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Time to ramble...
Chapter LXIII : "Hunter's Moon, Part One"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Writer: Michael Reaves
Director: Dennis Woodyard
The title, I believe, was Michael's.
It's always a bit of a question what to include on the first "Previously" of a multi-parter. Here -- knowing that we'd be opening the movie with a Gillecomgain flashback -- we chose to establish the idea of the never-ending Hunter by using Duncan & Canmore. We followed that with the bit about Xanatos' debt to Goliath, which I think was me playing fair with the audience for Part Three. Because I spend the rest of David's brief appearances in Hunter's Moon trying desperately to make him seem like a threat -- or at least like someone unsympathetic. Finally, we have Demona's "death" from the Reckoning.
We decided -- particularly when Hunter's Moon became a three-parter instead of a Direct-to-Video -- to open every episode with a flashback, starting with the oldest of flashbacks and working our way forward.
We begin by reprising Gillecomgain's scarring at Demona's talons, but I didn't simply want it to play like an elongated "Previously..." so we added new material. We meet Gill's dad, a real prize... that just might help explain why Gill grew up to be such a jerk. But we see that not everyone in medieval society thought of gargoyles as mystic creatures. Dad sees Demona (without actually having seen her) as just one of the risks of doing business.
Okay, try to remember. When you FIRST saw this episode, did you know that the blonde was Elisa? This is a trick we did before on "Turf"? The idea being that characters in animation generally look enough alike that a clothing and hair color change is usually enough to indicate that similar modeled characters are two different persons. (Look at Krusty and Homer.) Even with the same voice, we often had our regulars play bits. (Of course with our show, sometimes those bits became regulars too.)
Then we have a rogue's gallery of Manhattan regulars aboard that subway. I spot Brendan & Margot, of course. But also Sarah (Billy & Susan's mom), the construction worker and Art & Lois. And of course our trio of gang-bangers. Later, we have Morgan. And later still, in the park, we see the Jogger too. Partially, it's simply fun to use familiar faces throughout. But we were also very consciously trying to parallel and bookend Hunter's Moon with events from Awakening in particular and other early episodes.
There's some fun stuff in this sequence. The gargoyles really attempt to scare the gangsters straight by hanging them OUTSIDE the subway train. And as usual, the victims are more frightened of the Gargs than of the robbers...
Brooklyn: "We stil got a little P.R. problem." (All quotations approximate.)
(Still. Honestly. SPREAD THE WORD!!!)
I didn't like how when the crowd exited the subway how they all spoke ONE AT A TIME! That was supposed to play as more general overlapping walla. Oh, well.
Matt's response is a neat little wink. Now that he knows about the Gargs and is there friend, which provides us with some nice balance... and helps set up the status quo.
Elisa: [I had some help from a few] "concerned citizens with wings."
And that was the idea behind this opening sequence. To establish the status quo. Life in Manhattan is far from perfect. I mean guys with particle beam weapons are mugging people on the subway. But Elisa, Matt and the Gargoyles seem to have things in hand. Brooklyn is even injured, but it's all pretty minor. The sun'll fix that. It's "the concrete cure-all". Yep, the gargoyles are there, "stopping evil stone cold" (one of the taglines from our commercials reprised here). Heck, Broadway's even got an appetite joke in here, a bit we haven't really played with him since season one.
Life is good.
So immediately, after this nearly bucolic bit of action and complacency, we muck things up. Chavez temporarily puts Elisa on dayshift with a new partner. Elisa protests that the Captain is "breaking up a good team [her and Matt]. Better than you know [her and Goliath]." But that's not the scary bit. The scary bit is that Elisa stops protesting when she gets a gander at her new partner Jason Conover. Holy Gargoyles, Batman! She's smitten. Matt sees it right away and smiles. And if I might jump ahead quickly, Goliath sees it too -- but he's not smiling. He comments innocently enough that Elisa seems impressed with her new partner. And Elisa fumfers out a response, backtracking and full of guilt. Because she knows that on some level that she's attracted to Jason. And she knows that on some level that means she's cheating (or at least contemplating cheating) on Goliath. At least emotionally, since technically, she and Goliath are not in a relationship. Goliath wasn't bothered by her praise of Jason's shooting. But the moment she goes all girly and denially (can that be a word briefly?), he groks the truth. It's her flustered response that makes him jealous.
But let's backtrack to Jason himself. There's a note somewhere that we wanted Jason to be as much like a human Goliath as possible. I don't know if that comes across at all. But he is heroic and he does have a deep voice. My daughter Erin hated him immediately, as she vaguely recalls him kissing Elisa later. [It's been years and years since she's seen Hunter's Moon.] She knows -- or thinks she knows -- that Jason is a bad guy. I am curious. In his first scenes with Elisa, did EVERYONE know or guess Jason was a villain? Or does that matter less on a show like ours, where the villains are complex and interesting? Were you trying to guess even or just going along for the ride?
Jason is evasive. But I like some of the exchanges that he shares with Elisa.
Elisa: "More than a job. A way of life." is a nice line. Plus references to Sondheim ("Sunday in the Park with dirtbags"), Bonnie & Clyde are fun. (Then later Xanatos gives us a Mr. Rogers ref too: "Can you say harrassment. I knew that you could.") I love how diverse our reference set on this series always was.
During the car chase, Benny kept demanding that the cops "Shoot a tire out. That's all you have to do." I was prepared to say it's not that easy, but since of course that's exactly what Jason did, I held my tongue.
THE NIGHTSTONE TEAM
And we intro another new castmember. Robyn, who comes across as another of our efficient assistant types. Like a female Owen. Her interactions with Dominique are quite fun. All (non-sexual) double entendre. And I love how smooth Dominique is with Robyn, while being vicious to the incoming burglar. (Is this one of the burglars from "The Mirror"?)
And what is D/I-7. Did you believe Xanatos when he said it was only a potent disinfectant? Benny wondered if Demona wanted the D/I-7 to clean herself.
And how about that Destine to Demona transformation? Good one, huh? More anime than usual, I think. It really did seem to hurt. I've been asked whether Demona usually allows her clothing to be destroyed. I think not. My guess is she usually has time to unsuit up before sundown, but the burglar's arrival through off her timing.
We did make an effort in this episode -- since we were originally planning it as a direct to video -- to put all the iconic elements of our series in here, before messing with it all. That included having a great turn to stone sequence earlier and a great wake up from stone sequence now. We didn't do it every episode, because we didn't want it to lose its specialness or become stock footage-esque. But once in a while, you need to go for broke on it.
Elisa: "I never get tired of that." Me neither, sister.
And now, Jon Carter of Mars. No, wait. Jon Carter of WVRN. I consciously wanted to create identities for ALL three Canmore siblings in the real world. I wanted them to have stuff to do. Roles to play. But I also wanted to both play fair and create some confusion by intro'ing some new characters.
It's rare in a gargoyles ep that you see the moon in anything other than her full glory. We cheated here too, as she goes from half to full Hunter's Moon in the course of very few nights. But at least, we tried. Moon subtlety is not our series strong suit.
That night, Hudson, Goliath and Angela return to the scene of the crime. Hudson knows from t.v. that thieves always go there. (TV being the basis of his modern world education.) Angela points out that he's told her (having learned the lesson with the Pack) that TV is also not always to be trusted. But this time he seems right. Or not. It's not the thieves who return, but the Hunters looking for the thieves.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn's leading the Trio & Bronx at the other site. He's a good leader -- except when D's involved. Then his brains melt at the sight of her. "So much for the element of surprise."
That bit where Demona turns up the juice on her weapon to shoot THROUGH the cars is cool. But then we cheat. Brooklyn rips a car door off and uses it as a shield. But we've JUST established that Demona's weapon can now shoot through that. Oh, well. Another screw up. Not the first. Not the last.
Of course, the night is a debacle. Broadway and Bronx receive minor injuries. There's tons of property damage. And Demona escapes with her prize. Brooklyn asks: "Who wants to explain this to Goliath?" The visual joke that follows, where both Lex and BW point at Brook, passes so quickly, I'm not sure if you guys caught it.
SHOCK & AWE
Of course, the night was even worse for Golaith's team as Angela ends the episode on death's door. (Did any of you worry that we might actually kill her off?)
The Hunter tells us that the only good gargoyle is a dead gargoyle. Echoing the prejudice of a thousand generations past. And he may be about to get his wish. But at what price? For he's awakened Goliath's inner vengeance demon here.
We wanted the SHOCKING last line to come from Goliath: "I will hunt them down. And I will KILL them."
Of course, we'd NEVER get away with saying that in today's environment. And it was even a BIG discussion back then. Kudos again to Adrienne Bello for understanding why just this once, it was SO important.
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?