Welcome back to Highlander: the Series. I am doing an episode-by-episode watch, recap, and reaction and blogging about it here. There will be no spoilers for the series beyond the current episode. You can find my prior recaps HERE.
For those of you that don’t want to read the long recap, I provide a quick episode summary here at the top. You can also just scroll down to the “REACTION” heading below.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
Tessa’s friend Natalie becomes the target of a serial killer who is acting as the copycat of an Immortal serial killer that Duncan stopped decades ago. The original killer targeted women with blonde hair and the copycat is doing the same – and in the same locations.
Duncan uses what he knows about the original killer to lure the copycat out into a trap. He even uses Tessa as bait. Duncan is distracted by Randi, a news reporter, and fails to get the killer. Richie sabotages the killer’s motorcycle so that he cannot escape, though, and Tessa runs him down with her car.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Heeeere we are! Watching Episode 11.
A woman with blonde hair pulls up to some kind of arena and tells the security guard that she is going up to the boxes and that she expects a couple of people.
Apparently the two people meeting her are Queen Tessa and Duncan. We see them holding a brochure for a “Municipal Stadium” featuring the mystery woman’s picture . And we now know our new character is named Natalie.
T: You’ll like Natalie.
D: I like her already. Stylish. Tasteful. A certain underplayed elegance. Anyone can see she’s got a great foundation.
T: Uh, you are talking about the stadium of course?
D: Oh, of course.
Duncan and Tessa’s sometimes strained relationship is off to another weird start.
Natalie walks alone to her stadium box. An ominous electric guitar lets us know she is in danger. And wouldn’t you know it, a mystery man pulls out a knife. But Natalie must have heard something because she says “Tessa?” and walks around. Knife guy is gone.
Duncan’s crime-stopping T-Bird pulls up outside the stadium.
Knife guy returns to the room where Natalie was leaning over a desk. And the now nearby MacLeod and Tessa hear her scream. Queen Tessa, not Immortal Duncan, leads the way and runs toward the screams.
So this is pretty terrifying. Knife guy is wearing some googles? It kind of looks like an old timey aviation face covering. Duncan and Tessa arrive. Based on the blood coming from Natalie’s forehead, it looks like this guy was trying to scalp her. Holy cow!
Tessa stays with Natalie while Duncan gives chase into what appears to be a large football stadium. But the scalper guy is fast. And at one point, he doubles back on Duncan so that he can jump on him from some stadium seating above Mac. Then after knocking Duncan down, he kicks him down several concrete steps and runs off. MacLeod runs after him again but only manages to see the guy fleeing via motorcycle.
Sometime later Duncan is answering police detective questions. Duncan describes the guy as looking like someone out of an old movie. Randi the Reporter is there and she’s already nicknamed our guy “the Scalper.” Sgt. Bennett is back again for this episode, too, and is on the scene.
Police officer: How the hell did you get in here?
Randi the Reporter: I’m very popular with your men, Lieutenant.
Randi gives us some intel. “The Scalper” murdered someone else, in the prior week, by slitting her throat and scalping her. The police do not want to talk about it.
Surprise, surprise, a weird murder attempt and you’re right here in the middle of it.
Randi is starting to connect too many dots where Duncan is concerned. Is she doomed to learn his secret and die? Become his next love interest when Queen Tessa and Duncan break up? Her hair is looking good in this episode… about… scalping. Uh oh. Oh no.
Before Duncan walks away from her into a commercial break, he tells Randi that “those who forget the past are condemned to relive it.” You can see the wheels turning in her heard with that one.
Duncan is going through old papers on the floor when Tessa comes back to their loft from the hospital.
Who would do something like this to her?
A man who was betrayed by the one he loved and then went insane because of it.
That was… really specific, Duncan.
We see a prematurely gray haired man with a knife to the throat of a frightened woman. “Why did you betray me, Lenora?”
Duncan, wearing a derby hat, and a suit that would fit in well at one of Jay Gatsby’s parties, walks in. The music tells us that our 1920s murderer was a fellow Immortal named Marcus.
Marcus throws a large knife right into Duncan’s abdomen and pulls a sword. Duncan removes the knife from his abdomen and pulls his own sword. While the two men are fighting, Duncan tells him “this woman is not Lenora” and Marcus is clearly insane.
HOWEVER… we find out that 300 years ago, the real Lenora betrayed the trust of Marcus, told the authorities what he is, and those authorities burned him alive. Yikes, fam. That is dark. So now crazy Marcus is trying to kill all the Lenoras in the world.
Eventually Duncan wins their sword duel and beheads his completely insane former friend. As one does.
Back in the present, Duncan is trying to figure out who the copycat is. He lets Tessa know that Marcus specifically targeted blondes. The stadium sits at he location of one of Marcus’ murders. So the copycat is killing in the same locations that Marcus did. For some reason, Duncan and Tessa decided to visit the stadium to have this conversation? I guess they needed to be out of the house so that they can run into very blonde Randi.
Randi *is* smart. She spent 24 hours looking through archives and discovered that a serial killer with a similar pattern operated in Seacouver in the 1920s. Duncan tells Randi that she needs to share the theory with the police.
Sgt. Bennett and the Lieutenant Graffini from earlier in the episode are in our next scene discussing “Randi’s” theory.
Back at Queen Tessa’s home, we see her blonde (but blonde enough?) hair as she lies in bed next to Duncan. Mr. Highlander wants to be out in the field looking for our baddie. Queen Tessa (QT) lets him know that the police can handle it. We also find out that Natalie is going to stay with the two of them until they catch the killer.
The police are staging a stakeout. They have a very blonde young police officer walking around a local park as bait for the serial killer. It works! The killer, posing as a trash man, in a vest, sees officer blondie. He looks euphoric in a horrifying kind of way. Then she sits down on a park bench. He approaches. Sgt. Bennett is yelling at her through her earpiece about not being visible and right as the killer is about to go in for a scalpin’, he see her talk to a mic in her jacket. And he takes off.
Back in his lair, the copycat killer screams in frustration. Speaking of his lair, he’s got pictures all over the walls and a couple of those mannequin head busts that people use for storing wigs. I guess in his case those are probably for storing… scalps. Yikes. As if this whole scene is not creepy enough, he then sits down and plays his keyboard.
Duncan is at the Antique Store when Randi drops by for some flirty banter and information gathering. Her primary goal appears to be flirting out his personal secrets. To be fair, at this point, that makes sense. When an Antique Store owner shows up at multiple homicide investigations, but also appear to be a good guy, you try to suss that out. The police should be doing this, too.
On her way out the door, she runs into Richie. FINALLY. Where the heck has Richie been this entire episode. I am 100% certain that flirty banter will work on Richie. But Randi loses interest quickly when Richie flirts back about being visited by aliens as a kid.
Duncan realizes that the killer drives an Indian motorcycle. He and Richie visit the place where the killer would have bought parts. The parts dealer recognized the owner and promised to call Duncan if he came by the store.
In our next scene, we see the creepy copycat serial killer peeling an apple with his huge knife. The scene is intercut with the scene of Natalie screaming while he tried to scalp her. I’m running out of yikes with this episode.
We see the copycat killer approach a blonde haired woman in what appears to be her front yard. She had walked her little dog out to go potty.
Later, we see the Indian motorcycle parts guy calling Richie to let him know, “he’s here.” Richie shows up on his own motorcycle just as the other guy is leaving. So.. we can haz motorcycle chase? Well, it does not really end in dramatic fashion. Richie’s bike falls over after a sharp turn.
MacLeod shows up to the scene of what apparently turned out to be a homicide. The lady with her little doggo did not make it. Well, the lady did not. I do not know how things turned out for her pupper. Randi is there. MacLeod shares with her that the copycat killer drives an Indian motorcycle and that there are 26 of them registered in the metro area.
What are you? Federal? State? Special task force? You workin’ under cover, MacLeod? Is that it?
If I were, I wouldn’t be talking to you, would I?
Graffini and the others don’t even know, do they?
Neither do you.
As Duncan drives away, Randi gives him a look that implies she would like to, uh, do some serious investigative reporting.
Natalie is back at QT’s loft, looking at herself in the mirror. The top of her head is wrapped in bandages. The audio of her attack is playing in the background as she tries to will herself to remove her bandages. QT comes into the room and tells her that it is too soon to remove the bandages. Natalie starts crying.
One minute, you’re a successful career woman in charge of her own life. Then next you’re a piece of meat begging not to be butchered.
This is brutal. Natalie asks how QT would feel if this had happened to her and our Queen wisely avoids sharing stories of the numerous times she’s nearly died in the last few months alone. “Actually, a murderous woman tried to attack me and I fought her off with a blow torch. Another time, a band of backwoods killers kidnapped me because they wanted me to marry their leader.”
Richie and Duncan return home at about the same time. Richie tells Duncan about tailing the guy and Duncan FLIPS OUT. You know, for all the times that Duncan has put my boy Richie in danger, it is nice to see that he does not want Richie in danger by himself.
QT tells Duncan she wants to help catch the killer… by being the bait. After initially being adamant that it was too dangerous, Duncan smiles. After however long they have been together, Tessa still impresses him.
In the next scene, Randi says on the news that the police have cracked the killer’s pattern and that an arrest is expected shortly. Just off camera we see Duncan nodding approvingly. Apparently Duncan liked the idea of using bait but preferred using the news reporter as bait to using the girlfriend bait? He is convinced that this news announcement will draw out the killer.
The killer watches the newscast while… combing… some blonde hair. (!!!!) He turns the TV off and smiles while he reads a pamphlet that says Sisyphus Productions.
We see Richie answers the Antique Store phone, “Sisyphus Production?” So Duncan has laid a trap. One of the people who calls is Angie and Richie has to get off the phone with her quickly. She mad. Poor girl buys a piece of junk car from him and then he quits that job almost immediately. Then he cannot take her calls?
Duncan is camped inside a theater building. Tessa walks around outside. He *is* using the girlfriend as bait.
We see the killer smoking a cigarette on a street outside. When a blonde haired woman walks by, he grabs her and she begins loudly screaming. Duncan hears the screaming and runs outside. The woman is lying on the street unharmed. As is her blonde wig.
Things get chaotic at this point. A white van with Randi inside pulls up. She is asking what happened. Richie and Tessa leave the theater building – at which point Richie sees the Indian and… leaves QT… to go investigate. The killer is hiding inside a little doorway on the street watching all of this from a safe distance.
Richie attempts to damage the Indian so that the killer cannot ride away. The killer comes out from his hiding spot to stop him. Tessa jumps into the T-Bird… and FLOORS IT RIGHT INTO THE KILLER!!!! YASSS!!!
As the killer is lying on the rainy street begging for someone to help him, Duncan, Randi, and the camera man run up on the scene, too. As they are filming, a minute goes by before Tessa finally says that someone should call an ambulance. OF COURSE she is level-headed enough to think of that in the middle of a crisis.
Later (a day or two, maybe) we see Natalie leaving and saying goodbye to Tessa. The Queen seems to be struggling internally with the fact that she hurt someone so severely – even if it was seemingly necessary. I think she also develops an appreciation for the emotional burden that Duncan carries.
I thought ridding the world of evil would feel better than this.
This was a DARK episode. From the creepy serial killer, to his method of killing, to the hair combing [shudders] after the scalping, even to his ultimate defeat.
That said, this was also one of the better episodes of the series so far. The bad guy killer was not so over-the-top as to be campy. He was genuinely terrifying. The camera work was great, too. I found myself anxiously noticing everyone’s blonde hair once the premise was established. Duncan’s drive to help made sense. So did his caution – using Randi as a way to disseminate information to the police. Randi’s curiosity with Duncan made sense. His identity is now – to her – at least as big a point of interest as the story she was covering. It was clever of Duncan to use her curiosity against her. She imagined that he is a deep cover special agent of some kind. She is thus willing to treat him as such. All that Duncan did was fail to correct the record. AND to top it all off he has developed enough trust with her to not worry that she will expose her theories about him to the police.
Tessa’s character development was great. It is one thing to live with a “guardian angel” but another thing to really understand the emotional toll of stopping the bad guy.
The writers even managed to keep a side character like Angie involved in the story – albeit in a small way.
We have not seen the police mention the *other* serial killer in the series in a few episodes (the one chipping off heads in Seacouver.) Did they give up on that?
At this point, if the writers are going for a “Duncan stops local bad guy” plan for non-Immortal episodes, the foundation is laid well.