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Synopsis |  Review by Juan F. Lara |  Review by Todd Jensen


by Guandalug la'Fay


by Niki Boultinghouse

Act I

In a sheltered alley, a few homeless people stand around a warm fire. A women comments to a dark stranger that she is not like the others, that her situation is merely a temporary setback. He agrees and offers her a "temporary" job; she asks what she would have to do.

At an airport, Elisa buys a hot dog from a vendor, cracking an overdone pun. She asks him where her brother Derek is, and he points to the sky. A small, new kind of plane lands next to Elisa and her brother gets out and greets her. They almost immediately start to argue about Xanatos. They end their argument with a typical sibling vow, cross the heart and hope to die.

The Gargoyles awaken, causing bits of stone to fall to the street below.

At Gen-U-Tech labs, an unknown figure bursts out of its cage and escapes from the building, running into the night.

Brooklyn and Broadway are gliding about the city, and notice a winged figure below. Thinking it to be Demona, the land to investigate, finding the woman from the alley, transformed into a cat-like creature. As Brooklyn tells her they will not hurt her, two Gen-U-Tech vans pull up. The woman/cat refuses Brooklyn's help and is consequently captured by the Gen-U-Tech men. When Brooklyn tries one more time to save her, he is hit with a tranquilizer dart. Broadway picks Brooklyn up and leaps off, ignoring Brooklyn's further pleas to attempt another rescue.

At the castle, a helicopter lands and Xanatos and Derek emerge. Owen reports that he has the expense report from Gen-U-Tech. He and Xanatos carry on a conversation about armed mercenaries to peak Derek's interest. Succeeding, Derek volunteers to accompany Xanatos to Gen-U-Tech to investigate.

Back at the tower, Broadway recaps the events to the others. Brooklyn insists that the catwoman was frightened and needed their help, whereas Broadway remembers that she had been afraid of them, and did not want their help in the least. Broadway gives Elisa a bracelet that "loverboy" took of her wrist, telling her that the symbol he sees on the bracelet, he also saw on the vans. Elisa deduces that the bracelet is a tracking device, and an expensive one at that.

At Gen-U-Tech, a Dr. Sevarius updates Xanatos about his project of creating gargoyles, including the detail that to "energize" them he is using electric eels. He admits to having turned to gene splicing with no tissue to work from, and Xanatos acts truly surprised to learn that Sevarius has already begun to use humans as test subjects. Alarmed, Derek confronts Xanatos, who confesses that he knew of Sevarius' "questionable" history and should have known better that to trust him. He tells Derek that they will make everything right, motivating Sevarius to attack him. Derek instinctively pushes Xanatos down and is hit with a dart, which Sevarius laughs at and tells him is full of the mutagen.

Act II

Savarius threatens to call the police, and Xanatos obliges, saying he will go down with him if it means stopping him. Sevarius submits and starts to work on an antidote for Derek, who is beginning to change, and the other victims. Xanatos has Elisa, who was on call to the site, dismissed when Derek admits he cannot face her.

Back at the castle, Elisa tells Brookyln that her hands are tied and she can't do anything. Brooklyn mutters that his hand are NOT tied, and he will do something.

At Gen-U-Tech, Derek continues his metamorphosis. Sevarius is concerned about Derek being loose, but Xanatos tells him Derek is a man, not to be feared.

When the gargoyles awaken, Brooklyn hastily prepares to leave. Broadway further ridicules him, and Brooklyn growls back that he does not know anything about her; Goliath reminding him that neither does he. Brooklyn turns to leave and Goliath stops him, telling him he has a plan.

When Goliath, Brooklyn, and Lexington get to the lab, they break in through the roof. They find the mutants and whisk away the catwoman. In another room they come across Xanatos, Derek, and Sevarius. In the inevitable struggle, Sevarius is thrown against the electric eel cage, breaking the glass. He loses the antidote, which Derek fails to save. Sevarius is is electrocuted to death by the eels.


Derek is convinced that it is the gargoyles fault that the antidote was lost. Xanatos escorts him out before the police arrive, telling him that he will find a cure.

At the tower, the catwoman awakens from the tranquilizer. Afraid, she backs away from them, asking if they were once human as well. Despite their negative response, she, in a very pitiful voice, introduces herself as Maggie Reed, from Ohio. She tells them that she was once human, not a monster. Brooklyn tells her that they are not monsters either, but she won't listen. Goliath reassures her that they will help her find a cure, even if it means confronting Xanatos again. They pose for the coming dawn and Maggie is further frightened as she sees them turn to stone.

During the cleanup at Gen-U-Tech, Elisa and Matt discover that the lab is owned by the one and only Xanatos.

In Xanatos' home, Derek tells the other mutants that they should get used to their new forms. Xanatos tells Owen to get him the best geneticist on the planet. The gargoyles glide up, after discovering Maggie gone when they awoke, and are instantly attacked by the mutants. Brooklyn confronts Maggie, who says all Brooklyn wants is for her to stay a monster. Elisa arrives and calls a halt. She calmly asks Derek who he is, and laughing he replies "Call me, Talon". When she tells him that she wants to help him, he asks for her promise, resulting in exposing his identity by reciting their pledge. In his desperation, Derek/Talon screams and leaps away, the others mutants following him. When Broadway asks if they should follow, Brooklyn says no, that they don't want their help, that she doesn't want him. In her rage, Elisa declares war on Xanatos.

Back at the tower, Lex confronts Brooklyn. Goliath, Hudson, and Broadway are watching Elisa, who is sobbing at the loss of her brother.


by Juan F. Lara

A so-so episode that nonetheless had some compelling elements

Good Points

Brooklyn and Maggie Reed get the great characterization this time. Brooklyn showed characteristic immaturity here: He immediately thought that he was in love with Maggie. And although he meant well, he acted selfish and didn't think about Maggie's perspective until the end. Maggie meanwhile felt nothing for Brooklyn, and could only see the Gargoyles as monsters like how she become. I found the clash between these viewpoints fascinating. I also liked how the others kept chiding Brooklyn for his behavior.

I liked the idea of Xanatos setting up the Gargoyles (But not the execution. See below.) He made it look like the Gargoyles have hurt Eliza's brother, all because Brooklyn wanted to help someone who didn't want him. So the episode has a tragic premise that's new for the Disney Afternoon.

I'm looking forward to seeing the cat/bat/eel hybrids again. I was disappointed when the Pack turned out to be only humans. This new group was more like the furry group that I was expecting. Maggie Reed's character design is great, but the males looked too much alike here.

Bad Points

Xanatos's conceit didn't work for me at all. Derek may not know as much about Xanatos as the audience does. But Xanatos and Sevarius seemed to act like they were bad actors doing a scene. So I never believed that Derek could fall for their routine. They did refer to Sevarius's overacting at the end, (I smiled when he didn't have all that thick an accent. :-) but Tim Curry's scene-chewing still spoiled the scene for me. Likewise the twist at the end didn't surprise me at all.

Also, Xanatos's plan seemed to me to leave too much open for chance. Were they counting on Goliath to throw Sevarius right at the eel tank?

I guess Derek used that name "Talon" because he still didn't want to tell Elisa the truth. But I don't think he should be still using that name, as he always seemed too down-to-earth to take an alter-ego. Maggie Reed still called herself "Maggie Reed".

Now Maggie Reed knows where the Gargoyles roost. But no one raised that subject up. I would've thought that Xanatos would interrogate her about that.

The other two hybirds got no characterization at all. They should've gotten some focus so that we'd know who they were.

They also seemed to spend an awful lot of airtime on the gargoyle transformations to and from stone. Those scenes felt like padding, and along with the Xanatos/Sevarius scenes made the episode tedious.


"Tranq them all. Let the doc sort 'em out."

Goliath: Rushing off without a plan won't help her....And I have a plan.

[ for Wendy :-) ]
Maggie: My name is Maggie. Maggie Reed. I'm from Ohio.

Brooklyn: Why are you afraid of me?! I want to help you.
Maggie: No, you don't. You want me to stay a monster. Like you!

Sevarius: I was particularly proud of my death scene.
Xanatos: Frankly, Sevarius, I thought you overplayed the part.

I liked the efforts the creators made at tragedy and hope that they have more in upcoming episodes, but I didn't like the episode overall.


by Todd Jensen

This is one of my favorite episodes of early Season Two, particularly thanks to its dramatic ending (one even more somber than that of "Her Brother's Keeper"). In it, we find out just why Xanatos was so keen on hiring Derek a few episodes earlier - and that Elisa was indeed correct to be so concerned.

One of the triumphs of the episode is how convincing Xanatos comes across in his pretense of good-will towards Derek. He repeatedly acts (always in front of Derek, of course) as if he is genuinely concerned about the young man's welfare, and truly desires to find a cure for him and for Sevarius's other victims. He acts as horrified as Derek when he "discovers" that the Mutates are really genetically altered humans, and demands that Sevarius undo what he did to them. He acts supportively towards Derek, assuming responsibility for Sevarius's actions as the one who'd hired him; this stands out most strongly when he rejects Sevarius's proposal to cage Derek, saying, "He's a man, not an animal!" - at which point, the first time that I saw this episode, I mentally gave Xanatos a standing ovation on the spot. In fact, until the very end, Xanatos had me fooled into believing that he actually wanted to help Derek and the other Mutates and to reverse their mutated conditions - and this was after I had discovered his true character and that he was one of the gargoyles' leading adversaries, the main antagonist in the series. The fact that Xanatos was able to deceive me so thoroughly here, under these conditons, is a clear statement as to his skills as a trickster. (Needless to say, I was shocked when it was revealed at the end that Xanatos had planned for Derek to be mutated all along.)

Sevarius makes his debut in "Gargoyles" in this episode, though initially in disguise (only in the final scene will he assume his "regular design"). He displays from the start his leading character trait, a fondness for the role of the cliched mad scientist, which he revels in in the style of a ham actor. Despite his comic relief style, Sevarius also provides "Metamorphosis" with one of its most chilling moments, when he appears to die, electrocuted by his own eels. (The first time that I saw "Metamorphosis", I stared in disbelief at the fact that someone was actually killed in a Disney television cartoon - though "Awakening" and "Deadly Force", at the least, ought to have prepared me for it.) It turns out to be a trick at the end, with Sevarius speaking delightedly over his "death scene" as if he was performing Hamlet on the stage - while Xanatos accurately comments that the not-so-good doctor overdid it. The feigned death is not gratuitous, however, but a crucial part of Xanatos's plan, to deceive Derek into thinking that his hope for a cure is (for the moment) lost - which will encourage him to continue working for Xanatos as his only hope for a reversal of his condition.

Maggie Reed is introduced in the sub-plot, as the object of Brooklyn's first (so far as we know) crush. While no one can argue with Brooklyn's wanting to rescue Maggie from Gen-U-Tech, his impulse is based as much on his infatuation over her as on a general desire to help someone in need, and he is devastated when he discovers that she wants nothing to do with him. Despite Brooklyn's self-deluded belief that he's found true love, by the end of the episode, he understands (to some extent) how hopeless it was, saying sadly, "She doesn't want my help. She doesn't want me."

It is Elisa's response to Derek's transformation, however, that forms the most memorable part of this episode (certainly, the part that moves me the most). Despite her concern for her brother, she spends most of the episode treating the goings-on at Gen-U-Tech in the same dispassionate manner that she would treat any piece of unethical scheming at Xanatos, until she discovers Talon's true identity. She is immediately horrified, and tries to point out to him that it was Xanatos's doing; Derek, in the course of denying it, inadvertently zaps her and is so distraught over his act that he flies off. Elisa proceeds to angrily vow retaliation on Xanatos (with such emotion that for once Xanatos appears worried), but on her return to the clock tower, breaks down into tears as Goliath and the other gargoyles look on helplessly. It remains one of my favorite episode conclusions in "Gargoyles" to this day.


In the very early plans for the series, the mutated victim was originally to be a scientist in Xanatos's employment who was (due to some behind-the-scenes manipulation by Xanatos) transformed into a feline mutate by one of his own experiments, and afterwards went by the name of Catscan (so called because his eyes could shoot out blasts of radiation). However, after the introduction of Elisa's family in "Deadly Force", Greg Weisman realized that it would be even more effective to make the mutated figure Elisa's brother (thus anchoring him more strongly in the main cast), and revised his plans accordingly, changing Catscan into Derek/Talon, and splitting his "scientist" side off to become the separate (and far less ethical) figure of Sevarius.

Brooklyn initially mistakes Maggie for Demona when he first sights her (another allusion to his feud with her that began in "Temptation").

Bruno and his team from "Awakening" serve as Sevarius's security at Gen-U-Tech.

Broadway describes Gen-U-Tech's logo as a "symbol"; since the logo consists of the actual words "Gen-U-Tech" (if written in a stylized fashion), it is tempting to wonder if this is a subtle reference to his illiteracy that would play such an important role in "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time".

Xanatos and Sevarius, during their discussion of Sevarius's plans to "create" gargoyles for Xanatos in front of Derek, mention that they had been unable to clone one; we will discover in "Double Jeopardy" that they were lying about that.

To save money on voice actors, Fang was voiced by Jonathan Frakes in this episode.

When the episode ran a little short, the production team added in a brief scene at the beginning of the gargoyles awakening, which became one of my favorite "little bits" in "Metamorphosis". It is beautifully atmospheric, with small stones raining down from the gargoyles' perch (pieces of their stone skin) on top of a bewildered bystander, and pigeons hurriedly flying away from the clock tower.

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