Golem (episode)

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"Golem" is the forty-first televised episode of the series Gargoyles, and the twenty-eighth episode of Season 2. It originally aired on December 14, 1995.


Main Plot

Halcyon Renard hires the criminal Tomas Brod to steal the Golem from its guardian, Max Loew. Renard transfers his spirit into the large statue and goes on a rampage through Prague, terrorizing citizens and causing destruction. Goliath and Max Loew are able to convince Renard of his wrongdoing and he abdicates from the Golem. Loew leads the Golem to stop Brod and his gang.

The Story

Previously on Gargoyles

Act One

A car chase in the streets of Prague. Three squad cars chasing a red roadster, driven by Tomas Brod. As he crosses the Charles Bridge, he's cornered by police waiting on the other side. Undeterred, Brod hops out of the vehicle even as police shout for him to stop. Jumping off the bridge, he flips onto a passing speedboat underneath. As the speedboat continues up the Vltava, Brod turns to Preston Vogel, operating the speedboat while Halcyon Renard lurks behind him.

Meanwhile, the mists clear and the Skiff appears. Goliath pushes along with the oar while Elisa tends to the rudder. Angela is surprised to see a speedboat rush by. From the getaway boat, Renard is shocked to recognize Goliath, who has likewise recognized Renard from the rocking Skiff. Angela asks who it was that Goliath recognized, and he shares that it is an old friend, one that might be able to get them finally home to Manhattan. Goliath steers the Skiff to Charles Bridge, telling the others that he will meet them there at the Old Bridge Tower after he finds Renard. Climbing up the landmark, Goliath takes a moment to observe his new surroundings before taking off. Angela, Elisa, and Bronx have likewise climbed up to the street level of the bridge. Elisa tells the others to wait near the bridge while she figures out where Avalon sent them. Angela and Bronx agree to wait atop the tower.

While Elisa walks through the city, she bumps into a young man. She tells him she's lost and the local recognizes her accent is American. He asks what she is looking for, and she mentions New York. He laughs a bit, sharing that is a long way from Prague. Checking his watch, he shares that he is running late and excuses himself. He walks to the door of Altneuschul, a nearby synagogue, and knocks deliberately at it. Elisa watches from behind a corner. The speakeasy in the door slides open and closed, and the door is soon unlocked, letting him in. She rushes to the door and knocks herself, but the man behind the door doesn't allow her the chance to ask for a payphone. Walking off, Elisa muses, "Prague seems about as friendly as New York."

Inside, the man behind the door, Janus, points out to the young man that he was followed. He wonders if she was one of Brod's people. The young man, Max Loew, assures him that she was just a lost tourist. Janus places a tallit around the young man's neck. Max is pessimistic about their plan; many other learned men have tried and failed. Janus reassures him: Rabbi Loew was Max's ancestor and spoke to him. Max clarifies that Rabbi Loew spoke to him of sacred words to write down "in a dream". Janus tells him to write then; he explains, "to the mystics, dreams are more powerful than waking thoughts." He assures Max that his dream confirms his destiny. "Which doesn't leave any choice," Max gripes. Max sits down and begins to write.

At a nearby warehouse near the river, Brod is impressed with the hovercraft he's been lent for the job he and his men have been hired to do. So impressed, in fact, that he tells Vogel to forget the money; he'll take the hovercraft as payment. Vogel accepts, "if he delivers the item specified." Snapping his fingers, Brod assures him that won't be a problem. Vogel walks off and Brod and his men board the hovercraft. The turbines begin to whirl and they fly off. Goliath quietly watches from the warehouse's rooftop. Once they leave, he swoops down to enter the warehouse.

Inside, Vogel tells Renard all they can do is wait. Goliath then approaches, happily greeting his old friend. Renard is less than inviting, asking Goliath to leave. Goliath shares he's in need of a favor, but Renard insists he's in no condition to grant favors. Vogel asks the gargoyle how he arrived in Prague, and Goliath responds with his own question of how does he get home. Vogel dismisses him outright, pointing out that Renard made it clear he can't help. He bids him goodbye. Goliath is visibly stunned at the cold reception, but soon leaves.

Meanwhile, Max has finished writing down the sacred words. He and Janus walk toward the bookcase. Max doubtful once more, insisting that it takes a powerful will to summon the Golem. Janus encourages him to find that will, because "Brod must be stopped." Max reminds him that the Golem hasn't opened its eyes in over four hundred years . . . .

Prague, 1580. Fires burn through the city. An old pedestrian stumbles to the ground as some cruel soul beats him with a club. Inside the synagogue, Rabbi Loew reads aloud the sacred words:

נפש חיים תהיה בגוף של אדמה

He folds the parchment into fours, and feeds it into the Golem's mouth. The mouth closes and the Golem's eyes light up. The Golem rises and hears Rabbi Loew's words that it has been given the breath of life to protect their community. The Golem rises and breaks through the wooden door. Walking into the streets, he stops two men terrorizing a woman and her child. The Golem quietly walks on, saving another old man from being assaulted. Rabbi Loew catches up to their protector, declaring that "all those who seek to intimidate and destroy" should beware the Golem.

Max stirs himself back to the present day. "What if it doesn't like me?" he asks Janus. Janus smirks and guides Max up the stairs. In the attic, Max turns on a flashlight and sees a giant clay statue sitting, dormant and covered in cobwebs.

Act Two

While Max lights candles in the attic, Brod and his men hover over Altneuschul. Max begins to recite the sacred words, and for a moment, it the endeavor looks to be unsuccessful. But then the Golem's mouth opens, its breath unsettling the cobwebs. Before Max can react, a window in the attic is blown open. Downstairs, Janus is rocked from the explosion. Brod swings in from a hovering ladder, masked and heavily armed. Max asks who they are and what they want, but Brod and his men ignore him until he tries to tear up the sacred words. "Don't. Be. Clever," Brod warns. Janus enters the attic and immediately tackles Brod. Brod throws him off, but not before Janus unmasks him. Max grows indignant when he realizes who the thieves are, but rushes to the unconscious Janus as Brod and his men escape with the Golem, still sitting in its chair.

From the Old Town Bridge Tower, Angela and Bronx see Brod's hovercraft in the distance. Goliath lands, wondering what has changed Renard when Angela points out the hovercraft. Goliath recognizes it as the same one he saw at the warehouse with Renard. Goliath and Angela take to skies after it, while Bronx climbs head down from the tower.

On the streets, Elisa hears gunfire from above. From the ladder, Brod is firing at Goliath and Angela, wondering aloud what they are. Bronx has caught up to the scene and passes by Elisa. She calls for the gargoyle beast to wait up. The two make it to the synagogue and Bronx knocks down the door. While still tending to Janus, Max is stunned to see Elisa, Bronx, or both, but Elisa assures him that they're "the good guys". She runs to the blown out window and watches Brod enter the hovercraft in time to block Goliath's attack. Angela swoops in, but she is knocked back by some flash grenades. She falls from the skies, rolling off the roof of the synagogue before catching herself from falling over the edge. Goliath makes another attempt at the hovercraft hatch, but is blocked once more. He methodically pries the metal open, only to be greeting by Brod who stuns him with his weapon. Goliath plummets from the skies but is saved by Angela. They land by the blown window and enter Altneuschul's attic. Max stares at the gargoyles. "What is happening?" he asks. "That is something we would like to know," Goliath replies.

While Janus continues to recover, Max finishes bringing Goliath and the others up to speed, explaining that the Golem is a protector, but one that has been dormant for centuries. Until tonight, when it was stolen by Tomas Brod. Max shares that Brod and his men are making "life impossible" for the citizens of Prague. Max begins to blame himself for the theft, but Goliath reminds him that Brod is responsible. "And possibly one other," Goliath adds. Before he leaves, Angela asks where he's going, and Goliath tells them that he's off to talk to someone he thought he knew. Max, meanwhile, still can't shake the guilt he's feeling, admonishing himself for losing the Golem on his first night. Elisa tells him not to give up, figuring the Golem needs him and much as they need it.

At the riverside warehouse, Goliath finally realizes why Renard was unhappy to see him in Prague. From a high window, Goliath watches the ailing Cyberbiotics CEO facing the Golem and surrounded by candles. Vogel, now wearing a tallit, steps into the circle, carrying Max's written sacred words. Renard tells him to proceed, but Goliath drops in from above, interrupting them. Renard is agitated, reminding the gargoyle that he was told to leave him alone. Goliath reminds Renard that he considers him a man of great integrity, and demands to know what has changed. "Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford," Renard informs him. His illness has progressed to the point that he now wishes to transfer his soul into the Golem. He makes it clear its his last chance to move, "to live again". Goliath tells him that the Golem is meant to protect the citizens of Prague, but Renard aims his chair's armrest weapon at the gargoyle. Vogel recites the sacred words. The Golem's mouth opens, and Vogel feeds the Golem the paper. Halcyon then recites the incantation he found:

נה לה הווי נפשי לגוף הא אדמה

His body quickly collapses. The Golem's eyes glow alive. One with the Golem, Renard rises to his feet. Declaring the spell worked, Renard pokes a clay finger at his previous body and shares that he can feel again. Goliath urges him to stop, but Renard grabs his arm, telling the gargoyle he doesn't want to hurt him. Goliath tells him to turn back, but Renard tells him it's too late for that.

Act Three

Goliath still struggles against Renard's bearhug grip. Renard insists that he will not be deprived of life. He throws Goliath to the ground, having squeezed the breath out of him. Renard instructs Vogel to take care of his previous body while he goes out to enjoy a walk. As he passes a streetlamp, he bends it into a pretzel and laughs at his newfound might. He then finds a beat-up car and proceeds to gleefully crush the roof in and throw it into the river. A driver swerves out of his way, terrified at the sight of giant clay being. Fleeing from his car, Renard relishes in the "instant respect", as he sees it. "I could get used to this." In a graveyard near the synagogue, Renard knocks over the tombstone of Edger Blosa.

Meanwhile, Elisa anxiously waits for Goliath, but she and the others hear a commotion below. Its Renard, trashing the lower level of the building, knocking over bookshelves. Bronx attacks the clay being, but is kicked into a bookshelf. Max rushes downstairs, and asks what has happened to the Golem. "Your purpose is to defend, not to destroy," he tries to reason. But Renard has other priorities, he's intent on finding whatever book that might banish him from his new body. The others arrive: Janus is surprised to see the Golem possessed, while Angela springs into attack. She's thrown by Renard who laughs under his breath, "Don't make me hurt you." She pounces at him once more, but she's swiftly thrown into another wall. Knocked unconscious, Renard crosses his arms and declares that he "warned her", but Elisa calls out his tone: he's enjoying this. Renard is taken aback, and actually utters, "You don't understand. It's not my fault; I have no choice." He turns to leave, but is blocked by Max, who reminds the Golem that there is always a choice. Max insists that he's meant to help guide the Golem wisely. But Renard merely picks him up, and walks out of the synagogue. He starts to swing Max above his head for a real long throw, but is interrupted once more by Goliath, who glides down, telling him that a "weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit". Renard is not willing to be judged, he pinning Goliath against a wall. After all, their bodies have not betrayed them as his has. Max tells Renard that their judgements don't matter . . . he has to learn to live with himself. Unwilling to do so, Renard wonders the alternative – accept his fate and his failing body? Goliath asks him if his current choice is a better destiny, to give up everything he believes in for a body of clay? Janus, Angela, and Elisa slowly approach as the various sentiments finally reach Renard. "What have I become?" he asks himself as he lets go of Goliath.

Back at the warehouse, Renard's original body slowly wakes up. Vogel welcomes him back. Goliath assures his old friend that he does not face his fate alone. Renard asks Max want he intends to do, and Max explains he will make the choice to face his destiny, and reclaim his home.

At the Konrock Constuction site, Brod and his men are raiding an armory. He relishes how not even the army will be able to stop them. Max walks up, telling Brod to surrender. Brod approaches, telling Max he is becoming a nuisance. From behind the barrels, the Golem steps into view. Walking toward Brod, his clay body deflects the immediate fire of bullets. Realizing they have little effect on the clay protector, Brod darts away with the Golem continuing its pursuit without pause. Brod's men walk onto the scene, and are taken out by Goliath and Elisa. Brod manages to get to his hovercraft and have it airborne, but two clay arms suddenly appear in the window and the hovercraft is slammed back into the ground. Exiting the hovercraft, Brod prepares to attack the Golem once more, this time with one of the weapons he's looted, but the Golem knocks it out of his hands and lifts him off the ground. The Golem proceeds to walk the flailing Brod to a nearby excavation site, fully intent to let the gangster plummet to his death. But Max stops the Golem in time, reminding the protector to follow the words of their ancestors: "Love, justice, and do mercy." The Golem turns around, with Brod still in his grasp, and follows Max back to Goliath and Elisa are, who are in the middle of tying up Brod's men by cables. Goliath tells Max his city is well protected, and Elisa assures him he'll get used to the weirdness.

Back at Charles Bridge, Angela and Bronx wait in the Skiff below. Above, Goliath and Elisa meet with Renard and Vogel. Vogel acknowledges Goliath for saving his soul and life, and offers to provide them safe passage back to New York. But after his latest venture, Goliath realizes that the hand of fate has guided them to each destination of their journey so far and he is committed to see it through to the end. Goliath will not speak for everyone: he offers Elisa a chance to go home with Renard. Elisa, however, balks at the notion: "Are you kidding? You guys would be lost without me." Mentioning she has some vacation time set aside, the two leave Renard and Vogel. With that, Renard instructs Vogel its time to go home. "I'm tired," he explains.

"It has been an adventure, Sir."

From a rooftop, the Golem and Max greet the dawn and a new day.

Featured Characters and First Appearances

Gargoyles Humans Others

Places Magic Miscellaneous


  • "Prague seems about as friendly as New York." - Elisa Maza
  • "Your dream reveals your destiny – You are the chosen one." - Janus
"Which doesn't leave me any choice." - Max Loew
  • "Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford." - Halcyon Renard
  • "Your purpose is to defend, not to destroy!" - Max
"I am defending myself!" - Renard
  • "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit!" - Goliath
  • "Our judgements do not matter. You must be able to live with yourself." - Max
  • "Your city is in capable hands" - Goliath
". . . and you get used to the weirdness." - Elisa


Halcyon Renard and Preston Vogel appear for the first time since "Outfoxed". They next appear together in "The Gathering" Part One, although Vogel appears on his own in "The Green". Renard is acknowledged in "Pendragon", having informed the Manhattan Clan of Goliath, Elisa, and Bronx showing up in Prague.

Tomas Brod appears for the first time. He reappears in "Turf".

Renard gives Brod a Cyberbiotics hovercraft, which Brod still owns during the events of "Turf".


"Golem" is the only episode containing a flashback scene not connected to the series mythology or the lives of its characters; the flashback here is a simple dramatization of Rabbi Loew's original activation of the Golem in 16th century Prague, a simple adaptation of the original tale without any changes to accommodate Gargoyles elements into it (unlike the way that, say, "City of Stone" handled Macbeth's story). The production team felt the background both necessary and dramatic to an audience that likely would not be familiar enough with the legends pertaining to the Golem.

When Max Loew orders the Golem to spare Tomas Brod's life, he mentions "the words of our ancestors: 'Love justice, and do mercy.'" These words are not an exact Old Testament quote, but a close parallel to them appears in Micah 6:8: "and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Writer Gary Sperling's brother, a rabbi, advised him on the spoken Hebrew used in this episode. [1]

In a tiny animation nit, during the police chase at the start of the episode, the word printed on the side of the police cars chasing Tomas Brod is revealed to be "POICE". A few seconds later, this is changed to "POLICE". In fact, police cars in the Czech Republic have the word "POLICIE" printed on them.

The final confrontation with Brod and his men takes place at a construction site. A sign over the building says "Konrock".

Toon Disney/Disney XD Edits

Some of the violence during the flashback is cut out, specifically an older man being attacked by a thug with a club during a pogrom. Also, some of the Angela/Golem fight is cut out.

DVD Release


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