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:
Joe Dawson returns to warn Duncan that Immortal Quenten Barnes is free and killing all of the mortals who played a role in his execution for murder thirty years ago. Duncan refuses to get involved until fellow Immortal, Michael Moore, arrives to fight Barnes. Michael seems a bit over-matched so Duncan agrees to help him fight Barnes and to avenge him if he fails.
We learn that Michael Moore and Quenten Barnes are one and the same. Michael has blackouts wherein his personality changes to the more murderous Quenten. During their final confrontation, the Michael portion of the personality emerges and begs Duncan to kill Barnes. Duncan obliges and kills his friend.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP AND REACTION:
The episode opens inside a prison for an execution. A priest is on site and asks the man being strapped to a chair if he may pray for him. He asks the soon-to-be executed man to consider where he will spend eternity. The man in the electric chair laughs. After the lever is pulled to execute him, the man in the chair laughs maniacally.
Duncan and Richie wander into a dojo. Duncan is greeted by the owner, Charlie. Duncan tells Charlie that he is looking for a place to work out.
Charlie: Well I’d like to help you boys out but this is a private club. Invitation only.
Duncan: So invite me.
Charlie: You look in decent shape but trust me. If you stay around here all you’re gonna do is get your butt kicked.
Richie points out that dojo has a for sale sign so business must be booming. Charlie asks Duncan if his friend always mouths off like that and Duncan says only when he might be right. Charlie smiles and tells the two of them that they can join if they pass the initiation. Richie asks what the initiation and Duncan tells him, “not what, Richie… who.”
MacLeod pulls his hair into a ponytail and takes off his coat. He and Charlie begin to spar. Duncan surprises Charlie and knocks him to the floor a few times. Surprised, Charlie decides that MacLeod might be a worthy-enough adversary to merit removing his sweater. As they fight, Joe Dawson steps into the doorway of the dojo to watch. Dawson distracts Duncan enough for Charlie to knock him to the ground. The distraction is only temporary, though. A moment later, Charlie is on his back and Duncan tells him to submit. After he does, Duncan asks if he can join and Charlie agrees.
After winning, Duncan finds Joe Dawson in Charlie’s office. There Dawson asks him if he knows anything about an Immortal named Quenten Barnes. MacLeod tells Dawson that he knows the Immortal was executed for murdering two women thirty years ago. Dawson tells Duncan that he stayed buried until the construction of a new chapel at the prison led to his grave being dug up. Joe tells Duncan that everyone involved in his execution is being murdered.
Duncan tells Joe that this is not his business. Joe replies that Barnes has to be stopped and MacLeod suggests that he stop Barnes, then.
Duncan: I’m not a cop, Dawson.
MacLeod suggests that Dawson disappear. He leaves but leaves a business card as he goes. Charlie enters and chides Duncan for beating him publicly and then taking over his office. MacLeod introduces himself and says he is leaving. Charlie tells MacLeod that his name is Charlie DeSalvo and that he wants MacLeod to return sometime so that he can fight him again. Duncan tells him he just got lucky. They smile and part on friendly terms.
Outside, Richie asks Duncan what Dawson was after when MacLeod suddenly senses the presence of another Immortal. He tells Richie to go. Duncan jumps over a railing and lands on his feet, with sword drawn, as he meets someone who appears to be an old Immortal friend.
Later, Duncan, Tessa, Richie, and this new Immortal, Michael, are dining together. Duncan asks where Michael has been keeping himself and he replies that he has been trucking around, trying to find out what it is all about. He says he has come to visit his good friend Duncan MacLeod.
Duncan: Quenten Barnes…
Michael: Yeah, well, I knew he couldn’t stay buried forever.
Michael asks Duncan how he learned Barnes was free and Duncan replies that it does not matter. Michael tells Duncan that it is time to finish this. He says he at least has to try because he owes it to Jeannette. Duncan looks to a park adjacent to their table and sees a woman in a wedding dress. As the woman turns…
Duncan appears to be in the 1920s. He parks a car on the street outside an large building with a tall stone stairway. Inside, it appears that the building is a hospital. MacLeod tells a receptionist that he has come to see Dr. Moore. The receptionist tells MacLeod that Dr. Moore is in the west wing with some of the patients. As MacLeod walks through the building, it appears to be an Asylum for the Insane. He hears a woman screaming. When he arrives, he finds Dr. Michael Moore crouched on the floor, holding a sword, screaming to stay away. Duncan asks who did this and Michael tells him it was Quenten Barnes. Michael gets up and asks where Jeannette is. They find her dead in the next room.
As the flashback continues, we see Duncan and Michael at Jeannette’s funeral. Her headstone says eternal peace and Michael says aloud that he hopes she found it. Michael vows to hunt down Barnes, no matter what it takes, and kill him.
Michael: If he kills me, Mac, I know it’s not your fight…
Duncan: I’ll finish it.
Back in the present, Duncan is walking and talking with Joe Dawson. He tells Joe that he will take on Barnes but for his own reasons, not for Joe. Dawson is fine with that. However, MacLeod also wants Joe’s files on Barnes and Dawson is less eager to give those up.
Joe: Look, I’ll have to run this by some people. It’ll take time.
Duncan: Time is something we don’t have.
Finally, Joe relents enough to give Duncan the address of the priest who attended Barnes’ execution.
The priest in question is at his home, sitting at a desk. He hears a noise outside his door and asks if someone is there. He goes back to reading the notes on his desk as the door quietly opens. Ominous music plays.
Father: Oh, you startled me. I usually see my parishioners in church. Have you been waiting long?
Voice: Not long. Only thirty-three years.
The Voice man tosses a crucifix onto the desk. The priest looks at it and suddenly recognizes Quenten Barnes.
Priest: That’s impossible. He’s dead.
Barnes: I was. But as you can see, I’m back.
Barnes chokes the priest to death.
Later, Richie is telling Tessa about the cruel law of nature wherein any girl who likes him has a parent who does not like him. Just then, Michael arrives holding an envelope. He tells Tessa that a man outside brought it and that he believes the information inside is about Barnes. Tessa notices that Michael seems agitated and she suggests that he talk about it. She invites him to take a walk.
MacLeod arrives at the priest’s home. We hear him talking to someone beside a gurney and learning that the priest died about an hour and a half earlier. Duncan sees that Dawson has followed him. Joe lets him know that the Barnes files are being printed and that “Josh” should be on the way with them now. Duncan replies that those files might keep someone else alive.
Michael and Tessa are walking and talking. He tells Tessa that he never stopped loving Jeannette even after all these years. He asks if that sounds strange and she replies that it does not. Michael says that Jeannette has been dead for seventy years and that he must sound like an idiot. Tessa replies that he sounds like a man who was very much in love and who will likely be very much in love again one day. He kisses her hand and says from her mouth to God’s ear. Tessa tells Michael that it is time for her to go back. Michael asks her to let MacLeod know that he will be at the hotel.
Duncan, Tessa, and Richie are going through Barnes’ file. Duncan is disappointed and notes that there are entire decades for which there is no account. MacLeod sees that the prosecutor from Barnes’ case is still alive – Judge Marvin Singer.
We find the judge in his chambers and looking over paperwork. He hears a knock and investigates. When he opens the door, he is attacked.
That night, Duncan and Michael are talking. Michael asks why his chambers and not his house and Duncan replies that he called the judge’s house and his housekeeper told him the judge will be working late. Michael reminds Duncan that this is his fight and MacLeod replies that he will just be there to watch his friend win. The two men arrive at the judge’s chambers and find him dead. Michael worries that Barnes will now disappear just as he did before and MacLeod says that he does not think so. There is a note on the judge’s desk.
HELLO MICHAEL I WILL BE SEEING YOU! – Quenten Barnes
Richie and Duncan are back at home. Richie is complaining about how sparse Barnes’ file is and notes that Joe’s group cannot be very good. They get a phone call from Joe Dawon. He tells Duncan that Barnes killed Judge Singer the night before and Duncan informs him that he already knows. Joe then tells him that they believe they know where Barnes is located – an old asylum out paste Route 3.
Duncan and Michael arrive at the same, and now dilapidated, asylum where Barnes killed Jeannette in the 1920s. MacLeod sends Michael around to the back to flush him out. Duncan says he will wait by the front in case Barnes tries to leave that way.
Duncan walks through the front portion of the building. As he looks around, he senses the presence of another Immortal. He draws his sword and looks around. He hears Michael yell. Duncan runs back out the front door of the building calling for his friend. He gets no answer. He calls for Barnes, also, and gets no reply.
Later, we see Duncan, Tessa, and Richie back at home. Duncan tells them that Michael must have gone after Barnes and calls him a fool. Richie asks Duncan if he believes his friend is dead and Duncan says that somebody is dead. MacLeod gets a phone call. The voice on the other end of the call tells Duncan that his friend is dead. He tells Duncan to find him at the asylum.
Barnes: You’ll know me. I’m the one with the head.
Duncan kisses Tessa and leaves. She whispers for him to be careful. Then she begins ranting to Richie about how much work they need to do at their Antique Store if they want to open in this century.
Tessa: It’s just that sometimes I tell myself that this is the way it is, that it’s my choice that I’m with him. It’s been twelve years. You’d think I’d learn.
Richie: Learn what, Tess? Learn not to be human? Learn not to love him so much?
Duncan returns to the asylum. He walks through the building yelling for Barnes, but he does not feel his presence.
Back at the Store/Apartment, Richie and Tessa see Michael enter through the front door. He looks injured and disheveled. They run to take care of him.
As Duncan walks through the asylum, he pulls a closet door open and a body falls to the floor.
Tesssa treats Michael’s wounds while he tells her it is not necessary. He seems agitated and continues pulling his glasses off, and then putting them back on. He says that she is worried about Duncan and then he apologizes to the two of them for getting them into all of this trouble. Richie asks Michael why Barnes did not take his head and Michael replies that he thinks Barnes is keeping him alive to torture him.
Richie: Yeah, with a psycho like that anything is possible, huh?
Michael takes his glasses off, leaving them off, and agrees with Richie.
At the asylum, Dawson arrives. He sees the dead body and says that this accounts for the file. Duncan replies that he already has the file. Joe asks Duncan who gave the file to him and Duncan replies that the file was left with a friend.
Duncan: What difference does it make?
Joe: This is Josh. [motions at the dead body]
Duncan argues that Barnes must have killed Josh after he left the file. Dawson replies to Duncan that Josh would never have left the file with anyone else, other than the person to whom it was assigned, while he was alive.
Michael appears to be having a headache. Tessa asks him if he is alright. He puts the glasses back on and says he should be getting back to the hotel. Tessa puts an arm on his shoulder and advises him to stay at least until Duncan returns. Seeing her hand on his shoulder, Michael suddenly stands taller and says in a clear voice that she really wants him to stay. He takes her by the hand and suddenly Tessa seems to realize Michael has misinterpreted her. She yanks her hand away. Michael starts to have another headache. He tells her that he has blackouts and that they come without warning. She sends Michael to the medicine cabinet.
Richie: What’s with him?
Tessa: I don’t know. He suddenly got sick.
Richie: Huh. Do Immortals get sick?
Tessa has a look on her face that seems to answer Richie’s question with no. Abruptly from the other room, Michael shouts “NO!” Tessa runs back to check on him. Michael is no longer wearing glasses and there is a message on the bathroom mirror.
Get ready Michael I’m coming
Michael warns Tessa that she and Richie need to get out. She tells him not to move and then runs for Richie. She tells Richie that something is wrong because Michael thinks Barnes is in the store with them.
We see Barnes in front of the mirror. He stops holding his head and stands up straight with a menacing look upon his face.
Riche tells Tessa that he will go talk to Michael.
Richie: Hey Michael, you’ve got to chill out. Barnes couldn’t get in here with a Sherman tank.
Michael/Barnes: [in a new voice] It’s nice of you to make the effort Richie, but I’m already here.
Richie backs out of the bathroom and yells for Tessa to run. He punches Michael and the Immortal hardly reacts at all. Michael punches him back, knocking him out. Tessa apparently did not heed Richie’s warnings to run and asks Michael what he is doing.
Michael/Barnes: Michael isn’t here anymore, Tessa. It is me, Quenten Barnes.
She asks about the blackouts and “Barnes” tells her that those were him taking over. Michael/Barnes begins choking Tessa. The baddie Immortal suddenly senses Duncan and stands up. Duncan charges through the door. We see Richie and Tessa rise as the two Immortals begin fighting. Barnes flees the apartment and Duncan gives chase – after verifying that his two friends are okay first.
Duncan tells his friend that his name is Michael. His friend replies that his name is Quenten Barnes. Suddenly we hear Michael’s voice again saying that for all of those years, he thought Barnes was part of a nightmare. Barnes’ voice returns and shouts that he is a nightmare. Duncan asks him about Jeannette. Barnes’ voice replies that she betrayed him just like all the others.
Duncan: You couldn’t kill her yourself that’s why you turned into Barnes.
Michael’s voice calls out to Duncan and asks for help. He says that he wants to stop this. Barnes’ voice takes over again and the fight resumes. Finally, after a long fight, Duncan disarms is friend and mortally wounds him. Michael’s voice returns and pleads with Duncan to take his own head.
Michael: Duncan, if you care about me, you’re gonna have to kill Barnes now!
Duncan: Forgive me my friend, I have a promise to keep.
As Michael’s face contorts again with a demonic rage, Duncan takes his head.
Later, a shirtless Duncan does some meditative tai chi. The camera goes out of focus for a few moments and we see what appears to be two versions of Duncan doing the meditation. The camera returns to focus as Dawson arrives. He apologizes to MacLeod that things worked out this way.
Duncan: [winded, gets onto his knees, and speaks to himself] Eternal peace, Michael. Eternal peace.
I am really intrigued by the Michael/Barnes dynamic. Barnes tells us while in Michael’s body that he is taking over said body. Did Michael behead Barnes and then become overwhelmed by that other Immortal internally? A bad guy version of what happened to Darius when he killed the Holy Man at the Gates of Paris and then became a Holy Man himself? This episode does not give us an answer. However, I find that answer a lot more interesting than “Michael has a split personality.”
Duncan does some intense tai chi as the episode ends to find some inner balance. Maybe that’s all Michael needed to stay in control of Barnes?
Joe Dawson returns this week. He approaches Duncan with an Immortal to take out. There is no viable reason why that should be allowed, is there? I guess I understand, under the circumstances, why the Watchers might have allowed Joe to tell Duncan about their group a couple episodes ago. Giving him intel about another Immortal, though, goes well beyond “never interfere.” That said, from a story-telling perspective, this should improve the show. It’s a lot easier to explain weekly fights against bad guys if a group that knows who all of them are point Duncan to them.
Sadly though Joe bringing some coherency to the story will mean we will have fewer Season 1 situations of police detectives being baffled by Duncan constantly being at crime scenes.
Duncan meets Charlie DeSalvo in this episode and establishes himself as the alpha of their pre-destined friendship. Tough guy friendships always start with some sparring, right?
Tessa and Richie did not have much to do this week. Tessa continues to struggle with her relationship. I feel like that is understandable. She is nearly choked to death just a few minutes later after she confesses this to Richie. Speaking of, Richie’s role on this show has kind of deteriorated to being a combination Immortal bad guy punching bag / The Official Comforter of Tessa.