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:
Immortal Luther kills Immortal Rebecca in order to steal a crystal she is wearing as part of a necklace. Sometime later, Amanda comes to visit Duncan. We learn that Rebecca was her mentor when she became Immortal over 1,000 years ago. At Rebecca’s funeral, Duncan feels as though they are being watched by an Immortal. Later that night, Amanda is robbed at gunpoint. The thief overlooked more valuable jewelry around them and took Amanda’s seemingly worthless crystal necklace instead. Duncan decides that Amanda knows more than she is saying. He speaks with Rebecca’s mortal husband, John, and learns that Rebecca’s crystal necklace was stolen by Luther.
Duncan is now able to pry from Amanda that Luther is targeting Rebecca and her former students. Rebecca gave a piece of crystal to all of her pupils. However, there is a legend that if all of the crystals are re-combined it will make an Immortal tenfold more powerful. Luther believes in the legend. Duncan and Amanda track down one of Rebecca’s other pupils – an Immortal named Henri Valjean to see if he still has his crystal. They learn that Henri hid his crystal before meeting with Luther and dying. Duncan and Amanda find it before Luther can. Amanda wants to fight Luther, despite Duncan’s insistence that he is the better fighter, because she wants revenge. Duncan lets her fight but arranges to make certain that he – not Amanda – has the last crystal. After Luther beats Amanda, but before he can take her head, Duncan lets him know that she does not have it. Luther then comes after Duncan and is beheaded by Duncan.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
We open this episode with a man speaking with a woman named Rebecca. Rebecca appears to be Immortal inasmuch as the man asks her to leave him before he gets too old. He also tells her that she deserves to be with a younger man.
Rebecca: I have a younger man.
Rebecca tells the man, John, that he is the love of her life. While she tells him that he is the love of her life, someone else approaches, sword drawn. Rebecca feels an Immortal’s presence. She tells John to go to the cloister.
We see the other Immortal – he is an African man that Rebecca names as Luther. He asks Rebecca if she is surprised to see him. Rebecca says that she is surprised nobody has killed him yet. Luther laughs and says that they have tried. Rebecca again tells John to go and he continues to just stand there not going. Luther grabs John and holds a sword to his throat.
Luther tells Rebecca that he will let John live after Rebecca gives her sword up. She insists that Luther give his word and he does. Rebecca sets her sword and the ground and whispers goodbye to John. Luther punches John and takes Rebecca’s head. When she dies, something she was wearing drops to the ground. Luther stares at it intently.
Sometime later, two men find a now shirtless (and glistening?) Luther. They report to him that nobody has come. He tells them that they will. Luther gives the order to them to arrange attendance for the funeral. One of them men, Raynaud, asks him why and the Immortal replies, “to mourn.” He then does something to Raynaud’s hand, causing him to cry out in pain. When Raynaud asks why he did it, Luther replies it was so that he would know he is alive.
On the barge, Maurice is eating Duncan’s food as Duncan stares over financial statements. Maurice tries to convince Duncan to buy his brother’s pig. He deems it a worthy investment because the pig digs for truffles. As Duncan declines the insistent Maurice, he senses another Immortal. We see a dark-haired woman approaching the barge outside. She comes inside.
Duncan: Amanda, what are you doing here?
Amanda: That’s what I love about you. You’re always so warm and welcoming.
Maurice, seeing Amanda, asks Duncan how he does it. Duncan tells Maurice goodbye. Once Maurice is gone, Duncan asks her again why she is here. He asks if it is about a bank or a museum. She flirts with him and asks why it has to be about anything other than the two of them. Duncan, insistent, asks for the truth. She tells him it is about a 17th century jewel collection. Duncan replies that she gave the answer too easily and asks again for the truth.
Amanda: Ask me to stay.
Duncan: [nods] Stay.
Amanda: Would you just hold me?
She finally tells Duncan that this is about Rebecca and that Rebecca is dead. Duncan asks her who and she replies that she does not know.
The flashback starts with someone ringing a bell and calling to “Bring out your dead.” A Middle Ages era Amanda is leaning against a building. I think she is also attempting to time-period shabby (and failing.) As the bring-out-your-dead crew are picking up bodies, Amanda steals a loaf of bread. She is caught and a chase begins. Eventually a man clubs her hard on the head from behind and she falls onto a pile of bodies. The decide that she will be dead soon and the order is given to burn her body with the rest when she dies.
Rebecca witnesses Amanda on the cart of dead bodies, still alive, and gives the order to the men to leave her.
Sometime later, Amanda wakes up and asks Rebecca if she is an angel. Rebecca tells her no and introduces herself as Rebecca Horne. Amanda says that she thought she was dead. Rebecca gives her some bread and she eats it ravenously. Rebecca asks for her name and she gives it. Rebecca tells her that she has much to learn about what they are, books, swords, and fair words written by people. Amanda sees Rebecca’s sword propped against a wall.
Amanda: Can you use a sword?
Rebecca: And read. Just as you will.
Amanda: What for? Books are for monks and women don’t fight with swords.
Amanda insists that she knows all that she needs to know and asks Rebecca if anyone is a better thief. Rebecca tells her that being a thief will not be enough and that her life is about to change.
Back in the present, Amanda and Duncan are walking through a cemetery. She asks him if he ever wonders what it’s like to die and Duncan tells her he wonders every time. She replies that he knows what she means. He tells her he no longer thinks about it for himself anymore. Duncan tells her that whatever happens, happens.
Amanda: The longer I live, the more I get attached to myself.
They approach Rebecca’s husband John and Amanda gives him a hug. She then introduces John to Duncan. John tells Duncan that Rebecca spoke of him often and Duncan replies that she spoke often of John to him as well. Duncan tells John that he is sorry for his loss, for all of their loss, and John says that he never thought Rebecca would not outlive him.
Duncan is eating and walking down a street in what appears to be the 1600s. He stops by a market where a vendor is selling food from the New World when he feels the presence of an Immortal. He sets out in search of the other Immortal and finds both Amanda and Rebecca in an alley. The two women debate which of them gets to fight him as Duncan tries to talk them out of fighting on account of their being women and English.
Amanda: Have you never been with a woman?
Duncan: Not in battle.
Rebecca: There’s always a first time.
Amanda suddenly decides that they should not fight him.
Amanda: There is only thing to do with a head like this. [kisses him]
She rejoins Rebecca who is now walking away. Rebecca warns her that Duncan might have taken her head and Amanda says that “green boy” could not have. She also says that she would rather have his gold than his head. She shows Rebecca the gold purse she took from Duncan during their kiss. Amanda tells Rebecca that she taught her to be clever while Rebecca replies that she also taught her to be honest. As they walk and turn a corner, they find Duncan up ahead of them, leaning against a wall. He looks up and smiles at the two of them. He proclaims that they should have a drink together. He lifts up a flap on Amanda’s dress, takes back his gold pouch, and tells her that he will pay.
Back in the present, Luther is watching Amanda at the funeral through binoculars. He notes that Amanda has brought a friend. Duncan seems to sense someone is watching them, though we do not get an indication he senses an Immortal, per se, and he starts looking around. Amanda comes over to get Duncan, who has stepped away, and the two of them say goodbye to John and leave. As they leave, Duncan asks her if she felt it. She asks him what he means and he says that one of them was watching them at the graveside. She replies that he is imagining things and Duncan tells her that he doubts it.
Duncan tries to cheer Amanda up by taking her to see some high end jewelry. He asks her why she lied to him earlier about feeling an Immortal and she asks him if they can just try to enjoy themselves. A moment later, a mask wearing man holding a gun enters the room and robs the store – and also Amanda. She wants to do something about it but Duncan sagely advises her that they are not alone. After they go, Duncan asks her why the robbers left jewelry worth a fortune and took a crystal necklace that Rebecca left her instead. She tells him that she does not know why.
Amanda and Duncan return to see John. He tells them that he is looking for a piece of jewelry that Rebecca was wearing when she was killed. Amanda asks if he means the crystal and John replies yes. Amanda tells him that hers was stolen the previous night.
John: You don’t think Luther killed her over a piece of glass.
Duncan: You know who killed her?
John: Of course I was here.
John says that he thought he told Amanda. Duncan gives her a long look and replies to John that it must have just slipped her mind. Duncan asks about Rebecca’s other students and John replies that most of them are dead. He can think of one exception, a man named Henri Valjean, who lives nearby in Paris. After they leave John, Duncan states to Amanda that Luther is killing because of the crystals and he wants to know why.
Amanda: He wants to put the pieces together.
Duncan tells her that’s crazy and Amanda asks him if he can imagine an object that increases an Immortal’s power tenfold. Duncan tells her that it’s a fairy tale and she replies that Luther believes it. Duncan asks Amanda if she believes it and she does not reply.
They go to Henri Valjean’s estate and they are greeted by his secretary. She tells them as the door is open that the police have already come and gone. Duncan tells her that they are not with the police and Amanda interjects that they are insurance investigators. The secretary tells her that she has not even called the insurance company yet to report the claim and she says that they are following up based on seeing the police report. The secretary tells them that it was just some vandals who stole some jewelry. Duncan asks if they can speak to Mr. Valjean and the woman tells him that Mr. Valjean left on Tuesday and has not been back since.
She said that Henri did something very strange before he left. She says that he kissed her and advised her to see his lawyer if he does not come back. She says that he gave her this house. Amanda asks her if she ever saw Henri with a small crystal. The woman replies that Henri always wore it except for that last night. She tells them that Henri gave her the crystal and told her to hide it. She says that she gave the crystal to her son Paul who works at an antique store. She then says that the two detectives also asked about the crystal.
Later, at the antique store, Paul tells them that Valjean was a good guy and that he does not know why he asked his mother to hide the crystal. Amanda asks if anyone else has asked him about it. Paul asks why anyone would as it has no real value. Just then, Duncan senses another Immortal. He advises Amanda to stay inside while he looks around outside. She ignores him and follows him outside. When she catches up with Duncan, she tells him that she wants Luther. Away from the store, the two of them suddenly realize that they left the crystal unprotected and they quickly return.
We find Paul on the floor with a gun in his face. One of Luther’s men tells him to give up the crystal. Amanda and Duncan lay in wait for Luther’s men outside. Duncan tackles one of them while Amanda hits another in the face with a frying pan. Duncan’s man had the crystal. He rejoins Amanda and gives it to her. He smiles and says that he has never seen her use a frying pan before.
Back on the barge, Duncan and Amanda argue over who should go face Luther. Duncan points out that if Luther was able to take Rebecca’s head, then that means Luther is good. He tells Amanda that he is better with a sword than she is and he asks her to let him fight Luther. She tells him that she knows Duncan is better but she says that she wants to be the one to take on Luther. Duncan asks why she came to see him if she did not want him to help her and she replies that she just wanted to be with Duncan before doing this.
Duncan: I have a better chance.
Amanda: But not a better reason.
Amanda wakes up the next morning, unclothed and in Duncan’s bed. She smells breakfast and warns Duncan that breakfast in bed is how love starts. Maurice answers her and asks if that is what they say. Alarmed, Amanda rolls over and covers herself in a sheet.
Maurice: I am Maurice. We met the other day but you were wearing more clothes.
Maurice tells her that Duncan found her early this morning and asked him to give Amanda breakfast. Amanda guesses that Duncan told Maurice that she would be very surprised.
Maurice: Oh yes. And very hungry.
Sometime later, dressed, and having eaten breakfast, Amanda paces around outside on the barge. Maurice tells her that Duncan will not return faster just because she is worried about him. Amanda says that she is not worried about him, she is planning to kill him. Maurice tells her that she reminds him of his first wife. He says that his fondest memories of her are the the making up from the fighting. He says that the greater the fights, the greater the passion.
Amanda: What, are you saying that I’m in love with MacLeod?
Maurice: No offense, Amanda, but a blind man could see it.
Duncan finds Luther and mocks the notion that uniting all the crystals would make an Immortal invincible. Luther retorts saying that Duncan is himself Immortal and he asks MacLeod how he can deny that this sort of power exists. He also asks how Duncan could not want that power if it does exist. Duncan tells him that there is only thing he wants and he draws his sword.
Luther: Do you have the crystal?
Luther: Come back when you do.
Luther disappears in a cloud of smoke.
Duncan returns to the barge and finds Maurice telling Amanda about his career as a chef. He tells Duncan that he was just telling Amanda his life story. Duncan asks him which life story and Maurice, affronted, asks if Duncan is suggesting that he changes the facts. Duncan replies that Maurice manufactures the facts. Amanda then tells Maurice that she enjoyed his stories. He kisses her on the hand, tells her that it was a joy to spend the morning with her, and then he leaves. Duncan offers to pay him for the breakfast but Maurice declines saying that it was his pleasure.
After he goes, Amanda asks Duncan where he went and he tells her that he saw Luther. She can see from his tone that Duncan and Luther did not fight and she tells him that Luther is hers. She demands that Duncan tell her where he is.
Duncan: I’m trying to save your life.
Amanda: D*** it, I don’t want to be saved. I want revenge.
Rebecca and Amanda are sparring in a castle during the Middle Ages. The fight eventually ends and Rebecca tells a now literate, educated, sword-capable Amanda that she has no more to teach her. She tells Amanda that it is time for her to be on her own. Amanda asks her teacher how she can leave her and Rebecca replies that she must. They go inside and Rebecca gives her a parting gift. She gives Amanda a piece of a crystal. She tells her that the crystal is older than Immortals and also greater. She puts the crystal in the crying Amanda’s hand and tells her to keep it always and to remember.
In the present, Amanda is crying and she tells Duncan that she has to do this. Duncan puts the crystal in a pouch and tells her that they will talk about it tomorrow. She asks him what about tonight. He dances her around the barge floor. Through a barge window, Amanda spies two of Luther’s men watching the barge from the outside.
The following morning, Amanda wakes before Duncan and quietly removes the crystal from a box Duncan had locked it in the night before. Duncan looks at her momentarily before feigning sleep again.
Outside, Amanda approaches the car she saw the night before. The two men are outside the car. She walks up to one of them and tells him to call Luther. He grabs her jacket roughly and says that she saved them a lot of trouble. She puts her sword between his legs and warns him not to tempt her. The man hands Amanda his cell phone. She calls Luther and tells him that she has what he wants but that she will only meet him where she says. She also tells him that she wants him to do something else for her. A moment later, we see the two men waiting for Duncan on the barge as he tries to leave.
Duncan: I wonder whose idea this was.
Duncan beats the two men up quickly, first throwing one of them off the barge and into the river. He forces the second man to tell him where Amanda is meeting Luther and the man says he does not know except that it is some place Amanda picked. Duncan then throws him off the barge and into the river, too. Ever polite, Duncan verifies that the men can swim before he leaves.
Amanda meets Luther and asks if he had to kill her. Luther tells her no but that it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Luther: In fact, she died right about where you are standing in this crumbling ruin.
Amanda tells Luther that this ruin is where Rebecca taught her and that it is where Luther will die. Their duel starts and though Amanda cuts his face, Luther overpowers Amanda somewhat quickly. and disarms her. Before Luther can behead Amanda, though, Duncan announces that he is next. Luther tells him that he cannot interfere and Duncan says that he will not. Duncan then shows Luther than *he* has the last crystal. Luther picks up the pouch Amanda had with her and finds that it does not contain the crystal. The night before, Duncan switched a fake into the bag knowing that Amanda would likely steal it in the morning. Luther punches a defenseless Amanda in the face, knocking her out, and charges at Duncan. Their duel now begins.
Duncan places a sword trust through Luther’s abdomen. Luther tells Duncan that he will never find the crystals and Duncan replies that he never wanted them. He then takes Luther’s head.
Later, Duncan and Amanda are arguing. He tells her to be reasonable and that she was losing. She says that she does not care and that it was her right to avenge Rebecca. Duncan finally ends the argument by giving Amanda one of Luther’s crystals – the one he obtained from Henri Valjean. She says that she suddenly remembers why she likes him so much and kisses him. A moment later she suggests going by Luther’s place and looking for the other crystals. Duncan adamantly insists that they will not go looking for the other crystals while Amanda smiles at him in such a way that suggests they will.
I am admittedly biased in favor of Amanda episodes. That said, Amanda’s origin story is nonetheless one of my favorite episodes. We even got to hear Elizabeth Gracen speaking with a British Isles accent! I always kind of wondered why Amanda always sounds like an American. Now I can rest secure in the knowledge that she adopted the accent over the course of time.
This episode also provides the Duncan-Amanda “meet cute.” She steals from him and kisses him within a few moments of their introduction (at sword point, no less.) He is at first flabbergasted by her, then he figures out what she did, gets his gold back a few moments later, and then takes her out for a drink. It’s their entire subsequent relationship summed up in a very short scene.
The period piece outfits worn by Amanda and Rebecca in this scene were pretty amazing, too.
This episode gives Amanda some needed depth. She is more than just a character who exists solely to stir the pot in Duncan’s life. She loves him. That was obvious in her previous episode, too, but it is spelled out more clearly here… by Maurice no less. She has a moral code. She has (had) a close female friend. She is a real person beneath the adventure and deception.
Speaking of moral codes… even Maurice has one! He won’t take money from Duncan for spending the morning with the beautiful Amanda. Good for you, Maurice. To be honest, though, he probably would have crawled over broken glass to spend time with Amanda.
Do I wish that we had been given more of Rebecca? Absolutely. So far, Amanda is really the only frame of reference I have on this show explaining how an Immortal woman might live for a thousand+ years. I wonder how Rebecca navigated the same waters without resorting to Amanda’s deviousness and without having a knight-in-shining-armor type like Duncan who bails her out of trouble when she gets into too much of it.
On the point of Rebecca… it was highly annoying that Rebecca’s husband John did not simply follow instructions when his Immortal wife told him to get away from the bad guy with the sword. It’s a failure on the part of the show that he does not seem to be particularly grieved by her death, either.
I really enjoyed the dynamic of Duncan wanting to save Amanda this time, thinking that she showed up for him to bail her out again, and Amanda insisting that she wanted revenge more than she wanted Luther dead. She showed up because she wanted to be with Duncan before she most likely died. Duncan kind of figured out how to give them both what they wanted. She got to fight. He kept her from losing her head anyway.
This episode had more than it’s fair share of great lines. However, my favorite was this one:
Maurice: [looking at Amanda for the first time] How do you do it?
I cannot decide whether I enjoyed Amanda hitting a guy with a frying more than I enjoyed her subtle “sword between the legs” move on the guy later on.
This episode gave us a strange and yet fun Quickening. After Duncan took Luther’s head, the sky became as dark as night. It was… cool. I suspect the local meteorologist might have had some questions, though.
Do I think that the crystals are real? Yeah… and basically for the same reason that Luther believes in them. (paraphrasing) “Bruh, you’re an Immortal and you think magic crystals are fairy tales?” I’m more convinced by the fact that Rebecca seems to believe in them, too. I also 100% think Amanda went looking for them later.
Great episode overall.