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Ill Met By Moonlight

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





by Juan F. Lara

An O.K. episode, mainly of value for its Miscellaneous Points.

This episode was a prelude to "The Gathering", and had the revelations listed below. So I found the episode interesting just for these facts and for the anticipation it built for the end of the "Mists of Avalon" storyline.

But beyond these continuity points, I didn't find anything in "Ill Met.." that I especially loved or hated.:

Good Points

I liked how Titiana cleverly played with Oberon's affections in the beginning. At first I thought she was just toying with the mortals for her own amusement. But over time she showed that she had a genuine concern for the well being of Goliath's friends. Titiana was one of the more intriguing new characters introduced during the World Tour.

The writers came up with an imaginative weapon to use against Oberon. I didn't guess the nature of the weapon at all.

Bad Points

The story itself was just a long chase scene. The scenes in the lava pit had some breathtaking direction. But apart from them, I found the chase dull.

The good guys addressed Oberon's claims to the fairy homeland only in a brief perfunctory argument. I guess if they spent more time debating his claims the episode could've gotten a lot of tedious preaching. But I still felt that the writers didn't deal with this plotpoint as thoroughly as they should have.

Did Tom decide to spare Oberon at that very moment? I would've expected the good guys to have planned beforehand to use the bell only to put Oberon on the defensive, and ultimately as a bargaining chip in negotiations with him. I didn't like how Tom seemed to jarringly change his mind in that scene.

More Miscellaneous Points

I thought the Travellers always returned to Avalon before reaching their next stop on the World Tour. But they acted like they hadn't been there for a long time.

Did anyone else think that the volcano looked a lot like the lava pit in "The Return of Jafar"?

Elisa: Of course, for him I guess they'd have to be silver bullets.
Katherine: No. Silver be for vampires and weres. For the Children, cold iron will do.

Titiana: In Avalon, Oberon's word is law.
Katherine: Does that mean he's always right?
Titiana: Not while he's married.

Looking forward to the actual Gathering. :-)


by Todd Jensen

It finally happens: Oberon and Titania, alluded to in the series ever since "The Mirror", now appear on-stage, and in so doing, address the issue of why Avalon had been deserted when Princess Katharine, the Magus, Tom, and the eggs took refuge there. Even more importantly, the issue of the continued presence of the Avalon gargoyles is addressed and, to a certain extent, resolved.

Unlike the original battle with the Archmage, where the issues were clearly defined (the Archmage was out to conquer Avalon to serve as a base from which to conquer the rest of the world, and had to be stopped, not only to protect Avalon's residents but also the entire planet), the conflict with Oberon is in a more greyish area. As Ophelia points out, Oberon does have a just cause; Avalon was originally his and the Avalon clan is, technically, trespassing on the island. But Oberon's way of handling the situation leaves much to be desired. He shows no concern for the question of where the expelled Avalon clan would go (while the initial emergency that caused them to flee to Avalon, Constantine's usurpation, is long since over, the outside world is still anything but safe for gargoyles), and (like Odin in "Eye of the Storm") he simply starts making his demands without explaining his side of the story; he makes his appearance and immediately orders the Avalon gargoyles to leave without any attempt at properly introducing himself as the rightful ruler of the island. Between this and his keeping company with the Weird Sisters (who had last appeared as the Archmage's allies), he makes it only too easy for the protagonists to initially mistake him for just another invader, and by the time that he does (in response to Goliath's sensible request as to who he is) reveal his identity, he has lost his patience to the extent that he is ready to order the earth to simply swallow up the entire clan. Again like Odin, Oberon could have saved everyone a lot of trouble by simply talking at the beginning, rather than issuing commands without informing our heroes as to the reason why behind them.

By contrast, Titania displays a more thoughtful and subtle approach towards resolving the situation in a harmonious fashion. She reasons with Oberon, persuading him to face Goliath, Angela, and Gabriel in a sort of trial by combat rather than simply obliterating the clan, and when Oberon is still unwilling to take such an approach, provides the perfect incentive, by offering to remarry him if he succeeds. The plan does its work, for evidently Oberon has genuinely missed Titania's company, in spite of his being the one who divorced her a little over a thousand years before, and her offer provides him with the perfect way of taking her back without having to humble himself by asking for her to return to him. She also provides some subtle but effective clues to Elisa and Princess Katharine on how to actually defeat Oberon, which they make good use of. (Titania also delivers one of the best lines in the episode, and one that illustrates her function on Avalon, when she replies to Katharine's query as to whether Oberon is always right with the words, "Not while he's married.")

And Titania's involvement works all the better for a story where the core conflict is not a conventional good vs. evil one, as had been the case in "Avalon", but one where both sides have legitimate causes that need to be resolved in a harmonious fashion (on the one hand, Avalon belongs to Oberon, who is only asking for his home back; on the other hand, the Avalon clan needs somewhere to live, and Avalon is presently the only safe place for them). Oberon is not destroyed, as was the Archmage, but merely weakened enough for Princess Katharine and Tom to petition him to let them and the gargoyles remain on the island alongside the Third Race. The fact that they do not kill him further impresses Oberon enough (apparently, his sojourn in the human world for the past thousand years had given him little reason to believe that humans could be merciful and forbearing to their adversaries) that he not only grants their request, but also appoints the Avalon clan to the position of his guard of honor, giving the gargoyles an actual place in Avalonian society.

Perhaps the one weak point behind the bell is that it renders the outcome of Oberon's hunt for Goliath, Angela, and Gabriel irrelevant; Oberon defeats the three gargoyles, only to be overwhelmed by the bell anyway. Since much of the episode focuses on this hunt, this becomes almost a letdown. In all fairness, however, the hunt does serve the useful purpose of buying the other protagonists time enough to make the bell, and it allows us to see more of Avalon (including an actual volcano).

Three minor elements are of interest. The first of these concerns the Weird Sisters; while they remain in the background in this story, it is clear that their feud with the Avalon clan is far from over. They watch gloatingly as Oberon orders the ground to swallow up the gargoyles and humans, with facial expressions almost evocative of a tattletaling youngster at school who's just gotten one of his classmates sent to the principal's office. Even more intriguing is their final scene near the end of the episode. Selene (the Weird Sister who most strongly stands for vengeance) seems indignant over the way that events have turned out, but Luna (the Weird Sister who represents fate) silently restrains her. The fact that it is Luna who does the restraining raises some interesting questions over what the Sisters will do next (or would have done next, if the series had lasted long enough to see their next plan unfold). Certainly disposing of the Avalon clan will be far more difficult now that Oberon has taken them under his wing; in particular, they can no longer make their quest for vengeance appear to be merely a sense of duty in disposing of interlopers. But it is nevertheless clear that they are not about to abandon their goals as yet.

The second concerns Titania's explanation to Goliath as to why she had interceded with Oberon on his behalf: she was "repaying an old favor". But as Goliath points out bewilderedly, they had never met before - or so he thinks. Alert viewers who had noticed which other character in "Gargoyles" Kate Mulgrew had voiced prior to "Ill Met By Moonlight" would probably be able to guess at the truth - but this would not be confirmed for two more episodes.

Finally, Elisa openly displays her homesickness for New York for the first time in a long while, expressing her weariness concerning the World Tour. This remark, calling our attention to the longing for the protagonists to return to Manhattan, may very well be a sign that the World Tour is almost at an end, though there is still one more adventure to take place, and that one the darkest of them all....


This episode is filled with Shakespearean references. Not only do Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters all appear on-stage, but Puck is alluded to, and Ophelia receives her name (borrowed, of course, from Hamlet) for the first time. The episode's title itself is a quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene i; appropriately enough, the words are spoken by Oberon to Titania. Oberon says as he prepares to head off after the gargoyles, "The game is afoot", which comes from Henry V's "Once more unto the breach" speech in Henry V, Act III, scene i (though this line is more commonly associated today with Sherlock Holmes, who quotes it at the beginning of "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange"). And to top it off, Goliath comments at the end, "All's well that ends well, then."

While it had been hinted before in the series that Oberon's Children were vulnerable to iron ("The Mirror", "City of Stone", "Avalon", "Cloud Fathers"), this is the first time that it is explicitly made clear to the audience. This concept is not an invention of the series, however, but an actual folklore motif; in the legends of the British Isles, at least, the faerie-folk could be driven off by iron objects.

From the perspective of "faerie-lore", it was also extremely appropriate to make a bell the iron weapon to use against Oberon, since in traditional legend, the faerie-folk feared the sound of bells and would take flight from them. In the original tales about them, this apparently stemmed from the fact that the bells in question were usually church bells and represented the spread of Christianity, overcoming the pagan beliefs that the faeries were connected to; in "Gargoyles", however, the bell's effect upon Oberon stems from the fact that it is made out of iron.

Princess Katharine mentions that vampires and weres are similarly vulnerable to silver. This provides us with the only solid piece of information about vampires in the Gargoyles Universe, although vampires and Dracula were referred to elsewhere in the series ("Awakening Part Three", "The Mirror", and "The Hound of Ulster").

Alert viewers will note that King Arthur was already asleep upon Avalon by the time that Oberon banished the Third Race from Avalon in 995, and might wonder why Oberon did not object to his presence the way that he did to the Avalon clan's. According to Greg Weisman, Oberon agreed to admit Arthur to Avalon because he owed Merlin a favor. (It probably also helped that Arthur would be sleeping in an out-of-the-way place such as the Hollow Hill.)

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