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 plot 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 Richie meet Kenny, an Immortal who is permanently ten years old. He tells them that he first died four years earlier in a car crash and hat he has been hiding rom Immortals who have tried to kill him, since. We learn though that this is a lie, and a con, as Kenny is more than 800 years old. Kenny’s method of killing Immortals, in the game, is to be taken in by someone who wants to protect him so that he can kill that person when their guard is down.
Even after finding out the truth, and after being forced to save Anne from Kenny, Duncan remains sympathetic with Kenny. However, Kenny tries and fails to take Duncan’s head anyway. He dropped a heavy crate onto Duncan from inside a warehouse, temporarily pinning him to the ground. Duncan was able to block Kenny’s sword blow with a free hand, causing Kenny to run away. The episode ends with Kenny riding away on a school bus and scowling at Duncan from the window as he gets away.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
The episode begins as we watch a young boy of about 10 following an old homeless man pushing a grocery cart of his belongings. When the old man sits down to eat a sandwich, the boy creeps up behind him and bashes him in the head with a brick. As the old man is lying on the ground, the boy takes the sandwich from him and picks his pockets.
Duncan and Richie are on a boat. Duncan is trying to convince Richie that nothing is better than feeling the wind on your face as you sail on an “old catch.” Richie counters saying that he prefers the low maintenance of fiberglass. As they argue about the virtues of old boats, they get off and feel another Immortal. Duncan and Richie split up and Duncan eventually finds the ten year old we met earlier hiding behind a ladder on the boat docks. Duncan tells the kid that he will not hurt him and convinces him to come down with him. The boy introduces himself as Kenny. They walk and run into Richie.
Richie: Where is he Mac?
Duncan: [nodding toward Kenny] You’re looking at him.
At the dojo, Kenny tells Duncan and Richie his story. He explains that he and his family died in a car crash in Wisconsin four years ago. He woke up beneath a sheet as the police were discussing his death. Duncan asks if he ran and Kenny says yes. Duncan next asks if he ever ran into any of their kind and Kenny says yes and they mostly tried to kill him until he met Frank. He explains that Frank taught him how to fish. We then see a flashback of Kenny and Frank together.
Frank is attempting to explain fly fishing to Kenny. Kenny is having trouble. He tells Frank that if they had not met, someone would have killed him by now. Frank tells him not to worry about that and offers to protect him. As they are fishing, Kenny hooks a fish. He is unable to reel it in so Frank takes the pole from him.
Back in the present, Duncan asks Kenny where Frank is and the boy tells him that Frank is dead. He says that someone cut off Frank’s head. Kenny notices the swords on the wall in the dojo and asks if he can touch them. Duncan tells him yes. Richie then pulls Duncan aside and expresses his shock at how young Kenny is. Duncan tells him that he will not see many other Immortals as young as Kenny, either. When Richie asks why, Duncan tells him that Kenny just explained why.
Duncan: He’s not big enough and he’ll never be strong enough.
Richie: So how’s he going to survive?
Duncan: Any way he can.
Duncan is helping a couple of slaves across the border to freedom. As they cross a bridge, they encounter a small group of Union soldiers. Duncan warns the commander that there is a large troop of Confederate soldiers in the direction that the Union troops are marching. He urges them not to move forward and sayys they will be cut down. The Union commander tells Duncan that he will not take advice from an Abolitionist who is too cowardly to wear a uniform. He marches his soldiers forward and they are predictably slaughtered. Duncan is also killed staying behind trying to help them after he sends the former slaves ahead.
When Duncan revives, he senses another Immortal. The other Immortal is a very young Union drummer boy who is picking the pockets of the dead soldiers on the bridge where Duncan is lying. The boy approaches Duncan who is still lying on the ground and addresses him. He asks what they are to do as the battle has passed them. Duncan asks the boy if he saw the two slaves he sent onward and the boy says no. Duncan then tells him that this is no place for a boy, even one of their own kind. He and the boy leave together.
Back in the present, Duncan is making a place for Kenny to sleep on the couch as he waits for Anne to come over. Kenny tells Duncan that he is nervous to be left alone but Duncan assures him that Richie is on his way over to look out for him. Anne knocks. Duncan then quickly warns Kenny to be careful of what he says around Anne as she does not know about them. Anne enters. Duncan introduces Kenny. He tells her that Kenny is his second cousin. When Duncan suggests that they can leave, and leave Kenny alone, Anne asks if Kenny is too young to leave alone.
Duncan takes the drummer boy to a house with a woman named Catherine. She asks about Duncan’s companions and he tells her that he lost them in the battle. Duncan tells Catherine to watch out for the boy. The boy tells Duncan that he wants to come and says that he believes he will be safer with Duncan. Duncan tells him that he will not be safer given where he is going. He promises the boy that he will be back for him.
In the present, Kenny is questioning Richie about how he handles not getting older. He tells Richie that he is almost a grownup. Richie in turn tells him to look at the bright sides and also tells him that it happened and nothing can change it so he cannot beat himself up over it.
Duncan and Anne are at Joe’s Bar. She tells him that she likes the place and expresses surprise that she has never heard of it before. Duncan tells her that it has only been open for a couple of months. She asks how long his cousin will be staying and Duncan flags a waitress down for more drinks before answering her. When he asks Anne about her question again, he forgets that he has a cousin. He also fumbles through an explanation for why Kenny is not in school and he has no idea how long Kenny will be staying with him. He guesses two or three weeks.
Duncan is extremely awkward as Anne asks him about Kenny’s parents and his own family.
Duncan: Oh, they’d seem really old fashioned to you.
She asks what he father does and Duncan replies that he was career military. When she asks about Duncan’s mother, all he says is that she was married to his father.
Back at Duncan’s apartment, Richie is trying to encourage Kenny and he tells the boy he might live for 1,000 years. Kenny complains that even if he does, he will always be ten years old, always running and always hiding. He tells Richie he will never be able to fight. Richie tells him that even small guys can fight and offers to help teach him. Just as they make this agreement they both sense another Immortal. Kenny suggests that it’s Duncan. Richie tells him that he will go check on it alone. He tells Kenny that if he is not right back that he should leave through the backdoor and not look back.
Richie goes downstairs to the dojo and finds a man down there. The man tells Richie that his name is Dallman Ross and that he is here for the boy. Richie tells him that there is not a chance he will get to the boy. Ross calls Richie a fool and tells him that he does not know what the boy is. He then promises to be back and says he will go through anyone keeping the boy from him. Ross leaves.
Later, Duncan is quizzing the two of them about the Immortal visitor. Richie gives Duncan his name. Duncan asks Kenny if he knows why the man is after him.
Duncan: Kenny, we got lucky last night. Richie and I won’t always be there.
Kenny: He’ll come again. Richie said so. He’ll kill me.
Duncan: Then we’ll have to figure out a way to keep you safe.
Duncan tells Kenny that he knows a priest who runs a church school. Kenny tells Duncan that he does not want to go and that he does not want to live with a priest. Duncan asks him if he knows about Holy Ground and Kenny nods that he does. He asks Duncan if they are leaving today and Duncan tells him that they will go tomorrow. Duncan then tells Kenny that today is his day and that they can do whatever Kenny wants to do. Kenny asks if they can go fishing. Duncan pauses for just a second before agreeing.
At the fishing location, Duncan asks Kenny if this is where Frank took him. Kenny says yes Then Duncan asks Kenny to show him how to fly fish Kenny does happily. Kenny leaves the river bank to retrieve feathers. He tells Duncan that they work every time. At teh tackle box, he tells Duncan that every day you fish adds a year to your life.
We are back in Kenny’s fishing trip with Frank. Frank has taken the pole from Kenny. Kenny leaves him at the river bank to retrieve the net from the tackle box. As Frank gleefully laughs that Kenny has snagged a big fish, Kenny gets a sword from the rocks behind Frank. Frank tells Kenny that every day you fish adds another day to your life.
Kenny: You think so Frank? [beheads him]
Back in the present, Kenny is toying with a sword in the rocks behind Duncan’s back when he hears Anne coming. He quickly hides the sword and runs back down to Duncan. When Duncan asks about the feathers, Kenny tells him that he could not find them. Anne then announces herself and she is holding a picnic basket. Duncan asks if that is lunch. She tells them that it is a backup plan but assures Duncan that she believes he and Kenny can outsmart creatures with brains of a flashlight. Anne greets Kenny and he despondently answers hi back at her. Duncan notices his tone. Anne announces that she cannot ever remember going fishing and she asks Kenny if he can teach her.
Kenny: I said I’d teach Duncan, not you.
Duncan chides Kenny that Anne is a friend but Kenny retorts that she is Duncan’s friend, not his. Kenny then creeps away.
Later back at the dojo, Duncan asks Kenny why he treated Anne that way. Kenny tells Duncan that he just does not like her. In the elevator, Duncan tells Kenny that Richie is upstairs and that he will be staying with Kenny for a while.
Duncan meets with Joe Dawson and asks about Dallman Ross. Joe tells Duncan that Ross was a school teacher from the time of the American Revolution until twenty years ago when his wife as killed. Joe tells Duncan that Ross is not the kind of guy who would come after a kid. Duncan asks Joe if he can look into it so that he can know when Ross and Kenny met before.
At the dojo, Kenny is quickly growing frustrated as Richie teaches him to fight. Richie tries to encourage him but Kenny argues that this is pointless. Kenny then breaks a bottle in frustration. Richie kneels down to clean up the mess. As he is kneeling down, Kenny looks at the swords on the wall of the dojo. As Kenny approaches Richie from behind and raises the sword, he senses Duncan returning. He quickly puts the sword at his side and acts as though he was only looking at it. Richie tells Duncan that he is teaching Kenny. Kenny tells Duncan he is learning a lot. Duncan looks at the sword in Kenny’s hand and suggests that maybe they should use something else.
Later, Anne arrives for a date with Duncan. When she comes in though, she surprises Duncan by saying she is here to see if Kenny wants to do something with her. Kenny tells her that he does not. Then Kenny tells Anne that Duncan sleeps with a lot of women and that she is not the prettiest. Anne takes that in and suggests that Kenny go with her alone somewhere because they got off on to the wrong foot yesterday. Duncan chimes in that he does not think Kenny should be on his own right now and when Anne says that Kenny will be with her, Duncan suggests that the three of them go together. The room gets quiet and Duncan adds that Kenny is his responsibility.
Duncan sneaks up on the newly recaptured slaves. He rescues them from a small number of Confederate soldiers. Just then, there is a lightning storm in the distance. Duncan tells teh slaves that the Union line is a half mile over and to go and stay by the river. He runs back through the thick of a battle to the safehouse he left the boy in, with the older woman Catherine. When he arrives, he drops to his knees in grief at the sight of Catherine dead on the side of the road. Then he sees the boy’s body as well.
In the present, Duncan, Anne, and Kenny arrive at a skate park. Kenny says that he does not have a skate and Anne suggests tersely that maybe he can borrow one.
While they are gone, Joe arrives at Duncan’s apartment. Richie is inside. Richie asks Hoe what’s up and Joe tells him that the boy, Kenny, is big trouble.
Joe: How old did he say he was?
Richie: 10, 14, really.
Joe: Try more like 814.
Joe asks if when they met him, he was hiding, scared, and telling them that someone killed his teacher. Joe tells Richie that this is Kenny’s MO. Richie asks Joe if he is sure. Joe tells Richie that everyone who has ever taken Kenny in has one thing in common – they are dead.
At the park, Anne tells Duncan that Kenny is one troubled kid. Duncan tells her that Kenny has had a tough life and has had to grow up fast. Just then they hear Kenny beating up a kid at the park. Duncan pulls Kenny off of the boy and Kenny tells Duncan that the boy would not lend him his board. Duncan sends Kenny some distance away to stand and wait for him while Anne checks on the injured boy. After tellign the injured boy that he will be fine, Anne suggetss to Duncan that she can recommend a child psychologist for him and she says she really thinks he needs it. Duncan tells her that he will think about it. He approaches Kenny and asks what that is about. Kenny tells Duncan that he does not know and he guesses that he just lost it. Just then, both of them feel another Immortal.
They turn around and see Dallman Ross staring at Kenny. Kenny tells Duncan that he’s come for him. Duncan tells Kenny that they need to go. They walk past Anne and she tells them that she is due back at the hospital. Duncan kisses her on the cheek and tells her that he will let her know later about the psychologist. Duncan walks Kenny to Holy Ground and tells him to stay there until he comes back.
Duncan meets Ross in an alley. Ross asks if Kenny has two protectors now. Duncan tells him that one, or two, the answer is the same. Ross tells Duncan that Kenny is using him, just as he was used by Kenny before. He then says that he cannot let anyone get in the way because he has been chasing Kenny for too long. Ross pulls out a sword and he fights Duncan. Ross is badly overmatched by Duncan. At the point of a sword, Duncan asks Ross why, and Ross finally explains that Kenny killed his wife twenty years ago. Duncan lets Ross live but tells him to leave the boy alone. As he goes, Ross advises Duncan to watch his head. He tells Duncan not to trust the boy.
Duncan returns to where he left Kenny and finds that he is gone. We see that Kenny is on a fire escape of the building where Ross is sitting to collect himself. Kenny gets close to Ross and Ross senses him. He looks around and calls out for MacLeod. When he turns around and sees Kenny, the young seeming Immortal beheads him. Duncan notices the Quickening lightning and runs back to where he left Ross. He finds Ross dead on the ground.
Back at his own apartment, Duncan is filled in on Kenny’s background by Joe and Richie. Duncan defends Kenny and tells them that he is doing what all Immortals do – he is surviving.
Richie: Mac – he’s a lying little b******. He sets up people who are trying to help him.
Duncan: He has to! That’s the only way he can survive!
Duncan then gets in Richie’s face and asks him what he would do in Kenny’s place. When Richie says he does not know, Duncan tells him that he does. He tells Richie that there can be only one. He tells them both that Dallman Ross knew that, too. Joe asks Duncan about Ross’s wife. He tells Duncan that she was mortal. He says that Ross’s wife kept Kenny from killing Ross and that she died for it. Duncan grabs his jacket and leaves.
Anne is in the parking garage outside of work. Kenny is watching her from a distance. The musical score shifts to some The Exorcist(ish) piano while we hear the sound effect of a roar when the camera pans over to Kenny’s eyes. Kenny tries to run Anne over with a car. She manages to dive out of the way just in time. When Kenny tries a second time, Duncan arrives and pulls her out of the way just in time. Duncan tells Anne to go to the dojo and stay with Richie. She yells at him as he is leaving to go after Kenny that she is alright and that he should let the police handle it.
Kenny tells a man, as he runs, that a psycho is after him. The man tries to stop Duncan’s pursuit. Duncan apologizes to the man as he puts him on his back, on the ground, and then he runs after Kenny. Duncan senses Kenny and follows him into a warehouse where Kenny is now hiding. Duncan calls out to him and offers to talk about this with him. He asks why he went after Anne. Duncan tells Kenny that she was no threat to him. Kenny tells Duncan that she was in his way and that he hates it when people get in his way. Duncan tells him that Frank Brody and Dallman Ross were no threat to him. He says both would have protected him. Kenny asks for how long and points out that everyone will eventually be after his head. He tells Duncan that there is no other way.
As Duncan is trying to figure out where Kenny is, the small Immortal drops a freight box onto Duncan from above by unscrewing the mechanism which had been holding it up. Duncan is pinned under it.
Kenny: It all comes down to one thing MacLeod. In the end, there can be only one. And it might as well be me.
Kenny swings his sword at Duncan but MacLeod uses his free hand to grab Kenny’s wriest and stop him. Duncan then frees himself altogether. Kenny runs. Duncan leaves the warehouse and looks around. He sees a school bus go by. Kenny is inside staring at him menacingly from the back of the bus.
Back at the apartment, Duncan is greeted by Anne with a big kiss. She asks him to promise her that next time he will leave the Rambo stuff to the police. She tells him that she does not want to see him stretched out on one of her hospital gurneys sometime. When she asks Duncan where Kenny is, Duncan tells her that he sent him home.
Anne: I mean, I know he’s your family and everything, but didn’t you just once feel like just smacking him one? I can’t believe I just said that. Did I just say that?
Duncan: Yeah, you did.
They snuggle on the couch and kiss.
This is an example of an episode that should have worked but for some reason it just didn’t. The idea of what you would do as an underage Immortal is inherently interesting. But… I just couldn’t get into this one. I think the big issue for me is that by making Kenny so overtly evil (complete with his own creepy music), I lost interest in his well being and the philosophical discussion of how a ten year old might survive in The Game. Maybe if we had a farther back flashback, that showed us that he was not always rotten to the core, it would have made him more of a tragic (and thus interesting) bad guy than just a generic evil kid.
Does it change the audience outlook on the kid if we know he tried the “allow myself to be protected by a good guy” plan for a couple of centuries and that plan kept failing? I think we are led to believe that your only shot in The Game, in the long run, is to collect Quickenings from other Immortals and to thereby become more powerful. This “kill my protectors” plan might be Kenny’s only realistic way of doing that. Duncan’s speech to Joe and Richie at the end would carry more weight if we know that he is pretty much right regarding Kenny’s decisions being necessary for his own survival.
One thing the episode does not really answer is whether Kenny is permanently a ten year old, from a mental development standpoint, or whether he is an old man in a ten year old’s body. My read on Kenny is that he is still a ten year old mentally and emotionally. His temper tantrum about hating it when people get in his way did not give off “old man in child’s body” vibes. That makes his situation even more difficult, I think.
I still don’t like Duncan and Anne together. I’m not very interested in watching Duncan navigate through keeping secrets from her… and then maybe eventually telling her the truth about it all. At that point, she would be occupying the story-telling space of a Dr. Tessa. I don’t think we need another Tessa.