos himself, who will say that Sevarius fooled him and then admit that he really fooled himself, because he wanted to believe Sevarius. Of course this whole thing is an act on Xanatos' part, but it'll still reinforce the theme.
But as well as the above works, it unfortunately leaves our gargoyles as real fifth wheels to the story. So I've tossed in a little self-deception sub-plot for Brooklyn, as well.
ELISA & DEREK'S PARENTS
I've cut them. Partially out of economics. But mostly because they didn't seem to have much to say or do here. So I decided to keep our focus on Elisa & Derek.
ELISA & DEREK'S ARGUMENT
I'd rather not simply reiterate the conflict of "Her Brother's Keeper". In fact, I don't want to have to summon up the specific details of that episode. I think we should assume that in between the two seasons, Derek listened to Fox's taped "revelation" and that he and Elisa have already argued about it specifically. Now they are past that and in a mode of uneasy truce. He's talked himself into believing that Xanatos can't be that bad... or that if he is Derek'll find out for himself from the inside. Either way he can handle it. (Again: massive self-deception here.) Elisa has retreated to a "it's-your-life-but-don't-expect-me-to-approve" mode. They've agreed to disagree.
I think soliciting the homeless with a promise of money and food in exchange for being part of a scientific experiment is too slimy for even the self-deceiving Derek to swallow. Besides, it's not what he was hired to do. He's Xanatos' pilot and bodyguard. For these reasons, I've altered the set-up some.
Michael, this story really seemed to dovetail with what you suggested for a future story on the Homeless underground. MAGGIE and the homeless men seemed like great potential characters. So I've increased their role here. (Particularly Maggie's.) In some episode down the road, Derek can lead his "people" underground.
I don't want Xanatos to own Cyberbiotics. I don't have a specific idea in mind, but we might need a corporate opponent someday and I'd rather not have to create a new one. I've switched it to Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems, also known as Gen-U-Tech or G.U.T.S., which I stuck into the bible a long time back. We never used it last season, so when it's first mentioned here, neither Elisa or Goliath will know that Xanatos owns it. I think it'll serve the same purpose.
Some of the actions that Matt and Elisa take seemed odd to me. Elisa allows Goliath to stop her from confronting Derek outside the building, but is intent on confronting him inside the building and is willing to bend the law to do it. I don't mind the bending so much as the inconsistency. Matt and Elisa talk their way by the guard, but then someone manning the cameras activates the security doors and gas. Who's manning the cameras? A different guard? Someone who wants Elisa to get through, but not Matt? The cameras must have seen that they got Matt but not her. I may be missing something, but I've made some changes to streamline this stuff.
THE PINKIE SWEAR
I don't think Derek would reveal his condition to his sister. Deep down, he must know that his self-deception has gotten him into this mess. He'd be ashamed of that and his monstrous appearance. He wouldn't initiate the pinkie swear at the end. Then again, neither would she with a monster she doesn't know. I love the pinkie swear, but I don't know if it can work here. What if in scene 2, Elisa's gesture is a more standard cross-my-heart thing, which Derek usually follows with some unique response like cross-my-eyes. Something silly that they've been doing since they were kids. Then at the end, she tries to talk to the monster; tries to inspire its trust with the standard cross-my-heart gesture. And before Derek can think about it, he automatically responds with his unique response.
THE MONSTER'S MIND
I don't think Xanatos ever wanted to destroy Derek's mind or make him amnesiatic, weak or easily controllable. That's more Demona's style. Xanatos has set up this whole con to manipulate Derek into serving him, as he did with Goliath in the pilot. He doesn't need Derek to be an automaton. He's already got robots. They haven't worked so great. He prefers having independent thinkers working for him. Like Owen, for example.
1. Open at NIGHT, with a shadowed DOCTOR SEVARIUS (Brent Spiner?) soliciting MAGGIE, the young homeless woman in the alley. Emphasize his limp. [No Derek involved.] Maybe give her a bit of dialogue. She's down on her luck. Lost her job, her apartment. It's a temporary set-back. (A bit of self deception here too.) She goes with him.
2. The next day at a small air field, ELISA is watching her brother DEREK land the new glider he just bought with the high salary that Xanatos pays him. They eat lunch at a hot dog stand. It's a bit awkward. But it's not Elisa's problem. It's Derek who clearly has a chip on his shoulder.
Derek: You're still mad I'm working for Xanatos. But he's not as bad as you think. And if he is, then I'll be right there on the inside to nail him.
Elisa: I think you're kidding yourself. But it's your life. Just don't expect me to agree with your decision.
They agree to disagree and do some equivalent to the pinkie swear thing. Something where she initiates the exchange with something more generic and he does something unique as an almost automatic response.
3. That night at the clock tower, the gargoyles split up to patrol the city they protect. BROOKLYN and BROADWAY are one team. They spot a shadowy creature on the ground. (It has wings, but it doesn't fly. Maybe the wings aren't fully developed yet.) For a second, the gargoyles think that it may be another gargoyle (perhaps Demona) and pursue it. The thing is clearly afraid of them and flees.
They finally catch up to it. We get a quick partial view. It's female! Maybe by the hair color and voice the audience guesses that it's Maggie. She is wearing a special bracelet, with a small light that blinks on and off and beeps quietly. Brooklyn is instantly smitten. (Maybe he thinks she's a gargoyle at first, maybe her shapely wings turn him on or something.) He says they aren't trying to hurt her but help.
Suddenly, they are surrounded by private "ambulances", out of which pour private "orderlies" (i.e. armed troops). (All of the above bare the GUTS logo.) The bracelet was a tracking device. Maggie is still more afraid of the gargoyles than the humans trying to take her back into custody. The troops are clearly surprised to see three creatures instead of one. The head guy says take them all. They pull out tranquilizer rifles and start shooting. Maggie tries to surrender. Brooklyn tries to stop her and accidentally pulls the bracelet off her wrist. He is shot by the tranq darts. It's all Broadway can do to get him safely out of there. The troops get away with Maggie.
4. At the Castle, Derek lands Xanatos' chopper and the two men disembark to find OWEN waiting for them. Owen's gotten some interesting expense reports from Gen-U-Tech Systems, one of Xanatos' subsidiaries. XANATOS isn't surprised. He gave Doctor Sevarius, the head of R & D there an interesting assignment. Would that assignment require armed mercenaries? No... it would not. Xanatos says he better check this out personally. Derek insists on coming along. (As a good bodyguard should.)
5. Back at the clock tower, Brooklyn is just coming out of it. Broadway has already filled Elisa and the other gargoyles in on what happened. But Brooklyn's version is slightly different. He's convinced himself (self-deception) that he made a real connection with the she-thing. She needs and wants his help. (Broadway's dubious. She was clearly more scared of them than of the goons.) Brooklyn shows Elisa the bracelet. (We know it's not tracking anymore because the light is busted and it no longer beeps.) She sees the G.U.T.S. logo. Brooklyn & Broadway remember the same logo being on the "ambulances". It means nothing to her, but she promises to check.
6. At Gen-U-Tech, Xanatos and Derek are greeted by Sevarius. Emphasize Sevarius' limp. He seems over-anxious, slightly paranoid. A bit of a mad scientist. Xanatos is playing it cool. He wants an update. Sevarius sits them down for a Jurassic Park style slide-show presentation. Xanatos had asked Sevarius to genetically create Gargoyles from scratch. (Derek is stunned. But keeps his cool and says nothing.)
As Sevarius explains his thought processes, we watch footage of Goliath battling a Steel Clan robot or Macbeth from the first season...
A. The logical decision would be to clone gargoyles from a gargoyle specimen.
1. But he was told that there was no specimen available. a. Sevarius, greedily: "Or has that changed?"
b. Xanatos says, no, it hasn't changed.
B. S: Well, then, in lieu of a direct clone he would have to build his gargoyle from scratch using available genetic material.
1. It would require the strength, speed and agility of a jungle cat (or maybe a bear? are there other options? Talk to Frank about what he wants to do? No wolf or other canines though.)
2. The wings of a bat.
a. Mutated to giant size.
3. Xanatos: "And the intelligence of a human being."
a. S: "Exactly."
C. But according to his calculations it still wouldn't work.
1. Animals are no different from machines.
a. They still require fuel to operate.
b. We get fuel by eating.
2. To keep its strength and stamina this thing would have to eat the equivalent of three cows a day.
3. X: Well then how do the gargoyles survive?
4. S: By hibernating as stone for 12 hours a day.
a. This allows them to store up energy and thus work at peak efficiency for the entire night.
b. The stone hibernation process is unknown in the animal kingdom. Sevarius had to find a substitute.
5. He presses a button revealing a glass case full of electric eels. The electric eels store and utilize myo-electric (bio-electric?) energy which could fuel the new creation.
Derek finally cuts in. This is all great theory (he's still deceiving himself into believing that these are two guys discussing hypotheticals), but why is Sevarius hiring armed mercenaries?
Sevarius seems sincerely embarrassed. He had to hire them. One of his test subjects escaped.
Xanatos and Derek simultaneously: WHAT?!! (Meaning: "You have test subjects?!!"
Sevarius misses point of their concern and says don't worry we caught her again. Look... And he presses a button that slides a panel revealing a glass wall revealing Maggie and two males now fully morphed into winged cat creatures. (Or whatever. Perhaps one looks Tiger-esque, one looks lionesque, etc., saving the coolest look for Derek. Again, ask Frank how he wants to go.)
On the reveal... we fade to black.
7. Pick up where we left off. Xanatos is stunned. Derek is horrified. Sevarius is giddy. (He seems like a border-line nut case throughout acts one and two.) Xanatos is astounded that Sevarius grew these things from scratch in such a short time.
Sevarius admits proudly that he took a shortcut. He injected bums with a mutagenic formula. Now Xanatos is horrified. And furious. Derek starts to turn on him, but Xanatos never intended for this to happen. "Sevarius deceived me. No. That's not entirely true. I deceived myself." He'd been warned about Sevarius' "unethical" practices, but he wanted to believe in the man, because he wanted to achieve his own goals. Xanatos is deeply ashamed of himself. But he's determined to make it better, cure these people.
Sevarius is astonished. He has no idea what he's done wrong. They were just bums. No friends. No family. He's made them into something better. He won't let Xanatos destroy all the progress he's made. He reaches for one of the tranquilizer guns that his troops used earlier, he takes aim at Xanatos and fires. Derek pushes Xanatos out of the way and takes the dart in the shoulder. He then quickly disarms Sevarius.
Derek and Xanatos examine the dart. A tranquilizer? Derek doesn't feel sleepy. Sevarius crumpled in the corner starts to laugh. The dart wasn't loaded with tranqs. It was loaded with the mutagenic formula.
8. Back at the precinct, Matt has tracked the GUTS logo to Gen-U-Tech. But he won't tell Elisa until he finds out why she needs to know. Elisa says she got an anonymous tip on a kidnapping. The bracelet was their only clue. She and Matt leave to investigate.
9. Back at Gen-U-Tech, Derek's still in shock. Xanatos demands to know if there's an antidote. Sevarius says there is one. Inside his head. He could create one, but why should he? Just then, a Gen-u-Tech guard comes in with word that the police are here. Xanatos gets very threatening: "By all means invite them in. Let's give them the slide show. Introduce them to the finished product.."
S: "You bankrolled all my experiments. You wouldn't dare."
X: "I'll take my chances. I've been in prison before. But you... The police, the press, the public... they're going to crucify you. And if they don't -- I will."
(The audience should believe that Xanatos was prepared to do anything to help Derek.)
Sevarius is very frightened and agrees to manufacture the antidote if Xanatos will agree not to turn him in. X agrees for now. But one more step out of line and it's over.
10. Downstairs, a very nervous and hinky Sevarius agrees to take Matt and Elisa on a brief tour of the facility to allay their preposterous suspicions of a kidnapping. At one point, Xanatos and Derek watch them from behind a one way mirror. Xanatos tells Derek that if he wants to step out and tell his sister everything, Xanatos would support that decision, even if it meant he had to go back to prison. But Derek decides not to. He'll give Sevarius a chance to come up with a cure first. But he tells Xanatos that if Sevarius can't cure him... If he turns into a freak like one of those others... Well, if that happens, he doesn't ever want Elisa to know.
11. Back at the clock tower, Elisa fills the gargoyles in. Sevarius was one hinky individual. She thinks Brooklyn may be right. But there's nothing she can do without evidence for a warrant. But Brooklyn's a private "citizen". He doesn't need a warrant. He's determined to help that she-thing and nothing's gonna stop him. Except the dawn. They turn to stone.
12. Back at Sevarius' lab, he's hard at work on the antidote serum. (He grouses about having Xanatos looking over his shoulder all the time.) In a shadowed corner, Derek cries out in pain. The transformation is beginning. (Though we don't see him clearly.) Sevarius suggests putting Derek in the glass prison with the other specimens. Xanatos just tells him to shut up and keep working.
13. Sunset at the clock tower. Brooklyn and the others explode out of their stone cocoons. Brooklyn's fire hasn't died out during their sleep. He's determined to go. Goliath agrees. But they'll do it his way.
14. At Gen-U-Tech, we find out what Goliath had in mind. Not a massive raid, but a surgical strike. Just himself, Brooklyn and Lex. (He needs Lex to work the security systems. He would have left Brook at home if he thought Brooklyn would have stayed put.) They get in all right, they even discover Maggie in her glass cage. But again she is more afraid of them, than of her captors. Brooklyn is determined to "save" her, and the ruckus they cause soon alerts Sevarius' guards. She is shot with a tranq dart. Brooklyn scoops her up and the gargoyles attempt to fight their way out. A battle through the complex begins, the guards switching to heavier weapons.
15. Meanwhile Sevarius has finished the serum and is about to inoculate a shadowed Derek. Unfortunately, the battle has moved in their direction. Derek is forced to battle the gargoyles to protect his chance at a cure. We reveal Derek as 50% mutated and already unrecognizable to Goliath and the others. In the struggle, the air-hypo with the serum falls and shatters. And then there is an explosion. Sevarius is thrown against the tank of electric eels and is electrocuted. He falls to the ground. Xanatos approaches. Checks for a pulse. He turns to Derek. Sevarius is dead.
16. Brooklyn, Lex and Goliath escape with the unconscious Maggie. Derek curses them, blaming them for ruining his chance at a cure. Then he collapses to the floor. Xanatos tries to snap him out of it. They have to get out of here before the police show up. Or does he want his sister to see him like this? Derek agrees to leave with Xanatos. But what about the other creatures? We'll bring them, poor souls. Somehow, some way we'll find a cure for all of you.
17. Back at the clock tower, Maggie awakens to find herself surrounded by six monsters...the gargoyles. Brooklyn tries to reassure her. She's safe now. But she's terrified. She unconsciously sparks off electrical energy that keeps Brook at a distance. Maggie doesn't want to be a monster, she just wants to be human again. Can they make her human again? Brooklyn doesn't know what to say. The sun is about to come up. The gargoyles will soon turn to stone. They tell Maggie to rest. (Hudson offers her the use of his t.v.) Goliath promises they will start searching for some kind of cure tomorrow night, even if it means confronting Xanatos in his castle.
18. Gen-U-Tech, daytime, but very foggy. Matt and Elisa are racking up the overtime, as they investigate last night's ruckus. No signs of the kidnapping victims. No signs of Sevarius. A lot of mangled high-tech equipment and weapons. And cages full of jungle cats, bats and eels. And the not-so-shocking discovery that Xanatos owns Gen-U-Tech.
19. Just after sunset at the clock tower. Brooklyn is bumming because Maggie has vanished. He's still not ready to admit that she doesn't want his help. She probably took off immediately after sunrise, when the fog-shrouded streets were still pretty empty. But where would she go? Xanatos' castle. That's where Goliath said they'd start their search for a cure. Hudson and Bronx will stay at the clock tower on the off chance she returns. Goliath and the trio will head to the castle.
20. At the castle, we find Xanatos telling Owen to find him the best geneticist on the planet, and fast. Outside in the wards, above the layer of fog, we find Derek, now fully transformed. He is teaching Maggie and the other two to glide. (They don't have a bat's natural instinct or the training that he has.) He's a natural if reluctant leader. Figures that until they find a cure they might as well learn to use their new abilities. (One of the guys should probably really enjoy flying. He's the only one not in a hurry to be cured. The other guy is mute, but with a saner more normal response.) Even Maggie seems a bit more at ease. She's now with people facing the same predicament, who are actively looking for a cure. Derek seems like a pillar of strength to lean on.
The Gargoyles arrive. Derek requires no prompting to lead his flying tigers on the attack. He beelines for Goliath. The other two males go after Lex and Broadway. But Brooklyn targets Maggie. He's determined to reach her. Air battle, complete with electricity. Somewhere in here Elisa arrives. Xanatos lets her in, hoping that somehow she can stop this pointless fighting.
Maggie battles Brooklyn, who doesn't really fight back. He tries again to tell her that he cares about her. You don't even know me, she says. The only thing they have in common is that they're both monsters. She doesn't want to be a monster. She hates monsters!! She gives him one massive zap to drive the message home.
Although Lex and Broadway are more than holding their own, Goliath isn't doing as well against Derek and is zapped into unconsciousness, falling across one of the outer battlements. Derek comes in for the kill. But Elisa is there. She doesn't recognize Derek, and for obvious reasons it never occurs to her that this is her brother. But she's never been one to judge by appearances, so she tries to talk to the creature, calmly. She asks its name. Derek laughs for a moment. Then looking at his own hands, he coins the name TALON. She tries to tell Talon that Goliath is her friend. Talon says that "her friend" is the reason Talon's been turned into a monster. Elisa says that if that's true, it must have been an accident. Goliath would never intentionally hurt anyone. She swears, cross-her-heart. And without thinking, he does the follow up gesture. She's stunned. (He's horrified.) It takes a moment to compute, but when it does... "Derek? Is that you?!" Derek denies it, but she knows now. "Xanatos. Somehow he did this to you?!" "No, he's my only chance at a cure." "Derek, how long are you going to grasp at that straw?! Deep down you must know who's to blame for this. Derek, let me help you!!" She moves towards him, but he can't face her. Because deep down he knows that he's to blame for his predicament. He goes screaming off into the night.
The other "cats" including Maggie don't know where Talon's going, but he's their leader. They follow. Broadway and Lex help Goliath and Brooklyn to their feet. Should they pursue the cats? But Brooklyn says no. He'd been kidding himself. He can't help her, particularly if she doesn't want his help.
Elisa faces off against Xanatos. He says he's been trying to help. But there's no way she's buying it. IT'S WAR NOW. Somehow, she's going to nail him. Count on it. Elisa and the gargoyles leave.
Owen enters. He's found the best geneticist on the planet that Xanatos was asking for. A man enters wearing a slouch hat and trench coat. With a flourish, he reveals himself as Sevarius. (Minus the cane, the limp, and the manic, paranoid, mad scientist demeanor. It was all a put on.) He's very proud of his performance, particularly his death scene, though Xanatos thought he hammed it up a bit. Still Sevarius is amazed they pulled it off. It took months of forcing the early subjects to "escape" until one of them was spotted by the gargoyles. For a while there he thought they'd never find each other. Yes, Xanatos agrees, but once the gargoyles did find the test subject things couldn't have proceeded more predictably. And Xanatos was right that Derek's particular abilities were well-suited to his new form. Sevarius is worried that they've lost Derek and the others. But Xanatos knows they'll be back. Talon has convinced himself that I'm his only chance at a cure. It's a delusion he can't afford to give up. Not without giving up all his hope as well.
21. Back at the castle, Brooklyn nurses his own wounds in bitter silence. But Goliath is more concerned about Elisa, who is also quiet, but crying bitter tears in spite of herself. It's not over, he tells her. No, she agrees, wiping her eyes. It's definitley not over.
I've already dealt with the changes between the first and second seasons of GARGOYLES. (See a previous ramble on that subject.) And hopefully you've all read the serialized postings of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves in July of 94. Note the date. I was writing that memo to Michael a good three months before the first season of the series would actually premiere. Meaning, Michael, myself, all of us, were just guessing.
Now, finally, I have the time to sit down and ramble about my recent re-viewing of "Leader"...
STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.
Some things were coming to fruition in this episode. A CY.O.T.I. robot had been part of the original development of the show and the Pack. Six characters seemed like a bit much, but the main reason we left CY.O.T.I. out of "Thrill of the Hunt" was because of the way we wound up intro-ing the Pack, that is as a group of T.V. super-heroes. Giving them a realistic robot in that context didn't seem to fit. By the time we got around to introducing the show's version of the Coyote robot (note the NORMAL spelling) much had changed in how we conceived the thing. And yet many of the original elements were still present, if altered. The orignal CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Individual -- or something like that) was a hovering robotic head. But not a Xanatos head. It was a dog-faced head. The head could attach to multiple different robotic bodies, as well as lock into various vehicles as a kind-of autoMATED pilot. One of the robotic bodies was four-legged, dog-shaped. Another was bipedal. But in either case there was never any question that the robot was a robot.
But by the time, we got to "Leader" we had learned so much more about our characters, that our whole conception of CY.O.T.I. changed into the Coyote you know. Part of the change came right out of how sophisticated Xanatos himself was. David constantly made Michael and I jump through hoops to come up with trickier and trickier plots. Plots that would allow the Gargoyles to generally triumph, and yet allow Xanatos to snatch some real victory out of seeming total defeat in what had become our trademark Xanatos Tag sequences. The one in "Leader" is one of the best, which brings up another thing that came to fruition in this episode. When we first created the Pack, I had NO IDEA that Fox and Xanatos were an item. That was a complete discovery, a revelation that came to us during the making of "Her Brother's Keeper": akin to, "Ohmigod, Fox is in love with David!!!" I don't know if it shocked you guys, but it sure came as a surprise to me, their so-called creator. Another instance when I think of myself less as a writer, and more as simply the guy who was tapping into what was really going on in the GARGOYLES UNIVERSE. When did you guys figure it out? During "Brother's Keeper"? During "Leader"? Or not until the end of "Leader" when it was objectively revealed? (Obviously, any of you who saw later episodes first are disqualified from voting on this one.)
Anyway, since we knew they were destined for each other, and we had this semi-top secret plan for them to marry and extremely top-secret plan for them to procreate, we knew we had to get Fox out of jail. And not break her out. But have her out more-or-less scott free. So that would be Xanatos' plan. All the subterfuge would lead to that. Having the robot pose as Xanatos in armor, allowed us for the kind of multiple surprise onion-peeling kind of story that I just live for. Plus it would leave us with a more wieldy five-man Pack again. Fox would graduate. Coyote would take her place.
One tricky thing was electronically futzing Jonathan Frakes' voice when Coyote was wearing his helmet. We wanted to alter it enough so that no one would know it was "Xanatos" until after he took off the helmet. But we didn't want to alter it SO much that you couldn't register Jonathan's standardly and casually wonderful acting AS Xanatos inside the armor. I think we succeeded. (Credit for that goes to the guys at Advantage Audio, who mixed the show. Real unsung heroes.)
We also gave Jamie Thomason, our voice director, and Jonathan the key note that would differentiate the true Xanatos from Coyote. And that was Coyote's fairly primitive desire for vengeance. If I do say so myself, I thought this was a terrific clue, a great moment of fair play, planted in the story. I wanted people to be a little surprised that Xanatos would care about vengeance. But I also figured most would buy into it, because we're all so trained to think of villains in a certain way. But then when Xanatos calls revenge a "sucker's game" at the end, the audience would feel "Oh, of course. That's OUR Xanatos. The other guy was just a cheap imitation." Who was fooled? Who wasn't? I'm curious to know.
When Coyote first took off his helmet at the end of Act One, my three year old son Ben yelled out "Xanatos!" He was truly and wonderfully surprised at that moment. It was fun.
Random observation: Wolf's not doing real push-ups. Not fully extending, either up or down.
Another thing we did do for the NEW SEASON start up was feature the gargs EXPLODING out of stone. Another of our series' trademarks that we wanted to be sure to get into the first episode of the new season.
Coyote clearly has a "quip chip" installed. He's got some great very Xanatosian lines. "Exact change". "Wanna see what I can do with both hands." Etc.
In fact lots of characters have great cutting lines in this one. Owen is wonderfully officious, even a tad smarmy in this one. You can almost see Puck smiling through, and this is before I knew Owen was Puck. But his, "Shouldn't you... be there." is just great.
Or Brooklyn's line: "Yeah, why should we stay up here... where it's safe." Great.
And Hyena: "I love a man who brings me weapons..." and "A robot?! Even better." Classic. And that was another discovery. Hyena would have the hots for Coyote. It wouldn't necessarily be reciprocated, but the mere fact that he was a robot wouldn't bug her. (I'm guessing she's used to using technology to satisfy her desires.) On some level, I think this was us (and Hyena) just being perverse for the sake of perverseness. But I also think it created an interesting parallel to Goliath and Elisa's relationship, if that doesn't sound to preposterous.
Another random observation: Hyena mentions Santa Claus. :) Ho ho ho.
I think there was a semi-conscious desire to give every character something that new and returning viewers could use to hang their hats on, so-to-speak.
Lex is still so angry at the Pack for events in "Thrill of the Hunt" that he's literally HOPPING mad. Actually, that bit of hopping bugged me. Made Lex look silly and young at a point when I was hoping to present him as truly dangerous. Oh, well...
Brooklyn still feels the same way about Demona. And he's self-aware enough to know it. Though not mature enough to get passed it. (That'll come -- sometime in 2158.)
Broadway still hates guns and smashes them at every opportunity. (Lex obviously doesn't share his rookery-brother's opinion. Lex looks real tough holding that launcher. And I think it's a fairly shocking moment when that hole gets blown in Coyote's torso, and Lex is revealed -- through the hole, no less -- as the shooter. Even though we know by this time that Coyote is a robot, I still think it's one of the most violent images that ever appeared in our show. And it's all about context and attitude. You get the sense that Lex might just do the exact same thing to any of the human members of the Pack too.)
Hudson is still the observant guy who deduces events from what remains behind. "There's been a struggle here..." is right in keeping with his tracking skills and the way he examined that tampered-with bow back in "Awakening, Part Two".
Bronx is still a good judge of character. And he hates robots with fearful abandon. We decided he could literally smell when something isn't human. If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, we naturally assume that it's a duck. But for Bronx it better smell like a duck or he's going to rip its face off, eh? That was another great shocking moment, I think. There's a little bit of WESTWORLD homage going on. Or FEMBOT homage, depending on how old you are. (I'm old enough to remember both.) It's pretty cool. And I love Coyote's head rocketing off at the end. It's so cool and sick. I fell in love with that head, and decided to use it in all future Coyote's -- one way or another.
Nietzche, Sartre, Kafka. That exchange was pure Perry-Reaves. And people tell me _I_ write to old for the demographic. Geez.
I love that moment when the phone rings at PackMedia Studios. (Also have I mentioned I love the name PackMedia. It's so perfect.) Anyway, Broadway's tentative response, before picking it up. And Owen knowing someone WOULD just pick up. It kills me.
As most of you know I favor one word titles. But "Leader of the Pack" WAS in fact one of mine. It was just irresistible.
The fight between the Gargs and the Pack aboard the oil tanker was very well-choreographed in script. But this was an instance where, in my opinion, our board artists lost the forest for the trees. The fight in storyboard went off on some wonderful tangents -- that wound up creating problems for those interested in keeping track of our combatants. Who was where and when just became a mess. We basically were able to fix those problems in film editing. But that's accomplished by keeping the fight well-paced. In the script, I actually think it's well-choreographed. In particular, Broadway freeing Lex, Brook and Bronx made a bit more sense in the script.
Coyote's perception-warping weapon is very cool. We probably didn't use it enough. Mainly because it was too effective. Too hard to stop.
I wanted the gargs to have to swim back to shore from the sinking tanker. But no one else agreed with me.
The head of Fox's parole board is voiced by Jim Cummings (aka Dingo, Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, etc.), doing his best Orson Wells imitation. Which is damned good by the way. Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett in the same show. Man, were we blessed or what?
And coming full circle, we have our great Xanatos Tag. The villains kiss passionately. You don't see that too often in cartoons, I think. I love Xanatos' great line "That was merely the icing, you're the cake." And also his "true love is so much harder to come by." But here's my question for you guys. At the time, did you really think Xanatos was truly in love with Fox, or did you think he was merely being glib? I knew by that time, but even David didn't. Wasn't until "Eye of the Beholder" that HE realized how deep his feelings were for Fox.
Finally, the last section of the 7/94 "Leader of the Pack" memo. Act Three of the Beat Sheet. I'll try to type up my new ramble on the episode soon...
8. Goliath, Hudson and Broadway arrive at the Packmedia Studio. It's quiet. Inside, they see the damage. But no sign of the missing gargoyles. The phone rings. Broadway answers it tentatively. It's Owen. He was wondering if he could schedule an appointment for the Gargoyles to have a big fight with the Pack at the Oil Tanker Whatever-Maru in the harbor. Is Midnight convenient?
9. On the Tanker. In a carvernous empty oil tank, Lex, Brook and Bronx sit inside, effectively imprisoned. Lex swears even more vengence [sic]. Brooklyn can't get through to him. (Maybe Brook makes some sarcastic reference to the three of them always getting captured. First Macbeth nets them, now the Pack.) [Note: This story just structured out that way. So this tidbit was me acknowledging the coincidence, so that the viewer wouldn't think we -- the writers -- were oblivious to it. Greg 2000] Eventually, the other three gargoyles show up for the fight. Broadway is sent to find the others while Goliath and Hudson run interference. At one point, Goliath digs his claws into Coyote's helmet and rips it off, revealing "Xanatos". Goliath isn't too surprised. But eventually after the others are freed, he is surprised. Bronx again beelines for "Xanatos"/Coyote. He smells robot and claws off half of the rubber Xanatos mask to reveal the Coyote robot beneath. [Do you know, I was half afraid that some people would take this to mean that Xanatos had been a robot all along. Greg 2000] Even the Pack is shocked and the tide of battle begins to turn for good, especially after Lex picks up one of Dingo's fallen weapons and blows a hole in Coyote's chest. The robot really malfunctions now. The head "evacuates" and rockets into the sky to escape. The Pack decides to retreat in their Attack Vehicle, but opt to blow up the tanker to cover their escape. Lex in the end has to choose between saving Brooklyn and preventing the Pack's escape. Obviously, he saves Brooklyn and the Pack gets away, though with their doggy tails firmly between their legs. The ship goes down. The Gargoyles tread water. Brooklyn thanks Lex, but Lex is grateful that Brooklyn reminded him what was really important to him. And the gargoyles have a long swim back to shore.
10. Parole board. Fox is released. (Let's not mention Xanatos here.)
11. Fox steps out of prison to be greeted by (surprise, surprise) Xanatos in his Limo. They kiss. She's grateful to be out, but she's sorry his vengeance plan against the gargoyles didn't work. But Xanatos never wanted vengeance. (He's no mook.) He has his priorities straight. He just wanted to stage scene [sic] to get her out. (I love the line about icing and Fox being the cake.) But, she asks, aren't you anry that Coyote was destroyed. Xanatos holds up Coyote's head and admires it like Yorick. Half of it is still recognizable as Xanatos. Half reveals the robot skull underneath. My dear Fox, robots are easily destroyed and rebuilt. But they'll never destroy the true Coyote. Because the true coyote is Xanatos. Or some such. [Interesting. We seemed to save this idea for "Cloud Fathers". Went with the "true love" line instead.] Go out on the robot head, half smiling a typical Xanatos smile.
And that's all folks....
I'll be at ANIME EXPO on SATURDAY, JULY 1ST! At 1pm. Talking about 3x3 Eyes, among other things. Sorry for any confusion.
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