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 is having nightmares about a hooded figure who is trying to kill him. Anne suggests that he see someone and Duncan rejects the offer. After days of him being gloomy, she insists that they do something together. Duncan finally relents and takes her to an art show. While there, they run into Immortal Garrick, the artist who sculpted the exhibit of demonic looking statues. After the show, Duncan has a daytime hallucination of the hooded figure, leading him to draw his sword in public and fight against the air. Anne manages to talk the police who were called into believing that Duncan, the antique dealer, was just showing her his sword.
Duncan’s situation grows steadily worse, both with Anne and with his hallucinations. He even accidentally attacks Richie – narrowly avoiding killing him. He seeks out advice from Garrick who Duncan knows had his own bout with insanity. Garrick advises Duncan not to fight the figure. He says fighting it only gives it power over him. Eventually, Garrick shows up at the dojo in the hooded cloak. Duncan throws his sword down saying he will not fight a hallucination. Then he notices that the hooded figure is wering the same ring tht Garrick wears. Garrick reveals that he has been haunting Duncan with psychic projections. He continues to do this as they fight. However, Duncan gets the best of him and wins.
Later, after Duncan does not explain himself, Anne breaks up with him.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫Heeeere we are. Born to be kings. We’re the princes of the universe.♫
[If I were a professional baseball relief pitcher, this would 100% be the song playing when I walk out to the mound.]
The episode begins with Moonlight Sonata playing in the background.
Joe finds Duncan at a keyboard and says he did not know Duncan plays. A troubled MacLeod says that he does not. He tells Joe that the set was good and then excuses himself. Outside, he sees a hooded figure holding a sword, shrouded in fog. Duncan draws a sword. The figure leaves and enters into a door which is emitting light and fog. Duncan follows. Inside is a long empty hallway.
Duncan: Where are you?
The figure appears at the end of the hallway. Duncan introduces himself and asks again who he or she is. The figure leaves through another doorway. Sword drawn, Duncan again follows. Initially the next room is also empty. Duncan commands that the person show himself. The cloaked person reappears. Duncan tells him to get out of his way or to fight him. The hooded man draws a sword. He and Duncan begin to fight. Duncan loses and is disarmed. As the other man swings the sword for a killing blow… Duncan wakes up. He shouts and gets to his feet. Anne – who is with him – yells his name and asks if he is alright.
The next morning, Anne tells Duncan that she is playing hookie and she suggests that they do something together. Duncan kisses her on the cheek and tells her that he is not in the mood. She says that this is exactly why they should do it. When Duncan tells her it was just a nightmare and nothing to worry about, she replies that it has been going on night after night. She adds that his pulse is 200 and that she can barely wake him when they are happening. Finally Duncan suggests that they go see an art show downtown. Anne says she will go home and change. Before going she asks if he would tell her if there was something really wrong. He asks her why he wouldn’t.
After she goes, he has a flashback to the nightmare briefly.
In the dojo downstairs, Anne runs into Richie. He asks why he has not seen Duncan in a couple of days and she replies that he has been having trouble sleeping. Just then, Richie introduces her to the man who is with him – Cory Littman (a/k/a Cory Lightning) – and Richie tells her that he is a musician. Anne asks if Richie is his agent and Richie asks why he couldn’t be. Richie suggests that he will get Cory a show at Joe’s, pack the house, get a couple of A&R guys down to listen, and then Richie suggests his career will have taken off. Richie sees that Anne is down so he pulls her aside and asks if she is really worried about Duncan. She says Duncan could use some cheering up and she suggests that Richie bring Mr. Lightning up with him.
When Richie and Cory get upstairs, Duncan feels Richie coming and ducks out down the back stairs.
At the museum, the statues are so dark and evil-seeming that Anne asks Duncan whose idea this was. Duncan manages to make her laugh by pointing out that critics called it a smash.
Duncan: [nodding] That would look good in your waiting room.
Anne: Half of my patients would die on the spot.
As Anne comments that the artist must have had one h*** of a childhood, Duncan feels the familiar buzzing of another Immortal’s presence. Anne notices and asks if he is suck. Just then, Immortal Garrick walks up next to them and says that “sick” would be one of the better reactions that he’s had.
Duncan smiles and greets Garrick, asking where he’s been. The Immortal artist replies that he has been working, studying, and out of circulation. Duncan introduces Anne to John Garrick. When she says that he must be the sculptor, he sheepishly replies that he is just an old stone carver who sells a little work at inflated prices. Anne’s pager begins beeping and she excuses herself. As she goes, Duncan asks him how he has been. The other man says he has been good and that it’s been a long time.
Duncan, looking much like a musketeer, strolls through a poverty stricken English town. He asks a man about his friend Garrick and learns that he is on trial with “the other witches.”
When Duncan arrives at the trials, a woman named Margaret of Devon is convicted, for consorting with demons and famimilars, for witchcraft. He senses Garrick and finds him standing among a line of accused persons. Duncan approaches him to ask what happened. Garrick replies that Juliana and her son are both gone. Duncan asks how and Garrick replies that there was a house fire. Garrick says that he watched and could not get to them in time. Duncan tells him that he will set this right.
Just then Margaret is condemned to die and Duncan sees her. He says aloud that it’s only a frightened girl and her cat. Garrick is next. Duncan protests to the magistrate that all Garrick needs is sleep. Garrick shouts ‘no!’ at MacLeod and then yells that sleep is when the demons come. The magistrate declares that Garrick is possessed. Duncan climbs onto the podium to address the crowd. He tells them that Garrick saw his wife and son die, and that he is half mad. He says though that this is not witchcraft. The clergy official then shouts that it is witchcraft when Garrick saw it from twenty miles away in a vision.
Garrick starts shouting that what he does is not evil. He tells MacLeod that they both know what real evil is. Then he wrestles away a dagger from a guard.
Garrick: You want real evil? Then watch!
Duncan tries to wrestle the dagger away from Garrick. The other Immortal stabs him with it. As Duncan dies, Garrick shouts that there has been no murder as they cannot die. When Duncan revives, the locals yell that Duncan is also a witch. The clergyman condemns them both to death by fire. On his way to the stake, Duncan breaks himself loose. He frees the girl, Margaret, and places her on the back of his horse. Garrick is freed and mounts another horse. MacLeod shouts for him to ride hard and fast. They leave in separate directions.
Back in the present, Garrick asks MacLeod if he remembers what Michelangelo said sculpture was. Duncan answers.
Duncan: Freeing the shape from the stone?
Garrick: I hammer it into the stone. I capture my fears.
Garrick explains that it keeps him sane and that it even makes him a few bucks. He tells Duncan that he would like him to have one of the statues. It is a horned devil-looking status. Duncan asks if he is sure and Garrick says he would be honored. Garrick leaves to work the crowds and Duncan says that for his sake he hopes the other man has improved. Garrick seems stricken, just for a moment, before smiling and departing.
After, Anne leaves with Duncan and remarks on how level-headed Garrick seems to be. Duncan asks why shouldn’t he be and she replies that when she sees that kind of work she pictures a kid who spent his childhood sticking pins into things. Suddenly Duncan sees the hooded figure from his nightmares in broad daylight. Duncan pushes Anne aside, draws his sword, and tells her to get out of here. We see from Anne’s perspective that Duncan is having a sword fight with nobody. She starts yelling for Duncan to stop as the police arrive. As an officer yells for Duncan to drop the sword, Duncan snaps back inot reality and looks very concerned. Anne shares his look of concern.
Anne tells the police officer that Duncan was not carrying a concealed weapon, he was just showing it to her. She says that Duncan is an antiques dealer. The police officer calls Duncan Bruce Lee and tells him to keep the sword at home. Once they are out of earshot for the police officer, Anne tells Duncan that he is clearly worrying her and she insists that they talk.
Duncan: Anne, I don’t need a doctor.
Anne: Then what the h*** were you doing with a sword.
Duncan: It’s a dangerous world out there.
Anne: You were hallucinating back there.
She explains that it could mean any number of things including epilepsy or a tumor. Duncan says that it might mean a bad pastrami sandwich. Anne is not amused. Duncan tells her that he knows she cares ut he says that he needs a chance to work this out on his own, first.
Duncan goes to Joe and asks him about hallucinations. Joe says that with all that they go through, he is surprised that all Immortals are not nuts. Duncan names several Immortals who are not – Constantine, Darius, Amanda, and he says he could name a dozen others. Joe asks what Duncan is looking for. MacLeod says he is looking for a reason or a pattern so that he can find a way to stop it. Suddenly Duncan has a vision of the hooded figure again and Duncan leans down and begins playing Moonlight Sonata. Joe says that he did not know Duncan played and Duncan replies that he does not.
Duncan goes to visit Garrick. The room is filled with classical music and art on the walls that is ghoulish. Duncan tells him that he has an interesting place causing Garrick to laugh and reply that the ambiance lends itself to the subject matter. Garrick admits to Duncan that he was not sure MacLeod would be happy to see him again given how he was the last time they met. Duncan replies that it’s all in the past. He then tells Garrick that right now he could use his help.
Garrick: How could I help you?
Duncan: By telling me what it was like.
Garrick: You mean to go insane?
Duncan tells Garrick that he talked about his demons once and he asks what htey were like. Garrick replies, defensively, that they were personal.
Duncan: This one wears a hood.
Garrick looks shocked and asks Duncan if he has seen it. Duncan replies that he has several times. Garrick goes to a hidden place in his studio and pulls a cloth off of a tall stand that holds a dark brown hooded cloak. This is the same hooded robe that Duncan has been seeing. Duncan is taken aback.
Joe is with Richie asking about Duncan. Richie suggests to Joe that maybe Duncan is just having a bad week. He adds that Duncan is an Immortal and not like other people.
Richie: Maybe you just don’t understand him.
Joe: Yeah, maybe I don’t.
Richie tells Joe that he is sorry but he has to go. He asks Joe if they are on for the club. Joe replies that it’s done.
Back at Garrick’s studio, he is telling Duncan that the hooded figure is a racial memory, something that all Immortals share. Garrick tells Duncan that he has spent more time trying to learn how the mind works than anyone in history. Duncan asks what it is and Garrick replies that it is somethin from the dark end of the mid. Garrick tells Duncan that it’s death. He says that’s what Duncan is afrai of. Duncan asks why now and why after so long.
Garrick: Because of how we live, what we do. It’s only a matter of time for all of us. After all, a part of s is still mortal.
Duncan asks him how to make it stop and Garrick replies that he has to understand that it’s an illusion and that it comes from his mind. Duncan seems surprised ast the relativel simplicity of the answer. Garrick says that if he could do more, he would.
Duncan is reading books given to him by Garrick when Anne calls. She apologizes to Duncan for coming across earlier like Albert Schweizer. She says she is thinking about him. Duncan replies sarcastically that she just wants to know if he has seen anybody yet. She asks if he did and Duncan tells her that he did. He tells her that he is getting a handle on it so she can stop worrying. She replies that she tried that and says it did not work. When they get off the phone, MacLeod sees the hooded figure enter through the front door of the dojo. He charges at it with a sword. It disarms him. He rolls, recovers his sword, and is about to strike it when he realizes that he is fighting Richie.
Richie screams at him to ask what is wrog with him. Duncan screams back that he does not know. Duncan then notices that Richie is hurt Richie replies that he will live. Later, the two of them talk and Duncan explains what is happening.
Richie: So this thing that’s coming after you is not a real thing, it’s a Freddy Kreuger kind of thing.
Duncan: Well, that’s not exactly how the books put it, but that’s the idea.
Richie asks Duncan if he is sure about this. Duncan replies that he is not sure about anything. Richie suggests that he get some R&R and tells Duncan that so far he only owes him a shirt.
At the hospital, one of Anne’s co-workers tell her that Duncan has no medical history. Anne is stinned. The friend tells her that Duncan either does not believe in Blue Cross or he has an unbelievable immune system. Anne sits down at a computer and verifies this for herself. The fiend asks Anne if Duncan is a patient and she replies that he is a friend.
At lunch with Anne, Duncan is gloomy. She tells him that she wants to skip the small talk and get right to the point. She asks about the doctor Duncan saw. He replies that he was told that his problem is not physical, it is mental. She says she would believe that if Duncan actually went to see doctors, adding that she did a search of Duncan’s medical records and found out that he does not have them.
Duncan: You shouldn’t have done that, Anne.
Anne: Well, you should start explaining a couple of thigs to me. Like how you missed ever seeing a doctor.
Duncan tells her as he stands up that maybe she should mind her own business. She tells him that she thought they were in a relationship. He angrily answers that she went behind his back. She snaps back that she cares which causes Duncan to shout that he wants her to give him some room. Duncan thetn shouts at the other diners in the restaurant.
Duncan: What are you looking at! You never seen an argument before?
Later, a still angry Duncan is doin gsword work alone in the dojo, in the dark. After a while, he sees the figure in the mirror. He shouts at it to go away. WHen he turns to where the hooded figure should be, it is gone.
Duncan returns to Garrick and asks him how one fights shadows. Garrick tells him that you do not. He says that the illusion feeds off of Duncan’s fear. Duncan shouts that it’s so real and Garrick calmly replies that it is only real if he makes it real. Garrick then tells him again not to try fighting it.
Duncan: Where is this going?
Garrick: Imagine a cliff with no bottom. You’re on the edge of that cliff. You make the wrong choice now you’ll fall forever.
Duncan and Garrick spit up. Duncan gets away successfully with the girl. Unbeknownst to Duncan, the mob pulls Garrick from his getaway horse. The clergyman says that they will purge his demons. Garrick screams for MacLeod but Duncan is now too far away to hear. He burns at the stake.
Back in the present, alone, Garrick screams Duncan’s name. We see a quick flash to Duncan in his bed waking up alarmed. Garrick walks over to his brown hood.
Garrick: You left me, but I won’t leave you. Wherever you go, wherever you run, we’ll be there MacLeod.
Sometime later, Duncan is with Anne. She says she is glad he called her. He says that he overreacted and she replies that they both did. She asks if he is getting any sleep and he says that he is getting enough. She says he does not look like it. Duncan quips that at least he still has his sparkling personality. Anne tells Duncan to stop pretending that everything is okay when he knows that it is not. He replies that he is fighting this and that he will get over it. She asks if she can help and he says no. She then offers him some pills. He asks what those are. She says that she figured if he would ot get help, he at least could get some sleep. Duncan asks if that is why she came to see him and she replies that it is her first house call in years.
Duncan: I never was one for pills.
Anne: Or doctors?
Duncan: Anne I’ll get through this. Trust me.
Disappointed, Anne gets up an dtells Duncan that she has to get to work. She leaves the bottle of sleeping pills next to him.
Richie is with Joe. We learn that his friend Cory got his big break but he dumped Richie as his agent in the process. Richie asks Joe how he likes that. He got his friend his big break and the friend dumps him just like that. Joe replies, knowingly.
Joe: And show business was your life.
[Richie glares at him]
Joe: Hey, it’s a joke, son.
Joe changes the subject to ask him what is going on with MacLeod. Richie tells him honestly that he is doing poorly. He shares the story about Duncan attacking him and not knowing who he is. Joe suggests that maybe Duncan is losing it. Richie pushes back and notes that Duncan has been around for four hundred years.
Richie: I mean, he’s like a rock.
Joe: Yeah, four hundred years of all your friends dying and everyone after your head. Maybe he’s been a rock for too long.
Abruptly Richie asks Joe if he believes all that head-shrinking business – Jung, Freud, all that business. Joe asks him if he has been studying. Richie tells Joe that Mac has been talking to some guy named Garrick. Joe reacts to the name and tells Richie that Garrick is the wrong guy for Duncan to be talking to. He tells Richie that the man is insane and that he has been for centuries.
Later, Richie is in Duncan’s apartment watching over him. Duncan looks exhausted and dreadful. Duncan tells him that he does not need a babysitter.
Duncan: What scares you the most – that I’ll hurt myself or somebody else?
Richie tells Duncan that sometimes he needs to listen to somebody else He adds that Duncan cannot do everything alone. Duncan tells Richie to go home. Richie says no. He reminds Richie that he came after him once. He tells Richie that if it happens again he needs to do whatever it takes to survive. Richie tells him that he will not kill him, that he cannot, and Duncan tells him that he better at least try because he will not get a second chance. Angry, Richie tells Duncan that he cannot deal with this anymore. He goes to the elevator and leaves.
Alone, Duncan has visions of the hooded man again. He sits on his leather chair, pulls the pills given to him by Anne, and takes all of them at once.
Downstairs in the dojo, Richie sees a hooded man enter through the front door. He attacks but is beaten and knocked unconscious easily. The hooded man tells Richie that he will come for him later as he leaves him on the floor. He then walks to the elevator.
A heavily drugged Duncan sees the hooded man enter his apartment. Duncan throws down his sword and declares that he will not fight him. He says that he is an illusion, a dream, and a figment of his own imagination. As the hooded man raises his sword, Duncan sees a familiar ring on his finger. He recognizes it as a ring Garrick wears. Duncan rolls away from Garrick’s attack.
Garrick shows is face and smiles. An uncoordinated Duncan tries to get away from him and asks him why. He tells Garrick that he was his friend. Garrick tells Duncan that it is because Duncan left him. He adds that he guesses Duncan has no idea what it feels like to be burned alive. Duncan asks what he is talking about and Garrick tells him forcefully that they burned him. He asks Duncan if he can imagine the smell of his own skin blistering. Duncan tells Garrick that he saw im get onto the horse and adds that he never knew. Garrick replies that he never forgot. Duncan is able to retrieve his tossed sword just as Garrick attacks again.
Garrick seems to force a vision of Duncan being attacked by the hooded figure into Duncan’s mind. Dunam reels. He explains that he always had the gift of vision. He says he spent years learning to control the dreams and to project them. They fight as Garrick projects a vision of Duncan burning alive into his mind.
Garrick: This time it’s real.
[swings at Duncan but his sword is blocked to the floor, leaving Duncan’s sword on top and free to strike back]
Duncan: In your dreams.
[Duncan takes his head]
As Duncan receives a quickening, his electronics explode and lightning enters into his apartment through the outside window.
Later, Duncan carries down the statue Garrick gave him and places it in front of Richie in the dojo’s office. He asks Richie to get rid of that statue for him. Richie replies that he always though all of that psychic stuff was just another scam.
Duncan: There are more things in heaven or hell, Horatio, than are written in your stars. Remember that one?
Duncan then comments that Garrick’s death was such a waste. Richie asks what was to waste. Duncan replies that he had insight and knowledge. He bemoans the fact that someone who spent centuries understanding his own mind cannot now share what he knows.
They both see Anne come through the front door of the dojo. Richie excuses himself. He grabs the statue on his way out and tells Duncan that it is good to have him back.
Anne comes in and says that he looks good – profesisonally speaking. Duncan tells her that whatever was happening with him is now over. She looks at him and says that this is going to be hard. Duncan tells her just to say it. She explains that she has always thought that when she met, the guy, that they would really know each other. She then tells Duncan that she does not know him.
Anne: And the truth is that I really don’t think that you want me to.
She returns to him the key to his apartment. She tells him that she will call him. He replies, sadly, that he will be here.
Immortals are really good at hiding bodies. Is there a service they use or is that one of the skills you pick up along the way from a teacher?
This episode introduces Immortals with super-powers (beyond the standard issue super power that they all have.) To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the addition. If you’re going to up the stakes in this way, then at the very least Garrick should get a multi-episode run. He needs to be this season’s “big bad.” He went quietly and relatively easily. On the plus side, we got Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata a couple of times for no obvious reason. Was Garrick projecting that ability into Duncan?
The show wants to lean into the mental grind of being an Immortal. That’s an interesting topic. Joe is right that it is a wonder all Immortals are not completely insane. That said… we as the audience knew early on that this was almost certainly not an actual mental breakdown from Duncan. So the angle wasn’t interesting for that reason.
I was actually pretty irritated that Duncan did not start to suspect Garrick once he saw the hooded brown cloak in the man’s workshop. Heck, if he’d even mentioned Garrick to Joe, then Duncan probably figures all of this out sooner. It’s not like they had even seen each other in three centuries.
I cannot imagine burning alive at all, let alone while while Immortal. Your body would be tryin to rapidly heal itself while you are burning. That has to be much, much worse. Of course, we know Garrick was already insane prior to this event – but it certainly could not have helped his situation.
Duncan’s relationship with Anne finally ends. Once you’ve had a complete mental breakdown in front of your girlfriend, revealed that you covertly carry a sword around with you, have a sword fight with a hallucination, and then you refuse any and all medical care… the relationship is probably beyond repair. Not that I know myself, personally, but I’m just guessing.
Was it some kind of legal violation for her to look up Duncan’s medical records without his permission? I’m sure it freaked her out to find out that he had no medical history at all… but she also knows he is Scottish. Would she even have access to his history while he lived across the pond? Either way, Duncan’s unhinged response was scary.
I’m pretty sure Duncan misquoted Shakespeare to Richie. I believe the Hamlet quote is:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Duncan is old enough to have known the Bard. Maybe he is just misremembering from an original draft of the play. All in all, this episode was okay. It was fun to see Duncan acting differently. I just wish they had done more with the Garrick character.
2 thoughts on “Highlander (Season 3, Ep 53): Shadows”
Duncan probably was Shakespeare
I remember that there is an episode later in the series where we find out that Lord Byron was an Immortal / friend of Methos. I can imagine some Duncan/Fitz/Amanda/Bill Shakespeare shenanigans, too.
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