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AVALON PART TWO
Ah, the Archmage's ep. David Warner is another actor whose name and/or voice instantly catch my attention. He really does fantastic work in any of his roles (his turn as The Lobe on FREAKAZOID! always makes me smile), and this episode is no exception.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
When Angela showed up, I can't quite remember what my exact thoughts were. I think I may have been pleasantly surprised that here was a *good* female gargoyle, who was also *alive*. I'm pretty sure that within the first few seconds of seeing her, I recognized her coloring pattern, and determined who she was. I thought it neat that she was named Angela (the opposite of Demona, and fitting, I thought, with the mindsets of her human parents). Gabriel's parentage took a bit longer for me. I think, some weeks later, I was trying to envision Gabriel in my head and Coldstone's face kept popping up (or was it the other way around?). Anyway, at that moment, I pretty much recieved a lightning bolt to the brain and realized Gaberiel's lineage.
The beach fight. I thought it was very well done (and am a little surprised that it wasn't in there originally), with the Archmage making good use of the material. I enjoyed the lines, too (especially Tom's idea that the air might attack them). In fact, when I showed this episode to my mother, she got a great kick out of "You beat up a beach." Just the way David Warner says it is great, too.
I had never picked up on Elisa's jelousy over the idea that Goliath and Demona were actually parents. It's a nice touch, a great character bit, and I wish I was more aware of it the first time.
Seeing Katharine and The Magus as older was a neat thing for me. I liked their new designs. And Kath Soucie and Jeff Bennett did good work aging their voices (although when old Magus speaks for the first time, Jeff Bennett seems to sound slightly different than he does for the rest of the three-parter).
I liked Goliath's reaction to seeing "laser burns." I don't know why, exactly. It just struck me.
I got the Archmage's Time Loop right off the bat. I liked it a lot--to me it was (at the time) a different approach to the whole "time travel" business. This sort of "you do what you always did" thing was touched on in VOWS, but here it's really exploited for all its worth. And I think it works well.
Now back to David Warner. I still find it hard to believe that he did both versions of the Archmage during the same session. He's able to invest each with particular mannerisms and yet keep the idea that they're basically the same guy. His line readings are great, too. You've already mentioned most of them, Greg, but the "No, no," and "Nine-hundred and seventy-five YEARS??!!" bear repeating.
The Archmage's plan was also pretty cool to watch. The picture of the happenings in Demona and Macbeth's life began to be completed, and (as cliched as he may have been) the Archmage took on a somewhat more majestic tone with the revelation that he had orchestrated so much (with a little help from the timestream/Luna--man, that girl can be subtle). I would have loved to have seen the rest of his planned time stops in there, but what we got was still pretty good.
As for the Weird Sisters...I think I was more disappointed than angry when I saw their "Fury" aspect dominant in these eps. It seemed to diminish their majesty and mystique when they revealed how much "vengence" had motivated them to do. (Hmmm, actually that could be another "lesson against vengence" there, Greg--it diminishes the respect one has in the eyes of others...or something like that, I guess).
BTW, in later airings, older Demona's model was fixed some. At least her hair's red, now.
The Archmage's intial attack on the palace was well choreographed (funny thing--even with the gargoyles as flesh, if he kept up like he did, he would have won; pity he didn't think about that). One thing that really struck me during the battle was Ophelia (of course, until ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT, I just knew her as "that female gargoyle with the triceratops plate"). Her design was that striking, probably because of her unique forehead. I think I was one of the ones who kind of thought there might have been something going on between Angela and Gabriel (they had always been seen together up until now, and, like I said, expectations of "animated relationships" kind of led me down that path). Even then, I had always found the scene with Gabriel and Ophelia here one that gave me pause. I really wish enough screentime remained to get a sort of stronger "nod" to the fact that THEY were the item (and for the rest of the Archmage+'s travels--they made his plan seem even bigger, and gave a better explanation of his knowledge of Goliath's being alive). But, "what you gonna do?"
The "caption countdown" was something I don't think I noticed, at least not consiously (sp?), the first time around. But it was pretty neat.
We return, finally, to "NOW" and the good guys as they start to come up with a plan. I liked the little moment between the Magus and Katharine after M has his bout of self-pity and K tries to snap him out of it. One wonders if they've had this conversation before. Goliath takes Angela and Gabriel with him for a strike on the Archmage, and suggests to Elisa that she come up with a contingency plan (I'm not sure, but I think my mother may have said, "Smart Goliath."). I like the look on Elisa's face here--the phrase "in case this doesn't work," is never really good, but it has the potential to be very bad.
Then she asks about "the Sleeping King" (and I *know* my mother said, "OOoo, smart Elisa!"). Now, I will admit my ignorance and say that at the time I watched this, my knowledge of Arthurian Legend encompassed only the Disney movie "The Sword in the Stone," a few episodes of the Family Channel's "Prince Valiant," and various pop-culture references. As such, I had no idea about Arthur's connection with Avalon, and in fact had never even heard of Avalon before this (I just liked the sound of the name). So the revelation of who "the Sleeping King" was turned out to be quite a nice surprise for me. (As for my mother...I'm pretty sure she knew who they were talking about--she had read ONCE AND FUTURE KING).
And then the Archmage sees his would-be attackers, and laughs...and quickly vanishes for "To be concluded." I liked that phrase here, actually. It begged the question of how they were going to get out of this mess in so little time.
A cool episode, it served as the centerpiece of the "triptych" (sp?) quite well.
I'm glad you liked it. Clearly it was one of our most challenging. One that I got a lot of heat for actually at Disney (and at first among the fandom). People seemed disappointed by Avalon relative, I think, to the heavy cohesiveness of "City of Stone", but we were trying to do something different.
Avalon-2 was experimental. But then again, so was "The Mirror" when we were working on that, and it turned out all right.
I still think it's fun, but I also think that Frank was right, and it was a good thing that we Beat Up That Beach at the beginning.