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 meets a Tessa doppelganger named Lisa Million. He first sees her while he is visiting Tessa’s headstone after Pete’s funeral. He eventually runs into her again and strikes up a conversation with her. Despite increased evidence that this woman is part of aa set-up, Duncan continues to allow things to play out – ultimately even sleeping with her. Meanwhile, Horton is in the open once more. He tries to kill Joe Dawson but Richie shields the Watcher with his own body. Lisa is kidnapped in front of Duncan. Both Joe and Richie warn Duncan that she is likely working with Horton. Duncan agrees but says that her being owned by Horton will not prevent him from killing her. He says he needs to play things out.
Duncan manages to track down Horton’s hideout and he rescues Lisa. She tells Duncan that she wants him to take her to Tessa’s headstone. There, Lisa says that she wants to be certain Duncan knows the difference between herself and Tessa. Duncan finally confronts her about her association with Horton. She pulls a gun on him and reveals Horton’s plans only to find that Duncan took the ammunition out of the gun when he rescued her earlier. Duncan warns Lisa that Horton will likely kill her when she is no longer useful. He tells her that she is now no longer useful. Lisa pretends to shoot Duncan to draw out Horton and thereby save herself. Horton arrives and is ambushed. However, he manages to kill Lisa after the ambush. Duncan chases Horton down as he feels. Duncan then kills the man. As the episode ends, Duncan sells his barge and is not sure where he will go next. He and Richie leave together.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
Pre-episode prediction: Duncan has no prior experience with a deceased love interest being brought back by the magic of sociopathy and plastic surgery. That said, the poorly executed version of that idea, set in the 1600s, would make for an awesome flashback.
The episode starts at Pete’s funeral. Richie, holding a rose, is gathered with a small group of people outside near his casket. Duncan arrives and stands near Richie.
Richie: What are you doing here?
Duncan: Paying my respects.
Richie: If you’d done it sooner Pete might still be alive.
Duncan walks away with Richie glaring at him as he goes. We find Duncan a short time later at Tessa Noel’s gravestone. He is talking to her and explaining to her that he did not trust this kid Pete.
Duncan: I was so sure. Now he’s dead and I don’t know what I’m sure about anymore. Maybe after 400 years you just forget what it’s like to be human.
We see Tessa’s death. She is shot and Duncan runs outside to find her lying on the street. He cradles her head in his lap.
Back in the present, Duncan tells Tessa that he misses her. When he looks up from her tombstone, through the fog, he sees a woman who looks like Tessa through the fog not far off. He says Tess’s name and tries to follow her through the foggy cemetery while remaining circumspect. He loses her quickly, though. As the funeral ends, Duncan, visibly distressed, runs into Richie and asks if he saw her. He asks who he is talking about and Duncan replies “nothing” and walks away.
A while later, Duncan and Richie meet with Joe Dawson as Horton and Lisa/Tessa look on via binoculars from a distance. Joe tells Duncan that someone in Paris has access to the Watchers’ computers, files, and records. He says bank funds are being transferred and even he cannot trace who is doing it.
Duncan: It’s the 90s. Computer theft is a growth industry.
Joe tells Duncan that he knows and that he and Horton designed their system together so that it would be bullet proof.
Richie: You shot Horton at point blank range and you both saw him die.
Duncan: We both saw him hit the river. No body was ever found.
Joe: Maybe I’m a lousy shot, alright?
Duncan: Or maybe he wore a Kevlar vest.
Duncan tells Richie that everything that has been happening now fits. He says that Horton was working with Richie’s friend Pete. Richie angrily says that Pete is dead and he says Duncan will not leave him alone. Richie walks away angrily and Joe leaves also telling Duncan that he will remain in touch.
Later, Duncan is at a high end car dealership. He finds the owner inside a Ferrari dusting the prints from it. The owners of the dealership explains that the car’s owner would rather have someone touch his wife than touch his car. The owner remembers Duncan. This is the same dealership that Duncan visited when looking into the silver Astin Martin in the previous episode. Duncan tells the owner that he is still trying to track that Astin Martin owner (James Horton) down and says that he must have moved. Duncan asks the dealer if he has a forwarding address and leaves his card with him, requesting that the owner contact him in the event he hears from the man. As Duncan leans up from this conversation, he sees to his astonishment a woman who looks exactly like Tessa outside of the store. He follows her down the sidewalk and nearly runs her into traffic as they cross the street by grabbing her arm and asking who she is. Duncan pulls up the sleeve of her coat looking for a tattoo and does not find one.
She drops something on the street. Duncan stoops down to help her pick it up. He asks her what she was doing at the cemetery this morning.
Lisa/Tess: Is that what this is? You were following me?
Duncan: No. What were you doing there?
LIsa/Tess: I was visiting my father’s grave.
She asks Duncan why he was there and he tells her – while remembering Tessa being shot – that he was seeing someone too. Lisa/Tess tells Duncan that he seems like a nice guy and she says that she has to go. Duncan asks her for her name and she tells him “Lisa Million.” Duncan tells her that his name in return. As she tries to get away from him, he asks if they can get lunch sometime and she says no .
After she goes… FLASHBACK!!
Duncan and Tessa are together. Duncan tells her that if she stays with him, her life will not be like anyone else’s life. He also tells her that her life will never be the same. She says she wants to be with Duncan forever. He verifies that she is sure and she says that she is.
Duncan: Then you have to know everything about me.
Duncan retrieves a pistol and makes Tessa promise him that she will not call anyone no matter what happens. She promises. He reiterates and she says again that she will. Duncan then shoots himself in the heart. Tessa screams. Duncan is now lying dead on the floor with a bullet hole in his chest. Tessa scrambles to an end table to grab a telephone. Just as she says “emergency, hurry please” Duncan leans up and hangs up her phone call.
Duncan: [groaning] You had to see it to believe that it was real.
Tessa: Believe what? I don’t understand?
Duncan: I can’t die, Tessa.
He tells her that he was born Duncan MacLeod of the Clam MacLeod four hundred years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. She asks him what he is and he tells her that he is Immortal. They both watch his bullet wound heal, leaving no scar, right before their eyes. She touches his newly healed skin in amazement.
Duncan: I’m human just like you but I don’t age. I fought in the American Civil War, I survived the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution when they still burned witches at the stake, Does it scare you?
Tessa: No. I was just thinking how lonely you must be.
She points out that Duncan has seen his parents, his friends and his children die. He then tells her that Immortals cannot have children. He asks her if she still loves him and she asks him how could she stop.
In the present, Duncan notices that he has something of what Tessa dropped in his hands. It says “Fabric Designs.” We cut away to Lisa standing in a store window with “Fabric Designs” on the window. She finds a boquet of roses.
Lisa: [in her normal non-Tessa voice] You’re such a romantic, MacLeod.
Sometime later, Duncan receives a knock on her barge door and Lisa enters telling him that she received the flowers. She tells him that he did not have to send them and he says he knows. He then tells her that she did not have to come and she replies that she knows. Lisa asks if Duncan’s lunch invitation is still good for dinner. Duncan tells her that it is. Duncan changes quickly while Lisa watches him do so – in a predatory type manner.
Outside the barge, before they go, Richie arrives. He tells Duncan with a tone of apology in his voice that he has been doing a lot of thinking about the Pete situation. Before Richie can finish his thoughts, he sees Lisa/Tessa. He falls into a stunned silence. Duncan introduces Richie to Lisa Million.
Duncan: [to Lisa] I’m sorry, um, you really do look like someone we know.
Lisa: I guess you weren’t kidding.
Duncan gives Richie an almost apologetic look and tells him they will talk later. He and Lisa drive away. Richie watches them go with a look of confusion.
At dinner, Lisa is sharing her life story with Duncan. She tells him that she attended art school, and then that after she did two years at the Soorbonne. She tells him that she went to Florence, after, for post-graduate work. She tells Duncan that she met a guy, got married, got divorced, and that is the story of her life. She asks him if he wants to know her mother’s maiden name, Duncan asks what it is before laughing and says that he is just joking. Duncan stares contentedly at his drink, and thinks about a happy moment with Tessa.
Lisa asks him what he is thinking and Duncan tells her nothing. She asks him if he really looks so much like this other woman and Duncan tells her that she really does.
Lisa: They say everyone has a double out there somewhere. I’d love to meet mine.
Duncan tells her that is not possible. Lisa asks him if she is the one he was seeing in the graveyard. She then states that she must bring back memories and says that she is sorry. Duncan tells her not to be. Then he says he is glad that they met.
Sometime later, Lisa is surprised that Duncan works in antiques. She says that given his looks she would have thought rock star or a drug dealer. Duncan tells her that he is wearing a disguise and that he actually is middle aged with bad hair and bad breath. Then he asks her what she does and she says that it is not important. Duncan tells her that it is and she admits to designing wallpaper.
Duncan: Listen, Toulouse Lautrec turn out posters for the Moulin Rouge. And Paul Gauguin was a bank clerk. You’re in good company.
Lisa asks Duncan if he does this for everyone. He asks what she means.
Lisa: Make people feel good about themselves.
Duncan smiles and says “no, not everyone”
The following morning, Richie walks onto Duncan’s barge and finds Duncan whistling. Richie notes that Duncan seems happy and MacLeod asks him why he shouldn’t be. Richie reminds him that Horton’s out there. Duncan says that Richie’s visit is not about Horton.
Richie: It’s about coincidence. It’s about being at the right place at the right time. Mac, I think you might have been right about Pete.
Duncan: She’s not Pete.
Richie: Why Because you don’t want her to be?
Duncan tells Richie that he has seen doubles before. Richie points out that Duncan has maybe done so once or twice in four hundred years. Duncan says that he has to play this out. Richie tells Duncan that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. He also says that he wishes Tessa was back, too, but says that she is not. Duncan tells Richie that he knows that. Richie asks if he really does. Duncan does not answer.
Later, Richie is walking and talking with Joe Dawson.
Joe: You know, even the d*** pigeons look better here than in Chicago.
Joe asks Richie what this is about. Richie says that he has a problem. Joe notes sarcastically that Richie is coming to him because they are such old friends. Richie admits that The Watchers give him the creeps. Joe says that the problem must be about MacLeod or else Richie would just take his problem to MacLeod. Richie then tells Joe that Duncan is seeing a woman who is a dead ringer for Tessa. Joe says that Richie wants him to check this woman out even though Joe gives Richie the creeps. Richie says that he does.
Joe: Anything for an old friend.
A moment later, a car pulls up. Richie jumps between Dawson and the car as a gunman begins firing. Richie takes several bullet wounds.
Joe: [to a dying Richie] It’s Horton, I saw him. I can’t believe it!
Joe tells Richie that he is dying. Richie tells Joe to stick around as he will be right back. Richie then dies on the pavement.
Sometime later, we see Duncan and Lisa walking and talking. She tells Duncan that she has been working in Belgium for the last two years and that she has only been back in Paris for a few months. Horton watches them from a distance. Duncan asks her if she is planning on staying. Lisa replies that her staying depends upon what happens. They come upon a large statue. Lisa marvels at it and says that the statue looks as though it is ready to dance. Duncan talks about Roudin and how he could make statues of any size seem ready to dance. He begins to say that she knows this when Lisa reminds Duncan that she draws. She infers that Tessa studied sculpture. Duncan tells her that she did.
Later, still walking and talking, it is now nighttime. Lisa tells Duncan that her Aunt Marie is very angry with him. Duncan laughs and asks who. Lisa tells him again, her Aunt Marie, and says that her aunt used to dance with Josephine Baker in the Latin Quarter.
Duncan: I thought Josephine Baker danced in the Folies Bergere.
Lisa replies that her aunt is old and that she is allowed to forget a few things. Duncan agrees and suggests that they go to see her. Lisa comes close to Duncan and tells him that she does not want to share him with anyone tonight. They kiss.
A couple minutes of, uh, racy relations later, Duncan and Lisa lie contentedly on a bed. Duncan notices a surgery scar on Lisa’s face behind her ear. She rolls over and smiles at him before he can look at it for long. Duncan decides to just go to sleep.
In the morning, he wakes up and finds Lisa getting dressed. She is also looking at pictures of the real Tessa.
Lisa: My G-d, you said she looked like me. But I never imagined this.
Duncan tries to stop her but she says she wants to see. Angrily she tells Duncan that she thought he was making love to her but now she sees that it was her. She yells at Duncan not to touch her. She runs out of the barge and says that Duncan got her back, didn’t he. Duncan hurriedly puts on pants and chases her outside. Outside, a car pulls up. Two men jump out of the car and throw her inside. She yells for Duncan. Inside the car, Horton tells Lisa “well done.”
Richie and Duncan are walking and talking. Richie expresses surprise that Joe is so excited about having seen him come back to life. Joe says that recording that it happens is different than seeing it up close. He then asks Richie how it feels coming back.
Richie: I suppose it beats the alternative but I’m not looking to make a career out of it.
Joe: You saved my life.
Richie: I was there. It was happening. Let’s call it reflexes. [pause] No, no, no, this does not mean we’re gonna start picking out curtains together.
Joe: I owe you one.
Richie: You might regret that.
They arrive at Duncan’s barge and find him talking to someone on the phone. Duncan is telling someone that he only got a partial license and to see what they can do. Once Duncan gets off the phone, Richie tells him that Horton took a shot at Dawson. Joe asks Duncan what is wrong. Duncan replies that Lisa has been kidnapped and that it happened right in front of him.
Duncan’s phone rings. He answers and Horton asks him how he is. Duncan angrily replies that he (Horton) is a dead man. Horton tells Duncan that he has the girl. He puts her on. Lisa tells Duncan that she is scared. Duncan asks if Horton hurt her and she says no.
Lisa: He’s crazy Duncan, please help me.
Horton takes the phone from her. Duncan yells at Horton and tells the evil Watcher to come after him, instead. Horton tells him “all in good time.” He then tells Duncan that he has already buried Tessa once and that he doubts he wants to do so again. He then hangs up.
Horton tells Lisa that she did a good job and that Duncan is angry. She replies that she pushed all the right buttons. Horton tells her that it’s time to push the next button.
In the next scene, Horton has his silver Astin Martin at the dealership. The dealership owner tells him that the car is not due for servicing, yet, but he says that he will have it checked out. Horton gives him a business card and tells the owner if that if there is a problem, to reach him here at his new address.
A few moments later – with Duncan, Richie, and Joe all still in the barge – Duncan’s phone rings again. The dealer tells Duncan that he has the address he wanted. Duncan thanks him and hangs up.
Richie points out the circumstances of their situation and tells Duncan that Horton is using Lisa.
Duncan: Eeven if he is, do you think that’s going to stop him from killing her? I know he may own her. But whoever she is, her face is Tessa’s. This is Horton’s game and Horton’s rules. All I can do is play it out alone.
Duncan leaves the room. Richie whispers to Joe, “I don’t think so.”
Duncan sneaks into Horton’s hideout, quickly subdues a pair of Horton’s henchmen, and finds Lisa tied up on a bed. He unties her and asks where Horton is. She says he left a couple of hours ago. Duncan tells her that he is taking her to the barge and she yells that she does not want to go to the barge.
We see a few moments later that she wanted to go to the cemetery. Duncan asks her after arriving why they are there. He then tells her that her father’s grave is in a direction different than the one she is going. She replies that she is not here to see her father, she says that she is here to see Tessa. When they get to Tessa’s grave, Lisa says that she wants Duncan to see that Tessa is there, dead, and that she is here, alive. Duncan tells her it is clear.
Duncan: But I have one question – what was your face like before?
Duncan: Before the surgery.
Lisa pretends not to know what he is talking about. Duncan asks her who Claudine Badieux is and she asks him who. Duncan asks her if she has forgotten her mother’s maiden name already. Lisa asks him why he is doing this. He asks her, in reply, why she is doing this and he also tells her that the lying is over. Lisa tells Duncan that she has a six year old son named Mark. She says that Horton has him and that he told her it was her son or Duncan. As she reaches for a picture of her son, in her pocket, Duncan asks her when Horton comes in. Lisa pulls out a gun instead of a picture and tells Duncan that Horton comes in as soon as Duncan tells him.
Lisa asks Duncan when she knew and he tells her that part of him knew when he first saw her. He tells her that he did not want to believe it. He also tells Lisa that she is good. He tells her that he wanted her to be Tessa at first but then he wanted her to be herself. She says that this is how it goes for all the men she fools and she relays a story of being married to a psychiatrist. She says that he kept trying to get into her head, to understand her, and she says he continued that right until she killed him. She says she can be anyone she wants to be and that she is one of a kind.
Lisa: That’s why Horton broke me out of prison.
Duncan: You’re a sociopath.
Duncan asks why she brought him here and she tells him that it was Horton’s idea. She asks Duncan what it feels like when he is about to die and she asks if he is scared. She asks if it is hard.
Duncan: Not as hard as it is to shoot someone with an empty gun.
She pulls the trigger and the gun just clicks. Duncan opens his hand and reveals that he has all of her bullets. Duncan tells her that it is over. He tells her that the cops want her in jail and that Horton will want her dead. Lisa replies to Duncan that she and Horton have a deal. Duncan points out that their deal will only last for as long as Horton can use her and that he cannot use her anymore. She seems to realize that Duncan is right.
Horton is sitting inside of his car. He hears a gun shot and gets out. He walks to Tessa’s grave where he finds Lisa standing next to Duncan who is lying on the ground. Horton says that he has waited a long time for this and that it is a shame that he has to hurry now. Lisa says that Duncan is dead and she asks Horton what he is doing.
Horton: I’m taking a trophy.
He swings a large knife toward Duncan’s neck but is stopped by Duncan’s foot meeting his chest. Lisa tells Horton that Duncan made her and that Duncan said Horton could not use her anymore. Horton grabs her and says that Duncan was wrong. He stabs her. She lies down on Tessa’s grave and des. Horton takes advantage of this distraction and now has a gun drawn. He tells Duncan that it is his turn.
Some distance away, Joe Dawson fires his gun at Horton. Duncan takes cover while Joe and Horton shoot at each other. Horton runs out of ammo and is cornered by both Joe and Duncan. Duncan tells Joe that Horton is his. Horton runs away and Duncan chases him, taunting him.
Duncan: I thought you said you were the man I couldn’t kill.
Horton pulls out a switchblade. Duncan points at his own chest and tells Horton that he has one chance. The Evil Watcher lunges at Duncan but MacLeod turns the man’s own knife against him and drive it into his heart. Horton falls to the ground… finally dead.
Duncan returns to Tessa’s grave where Lisa lies dead. Joe tells Duncan that he will take care of her. Richie looks at her body and tells MacLeod that he is sorry. Duncan replies that she is not Tessa and never was.
Sometime later, we see Duncan giving his barge to someone else. He and Richie watch as the barge moves down the river away from its docking spot near Notre Dame. Richie asks Duncan why he is giving the barge up. He replies that he has mourned Tessa for too long and that it is time to move on. Richie asks Duncan where he will go and he says he does not know… somewhere. He asks Richie if he is coming. The two men walk together.
♫Ding, dong, James Horton’s dead. He did depart. Knife to the heart.♫
Well, I guess he’s dead. We didn’t actually see that confirmed. I was kind of expecting Duncan to kill him in the usual way with the sword and the headlessness that follows. But I think he’s finally beaten the Big Bad of this season for good. And with that victory, thus ends Season 2 of Highlander: the Series. I’ll do a Season 2 Review post at some point later. I’ll focus on this episode here.
Part 1 of Counterfeit asks the viewer to accept a ridiculous premise. James Horton finds a one in a million sociopath, with the ability to both have her face and body transformed to look exactly like Tessa via plastic surgery… AND the ability to change her own voice to sound like Tessa. I guess the writers kind of hinted at the absurdity of their own premise by giving Lisa the surname Million.
If we can accept the premise, the second part of the two-part episode is not entirely terrible. Duncan continues grieving Tessa while sleeping around. In the episode here, he sleeps with Lisa in a relatively long and racy sex scene – all while he kind of believes that she is a fake. But Adrian Paul does convince me that Duncan is still grieving through all of this.
Richie is much better in Part 2 because the plot no longer requires him to be irrational. It is nice to see him using his brain again. Perhaps after all the coincidences in his own life that he was willing to ignore, seeing Tessa’s doubleganger show up at the cemetery where Tessa is buried is just too much for even him.
On that point, is it a coincidence that Pete was buried in the same cemetery as Tessa or did Duncan/Richie pick the place? If it’s the latter, then the story makes a lot more sense. Duncan probably has about 50 plots per location, here and there, pre-purchased at cemeteries all over the world.
I’m not sure how to feel about Duncan sleeping with Lisa despite some part of him knowing that she is likely a fake. I guess it makes sense on some emotional level that he wanted to believe she is real. Or maybe it makes sense on the level that Duncan likes sleeping with someone who looks and sounds like Tessa. On the other hand, shouldn’t he have found the whole thing pretty revolting, too?
There are a couple of big things that happened in this episode:
- We finally see how Duncan told Tessa about his Immortality. And… oh my goodness. What a psycho. It can be true that someone needs to see a resurrection to believe it is possible. That does not mean one cannot start slowly by showing them a serious cut that heals in a few seconds miraculously (with the tiny little electricity arcs) first. The way Duncan tells Tessa feels… manipulative and cruel. He made it hard for her to choose fairly about her future with him. Every bit of that truth reveal happened while she was in a state of trauma having just witnessed him killing himself. He didn’t tell her until after her choice to stay with him that he cannot have children. He didn’t tell her at any point in this episode about The Game. He doesn’t mention The Game to her until the pilot episode. Is it likely that she would have made a different choice re: Duncan if she’d known about the fights to the death, the lack of children, etc., up front? OF COURSE. And he didn’t tell her.
- Duncan sells his barge!! We didn’t even get a goodbye with Maurice – who is not in this episode but is in the opening credits.
- I guess if we want to add a 3rd point, Richie and Joe kind of start becoming friends in this episode. Richie saves Joe’s life. For whatever it’s worth, it is a relatively weak attempt by Horton to take Joe’s life. Maybe he thought he’d get another crack at it after Duncan dies.
Is Horton’s death satisfying? Not really. It’s kind of absurd that he’s alive at all by now. His plan in these two episodes was crazy and unrealistic. His plan was thwarted… relatively easily. And then he allows himself to be taunted into trying to kill an extremely dangerous Immortal… with a switchblade? Really? Horton is patient, calculating, and methodical. It seems out of character for him to charge at Duncan with a knife.
All in all, as season enders go, this one was not all that great. Hopefully we can retire the Evil Watchers gimmick, or fix it, as we move into Season 3.