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It took me many viewings the "The Gathering" two-parter to appreciate what we are actually being given: finally, this titanic battle between the two men of the Gargoyles universe that are, for all intents and purposes, the masters of their respective domains. They're both accustomed to getting their own way, and what we get to see here is their mutually-reinforced frustration when they both are denied that by each other.
I NEED MORE POWER, SCOTTY
What makes these two such standouts? To a certain degree, I think that power makes us like children. There's a fantastic line from The Wonder Years, when Kevin says something like, "When you're a little kid you're a bit of everything: scientist, philosopher, artist. Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time." Xanatos is the perfect example of a man who has never had to allow this to happen to himself, and that's why I think it's so much fun that he ended up as a hands-on villain instead of the Lex Luthor, man-behind-the-curtian baddie that you guys originally conceived. Say he always wanted to be an actor as a kid? He gets to ham it up now with Sevarius on a regular basis. He liked pretending to be a mad scientist? These days, he gets to say "It's alive!" and actually mean it. He is not (in his mind at least) bound by the physical laws that govern other men.
IT'S MY GATHERING AND I'LL DO WHAT I WANT
And Oberon, I think, is very similar. As a man who answers to no one, he can bend the rules whenever it suits him--and "interpret" his own laws depending on his mood, perhaps the ultimate in hypocrisy. (Remind anyone else of presidential signing statements?) When you make all the rules, the only person you can really rebel against is yourself. The best parallel I can think of to this kind of defiance, insubordination for its own sake, is in "The Journey"/"Clan-Building: Nightwatch," when Xanatos blows off Daddy Duval's call when an extremely conscious smirk. It is a very simple, childish act of rebellion.
So has Xanatos been humbled by the encounter, having been played to a stalemate by Oberon (or has he?). I suppose we will find out pretty soon whether Xanatos still holds the laws of nature in such contempt, now that he has met his match and in fact had to be bailed out by his mortal foe.
The matchup was so balanced and inevitable, I almost wish that "The Gathering" was longer than just two episodes, so that we had time to get the same kind of glimpse at Xanatos's psyche as we get at Demona's in "City of Stone." "Eye of the Beholder" certainly makes up for anything that there wasn't time for in these 44 minutes, but I'm hoping we get a better look at Xanatos's past at some point in our futures.
In time, we'll get to everything...
But I really liked reading your interpretation above. Very interesting. And pretty darn accurate to my way of thinking.