Highlander (Season 1, Ep 6): Bad Day In Building A

This episode begins with Queen Tessa (I bent the knee in Episode 5 after she threatened an Immortal with a blow torch to the face) arguing with Duncan over unpaid traffic tickets. Should a Queen even have to pay them? Duncan thinks so. So Duncan, Tessa, and Richie set off the courthouse in Duncan’s T-Bird to pay them.

“You know, some people collect stamps.” Lol. Duncan is snarky. They parked in a tow away zone so Richie goes in with Tessa to find Building A. “Stay with Richie. He knows his way around in there better than anybody. If they put you in jail I’ll write every day.”

We see a young father walking his small daughter through the courthouse. He leads her into a play area, by herself, and then locks the door behind her. Based on his wardrobe, he appears to be a building maintenance worker. I guess this is Seacouver courthouse’s version of a daycare.

Next, we see a man who is definitely this week’s bad guy being led into a hearing in front of a judge. His hands are cuffed behind his back, he has a wispy moustache and his hair is slicked straight back. He looks like a stereotypical drug dealer from South America.

Apparently our cuffed man is about to be sentenced. His attorney objects “to this entire proceeding.” I bet he went to an Ivy League law school. But the judge sentences him (Bryan Slade) for life, without the possibility of parole, for seven counts of murder in the first degree.

I like this judge. As they’re taking Slade away, he calls the attorney to his bench, calls him a pencil neck, and tells him that he’s going to jail for 30 days if he ever mouths off in his court again.

Ruh roh. The hallway of white clad painters (?) who have been facing the wall while they clean suddenly have handguns. The two bailiffs escorting Slade to prison get shot in the back and Slade is free.

Richie and Tess hear gun shots. Richie runs into an older man named Stan while he and Tess hightail it out of there. More cops get gunned down but their appearance seems to box Slade and his crew in so that they cannot leave.

Duncan hears the gunshots and goes inside. As he exits the elevator, he finds Tessa and Richie. He disarms one man with a gun before being knocked out by another from behind. Slade instructs his men to take the hostages – including our main cast – into the courtroom.

As the camera shows a traffic ticket being placed under Duncan’s windshield (lol) Randi the Reporter from a few episodes back shows up on the scene.

Commissioner Cominski also shows up. We learn that Slade is asking for a helicopter on the roof. We also learn for sure – though it was not really in doubt – that both bailiffs shot in the back earlier are definitely dead. Cominsky calls Slade once he arrives. Our Baddie of the Week tells him that “either the chopper is on the roof in half an hour or the first body hits the pavement.”

Back in the courthouse Duncan wakes up. And we find out that Richie’s old man friend is a con artist. The con lets us know that he believes none of the hostages will be allowed to live through this ordeal and then he relays some of his backstory. “I tried fencing for a while. Fell in with a bad bunch of people that way. The con game you’re always dealing with a lot nicer people. Dumb. A little larceny in their hearts. But honest.” Who among us doesn’t have “a little larceny” in our hearts? If I haven’t mentioned it before, let me say it again: WHAT APOCALYPSE BEFELL THE PEOPLE OF SEACOUVER! This whole city is on the ragged edge of ruin at all times.

We see Slade sizing up his hostages. He immediately recognizes Duncan as the biggest threat. “Are you a cop? Military, right? I can always tell.”

If you watch this show enough, you notice that Adrian Paul always plays situations where he’s about to parcel out some violence upon a bad guy with… joy? Satisfaction? In the scene where he’s being sized up, Duncan is holding back a smile. Violence is coming, my friends. Oh yes. Violence is coming.

The dad who locked his little girl into a room earlier in the episode is now asking the other hostages if they’ve seen his daughter. We see her hiding by herself in the daycare room that she was in earlier.

Randi the Reporter is saying “something big is about to break” right as a helicopter flies over. She gleefully tells her cameraman to get the chopper in the video. Unfortunately, this means that our hostage-takers saw on TV that three snipers got off the helicopter and onto the roof. Slade calls Cominsky. Slade is not happy. And apparently Cominsky genuinely did not know one of his underlings planned it that way. Imagine my shock that Seacouver’s police force is not run in an efficient manner.

The first hostage slated to die is Slade’s attorney. Duncan is next to be led out.

Cominsky is watching a security camera video remotely of what is happening inside the courthouse. He sees MacLeod being led in at gunpoint and recognizes him. Cominsky calls Slade in a panic and tells him not to do it. But we see Duncan go down in a heap after being shot from behind. Slade then walks over to the camera and shoots it, too.

Alone and presumed dead, Duncan revives. Now comes the violence his smirk promised us earlier.

The little girl from earlier is still playing with dolls. “There’s a man in the hall. Maybe we should tell him where we are.” “I don’t like him. He looks mean.” The second doll has a point. And this girl is kind of creepy.

Slade comes back into the courtroom to let Tessa know that Duncan died well and that he admired that. “You think that I give a damn what you admire?” – Queen Tessa

This whole exchange is amazing. “You’re angry now. That’s understandable. Later in a day or so you’ll appreciate what I’ve told you.” “Slade, in a day or so, you’ll be dead.” Slay Queen.

Cominsky is still arguing with the SWAT guy about sending armed men into the building. Cominsky (accurately) believes this will lead to deaths for all of the hostages. The two men reflect on some prior Munich incident that went sideways. Were both of these guys at the ’72 Olympics? That seems unlikely for a couple of American cops in the Pacific Northwest.

Duncan is floating through the courthouse like an avenging angel taking out terrorists. He finds the little girl in her playroom. It turns out that she has to go to the bathroom. So I guess Duncan is gonna take her to go potty.

Slade now knows one of their men has vanished. But he puts on a brave face and send another man out to look for him. As one does. The henchmen, who is out looking for the henchman who disappeared, hears a toilet flush. He runs into Duncan when he goes to check it out. Duncan has fashioned a make-shift bayonet and let’s just say that things do not go well for this particular evil doer. Two terrorists down. More violence remains to be distributed.

Duncan’s own missing body has now been noticed. Queen Tessa takes the opportunity of Slade leaving the courtroom (to figure out to where dead Duncan might have wandered,) and dials out to Cominsky from the judge’s bench. We cut back to Slade finding another dead terrorist in a women’s bathroom. And then another tied to a chair. Tessa is imploring Cominsky to sit tight. “We are alright!” She’s not just a Queen. She’s a good Queen. A wise Queen.

The little girl is showing Duncan a secret exit from the Judge’s Chambers. The judge had apparently shown it to her once before. Duncan thanks her for the intel but tells her that she needs to hide in a closet quietly. She negotiates a story in exchange for her silence.

Duncan – who has clearly been in this exact situation many times – has a story about “the fairy people” locked and loaded.

Richie – who has also clearly been in this exactly situation many times – is confidently trying to scare one of the terrorists. So he conjures up a story about a sword wielding cannibal serial killer who must have escaped from “3B” in the courthouse confusion. Richie surmises the cannibal must be eating Duncan’s body to explain why it disappeared. The terrorist does not buy it until Richie asks “did he kill anyone with a sword?” Queen Tessa is holding back a laugh while Richie mimics slurping up another human being.

Honestly… this show is dark.

The now scared terrorist goes back out into the hallway outside the room where the hostages are being held and he creeps down the hallway. He hears Duncan jingling some keys behind a door. As the terrorist opens the door just slightly, and peers into a dark room, we see Duncan’s hand shoot out from the shadows, grab him by the neck, and pull him into what I assume is eternal torment. Or maybe he just tied him up. They don’t show us.

We’re down to maybe one or two terrorists left. One of them wanders into the judge’s chambers and Duncan skewers him with a makeshift bayonet.

Slade is the last man left and he is alone in the court room. The camera pans around him, in a circle, multiple times, while cutting back and forth between him and a helicopter landing on the roof.

Slade, fully panicked, and with no henchmen left, calls Cominsky and tells him that he has a hostage. So he points a gun at our Queen and presumes to use her as the leverage he needs to escape alone on the helicopter.

On his way up to the roof, pulling Tessa along with him as he goes, he finds Duncan sitting alone on a chair along the way. MacLeod appeals to Slade’s sense of honor and challenges him to a duel. Needless to say, Slade loses the duel. He gets that makeshift bayonet shoved right through his heart.

The worried dad gets reunited with the little girl. Duncan appears to make a deal with her dad – since said dad owes him one – to keep quiet about Duncan. The hostages tell the police that the terrorists had a falling out and killed each other. Duncan sneaks out of the courthouse and the police are told that he was “killed” on the camera as a bluff. Cominsky seems to buy it.

Randi the Reporter notices Duncan as he sneaks off and the episode ends.

Reaction:

This was basically a small scale version of the movie Die Hard – but with an Immortal. So it was amazing. The only qualms I have with the writing is how unfazed all of the hostages seem by their circumstances. But perhaps that’s just another day in Seacouver. The show is definitely providing us with consistency on that front.

I do think we’ll see Randi the Reporter looking into Duncan more closely in future episodes.

This is the first episode without a flashback of any kind. But it might also be my favorite episode of the show to this point, too. I enjoyed that Slade was played as a very competent bad guy. The show was wisely restrained in his portrayal, too. I do not think playing him in an over-the-top Tony Montana kind of way would have worked here. Slade was cool, skilled, and ruthless. The entertainment in the episode was born out of the fact that he was all of those things and still wildly outmatched by Duncan.

QUOTES:

“What’s that they say in the revolutions, Myron? First, you kill all of the lawyers.”

“Now this is an interesting test of your reflexes. Can you turn and fire that thing before I skewer you? The good news is I’m rusty. I might miss. You wanna know what the bad news is? [skewers him] The bad news is I’m really pissed.”

Cast NOtes:

Slade was played by Andrew Divoff. He has kind of made a career of playing drug cartel leaders. (We all have to have our own thing, right?) You might recognize him from Another 48 Hrs., The Hunt for Red October, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Air Force One and Toy Soldiers. He is probably *best* known for playing Djinn in the Wishmaster film franchise.

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