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The New Olympians

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



by dph of rules

Recap: Young Tom meets the trio, Goliath & Demona enter Princess's Katherine's dining hall, Goliath saves Brandon and Margot from from hoodlums

The travellers are in the middle of a body of water, wondering where in heck they are. Angela, suddenly, spots a shield. The travellers pass through it and discover an island. They put the skiff on shore and hear a noise. Elisa suggests that the gargoyles hide out of site out of concern for how the locals will react, so the gargoyles do. Three flying chariots appear and the operators are non-humans who arrest Elisa for trespassing. This action causes the gargoyles to come out of hiding, and Helios, the one with flaming hair, proceeds to attack until Taurus, the one looking like a bull, stops him. Taurus takes Elisa with him and lets the gargoyles go, telling the gargoyles that he is taking her to the senate house to be judged. The gargoyles are free to come.

An obvious mob has come to the senate house. The gargoyles are waiting to see the leader of the NOs Boreas, who looks like an angel. Boreas enters and introduces himself. Taurus proceeds to enter from a different area with Helios and Kiron, who looks like a half-man and half-horse, escorts Elisa into the chamber. Goliath proceeds to defend Elisa. Ekinda, a snake-like being, states the history of New Olympus. Thousands of years ago, New Olympians lived among humans, but they were persecuted because of their looks, so they fled into hiding, thus creating the kingdom of New Olympus. As a result, they don't trust humans. Goliath further defends Elisa saying that she has kept the Gargoyle's secret and she can keep the secret of New Olympus as well. Ekinda doesn't believe Goliath. Boreas states that he can not take the risk of Elisa revealing New Olympus. Boreas asks for Taurus's advice. Taurus restates the story of the Minotaur, one of his ancestors, and states he believes humans are dangerous. Boreas has to quieten the mob with his lightning rod and states Elisa's sentence: she is quarantined to the island, but the gargoyles can leave.

Angela asks why they tolerate the situation and Goliath responds that he can't make war on an entires city. Elisa comments how impressive the city is. A riot breaks out after the gargoyles lose their patience with the name calling of Elisa. (Helios starts the name-calling; Kiron starts the violence by shoving Goliath.) Taurus stops the riot and takes Elisa inside the jail. Walking inside the jail, Elisa meets Proteus, an evil New Olympian. In Proteus's previous attempt to leave the island, he killed the previous security chief, Taurus's father. Elisa comments that Taurus and she might have more in common than Taurus realizes. Outside of the jail, the riot restarts with Helios throwing a fireball into Elisa's cell while Taurus is walking on his way out. Taurus stops the riot by threatening to lock everyone away and tells Helios to control himself or Helios will lose his job.

Goliath, Angela, and Bronx meet Boreas in the Park to discuss Angela's predictament. Boreas agrees with Taurus's decision and Goliath thanks Boreas for his time. Goliath sends Angela and Bronx away to prepare the skiff for immediate departure. Goliath heads to the jail to free Elisa. He sneaks up behind Kiron and knocks him out. Goliath walks into the jail and spots Proteus, disguised as Elisa. Proteus tells Goliath how to release the forcefield around his cell and Goliath does so. Then Proteus knocks Goliath out and reactives the forcefield in the cell, locking Goliath inside. The noise was alerted Elisa and she looks inside the jail and spots Proteus, disguised as Goliath outside her cell with the real Goliath trapped inside Proteus's cell. Proteus unlocks the door to Elisa's cell and knocks a hole through the exterior wall of Elisa's cell and they leave.

Helios reports to Taurus that the big gargoyle ambushed Kiron, freed Elisa, and they escaped from the jail. Taurus retorts that nobody escapes from his jail. Proteus and Elisa continue their escape through the city. Kiron heads to the skiff to keep anybody from leaving. He manages to keep Angela and Bronx busy occupied long enough for the sun to rise and Angela and Bronx turn to stone. Meanwhile, Elisa and Proteus are still trying to leave the city. Elisa notices the sun has risen and Proteus, disguised as Goliath, hasn't turned to stone. Proteus passes it off as an effect of the island's cloaking device. Proteus tells Elisa to head to the boat and he'll make a diversion to escape. Elisa asks what kind of diversion and Proteus replies that he'll overload the island's power source. Elisa and Proteus split up. Elisa knocks Helios off a flying chariot to tell him that Proteus has escaped and is disguised as Goliath. Helios asks why Elisa had to knock him off to tell him that and Elisa responds that if she had told him that, would he have responded. Helios responds no and proceeds to fight Elisa. Elisa knocks Helios out and grabs his flying chariot and takes off with it.

Proteus, disguised as Taurus, heads to the top of the tower to overload the island's power system. Talos catches on to Proteus's meddling and asks him to step aside. Talos starts to undo Proteus's meddling when Proteus changes forms, knocks a hole from Talos's chest, and then throws Talos off the tower. Meanwhile, Elisa gets Taurus to chase her and she leads him to the top of the tower. Proteus spots Elisa heading towards the top of the tower and reassumes the form of Goliath. Elisa jumps off the flying chariot onto the top of the tower. Elisa tells him that she knows he is Proteus. Taurus lands on the top of the tower and captures Elisa. Elisa tells him that's not Goliath up there because Goliath would be stone by now and not trying to destroy the city's power source. Taurus figures out that it's Proteus and they proceed to fight. Taurus manages to capture Proteus and stop the island's power source from exploding. Then Taurus frees Elisa and compliments her for helping save the island when she could have escaped. Boreas and Taurus let Elisa and the gargoyles leave New Olympus commenting that the world will have to face New Olympus soon enough.


by Juan F. Lara

Wednesday is baloney day on "Gargoyles". :-)

IMHO, "Gargoyles" has done a good job consistently fitting magic, science fiction and legends into the series's reality. But the New Olympians and their fantastic city just had no credibility at all. The ancestors of the New Olympians were featured in Greek myths. And the NO's asserted that they were hunted down by humans because they "looked different". But beyond this the episode provided no explanation as to what exactly this extremely diverse race of super beings were. What WERE these people? Mutants? :-)

Actually, that was the only plausible explanation that I could come up with. And their laments about their persecution by humans sounded too much like the "X-Men" premise. (I was also reminded of a Marvel Comic titled "The Inhumans".) So the New Olympians came off as a cheesy knock-off.

"Aladdin" had a horrible episode titled "The Animal Kingdom", where Aladdin discovered a secret kingdom of sentient animals who blamed him for past evils caused by humans. "The New Olympians" had the exact same premise, and the same problems. Except maybe for Taurus the NO's were one-dimensional and unsympathetic. Also, Elisa was put in a simple-minded role reversal, being persecuted by the persecuted race. I cringed during the scene when the mob of NO's ganged up on her, particularly when Helios complained about her "smell".

Later into it, the story introduced the villain Proteus, and I figured out how Elisa would prove herself to the NO's in the end. Proteus himself didn't do anything for me at all. "Gargoyles" already had a psychotic killer that likes to mock people (Jackal). So Proteus seemed like nothing new, and was very unlikeable.

BTW: So why did Proteus trap Goliath to take his place when he could've stayed as Elisa until he escaped?

"The time may soon come when the world will have to face...the New Olympians." (Yeek. Is that a threat? :-)

They should've reran "Sanctuary" as a Valentine's Day special instead....


by Todd Jensen

This episode is built around a particularly engaging concept: a secret civilization composed of the descendants of the fantastic beings of classical mythology (minotaurs, centaurs, etc.). The notion of the New Olympians, unfortunately, overshadows the actual story about Elisa having to deal with their anti-human prejudice, but this episode still has some fun moments.

When our protagonists arrive at New Olympus, Elisa immediately finds herself under arrest by its inhabitants and placed on trial for the crimes of her race against the New Olympians' ancestors over three thousand years before (such as Theseus slaying the original Minotaur). While ostensibly a reversal of the human-gargoyle prejudice found elsewhere in the series, in another way, it parallels more closely the bitterness that many gargoyles in the series felt towards humans, especially Demona; there is the same attitude of hating the human race for the actions of a few humans long before, the fear of betrayal, and the memory of being hated and hunted down just for looking like monsters. (Ekidne, in particular, practically appears to be channelling Demona in her blazing red eyes and her cry of "Treacherous human!") As far as can be told, the New Olympians all seem to share this attitude, though some of them display it worse than others. While Ekidne, Kiron, and Helios show outright hostility towards Elisa, Boreas, the New Olympians' leader, seems readier to make an effort to reach out to Elisa - but is unwilling to give her permission to leave the island out of the fear that she might share the New Olympians' secret with her fellow humans. The most calm and impartial of the lot is Talos the robot (being a robot, he obviously would be free from xenophobia), who argues for coming to terms with Elisa - though, being a robot, his argument is based on the cold-blooded premise that, since human technology will soon be able to pierce New Olympus's cloaking device, isolationism is no longer a viable strategy.

With the New Olympians introduced, the episode now narrows the focus down on two particular members of the species: Taurus and Proteus. Proteus, the villain of the story, doesn't seem as prejudiced against humans as his fellow New Olympians, but it's not out of wisdom or broad-mindedness; rather, it apparently comes from the fact that he's merely interested in sowing havoc and destruction for his own entertainment, and it doesn't matter to him whether the people on the receiving end of his schemes are New Olympians or humans. Taurus, on the other hand, undertakes a journey (or the beginning of it, at least) in his reappraisal of the human race. While having strong reasons to hate humans (as in the memory of his ancestor's fate at Theseus's hands), and clearly prejudiced enough that his idea of solving the street brawl between the New Olympians and the gargoyles is to lock up Elisa (summing it up with his comment, "I don't care who started [the fight]; I know who caused it."), he still displays a certain fairness towards her. He is willing to explain to her about who Proteus is and his past evil deeds (including the murder of Taurus's father), and quickly breaks up the riot outside Elisa's cell. (His behavior here contrasts favorably with that of Helios and Kiron, who, despite being members of New Olympus's police force, proceed to take part in the riot rather than stopping it - truly disgraceful behavior!) When Elisa leads him to Proteus at the Columnadium, he arrests her at once, but listens to her when she points out to him that "Goliath" isn't who he appears to be; afterwards, he admits that Elisa, who chose to save New Olympus by helping to foil Proteus rather than to escape, is not "like the humans of legend". He may not have completely changed his attitude towards humans, but he is moving closer to that point.

Proteus is a conventional villain by comparison, but an entertaining one (with a fine job by the late Roddy McDowell). He clearly enjoys his deceitful schemings, with actions ranging from taunting Taurus in the form of his old father to commenting with a sly smile, when Talos points out that his tampering with the controls is threatening to destroy New Olympus, "Now why would I go and do a thing like that?" His one weak spot is that, while he gets the physical appearance of the people whom he impersonates down pat, he is less successful in capturing their character traits. (Note the three mistakes that he makes while appearing to be Goliath. First, he asks, "Who's that guy?" - a remark far too informal for Goliath's speech patterns. Second, he comes up with a very weak lie when explaining why he isn't turning to stone in the daytime, suggesting that the cloaking device is screening out the sunlight; this wouldn't actually make any difference, since it's a biological clock that turns gargoyles to stone rather than sunlight. And, of course, to crown it all, the real Goliath, no matter how outraged he might be over how the New Olympians were treating Elisa, would never attempt to blow them all up in return.)

There are a couple of other nice moments here. Among my favorites are two more scenes involving Elisa. One is when, after learning about the fate of Taurus's father, she finds herself empathizing with him all the more (even if he is her jailer), as she thinks over how she would respond if her own father was killed in the line of duty. The other is her encounter with Helios in Act III when she warns him about Proteus masquerading as Goliath:

HELIOS: And you had to attack me to tell me that?
ELISA: Would you have listened if I'd just called you over?
HELIOS: Frankly, no!

The outcome of the story is predictable, and the New Olympians are so hopelessly bigoted that it's easy to see why many Gargoyles fans have found them an unsympathetic lot; one can't help but suspect that many members of the audience might not have been so inclined to go into mourning if Proteus had succeeded in blowing New Olympus up (so long as Elisa, Goliath, Angela and Bronx had been able to escape the explosion). But it provides some good characterization for Taurus and Proteus, and a few memorable moments, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more of the New Olympians to come (though I hope that a few of them, at least, have learned something from Elisa's visit).


The New Olympians were projected to have their own spin-off, like King Arthur and Griff in "Pendragon". In it, a young man named Terry Chung would be shipwrecked on New Olympus while sailing around the world by himself, and his arrival would serve as the catalyst for the New Olympians deciding to announce themselves to the world, in the form of Taurus, Talos, and a young female New Olympian named Sphinx (based roughly on the Sphinx of Greek mythology, though with a more humanoid build) travelling to the United Nations Building in Terry's company to present their credentials to an astonished humanity. The series would have focused from there on the impact of the New Olympians' revealing themselves, including further schemes from Proteus, Xanatos entering into trading relations with New Olympus for his own benefit, an attempt by a New Olympian named Jove and his followers to make the humans worship the New Olympians as gods once more (just as they had done in ancient times), and a "Romeo and Juliet"-type relationship between Terry and Sphinx. (The concept of the spin-off was originally developed by Bob Kline even before "Gargoyles" was proposed, and imported into "Gargoyles" with a few minor tweaks to make it fit it in better with the series' universe.)

The individual New Olympians in this episode are all based on figures in Greek mythology, and even named after them. To provide a brief summary:

Boreas was named after the god of the north wind. His depiction as a winged human was inspired by the fact that, in Greek myth, Boreas had two half-human sons named Calais and Zetes who bore wings (they were among the crew of the Argo during the Quest of the Golden Fleece, and distinguished themselves in battling the harpies that were plaguing old King Phineus); Calais and Zetes, incidentally, would have had namesake counterparts in the projected spin-off.
Ekidne's name was derived from Echidna, who looked like a beautiful woman from the waist up, a serpent from the waist down, and was the mate of the monstrous Typhon, bearing him many equally monstrous children, including the Nemean Lion, the Lernean Hydra, Cerberus, the Chimera, and the Sphinx. Since Ekidne was to have a daughter named Medusa in the spin-off, it appears that the production team had decided to associate her as much with the Gorgons as with Echidna.
The original Helios was the god of the sun in Greek myth (Apollo assumed this function only very late in classical times).
Kiron was named after Chiron, a wise old centaur who lived on Mount Pelion and served as a teacher for many of the great heroes of Greek mythology during their youth, such as Jason and Achilles. (Judging from his serious prejudice towards humans and his willingness to take part in the riot, Kiron clearly lacks the wisdom of his namesake ancestor.)
The original Proteus was a shape-shifting sea-god, though more benevolent than his namesake on New Olympus. In Book Four of Homer's Odyssey, King Menelaus of Sparta recounts the story of how he encountered Proteus when he was becalmed on his way home from the Trojan War off the coast of Egypt, and had to defeat him in a wrestling match (Proteus assuming every form that he could think of to make it difficult for Menelaus) in order to find out how to finally get back home to Greece. The treacherous nature of the Proteus of "Gargoyles" might have been influenced by the tendency in literature since then to associate the mythical Proteus with similar traits (cf. the Proteus of Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, a thoroughly two-faced fellow who sells out his best friend Valentine without a qualm of conscience and abandons his girl-friend Julia to woo Valentine's love, Silvia).
Talos is the only New Olympian to be an actual survivor from Greek mythology, rather than a mere namesake descendant. In the Greek myths, Talos was a robot made of living bronze, built by the master-inventor Daedalus and presented to King Minos of Crete to defend his island kingdom from invaders; Talos would patrol the Cretan shore and throw rocks at any enemy ships approaching to sink them (afterwards heating himself up to burn to death any survivors that made it to shore). He was finally destroyed by the sorceress Medea, who took advantage of his one weak spot, a plug in the back of his ankle which, when removed, caused his vital fluids to spill out (evocative of Achilles' heel). Apparently, in the Gargoyles Universe, Talos was rebuilt after this fatal encounter with Medea (not for the last time, obviously; the fact that he would appear in the spin-off indicates that he would have to be repaired after being smashed by Proteus) and decided to join the New Olympians in their withdrawal from the outside world. So far, there is no indication as to whether Talos can still heat himself up. (Talos has also made an appearance in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, where he served as squire to Sir Artegal, the Knight of Justice.)
A descendant of the Minotaur, and a bull-headed man like his famous ancestor, Taurus was named after the Greek word for "bull" (borne also by one of the constellations in the Zodiac, representing Zeus in bull-form carrying Europa away to Crete).

The New Olympians recognize Goliath, Angela, and Bronx as gargoyles at once and are well-disposed towards them. According to Greg Weisman, there is an actual gargoyle clan on New Olympus (but one which apparently didn't bother showing up to greet the visitors).

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