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You asked for my ramble, and here it is!
Okay, let me start off with the animation here. I don't know what studio did this ep, but I wish they did EVERY episode for the show! It has the feel of some sort of Animated Film or an Anime. The action is smooth, and even when the characters aren't talking, they aren't just standing there(something I've recently found in cartoons that I don't like), their always doing something. Little nuances that makes the scenes more realistic are EVERYWHERE.
Example: In the first scene, when we open on Hudson watching Brook and Lex glide in, you can tell how disturbed he is that they're alone, without Goliath. More often then not scenes of a similar vein have the character have more ambiguous expression.
Another example is Fang and Talon's areil fight in the Labyrinth: Real cool. They even got the wings to flap! (Bat's wings remember?)
And I looked for that Cross-Eyed Xanatos you mentioned(I got the DVD), and I think I saw it, but it was barely a blink in the animation. two or three frames tops I'd say.
And I liked Maggie and Claw's interation during Fang and Talon's fight. I got the impression that Claw was quite smitten with her at one point.
But by far, my absolute FAV bit was right when Fang took Maggie Hostage. It was fluid, and the animator really put effort into making Maggie look like she was trying to escape, or at least look ticked off. I could watch that footage loop all day, I'm THAT impressed. I also got a ThunderCats vibe from it for some reason.
And how about Lex breaking through that ceiling in the final scene? Arms crossed and all that.
Not much to say here. But the performances are-as always- top notch.
"Do I really need an excuse to have a good time in my own home?" I laughed out loud there.
However, Katie Soucie's portrayal is off this time. Her Maggie voice isn't what it was. It's deeper, smoother this time around, when before it was a tiny bit higher and somewhat raspy. She's still giving a great performance, it's just that the voice itself is out of continuity. I know that you weren't in charge of Voice Direction, but I just thought at least Katie would remember the voice she used a few months prior.
I guess the in-show answer could be that either the mutation has set up in her vocal cords(and stops there), or that it's to show her standing up more, sort of speak.
And am I the only one who finds the fact that Jeff and Katie are acting characters that are acting funny?
I didn't know Gargoyles existed, let alone watch it, until maybe '95 or '96. I remember watching something on TGIF about the new One Saturday Morning block when/if it had Gargoyles. (I remember a gag with the host that night with a Gargoyle's eyes glowing red) I watched the show on and off over the years(NOT that I didn't love it, I just could catch the reruns all the time). Anyway, I can't remember the first time I watched this episode, so I can't give my first impression sadly.
And Brooklyn's lack of action is understandable, and doesn't come off as fear, which is important. And that first scene shows that, while they probably couldn't do so for long, the clan does have an idea of what needs to be done without a leader(to many shows have the 'non-leader' types fall to peices without an authorety figure too quickly). It also shows what a minipulative punk Hudson can be! ^_^ (That's a good thing)
You mentioned the question of a Power Vaccume, and I agree that no organized group can exist without a leader type, be it an individual, or a group. I also think that, without some form of disciplinary threat, no organization is safe, as Talon's lack of action against Fang shows, and a fact Maggie subtly brings up, and Talon gives the stereotypical arguement for no punishment.
And it seems Xanatos has become Talon's Demona, something Fang expertly exploits beautifully.
And yes, the new security stinks. I think the next version might not be so...destructive.
As to your concern about the lack of use of "Xanatos knows!!" nugget, I think-even if he couldn't find a use for the info directly-it could still be useful in making the Gargs needlessly wary.
Now those blaster, am I correct to assume that Cyberbiotics was up against Xanatos Enterprises for a lasor weapons military contract?
Speaking of, I can only assume that Talon and the others didn't come down with a fatal case of Dead By Lasor is that Fang, Claw, Chaze and Lou didn't know how to aim those things.
And I think Maggie was very brave in her own way. To many crimes go on because those who COULD stop it by going to the police, WON'T out of fear. She could have easily just gone with Fang's regime, but she went to the Gargs. Be it out of love for Dereck, or a since of Justice.
During the battle at the end, I always feel worried for the homeless people and their stuff, cause that's quite literally all they have in the world.
And I'm impressed by Fang when he gets Maggie, "I have no gripes with you. Leave now and Maggie goes free." This is fundamentally different from, say, Demona, whose only response to anyone-human OR Gargoyle-standing against her is 'KILL 'EM! KILL 'EM ALL!!!!' Fang however, is willing to let them all go, even let Maggie-a vital bargining chip with Talon- leave with them. This-to me- hints that he has a grasp of who's his enemy, and-grudes aside-could be an okay guy. ...Or an idiot with no sense of strategy. Your choice.
And those great acting skills you keep telling us about! Give 'er a hand everybody! And hey, even if Maggie's looks keep her off most of the plays out there, like I always say: she would be a shoe in for CATS.
And there is one more lesson that I'm surprised no one else got. Or at least, no one's mentioned. Fang calls out to Claw, asking him if he wants to be weak. Claw shakes his head no. No, he doesn't want to be weak... anymore. He chooses to be strong in a different way, and abandons Fang to team up with Talon and Maggie.
And so the 'Mutate Trilogy' has ended, with the Labyrinth Clan firmly established and allied with the Manhattan Clan. Maggie and Talon are firmly established(Much to the joy of the Maglon shippers, though to the woe of the Broogie shippers), and Brooklyn and Talon have fully accepted their respective roles as leaders.
I enjoyed this ep. Saddly Doc Sevarius isn't present(any Tim Curry is AWESOME), but that's okay, 'cause he really wasn't needed here. I hope to do the other Mutate eps, and the rest of the episodes sooner or later.
Good luck with the comic!
Though I wasn't the voice director (that was Jamie Thomason), I was in fact in charge of the voice performances/direction, so I'll take responsibility for what you didn't like. But be aware that we made a conscious choice here. This wasn't us (me, Jamie or Kath -- and it's Kath Soucie, not Katie) forgetting what she used to sound like. This was the three of us deciding that changes in personality, mutation and confidence would give us the voice you heard.