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Todd Jensen writes...

A question about Xanatos as portrayed in "Future Tense". This was the last episode in the series where Xanatos was the antagonist (even though it may not count as such, given that it turned out that it wasn't really Xanatos). And what recently struck me about it was that here Xanatos, for once, was acting in a manner more like a conventional cliched cartoon villain than he did anywhere else in the series. He took over Manhattan by force, enslaved the population and plunged them into poverty and misery, had the city patrolled by Mutate soldiers on the ground and Steel Clan robots in the air, murdered his own son without even an ounce of pity or remorse, and was plotting to seize control over the entire planet. All very evocative of the stereotypical super-villain that one would expect to find in a more conventional animated series.

Also, in this episode, Goliath did (momentarily) "destroy" Xanatos (or the Xanatos Program masquerading as him) in the cyberspace battle (just before it turned out that it was really Lexington operating the Xanatos Program behind the scenes), in what could count as their final battle.

So, was "Future Tense" designed, in part, to trick the audience into thinking that "Gargoyles" was going to end with a more conventional showdown between Goliath and Xanatos, a more stereotypical "final battle", before going on to reveal, almost immediately afterwards (given that "The Gathering" was the story that came immediately after "Future Tense"), the real manner in which the Goliath/Xanatos conflict came to an end (through the two making peace after the gargs helped Xanatos against Oberon)? A kind of "tricking the audience raised on more conventional adventure cartoon series" method similar to that used in "Leader of the Pack" (where it initially seems as if Xanatos is out for revenge, but it turns out that it wasn't the real Xanatos and that the real one had very different and much more practical goals)?

Greg responds...

Yep. I mean that wasn't the only thing going on, but we did so love to play with and against expectations.

But it's also fun, even if it's a fantasy within our fantasy, to see such opposites go at it to the death. I knew that wasn't they're true destiny, so it was nice to slip a version of it in.

Response recorded on March 13, 2001