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:
Grieving the loss of Tessa, Duncan buys Charlie DeSalvo’s dojo and moves into the apartment upstairs. While getting lunch with Richie and talking about Tessa’s death, the two stumble across an attempted political assassination in progress and they thwart it. Annie Devlin (Sheena Easton), a friend of Duncan, was behind the attempt and she vows to kill Richie, per a blood debt, when he inadvertently causes the death of Annie’s mortal husband during the incident.
Duncan and Charlie train Richie to fight – with Charlie not knowing exactly why he is doing it. Richie confronts Annie, fights her, and disarms her. However, he cannot bring himself to take her head. Duncan arrives and appears to talk her out of her desire to kill Richie by pointing out that he paid his blood debt to her by sparing her life. The episode ends with Duncan giving Richie a sword of his own.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP AND REACTION:
The show opens with a sold sign. Duncan enters Charlie DeSalvo’s dojo from two episodes ago (“Turnabout.”) Charlie approaches Duncan and asks him why he bought the dojo and Duncan tells him “because it was for sale.” When Charlie asks if he should pack up his things, Duncan tells Charlie that he wants him to run the place. Charlie then asks for a raise and tells Duncan they need a new hot water heater. Richie follows Duncan inside and offers to buy MacLeod lunch. Duncan agrees to go.
Richie: Mmm. Rico’s chili dogs. Ain’t nothin on earth like ’em.
Duncan: It’s a good thing you’re one of us. You might actually recover from that stuff.
Richie offers one to Duncan and is refused. He reminds Duncan that Tessa loved “these things” and Duncan appears wounded by the mention of her name. Richie apologizes and Duncan tells him that she was part of their lives and that they cannot pretend she was not. Duncan warns Richie that this will not be the last time this happens to him. Richie asks when it starts getting easier and Duncan tells him that it does not.
In a car outside of what appears to be a nice building, a few people, including a woman (Sheena Easton) with Irish accents load guns. They’re waiting for something to happen inside the building.
Duncan and Richie continue walking down the sidewalk, while Richie holds a chili dog, when suddenly they both sense the presence of another Immortal. From inside the car, the woman lets us know that they are targeting an ambassador. Duncan sees one of the Irish men holding a handgun on the sidewalk and he disarms the man. When a second armed man tries to stop Duncan, Richie intervenes by hitting him in the face with a chili cheese dog and attempting to also disarm him, too. Finally, the woman attempts to shoot at her target and is impeded in that attempt by Richie. Richie’s interference causes her to accidentally shoot one of her comrades. As two of her accomplices flee in a car, MacLeod disarms her. She locks eyes with Duncan and they recognize each other.
The police arrive, cuff her, and put her in a car. As she’s going, she looks at Richie and tells him that he is a dead man. Duncan picks up a ring from the ground and turns to look at Richie.
Richie: Does she strikes you as the sincere type? [long pause] I was afraid of that.
Back at the dojo, Duncan and Richie take an elevator up to what appears to be an apartment above it. Duncan chastises Richie for his interference. He points out that Richie is lucky nobody was killed when he interfered and MacLeod also tells Richie he was lucky to not have been shot.
Richie: I can’t die.
Duncan: That’s right. You take fifty slugs to the chest and you survive how do you explain that?
Duncan tells him that as it is, another man died. Richie says the other man deserved it. Duncan asks Richie if he had a good look at the other man’s soul. He tells Richie he needs to start learning The Game now. Richie tells Duncan to teach him.
Next, we see a training montage of Duncan absolutely pummeling Richie while teaching him how to fight. With Duncan screaming at him that he has not even started to learn, Richie finally quits and walks off the dojo mat. Duncan follows him, telling him that *she* is going to be coming for him and that he needs to be ready. Duncan tells him that she is only the first.
Richie: You know what I think? This isn’t about me. Or her. It’s about Tessa.
Duncan: Tessa’s got nothing to do with this.
Richie: Bull, Mac. You can’t get past it. I know you’ve seen a lot of people die. But you had to be the hero. You sent us out to the car that night. You could have been there.
Duncan: Let it go, Richie.
Richie: No, you look me in the eye and tell me you don’t blame yourself for her death.
Duncan: I’m trying to protect you from Annie Devlin.
Richie: Annie Devlin’s in jail she can’t hurt me. I’ll see you around.
As Richie leaves, Duncan stares at the ring he found on the sidewalk and…
Annie – in what appears to be the 1920s – is recruiting Duncan to join her cause against the British. He refuses citing that the only thing that will come of their cause is death. Abruptly someone begins firing upon their meeting and her mortal husband is killed. Annie pulls the ring from his finger and Duncan pulls her away to safety.
At a boat away from the shooting, Duncan tries to convince Annie to leave with him. He tells her that the war will never end.
Annie: It will when we win. Or when there’s no one left alive to fight.
Seeing that she will not leave with him, Duncan kisses Annie’s hand, gets in a boat, and rows down the river.
In the present, Duncan is still staring at Annie’s ring when Richie returns to the apartment. Richie tells him that he’s going some place where there is no mat to dump him on. Duncan warns him that if he goes against Annie that he will die forever. Richie replies that he will take his chances.
In an interrogation room, a detective asks Annie what her real name is.
Detective: Your type has been using Annie Devlin for seventy-five years.
Annie: I’m well preserved.
He tells her to give him something interesting. She agrees. She pulls him to the table where she is sitting, knees in the stomach, then does a running dive through the glass window of the room in which they are sitting. We see her fall many stories out of said window to her death.
Duncan is in his apartment staring at a picture of himself and Tessa. Charlie comes up the elevator and tells MacLeod that he needs to back off of Richie. Duncan tells him he cannot and that it has to be done. Charlie tells him that if pushing Richie is due to the terrorist woman, he can stop worrying, because that woman is dead.
In the morgue, we see a body bag being unzipped. An alive Annie Devlin knocks out the man who unzipped the bag and walks out of the room wearing his white lab coat.
We see Richie lifting weights at the dojo. Duncan approaches him. They both apologize to each other and Duncan tells Richie that he was right. Duncan then informs Richie that Annie has escaped and that the police believe she is dead. As a result, the police will not be looking for her and she will have ample time to seek out Richie. As Duncan and Richie leave the room, we see one of the men working out and he appears to be one of Annie’s men.
Duncan teaches Richie the basics of how to use a sword. [Five minute training montage of awesomeness.]
Sometime later, two of Annie’s men are drinking to her memory when she approaches them and tells them she did not know they cared. They decide to go after the kid, first, before targeting the Ambassador again. One of the men says he knows where to find him.
At the dojo, Charlie is teaching Richie how to fight when Richie calls it a day. He tells Charlie that he needs to go visit a friend he has not seen in a long time. Charlie advises him to shower first.
Later, Richie is leaving another place on his motorcycle when a couple of cars begin tailing him. Richie flees them up a flight of stairs to the second floor of a warehouse… where Annie is there waiting for him. She hits him on the head and crashes his motorcycle. When Richie gets up, they talk about their previous interaction. Richie informs her that they are murderers and she informs Richie that the man who died was her husband. She tells Richie she is going to take his head but she is going to hurt him first. Shen then proceeds to hurt him. Finally, she asks him his name and he tells her that it’s Richie.
Annie: Say goodbye, Richie.
[Richie hobbles over to his motorcycle and starts it.]
Richie: Goodbye, Richie. [He drives the motorcycle through the second story window of the warehouse, landing it without crashing on the street below, and he drives away.]
Later, Charlie asks Duncan if he is still worried about Richie. At that moment, Richie hobbles in, bleeding and with fingers pointing in directions outside of their natural design. Charlie insists that Richie needs to go to the hospital but Duncan and Richie say no. Duncan takes Richie up the elevator. Inside, Duncan tells Richie that he has to go find Annie because Richie is playing into her hands at the dojo. Richie asks Duncan how he can find her in such a large city. Richie then remembers that she yelled something at her men when he interrupted their attempted assassination.
Richie: Chuck… Sollis. No, that sounds like a baseball player.
Duncan repeats it back to Richie and Richie says “yeah.” Duncan tells him that it’s a Gaelic word for lighthouse.
Duncan arrives at a lighthouse. Annie tells her two henchmen to wait for her in the car. She approaches him, sword in hand, and Duncan asks if they are enemies. He then says that if they are, it is not by his choice. Annie speculates aloud to him that she could not have beaten him before but perhaps she can now. Duncan says that perhaps she can. He then says that it would be a shame to fight when he brought a one hundred year old Irish wine to drink with her.
Annie: D*** you, Duncan MacLeod.
Duncan: [extends bottle to her] To happiness.
She tries to take the bottle from him and say “to the cause” but he pulls it away. She relents and says “alright, to happiness” takes a drink and they smile very fondly at each other. She shakes her head and is clearly mad at herself for liking Duncan so much.
Richie is boxing with Charlie again who is in disbelief at Richie’s healing. Richie brushes him off and says he is a fast healer. Richie asks Charlie how he got into the business. Charlie gives his backstory. His mother is black, his father is Italian, and when he was growing up, he found himself in a lot of fights with both blacks and Italians who did not think he belonged. Charlie tells Richie that he got tired of getting his butt kicked and he joined the SEALs.
Back at the lighthouse, Annie tells Duncan that getting her drunk and acting sentimental about the old days will not do him any good. She tells him that she will still kill Richie.
Duncan: Why? It won’t bring Tommy back. It won’t bring anyone back. Nothing you do brings anyone back.
Annie can see in Duncan’s demeanor that he lost someone, too.
Back at the dojo, Richie and Charlie are now sparring with practice swords. Charlie compliments Richie’s technique. Richie suggests that the two of them come from similar neighborhoods.
Charlie: Ain’t nothin’ similar about us, man.
Richie: You think nobody else has problems?
Charlie: Yeah, but mine come from being unique, you know what I mean?
At the lighthouse, drunken Duncan and drunken Annie are now arguing. He asks her if she thought he’d come back to Dublin and she tells him that he abandoned her and the cause. He shouts that he never had her cause. He then shouts it was not her cause, either, and then asks how many boys she has sent to their deaths. Annie draws her sword. She shouts at him to fight her and he says no.
Annie: Live forever? But I feel so dead inside. Are you dead inside MacLeod? Are you dead? Or are you alive?
Later, still outside at the lighthouse, with clothes back on, Annie tells Duncan that what they just did, last night, never happened. She says it was an accident. Duncan says that they should have had that accident years ago. Annie tells that she has a blood debt, Richie’s life for Tommy’s, and that she has no choice. Duncan tells her that if that is her decision, then he will not have a choice, either.
Duncan: If you come after Richie, then you will have to come through me.
Annie: MacLeod! It really was a grand night.
Duncan leaves. Later, we see him sitting in the dojo and Richie approaches him.
Richie: You were gone all night. You fought, right?
Duncan: Not exactly.
Duncan tells Richie that it is complicated and tell him not to ask for more explanation. Then he tells Richie to leave the city until Annie gives up looking for him. Richie says he would rather fight her. Duncan tells Richie that he wants him to live and Richie reluctantly agrees to leave town. Duncan plans to go with him. When MacLeod tells Richie that he will let Charlie know they are leaving, Richie says he will tell Charlie himself. Duncan takes the elevator up to the apartment to pack.
Some time later, Duncan comes back down the elevator and asks Charlie where Richie is. Charlie says he does not know. Duncan looks through his office window and sees that a sword is missing.
At the lighthouse, Richie confronts Annie. She asks him where MacLeod is and Richie says he isn’t there. The two start their sword fight. Richie is much better than Annie thought and holds his own against her high up on the lighthouse deck and after a fall to the ground far below. He eventually disarms her.
Richie cannot bring himself to kill her. Duncan arrives and watches.
Annie: [to Richie] You’re a fool you know. I’ll come for you.
Duncan: No you won’t.
Annie: He killed Tommy.
Duncan: And he gave you your life in return.
Duncan gives her Tommy’s ring and tells her that this has to end. She hugs him.
Later, Richie returns to the apartment above the dojo and finds Duncan sitting inside on the couch. Duncan asks him how he’s doing and Richie says he’s fine. MacLeod points out that he does not seem too happy about it. Richie says that he could not bring himself to kill Annie and he says that he might not be cut out for being an Immortal. Duncan tells him that you do not change who you are when you become Immortal – you merely live longer, hopefully.
Duncan gives Richie his own sword. He advises him to take care of it, live with it, and make it apart of himself. Soberly he says that it may be his only friend at times.
This was a pretty good follow-up to “The Darkness.” A proper amount of homage was paid to Tessa. Duncan makes the grief purchase of a dojo and moves into it. His hair is hanging loose and disheveled for much of the episode. He won’t eat a chili dog with Richie. He’s clearly grieving before the topic of Tessa ever comes up. After it comes up, he lashes out at Richie during their first serious training session. I expect to see Tessa haunting Duncan for many episodes to come.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Duncan’s grief rebound is a terrorist? And it happens in the very next episode after Tessa dies? Nevermind. I’m indignant on behalf of the ghost of Tessa. You are grieving improperly, Duncan MacLeod.
This episode really introduces Charlie DeSalvo. I really like his *fit* with the reconfigured cast. Our first close look at him reveals some anger issues (related to being bi-racial apparently) and he has legitimate NAVY SEAL fighting acumen. He’ll fit in well with a crowd where death lurks around every corner. He’s also not a dummy. He noticed that Richie healed way too fast. He will definitely notice more weird things in the future. Charlie is the new Randi the Reporter?
[Note: It’s extra-funny now to think about Charlie’s surprise at Duncan taking him out two episodes ago knowing that Charlie is a SEAL. “Who is this guy?”]
Richie gets his first fight as an Immortal in the first episode after he becomes one. I guess it’s lucky for him that his opponent was 5 foot nothing, 100 and nothing pounds, Annie Devlin, instead of, I don’t know, pretty much any other Immortal we’ve ever met on this show. I particularly liked that he could not bring himself to kill her. I feel like a willingness to behead someone is a big step to take – particularly when that person is a beautiful (albeit murderous) small Irish woman.
On that topic, I really enjoyed Sheena Easton in this episode, too. Her acting was great, her sword fighting was up to par (an important feat for this show and difficult considering her size,) and her chemistry with Adrian Paul was terrific. She did a great job plausibly portraying, “I’m going to kiss you or kill you or both and you won’t be sure which is coming when.” Sheena Easton is yet another in the long list of musical guest-stars on this show. She’s upper tier from that group as far as I’m concerned.
As an American, old enough to remember IRA stories in the news, this episode, with that history as a part of the plot, felt a little bit like opening a time vault from thirty years ago. “Oh yeah, I remember when the IRA was making international news.” I suspect that aspect of the plot might just be a bit confusing for anyone younger, here in the U.S., doing a rewatch. One of the joyous things I get from watching old shows is seeing how much things can sometimes change, for the better, in a relatively short amount of time. I just pray we do not take those positive changes for granted.
This is the first episode where Richie really starts to see the complications and downsides of Immortality. Yes, you can take fifty slugs to the chest and live. However, you also have to sneak out of a morgue after, change your name and lose contact with every mortal who knew you died, deal with the occasional angry and far more experienced fellow Immortal, etc. On the relationship side of things, Richie is relatively intuitive and his watching Duncan interact with Annie might be giving him some insight into the complexities of relationships that span centuries.
Duncan clearly takes training a pupil seriously and he is obviously good at it. The sword training montage is one of my favorite scenes from the show so far.
This episode also contains one of the more iconic scenes from the series – with Richie driving his motorcycle through the second story window of a large warehouse and landing it safely on the street below without crashing. Implausible? Definitely. Fun to watch? Also definitely.
The show is now in a new era. It got off to a good start.