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THE HOUND OF ULSTER
At last!! I say that both because it's a new ramble, and I'm finally able to add my own. I'll play catch up with your other additions over the weekend.
When I first saw this episode, both the "Previously on" segment and the title indicated that Bronx would get some exposure. I wasn't sure HOW since there's only so much you can do with a dog (or even a dog-like beast) without giving them some anthropomorphic qualities. Consequently, I think it makes since that Rory Dugan became the protagonist.
And yet, that in itself is unique. Here we have a non-regular being the main character of the episode--hightlighted with that wonderful "hero-shot" where the camera circles around Rory's face (well done bit of animation, that). I mean, I don't know of too many other series that do that (well, maybe there were some old "Batman: TAS" episodes that seemed to focus more on the villains, but they're the VILLAINS!)
I love Molly's character design--the hair-style, the eyes, the three belts (in technicolor!) around her waist.
Rory's vision of Crom Cruoch really threw me the first time I saw it. Then I completely forgot about it until the Banshee transformed at the end.
BTW, time out here to say kudos to the voice work all around. Colm Meaney's (sp?) guest turn was great. Scott Cleverdon did excellent work (and HE added the battle cry?! I love that thing!). And as for Sheena Easton, hey do I really need to say anything?
Loved the Banshee's keening! I have to wonder though...it seems to me that gargoyles have a stronger sense of hearing than humans, yet the Banshee's cry is apparantly more fatal to humans.
Anyway, I was a little surprised at our heroes sinking into the bog right off. Very tense the first time you see it, and a nice little character bit for Goliath--he turns from Elisa to try and save his daughter, but can't and turns back to find Elisa has already sunk beneath the surface. For a guy so big on protecting his loved ones that must have been a truly hellish moment.
But Bronx escapes and we get our first glimpse of the Banshee.
Rory's discussion with his Dad is interesting to me, mostly in how pessimistic and cynical Rory acts. One line of his that I always like (even if I don't agree with it): "There are no heroes anymore! Only villains! And they've got us all beat." Sometimes it's very easy to think that.
Our main heroes wake up trapped in the Cairn, and Goliath says that "a whole clan of gargoyles could not batter down these walls." That line always struck me for some reason.
A bit disconcerting that Elisa's muddy in this scene and clean in the next, but "meh".
And although Cuchullan's remains would have been nice, I don't really miss it (unlike the whole Anubis thing). Besides, how much of an unmummified corpse would be left after 2,000 years?
Rory meets Bronx and between the pooch's outlandish appearance and the legends of his father, Rory reacts in a perfectly reasonable way...he runs like hell. And falls off a cliff (looking at it from the wide shot, I can't help but think it's a miracle he survived).
BTW, the little memo you posted finally clears up why Bronx singled out Rory--the Banshee's scent. Yet Bronx can still sense that Rory's not an enemy.
The Banshee talks with our "main heroes." I can never stop noticing her rather exaggerated gestures. She must be a bit of a drama queen. I like her "ghost" form, though.
The Banshee does have that one character trait (which Todd has already mentioned) that annoys me to no end: she does not even consider the possibility that her prisoners might be telling the truth. And as you pointed out she could have just mesmerized it out of them (no fuss, no muss), which makes her behavior even more inexcusable.
After the Banshee hears Bronx and splits, and Angela says that Bronx will save them (she's got more faith in her pooch than I've ever had in any of mine, I'll admit), the camera starts to briefly zoom in before cutting to the next scene. I'm always wondering what got cut, if anything.
When Molly transformed into the Banshee...I figured they were both one and the same. At least, until Molly appeared in Rory's house the next day and said she'd go with him to the Cairn because she loved him. THAT cast some doubt in my mind.
"Be still little mortal and come quietly with me, into the dark." That line still sends my dirty little mind reeling with possibilities. ;-)
I like Mr. Dugan's attitude towards his son's visions: he may not entirely believe in them, but he's not about to go tempting fate in regards to them, either.
A little animation bit I only really started noticing after you mentioned exploring more of the relationship between Rory and Molly--when Rory strides down the hill towards the Cairn, Molly gets a sad/worried look on her face. Rory isn't looking at her so she doesn't have to act, but it's still there. It's more than just avoiding an old enemy that makes her want to keep Rory in the dark.
I love the voice acting in the Cairn--as the two characters talk, a bit more of each's "other" starts to creep into their speech.
I love the whole "Gae Bolga" scene.
"Skills may rust indeed, but true friendship stays bright." Y'know, because of the accent, I didn't understand what he was actually saying there for YEARS!
I always noticed how you guys had Goliath and Angela, the usual heavy hitters, get knocked away by Crom Cruach the instant they try to join the battle. Makes sense--this was Rory and Bronx's show!
"And there's no kind of training schemes for this job, I'll wager." Nope, and no pay either! Just ask Spider-man!
On the "Thor" subject, I never knew that much about Thor (either comic or mythology) until a bit after GARGOYLES, so for me this was fairly fresh.
Dog's (or gargoyle beasts) can look smug! I've seen it myself!
I always thought the "Previously on" segment for this episode felt awkward towards its end--your ramble helps clear that up.
One thing that struck me this time out was the Banshee's character design, especially in the face. It can move from beautiful to rather corpse-like.
Yes Cuchullan was the "Hound of Ulster," but only because he killed the original hound and vowed to act in its place until a new one was raised. Who's to say these hounds weren't gargoyle beasts?
Those "Hounds" were indeed Gargoyle Beasts in the Gargoyles Universe, and as I've learned more about the legend SINCE doing the episode, it seems to me that as Cu Chullain was replacing the "Hound" he killed, he would also be raising and training a new "Hound" to eventually take his place. That, to his mind, was the Hound of Ulster that he recognized in Bronx.
Or that's my current theory anyway.