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Here's a new ramble for ASK GREG & the DCV...
As usual, I watched the episode recently with my family.
And as usual, everytime my five year-old Benny, sees Xanatos and Fox, he tells his seven year old sister Erin, "You were her. I was Xanatos and you were Fox." [All quotations (both from my kids or from the episode) are approximate.]
This is a big episode for attitudes.
Xanatos and Fox pit multiple individuals against each other in life and death circumstances and regard it all as a game.
Lex still hates the Pack.
Dingo is disgusted with the Pack's life of crime, and then even more disgusted with what his teammates do to their bodies. Cool lines like "Save the horrorshow..." or "I hope you don't eat your catch..." or "You're barely our species..." or "I still can't get over what you three did to yourselves..." or "I'm a partner in a freakshow..." or "...after they went Frankenstein on me..." all help distinguish him, perhaps for the first time. We had a notion of where Dingo was going. And this episode helped bridge the gap to "Walkabout". And eventually to the development I did with Gary Sperling, Bob Kline, Troy Adomitis, Doug Murphy and Patrick Archibald on "BAD GUYS," which some of you have seen at the Gathering.
How the mighty have fallen. My point-of-view and Dingo's matched up. The Pack were beginning to feel pathetic. The problem with villains is that after the heroes keeps beating them over and over, you need to find a way to keep them competitive. This episode (reflected in its title, which may or may not have been one of mine, but which I latched onto EARLY and stuck with) was always part of my plans for the Pack. Intro them in the first season as humans. This was necessary, because the world of our first season was MUCH more normal. I wanted to weird the world up in small steps. Don't intro Oberon first, intro Puck. That kind of thing. So once the science was established, we'd upgrade.
This dovetailed nicely with the need for Goliath to 'upgrade' one of his warriors to Second-In-Command. Goliath had been Hudson's second. Demona had been Goliath's. But it was past time to name a new successor. We always had Brooklyn in mind for that roll, but I remember asking Gary whether he felt we had succeeded in establishing that without ever having stated it. He felt we had. What did you guys think when you first saw the episode?
The battle at the bank. On my tape, there's an animation glitch where Dingo hits his head and then seems to intentionally hit his head again. I'm hoping it got fixed for later airings.
Anyway, the battle winds down. No one's done very well. But the Pack is on the run. Erin at this point says, "There's no messing with the big boys." Proving that the Pack was no longer competitive.
Wolf yells, "This isn't over!" sounding very much like Hakon to my ears.
Lex wants to pursue, but Brooklyn already the subconscious leader of everyone's choice, says, "Helping Goliath is more important."
Hudson gooses Goliath to choose a second. Refuses the job himself. This is another example of Hudson being the guardian of tradition. He knows they live in a brave new world. But he wants to preserve what worked in the old one as well.
Erin says, "I think Goliath's going to choose the red guy." Meaning Brooklyn. I am briefly horrified that my own kids don't reliably know the names of the lead characters. (Of course, before last week, we hadn't watched the series in a year. But still...)
I love the idea of Coyote's head knocking on the door of the Pack's ship. For starters it's so odd to get a knock while in flight. Second, how did he knock. Why with his forehead of course...
The trio begin their competition. Bronx is disgusted.
The new Pack is revealed. What was everyone's reaction? The Coyote-Head had laid out the options, but were you at all shocked at the upgrades when you first saw them?
I like the creepy Addams Family moment with Jackal's arm. I like that this Wolf and Dingo are now competitive in strength with Goliath.
I find it interesting that we had Goliath say, "What manner of trickery is this?" instead of "What sorcery is this?" I mean, who were we kidding, right?
Hudson then brings up the Archmage's sorcery. Just a reminder that the Archmage existed for what we knew was coming in Avalon.
I don't know if this was fixed for reairing, but their's a big mistake in this first battle. Goliath spots COYOTE the robot flying off and goes off alone in pursuit. This was supposed to be him spotting just the little head. He goes off after the head, thinking he'll find Xanatos or something. Then the giant Robot steps forward. Would have been a much better reveal.
I love the interaction as the Pack chooses a leader.
Cree is great reading: "Coyote, honey..." and "I find him very attractive." Hyena's attraction to Coyote was a fun running gag. But did it influence her choice of upgrades?
Jackal is grossed out, proving as ever, that he's just a tad saner than his sister. "Well, that's sicker than usual." He sides with Wolf, just for that reason.
Leaving Dingo with the deciding vote.
More animation errors that I hope got corrected eventually: Fox's lips don't move. So suddenly we're hearing her internal monologue.
Note that Broadway actually foils the most crime in their nightly competition. We did that on purpose. To show that was never the point.
Xanatos says, "Clever move." to end an act.
Then we come back, and he's confident saying, "I think I've still got the edge." Of course that line was a literal reuse of the line from "The Edge". We had a lot of so-so animation in this episode. It forced us to cut the show tight enough that we had to add footage. So we reprinted the shot of X&F playing chess and reused the old line to fill the space.
Everytime Hyena's hand folded backwards, Erin would say: "Eww, that's disgusting!"
CONTINUITY: Just as Lex dislikes the Pack, Bronx seems to particularly dislike Coyote. He's always chewing on that bot, forcing Coyote to threaten to "send this puppy into orbit!"
I love Hyena's line: "I wonder if Gargoyles taste like chicken?" Can't help thinking she'd sincerely like to know.
Frank Paur had this idea that when Wolf got angrier, he'd morph even wolfier. But the animation never quite worked on that. It was a great idea, but the transformation doesn't play dramatically, so it just looks like the model changes part way through the fight.
Coyote's demise was heavily influenced by the first Terminator movie. We keep destroying the darn bot, but it just keeps getting up.
Morgan reappears. I was never wild about his "Hospital, Machine Shop or Vet" line. It's okay, but it seemed a bit too flip.
Goliath, like the production staff, had his choice in mind all along. Brooklyn. By now the trio's come around to the same idea, except Brooklyn himself, who suddenly realizes the weight he'll be carrying around. A prelude to "Kingdom", as he says to Goliath, "Be careful. I'm in no hurry to take your place."
(Nice moment in their when Hudson pets Bronx. It has nothing specific to do with anything else, but it's a nice touch.)
Fox & Xanatos make such a cool couple. I love that he doesn't mind losing to her. Happier to have found a true equal.
And I love that chilling, funny ending: "Care to play again?"
Ever wonder about their next game?
Anyway, there's my ramble. Where's yours?