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The Gathering, Part I

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



by Adam Cerling

Act I

It is the night of the Gathering, and Children of Oberon file into the castle on Avalon to be greeted by Oberon [cf. Ill met by Moonlight]. Just as Odin [cf. Eye of the Storm] presents himself to his lord, the Weird Sisters appear, holding the struggling Banshee [cf. The Hound of Ulster]. The Sisters release her at Oberon's feet. Odin targets her with a sarcastic quip, and she fights back with her deafening voice. Odin blasts her with snow, and soon the two are slugging it out in wurm and bear shapes. Oberon arrests their battle by magically encasing them in ice. As punishment for her misbehavior, Oberon seals the Banshee's mouth with gold. The ice melts and the two antagonists withdraw. The Weird Sisters take their place with news: All are present save Titania [cf. Ill met by Moonlight] and Puck [cf. The Mirror and Future Tense]. Oberon does not question Titania's disappearance, but he decides to hunt down Puck himself. Using Titania's Mirror to fetch the gargoyle dog Boudika to serve as bloodhound, Oberon and his tracker step back through the Mirror into New York.

Inside the Aerie Building, Owen introduces Petros Xanatos [cf. Vows,], David's father, to Fox's father, Halcyon Renard [cf. Outfoxed and Golem]. Preston Vogel [cf. The Green], Halcyon's aide, stands nearby; Petros comments upon his resemblance to Owen, but Vogel denies any relation. Owen then introduces Anastasia Renard [cf. Walkabout]. "It's no longer Renard," she comments. "I have remarried. My first husband." This shocks Owen, who pleads pressing business and retreats. Xanatos enters shortly, carrying a newborn. "Come and meet your new grandson--Alexander Fox Xanatos."

Shadows climb the clock tower and the Gargoyles awaken--sans Goliath and Bronx. Elisa and they are still missing, and missed by the others.

In Central Park, Boudika leads Oberon out of thin air. Oberon disguises himself and the gargoyle with an illusion of normalcy. "Find Puck," he orders his guide.

In the Xanatoses' bedroom, the family collectively fusses over little Alexander. Owen walks in and takes Xanatos aside to warn him that he should not leave Alexander alone with Anastasia. Anastasia is talking quietly to Alexander: "You have so much to look forward to... such marvelous potential..."

A security guard stops Boudika and Oberon in the lobby of the Aerie building, but Oberon changes the guard's will with a thought. Ascending into the castle atop the building, Oberon senses Titania nearby.

Anastasia Renard, carrying Alexander, ushers everyone out of the bedroom, insisting that Fox needs rest. Halcyon, Vogel, and Petros depart, but Xanatos stops Anastasia before she can go. He returns Alexander to Fox's arms. "What's going on?" asks Anastasia, echoed by Fox. Oberon appears in the doorway. "Yes--what exactly is going on?"

Act II

Confusion ensues. Oberon addresses Anastasia as Titania, his Queen, and before the Xanatoses' shocked eyes Fox's mother changes into the Queen of the Third Race. Her history comes out: How, during a millennium of separation from Oberon, she had studied the human magic called science, and had in recent years fallen in love and had a child with Halcyon Renard. Fox, raised amongst humans, lost any glimmer of magical power he heritage might have given her. Alexander, perhaps, can be saved from the same fate should Titania take him away and raise him on Avalon. Xanatos, having drawn a laser pistol from behind the bed, argues that Oberon's law prevents Titania from interfering in human lives. Oberon has the final word--and he decides in favor of Titania. Upon this, Xanatos begins shooting. The onslaught fazes Oberon only momentarily. Before long Xanatos's pistol is sludge in Oberon's hands. "You have fought for your child admirably against impossible odds. I hope you find some comfort in that," he says, and turns Xanatos to ice. Fox rushes to her husband. Oberon tells her she has one hour to say goodbye to her son; with that, he and Titania disappear, and Xanatos is restored to flesh.

In the clock tower, Hudson, Broadway, Brooklyn and Lexington see the birth announcement of Alexander Fox Xanatos on television. "Why do I have the feeling that that little baby is going to be big trouble?" Brooklyn comments. A shadow falls across the room, and the four turn to see a silhouette in the doorway.


The dark shape pounces on Hudson--it is Bronx. Goliath and Elisa are on his heels, and a joyous reunion ensues. Angela quietly enters the tower; Goliath introduces her as his daughter. Hudson welcomes her to their clan. Goliath tells of Avalon, where all the eggs are hatched and grown, and he tells of the gargoyles in Japan, England, and Guatemala. Hudson utters the realization: "We're not the last--we're not alone." Broadway introduces himself, Lexington and Brooklyn to Angela, and offers her a half-eaten box of chocolates. Angela graciously predicts that she will like it as part of their clan. Goliath expresses his relief and joy that he, Bronx, Elisa and Angela have been released by Avalon at last.

Xanatos confronts Owen in Owen's office. Owen reveals that he had known Anastasia was Titania, and that he had feared she might try to steal the baby. He hands Xanatos a disk detailing security measures he implemented himself. Xanatos approves. Before leaving, Owen reminds Xanatos of two things: First, energy is energy, be it borne of science or sorcery; second, Oberon in helpless against iron. Xanatos asks Owen why he's leaving before a fight. "This is one battle in which I can not risk becoming involved," Owen replies.

Goliath carries Elisa to her apartment and thanks her for her help during their journey. "Hey, it was fun," she says. "Most of the time." Remarking that there's no place like home, she lets Cagney jump into the apartment through the window. "It was really nice of Broadway and Hudson to take care of him while I was gone." "The clan will always be there for you," Goliath tells her. "I will always be there for you." "I know." "If only we were..." Elisa silences Goliath, her hand upon his mouth. "Shhh... we are what we are." It begins to rain, and Elisa laughs softly as the water slides down her cheeks. "You'd better get going... or you'll get caught in the storm."

An alarm at the Aerie Building sends its employees spilling out the front doors as Oberon, disguised, looks on with a smirk.

Goliath returns to a clock tower where Angela tells the others about Gabriel and their clan upon Avalon. Anastasia Renard appears behind Goliath, surprising and interrupting them. In explanation, she changes into Titania. She explains the situation to Goliath and the others, and asks their help in protecting the mother and child during the upcoming conflict. Goliath refuses, having learned through experience that nothing should separate a parent from his child. "So, you will not help," Titania declares disdainfully, "But neither will you interfere, or Oberon will crush you with a thought." She fades from sight. "To the Aerie Building!" Goliath orders.

"How could he desert me now?" Xanatos wonders, standing in the rain with Petros on the battlements of the castle. He wastes no time initiating the defense measures Owen prepared, however. The press of a button erects a mighty force field around the entire Aerie building. Oberon, on the street below, turns his sorcery against the force field and fails to penetrate it. He lobs a car at it, which explodes. Officer Morgan arrives quickly to investigate, but Oberon puts him to sleep; with a sorcerous command he puts every human in the city to sleep. Traffic everywhere comes to a crashing standstill.

Inside the Aerie Building, Xanatos and Petros watch surveillance monitors for any sign of an attack, but see none. Xanatos speculates that the force field may already be doing its work.

"I am through playing games, mortal," Oberon cries out, shedding his disguise. A bolt of lightning engulfs him. "I will not be denied!" He grows in size a hundredfold, until he is as tall as the Aerie Building itself...


by Juan F. Lara

Well, the FIRST part of this pivotal story was a dud....

Bad Points

They fumbled the Travellers' homecoming. I went "huh" when the Travellers first appeared in this ep right at the clocktower, and felt disoriented by the creators' use of their appearance as a cliffhanger. I thought that they were actually some illusion conjured up by Oberon/Titania, or Oberon or Titania in disguise, to trick the Gargoyles to help them get Alexander, and I still thought this right up to near the end of Act 3. I had so looked forward to seeing the elated expressions on their faces when they finally see Manhatten again. So I felt very cheated.

In fact most of this episode felt poorly handled. Missing scenes like the Travellers' arrival made me wonder if "The Gathering" started out as a three-parter but then the first two parts got crammed into one. I would've liked to have seen more interaction between the Xanatos's in-laws, and a longer build-up to Alexander's birth. Instead the ep featured a very silly fight scene between Odin and the Banshee that went on way too long, and a tedious argument between Titania and Oberon on whether or not to take the baby. Likewise I hated the scene where the trio tried to impress Angela, which was played too broadly.

The credits listed Koko-Dong Yang for the animation, but I couldn't believe it. The coloring looked lackluster, and characters tended to move very stiffly. But I most noticed how badly off model the characters often got.

Good Points

Even so, the first two acts did have some good moments that stuck in my mind.

One episode after showing a nightmare version of Xanatos, the show featured Xanatos and Fox as sympathetic characters protecting their child. Laura San Giacomo did a great job portraying Fox's surprise and panic as she found out the truth about her mother. I felt very sorry for the Xanatos's when they cradled their son just after Oberon and Titania left.

At several instances characters had realistic reactions to events: Katherine had to collect herself when Oberon suddenly addressed her, the Gargoyles were amused when they heard about Alexander's birth. The writing was very subtle and sophisticated for these instances.

And I did like the last few scenes of the last act. Oberon stayed within his spoiled-child character when he lost his temper, and Morgan's reactions were believable. The spell Oberon cast had a breathtaking effect that reminded me of "City of Stone".

Still, Part 1 came off as very shabby. But fortunately I've already seen Part 2...;-)

Goliath: If only we were....
Elisa: Shh. We are what we are.


by Todd Jensen

Goliath and his companions return to New York, the Avalon World Tour at an end, but they do not have as peaceful a homecoming as they had expected. A fresh storm is developing, one that pulls two previously (seemingly) separate threads of the Gargoyles Universe together, into a dramatic confrontation that would alter forever the role of Xanatos, his family, and Owen, particularly in relation to the clan.

The episode opens with Oberon's Children flocking back to Avalon for the Gathering, among them almost all of the various mythical beings that had shown up during the World Tour. (See Tidbits below for more about this.) This scene begins a new thread that was, sadly, not continued beyond this episode, when Oberon confronts the Banshee over her unwillingness to return to Avalon and places a stopper over her mouth to punish her. Presumably, had the series continued into a third season, we would have found out whether the Banshee would have ever been freed from his decree; unfortunately the issue remained unresolved by its end. Preceding this, the Banshee also entered into a brief altercation with Odin (who was presumably chosen for this role since his voice actor was already present for this episode to play the part of Petros Xanatos), which brings me to the one element about this scene that I find jarring; the concept that Odin (and the other gods introduced earlier in the series) are subject to Oberon. Since Oberon was merely the king of the faerie-folk in the original legends concerning him, seeing him able to give commands to Odin feels almost like a country vicar being able to order the Archbishop of Canterbury about; of course, it is quite likely that, from the perspective of the Gargoyles Universe, Oberon's power and authority had been underestimated by the people who wrote about him. Still, it does tie the legendary figures from the World Tour more firmly into Gargoyles cosmology, even though one could argue that that was not entirely a good thing, that it deprived the series of much of its mystery.

Oberon now turns to more serious business, however, namely the fact that Puck had not heeded his summons either. He promptly sets off for the outside world to haul the little trickster back, and his search brings him quickly to New York (producing a very amusing encounter with the Jogger).

In New York, the event that we had been expecting since the end of "Outfoxed" has finally occurred; Alexander has been born. His grandparents, Petros Xanatos, Halcyon Renard, and Anastasia have all come to the Eyrie Building to meet their new grandson; in the process, we see Owen and Vogel together in the same room for the first time in the series, making their physical similarity all the clearer, something that an astonished Petros notices. (The timing of this event is clearly no accident, either.) But it soon transpires that Anastasia is not here only to welcome the newest member of her family, as Owen recognizes; it is now revealed just what was hinted at in "Ill Met By Moonlight", that Anastasia is really Titania in disguise, a development that fully manifests itself upon Oberon's arrival, and that she wants to take Alex away with her to Avalon where he can be trained in the magic that he has inherited from his grandmother.

Titania explains her case to Oberon, including the entire story about her human identity as Anastasia (say whatever else you like about Oberon, but at least he's not a jealous husband; his response to the discovery that Titania married Renard during her exile and had a daughter by him is one of amusement rather than of anger), and persuades him to let her take Alex away to Avalon, a development that Xanatos and Fox, needless to say, do not welcome at all, and which they let Oberon and Titania know in no uncertain terms. But Oberon has determined to embark upon this course, and refuses to accept anything else. War has begun.

Owen has, it turns out, anticipated something like this all along, and now presents Xanatos with a set of high-tech defenses for the Eyrie Building to withstand Oberon's coming assault, alongside a reminder of the effect that iron has upon the Lord of Avalon as well as upon his subjects. At this point, note carefully the following things all relating to Owen in Part One, of crucial importance for the great revelation in Part Two (alongside the already mentioned physical similarity that he bears to Preston Vogel): he at once realizes the significance of Anastasia having remarried her first husband, Oberon's hunt for Puck has led him to the Eyrie Building, and Owen, after presenting Xanatos with his new security system, hurriedly leaves, explaining that he dare not become involved in the battle that will soon unfold. This last piece, in particular, made me begin to suspect for the first time who Owen really was (though, strangely enough, I missed the significance of the other two elements here).

While all of this is going on, Goliath and his companions finally return to Manhattan and the clock tower, to be joyfully reunited with Hudson, the trio, and Cagney. Their delight at all being together again is beautifully captured (especially when Broadway lifts Elisa up into the air with a celebratory whoop), combined with a bit of comedy as the trio notice Angela for the first time and Broadway presents her with a half-eaten box of chocolates (no prizes for guessing how the box of chocolates wound up half-eaten). But that is not all, as Goliath tells Hudson and the trio about their discovery of four other clans, in Avalon, London, Guatemala and Ishimura, meaning that the gargoyle race is not irrevocably doomed to extinction as they had once feared. As Hudson puts it, "We're not the last. We're not alone." Goliath returns Elisa to her apartment, where the two of them affectionately part; Goliath once again wants for a moment to talk about their feelings for each other, but Elisa gently hushes him. She's still not ready to admit what both she and Goliath know, deep down inside.

But the clan finds itself drawn into the confrontation between Xanatos and Oberon soon enough, when Titania arrives at the clock tower to inform the gargoyles about the battle over Alex. (Since it is hard to believe that Titania would not have realized that Goliath would disapprove of her plans to take Alex away from his parents, one can't help but suspect that she has a very subtle objective here - more about this in the commentary/review for Part Two.) Goliath realizes the true significance now of Avalon's having sent him back home.

Xanatos, while troubled over Owen's flight, still activates the new security system, producing a very impressive scene as a force field springs up about the Eyrie Building, strong enough to keep Oberon out. But the Lord of Avalon is determined to breach the defenses, anyway. Sending the entire human population of Manhattan (except for Xanatos and his family, who are safely inside the force field), he swells up into a gigantic form....


The returning Children of Oberon at the beginning of this episode include a number of familiar faces from the World Tour; Grandmother, Raven, Anubis, the Banshee, Anansi, the Lady of the Lake, Odin, and Coyote the Trickster, all of whom (except for the Banshee) have formed a long line in the great hall, each one in turn doing homage to Oberon anew. The assembly also includes a few new figures: a couple of giants, a winged horse, a centaur, a gorgon-like being, and a figure dressed in dapper-looking clothes but minus a head (this last, according to Greg Weisman, goes by the name of Nought).

This is also a good episode for familiar faces among the human population of Manhattan; we see once more the Jogger, Travis Marshall, Officer Morgan, and Brendan and Margot, all in brief roles. Travis Marshall's is of particular interest, in that he now plays the part, not of a reporter on the street as in his past scenes, but of an anchorman as he reports Alex's birth (and in the process, mentions Xanatos and Fox's police records); evidently he must have gotten a promotion.

Oberon engages in a little "Star Wars" hommage when he uses his powers to get past Xanatos's security guard in the lobby in a manner evocative of Obi-Wan Kenobi using the Force to get past some Storm Troopers in the first "Star Wars" movie.

"The Gathering" was originally intended as a one-parter, but turned into a two-parter when it became clear that a single half-hour episode was not enough to tell its story.

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