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Todd Jensen writes...

Wow! A new ramble! This is the best Columbus Day present that I've ever had! (Actually, it's the only Columbus Day that I've ever had, but it was still a very pleasant surprise).

I really liked "M.I.A." and still do. A major reason is that it was set in London and I'm a Anglophile (particularly since I spent a lot of my boyhood in England, from between the time that I was 9 to the time that I was almost 13). Plus it was a time travel episode involving a bit of English history (the Battle of Britain), and on top of all that, I really liked Griff. I found him a great character.

I found your vision of Macbeth and Shakespeare visiting the Mystic shop together a delightful one (even if you don't see it as having literally happened in the Gargoyles Universe). I considered it appropriate that the London gargs be shopkeepers, on account of Napoleon's famous description of the British as "a nation of shopkeepers" (which you even alluded to in your ramble). (Of course, I've sometimes wondered if Napoleon might have reconsidered his dismissal of the British after those setbacks that he received from Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.) And they show themselves to be further "anglicized" by even having tea! (I liked the little touch of Una apologizing for the absence of sugar on account of rationing.)

I've sometimes wondered what the London public's response was to the gargoyles' memorial statue; since they didn't know then that gargoyles were real, it must have seemed to the bulk of them like - say, raising a World War One monument to the Angels of Mons.

I also thought that the racist thugs in this episode were almost the English equivalent to the street thugs in "Awakening Part Three", "Avalon Part One", and "Hunter's Moon Part One". Rather appropriate that they'd be racists, as a parallel to the Nazis in the 1940 sequence (and definitely fitting in with Griff's comment of "The more things change, the more they stay the same.")

I hadn't even realized the similarity between Demona and Una before you mentioned it.

One thing that amused me about the episode was Leo and Una's response towards Goliath's using the Phoenix Gate - just a mild stare. (Maybe it's not so surprising, given that if you work in a magic shop, you start getting used to things.)

I liked your description of Griff, and was amused by your description of him as a "Robin Hood of the 1940's". It strikes me as particularly appropriate in light of his later on team-up with King Arthur; after all, Arthur and Robin Hood are the two leading "legendary heroes" of Britain. While a literal team-up between them in the Gargoyles Universe doesn't strike me as probable (I assume that Robin Hood is long since dead by the present-day portion of the series), Griff can serve as an equivalent to him. (Of course, T. H. White did manage to pull off a literal team-up between Arthur and Robin Hood in "The Sword in the Stone".)

I hadn't known about Douglas Bader before I saw "M.I.A." (I recall that it was Stormy who first informed me about Bader being a real historical figure when I joined the Gargoyles fandom at Station 8, back in late 1996 and early 1997). I really liked him in the episode, especially his being another human who could see gargoyles for what they really are (my favorite moments involving him being his saying "They're real, and they're on our side!" and he and Griff giving each other the thumbs-up after he shoots down the Nazi pilot). And I enjoyed "Reach for the Sky" (it even brought back memories of my boyhood in England, even though they were from the late 70's), after you recommended it in early 2001.

Goliath's line "human problems become gargoyle problems" is a favorite of mine; indeed, a close inspection of the series (as I've said before) shows how true it was. For one thing, we've seen how all those struggles for the succession to the Scottish throne between 971 and 1057 impacted the gargoyles in Scotland (the alliance between Prince Malcolm and Hudson, the flight of the eggs to Avalon after Constantine's usurpation, the rise of the Hunters, Macbeth and Demona's short-lived alliance). And it still goes on in the modern world, where Castaway's vengeful war on the clan arose from a human problem (he shot his brother and couldn't take the responsibility for it, so he goes after the gargs instead to take it out on them).

Another favorite bit of mine; Goliath tells Una that he won't let anything happen to Griff "this time", and Una puzzles over the "this time" part.

Since (as I mentioned in my comments on "Avalon Part Two") I've been working on a fantasy novel for some time now (begun even before "Gargoyles" came out) which uses the same rules for time travel as "Gargoyles" did (that you can't change the past because your travels there are already part of it), which were there even before "Gargoyles" came out as well, I had no difficulty following the time loop. (One reason why I'm grateful for having come up with those rules for time travel independently before the series aired - it made the Phoenix Gate episodes easier to follow!)

Your comment at the end about Leo remembering "what his business is supposed to be" reminded me of the scene in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" where Scrooge tells Marley's ghost "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob", and Marley replies "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

At any rate, it's great to have a new ramble again. Let's hope that there's more in the weeks to come.

Greg responds...

Well, I've slacked off again recently, but I think we made it through Future Tense.

Great ramble back, btw.

Response recorded on July 11, 2005