Nearly 27 years ago one of the most controversial Gargoyles episode aired but if you’re wondering what Gargoyles was it was an American made children’s cartoon produced by Disney which aired from the Monday 24th of October 1994 to Saturday 15th of February 1997 in the afternoons.
The show was about a clan of Gargoyles who had been frozen in stone by a magic spell in medieval Scotland until being moved to modern day New York City where they become its night protectors.
This episode Deadly Force written by Michael Reaves first aired on the Friday 18th of November 1994 and was very controversial at the time so much so that it had a scene edited for showing on other channels and was even pulled from the airing schedules.
But has this episode aged well time to find out
The episode begins with its opening titles sequence we then join some construction workers, Security Guards and Owen Burnett as a crate is being unloaded off a ship, but unbeknownst to everyone they are being watched by two masked men who open fire with gas grenades who then come in and hijack the truck and its cargo as Owen tries to run after them but can only watch as the truck drives away.
As the sun goes down, and the night comes, Goliath and his clan awaken but Broadway tells the others that he’ll see them later and flies off leaving Goliath wondering where Broadway is going in such a hurry, Lexington tells them Broadway is going to see showdown again and Brooklyn tells then its a new western movie that they saw the other day and Lexington lists off what its about, Goliath muses that it was a good thing Broadway hadn’t eaten yet.
Hudson bemuses about the difficulty in knowing what’s real and what’s not then the remaining Gargoyles head inside.
Over at the NYPD 23rd precinct HQ
Elisa Maza is trying to convince captain Maria Chavez that Tony Dracon was the one who stole the weapons and asks for a warrant so she can bring him in but Maria says they have no evidence against him so Elisa asks what was taken and Maria tells her it was prototype laser guns form Xanatos enterprises when Owen arrives explaining they were the latest design and had high collmation charged particle beam technology, Maria asks how many were taken and Owen reveals that 322 laser guns of different sizes, styles and power were taken, Elisa walks towards the door realising how bad this is.
Maria asked Elisa where she’s going and Elisa responds by saying to do her job. She leaves.
Meanwhile Broadway having arrived at the movie theatre sneaks in and lands on the popcorn and grabs a bag as the movie begins.
Elisa having gone to the park manor hotel confronts Tony Drakon and his men on the hotel stairs wanting to ask him about the arms shipment hijacking but Tony denies knowing about it then Elisa asks for his alibi which Tony says he and his men were out on the town but as they leave the hotel stairs, Elisa doesn’t believe him and says that when he slips up one day she’ll be there waiting but Tony says he’s not the one responsible even he was he says he’s untouchable and walks out leaving Elisa fuming while back at the movie theatre Broadway is watching the film.
Later at Elisa’s apartment
Elisa walks in and puts her jacket and holster on the coat rack and picks up her cat Cagney and remarks about the streets, back at the movie theatre Broadway is quietly leaving as the credits roll, he is gliding about pretending to use a gun when he lands at Elisa’s place and lets himself in and as she’s cooking he picks up a photo then pulls out her police revolver, he plays around with it until he points it towards the kitchen accidentally pulling the trigger, he drops it and apologises to Elisa but gets no response only to peer over the counter to see her on the floor on in a pool of blood as the episode goes into the commercial break.
Elesa is laying there as Broadway tries to apologise then picks her up and flies to a hospital where a gurney is outside but as Broadway puts her down but seeing blood on his hands when two paramedics see Elesa laying there and rush her inside as Broadway glides away.
Back at the Castle
The Gargoyle assume their positions as the sunrise is coming when Owen shows up telling Goliath that Elisa had been shot but can’t tell him if she’ll pull through before Goliath and the others turn to stone.
In the forest
Tony Drakon and his men are testing the laser weapons when one of them mentions about Elisa and Tony laughs about it. at the hospital the doctors are giving Elisa surgery as Goliath, Brookyln, Lexington and Hudson enter Owen’s office and wants to know what happened but Owen tells them he isn’t but tells them Elisa was trying to get some weapons off the street and Hudson demands to know where she is and Owen tells them she is at Manhattan general hospital then quietly leaves, Golath moves to leave but Lexington and Brooklyn mentions Broadway hasn’t returned so Goliath sends him and Brooklyn to find Broadway while Hudson guards the castle while he goes to check on Elisa.
Broadway is sitting on a building crying as Goliath watches Diane, Peter and Derek enter where the doctor tells them how bad it is and Diane says they should pray when Maria arrives telling them what she knows unaware Goliath was listening in and now thinks Tony or one of his men shot her, he tells Elisa that he will find who did this and make him pay, he flies off quickly arriving at Drakon’s place where he is arranging a sale of the stolen weapons.
In the park a man is walking through when a man attempts to rob him with a gun when Broadway who’d been watching attacks and beats the robber up destroying his gun and demanding to know where he got it who tells Broadway that a guy named Glasses sold him the weapon on canal street, Broadway heads for Canal Street while at the hospital Elesa flatlines.
As the doctors restarts her heart with a defibrillator meanwhile Maria and Matt are following Tony whose men notice and try to lose them hiding in a garage then once the cop car has left leave and head back out unaware Goliath was watch who pursues.
At the docks
one of Drakon’s men Glasses is selling a gun when Broadway attacks and demands to know who Glasses is working for whn Drakon arrives and Goliath swoops down landing on the warehouse roof as Broadway joins him but Goliath was about ask where he’s been but doesn’t telling him that he can help him deal with the one who shot Elisa clueing Broadway in that Goliath has the wrong guy.
Goliath tells him what happened unaware Broadway already knows and Goliath leaps down and Broadway follows.
Inside the warehouse Drakon is trying to make sense of what Glasses is telling him when Goliath and Broadway attack with the men firing their laser guns but Goliath knocks out the lights letting Broadway slip behind then knocking out one man before Tony slips away unaware Goliath following as Broadway attacks another of Tony’s men who fires wildly nearly hitting Drakon as Goliath pursues while Broadway throws a third man into onto of the crates.
Goliath continues pursing Drakon who runs up onto the warehouse gantry firing but Goliath smashes up from underneath and disarms Drakon before Drakon falls but grabs him and tells Drakon that he shot Elisa leaving Drakon confused before saying she will have her revenge through him when Broadway reveal he shot Elesa and apologies explaining what happened, so Goliath ties Drakon up with metal bar telling Broadway they much to talk about.
After Tony Drakon and his men are all tied up, Owen arrives intending to recover the weapons when Goliath asks if all the weapons are there but Owen tells them 37 of the weapons are missing but Goliath takes one of the rifles and destroys the weapons then the weapon he used to do it, Owen remarks that Xanatos won’t be happy that the weapons had been destroyed but Goliath says he can discuss that with before leaving the weapon he used on Drakon so the NYPD will link them to the weapons theft.
At the hospital
Goliath and Broadway watch as Elisa wakes up and Derek explains what happened, Goliath and Broadway enter and Broadway apologises swearing to never touch a gun again but Elisa admits she should have been more careful with her gun, she tells him they both made mistakes but Broadway points out her mistake almost killed her, Goliath and Broadway leave after Goliath tells her to sleep and as the sun comes up, Elisa is sleeping as Goliath and Broadway now statues stand guard over her and the episode ends.
Things I observed
- The angle of the sunset and view of the city is quite well done.
- So Goliath is at the top and the other gargoyles are below
- They still have wild-west movies in the 1990s?
- “Movies, Television, Video Games, these days it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.” I think Hudson nailed the first decades of the 21st century.
- Yeah laser weapons a common firearm in 90s kids shows.
- “322 of various sizes, styles and power ranges.” yeah that’s enough to equip a few gangs easily.
- “Sooner or later you’re gonna slip up Tony and when you do, I’ll be there.” Yeah Elisa might be getting out of her depth here.
- A Mexican Stand-off – a classic if somewhat cliché trope these days.
- Umm oh dear I think Elisa’s error might kill her
- Media very impressionable even today
- Oh yeah that will upset people but I’ll get to that later
- That day went quickly
- The Bullet hit high on her chest ricocheted off the collarbone nicking her heart muscle and passed through the right lung, I’ve removed it from the base of her spine.” umm is that even possible?
- Uh-oh Tony Drakon is in trouble now
So what did I think of this episode well overall I liked it and thought it was very good and well written, the subject it touched on was handled very well as it put Broadway as the impressionable kid who finds a gun and accidentally shoots someone and Broadway’s reaction is totally understandable as a kid would likely feel the same way.
The animation looks good for its time but looks very dated by modern standards so the controversy surrounding this episode is understandable given the subject of gun violence and Broadway’s method of gun control both of which the USA really has a big problem with but I also think there was just some bad timing as 11 days earlier there had been a school shooting at Wickliffe Middle School in Wickliffe Ohio, I have to suspect that would have been on some people’s minds when this episode first aired.
I can understand what the Gargoyle writers and the episode’s writer Michael Reaves were trying to do, teach kids that guns are not toys and can be very dangerous and given some of the stories I’ve heard its clear the message didn’t get through although it does make it understandable why most kids shows used laser guns instead of bullets as a lot of the 2000s era cartoons did.
Overall this episode is one I recommend you watch
So this review is one I had planned to do in 2019 but forgot about until earlier this week so I thought why not watch the episode and do the review
so I’ll see you next time.