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


by Kieran Dunn


by Harvester of Eyes

Act I

Wolf, Dingo, Jackal and Hyena are busy "making a withdrawal" from the bank. Up on the roof, their getaway craft is spotted by the gargoyles, who are out on patrol. As the Pack make their way onto the roof with stolen money, the gargoyles surprise them and a fight ensues. Things are looking bad for the Pack until Wolf is successful in wounding Goliath. The Pack then use their window of opportunity to escape.

Once the Pack are safely in the air, Wolf complains that they should have finished the Gargoyles when they had the chance. There is a knock on the door of their craft, and Wolf cautiously answers. Their visitor turns out to be the head of Xanatos's Coyote robot, newly outfitted with a jet-propelled hoverpad.

Back at the clock tower, Hudson tells Goliath that although he survived tonight, next time he might not be so lucky. He needs to find a new second-in-command, someone to lead the clan should the unthinkable ever happen. And he must choose one of the younger warriors: Lexington, Brooklyn, or Broadway.

It is now after sunrise, and the Pack have piloted their craft to the bottom of New York Harbor to listen to Coyote's proposition. Coyote says that he can offer them the resources they need to finally stand up against the gargoyles: things like genetic mutation, cybernetic implants, exoframe armor, and robotics technology, all courtesy of Xanatos enterprises. It then cuts to Xanatos's office in the Eyrie Building, where he and Fox appear to be playing a game of chess. "And so the game begins," Xanatos says to his wife.

One month later:

The trio leave the clock tower to patrol the city, each one of them intent on proving their worth to Goliath. As Goliath and Hudson watch them leave, Hudson tells Goliath that he can't put off his decision forever. Moments later, Elisa steps out onto the balcony and says that SWAT Teams have the Pack pinned down in an abandoned building. The action is about to go down, so they have no time to wrangle the trio.

Later on, at the abandoned building, the SWAT team fires tear gas into the building's windows. The Coyote head slips out as the building explodes. Across the street, standing on a building under construction, Goliath, Bronx, Hudson and Elisa watch the action. Elisa remarks that tear gas does not explode. The Coyote head appears and says that the explosion of the building was meant to distract the tourists from the real action. Elisa and the gargoyles are then attacked by the new and improved Pack. Wolf, now genetically altered to look more like his namesake, has become a half-wolf/half-human with superhuman strength. Jackal and Hyena have become agile cyborgs with more hidden tricks and weapons than Swiss Army knives, while Dingo has opted to preserve his humanity, settling for a powerful suit of exoframe armor. As Goliath breaks away from the fight to pursue the Coyote head (in the hopes that it will end the conflict), it is clear that the Pack are now on equal footing with the gargoyles. While Hudson wrestles with Wolf and Elisa is having her hands full with Hyena, Bronx tangles with Jackal. After a struggle, Jackal succeeds in knocking the beast unconscious.

Act II

At the construction site, the Pack seem to have beaten Elisa, Hudson and Bronx. Goliath pursues the Coyote head to another part of the building, where the head hooks itself up to a brand new robot body. This "Coyote 2.0" makes quick work of Goliath.

Meanwhile, a few floors down, Wolf is arguing that since he took down the biggest gargoyle, he's gained the right to lead the Pack. Suddenly, the new Coyote robot bursts down through the roof and tosses Goliath's unconscious form onto the pile, remarking that his gargoyle beats Wolf's. Dingo, who's becoming more and more disgusted (first with what his teammates did to their bodies and now with his choice of leader), asks Coyote what their next move is.

Back at the clock tower, the trio are boasting about their night's accomplishments to each other. It is only after Lexington says "it's about time Goliath told us his choice for second-in-command" that the trio notice Goliath, Hudson, and Bronx are missing.

At the trainyard, the Pack have imprisoned Elisa and the gargoyles in some sort of glass holding cell. The cell is flooded with some sort of sleeping gas, keeping them subdued. Coyote tells the others that his plan is to release Bronx shortly before sunrise, so that the beast can return to the rest of the clan. Once the Pack has the clan's location, they'll be able to smash the rest of the gargoyles while they sleep.

Up in Xanatos's office, Xanatos remarks that he has Fox in check, to which Fox replies: "I still have a few moves left."

Meanwhile, at the clock tower, the trio are still wondering where the rest of the clan might be. They see a news broadcast about how the Pack eluded police earlier in the evening. As the broadcast goes to a commercial, they hear Fox's voice speaking to them. Through the guise of a Public Service Announcement, Fox hints that the trio should look for the others at the trainyard. They know that it has to be a trap, but Brooklyn says that they have no choice. It's where they'll find the others. It then cuts back to Xanatos's office, where Xanatos compliments his wife on a clever move.


Up in his office, Xanatos says to Fox that he still has the edge. Meanwhile, at the trainyard, Coyote is busy fitting Bronx with a tracking collar, and it is clear that there is still some dissention among the Pack. Wolf complains that they should just kill Goliath and Hudson while they have the chance, and Dingo is now more convinced than ever that he's "a partner in a freak show." Just outside the building, the trio arrive and quickly notice that it's not the same Pack they're used to. Lexington is eager to attack, while Brooklyn tells him that what they need is a plan.

Moments later, Brooklyn flies in through the window, surprising the Pack and then exiting, leading Wolf and Jackal after him. Lexington uses the distraction to sneak in and destroy the fusebox, killing the lights in the room. Broadway then takes the helmet of Dingo's armor, sitting on a nearby table, and flings it at the glass prison holding Goliath and the others, freeing them. As he runs to their aid, he is blindsided by Coyote. Lexington, meanwhile, has his hands full with Dingo and Hyena. In order to give himself more room to move, he leads them onto the roof of the building.

Elsewhere in the trainyard, Brooklyn is busy dodging attacks from the mutated Wolf. It is only after Jackal comes at him from behind that Wolf finally manages to knock Brooklyn down onto the railroad tracks. Wolf then remarks that Brooklyn is not going anywhere.

On the roof of the main building, Lexington has managed to knock Dingo out of the fight, but Hyena is still giving him trouble. Inside the building, Broadway and Bronx are not having much luck with Coyote. Suddenly, a large steel girder is shoved through Coyote's metallic guts. Goliath, now conscious, is holding the other end of the girder and uses it to fling Coyote through the wall. With the addition of Goliath, Elisa and Hudson the tide of the battle turns. Hudson and Brooklyn manage to take out Jackal and Wolf, while Lexington and Broadway make short work of Hyena. Elisa, using a magnetic crane, incapacitates Dingo as he tries to escape. Finally, the whole clan, working together, manages to pin the damaged Coyote so Goliath can rip the head out and crush it like a tin can. With no head to control it, the Coyote body staggers madly until the gargoyles push it into the path of an oncoming train.

After the gargoyles have left the scene, the police arrive to find the other members of the Pack tied up and reluctantly awaiting arrest. Morgan remarks that he doesn't know whether they should be sent to a hospital, a machine shop, or a vet.

Back at the clock tower, shortly before sunrise, Goliath addresses his clan. He says that he'd been reluctant to reveal his choice for second-in-command for the past few weeks, because he was afraid it would come between the trio. But after seeing the way they acted tonight, and worked together as a team, that fear has been laid to rest. He then names Brooklyn as his second-in-command.

As the sun rises over Manhattan, it cuts again to Xanatos's office, where it becomes clear that Xanatos and Fox were manipulating the gargoyles and the Pack in some grand-scale chess game (although neither side was fully aware of this). Fox, who was controlling the gargoyles, places her husband in checkmate. Xanatos, instead of being upset at losing, says that he still claims some victory, for in Fox, he has found his intellectual equal.


by Juan F. Lara

For some head-busting, limb-tearing fun, here's the episode for you. :-)

I didn't expect to like this episode, as the Pack storyline is my least favorite thread. Eps turn into 22-minute slugfests whenever they show up, as this one did with its long, long fight during Act 3. But the episode had excellent direction and a premise with many interesting elements that made it very entertaining.

I was impressed with the new designs for the Pack. Their imaginative designs allowed the artists to indulge themselves in unsettling imagery. Hyena could swing her legs all the way around, and looked unnerving when she took that spider-like form. I also found Jackal's detachable arms just as creepy. These and similar scenes held my attention.

I likewise loved the direction. The episode looked like an anime action flick, with quick cuts between scenes and close-ups. In a couple of instances the camera cut to a character's perspective. I particularly remembered Bronx's viewpoint in the harrowing last few seconds of Act 1.

But the Pack members maintained distinct personalities throughout the fighting. Hyena carried over her wierd attraction to Coyote from "Leader of the Pack". Wolf and Jackal acted viciously and rashly, ultimately losing because of their carelessness. But the surprise characterization was Dingo. His uneasiness with what the others had done to themselves mimicked how I was feeling about them. Dingo wound up a very sympathetic character, and I won- dered if he'll eventually reform. This episode gave me an increased interest in the Pack from before.

Likewise the ep had the second-in-command subplot. I was really worried that the story would have long instances of annoying bickering between the three. ( At one point Bronx covered his head like a sentient being because of their arguing. ) But fortunately they didn't spend that much time arguing, and Brooklyn naturally gravitated to the leadership role. And Act 3 had that great instance where Brooklyn told Goliath to take care of himself. These instances of characterization were a lot less common than usual, but at least they were there.


The "game" premise was all-style. Xanatos at least tends to have more practical reasons behind his schemes. But the Xanatoses seemed to be playing their game only because they could. But I did like how Fox was characterized.

Coyote's head added to the episode's eery tone. I wondered if someone on the "Gargoyles" staff was a "Maxx" fan. :-)

The Koko animation wasn't as good as in "City of Stone". On occasion a character moved awkwardly, like when Broadway ran on all fours in Act 3. But I still liked their style.

Coyote's video featured outtakes from "The Edge", "Metamorphosis", "Leader of the Pack", and I think "Legion".

Dingo apparently didn't need his helmet, as he rammed through a roof unhurt. :-)


Dingo: I hope you're not planning to eat your catch.
Wolf: Now that I'm in charge I'm not taking any more of your cracks.

Hyena: I find him very attractive.
Jackal: Well that's sicker than usual.

Dingo: What a choice. A robot who thinks he's a human, or a human who's gone to the dogs.

Dingo: A sight better than trading in pieces of your own body like used car parts.
Hyena: What's your problem?
Dingo: I'm a partner in a freak show.

Overall I thought "Upgrade" was an enjoyable episode, albeit a no-brainer. Still, I felt glad that not every episode of "Gargoyles" was like this one.


by Todd Jensen

I rank this as one of the most unsettling episodes of "Gargoyles", thanks to the Pack's transformation. The first time that I saw it, in fact, I attempted for a while to believe that Jackal and Hyena were merely wearing some extremely fancy armor, but soon had to face the facts; they had become cyborgs. I didn't even have that option with Wolf; it was too obvious from the start that he'd become mutated into a wolf-man. The Pack (or three of its members, at any rate; a little over half of the original membership) had sacrificed its humanity in order to further its feud with the gargoyles. While the official reason for the production team's taking this route with them was to make the Pack tougher and harder for the gargoyles to beat, what stood out to me more when I saw this episode was that Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf had become as monstrous on the outside as they were on the inside. (And Jackal and Hyena particularly stood out here, more so than Wolf, in such scenes as Jackal occasionally losing an arm and having to reattach it, or Hyena taking on a more spiderlike form - while wondering aloud if gargoyles taste like chicken.)

By contrast, Dingo, whom I had seen up until then as just another member of the Pack, now began to appeal to me more by the fact that he was as unnerved as I was about his teammates' metamorphosis, and had definitely refused to undergo any bodily alterations (settling for simply the high-tech armor). You can tell as you watch it that he's reconsidering his membership (and indeed, this was the last time in the series that he would be working as a member of the Pack). In fact, he shows this attitude even before their transformations, commenting disgustedly in the opening scene, "So now we're robbing banks".

Coyote is likewise upgraded from a Xanatos-lookalike robot to a robot that can't be mistaken for a human (though still making use of the original Coyote's head until the very end), though this change isn't as shocking, since Coyote wasn't human to begin with. Hyena quickly develops an attachment for it, an attitude so bizarre that even Jackal is disgusted by it. Again, Coyote takes charge of the Pack (ultimately working for Xanatos), and again, winds up thoroughly demolished at the end (this time thanks to a passing train). He also attracts Bronx's particular hostility once again; the gargoyle beast definitely can't seem to stand robots, particularly Coyote ones.

As before, Xanatos isn't actually interested in having the Pack do away with the gargoyles (which isn't too surprising, when you remember that he's more interested in exploiting the clan than destroying it - and the Pack would hardly be the ideal people to employ for the purpose of going after the gargoyles in such a case, given the intense grudge that they have by now); this time, however, his objective is, for once, almost trivial. It transpires at the end that Xanatos and Fox were merely playing a game (Xanatos using the Pack and Fox - on a much more subtle level; her main action being a delightful moment when she delivers a message to the trio via what appears to be a Public Service Announcement - the gargoyles), to see which one could outmaneuver the other, with no more concrete benefit than that. (In another nice touch that gives us an insight into his character, Xanatos isn't upset about losing to Fox, since he sees that as meaning that he's found a true equal in her.) We even see them using chess pieces sculpted into the likeness of their unwitting pawns.

On the gargoyle front, Goliath has to finally choose one of the trio to be his new second-in-command, as a means of arranging for an orderly succession. (He shows his tremendous respect for Hudson once again in initially considering him for the job, but Hudson points out correctly that he's already been leader.) The trio engage in another one of their rivalries a la "Her Brother's Keeper" that becomes so intense that Bronx for once behaves like a more conventional cartoon mascot and places his front paws over his ears to drown out their argument while groaning; fortunately, however, they work as one when finding themselves faced with the task of rescuing Goliath, Elisa, Hudson, and Bronx from the Pack. Brooklyn displays a gift for good strategic decisions that justifies Goliath's choice to make him second-in-command.

"Upgrade" is one of the few "Gargoyles" episodes that feels like more of a simple fight, without the more character-based tone of episodes pitting the gargoyles directly against Xanatos or Demona, but still has its moments.


The image of Talon during Coyote's "sales pitch" uses the character design that was introduced in "The Cage" (which hadn't taken place yet and first aired after "Upgrade"'s first airing) rather than the one from "Metamorphosis". We also get shots of Coldstone, Coyote 1.0 from "Leader of the Pack", and Xanatos in his gargoyle armor from "The Edge".

Officer Morgan is one of the police officers who shows up at the end to arrest the Pack (and jokingly wonders whether they should be taken to "a hospital, a machine shop, or a vet").

At the end of the gargoyles' opening battle with the Pack, Wolf shouts just before fleeing, "This isn't over!" - the same words that Hakon shouted after being initially driven off by the gargoyles in "Awakening Part One". It isn't until "Vendettas", however, that we discover how significant this is.

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