Highlander (Season 1, Ep 12): Eyewitness

This episode begins with Richie trying – and not succeeding – to parallel park Tessa’s white convertible.  But you know, when you can leave the back two tires on the sidewalk, at least you tried. 

Richie meanders (a little too nonchalantly) inside from the car.  Tessa is inside and she appears to be hosting a fancy art show.  Richie even has to sign a guest book.  While the patrons are ogling the art, Richie begins ogling one of the patrons.  He persuades Tessa to give him something smart-sounding to say about one of the paintings in an effort to impress a young-ish blonde haired woman who is definitely out of Richie’s league. 

An older woman named Ann then approaches Tessa to praise her talent.  She abruptly leaves.  As soon as she leaves, Richie returns and reports that the woman he has been hitting on now knows that he “doesn’t know Picasso from a piano” but nevertheless thinks he is cute. 

Richie and the mystery blonde-haired woman have a walk-down-the-street date montage.  The date goes… well.  Rampant PDA well.  Does she know Richie is just 18 years old?  I guess if Monica from “Friends” didn’t care, why should she?  Also… does this mean he is not dating Angie?  Angie is on the back-burner?  DUDE.  RICHIE.  ANGIE BOUGHT A CAR FOR YOU!

Later that night, Tessa is alone for a moment at her gallery and looks out a window.  She sees Ann (the woman who complimented her art earlier) standing next to the guard rail of a pier.  Tessa sees Ann slap a man on the face.  The man grabs her.  Tessa looks away for a moment when someone calls out her name.  When she turns back around, Ann is gone and the man is looking over the rail down toward the water below. 

Despite not actually seeing the body drop, Tessa called the police.  The following day, we see her and the police at the pier.  Sgt. Bennett – having apparently looked for a body for some time and finding no evidence of any crime at all – questions Tessa about whether or not she was drunk and mistaken about what she witnessed.  Classic blunder.  Queen Tessa is never wrong.  However, there is no evidence, no body, and by her own admission Tessa did not actually see Ann fall into the water. 

Later in the day, Tessa is discussing this with Duncan and Richie.  MacLeod points out that if Ann does not return to wherever it is that she lives, she will be reported as missing.  Tessa is not satisfied.  Considering that solving crimes is pretty much the primary business at their Antique Store, her lack of satisfaction is understandable.  Duncan finds out that the only thing Tessa knows about Ann is her first name.  At this point, Richie points out that she may have signed the guest book.  Once Tessa and Duncan get over the shock of Richie connecting those dots before either of them, the Antique Store Detectives get to work.  Richie and Tessa check the guest book and learn that our mystery Ann has the last name of Wheeler. 

Tessa decides to follow up on the new information herself – sans both Duncan and the police. 

In the next scene, we see Tessa knocking on the door of Ann Wheeler’s home.  An older woman answers and says that Ann did not return home the previous night.  However, we are told that failure to return home is not uncommon where Ms. Wheeler is concerned.  In addition to solving a murder, Tessa is absorbed in learning about Ann’s art career.  “Why would a fellow artist give up her art?” 

After leaving her number with the older woman, she takes her new information (the Wheeler surname and address) to Sgt. Bennett.  He fills out a paper and puts it under a tall stack of other papers. 

Do you have any idea how many open murder investations I’m dealing with Ms. Noel?

Some version of that question should probably be the city motto.  Seacouver is a nightmare.  In any case, she tells Sgt. Bennett that she just expects him to do his job. 

Back at the Antique Store, Duncan abruptly senses another Immortal.  He grabs his katana and announces “I am Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod.” The stranger replies by swinging his sword.  After a brief duel, the stranger pushes a shelf over, atop Duncan, and runs away.  

In the next scene, Randi the Reporter shows up at the Antique Store with her hair looking permed and fabulous.  She has noticed that Tessa’s name is attached to a missing person’s report.  Since the pilot episode of the show (a few months ago by the reckoning of Episode 12) this has probably been the 5th time that one of either Duncan or Tessa have shown up in the midst of a potential homicide investigation. 

Tessa and Randi have… tension.  It’s just my opinion, but I think their situation might be aided if Randi did not quite so obviously have the hots for Duncan.  Randi is the first person to really take Tessa’s eyewitness testimony seriously.  But Tessa (correctly) holds it against Randi that her concern for Ann is driven by the desire to break a story instead of the desire to do right by a fellow human being.  The barb appears to sting.  But Randi again extends the offer to help as she leaves.

Back at the police precinct, Sgt. Bennett is talking with the “Chief” about the case.  He wants to look into it more because of Queen Tessa’s credibility.  The Chief – his back to the camera – tells Sgt. Bennett not to worry about it.  When the Chief turns around… HE’S THE IMMORTAL WHO ATTACKED DUNCAN IN THE STORE!  TWISTY!

Back at the store, as Duncan, Tessa, and Richie are discussing how no progress has been made on Ann’s investigation, Duncan casually suggests that Tessa and Richie leave town for a few days.  Tessa realizes right away that Duncan has an ulterior motive.

Why?  The only time you want me gone is when there’s an Immortal around.

Tessa fiercely states that she knows what she has signed up for and that she will not leave.  She further states that she wants to see Ann’s investigation through to the end.  So… Duncan offers to help Tessa with learning Ann’s fate.

Back at police HQ, the Immortal Police Chief chastises Sgt. Bennett for failure to make the Ann Wheeler case a low priority.  Bennett replies that Tessa is persistent.  The wheels are turning in the Chief’s head regarding Tessa and MacLeod.  My guess now is that he went to the Antique Store earlier in the episode looking to silence Tessa and did not expect to find a fellow liver-foreverer as her boyfriend.

Duncan and Tessa return to Ann’s house and they speak again with the older woman who lives there.  They manage to badger her into giving more information.  Ann stopped painting due to a bad break-up.  A man left her, abruptly, and Ann devoted her life to searching for him.  Ann found the man in Seacouver.  But the older lady, with whom the Antique Store Detectives are speaking, has no identifying information for the man. 

T: I know why she kept looking for him.  She felt everything violently.  Love.  Loss…
D: You’re not her.
T: I could be.

As Duncan and Tessa are driving home, the audience cuts back and forth between the two of them, and the police chief putting together a rifle behind an upper story window.  Finally, with the Chief’s gun sights focused on Tessa, Duncan feels his presence, spots him in a window, and pulls her out of the way.  Duncan takes a few bullets… but he’ll live.  Now the gang knows an Immortal is trying to kill Tessa. 

In the next scene, Bennett is interviewing MacLeod in amazement.  He knows police officers who have seen less danger, in the entirety of their careers, than Duncan has in just the last few months.  Bennett lets Tessa know that Ann Wheeler’s body washed ashore and that the Chief believes the murder was related to organized crime.  As a result, the Chief wants to place Tessa under protective custody.  Bennett cannot tell Duncan where they are taking her.  After Duncan agrees to let her go anyway, Duncan pulls Richie aside for the following exchange:

Does that bike of yours still… haul a**?
Like Madonna’s underwear.

Never change, Richie Ryan. 

Randi shows up on the scene (a good reporter always has her police scanner on) and talks to Tessa through the police car window that Queen Tessa now sits behind.  She gives Tessa condolences about Ann and about the fact Tessa was nearly murdered, too.  Tessa appears to believe Randi’s sincerity. 

The police notice that Richie is tailing them to the safehouse on his motorcycle.  They abruptly pull over, guns drawn, and tell Richie to get lost.  He does. Duncan, however, is following in the T-Bird from farther back.  His presence is undetected. 

While MacLeod is staking out the safehouse, he senses the Chief arrive.  It takes only a minute to chase the Chief away.  However, in that minute the Chief planted a bomb at the house.  Duncan finds the bomb. Rather than attempt to disarm it, he gets everyone – Tessa, Bennett, and another cop – out of the house just in time to watch from the street as said house explodes.

Duncan now knows the Immortal trying to kill Tessa is the police chief.  He calls the Chief and arranges “a meeting.”  I’m always impressed at how the formalities are observed when Immortals kill each other.

In the chit chat before the beheading ritual, we learn that the Chief did not intend to kill Ann.  She just kept following him around and at the end she threatened to expose what he was to the world. He felt as though she left him no choice.

How many others have you killed?
Does it matter?  They never live forever.  And neither will you!

This is an excellent duel!  Duncan eventually (obviously) wins but the Chief put up a good fight.  The Quickening is a little disappointing, though. 

The next day we see Bennett again.  The Chief turned up… murdered.  I’m confused though.  Bennett did not mention that the Chief’s head was severed.  In the first few episodes of this show, severed heads were still a big detail in this city.  Have things gotten so grim here that now they are not?  Anyway, there was a gun in the Chief’s car.  They did some ballistics hocus pocus to match it up with the slugs pulled from Tessa’s car.  They *also* matched fibers from Ann Wheeler’s fingernails to fibers on the Chief’s coat. 

Is this really the next day?  Maybe it’s been a few days.  That’s a lot of police work.

T:  Duncan, when the time comes, if you ever have to leave me, I won’t be like Ann… I’ll leave you first!
D:  You do that…
T:  Hahahaha
D:  and I’ll follow you.

Then for about 15 seconds, the two of them grope each other and talk about Tessa making coffee while meandering toward someplace other than where their coffee maker is located.

Roll credits.



REACTION:

The plot of this episode is… Tessa has a 5 second conversation with a woman, and in that 5 seconds develops extreme feelings of commonality. Later in the same night, Tessa witnesses that woman’s murder. We find out that the woman – like Tessa – had been the lover of a man who is Immortal. What are the odds!

Then at the end of the episode, after being melancholy for so long, Tessa makes light of Ann’s relationship with Seacouver’s now deceased police chief?

Eyewitness was not one of this show’s better efforts. The deep Tessa-Ann connection was not set up well. The Chief could have been a more interesting character. His motivation in killing Ann seemed more in keeping with self-preservation than malice. But instead of giving him some depth, he just ended up a generic bad guy. The Duncan-Tessa reaction at the end of the episode was beyond odd considering the circumstances. Maybe most importantly…

Why is Richie leaving Angie on the back burner? What happened between Richie and that blonde woman from the art show / street date montage? Is Seacouver’s crime situation going to improve or get worse with the death of the Immortal Chief of Police? Did Tessa’s criticism cause Randi to reevaluate her life choices?

Maybe we will find out next time.

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