Highlander (Season 2, Ep 37): Unholy Alliance Part 2

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:

Duncan and Reenee work together to track down Horton and Xavier St. Cloud. Duncan surprises them in a warehouse in Seacover. As he is engaged in a fight against Xavier, Horton begins shooting at them from a helicopter. This gives St. Cloud the ability to break away from the fight and flee. They go to Paris. Duncan tracks them down and Reenee follows by tracking down Duncan’s hotel reservation with her military computers.

In Paris, Duncan agrees to work with her some more. As they agree to help each other, they are shot at in a public café. They chase the shooter and Reenee kills him. Duncan retrieves a cufflink from the would-be assassin and uses that to track down the get-away driver who abandoned him. Separately, Reenee talks to Paris police and learns more about the person who tried to shoot them. Together, they determine where Horton and Xavier are operating from in Paris. Duncan and Reenee visit unannounced. Xavier flees but Horton appears not to get away. Joe Dawson shows up in Paris, too, unbeknownst to Duncan, and shoots his fellow Watcher. After Horton appears to be dead via gunshot from Joe, Duncan tracks down Xavier and beheads him. In the closing scene, as Duncan and Reenee are saying goodbye, the camera pans to a still-living James Horton watching them angrily from a distance.

THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:

Last week’s episode was so dense that the “Part 1” recap takes us all the way past the 4 minute mark.

Episode two starts as Duncan leaves Charlie’s hospital bed. Reenee is outside waiting. He tells her Charlie is not doing well so she says she will only need him for a minute. Duncan mocks her compassion and she admits that she is here on business. She says she is also here to ask Duncan to dinner.

Since Reenee does not let strange men into her apartment, she is eating dinner at Duncan’s apartment. He is cooking. While there, she sees a picture of Tessa and notes that she is pretty. Reenee asks Duncan if she is his girlfriend and he tells her that she was but now she is dead. She apologizes. Duncan asks if she is married and she says no.

Duncan: Ever?
Reenee: Once.
Duncan: Divorced?
Reenee: No. Dead in a shootout in Albuquerque.

After dinner, Duncan verifies that she was an Army brat and she says she was. After she talks about moving a lot, and attending a lot of new schools, she says to Duncan that he knows how it is. When she says that Duncan told her he was in the Army, he replies that he did not and that she is fishing again. The conversation turns and Duncan asks her about being CID, chasing killers like Rick Davis, and she says that he is the one digging. Duncan smiles and says she is right. She tells Duncan that it’s fun to watch him digging.

Reenee: But I’d rather talk about something else.
Duncan: Such as?
Reenee: Why haven’t you kissed me yet?

pre-emptive

Saved by the doorbell buzzer!

In the elevator outside, Duncan finds Joe Dawson. He tells Duncan that what’s done is done and that he cannot take it back. He says that they once trusted each other on nothing more than a feeling. He says that he hopes they can trust each other again. He gives Duncan a piece of paper with an address on it. Joe says that is where *they* are.

When Duncan gets off the elevator, back in his apartment, he tells Reenee that he has to go. She says she does, too, and believes that they will be leaving together. She turns around to get her coat, though, and while turned Duncan vanishes.

Xavier and Horton are holed up together somewhere. It’s an awkward pairing. Horton complains to Xavier that he is eating when they should be doing work. Xavier replies that Persian Kings would have died to eat what he is eating. He puts food in front of Horton and circles him.

Xavier: Horton, Horton, when will you learn to savor life? When you eat, eat well. When you love, make it last a long time. When you kill, kill for pleasure.

Horton: It would give you great pleasure to kill Duncan MacLeod, would it not?

Xavier: I owe him so much.

Outside of their warehouse hideout, Duncan pulls up in his ragtop convertible T-bird. When he exits the care, he senses Xavier and vice versa. Xavier immediately tells Horton. Horton says that it is time to go but Xavier says that he can kill him. Horton tells him to do it another time.

Duncan finds Xavier – who has not left. Duncan asks where his friend is and Xavier tells him to forget Horton. The duel begins. They fight their way outside into the open air before finally being interrupted by a helicopter. Horton begins shooting and Duncan from the helicopter and he provides Xavier sufficient cover to get in and escape from a fight he was destined to lose.

At the hospital, Duncan gives Charlie some caviar. He tells his seemingly improving friend that he will be gone for a while to go after Horton and Xavier. Charlie says that Duncan will be back and MacLeod tells him that in the event he is not, the dojo will be his.

Charlie: What’s left of it.

Before Duncan can leave, Charlie asks him if he is forgetting something.

Charlie: I thought you’d promised me you’d tell me why you’re still breathing?
Duncan: You got any thoughts.
Charlie: Oh, a couple. Oh hey, if it’s a long story, don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.
Duncan: You wouldn’t believe me.
Charlie: Try me.

Charlie reminds Duncan again that he said he would share how he lived when he thought Charlie was dying. Duncan replies that the doctor just told him that Charlie has thirty to forty more years to live. Charlie calls him secretive and evasive before changing tactics and asking about the swords.

Charlie: How are you gonna explain that?
Duncan: It’s an old feud.
Charlie: ::sighs: You are not gonna tell me, are you?
Duncan: What if I told you it was magic?
Charlie: Well, I’d almost believe you.
[Duncan leaves the room]

We are back in Paris! Duncan walks through the airport and calls for a taxi. A car comes screeching up next to Duncan. The door opens and Reenee is the driver. She asks if she can drop Duncan somewhere. He gets in and tells her that she made good time. She explains that once Duncan’s reservations in Paris hit her computers, she hitched a ride with the Air Force.

Reenee: Let’s play a little game. You tell me all you know…
Duncan: and what do you do?
Reenee: I keep the State Department from revoking your passport and shipping your butt out of here.

Duncan notes that she came all the way to Paris to blackmail him before saying he will think about her offer. He then tells her where he wants to be dropped off.

Reenee: I don’t think so. The barge isn’t there.
Duncan: Right.
Reenee: OK, suit yourself.

She drives him to where he left the barge… and it is gone. She tells him the barge was moved when the river flooded. He says that she knows where it is and she smiles and notes that he should be glad that he has her along. She takes him to where his barge is and asks again for what he knows in return for the favor of finding his barge. He says aloud that she does not give up and she says she does not when there is something she really wants. Duncan agrees to meet her for dinner.

As Duncan walks through the streets of Paris, he thinks about Tessa. As the show plays “Dust in the Wind” (the song that played after her death earlier this season) we see a montage of scenes from the show featuring Duncan and Tessa together.

😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭

::pushes the pain down to continue blogging:::

Duncan enters the barge and hears a man inside, singing. Duncan finally finds an older Frenchman inside who tells him that he has no money. Duncan asks what is going on here. The man tells Duncan he was taking a shower. The man then asks Duncan what he is doing on this boat and Duncan replies to him that he owns it. The man comedically greets MacLeod, his old friend, and Duncan replies that he thinks he would remember a friend like him. The man introduces himself as Maurice from the boat next door.

Maurice: Everyone knows Maurice!
Duncan: Does everyone find you in their bathroom?

We also find that Maurice has been drinking Duncan’s alcohol and doing laundry on the barge. Duncan asks him who moved the barge and Maurice replies that the police did but that he supervised. He claims to Duncan that he saved his barge from the worst flood in fifty years. At first Duncan tells him to leave, but then tells him to stop. Maurice believes that Duncan has had a change of heart but Duncan says he cannot leave until he cleans the place up to look exactly as he left it. As Maurice leaves to get dressed, and presumably clean up the barge, Duncan notices that Maurice is holding his toothbrush. The Parisian man sheepishly walks away.

Back outside, Duncan goes caviar shopping. He has the tin of caviar that Xavier left behind in Seacouver and he is trying to find the rare caviar in Paris. The shop owner that he speaks with tells him that finding it is impossible. He shows her the tin and tells her his friend bought it from her store. She says that was from the previous owners. Duncan shows her a large wad of cash and asks where he can find the previous owners and she replies that he can find them in Iran, in jail.

After this failed outing, Duncan goes to visit Catherine Legris, the mortal wife of the late Immortal Anton Legris who was recently killed by Xavier and Horton. She asks him how Tessa is.

Sometime later, they are talking in Catherine’s flower shop about losing their loved ones. Duncan tells her that they take their happiness while they can, for as long as it lasts, and he tells her that Anton knew that. Duncan shares with her that he is looking for the Immortal that killed her husband. He asks what she remembers and she says nothing. More specifically, he asks if she heard gun fire when Anton left. She replies by saying that Duncan knows who killed Anton. Catherine kisses him on each cheek and asks him to be careful.

That evening, Duncan meets Reenee for dinner on an outdoor patio. She gets right to business. Duncan asks her why he needs a partner and she replies that she is good and that they both want the same thing – the guy who hit Charlie. Duncan agrees to help her get him. He specifies though that after he helps her get this guy, she goes home. She asks who they are after and Duncan tells her they are after an Englishman named James Horton. He tells her that he would not bother digging for Horton’s files because he is too good for that. As Reenee asks Duncna why Horton is so good, a man opens fires on their table. They protect themselves with the table. When the gunman runs out of ammunition, he runs away. Duncan gives chase, Reenee cocks her gun, then she gives chase also.

As Duncan chases the man up a flight of stairs, Reenee shoots him from behind. He gets to the getaway car but the driver will not let him inside. He says sorry and drives away. Reenee then shoots the gunman again. By the time Duncan catches up, the man is dead. He finds a golden cufflink in the dead man’s hand and takes it. Reenee, following, tells Duncan that she told him she was good.

Sometime later, Reenee in in a bathrobe, coming her hair. Duncan asks her how she is feeling and she says fine, though there will be h*** to pay with the Sûreté. She says her people are trying to calm them down. As she rambles about the paperwork, Duncan advises her to sit down for a minute. She admits that she has been in the field for three years and has never even had to fire her gun before. She asks Duncan if he has ever killed anybody. He tells her he has. [Duncan is probably thinking internally that his kill count is close to having two commas.] She notes that it’s not easy and he tells her that it is not supposed to be.

Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call to her hotel room phone. Reenee’s boss wants her at the Embassy in fifteen minutes.

Reenee: They’re probably trying to decide whether to kill me or to give me a medal.
Duncan: It’s a medal. It’s easier to explain.

She tells Duncan that she does not want a medal. Duncan tells her not to keep her General waiting.

Duncan walks through the streets of Paris once more. He looks up and…

FLASHBACK!

Duncan is in the 1700s on a battlefield. An enemy French soldier is found on the field. One of Duncan’s comrades raises a gun to kill him but Duncan tells him to hold his fire. MacLeod says that there has been enough killing this day. He speaks with the wounded soldier who tells him thanks but that he believes himself to already be dead. He asks Duncan to give his son a ring. MacLeod asks for his son’s name and the man tells him Pierre Martin. He says that his family lives in a small village called Mionnais, near Lyon. Duncan tells the dying man that he will see to it. The dying man asks Duncan to tell Pierre that his father died with honor.

The emblem on the ring matches the one on the cufflink Duncan found on the man who tried to shoot Reenee and him at the Parisian dining spot.

In the present, Duncan shows what he found on the body to another man. The man gives Duncan the name Luc Bergon. With a better view of the other man, we can see he is wearing a military uniform. He tells Duncan that Bergon was facing disciplinary actions last year but that he disappeared before the proceedings. Duncan asks the man if he knows where to find Bergon and the man tells him that if he knew, Bergon would be in prison. As Duncan is about to go, though, the man tells him that Bergon is a good horseman who never stops riding. He says it is his passion.

Horton is talking to a blonde haired Frenchman. The Frenchman tells Horton that if he had not missed, MacLeod would be dead. Horton retorts to the man that if he had not been such a fool, Cluny would still be alive. With a horse in the background, we can assume this Frenchman is Bergon. Xavier walks into the camera frame and tells him that he was told to leave MacLeod to him. Bergon replies that he thought he would save Xavier the trouble. Horton tells him though that he is not paid to think, he is paid to kill. Xavier tells Bergon to leave and the man walks away toward the horses in the background. Xavier tells Horton that before this is over he will kill that fool (meaning Bergon) and Horton interjects that he will not do it before Bergon brings them MacLeod.

Reenee is meeting with a man, she calls Detective, and discussing Cluny. The detective tells her that if she had not shot him, his record might have become longer. She says that she did not kill him and the man sarcastically replies that she only wounded him. Reenee asks the man where Cluny served as a mercenary and he tells her Africa before asking how she knew that. She asks him why his stint as an African mercenary is not in his file. He tells her that the Clunys are a very old family with a great many holdings. She asks if that’s enough to keep it off his record and the detective tells her that in France old ties count for something.

Later, Reenee is walking and talking with Maurice. She asks him how long he has known MacLeod and he tells her a very long time. She asks what he does for Duncan and he says that he is consulting on the remodeling of his barge.

Reenee: And you’re staying there?
Maurice: An artist needs to be close to his work.

They meet MacLeod. Reenee wants to talk business with Duncan but Maurice does not leave. Duncan finally gives him a lot of cash to go buy wine for him. Reenee tells Duncan that their dead shooter is named Mark Cluny. Duncan points out that she did not mention talking to the local police. She replies that he did not ask. He asks if she has any addresses and she says that the Cluny family seems to own about half of the buildings in Paris. Duncan tells her, in turn, that the guy who was in the getaway car is named Luc Bergon, an ex-French cavalry officer. Reenee asks Duncan how he ID’d the guy and she shares that there was a cufflink in Cluny’s hand. He says that he must have torn it off the driver. She points out that he neve mentioned a cufflink and he says that she did not ask. Duncan suggests that they see which Cluny buildings in the city are big enough to hold a riding stable.

At their hideout, Horton, Xavier, and the others are planning their next attack. Abruptly, Xavier tells Horton that he can stop planning. Horton asks how MacLeod knew they are here and Xavier replies that he suspects Horton’s friend was sloppy.

Horton: [to Bergon] Get MacLeod and you’re rich. Fail and it’s the last thing you’ll ever do.

Horton packs up and Xavier asks if he is leaving. Horton replies that he will wait for Xavier on the boat. The Immortal tells him that he will miss quite a show. He walks out and finds MacLeod in the stable. He tells Duncan that they need to quit meeting like this. Duncan tells Xavier that Horton is using him and Xavier says that he is using Horton in turn. He says he will kill Horton when he can no longer use him.

Abruptly Xavier calls out for Bergon. He jumps out with a drawn gun and St. Cloud instructs him to shoot at Duncan’s heart. Just as abruptly as Bergon jumped out of a hiding place, so does Reenee, also with a gun drawn. Xavier nods at Bergon. He turns and fires at Reenee. As he does, MacLeod attacks him and disarms him – but not until after he has shot Reenee in the arm. She tells Duncan that she is alright and to go after Xavier.

Horton gets on a boat. Out of the shadows steps… JOE DAWSON!

Joe: It’s finished, James!
Horton: Joseph. We’re family!
Joe: I’ll light you a candle.

Duncan runs up on the scene and finds this confrontation on-going. Joe shoots Horton and the evil Watcher falls off the boat and into the water. Duncan tells Joe that he would have done it himself. Joe tells Duncan, no, when the Watchers make mistakes, the Watchers must clean them up. Duncan throws Joe’s gun into the river. As Joe leaves, Duncan tells him that he will see him around.

Sometime later, Duncan asks Reenee what the verdict is regarding her arm injury. She says that she has no broken bones and no blood poisoning. She points out that the police are going to want to know what happened and Duncan tells her to tell them whatever she wants so long as she leaves his name out of it. She asks him about the man with one leg and Duncan tells her that he got Horton and to leave it at that. She says that there is more to this and Duncan tells her not to follow him. She asks him if the French say goodbye by kissing both cheeks and Duncan says that’s how they do it. Duncan then kisses her on the lips and tells her to take care of herself.

Back at the barge, MacLeod finds Maurice just outside of his barge. Maurice tells Duncan that he made a great decision hiring him to fix up his barge. MacLeod contests that he hired Maurice at all. He then asks Maurice if he was really once a chef. When Maurice says yes, Duncan asks if he knows where to by Golden Caviar. The Frenchman says yes for a price. He asks Duncan if he has a taste for it and MacLeod says no – he says that he is looking for a special buyer. He gives Maurice some cash and sends him off to find out who might have sold said caviar.

When Duncan goes inside, he calls Charlie. Charlie asks him why it took so long to call. Duncan says that when he called the hospital, they told him Charlie was chasing nurses. We see on camera that Charlie is now using a cane and moving quite poorly. Duncan tells him that Horton is not coming back.

Charlie: Funny, I don’t feel like dancing but I can’t say I’m too sorry, either.

Duncan tells him to fix up the dojo. Charlie notes that Duncan does not sound like he is coming back. MacLeod says that there is something in Paris he has to finish.

Outside, a thorougly inebriated Maurice returns to the barge. He tells Duncan that he has found the man Duncan is searching for. He tells Duncan also that the elegantly dressed black man, with one hand, who Duncan described is said to never come into the store but only takes deliveries. Maurice also tells Duncan that this man s slated for a caviar delivery tonight. Duncan is pleased and pats him on the cheek.

Xavier is standing, sword in hand, as Duncan enters the room with him. He asks Duncan if he brought the caviar and Duncan replies that he left it downstairs. Xavier says that is a shame as he thought they might share it. He then says he will eat it on Duncan’s grave.

The two men have a very physical fight throughout Xavier’s palatial home. Xavier uses his hook to advantage in stopping and redirecting sword blows. Duncan uses his non-sword hand to punch Xavier repeatedly in the face. Alas, Xavier over-extends himself on a sword thrust at Duncan. MacLeod allows the other Immortal’s momentum to pull him into a fall. As Xavier falls, Duncan beheads him. Duncan takes Xavier’s Quickening in the other Immortal’s front yard. This is one of the strongest Quickenings that we have seen on the show.

Sometime later, Duncan meets Reenee on a park bench and she thanks him for coming. He asks her about the arm and she tells him that she wears the cast for sympathy. Reenee tells Duncan that she has to return to Washington the next day. He asks if she will return to Paris. She says that she know he loved Tessa and that she respects that. She also says she knows that one is not supposed to get involved with people in the field. Duncan smiles and says that he knows there is a question in here somewhere. She mumbles awkwardly through asking about whether she and him might, something, before she abruptly asks him why he has not come onto her yet.

Reenee: It’s not me, right?
Duncan: [long silent smile] Right.
Reenee: So I mean maybe someday if…

When they are done with their public display of affection, she notes that she guesses that answers her question and Duncan says that it does. They part ways. The camera pans to the right. Some distance away, James Horton is watching them. He is alive and furious.

roll credits

REACTION:

Duncan has seen this Horton guy take what should have been a killing blow, twice, and each time he has failed to confirm the kill with a body? Come on.

Right up until the end though, this was a good episode. The episodes set in Paris are like a vacation for my eyes. I suspect at least part of the explanation for the popularity of fantasy TV/movies generally is the beautiful background architecture. The Paris episodes provide that for Highlander. We do not really have a good reason for Duncan to remain in Paris for a long while but he indicated to Charlie that he would. (He probably cannot tell him that Canada and France are the co-countries of origin for the show and that he is obligated to split his time in both places each season.)

This episode introduces comic relief, Maurice. I suspect that this is not a universally well-liked character but I enjoyed him. He never got in the way of the larger story and the mild annoyance for Duncan was amusing. My only gripe here is that Maurice – while drunk – successfully tracked down Xavier so efficiently. I also do not believe that Duncan would entrust someone he just met with that task. Perhaps he was not that worried about Xavier finding out that Maurice was asking for him.

Xavier clearly anticipated that Duncan would use the caviar to track him down. I wonder if the “elegant well dressed black man” Immortal would have actually eaten the caviar with Duncan before their dual. I kind of think he would have. He was surprisingly adept at fighting with one hand and a hook. He used the hook very efficiently and to his own advantage in his fight with Duncan, too. Ultimately, though, Duncan was just better. Roland Gift played him, in this episode, with just the hint of a slightly humbled man who might be somewhat ready to go. Imagine having a hand for a thousand years and then losing it? That has to be pretty brutal emotionally. I will miss Roland Gift on the show. He has been one of the best villains in the entire run of the show.

This was one of my favorite Quickening scenes in the show so far. It was strange that Duncan did it in the front yard. I guess there aren’t any neighbors close enough to see what is going on.

On the topic of being… noticed… this episode kind of drives home the point that it would be extraordinarily difficult to be Immortal and not noticed by government agencies. You can’t seduce your way out of all situations, Duncan. Well, he might be able. Other Immortals could not, though. Other than seduction, Duncan’s cover seems to be that investigators, informed friends, etc., just always assume he is working with some agency above their own pay grade. If they ever reboot this show, in a cell phone camera era, Immortals will almost have to be expert computer hackers and they will probably have to work almost exclusively in “Intelligence” in some capacity. There might also have to be some in-universe explanation about how Quickenings destroy cell phones or something, too, though that is problematic.

Were the writers test-driving Duncan + Military Intel for Season 3 with this two-part episodes? That’s my take. It makes writing the story to cover his tracks more plausible. It gives him a slow burn love interest. It gives him a realistic reason to run into dangerous mortals (more realistic than “I just bumped into a terrorist in my every day routine.”) But that route also makes this show less a show about Immortals and more, Law & Order: Immortal Killers Unit.

Duncan and Joe are back on more solid footing. Given that we just saw Horton alive, should we trust Joe Dawson entirely? Horton being alive just means 1) he will turn back up, and 2) Duncan is going to think Joe knowingly used blanks to fake him out, right?

Charlie is alive. Will we see him again this season? Ever again? His character grew on me. I have somewhat invested now in him finding out Duncan’s secret, or, alternatively, feeling really bad when he dies without finding out. Speaking of missing side characters: Richie is still in the credits. Is he ever coming back?

So what do I think about Horton surviving? I am a little bit over this “evil Watchers” plot line. I feel like it either needs to massively escalate or it needs to go away. One rogue middle aged mortal Watcher as a thorn in Duncan’s side is just not as fun to watch as a one thousand year old Immortal thorn in Duncan’s side.

2 thoughts on “Highlander (Season 2, Ep 37): Unholy Alliance Part 2

  1. I assume when the Immortals reach the cellphone telephone era it’s over for them, they all get hunted down and killed or end up in the hands of various governments. Unless my fan theory that the Immortals are also Scanners from the movie Scanners is true – then they could probably psychic their way out of trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This makes sense. I assume some clever minority of Immortals might position themselves (wealth, political power, etc.) to be above scrutiny though. Partnerships with government agencies are likely ways to survive too.

      Like

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