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



by Laura Ackerman

The Legend begins around 400 years ago. The Jewish community was in constant threat of massacrees and/or blood libels. The chief Rabbi was the MaHaRa"L of Prague, he was a great scholar in both jewish law and mysticism. He created the Golem to protect the community. All the versions of the legend I have heard describe the Golem as without mind or will, but of normal, albeit very strong, human form. [Even if it were less than human in appearence, there is no way medieval jewery would creat a statue wearing so little clothing:] At some point the golem was deemed no longer needed, or a danger (I forget that part), and the Maharal deactivated [for lack of a better word] it. It was placed in the attice of the Altnue shul, and a ban was placed on anyone ever entering the room. [The building doesn't seem to have an attic but a secret entrance would fit the story well.] After several years, [centuries?], another Rav went up the stairs but did not actually enter the room, he claimed that the golem still sat in the attic, waiting for a time it will be needed again. There are other Golem stories in folklore and mysticsm, but this is the most famous.

I'm sorry this is so long, but two major problems:

Lost Kabalistic spells that require years of study and devotion, should not be as simple as saying what you want to happen in Hebrew. [And some of those accents, sheesh. Some decent. Not as bad as the prayer shawls/scarves. After being so careful to reproduce the Synoguage- two actually if you count Angela rolling off the Hauch Shul roof next door, they should have been able to draw a simple 'Talit'.]

The Golem was made to protect the Jewish community of Prauge. The idea that it would lie dormant while tens of thousands of its charges were murdered, and be reactivated to fight the mob is a bit insulting.

[A bit of a downer, I'm sorry, but if they are willing to depict a pagrom, if they think children are mature enough to handle topics of hatred, the victims deserve to be acknowleged, or at least remembered.]


by Leigh Ann Hussey

Act I

"Previously on GARGOYLES" shows clips from Outfoxed. Police cars chase a red sportscar through cobblestone streets. The pursued driver escapes over the side of a bridge onto a power boat, which narrowly misses the little boat from Avalon. Goliath catches a glimpse of Reynard on board. He parks them under the bridge and flies after Reynard on the chance the magnate can help them get home. Bronx and Angela wait on the bridge tower while Elisa goes to find out where they are. She runs into a young man in the street, who tells her that New York is a long way from Prague. He goes into a building and she tries to follow him, to find a phone, but whoever's manning the peep-hole slams it shut without letting her in or saying a word. She walks away muttering that Prague is about as friendly as NY.

Inside, the young man explains to the older man who let him in that she was just a lost tourist, not one of Brod's people. The old man hands him a tallis (Jewish prayer shawl), which he puts on, even as he says it isn't going to work. "But Rabbi Loew is your ancestor. He spoke to you," the old man tells him "In a dream!" the young man, Max Loew, protests. "he told me the sacred words to write in a dream." "So write the old man says reasonably. "To the mystics, dreams are more powerful than waking thoughts," he continues. "It is your destiny. You are the chosen one." "Which doesn't leave me any choice," Max sighs as he sits down and starts to work.

On a dock beside a warehouse, a deal is just concluding between the sportscar driver (who turns out to be the "Brod" spoken of) and Reynard via Vogel. Brod gets a hovership; Reynard gets "the item specified." Brod and his goons take off and Vogel goes into the warehouse. Goliath follows and tries to get Reynard to help him. But Reynard is changed, weaker and harsher. He blows Goliath off in a hot instant.

Max finishes writing, saying, "It takes a powerful will to summon the Golem." "Then find the will," the old man urges him as he slides a bookcase away from a hidden staircase entrance. "Brod must be stopped." "But," Max objects, "the Golem hasn't opened its eyes for over four hundred years!"

Flashback to the same synagogue, Prague, 1580. Houses are on fire, old men and women with children are attacked by thugs, and inside the synagogue, Rabbi Judah Loew recites the Hebrew invocation that will give life to the stone creature he has created to save the persecuted Jews of Prague: the Golem.

Synopsist's note: the invocation reads something like: Tum u l'chayim ti kaneis b' chokhmah; v'nefesh chayim tihiye be guf shel adamah. Words I can pick out, given my limited knowledge of Hebrew are: chokhmah = wisdom; nefesh chayim = breath of life; adamah = earth/clay.

Max comes out of his flashback with a shake of his head. "What if it doesn't like me?" The old man favors him with a brief, patient smile, then pushes him gently up the stares to the upper room, where the huge stone creature sits dormant.

Act II

Max lights a candle and begins to speak the invocation as the hovership arrives overhead. As the Golem's mouth opens to receive the folded parchment on which Max wrote the sacred words, a hole opens in the wall and Brod and his goons rush in to steal the Golem. On the bridge tower, Goliath arrives, saying that something has changed Reynard. Angela poins out the hovership, which Goliath recognizes, and they see the Golem being hoisted away. They fly to investigate while Bronx walks down the tower wall. Meanwhile, Elisa, pacing the streets, hears gunfire and looks up to see Brod and company firing on the gargoyles. Bronx charges past her and together they hustle to the synagogue. Despite their efforts, though, Brod and his men get away with the Golem and the parchment Max made.

Max explains to Elisa and the gargoyles about the Golem, saying that the spell had been lost for 400 years and the Golem sat safe in that room until tonight, only to be stolen by Brod; and Brod and his mob are the reason Prague needs the Golem now. Max is despairing; Elisa tries to cheer him up, and Goliath flies off to confront "someone I thought I knew" -- Reynard.

In the dockside warehouse, Reynard, in a circle of candles with the Golem, orders the tallis-clad Vogel to proceed. Goliath interrupts, demanding to know what has happened to Reynard's integrity. "Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford," Reynard tells him, indicating the progress of his debilitating illness. Reynard plans to use an incantation to transfer his soul into the Golem's body. "What you're doing is wrong!" Goliath says. "I don't recall asking for your opinion," Reynard retorts, training one of his chair-mounted guns on Goliath. Vogel mispronounces his way through the Hebrew; even so, the Golem opens its mouth and Vogel puts the parchment inside. Reynard speaks the transfer incantation: "Nah le havi nafshi le guf ha adamah," before collapsing; the Golem's eyes alight as it wakes, and it speaks with Reynard's voice. Goliath urges him to turn back, but the Golem seizes him in a crushing grip, saying, "It is too late to turn back."


"I will not be deprived of life!" Reynard/Golem exclaims, throwing Goliath aside. It steps out into the night, wreaking havoc as it goes, having directed Vogel to guard the now lifeless body.

Presently, the others, waiting in the synagogue for Goliath, hear crashing from below and run to investigate; it is the Reynard/Golem, trashing the library to prevent the possibility of any spell being found that might banish him from the clay body. "The Golem is possessed!" the old man exclaims. (note: cf. dybbuk) It aggressively fends off an attack by Angela, and Elisa accuses it of enjoying the damage it's causing. "You don't understand -- it's not my fault; I had no choice," it says.

"There is always a choice!" Max cries. "The Golem depends on me to guide him wisely!" "Then you'll guide us out of here," it says, hoisting him by the shirtfront and leaving. Just then, Goliath lands and urges him once more to stop. "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit!" It tosses Max aside to attack Goliath, pinning him against a wall and saying, "How can you judge me? Your body has not betrayed you."

"Our judgements do not matter," Max says. "You must be able to live with yourself." "And if I can't?" it demands. "Accept my fate? Quietly wither away to nothing?" Goliath presses, "My friend, is this a better destiny? Giving up all you believe in for a piece of clay?" The Reynard/Golem considers a moment, then lets Goliath go. "What have I become?" it murmurs.

Back at the warehouse, Reynard opens his eyes in his own body. "Welcome back, Mr. Reynard," Vogel says. As Goliath assures Reynard that he doesn't face the future alone, Reynard asks Max what he will do now. "Make a choice," Max answers. "Face my destiny. Reclaim our home."

At some sort of construction installation that happens to have weapons in it, Brod gloats over the high-tech guns he and the men are looting, saying, "Even the army won't be able to stop us now." A heavy noise alerts him and he looks up to see Max, who orders him to surrender. "You are becoming a nuisance," Brod says, and raises his automatic rifle to shoot, but the Golem steps into the line of fire and Brod quickly discovers his bullets have no effect. Goliath and Elisa make short work of his henchmen, and as Brod attempts to escape in the hovership, the Golem grabs it and flings it to earth, then breaks into the ship and grabs Brod, carrying him to the edge of a big pit. Max quickly stops it from dropping Brod to his death, saying, "You must follow the words of our ancestors: 'Love justice and do mercy.'" It turns back and together they return to where Elisa and Goliath are tying up the goons. "Your city is in capable hands," says Goliath. "And you get used to the weirdness," Elisa assures Max.

On the bridge, Reynard thanks Goliath for saving his soul, and offers to transport them all back to New York. Goliath demurs, saying that he has his own destiny to face -- fate has guided them to every stop on their journey, and he must see it through. Elisa likewise turns down Goliath's suggestion that she go with Reynard, saying she's got some vacation time and that Goliath and the others would be lost without her.

"Let's go home, Mr. Vogel, I'm tired," Reynard says as the wanderers turn away. "It has been an adventure, sir." The sun rises as Max and the Golem look out over Prague from the synagogue roof.


by Juan F. Lara

The group visited Prague in a so-so episode.

Good Points

I found Max Loew an appealing character. He felt very unsure that he could handle his responsibility. But he never let that uneasiness stop him from fulfilling his destiny. So I could sympathize with him when he nervously went upstairs to revive the Golem, and when he felt bad about Bod stealing the Golem. This episode worked better than "Heritage" because it had a much more interesting guest character as its focus.

I was very impressed with the depiction of the pogrom. These scenes had a strong impact, possibly because the creators showed the attackers' faces and had them beat people with their fists and blunt objects. I also liked the analogies Max Loew made between the attackers and Bod's criminal gang.

Bad Points

At the halfway point, the episode switched the focus on Renard's difficulty with dealing with his own mortality, which I didn't find anywhere as compelling as Max Loew's conflicts. The story didn't build up to Renard's change of heart very well. The premise reminded me of a character considering suicide but being talked out of it by one's friends, and so seemed old-hat. Renard should've gotten unwillingly involved with the Golems duties to protect and the other characters should've emphasized more that Renard's real crime was robbing the Golem from the community.

The episode also had a status-quo ending atypical for "Gargoyles". Renard's life was pretty much unchanged from how it was at the start of the episode. Also, Bod and his flunkies are all caught in Act 3. Bod should've escaped with the hovercraft, to make the point that Max Loew and the Golem will have an ongoing battle to protect the city. Also, Renard would then have to atone for giving the craft to Bod.

I didn't like Bod. He was too much like a James Bond villain. And Clancy Brown's accent was comical. :-)

DYN: Bod had a machine gun that he used against Goliath and Angela while on the rope-ladder. But when Goliath gets into the hatch, Bod used a stun gun. Talk about lucky breaks. :-)

I had been wondering why the group hadn't yet turned to CyberBiotics to try to get help from Renard. So my first reaction to their turning down Renard's offer was to pull all my hair out. :-} But I later saw Goliath's point that they had responsibilities given to them by fate. But I hope that at least Elisa remembered to ask Renard to straighten things out with her job and folks, and to give them some money, and to give her a chance to bathe. :-)


I have to confess that I know nothing about the Golem legend. Could someone please fill me in?

Nice to see WD-Japanimation again. :-) At times, though, character movement seemed halting and mechanical. Also, Bronx once walked down a wall, and he looked like he wasn't being affected by gravity.

No explanation was given about why Vogel still worked for Renard.

Cast: Scott Weil played Max Loew, and Victor Brandt played Rabbi Loew and Janus.


Max: ...What if it doesn't like me?

Goliath: Your city is in capable hands.
Elisa: And you get used to the wierdness.

I had several problems with this episode, but I felt that it worked much better than "Heritage" and "Monsters".


by Todd Jensen

"Golem" is a landmark episode in the Avalon World Tour; Goliath now realizes at last that there is a reason why he and his friends have, every time they left Avalon, found themselves somewhere other than New York, and that they must now accept their mission. I'm glad that he came to this realization; both Tom's cry of "Avalon sends you where you need to be!" and the fact that the three previous World Tour adventures had all accomplished some good (freeing the Captain's ghost, persuading Natsilane to face Raven, rescuing the Loch Ness Monsters) had made this obvious to the audience, and Goliath would have begun to seem like a fool if he had not figured it out soon. Thereafter, the protagonists focus on fulfilling the missions that Avalon has sent them on (even if they continue to hope that they will return to Manhattan in the end - which comes most strongly to the surface in "Ill Met By Moonlight" and "Future Tense") rather than on getting home.

The story itself is a sequel to "Outfoxed", with the situation reversed. Halcyon Renard, increasingly ailing now, decides in desperation to save himself by capturing the Golem of Prague and using a spell to transfer his consciousness into it. Now it is Goliath who has to reach out to Renard, who has let his newfound power go to his head and is roaming about Prague, leaving a trail of destruction behind him. (In a particularly nice piece of voice acting, Robert Culp gives Renard's voice, while it is in the Golem's body, a much more forceful and vigorous quality in contrast to his "nearly-exhausted" tone in Renard's body.) Fortunately, with the help of Max Loew, the Golem's new guardian, he is able to reach his old friend. While Goliath and Max do seem to persuade Renard that he is doing the wrong thing a little too quickly, they do have the advantage that Renard knows, deep down inside, that what he's doing is wrong. (This becomes particularly clear when the protagonists confront him in the synagogue library, and Renard starts backing down, his voice almost panicky as he protests that it isn't his fault - words that are the antithesis of his personal creed.)

The Golem introduces another "gargoyle parallel", like the totem poles in "Heritage", though its function is far more "gargoyle-ish" as a protector. For that matter, Max Loew serves as another young man called on to become a hero, like Natsilane, though he is, fortunately, far less exasperating than Natsilane; despite his doubts about whether he's up to his mission, he accepts it readily enough and takes it seriously. He displays his courage and resolution in standing up to Renard in the Golem's body, even when the latter shouts at him to get out of the way, saying "The Golem depends on me to guide him wisely", and in stopping the Golem from killing Brod. We can rest assured by the end of the episode that the Golem is in good hands.

Tomas Brod, the nominal antagonist of the episode, is overshadowed by contrast (indeed, the real threat comes from Renard's temptation and his temporary yielding to it), but comes across as suitably menacing. (As Greg Weisman once commented, he shows his cleverness in choosing, for his payment, not money but the hovercraft that Renard had loaned him for the job of stealing the Golem.) He is one of the few new characters introduced during the World Tour to appear in the episodes following its conclusion; we'll see more of him in "Turf", where his role is more prominent.

Preston Vogel is shown working for Renard again; evidently the two of them had reconciled since the ending of "Outfoxed" (thanks to Goliath's words, no doubt).

"Golem" makes a good World Tour story - not as great as "Shadows of the Past", but an enjoyable one, and with a fine return from Renard.


"Golem" is the only episode containing a flashback scene not connected to the series mythology or the lives of its characters; the flashback here is a simple dramatization of Rabbi Loew's original activation of the Golem in 16th century Prague, a simple adaptation of the original tale without any changes to accomodate "Gargoyles" elements into it (unlike the way that, say, "City of Stone" handled Macbeth's story). Probably the production team feared that most of the audience would not be familiar enough with the legends pertaining to the Golem and included this sequence to help fill them in - though it's also possible that it was meant to pad the episode out enough to have it run full-length (like the clips in "Outfoxed" and "The Cage").

When Max Loew orders the Golem to spare Brod's life, he mentions "the words of our ancestors: 'Love justice, and do mercy.'" These words are not an exact Old Testament quote, but a close parallel to them appears in Micah 6:8: "and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

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