So after those 4,000 words screaming about how “The Mirror” CHANGES EVERYTHING, albeit drunkenly, we reach an episode that’s distinctly not this new changed Gargoyles that “The Mirror” promised. There’s no magic here, and in fact it’s about the most grounded story we’re ever going to get from this show. It’s a bottle episode, of sorts—well, not really, since it uses a whole bunch of new settings—but in the sense that it uses an extremely minimal cast and tight standalone story. It’s safe. It wraps up and doesn’t rely on much of what we’ve seen before. But you know what? No one said filler had to be bad, especially when that filler is a whole-plot homage to noir. And as this episode points out, no episode of Gargoyles is unimportant.
A lot of shows hit a turning point in season 2. Most of the time, these are big, dark or momentous occasions–a shocking twist, a major death, a big reveal–and from then on the show is never the same, and the momentum keeps going throughout its golden years. While we have some major multi-parters coming up, it’s this episode that really shakes up the landscape of the Gargoyles universe and its possibilities, even if it underplays it as a silly standalone comedy. Also, there’s no way Weisman and co. weren’t totally hammered while writing this. Because this mess is wacky.
Oh, great. It’s that dreaded “kids’ TV show tries to teach kids how important reading is even though this is still a TV show” episode. And this is on Gargoyles, which is supposed to be an action show, to boot. Shakespeare references are cool and all, but can the show talk about how “reading is awesome!” without beating us over the head with it? Spoiler alert: it can’t. But that’s okay, because it says other stuff, too.