"Vows" is the twenty-first televised episode of the series Gargoyles, and the eighth episode of Season 2. It originally aired on September 14, 1995.
- Produced by: Frank Paur, Greg Weisman
- Written by: Shari Goodhartz
- Story Edited by: Michael Reaves
- Directed by: Frank Paur
- Animation by: Sae Rom Production Co., LTD.
- Backgrounds by: Sae Rom Production Co., LTD.
- Additional Production Facilities: N/A
Goliath is invited to the wedding of Xanatos and Fox where he attempts to connect with Demona one last time. He brings along his half of the Phoenix Gate which has served as a symbol of his past love for her. This was all a ploy set up by Xanatos and Demona to reunite Goliath's Gate piece to Demona's so that they could travel back in time to 975, Scotland. While Xanatos sets up his scheme that explains how he started his empire, Demona tries unsuccessfully to alter the past to her liking by bringing her younger self to the Wyvern Massacre of 994. The past can't be changed, however, and the time travelers return to their own time, while Goliath sadly realizes that his relationship with Demona has permanently ended.
Xanatos and Fox are married, and Fox reveals that she legally changed her name.
Petros disapproves of his son's attitude and how he lives. Xanatos invites him to his wedding then brings him along with Fox on his time traveling journey, believing he would prove his self worth to his father. At the end of the adventure, Petros gives Xanatos a penny as a wedding gift, citing that money is all that his son cares about.
Goliath comes in contact with the Hudson of his past, who helps Goliath by keeping his younger self from investigating the goings on while he attempts to stop Demona.
The Archmage of the past wishes to obtain the Phoenix Gate to secure ultimate power for himself. He fails to obtain it when he sends attackers after Princess Elena and the Norman Ambassador to steal it from the princess, but they are thwarted by Xanatos, Fox, and Petros. He orders his apprentice, the young Demona, to steal the Gate from Elena and bring it to him. She does so, but after her horrific encounter with her older counterpart, she breaks it in half to share with Goliath during the wedding of Elena and Prince Malcolm.
Xanatos sends two envelopes off with the Norman Ambassador to bring to the Illuminati Society. He informs the Society to wait a thousand years then send the first envelope to him in 1975 with a coin given to him by Malcolm- the same coin that he used to procure his fortune. The other envelope would be sent twenty years after the first one containing instructions on how to set up the whole scheme.
Demona urges her younger self to use the Phoenix Gate to rule over her fellow gargoyles and the world. The young Demona is horrified by her counterpart and wants nothing to do with her. She stops her from attacking Goliath and asks him what she should do about her tragic future. He tells her to do nothing, but to always fulfill her vows of love. When the travelers return, the current-day Demona remembers his words, and tells him that it didn't change anything.
Elisa is jealous that Goliath went to see Demona, and is annoyed at him for going to the wedding. Hudson remembers his past encounter and doesn't stop Goliath from going.
At the Golden Cup Bakery Building, Goliath battles an armored Xanatos. The two reciprocate blow for blow until Xanatos can afford the time and distance to remove his helmet, expressing his surprise that Goliath would just wade into the attack without questions. Xanatos explains that his invitation was to have a conversation with Goliath. Goliath maintains that their previous encounters were enough to not trust him. Xanatos moves on and announces that he and Fox are getting married the following night, and he wants Goliath to be his best man. With glowing eyes finally beginning to fade from the battle, Goliath protests that Xanatos must be joking. Goliath is then surprised to hear that Demona will also be at the wedding, with Xanatos promising she'll be on her "best behavior".
Just before dawn at the Clock Tower, Hudson tells Goliath that only he can decide what he will ultimately choose to do. Elisa, on the other hand, declares that it's crazy to even consider going, with Goliath passively agreeing just as he turns to stone for the day.
At the Eyrie Building, Fox lands a Xanatos Enterprises helicopter in the courtyard. She exits and opens the door for Petros Xanatos, David Xanatos's father. David greets both, and while kissing Fox, Petros teases the two that it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding. The couple shrug it off, Xanatos declaring that he and Fox make their own luck. Fox leaves with another kiss to prepare for the wedding, leaving her fiancé and soon-to-be Father-in-Law. David asks his father what he thinks of the Eyrie Building, to which Petros, unimpressed, asks his son why he needs "all this". Quoting King Lear, David replies "Reason not the need"; he wanted it, so he took it. Not giving an inch, Petros inquires about the armor; Xanatos maintains it's for defensive purposes only but that only disgusts Petros more. He is at an absolute loss in understanding the life his son leads to the point that Petros believes David would have been better off had he become a poor fisherman like himself. He declares that if ever finds out who was the mysterious individual that gave David "that coin", he would teach that person a lesson about meddling with his family. David says the whole thing is "ancient history" and that the coin was only worth about twenty grand. Today, his net worth is "considerably more". But Petros refuses to acknowledge his efforts, stating that his current fortune is the direct result of an anonymous benefactor donating the young Xanatos a museum-quality artifact. Petros drives the point home: David didn't earn any of this. Xanatos promises his father that one day he'll prove he is a self-made man.
In the great hall of the castle, Xanatos meets Judge Roebling (escorted by Owen Burnett), who will be presiding over the ceremony. He shakes the Judge's hand with his armored claw, with Judge Roebling massaging his hand immediately after. Xanatos then escorts his father and the Judge to watch a video in another room, explaining that the Best Man and Maid of Honor are unconventional, to say the least. Owen asks Xanatos if Goliath will actually attend show up. Xanatos is willing to bet his future that he will be.
In Scotland, a young Goliath lands at Castle Wyvern in 975 A.D., embracing his love, and announces that they must hurry or they will miss Prince Malcolm's wedding. "Mentor" tells them to go on then. The two glide and land on one of the upper windows of the great hall. They witness Prince Malcolm and Princess Elena exchanging rings and vows. Goliath comments on the human custom of exchanging tokens to seal their pledge of love. He considers it strange, but fitting nonetheless. "Angel" takes out the Phoenix Gate, a heater-shaped talisman, breaking it in two. She gives one half to Goliath, declaring it a token of her love, asking him to cherish it always just as she will cherish her half. Goliath accepts this token and vow from his "Angel of the Night", and vows in return that they are one "now and forever".
The following evening in present-day Manhattan, Goliath enters a storage room in the Clock Tower. In addition to a comatose Coldstone, the Eye of Odin, and the Grimorum Arcanorum the room is also the location for Goliath's half of the Phoenix Gate. He takes his half and leaves.
Before the wedding begins, Owen asks Xanatos if it is wise to wear the Illuminati Society's emblem out in public. Xanatos explains that it is a necessary risk. Goliath arrives shortly after, with Xanatos thanking him, explaining to the gargoyle that he doesn't know how much this means to him. He then takes out a wedding ring and begins to explain what the Best Man's role is during the ceremony, when Goliath cuts him off, telling Xanatos he understands. Inside the great hall (now decorated for the occasion), Judge Roebling is shocked at the sight of Goliath, while Petros takes a step back when Demona enters. Goliath utters her name, astonished for his own reasons, but Demona asserts that she's only participating in this "farce" at Xanatos's insistence and that she needs to maintain him as an ally. She stresses that she doesn't know why (or care) why Goliath is in attendance. Goliath replies that this isn't the first wedding they've attended, but Demona maintains that she is in no mood for reminiscing. Struggling at the start, Judge Roebling begins the ceremony asking Fox what her "real name" is. Fox coldly assures him that 'Fox' is her real name, legally. The ceremony is a short one; the gargoyles in the bridal party fulfill their role in the exchanging of the rings and David Xanatos and Fox are declared husband and wife. Demona leaves the great hall before the ceremonial kiss, with Goliath following close behind her. David and Fox ignore the rest of the pomp, with David declaring that, "Now the fun begins." Petros tries to restrain his son, infuriated at his lack of respect for anything. David glibly tells his father that he's in a hurry.
Goliath meets Demona on a castle balcony. He reminds her that long ago, they once also exchanged vows. Goliath reveals that he has kept his half of the Phoenix Gate, and Demona reveals the same; both gargoyles reunite both halves into one glowing-at-the-break talisman. The warmth in Goliath's eyes is cut short as Demona begins to laugh maniacally and declares her former love to be a sentimental fool. She explains that Goliath has fallen into her and Xanatos's trap; she now has – and intends to use – the Phoenix Gate. She begins to recite the Latin incantation: Deslagrate muri tempi et intervalia! A ball of magical fire erupts from the Gate and engulfs her and Goliath, with just enough time for David, Fox, and Petros to enter the fiery sphere as well. Away from the commotion, Owen deadpans to Judge Roebling that, "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected." The five vanish from the balcony.
In the forest not far from Castle Wyvern in 975, the bridal party materializes from the Gate's flames. Petros is confused, asking, "Where are we?" David explains that the question isn't "where", but "when".
Demona immediately sets off for Castle Wyvern, with Goliath gliding not far behind. Demona loses him by reciting the Phoenix Gate's incantation once more, disappearing in a ball of flames.
In the forest, two hooded travelers are surrounded by four bandits, trying to defend themselves. Swords and shields clash, and one traveler, Princess Elena, is knocked off her horse onto the ground. The bandit who did the pushing raises his sword to strike a fatal blow when he is expertly kicked across the forest floor by Xanatos. He begins to assist the Princess when both are distracted by the second horsebound bandit that is body slammed to the ground by Fox, striking the bandit unconscious with her fist. Petros makes short work of the third bandit with his coat, and the other hooded traveler fends off the final bandit. The third bandit gets back on his feet before Xanatos goads him into attacking, with the bandit swiftly getting roundhoused on the ground once again. The bandits promptly run away. Xanatos commandeers the bandits' horses and is thanked by the hooded traveler who, after seeing Xanatos's Illuminati pin, introduces himself as the Norman Ambassador. The Norman Ambassador explains that he and the Princess are carrying "precious gifts" for Prince Malcolm of Wyvern. Despite the time travelers' strange garb, the Norman Ambassador acknowledges Xanatos's fighting skills (and his association with the Illuminati). He proclaims that he would be honored if Xanatos and the others accompany him and Princess Elena the remaining miles to Castle Wyvern, figuring that Prince Malcolm will be generous in his appreciation for the strangers' assistance.
Goliath lands atop Castle Wyvern's highest tower. He spots Demona and is ready to attack once more when he realizes it is not the Demona from the present day, but his former "Angel" from a millennium ago. He sees her embrace his younger self. Witnessing the past moment relive itself almost tears his own heart out, when he is interrupted by "Mentor", chastising Goliath for abandoning his post at the battlements for the tower. Upon getting closer, "Mentor" gets a good look and notices something off about the gargoyle. Over present-day Goliath's shoulder "Mentor" sees the Goliath of his time with "Angel" and is aghast, suspecting that sorcery might be in play. Before "Mentor" can sound the alarm, Goliath promptly slaps a hand over his mouth.
At the castle entrance, Prince Malcolm greets the Norman Ambassador and the others, but wonders aloud where his bride is. The Norman Ambassador explains that it was the hope that by traveling in secret they would better avoid trouble from rogues and thieves, but that ultimately it was unavoidable. Princess Elena credits David, Fox, and Petros for saving her life in the three's valiant rescue. Prince Malcolm bestows a handful of coins upon Xanatos, proclaiming they are but the first tokens of his reward. Fine food, fine lodging, and fine clothes await them all. Petros can't help but notice the coins Xanatos was just given. Prince Malcolm explains that the wedding ceremony was intended for the following day, but given the recent attack he has now grown anxious. He declares the two will now be married "this very night!" He orders the great hall to be prepared for the ceremony. Before following, the Norman Ambassador asks the Princess if her father's wedding gift is still safe. Princess Elena reveals the Phoenix Gate and shares that she will present it to her newly wedded husband after the wedding.
Meanwhile, Goliath struggles to explain to "Mentor" how he is from another time. Goliath doesn't understand what Xanatos and Demona's motivations are for visiting the past, but he confides that he worries for the safety of his younger self and his younger self's "angel love". He asks for Hudson's assistance in protecting the two; "Mentor" is frankly still processing the situation, but ultimately agrees to help.
In his study, the Archmage curses the strangers that came to Princess Elena and the Norman Ambassador's aid. He tells his apprentice that the bandits were under his direction to steal the Phoenix Gate from the Princess. With the Grimorum already in his possession, acquiring the Phoenix Gate will leave him with only the Eye of Odin as the final key to secure the "ultimate magical power". He commands his apprentice to steal the Gate from Princess and bring it to him, with "Angel" revealed as his apprentice.
Dressed for the time and place, Petros and Fox watch Xanatos hand an envelope to the Norman Ambassador who promptly leaves Castle Wyvern. Petros is suspicious and wants to know what scheme his son is currently plotting. Xanatos explains the envelope contains explicit instructions for the Illuminati as well as two smaller envelopes. The Illuminati are to wait one thousand years before delivering the first envelope to a young David Xanatos of Bar Harbor, Maine. The first envelope contains one of the coins that Prince Malcolm awarded David for his services in helping Princess Elena. David explains the coin is "practically worthless" in the year 975, but by 1975 it will be worth about twenty grand. The second envelope is set to be delivered twenty years after the first, detailing how David obtained "that coin". He proudly explains that he received instructions to hatch this plan from himself a week ago, and boasts that he is – quite literally – a self-made man. Fox declares how proud she is of David, but Petros reminds him of the more pertinent question: does he have a plan for getting home?
While Princess Elena prepares for the wedding, "Angel" sneaks inside her chambers through the window and steals the Phoenix Gate without attracting attention. The Gate crackles flames about her hand as a large fiery sphere materializes; out of it steps her future self. From the castle tower, Goliath and "Mentor" see the two (with "Mentor" confused by Goliath's utterance of Demona's name) and also notice Goliath's younger self seeing the flames erupt. Goliath reminds "Mentor" that his younger self must not investigate, and "Mentor" goes off to distract the contemporary gargoyle. The Goliath of 1995 then hurries to enter the Phoenix Gate's flames just in time before Demona and her younger self vanish.
Demona, "Angel", and Goliath arrive at Castle Wyvern in 994 A.D., sacked and left in ruins by the Vikings thanks to Demona's betrayal. The massacre of the Wyvern Clan and the Magus's spell on its survivors are recent events once more. Demona swiftly knocks Goliath out with a kick fueled by a millennium of anger. Demona then warns her younger self that what she sees is the future that awaits her. The destruction of the castle, shattered deaths of her clan, and her true love frozen in stone at night; Demona declares that the humans will be responsible for what is to transpire. Demona wastes no time, telling "Angel" that she holds the power in her hands to change this fate. Explaining that the Phoenix Gate can be manipulated by thinking about a specific place in time and speaking the incantation, Demona tells her past self not to give it to the Archmage or to share it with anyone else. Instead she should use the Phoenix Gate in her crusade to destroy humanity, rule the gargoyles, rule the world.
"Angel" sees Goliath coming to and goes to his aid, but Demona holds her younger self back. Demona says to "Angel" that she knows her feelings for Goliath but that ultimately he cannot be trusted; she dismisses him as weak and caring more for the humans than for their clan. The biggest favor "Angel" can give him, Demona asserts, is to "put him out of our misery, forever". She sums it up by stating that she is whom "Angel" will become. "Angel" rejects the thought, declaring, "I will never be like you!" The two selves turn hostile, with the older Demona telling the younger "Angel" that she will beat this lesson into her if that is the only way she will understand, but is stopped by Goliath. "Angel" then finds the opportunity to slam her future self on the castle parapet, knocking Demona's Phoenix Gate out of her hands. Goliath picks up the Gate, while "Angel" picks up the Gate she brought with her. Goliath asks "Angel" if she is injured, but "Angel" is far too preoccupied by the horrors she's just witnessed. Tears streaming as she clings to the petrified Goliath of 994, she pleads "What am I to do?" Goliath, seeking to undo the damage Demona has inflicted on her younger self, gently tells her to do nothing: do not wait or look for this catastrophe. His wish for "Angel" is to live in the moment and attend to the petty jealousies and angers that prey upon her heart. Should she fortify her life with love and trust, "Angel" won't have to worry about this future (as he speaks, "Angel" looks away). And finally, Goliath reminds her to fulfill the vows of love she makes, as a final means to save her. "Angel" promises Goliath, saying he has "her oath". Wistful, Goliath responds that he once had Demona's oath too.
Goliath picks up the unconscious Demona, telling "Angel" that he doesn't remember the incantation. "Angel" does remember and recites it, reigniting the Gate once more.
David, Fox, and Petros wait on the balcony when the fiery sphere of the Phoenix Gate bursts next to them. David quips that they've found their ticket home. Goliath tells Xanatos that if he wasn't personally worried about the damage that could be done to the timestream, he'd gladly leave him in the 10th century. David is unfazed, explaining that Goliath won't, because he didn't. "Time Travel's funny that way." Before leaving, Goliath says goodbye to the young "Angel", instructing her to remember her promise. This time Goliath recites the Phoenix Gate's incantation, engulfing David, Fox, Petros, and the unconscious Demona in the Gate's flames.
After they have departed, the Archmage scurries up the tower's steps, accusing "Angel" of having lost the Phoenix Gate. He strikes her with lightning, and threatens to tell Prince Malcolm that she stole the Gate. "Mentor" swoops in between the two, asking the Archmage why would he accuse "Angel" of thievery, and if that is what happened, who would she have been stealing it for? The Archmage backs down but not before declaring that he won't be forgetting this altercation any time soon. As he races down the steps, he muses that the Gate's theft can be blamed on the three strangers that mysteriously vanished.
The Goliath of 975 glides up to his love, embracing her, and announces that they must hurry or they will miss Prince Malcolm's wedding. "Mentor" tells them to go on then.
In 1995, Owen deadpans to Judge Roebling that, "It seems the honeymoon has begun earlier than expected," when the bridal party materializes from the Gate's flames. Demona regains consciousness, once more calling Goliath a sentimental fool. She admits to have failed in altering the past, but points out that he failed as well. She remembered what Goliath told her, revealing that while she never forgot it, it did not prevent the inevitable. "Obviously, history is immutable," she reasons. "More's the pity," Goliath concludes. He takes off back to the Clock Tower.
David asks his father if he enjoyed the wedding. Petros pulls out and tosses an American penny to his son, explaining that it's not worth much now, but in a thousand years, who knows? It's all he figures David cares about, so that's his wedding gift for the couple.
At the Clock Tower, Elisa argues with Hudson that they shouldn't have let Goliath go to the wedding, with Brooklyn demanding they go save him. Goliath's silhouette in the sky assures Hudson that a rescue won't be necessary. Elisa turns to Goliath, reminding him that he promised he wouldn't go, but Hudson stops her. Goliath walks inside.
In 975, standing in a window overlooking the great hall, "Angel" takes out the Phoenix Gate, breaking it in two. She gives one half to Goliath, and the two's embrace is lost to time.
- Bar Harbor (Mentioned Only)
- "Why do you need all this?"
- "Oh, reason not the need, father. I wanted it, so I took it." - Petros and Xanatos
- "This is not the first wedding ritual we've attended together. Don't you remember?"
- "I'm not interested in reminiscing." - Goliath and Demona
- "Now the fun begins."
- "This is your wedding! Have you no respect for anything?"
- "I'm sorry, pop. I'm in a bit of a hurry." - Xanatos and Petros
- "Having fun?"
- "A marvelous time." - Xanatos and Fox
- "So you see Huds...I mean...my mentor...I am not a creature of sorcery, I am a visitor from the future."
- "And I suppose you glided back in time on the wind?" - Goliath and Hudson
- "Can't you see I am what you will become!"
- "I will never be like you!"
- "I do not wish to hurt you."
- "And I do not wish to be you!" - current Demona and young Demona
- "Do not wait or look for this catastrophe. Live in the moment. Attend the petty jealousies and angers that prey upon your heart. Fortify yourself with love and trust, and you need not fear this future. But most of all, fulfill the vows of love you make, for they can surely save you." - Goliath
- "If I didn't fear the damage you would do to the time stream, I'd gladly leave you here."
- "But you won't, because you didn't. Time travel's funny that way." - Goliath and Xanatos
- "You see, I have clear memories of your little inspirational about keeping my vows of love. I never forgot it. And it changed nothing! Obviously history is immutable."
- "More's the pity." - Demona and Goliath
- "What's this?"
- "A simple American penny. It's not worth much now, but in a thousand years, who knows? It's my wedding present to you, because it's all you seem to care about." - Xanatos and Petros
Although the Illuminati Society had previously been mentioned in "The Edge" and "The Silver Falcon", it is only in this episode that we learn that the society is real. We also learn that the Society already exists by 975 (the Norman Ambassador accompanying Princess Elena is a member of it), and that its symbol is a fiery eye atop a pyramid (tied in with the conspiracy theories relating to the similar symbol on the Great Seal of the United States). One can infer that the Illuminati must also have a phenomenally efficient archiving system, since they are able to accurately follow Xanatos's instructions to them one thousand years later.
The Phoenix Gate appears for the first time in this episode, and we learn that history cannot be altered. Goliath takes the Gate at the end to safeguard it, and will do so until "High Noon".
As Goliath retrieves his half of the Phoenix Gate from its place in the Clock Tower, the dormant Coldstone (from "Legion"), the Grimorum Arcanorum (from "Enter Macbeth"), and the Eye of Odin (from "Eye of the Beholder") are shown in storage nearby. All of these items will also be taken from this storage room in "High Noon".
The Archmage says that by combining the Grimorum, the Phoenix Gate and the Eye of Odin he will achieve "ultimate magical power". We will eventually see him do so in "Avalon" Part Two. The items grouped together are later revealed to be named as the Three Keys to Power in "Phoenix".
Xanatos and Goliath have their opening battle atop the Goldencup Bakery Building, which first appeared in "Legion".
Xanatos and Fox are married in this episode. Xanatos had proposed to Fox in the previous episode, "Eye of the Beholder".
In this episode, Goliath comes to realize that he can never restore his relationship with Demona to the way it was prior to the Wyvern Massacre.
In the Dark Ages scenes in this episode, Goliath almost refers to Hudson by his name, before remembering that in this time period he has not yet chosen a name for himself. ("Awakening: Part Three") None of the gargoyles in these scenes have names.
Also in the Dark Ages scenes, the younger Hudson does not carry his trademark sword (which he obtains in "Awakening: Part Two"), and has not yet been blinded in one eye (which occurs in flashback in "Long Way to Morning").
Petros Xanatos appears for the first time in this episode. He will later appear in "The Gathering" Part One.
Judge Roebling also appears for the first time. He will appear again in "Masque".
It is also revealed that Princess Elena, Princess Katharine's mother, is of Norman descent. Since the Normans were the descendants of Vikings who had settled in northern France early in the 10th century (the very name "Norman" is a shortening of "Norseman" or "Northman"), it appears that Princess Katharine might have been more closely related to Hakon than would have pleased her . . .
Greg Weisman originally conceived of the Phoenix Gate in "Vows" as merely a magical object that Demona was attempting to take from Goliath, using its significance to him as a memory of their love for each other to manipulate him; the notion of its particular power being time travel came very late in the episode's development. He has since admitted that the episode should have been a two-parter to introduce the concept of time travel more effectively into the series. 
Xanatos's "Reason not the need" comment to his father (when Petros asks him why he needs his many possessions, such as Castle Wyvern) is a Shakespeare quote, from King Lear, Act II, scene iv. There, the parent-child situation is the reverse of the situation here, for it is Lear who utters that line to his daughter Regan, when she asks him why he still needs so many knights attendant upon him following his abdication.
After Demona shows up for the wedding, a close up of her saying "I neither know nor care why you're here." to Goliath shows her wings open behind her while she had just folded them and they are still folded after that shot.
The Two Endings
There are two endings because one was a mistake that the production team couldn't get corrected in time for its first airing. That scene was supposed to be a flashback to Goliath and Demona embracing at the castle. Instead, it mistakenly has them embracing at the Clock Tower, which they've never done.
Unfortunately, the wrong ending is the one that ended up on the DVD release.
Disney's since-pulled upload of the episode on their YouTube account did contain the right ending.
The Disney+ version also contains the wrong ending.
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