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City of Stone, Part IV

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


by Guandalug la'Fay


by Leigh Ann Hussey

Act I

As Demona poises herself to shatter the stone Elisa with her mace, Bronx springs on her and drives her away. With soothing words, Demona drops the mace and turns to the console, assuring Bronx in the same calm and friendly voice that she will reprogram Xanatos' computer such that Xanatos and the others will die when the gas packs explode -- too soon to ignite the sky. "Won't that be fun?" she says cheerily. Then she plans to turn her laser cannon on Bronx, Owen, and Elisa. "And then there'll be no one left to stop me."

"No one, Demona?" asks the dark clad man in the Hunter's mask as he emerges from behind the tapestry. He had found her because with all the city's inhabitants frozen in stone, it wasn't hard to notice all the robots and gargoyles taking off from the roof of the city's tallest building.

Demona reveals that it's too late for him to save Xanatos and the gargoyles -- there are only 13 minutes remaining, and she has set up an access lockout. "I'm not here for them, I'm here for you," he tells her. "I want it over between us."

Scotland, 1057 AD. The masked figure of the Hunter leads his cavalry in a charge. The gargoyles counterattack, and many of the men flee in panic. Demona and the Hunter engage in single combat, but the gargoyles and their allies appear to be gaining the upper hand. The Hunter refuses to surrender -- he mounts a nearby horse, and calls a retreat to regroup. Demona calls her warriors to her; the night is not yet over.

At Castle Moray, MacBeth waits, looking over the battlements. Demona flies down to him, and assures him that not yet but soon they will triumph over the Hunter. She picks him up and whirls around with him gleefully. "Leave off," he says in a tone of indulgent exasperation. "I have business to attend to." He leaves her looking disappointed and thoughtful.

Inside, Bodhe tells MacBeth that the only way he can win is to forswear the gargoyles as allies -- the only reason the English have allied themselves with the Hunter is so that they can destroy the gargoyles. Luoch objects; the gargoyles have fought with great courage. "A wise king," MacBeth tells his son, "considers all of his options, and then makes his choice." Luoch stomps off to get reinforcements. But outside the window, Demona has heard all.

The Hunter's forces attack Castle Moray, and a messenger tells MacBeth that the gargoyles have deserted. "Our whole defense was planned around their aid!" MacBeth rails. But the English outnumber them now, five to one. The Hunter looks on as Moray's turrets burn and the din of battle rises around him.

Act II

MacBeth breaks down a door to rescue Gruoch from her burning room. Once out of the immediate danger, he tells her that Luoch's enforcements won't come in time; they've lost. Gruoch encourages him to flee -- for the kingdom to survive, he must live to fight another day. While besiegers scale the walls and batter down the great gates, MacBeth and Gruoch escape Castle Moray through the watergate.

Laboring up a hill some distance from the castle, they are confronted by the Hunter, who removes his mask to reveal that he is Canmore, now an adult and a vengeful one. He means to buy back the crown with MacBeth's blood. MacBeth tells Canmore that his father was an evil man who deserved his fate, but that Canmore himself was just a boy, so he'll give Canmore one more chance for forgiveness and mercy. From a crag above them, a voice says, "He will not require it. But you will." It is Demona, who accuses MacBeth of treachery and won't listen to his objections and counter-accusations. As their argument peaks, Canmore stabs MacBeth from behind, and both MacBeth and Demona fall as dead.

"So the rumors were true," Canmore muses as Gruoch weeps over her husband's body. "MacBeth and the gargoyle were linked by sorcery. When one dies, both die." Canmore tells one of his men that it would only have been a matter of time before Demona betrayed him as she had MacBeth, and that it was a good thing he'd had the rest of the clan destroyed as well. The man at arms informs Canmore that Luoch and the reinforcements are on the way, and outnumber Canmore's men. Canmore withdraws, leaving Gruoch to mourn.

Luoch hustles up, discovers he's too late, and vows vengeance. Bodhe sets the crown of Scotland on Luoch's head; they leave Gruoch for one last moment alone with MacBeth. The three weird sisters appear, and telling Demona that she is unharmed though in great pain, bid her to rise to the fate she has made for herself. Gruoch berates Demona, telling her that it was Canmore, not MacBeth who betrayed her, destroying the rest of her kind. Demona refuses to believe her. "Go and search for your kind, then," Gruoch retorts. "Search until you and your kind are but a nightmare memory." Demona, with a tigress' roar, charges off.

Gruoch gasps then to see the sisters circled around MacBeth. "Poor MacBeth," says one. "Canmore was wrong about you and Demona." A second concurs, "He said when one dies, both die. But when one lives, both live." And indeed, to Gruoch's horror, MacBeth rouses himself. Then the third sister says, "And thus you both shall live, eternally linked, sharing each other's pain and anguish, with no release until one destroys the other. Only then shall both finally perish -- together."

Gruoch prevents MacBeth from going after Luoch, saying that he is already accused of sorcery, and even his loyal Scotsmen would fear him as a revenant. The only hope for Luoch and Scotland is for MacBeth to remain dead -- to leave Scotland and Gruoch, who says they cannot both abandon their son, forever. Vowing his eternal love, MacBeth leaves Gruoch without looking back, as the sun rises behind her.


In the present, in the great hall of Castle Wyvern, the Hunter confronts Demona. "I have hunted you through the centuries for my vengeance." "Take off that mask," Demona sneers. "You aren't fooling anyone -- MacBeth!" The console shows 12 minutes to go.

High over Manhattan, the gargoyles, with Xanatos and his steel clan, cover the sky. Xanatos is confident his plan will work. He's less confident about the good health of his tapestry. "What tapestry?" Goliath demands. "The 12th century piece on the south wall," Xanatos answers. "Bronx was clawing at it when we left." "We must return to the castle!" Goliath exclaims.

MacBeth removes his mask. "I wear this as a reminder of your treachery," he tells her. Demona scoffs. "You know the rules. Killing me will gain you nothing but your own death." "After this long a lifetime," MacBeth replies, "I have no fear of that, and no desire to live in the kind of world you're creating."

"Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, Demona," he tells her as he draws a laser pistol, "and I have waited nine hundred years for this meal." He fires at her and misses. They struggle; the gun goes off, first blasting the chandelier from the ceiling, then blowing a hole in the floor, which widens as the parquetry stones fall to the story below.

The floor caves in, Bronx flees for a safer footing by the door, which opens on Goliath and Xanatos. Goliath, seeing the statues of Owen and Elisa toppling into the hole, dives to the rescue. Demona wrests the gun away from MacBeth and fires off a round at Xanatos before MacBeth makes a flying leap that carries both of them into the hole. Xanatos flies to the console, but is locked out. Only eight minutes remain. "This is bad," is his understatement. Demona is the only one who can save the city and the other gargoyles. He and Goliath fly down the hole.

Goliath tries to stop the fight, but only gets a double dose of human and gargoyle knuckle-sandwich for his pains. Xanatos attempts to blast them, but MacBeth, saying, "You're not the only one with weapons, laddie," lobs a grenade at Xanatos' feet -- the floor gives way again, and all four are hurled through into the part of Xanatos' complex under the castle: a multi-tiered garden with full-grown trees, a waterfall, and a double olympic-sized swimming pool with a causeway over it. Goliath grabs the momentarily stunned Xanatos as they fall; Xanatos regains his senses and lands them both gently with his boosters. Demona and MacBeth, however, land hard, still locked in combat.

MacBeth comes around first, and picking up the unconscious Demona, makes to drop her on a long, sharp spike of steel fallen with them from the ceiling above. "No!" Goliath cries. "Killing her won't solve anything. Death never does."

"He's right, MacBeth," says a familiar female voice. The three sisters are standing on the causeway. MacBeth sees them as the old hags of nine centuries ago, while we (or perhaps Xanatos) see them young and smartly dressed. "Duncan was afraid that your father would make you king," the one continues. "Did your father's death stop you from becoming king?" "No!" he retorts. "You wanted revenge for your father's death," says the second sister. "Did Gillecomgain's death settle that score?" "No," he murmurs. "Did your own death save your son Luoch from Canmore?" asks the third. "No," he whispers.

"Death is never the answer," Goliath tells him. "Life is."

MacBeth backs away from the spike and gently lays Demona down. "I'm just so tired", he murmurs. "Then sleep, MacBeth," the sisters say, surrounding him, and when they withdraw, he crumples to the ground.

"Normally," Xanatos interjects, "I'd be fascinated by all this, but I need that access code to save my city."

Over Manhattan, the sky is a tracery of vapor trails, but there are only two minutes left before the gas packs explode. The sisters rouse Demona, who answers them in a trance. "I will have vengeance for the betrayal of my clan, vengeance for my pain." "But who betrayed your clan?" asks one sister." "And who caused this pain?" asks another.

"The vikings destroyed my clan." "Who betrayed the castle to the vikings?"
"The Hunter hunted us down!" "Who created the Hunter?"
"Canmore destroyed the last of us." "Who betrayed MacBeth to Canmore?"

As a look of shock breaks over Demona's face, Goliath says, "Your thirst for vengeance has only created more sorrow. End the cycle, Demona. Give us the code."

Her eyes brimming with tears, Demona replies, "The access code is ... alone."

Immediately, Xanatos rockets up through the floors to the console, where 0:08 shows as he types ALONE. “ACCESS ALLOWED” blinks the terminal, and with one keystroke the countdown is terminated. Xanatos heaves a sigh of relief, then turns to Bronx's stern but approving-seeming gaze. "What're you looking at?" Xanatos demands before he turns back to the console and continues typing.

Down below, Demona comes out of the trance and immediately denies all responsibility, singing her old song, "It was the humans!" "You have learned nothing," Goliath sighs. "Nothing but your lies," she retorts, but the sisters, once again in their childlike guise, cut her off in mid-rant. "You are tired. Sleeeep." And she, like MacBeth, falls.

"What do we do with them?" Goliath puzzles. "We have written their stories," a sister replies. "They are our responsibility," a second adds. "The are our children," the third finishes. They position themselves in a triangle around MacBeth and Demona, and begin to glow.

"Wait--" Goliath begins, "who are you? What are you?" "That," comes the reply, "is a story for another day." The glow expands to conceal the five figures, becoming one instant of blinding brilliance, and when it vanishes, so have the sisters, MacBeth and Demona.

On the battlements a little while later, Xanatos and all the gargoyles, now freed of the explosive gas packs, watch the robots make a last few passes in the sky and then, one by one, blow up. The vapor trails catch fire, and in a chain reaction, all the gas ignites and for a moment the entire sky is refulgent with a magma-colored light. "Magnificent," Xanatos says proudly.

Below, Owen and Elisa become flesh again. "It worked! They're back!" Brooklyn shouts, and all the gargoyles rush to embrace Elisa gleefully. They surround her, laughing as she asks what's going on. Xanatos and Owen observe the scene with small smiles. "You'll forgive me if I just shake your hand," Xanatos says. "Of course," Owen rejoins as they do so. "I'm... quite glad the plan worked."

As the gargoyles leave with Elisa, Xanatos detains Goliath. "We made a good team." Xanatos tells him, "You know, all this time I've wondered why I let you creatures live. Now I know: you come in handy now and then."

"As do you," Goliath says, turning away with a smile, "... occasionally."

The gargoyles take off from the parapets and soar home; below, people come out of their stone stasis, and the sun rises over a living city reborn.


by Juan F. Lara

A powerful conclusion to a great multi-parter

The whole story built up to the scene where MacBeth seemed to consider abandoning the gargoyles. Up to then, Bodhe had always advised MacBeth to surrender or compromise, and MacBeth tended to agree with him at first, such as when he let Gillecomgain marry Gruoch. So MacBeth betraying Demona seemed a very real possibility to me. The resulting fallout between MacBeth and Demona was a great moment of tragedy.

This part had excellently staged battle sequences. The first battle with the Hunter felt very claustraphobic, like one was in the middle of the action. The seige of Moray had frightening imagery like the castle going up in flames. And the fight at Castle Wyvern had great effects animation: I thought the whole castle was going to collapse and I worried about whether Bronx, Elisa and Owen were going to be saved. Overall, Koko Entertainment did an exemplary job on the animation for this multiparter.

I was entranced as the sisters noted every instance where Demona brought ruin onto herself and other people. I hadn't really thought about how much she was personally responsible for, and so the degree of her damage seemed incre- dible. She did gain some redemption when she gave up the access code, at first.


Xanatos: Normally, I'd be fascinated by all of this, but I need that access code to save my city.

Xanatos: You'll forgive me if I just shake your hand.
Owen: Of course.
[ Don't feel bad, Owen. Everyone on the list will give you a big hug. :-) ]

Xanatos: Goliath, we made a good team. You know, all this time I've wondered why I let you creatures live. Now I know. You come in handy now and then.
Goliath: As do you,.....occasionally.

Goliath: Wait! Who are you? What are you?
Sister: That is a story for another day.
[ Looking forward to that episode. :-) ]


by Todd Jensen

Events now come rushing to a climax both in the 11th century and in the present. Demona, temporarily foiled by Bronx from smashing Elisa and Owen, proceeds to tamper with Xanatos's computer so that the gas packs will go off prematurely, thus both preventing them from setting the sky ablaze and taking out Xanatos and the gargoyles with them. But in the middle of her gloating, she is interrupted by the arrival of the present-day Hunter, ready to settle the score between them....

Back in 11th century Scotland, Macbeth and Demona's forces are fighting valiantly against the English invasion led by a third Hunter (Canmore, of course), in a series of battles which, through their background music, recall those in the movie "Excalibur". For a while, it seems that all will be well - but it is not to be.

Throughout "City of Stone", Bodhe had displayed himself as a coward. He had stood idly by while his friend Findlaech was being cut down by Gillecomgain (even when his own daughter Gruoch rushed to Macbeth's aid in the fight), had been willing to turn his daughter over to a loveless marriage with Gillecomgain rather than risk offending Duncan, and had advised Macbeth to surrender to Duncan in the hopes that Duncan just might spare the lives of Gruoch and Luach in return. Even his advice to Macbeth to have the young Canmore put to death is a mark of his cowardice - the one time that he advocates "strong action" is when it is against a defenceless child who has no way of fighting back. Now, Bodhe once again gives Macbeth bad advice based on his timidity - and it proves fatal. He urges Macbeth to abandon his alliance with Demona on the grounds that the English are only invading Scotland to get rid of the gargoyles and have no interest in making war upon Macbeth himself (the fact that the English do continue the war even after Demona and her clan desert Macbeth shows how mistaken Bodhe was about that). Unfortunately, before Macbeth can point out to Bodhe how foolish and wrong that plan can be, Luach lets loose an angry outburst of his own about the folly of betraying their strongest allies. Macbeth calms his son (or stepson) down, pointing out to him that a king should listen to what his advisors have to say before making his decision. While this would have been good counsel at another time, it proves fatal here; Demona, eavesdropping, is convinced by it that Macbeth really does intend to betray her and immediately deserts, resulting in the fall of Castle Moray to the English.

The final act of Macbeth's original life takes place on the hill nearby, where as he and Gruoch take flight from the burning castle, they are waylaid by both Canmore and Demona. Although Canmore is motivated in his war by two principles that would normally seem fair to us (avenging his father's death and recovering the throne that he believes was stolen from him - motives that a more heroic prince could bear with the audience's approval), he immediately forfeits our sympathy by stabbing Macbeth in the back while the latter is remonstrating with Demona - the action of a treacherous coward. (He spares Gruoch, admittedly - but most likely because he has just been informed that Luach's army has almost arrived rather than out of any merciful instinct on his part.) We learn that he also betrayed the gargoyles by having Demona's clan slaughtered. (This does raise the question of how they came to be in his power; while it is not surprising that Demona would abandon Macbeth if she believed that he was about to do the same to her, would she actually entrust herself and her clan to the protection of a man publicly vowed to destroy her entire race?) Luach and Bodhe arrive too late to do anything but mourn Macbeth's death and vow to continue on the fight against the Hunter and his forces, with Bodhe now finally gaining a little courage, so late in his life, to stand loyally by his grandson. They depart, leaving Gruoch to mourn her husband.

But Macbeth and Demona are not as dead as they appear - for the Weird Sisters now once more arrive to pronounce their sentence, both to live out their lives, bound to each other, until one slays the other, the only way by which they both may die. Demona, learning of her clan's slaughter, is so distraught that she flees into the night without even attempting to rip Gruoch's throat out; once more, she is alone, and will remain that way for the next nine centuries. Gruoch and Macbeth have one final farewell to each other before they part, Macbeth to leave Scotland forever so that his son may stand against Canmore with some hope of victory; their parting scene is a truly moving one (and makes one feel that Shakespeare has truly done this couple a monumental disservice).

Of course, it is clear enough by now to the audience that the present-day Hunter confronting Demona is indeed Macbeth. (Demona speaks for us all when she says to him "You're not fooling anyone".) And it is also clear that Macbeth is after Demona, not just to get revenge upon her for betraying him in the last battle with Canmore, but also (and perhaps even more importantly by now) to be released from the burden of his immortality that he has borne for nine centuries. (Which becomes the moment that most alarms Demona - when she discovers that the fact that, if Macbeth kills her, he will die as well, is not from his perspective a deterrent but an incentive!) A fight quickly erupts, complicated by the return of Goliath and Xanatos as they realize that something is wrong back at the castle (though they don't realize how wrong it is until they get a look at Demona's tampering with the computer). An almost comical moment follows when Goliath urges Demona and Macbeth to stop fighting each other and they do - long enough to punch him in unison! (Some nights it just doesn't pay to be a mediator.)

The confrontation between Goliath and the Weird Sisters on the one hand, and Macbeth and Demona on the other, is one of the most dramatically effective moments in the series. Goliath reaches out to first Macbeth, urging him to give up his plans to kill Demona (with the earnest words of "Death is never the answer. Life is."), and then Demona, urging her to put aside her vengeance and give Xanatos the new access code. The Weird Sisters second both of his pleas with a very astute commentary on the events in Macbeth and Demona's backstories, pointing out to Macbeth how none of the deaths in his past succeeded in their purpose (I particularly liked their remark on how Findlaech's death did not prevent Macbeth from becoming king) and to Demona how the tragedies of her life (the Wyvern Massacre, the Hunter's war on the gargoyles, and Canmore's massacre of her second clan) were all due to her own actions. With tears beginning to form in her eyes, Demona at last breaks down and says, "The access code is 'Alone'." This single word sums up so profoundly the consequences that her deeds have had upon herself.

There are many more memorable moments in this episode, of course: the alarmed look on Bronx's face as the floor begins to give way beneath him, Goliath, Demona, and Macbeth all perceiving the Weird Sisters differently (a concept that, unfortunately, will not be seen in any of the Sisters' later appearances), Xanatos's remark to Bronx after reprogramming his computer of "What are you looking at?", the Sisters' whisking Demona and Macbeth away with the words, "We have written their stories. They are our responsibility. They are our children," and the absolute joy with which the gargoyles greet Elisa as Demona's spell is dissolved and she becomes flesh and blood again. But perhaps most interesting of all is Xanatos's admission as to why he's never pressed his attacks on the gargoyles fully home and gotten rid of them: they "come in handy now and then". The scene gives us a truly convincing explanation for why a man as resourceful, ingenious, and level-headed as Xanatos, a man unburdened by the weaknesses that usually handicap the antagonists of other animated series (and even a few antagonists within "Gargoyles", such as Demona and the Archmage), should have failed so far to bring the gargoyles down; they're more useful to him alive than dead, and he knows it. An attitude that fits in so well with his utilitarian outlook on life.

And so "City of Stone" ends with many dramatic changes made in the series (something that holds true for all the multi-parters in "Gargoyles"). Xanatos and Demona's alliance, first established in "Awakening", is now a thing of the past. We know at last how Demona survived into the modern world, and who Macbeth really is. The Weird Sisters have revealed themselves. And the friction between Goliath and Xanatos has taken one step closer to its conclusion. But, most foreboding of all, the Hunters have made their first appearance in the series - and, although it appears by the end of "City of Stone" that we have seen the last of their blood-slashed mask, that assumption could not be more wrong....


The link between Demona and Macbeth ties in with Shakespeare's play in a subtle fashion. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the Three Witches tell him that "none of woman born" can kill him, which Macbeth misinterprets as meaning that he is invulnerable - until he discovers that his sworn foe, Macduff, was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped", i.e., born through Caesarian section. Demona, the only person who can kill the Macbeth of "Gargoyles", was hatched from a gargoyle egg, which surely counts as being as much of a loophole as Macduff's birth. (According to Greg Weisman, there were plans at one point to mention this in "City of Stone", but these were dropped for lack of time. So also were plans to adapt the Birnam Wood sequence from Shakespeare's play into the story.)

Bodhe mentions that the English had already wiped out all the gargoyles in England; we will find out in "M.I.A." that he was mistaken. This is the first time in the series that it is acknowledged that there were gargoyles native to regions other than Scotland.

In actual history, Canmore overthrew Luach in 1058 (the year after Macbeth's final defeat) and became King of Scotland (an event hinted at in the Weird Sisters' words to Macbeth near the end of this episode - "Did your own death save Luach from Canmore?"). He ruled until 1093, when he was slain in battle against the English (who had by this time been conquered by the Normans, so that he was not actually at war with his former allies, but with their subjugators) - at least, officially, his slayers were the English. From the perspective of the Gargoyles Universe, on the other hand, one wonders whether Canmore's death may have come from the hands of another party, something that would explain certain developments much later on in the series....

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