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





by Juan F. Lara

The episodes just got better and better this week.

Good Points

We got our first example of how Owen/Puck's dual identity and his tutoring Alexander will work out. Cary Bates, who's handled complex plots very well before, did a great job writing out Puck's subterfuge. One had to pay attention to keep track with whose soul was in whom, and what goals Puck seemed to have. But the plot never got so muddled or confused as to make that a difficult task.

The ep pretty much gave away the happy ending once "Coldstone" unveiled Coldsteel and Coldfire. But this forshadowing allowed me to relax and feel assured that Puck meant no harm to the good guys. So Puck's machinations came off as very entertaining, and his sense of humor made him appealing.

The premise of a lesson for Alexander was instantly endearing. I was fascinated to see some of what young Alexander was capable of, and I felt good to see him do well just as Puck did. Alexander's child perspective and Puck's love for him kept the tone very upbeat.

Bates also did his usual job of well defined characterizations. Throughout the episode Coldstone reacted to each new plot twist in his serious, somewhat melodramatic manner, while Coldfire always was cautious and concerned about the consequences of their actions. The couple had a particularly touching moment on the Statue of Liberty, comparing the new senses they feel through their host bodies to the artificial senses they felt through the Coldstone body. And I strongly sympathized with Lexington when he griped about having so much trouble keeping up with the strange goings on. :-)

The voice actors got the opportunity to switch roles. Jeff Bennett was a bit too obvious voicing Coldsteel/Brooklyn. The others should've caught on from his overblown behavior. But Keith David and Michael Dorn did great work adding in Puck's mannerisms without making them too blatent. But I was most impressed with Bill Fagerbakke's and Brigette Bako's work. Both played Coldstone and Coldfire perfectly.

Bad Points

Just a couple of nits:

Coldstone sounded unusually selfish in Act 3. His lack of concern for Broadway and Angela briefly made me suspect that he was Coldsteel all along. Fortunately that scene didn't last very long.

I wasn't exactly sure what Puck was referring to when he said that the couple didn't have a conscience. Was he just referring to the scene I mentioned above? (which could also have the qualifier of them needing to defeat Coldsteel once and for all) Or was Coldfire refusing to enter another robot form for quite some time? Heck, did Xanatos tell them what his true intentions were in the first place?


All this year, the other two spirits had been listed as "Iago" and "Desdemona", but not here. Could those names have referred to a different fate for these characters that got scrapped, or were they just easy tags to keep track of them?

I didn't guess whom the "Goliath" and "Hudson" in Act 1 were until the end. But I immediately realized that they weren't the real things: Goliath just doesn't smile like that. :-)

The premise resembled a "Star Trek" episode where Kirk and two others allowed these incorporeal beings to briefly inhabit their bodies.

"For the spirit to be willing, the flesh must first grow weak, Just long enough for soul in flight to pass from cheek to cheek."
[awkward verse, IMHO, but a curious reworking of a biblical passage.]

I'm not sure if Alexander really knew how to talk already. Lex's comment that "he had a little help" made me think that Alex actually thought the chant in his mind and Lex recited his thoughts for him.

Coldstone and Coldfire left so quickly that the others never got a chance to tell them about Gabriel. :-)

Great scene: Broadway's look of slight embarrassment once Coldstone leaves his body.

DYN: Cute teddy bear. :-)


Coldstone: What are you trying to do to me? When will this humiliation end?!

Puck: My boy, welcome to Soul Transformation 101.

Lexington: Twice in one night. I could use a little help here.

Hudson: Lexington! Get us down, lad.
Goliath: I suppose that's one way to do it.

Goliath: Puck! I should've known. But why this subterfuge?
Puck: Hey, I LIVE for subterfuge!

So Cary Bates more than made up for "Vendettas" here. :-) ( And Koko-Dong Yang also made up for "The Gathering, Part 1.)


by Todd Jensen

The last one-parter episode in "Gargoyles" (if you ignore the Goliath Chronicles), "Possession" weaves together Coldstone, Puck's duty to train Alex, and the question (hinted at in "The Gathering Part One" and made into a major issue in "Turf") as to which of the trio Angela would wind up with, all into a single story. Fortunately, it works very well.

[NOTE: For the sake of clarity, throughout this review, the names "Othello", "Desdemona", and "Iago" will be used to refer to the gargoyle souls of the Coldtrio that get switched about from one body to another, and "Coldstone", "Coldfire", and "Coldsteel" will be used to refer to the high-tech bodies built to house these same souls.]

One particularly praiseworthy feature of this episode is that it did not make use of the standard practice in animation of handling "body switches" by having the possessed characters speak with the voice of whoever they had "body-switched" with. Instead, it took a much more realistic path; the possessed characters still used their normal voices, but with a subtle change in the tone to denote the new circumstances. Thus, for example, Bill Faggerbakke and Brigitte Bako continued to voice Broadway and Angela during the time that their bodies were housing Othello and Desdemona's souls, but adapted their voices to invoke the delivery that Michael Dorn and C. C. Pounder had given the latter characters. This not only produced a more believable result than the norm in cartoons, but also allowed the voice actors to display some versatility.

Puck continues to steal the show, as much in his disguises as Goliath and Coldstone as in his own form. Probably the most funniest of his lines (which comes as much from Michael Dorn's delivery as from the actual words) is his "Naughty, naughty, sneaking up like that on Uncle Coldstone." Not to mention that who else but Puck would cry out eagerly at the end, "Hey, I live for subterfuge!" and then immediately after saying "Look at the time!" produce an enormous watch out of thin air and toss it to Goliath? We also get to see Alex at his lessons for the first time, and even inhabit Lexington's body for a while, beginning the close rapport between them that would resurface in "The Journey". Alex in Lexington's body adds to the humor, as in the scene where he frees Goliath and Hudson from the tree that they're stuck in, complete with Goliath's comment, "I suppose that that's one way of doing it."

But more seriously, we get a resolution of the immediate problem that Coldstone faces - three gargoyle souls fighting over who will control it (though with two of them really on the same side against the villainous third) - by giving Desdemona and Iago their own bodies as Coldfire and Coldsteel. And in so doing, Othello and Desdemona face a fresh temptation, that of staying in Broadway and Angela's bodies so that they can enjoy the experience of being flesh and blood once again. (True to their characterizations in "Legion" and "High Noon", Othello is more strongly tempted than Desdemona, who remains concerned about doing the right thing and understands throughout that remaining in the two young gargoyles' bodies would condemn Broadway and Angela's souls to permanent dormancy.) Iago, in Brooklyn's body, naturally does all that he can to exploit the situation for his own benefit, until he comes to the conclusion that the robotic body of Coldsteel would be far more useful for him than Brooklyn's body. And in the end, Othello comes to realize that he must return to Coldstone rather than continue to inhabit Broadway's body, even if the latter would be more enjoyable for him. (One particularly nice touch is when Iago asks Othello why he must surrender Brooklyn's body when Othello himself showed no willingness to do the same with Broadway's body.)

In the process, the adventure also moves Broadway and Angela closer to becoming a couple (a step that will be solidified in "The Journey"), thanks in part to their experience in playing host to Othello and Desdemona's souls. It is significant that when Othello and Desdemona exit the two young gargoyles' bodies for Coldstone and Coldfire, they leave Broadway and Angela still embracing, resulting in Broadway blushing once he awakens and realizes what's happening. Iago's own possession of Brooklyn fits likewise, in illustrating Brooklyn's position as Broadway's chief rival (despite his participation in the pursuit of Angela in "Turf", Lexington never was seriously in the running - and, as the Tidbits section in "Turf" points out, we now know why). One can't help but wonder whether Brooklyn will now bear the same sort of grudge against Coldsteel that he does against Demona, remembering bitterly all of the dreadful things that Iago used his body to do.

This is another episode that makes more sense when you watch it the second time and know precisely what's going on; in so doing, you can notice exactly how Iago and Alex are able to take over Brooklyn and Lexington's bodies (when Brooklyn joins Broadway and Angela in volunteering, and then remembers too late that "you don't need three" - not realizing that in this case, you do after all - and when Lexington comments out loud that he could use a little help; shade of Goliath's similarly ill-advised wish in "Future Tense" to see New York again). For that matter, I might add that the first time that I saw "Possession", I initially thought that Xanatos was attempting to repair Coldstone rather than trying to transfer Desdemona and Iago into Coldsteel and Coldfire.

One small but lovely touch is the winged teddy bear in Alex's nursery. It certainly seems like an appropriate plaything for the little fellow.

"Possession" makes a lovely open ending for the Coldtrio's thread, while leaving the door open for further adventures; though Coldstone will no longer suffer from "multiple personality disorder", Iago is an even greater threat than before in his new body, and Coldstone and Coldfire will be kept busy dealing with him. It also provides one last, relatively light story, before the drama of "Hunter's Moon"....


"Possession" was originally intended to be two stories, one about the Coldtrio, the other about Puck tutoring Alex; the original concept for the latter was that Raven, Coyote the Trickster, and Anansi would apparently attempt to abduct Alex, though why is uncertain (since Titania had been satisfied with the arrangement at the end of "The Gathering", she surely would have no reason to send them on this mission, and it is hard to imagine the three tricksters leaving Avalon without her and Oberon's permission). When "Possession" became a single story, the projected Tricksters episode was initially moved to Season Three, then drastically altered (once Greg Weisman left "Gargoyles" and the series underwent its unfortunate metamorphosis into "The Goliath Chronicles") into "Ransom", where Alex's abductor was a villainous mayoral candidate who was exploiting the gargoyle issue in the hopes of getting elected to office.

The opening scene, where Xanatos catches up with Coldstone in the Himalayas, is a reference to a story that Greg Weisman had planned to write for the Marvel Gargoyles comic before it folded, in which Goliath, Elisa, Angela, and Bronx would encounter Coldstone in the Himalayas during the Avalon World Tour. (Greg still hopes to tell that story someday, perhaps in the new upcoming Gargoyles comic book.)

Xanatos makes a reference to the television series "Bewitched" when he suggests that Owen turn into Puck and "wiggle your nose or something".

Greg Weisman had plans for a story in Season Three (never made) in which Coldsteel would, in some unknown way, interact with a new Coyote robot (Coyote 5.0) - presumably as allies, though the details are as yet unknown.

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