And Justice For All (review)
by D. Taína
Author's Note: This episode isn't so bad (compared to the others anyway). But the premise is still horrible. Why judge Goliath on something as trivial as allegedly robbing a jewelry store? Why not judge him on his very sentience, as Greg Weisman had originally intended? I would've loved to have seen THAT. I hope Greg gets to do his original idea for this episode in the comic books. But, until then, here's my synopsis for "And Justice for All." I'll try to remain neutral... but... it's so hard...
"It is said that for a nation to survive and flourish, it must become a community of laws. Limits agreed to by its citizens that allow them to live together and work together in peace. To live outside the law is to reject the community. How can humans accept us if we fail to submit to their legal authority? How can we protect them if they turn us away?"
The episode opens with a jewelry store conveniently named "Jewels." A laser blast is heard and the store window explodes. Two homeless men jump back at the blast and fall to the floor. Two of the three thugs Goliath met in Awakening appear (whom I'll refer to as Frank and Jeff), and another guy, who appears to be in charge of the heist, says "I love shopping." Even though he's the main bad guy in the episode, he will never be named, so I'll call him Torgo. Torgo and two other thugs walk toward the store, but Goliath tackles Torgo to the ground and holds him there.
Goliath, who now has a love for witty one-liners, says, "I believe this store is closed." Torgo aims the laser weapon at him and begins charging it. Goliath smacks it away, leaving his claw marks on the weapon as yet another laser blast rips through the store. Goliath just tosses Torgo away and grabs the incriminating weapon. Broadway tackles him to safety before a car runs him over. This is the getaway car, and the driver was also never named, so I'll call him Squidgy from now on.
Goliath, who now has Broadway on top of him, just grunts and says, "You've put on weight." (How would he know? Wait, I don't want to know.) By now, he has dropped the incriminating weapon and forgotten about it. Squidgy speeds away, but Lexington lands on the roof of the car, causing him to freak out and crash into a fire hydrant. Lexington goes flying and lands in a stack of newspapers.
"Come on!" yells Squidgy at the three thugs, "Let's get out of here!" And, what will become his catchphrase, "Come on, come on!" Torgo runs to help Frank and Jeff (uh, what happened to them?), and they quickly make for the getaway car empty-handed and Squidgy speeds away.
"After them!" yells Goliath as he and Broadway rush to help Lexington. The sound of sirens makes him change his mind. "Quickly, the police are here!"
"I've got news for you," says Lexington, "the police are here!"
Goliath finally sees the police cars. "Run!" yells Goliath. All three run into an alley. The homeless men see them and hide behind a few cardboard boxes. Goliath, looking over his shoulder and noticing the police cars on his tail, yells, "Split up! Meet back at the castle!" He and the two gargoyles separate.
Goliath runs into the street. Immediately, he feels like a deer in headlights when he sees a truck coming toward him. Having plenty of time to move, he does absolutely nothing except stand there [!!] and try to shield himself with his wings [!!!]. The truck tries to stop, swerving and honking madly at Goliath to get out of the way. Finally, Goliath is hit by the truck. He goes flying into a dumpster then crashes to the floor. He tries to get up and faints as the sirens get closer...
Someone is watching Night Watch, but it will never be revealed who it was. Travis Marshall is giving the news. They show a picture of the "Jewels" store. Oddly enough, the store is in one piece, even after it had been continuously shot at with lasers. "Last night, several gargoyles attempted to rob a midtown jewelry store. Police report that they have one of them in custody, in a maximum security cell."
Goliath is asleep/unconscious on a bed. He opens his eyes, sits up, and grabs his head, moaning in pain. (But, if the accident happened the night before, why was he still in pain?) Well, as he moans in pain, it is revealed that he's in a cell, complete with a sink and toilet. He hears the sound of keys and he looks up, smiling. "I knew you'd come." (So, the accident definitely happened the night before, as Travis said, so why was he in pain? Wouldn't it have healed during the day? This will never be explained.)
Elisa is let into the cell (she must've sued the dry cleaner's and bought herself a new bomber jacket), which has extremely thin bars and guarded by one guard (so much for maximum security). As soon as she walks in, she shushes him. She sits next to him and tells him that she told them he's a suspect in a case she's working on because it was the only way she could get past security.
"There were two witnesses in the alley," says Goliath, referring to the two homeless men, "Street people. They can tell the police who the real robbers were."
Elisa tells him that the police can't find any witnesses and that they're not looking for more suspects. "They've got you," she says.
"I am innocent!" he yells.
"Sometimes that's not enough!" she tells him. She proceeds to tell him that she can't break the law, but if his life is in danger, she'll tell Hudson and the others where to find him. Goliath is upset by this. He could break out of jail if he wanted to, but he wants humanity to accept them, so he must show them that gargoyles can respect their laws. He wants his day at court.
Elisa just sighs and agrees. She tells him that Xanatos has offered to provide him the best legal talent in the country. But Goliath was told that the state would provide legal assistance. And in comes Amy Schlimmer, carrying a huge stack of papers and complaining about the reporters. She sees Goliath and immediately drops the papers. Elisa tells him to let her know if he changes his mind about the lawyer.
Amy complains about being swamped with cases. Goliath sighs and goes to help her pick up the papers. Amy immediately freaks out, asking him what he's doing. "I'm helping you pick these up," he says, simply.
"Oh," she says.
Later, Amy tells him that they need proof. She wants to tape-record him and she assures him that it's confidential. He starts speaking about the witnesses in the alley and, as he's talking about fighting the robbers, he turns to stone. Amy moans and complains about getting all the "hard cases".
Torgo, Frank and Jeff are watching the news (maybe they were the ones watching Nightwatch). Travis Marshall talks about "the most unusual trial in the city's history" and that it can only be held at night. He also mentions the witnesses that can clear Goliath (so much for confidentiality and keeping the witnesses safe).
Torgo feels threatened. "Witnesses? We gotta find them before the cops do!"
The gargoyles awake at sunset. Elisa quickly tells them that Goliath's been arrested, even though they should've found out two nights ago when Goliath never came back. Broadway and Lexington start bickering about wanting to stay with Goliath and about Goliath being a "big boy who can take care of himself." Hudson silences them, telling them that "what's done is done" and that they should save their fighting for when they go to rescue Goliath.
Elisa tells them that Goliath doesn't want to escape, but wants to stand trial and let the system prove he's innocent.
"That's crazy; they'll crucify him!" yells Lexington, showing the immense trust he has on Goliath.
"We gotta bust him out!" yells Broadway.
Hudson tells them that they have to respect Goliath's wishes. Angela wonders if there's anything they can do to help. Elisa tells them about the two witnesses and suggests that they could track them down.
A week later, Hudson and Angela are still searching for the witnesses. Elisa is questioning one of them, but he denies everything. "I wouldn't stick my neck out to help a filthy gargoyle!" yells one of the street people at Elisa, "Are you done here?" Elisa grudgingly agrees and leaves.
As she passes by a dark alley, she notices Torgo threatening the witness she had just questioned. "I didn't say nothing, alright?!" screams the witness.
"What should he have said?" asks Elisa.
Torgo drops the witness, who wisely makes a run for it. "Who wants to know?" he asks, reaching into the back of his coat.
"The NYPD!" she says, pulling out her badge. He pulls out a huge gun from his coat. Elisa kicks it out of his hand. "That's the police, in case you're confused!" says Elisa. Torgo tries to tackle Elisa, but she moves away. Torgo falls head-first into the trashcan with such expertise that he is now sitting on it and facing Elisa. "All right, you piece of garbage!" says Elisa as she kicks the trashcan. "Let's talk!" She pulls out her gun and trains it on him until...
Squidgy comes out of nowhere and tackles her to the ground. "We'll do the talking, cop!" says Squidgy. Elisa is helpless on the ground as Torgo, Squidgy, Frank and Jeff close in around her.
Squidgy is leading Elisa to a waiting car. She kicks another thug in the gut, sending him to the ground quickly. Squidgy tries to tackle her (wasn't he holding her?), but she ducks and he also drops to the ground. She appears to be winning, until Torgo pulls out a normal gun and trains it on her. "Fight's over, cop!" says Torgo.
Hudson and Angela are gliding overheard, and notice what's going on. "Elisa!!" they say in unison and swoop down to the rescue. Angela lands on Torgo and sends him to the ground. His gun falls to the floor and fires on its own, but nothing happens. Jeff (usually voiced by Keith David, but he has a different voice here, thus the "Jeff") wisely makes a run for it. Squidgy and Frank come after Hudson with sticks.
"Back off, gramps!" yells Squidgy. Hudson pulls out his sword and growls menacingly. They throw the sticks at him, but he slashes them in half easily, chuckling triumphantly. Squidgy makes a mad dash for his life and disappears. Frank tries to be brave and battle it out with Hudson, but he gets thrown into the air and bounces off a trashcan. He's so terrified that he screams without moving his mouth [!!] and runs for his life.
Torgo, seeing his chance, tries to make a run for it, but Elisa trips him and quickly puts the cuffs on him. "You're not going anywhere!" says Elisa. Hudson says that the other thugs got away. Torgo calls them "lousy gargoyles" and Elisa tightens the cuffs, making him cry out in pain. She sighs and says, "I just hope it isn't too late."
Two guards are leading Goliath to the court room. He's wearing cuffs and he's cooperating with them. Amy, as usual, is saying the right thing at the right moment: "We were smart to wave a jury trial. We would never find twelve jurors without a bias against gargoyles!"
Goliath sounds annoyed. "If you're trying to keep up my spirits, you aren't doing a very good job." She says she's just being realistic and that, without a witness, they don't have much to fight with. She sighs and starts saying that they should file a motion saying that "the court has no jurisdiction over a non-human -" Goliath cuts her off quickly, saying that he wants no legal tricks. He will be tried by "his" community and found innocent.
Amy looks frustrated as the guards take him away. She yells after him, "It may not be too late for a plea bargain!" As soon as he enters the court room, he's welcomed by insults and much screaming. Judge Bates immediately bangs her gavel, yelling that she'll clear the court room.
Back at the police station, Elisa's interrogating Torgo. "I don't have time to play games with you!" she yells, "If you didn't pull that jewelry store job, then why were you out trying to intimidate witnesses?" Torgo denies this, saying that he doesn't know anything about it and that they "have some gargoyle for that one." Elisa threatens to put him away for "assault and resisting arrest."
Torgo is unfazed. He tells her, "Go ahead. I've been in jail before." (His bravado would be far more impressive if we at least knew his name! Is a little background info too much to ask for? So I'll keep calling him Torgo.)
Elisa walks out, holding her arms up in defeat. A police man tells her that she's wasting her time because "everyone knows the gargoyle did it." She is shocked at first, then she shoots him such a dirty look that we never see him again.
Back in the courtroom, Margot Yale is presenting her case. They have already presented the testimony of the officers who discovered Goliath at the "crime scene." Also, experts have identified Goliath's claw marks on the weapon "used to destroy the jewelry store wall." Goliath and Amy can only exchange looks as Margot Yale announces that the "prosecution rests its case."
But Goliath doesn't want to give up, so sappy music starts playing as he tells Amy that he wants to take the stand. She doesn't want to give Margot Yale the chance to cross-examine him (I'd PAY to see that), but he's determined, so he stands up. The music swells as he begins his speech, which I will transcribe in all its glory:
"Your honor, do I have the right to speak in my own defense? Gargoyles exist to protect their community. It is not our nature to rob; we have no use for money or material possessions. I have come to this courtroom seeking justice, not only for myself, but for all of my kind. I ask you to look into your hearts. Judge us not as the monsters we may appear to you, but as fellow beings; beings with the same hopes and dreams as you: to live in peace."
Amy just stares at Goliath numbly throughout. Outside, there is a group of ordinary citizens and one Quarryman, holding banners. A few of the banners have a picture of Goliath's face with a "no" symbol over it; others just say "destroy gargoyles" and "gargoyles go home." Squidgy, who had been watching the trial on a portable television and had thrown it against the ground, spoke up, telling everyone that they shouldn't "waste the city's money on a trial." "We know what to do! Stop the monsters!" he screams. Everyone begins chanting "destroy gargoyles!" again and again.
Goliath is back in his cell, waiting for the verdict. Amy comes in, looking defeated, saying that the judge is ready to announce the verdict. Goliath doesn't look confident. "It doesn't look good, does it?" he mutters, probably thinking that he would have been better off with Xanatos' lawyer.
She delivers her own little monologue: "Look, a lot of people hate gargoyles. Even judges. When we couldn't find a witness, all we had was your word that you didn't do it. Your word that gargoyles don't steal. Your word that you live to protect us."
Goliath looks defeated now. "Then, what I said in court, no one believed me?" he sighs. Amy smiles and tells him that she believed him, which seems to breathe life back into him. He stands up and tells her, "I am ready," with a smile.
Two policemen wielding canes are leading a handcuffed Goliath to a waiting truck, followed by Amy. There's another policeman, urging the others to "get him inside." The mob, led by Squidgy, notices him and starts chanting again. The policemen quickly rush him inside and help Amy.
Quickly, a policeman closes the doors. A Quarryman charges his electrified hammer and slams it into the side of the truck. Amy screams and moves away from the truck wall. Then, something unbelievable happens. Four people start tipping the truck over effortlessly [!!!!!] and hitting it so hard that the entire truck shakes. Amy falls off her seat and Goliath briefly contemplates breaking his chains.
The cops at the wheel are getting nervous. "Requesting backup; somebody get back here!" yells the policeman. Then he shows the incredible gratitude he has for Goliath's cooperation when he says, "I will not risk myself protecting some freak!" and promptly abandons the truck and everyone else to their fate.
Then the truck starts tipping in the other direction [!!]. Finally, the truck falls on its side [!!!] after the four people pushed it for a few minutes. Goliath is so angry that his eyes glow a bright blue [??] and he snaps his chains. He starts ripping through the truck and the crowd cowers. He climbs out and roars at no one in particular and we end the act on this thrilling cliffhanger.
He's still ripping a hole in the truck. Amy pleads for him to stop. His eyes stop glowing and he helps Amy out of the truck instead. He lets her hold on to his back. He jumps to a building and starts climbing to the rooftop.
Squidgy sees this. "He's going back into the jail!!" (Why would he want to go back in there anyway?) "Come on, there he is!" And, his catchphrase from earlier (with the exact same audio) that allows Goliath to recognize him, "Come on, come on!!" He runs into the jail with the rest of the mob following him.
Goliath figures it out. "The robbery gang is part of that mob! They must be using the riot as cover to break their leader out of jail!"
Amy, who was barely holding on to him as he climbed the wall, just says, "Could we discuss this on the ground somewhere?"
Finally, they make it to the rooftop. He tells her that he has a plan to prove his innocence and that he needs her tape recorder. Amy hands it over. Just then, he hears Broadway call his name. The rest of the clan arrives. Hudson tells him that they'd been watching the jail and that they wouldn't let the mob have him without a fight. Goliath is determined. He is not going anywhere until the judge declares him innocent.
Lexington shows the incredible respect he has for his leader by saying, "Have you gone stir-crazy? You've seen how much they hate gargoyles!"
Goliath tells him that that is precisely why he cannot run away. He orders them to get Amy to the courthouse and to do nothing to help him. He has to solve this problem on his own. He then glides off to carry off his plan.
Hudson greets Amy and tells her that "this must be strange for you." Amy tells him he doesn't "know the half of it." Hudson picks her up in his arms and they all glide off. Angela briefly stares at the moon for no reason and then she follows them. Patrol cars are gathering outside the jail and sirens are heard.
Torgo is in a cell, looking bummed. Suddenly, the cell door explodes and in comes Squidgy in a cloud of smoke, who gives him a laser weapon. "What took you so long?" says Torgo.
Squidgy, Torgo, Frank and Jeff make a run for the exit. The "bald, white guy" from Awakening: Part III finally makes an appearance, so I'll call him Benny. They are stopped by a shadowy figure that comes out of the elevator. Torgo recognizes him. "Blast him!" yells Torgo. All move in to attack. Goliath smacks Squidgy's gun out of his hand, but not before he fires it and blasts a desk to pieces. Goliath throws Squidgy toward the wreckage, then smacks Torgo's gun out of his hand. Then he leaps over him and kicks Frank in the face, sending him flying into some random guy that wasn't there two seconds ago. Then he throws Jeff at Benny and both fall unconscious.
After that thrilling battle sequence, Torgo tries to make a run for the gun, but Goliath stomps on it and destroys it. He grabs Torgo by the front of his shirt and growls in his face. "What are you going to do?" asks Torgo, shakily. Goliath tells him that the police have the jail surrounded, and as he holds him closer, he says something unexpected, "I'm going to help you escape." Torgo is honestly confused, so to clear things up, Goliath puts him down and delivers his third monologue from this episode alone (but to be fair, this time, we don't get clips from different episodes to play in the background)?
"The humans have judged me a criminal. If that's what they want, fine. You know that world. Show me how you work. And I'll show them a crime wave like they've never seen."
Torgo is suspicious. "Why should I trust you, when you know I let you take the rap for that jewelry job?"
"If I wanted to hurt you, you'd already be dead," he tells him, showing off his rippling pectorals (and I don't doubt him for a second). "Or maybe you want me to join up with one of your rivals."
"You, uh, you got a point," says Torgo, "All right! That's the last store I knock over without you."
After part one of Goliath's brilliant plan was executed, he takes Torgo to the jail rooftop (you know, for being a jail, people sure can move around a lot). The police are outside. Torgo isn't sure if it's safe. The police start shooting at them, so Goliath tells him that it's "safer than staying here." So, he glides away with Torgo on his back, dodging bullet after bullet, and Torgo screams in horror. He makes his way back to the courthouse.
Judge Bates is ready to pronounce the verdict without Goliath, since he escaped from custody. Margot is there, and looking very happy. Amy objects to the word "escape," but that doesn't help much since Goliath isn't even there. "He isn't here, is he?" says the judge.
Goliath is almost at the courthouse. Torgo, who had been utterly terrified of this joyride, says "this ain't so bad once you get used to it!" Goliath looks at him, and, maybe out of spite, swoops down at high speed toward the roof of the courthouse and Torgo ends up screaming again.
"And in his absence..." the judge starts saying, just as Goliath and Torgo crash through the ceiling. A policeman pulls out his gun, but Goliath crushes his hand, forcing him to drop it, and then he lifts him up in the air. "There is no need for violence!" (But apparently, it's okay to crash through a ceiling and crush a guard's hand.) Then he adds, "Don't you agree?" The policeman numbly agrees and Goliath puts him in a chair.
Goliath approaches the bench. "Forgive the dramatic entrance, your honor. But I have found the most important witness of all..." He goes to grab Torgo, who was still on the floor, and holds him up in the air. "The man who committed the crime!" he announces. Judge Bates doesn't look impressed.
"I object, your honor!" says Margot, "It's too late to present new evidence! The defense has rested!"
But Goliath ignores this fact and just keeps going with part two of his brilliant plan. "Your honor, I have this man's voice on tape admitting his guilt!"
Torgo, who apparently doesn't like disloyalty (finally, we learn something about this guy - now, how about a name?), gets upset. "You lousy freak! Gimme that tape recorder!!" Goliath ignores him and plays the tape, and sure enough, Torgo admits to robbing the store. But, Goliath is also heard offering to join Torgo's gang. The judge will never pay attention to this crucial little detail.
"It's a trick!" yells Torgo. "He tricked me! He made me say things I didn't mean, okay!" he cries, desperately. Even though Torgo was right about being tricked, Judge Bates orders the bailiff to restrain him and again, not once does anyone question the validity of this tape recording.
"Your honor," he says, approaching the bench, and delivers his fourth monologue in this episode (but who's counting?), "I know this evidence isn't being introduced according to the rules. But I have learned that rules alone are not enough to give us justice. Justice comes from ordinary people and gargoyles, striving to do what is right. I will abide by your decision, whatever it is - because I know that you are trying to be fair." And after he successfully insulted the justice system and flattered the judge, she takes the tape recording and the scene fades to a minute or two later.
"In light of this compelling new evidence, the court has no alternative but to dismiss the charges against the defendant." (Even though Goliath spent the entire episode wanting to be declared innocent, this never actually happened. The charges were dismissed thanks to Goliath breaking the rules. It kind of kills the entire premise, especially after he said that he wanted no legal tricks. But who's paying attention? And who cares? Moving on!)
Outside the courthouse, Travis Marshall is again delivering the news. "So this bizarre trial ends with an even more bizarre twist as the gargoyle, wrongly accused of a crime, catches the real criminal! This is Travis Marshall." (Let us all thank Travis for stating the obvious.)
Goliath and Amy leave the courthouse and are greeted by many reporters. The Japanese reporters from the episode Bushido are there [?], asking him questions like "how did you get him to talk?" and "are you going to sue the city?"
Goliath is blinded by the flashes and looks incredibly annoyed. "You wanted a public trial?" says Amy, "This comes along with it!"
Goliath turns his back to the reporters and spreads his wings to their full span. "Thank you, Amy, for believing me," he says, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Thank you for believing in justice," says Amy, even though the charges were dismissed because he manipulated the system. Then he leaps to the courthouse rooftop and takes off into the night sky. "Good luck," she whispers.
Elisa and the rest of the clan are watching from another rooftop. "Well, it looks like he did it," says Elisa.
"I knew all along he'd win," says Lexington, after he doubted his leader and insulted him, too. Everyone looks at him, and he smiles nervously and says, "I did! I really did!!"
"Perhaps he was wise to trust the human system after all!" says Hudson.
"Or maybe he just got lucky!" says Elisa.
"Lass, as long as I've known Goliath, he's had a habit of making his own luck.
The episode ends with Goliath gliding off somewhere, then he comes back to glide in front of the moon [?], making me wonder why he was going in one direction and then decided to turn back, toward the courthouse. With that question now forever haunting my mind, the episode fades to black.
I just can't understand why they never gave the bad guys names. They were featured throughout the episode and they were important to the plot. So, why the lack of names? They weren't even named in the credits! They're under "gang leader," "driver," and "street person" one and two. The only people to get names were Amy Schlimmer and Judge Bates, and she wasn't even referred to by name in the episode. It makes them look like copy-paste, cookie-cutter characters.
And the plot is a mess. Goliath was sent to prison for robbing a jewelry store. But nothing was taken! A wall was blown up and part of the store. You'd think he'd be charged with vandalism and destruction of property, but even that is too much to ask for. And why were people taking his sentience for granted? You'd think they would've treated him like an animal, but no, everyone treated him like a person.
The whole point of the episode was that Goliath wanted to show humans that gargoyles respect their laws, but at the end, he won by cheating the system. The episode killed its own premise. And so, the episode fell flat. Well, actually, it wheezed and staggered, reeking of bad plot, pointless monologues, incompetent lawyers and nameless bad guys, and then fell flat on its face.
I don't know how Greg's idea of Goliath being judged on his very sentience transformed into this... thing. It's like they were trying to make the episode as bad as possible, delivering monologue after monologue for no reason. Hopefully, Greg will explore his original idea far more competently in the new comic books, and then we can all forget about the mess that is "And Justice for All."
Really, WHAT justice? According to this episode, the justice system is incapable of providing justice and the rules need to be broken. He escaped from prison, destroyed the courthouse, insulted the justice system in front of a judge, and won the case by breaking the rules. At least "To Serve Mankind" didn't make me angry, but this episode - oh, this episode makes me mad. Let's just pretend it doesn't exist and look forward to the comic books!