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


by Kieran Dunn


by Adam Cerling

Act I

Elisa, Goliath, Angela and Bronx approach land in a wooden boat, seeking Manhattan after visiting Avalon [cf. Avalon, Part III]. Before they reach the shore, a huge sea monster attacks the boat, overturning it. Elisa is carried away by the waves as the three Gargoyles battle the creature and force it to flee.

Goliath, Angela and Bronx struggle to shore just as dawn approaches. A totem pole standing there baffles them; the carvings look like gargoyles. The three turn to stone at sunrise, and a raven perches atop the totem to regard them.

At a tiny village on the shore, a father prepares to go with his family to the mainland. Grandmother, an old Native American woman, tries to persuade them to stay, but cannot; on the island there is no work, and the environment is dying. The family leaves, and Grandmother turns to Nick, the young village chief, whom she calls "Natsilani." She pleads with him to restore the island to health by climbing its volcano and battling one called Raven. The Harvard-educated scientist Nick will hear nothing of such foolishness. Turning from Grandmother, he sees Elisa lying half-drowned on the shore. He and Grandmother hurry to aid her.

Shortly after sunset, Goliath, Bronx and Angela are greeted by a raven-headed Gargoyle who urges a hasty flight from the shore. Goliath asks him about Elisa. The stranger knows nothing of her, but he reveals that the villagers destroyed most of his clan--the rest are in hiding, emerging only to help protect the village. Goliath, Angela and Bronx follow him to his home. He warns them of a human sorceress called Grandmother who desires to destroy the village; she summoned the sea monster the previous night.

In a house in the village, Nick and Grandmother attend a badly fevered Elisa. Grandmother draws exasperation from Nick as she prepares an herbal remedy for Elisa. Nick withdraws to radio a helicopter to bring Elisa to a hospital.

Act II

The raven-headed gargoyle leads the other three to his clan's refuge inside the volcano. A trio of other gargoyles peer from a cave at the guests; Goliath greets them openly, but they shy back and do not speak. The raven-headed says they are crippled with grief.

In the village, Grandmother uses her herbal medicine on Elisa, who recovers immediately. Grandmother introduces herself and reveals the island to be Queen Florence, off Canada's west coast. Nick, entering the room, is surprised at Elisa's swift recovery. Elisa wants to search for her friends, but Grandmother tells her to get some sleep.

The raven-headed gargoyle and his troupe agree to search the village for Elisa, while Goliath, Angela and Bronx search the island. Angela wonders why the other gargoyles protect the humans after the clan's decimation at their hands. Goliath explains the gargoyle "heritage" to Angela: to protect, no matter how they are treated. The search begins with Bronx leading Angela and Goliath away from the volcano. Once they are gone, the raven-headed one watches his clan shimmer and disappear. He then departs as well.

As Goliath and Angela follow Bronx from the air, Goliath explains perverse human psychology to Angela. Soon Bronx finds Elisa's badge and wallet washed up on the shore, and Goliath takes hope.

Elisa is determined to look for her friends. She asks if a nearby totem pole was inspired by Gargoyles. Grandmother knows about Gargoyles, but says none have ever lived on the island. Nick is hopelessly confused by the conversation. Elisa runs off to search, and Grandmother chides "Natsilani" once again for his refusal to believe in the old ways.

As she runs through the forest, Elisa happens upon a huge brown bear. A raven flies down to the bear and caws at it; it turns to attack Elisa. Bronx arrives just in time to leap to the rescue and drive the bear away. A joyful reunion for Elisa and Goliath and Angela follows. They compare stories: Grandmother says Gargoyles don't live on the island, and the island's Gargoyles say Grandmother is an evil sorceress. Elisa refuses to believe such a thing about Grandmother. The companions set off to speak to the woman.

When the four find Grandmother, she is sitting peacefully in the middle of the forest--but that soon changes. A magical mist shrouds her, and she transforms into a hideous beast: a giant raven with a snarling totem-pole head in the center of its breast.


The beast takes to the air and flies toward the village. Goliath and Angela follow it, while Elisa and Bronx try to keep up on foot. The two Gargoyles engage the beast in aerial combat. The raven-headed gargoyle and his mute clan shortly arrive to help. Elisa, watching from the ground, is convinced these other Gargoyles exist. Angela, however, sees the wing of the beast pass through one of the other Gargoyles; she deduces that they are illusion. The beast flees, and the raven-headed one reports that Elisa was not in the village. Angela interrupts Goliath before he can reveal Elisa's whereabouts; Angela says they failed to find her as well, then persuades the raven-headed one to return with his clan to the volcano. Goliath and Angela land, and Angela tells Goliath what she saw during the battle.

Elisa and Bronx find Grandmother resting against a tree in the woods. The sorceress explains to Elisa that she did not attack her friends--she became the Thunderbird, and the sea monster, to attempt to show Natsilani creatures of legend. Goliath and Angela arrive, and Grandmother reveals the identity of the trickster in these affairs: Raven. She and he are Oberon's children. Sure enough, the raven-headed one is nearby to taunt them. He shifts to the shape of a man. If the "bratty chief," Natsilani, refuses to fight him, the island becomes his. Goliath angrily offers to fight him instead. "You know my address," Raven responds and flies away as a bird. Elisa stops Goliath from following.

Back at the village, Elisa surprises Nick with the Gargoyles. She introduces Nick to them as Natsilani. His disbelief shattered, Natsilani still refuses to fight Raven. He clings to everything he can believe in, and the old ways are not part of that. Goliath gives him up as useless, and they leave him behind.

Goliath and Angela arrive at the volcano to battle Raven, but the trickster refuses--his fight is not with them. Natsilani appears then, on the lip of the volcano, bearing a shield and a long-handled tomahawk. He has changed his heart and will do battle for the sake of his island. Raven is satisfied; he animates three monsters from a totem pole to fight with the Gargoyles, and he shapeshifts into Gargoyle-form to fight Natsilani. The Gargoyles have few problems dispatching the wooden monsters; Bronx even arrives to help. Meanwhile, the magic of Natsilani's weapon aids him in defeating Raven. The trickster flees. Grandmother tells Natsilani he must revive the old ways, lest Raven someday return. Elisa, Goliath and the others make their good-byes to Natsilani, but when Elisa turns to bid farewell to Grandmother, the woman is gone. She sits at the base of the mountain; her hair flows like water, and the health of the island returns.

Goliath, Angela, Bronx and Elisa depart the island in the wooden boat, to try once again for home.


by Juan F. Lara

The round-the-world tour continues in this muddled episode.

Good Points

We learned that the fairies were not restricted to just Scotland. This episode had the interesting premise that fairies might've effected the development of various cultures around the world. This broadening of the scope of the series is the main interesting aspect of sending Goliath and Co. on their world tour. (And after "Monsters", the only interesting aspect...:-( )

Angela showed some cleverness in deceiving Raven when she realized the truth about his "gargoyles". Hopefully Angela prove a useful member of the group in upcoming eps.

Bad Points

The first act looked promising. The Haida people seemed to have a cherished myth about defeating the "evil" Raven, but then Raven alluded to the destruction of his clan by humans. I thought that this discrepency would lead to very dramatic conflicts between the characters. But then the plot went in completely different directions, and I did not like the story that did happen.

Natsilane and Grandmother were one-note characters. Grandmother would speak in platitudes about upholding the ancient ways, and Nick would then answer by dismissing her immediately, like when he said he'll be glad to talk to "someone rational" on the mainland. So Nick came off as a cardboard character and an unsympathetic moron, and Grandmother's pleadings didn't do anything for me. These characters should've gotten personality development to establish their motivations, but instead were used as archetypes.

The creators never explained how the situation between Raven and the Haida people came to be. I came up with my own suppositions about what had happened in the past. But the story's main conflict still seemed arbitrary to me. So I didn't care very much about the outcome.

I didn't much like Raven either. He seemed to be doing a bad impersonation of Mozenrath with his snide remarks and attitude. But he wasn't nearly as appealing as Moze. His wisecracks came off as obnoxious instead of funny.

All through the first half I kept wondering, "Why don't Goliath and Angela seem to notice that these gargoyles had animal heads?" Was there supposed to have been another subspecies of gargoyle that had these animal traits?


Animation by Sun Min. I thought that they did an average job overall, with some nice details such as the sky getting darker when Goliath and Angela first met Raven. But some of their effects animation was lackluster, like the water flowing from Grandmother's hair. I also thought that the facial expressions were too simplistic.

So what did Grandmother do to keep her cover all these centuries. Did she pretend to die, and then reappear later as a young human moving into the village?

Cast: Amentha Dymally played Grandmother, while Gregg Rainwater played Natsilane.


Elisa: Bronx! Boy is it good to see you! Are Goliath and Angela O.K.?.... Heh, right. Like you got an answer.

Raven: What is this? Merit badge test night? Oh, well. Better make sure its an uneven fight.

A dull episode that could've been much better.


by Todd Jensen

Where "Shadows of the Past" looked back into the beginning of the series, "Heritage" (though concerned with ancient traditions in its own way) looks forward. This episode includes the first case of Goliath and his companions, during the World Tour, encountering beings from traditional legend (Grandmother and Raven), setting up a local hero (Natsilane), and even encountering a non-Scottish gargoyle clan (though this last turns out to be all a deception on Raven's part).

"Heritage", admittedly, does not scale the same heights that "Shadows of the Past" did. Much of this probably comes from its "guest star", Natsilane, who is perhaps the most exasperating of the "international heroes" whom Goliath and his friends meet during the World Tour, repeatedly expressing his conviction that Raven is nothing more than a myth, no matter how often Grandmother argues with him about it, in an increasingly monotonous fashion - and then undergoing too swift a change of heart near the end. (I wonder if this episode's placement so early in the World Tour helped prejudice many viewers against the arc.) Still, it has many good moments in it.

When Raven first encounters Goliath, Angela, and Bronx, he masquerades as the leader of a barely-surviving gargoyle clan in hiding, a clan whose appearance shows the strong influence of the totem poles of the Pacific Northwest. His story initially appears convincing (he even claims to share Goliath's belief in protecting the human community, no matter how the humans treat himself and his clan in return), but one detail at the beginning should alert a sharp-eyed viewer to the fact that Raven is lying. When the sun rises, we see a raven perching on the totem pole overlooking Goliath, Angela, and Bronx on the beach below (the same raven that had been flying about overhead during the battle with the sea monster earlier), looking down upon them. When the sun sets, Raven in his gargoyle form has taken its place. Obviously, if Raven had been a genuine gargoyle, he could only have been atop the totem pole at sunset if he had been there at sunrise, to spend his stone sleep there - and the fact that we saw an ordinary raven there instead should arouse our suspicions, warning us that he is not what he appears to be.

Goliath is overjoyed to discover that another clan has apparently survived the vicissitudes of the centuries (before he discovers the truth), and greets Raven's faux-gargoyles warmly. (He is still clearly troubled by the tribulations of his species, so much so that when Grandmother remarks that she is glad to see that gargoyles still thrive, he replies grimly, "We live. We do not thrive." This moment is probably one of the best scenes in the episode.) The occasion also becomes one for him to explain a few things to Angela about being a gargoyle - and the difficulties that beset this race. When Angela puzzledly wonders why the "totem clan" would protect the local humans after so many of its members were slaughtered by them, Goliath explains the importance in gargoyle culture of protecting others - even if the "others" repay the gargoyles with slaughter. (Raven himself comments on this, "I can see that you have lived this truth.") He also explains why it is that humans would treat gargoyles the way that they do, even after being given evidence that most gargoyles live to protect humans from harm, repeating his statement from "Awakening Part One" about how humans fear what they do not understand.

In the meantime, Elisa has been temporarily separated from the gargoyles, and taken in by the local Haida people, tended by Grandmother and Natsilane, and has made friends with the old woman. There she hears their story (which turns out to be the truth), including the fact that totem poles actually have nothing to do with gargoyles. (Which is also true, though the writers still play up the surface similarities, making them part of Raven's deception.) Heading into the forest to find her friends, Elisa quickly receives the hostile attention of Raven, who sends a bear after her; fortunately, Bronx comes to the rescue, driving the bear off. (In one of the most entertaining scenes ever featuring the gargoyle beast, the final part of the fight takes place in a bush before the bear runs off, after which Bronx sticks his face out from amid the leaves, looking distinctly pleased with himself.) Elisa is reunited with the gargoyles almost immediately afterwards, hugging Goliath in a very moving moment. From there, the protagonists compare notes on the conflicting accounts of what is going on in Queen Florence Island and uncover the truth at last involving Grandmother and Raven, leading up to the conclusion with Raven's expulsion and the restoration of the island.

As I mentioned above, Natsilane's characterization somewhat weakens the episode, but it is satisfying in many other ways. Raven makes a good trickster-villain particularly after his true nature is revealed; as typical with tricksters, he gets a lot of the best lines, such as "What is this, Merit Badge Night? Oh, well, better make sure it's an uneven fight" or his "sour grapes" line after his defeat of "This place no longer amuses me." (He displays his trickster attitude all the more in his explanation about how he wanted to gain control of Queen Florence Island without having to fight Natsilane over it - "It's so messy", he comments disdainfully.) Grandmother also works well as a kindly mentor-figure (with a particularly nice touch at the end where, as she undoes the ravages that Raven inflicted upon the island, her braids turn into waterfalls spilling onto the ground and rejuvenating it). And we see more of Goliath's "Gargoyle Credo" and a glimpse of his and Elisa's strong feelings for each other. (Even Natsilane makes a brief contribution of his own, in the form of the expression on his face when Grandmother explains how she healed Elisa with tree roots and bark - probably the funniest visual moment in the episode, alongside Bronx's smug grin after defeating the bear.)

"Heritage" is also of note in expanding the borders of "Gargoyles" in another way. Hitherto, the gargoyles' background, and even that of the other fantastic beings that they interacted with, had been drawn almost exclusively from medieval Europe, primarily Scotland. Now we saw an indication (even if a false lead) that there had been gargoyles outside of Europe (we would later on come upon the genuine article in non-Western settings, when "The Green" and "Bushido" aired), and learned also that Oberon's Children were not restricted to European legend and folklore. It was a sign of things to come.


Elisa quotes the famous line from Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth...." - bringing yet another piece of Shakespeare into "Gargoyles".

Raven's lies would later on be converted into truth, according to Greg Weisman; at the beginning of his projected sequel series, "Gargoyles 2198", a new clan would be founded at Queen Florence Island. That same series would also include among its major characters a descendant of Natsilane (who would also be related to the Mazas, though just when the two families intermarried has not yet been revealed).

Raven refers to Grandmother as his cousin; this is a (much-neglected, alas) sign that the title "Oberon's Children" for the Third Race should not be interpreted literally.

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