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 Anne attend a musical performance by a group of European monks, led by Duncan’s old friend Immortal Brother Paul. Paul discovers that Immortal Kalas is the promoter who arranged the tour, so that he could get Paul off holy ground and settle an old score by taking his head. In flashback to 1658 Europe, Duncan finds a monastery run by Brother Paul where Immortals can retreat, and Kalas is the chief singer as well as a copyist. Another visiting Immortal, Timon, gives Duncan “Macbeth” and offers to teach him to read it. Later, Duncan suspects Kalas of treachery, and he and Paul confront Kalas. In modern day, Kalas concentrates on getting to Duncan by hurting those he loves: he frames Anne for the deaths of two patients and Joe for selling drugs at his bar.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫We’re the princes of the universe.♫
The episode begins with Duncan and Anne attending a concert performed by monks. We see that one of the monks is Immortal when he senses Duncan in the audience. We also see that the Immortal monk and Duncan in the audience are being watched on the security cameras by another man who rubs his throat.
After, Duncan introduces Anne to the Immortal monk, Paul. Duncan asks him why he decided to join the twentieth century, so Paul explains that a record promoter kept writing him, insisting that his order share their voices with the world. He also says that as they have never been a wealthy order, they needed the support.
Paul: So here we are at Vanderbilt Hall.
Duncan and Paul make plans to see each other later on, after Paul sees that his brothers are settled. They continue to be watched on a security camera feed by another man. After Duncan and Anne go, Paul sings alone on the stage. Suddenly he senses another Immortal and calls out to Duncan. The man who has been watching on the security feed approaches. With a raspy voice, he tells Paul that he is disappointed as he says Paul was a quarter tone flat. Paul recognizes the man, calling him Kalas, and asks what has happened to his voice. Paul asks more questions, including where Kalas has been and how he knew that Paul would be here. Kalas tells him that he owns Vanderbilt Hall and that he is the one responsible for Paul’s order being here. Paul flees the stage and grabs a sword. He is no match for Kalas who beheads him as he is praying.
At Duncan’s apartment, Anne speaks with a co-worker on the phone, telling her to get well from an illness. Duncan is growing nervous because he believes Paul should be here by now. While they wait, Anne tells Duncan that she has a hard time picturing Duncan and Paul as friends as she cannot picture Duncan as the celibate type.
Europe – 1658
Duncan arrives at Brother Paul’s order and tells the other Immortal that he was told he would be welcomed here. Paul notes that he is a Highlander and that he has traveled far to find them. Duncan says that he has traveled across Europe saying that half of the world is at war. Paul notes that the other half is after Duncan’s head. Duncan tells Paul that he was to meet a man here named Peter Hale. Paul replies that Hale left weeks ago, and that he told Kalas he was leaving for England.
Inside, as Duncan and Paul discuss the value in a Holy Ground refuge for Immortals, Duncan senses Kalas and then sees him singing. Paul tells Duncan that Kalas is not a warm man but that he has been with him since he founded the refuge. He adds that he was Kalas’s teacher. Duncan marvels at the quality of Kalas’s voice and Paul says that the other Immortal lives to sing and that his voice is his glory.
Duncan is shown his room by an Immortal, Brother Timon. The other man tells him that he is a visitor here as Duncan is. Timon tells Duncan that after he has eaten he can join Paul and the others.
Duncan: I think not!
Timon: You do not sing?
Duncan: Only over a keg of ale.
Duncan says that he does not have the gift but that they sound more like birds than men. Timon tells Duncan that he also sings like a bird – a sick crow. Timon tells Duncan that there are other ways to pass the time, before handing him the script to a play. He asks Duncan if he knows who William Shakespeare is and Duncan replies that of course he does. Timon tells Duncan that this play is Macbeth. As Duncan thanks him and says that he probably does not have the time the read it, it soon becomes clear that Duncan is illiterate. Timon offers to teach him how and Duncan is excited that he does not mind. Timon tells him that one can only pray so many hours of the day.
Back in the present, Duncan calls for Paul from his office in the dojo and is told that Paul is missing. After he gets off the phone, Richie enters and tells Duncan that he has plans to be in Miami tomorrow for a motorcycle race he is invited to participate in. He tells Richie to go and have a great time. Richie senses that something is wrong and finds out that Paul never showed up, that nobody has seen him, and that he even missed morning prayers with his Order. Duncan tells Richie that Paul has not been off of Holy Ground in three hundred years and that he doubts Paul has handled a sword in that time, either.
Duncan: He’s an easy target, I should have stayed with him.
Richie: Mac, what are you gonna do, guard the guy night and day?
Duncan: If I had to.
Richie offers to hang around but Duncan tells him no. He says that if Paul turns up then everything is fine but if not then there is nothing Richie can do to help.
Anne comes into work and finds out that her friend Marcia has just been brought in, dead on arrival. Anne is devastated. On her way to the morgue, Anne runs into a hospital administrator who lets her know that Marcia died of an insulin overdose. Anen says that is impossible and asks how she got insulin when she was being treated for hypoglycemia.
Administrator: You tell me. Look, I suggests that you don’t make any statements to anyone.
Anne: You think I had something to do with this?
As Anne storms away, we see that she was being observed by Kalas during that conversation.
Duncan meets Joe at his bar and the Watcher tells him that he has checked and found no sign of Paul. Duncan asks how things are going at the bar and Joe tells him that ninety percent of things are. Just then a musician walks in and Joe tells Duncan that this guy is the other ten percent. Joe fires him from his job as a bass player in the band, citing the man’s repeated failures to attend rehearsals and being late to shows. The fired musician tells Joe on his way out of the bar that he just signed a record deal and does not need this job anymore, anyway. After he goes, Duncan asks Joe about the package Joe told him that he has for him. Joe brings out an envelope. When Duncan opens it, he finds Paul’s crucifix. Joe asks him what it means and Duncan replies that it means Paul is dead.
Duncan is with Paul who tells him that the monk’s robe suits him. Duncan admits to him that he has found peace in the time he has spent here but that it is not his calling. Duncan sees Kalas copying scripture onto a page and notes that it must take ages to do it. Kalas says that it takes years. When Duncan asks if he stays on Holy Ground all of the time, Kalas replies that everything he wants is between the walls where they reside. Duncan looks more closely at the transcription and marvels at its perfection, saying that he has not seen its like in man or machine and that Kalas is truly a master. Kalas comments that it took a long time to develop his skill and notes that few Immortals are made for his type of life.
As they sit together, Duncan asks Kalas about his friend Peter Hale. Duncan asks him where Peter said he was going. Kalas said that he believes it was Denmark, and then corrects himself when Duncan replies that he thought it was England. Kalas tells Duncan that it has been so long since he has been anywhere that his geography now leaves something to be desired. Duncan leaves him and now seems suspicious of him.
Duncan goes to practice reading with Timon and we see that his ability to read has improved dramatically. Timon asks Duncan if something is on his mind and Duncan replies by asking how he deals with the lack of women in this place. Timon tells him that he reads and meditates, causing MacLeod to reply that he does not think he has the other man’s strength.
Later, Duncan is reading Macbeth as Paul walks by. He tells Paul that he has read the play through and notes that Shakespeare has a tricky way with words but that there is much truth to the play. Paul notes that Timon has taught Duncan well, leading Duncan to replay that if Timon has as many books as he has patience, that he will learn much.
Paul: Haven’t you heard? Brother Timon’s time has finished here. He’s left the monastery.
Duncan: Where is Brother Kalas?
Paul: I don’t know.
Duncan jumps to his feet claiming that he has a book to return.
Outside, Kalas finds Timon as he is leaving the monastery. Duncan arrives in time to see Kalas draw a sword against Timon as he steps off of Holy Ground. He watches from a distance as Kalas defeats Timon and takes his head. Duncan runs back inside and waits for Kalas to return. When he does, Duncan confronts him about killing Timon.
Duncan: What was it like?
Kalas: I don’t know what you mean.
Duncan: The Quickening of a man who called you friend? Who ate with you, prayed with you? What was the look on his face when you betrayed him?
Kalas tells Duncan that he would not understand. Duncan asks him how many there have been and for how long, causing Kalas to reply that he has been doing this since the Order was founded. Duncan tells him that he is finished and we see that Paul has been listening to them. Paul tells Kalas that his presence soils the walls and that he therefore must leave. Kalas tells Paul that he cannot send him away as the Order is his life. Kalas tells Duncan that he does not know what he has done but that he will.
In the present, Joe tells Duncan that he does not know of many like Paul and Duncan replies sadly that there are not any. Joe asks if Duncan thinks it was Kalas but Duncan replies it could have been anyone. A moment later, a detective enters Joe’s bar with a warrant for drugs, saying that he has a guy who swears that Joe is dealing. Joe tells them to search. A police officer finds what appears to be cocaine behind the bar, leading the detective to tell Joe that he has to come with them.
When Duncan meets later with Anne, he tells her that mistakes happen. She fires back that mistakes like this do not happen. He tells her she is not responsible for the entire hospital. Anne argues that Marcia was her patient and that even a pre-med student knows one does not give insulin to a hypoglycemic patient. As they talk, Anne gets a call alerting her to the fact that she lost another patient. When we see her arrive in the hospital, she strides past Kalas as she goes looking for answers. Anne asks a woman what happened, noting that her patient was stable. The other doctor tells her that they think it was an allergic reaction. Anne asks how this could happen and orders an autopsy. As she does this, the hospital administrator finds her and calls her away.
Duncan comes to the hospital in time to find out that Anne is suspended and that her license is under review. As they discuss this, Anne tells Duncan in disbelief that she saw the order, in her own handwriting, authorizing the wrong medical treatment. Duncan suddenly looks alarmed.
Duncan marvels at Kalas’s ability to make perfect copies of scripture. He tells him that he is truly a master.
In the present, Duncan tells Anne that he wants to go with her to see her boss. In front of her boss, Duncan asks Anne’s boss to see the chart she allegedly signed. A baffled Anne’s Boss asks her who this guy is. Duncan tells him that he will be suing him for a lot of money if he does not cooperate – so her boss hands over the charts with Anne’s signatures. Duncan looks at them, looks satisfied, and then tells Anne to sign her name on another piece of paper. He has her sign her name a few times. When she is done, Duncan points out that Anne’s signature is not a perfect match each time, whereas her signatures on the orders are a perfect match for each other. Duncan tells both of them that nobody signs their name in the exact same way each time except for a skilled forger. Anne asks in disbelief if someone forged her name on the forms and he replies that he would stake his life on it. He tells Anne’s boss that a handwriting expert would do the same. He advises her boss to lift her suspension right away, and then he leaves.
In the hallway, Anne asks Duncan why anyone would do this and Duncan tells her that this person is trying to destroy her life like Duncan destroyed his. Anne asks him who wants to destroy her life and he avoids answering, promising to tell her later. She tells him no, that she needs an answer now, but he refuses. When he walks away, she tells him that if he walks away now it will be for the last time. He stops, turns and looks at her, and then he turns and goes.
Joe’s bar is closed due to a court order, but he is inside playing guitar. Duncan arrives and tells him that he knows Kalas is the one who set him up.
Duncan: He’s trying to destroy everyone near me. If it’s any consolation you were on the list.
Duncan points out that Kalas must have used the former bass player, that Joe just fired, to do his bidding. Duncan suggests going visit the man. In the next scene, Duncan has the bass player by his shirt, while Duncan is driving his car, and asking for answers about who put him up to sabotaging Joe. The bass player admits that he was offered a record deal in exchange for planting some dope and calling the cops. He tells Duncan that the record label is called Magna Records. Duncan asks for the name of the man the bass player talked to but he pleads that he does not know.
Bass player: How many more times do I have to tell you?
Duncan: Once more to the cops.
Later, Duncan is trying to track down Kalas, unsuccessfully, using what he has learned. Joe tells him that the charges have been dropped and that the club is open so Joe says he does not need to do this on his account. Duncan tells him that this is not on his account. Just then Richie returns and tells them that he won his motorcycle race. When he sees that nobody is excited for him, Duncan updates him on recent events and suggests that Kalas is waiting for the right time and place to come after him.
The phone rings in the dojo office. Kalas tells Duncan to come to the music, and then lets Duncan hear the monks from Paul’s order singing in the background. Duncan gets up to leave, advises Richie to find Anne and to take her to a public place. He adds to Richie that he should not try to take Kalas on himself. Adding to that point, Joe tells Duncan that Kalas is as good as he is and maybe better. Duncan says that he knows and then leaves.
Duncan goes to Vanderbilt Hall, the place where Kalas killed Paul, and finds his adversary there. They stare each other down on the Hall’s stage before beginning a duel.
At the hospital, Richie learns he just missed Anne, and the receptionist tells him that Anne just received a fax before getting off of her shift. The fax alleges to be from Duncan and tells Anne to meet him at Vanderbilt Hall. Whenshe arrives, Kalas has run Duncan through with a sword and MacLeod is hanging from a balcony by his hands. She sees him and screams his name. He lets go and falls to his death in front of her. Richie arrives just at that moment. He pulls her away, as she screams and cries, beofre Duncan revives.
She is with Richie later at teh dojo and tells him that she just wanted one more look as she will likely not be comingaround again. He tells her he will keep it open for a while but that after that, he doe snot know. She tells Richie she wishes she could talk to Duncan again before hugging him and leaving. Once she is gone, Duncan emerges from upstairs having overheard. Richie asks him how he can let her think that he is dead. He tells Richie that telling her is far worse, that he does not want her dragged into their world, and that he cannot handle another Tessa.
As the episode ends, we see Kalas on stage at Vanderbilt Hall, pretending to sing “Vesti la Giubba.” When he is done, he just says “Soon, MacLeod. Soon.” The episode ends.
to be continued
There is so much to like about this episode but the backstory of this feud just seems so strange. Evil Immortal Monastic scribe gets caught skirting the rules of “The Game,” gets kicked out of his monastery, and then launches a 300+ year campaign for revenge.
As evil goes, though, Kalas might be as bad as we have seen. He’s over-the-top evil. He killed Anne’s innocent patients and framed her for it. He got Joe’s bar shut down and Joe arrested. Duncan overcame both of these things relatively easily so then Kalas arranged for Anne to see Duncan die (it may have actually been his plan for Anne to watch Duncan be beheaded but this wasn’t a bad fallback, I guess.) When will the other shoe drop with Richie? Did Kalas send him to Miami, let him win a race, and then we’ll find out it’s not a real trophy?
Anne was not okay with Duncan’s unwillingness to explain why Duncan has an enemy that is willing to kill her patients and destroy her life. That… makes sense. She’s got to assume that Duncan is some kind of super spy or something, right? I think Kalas might have miscalculated the depth of Duncan’s attachment to Anne, though. Alternatively this whole episode is a gift from Kalas to the fans of this show… Anne is gone and the show is relocating to Paris. Win-win.
How is it that Kalas is better with the sword than Duncan? I don’t think he was getting a lot of practice for centuries in Paul’s Order. He has only been “active” for the same amount of time since then as Duncan. Maybe all of those Ambush Quickenings he obtained powered him up.
The show went out of its way to connect Kalas with the Vanderbilts. That cracked me up. Are the writers implying that he is connected to the Vanderbilt fortune? That he is in the family? Kalas also has music industry connections… and Vanderbilt University is in Nashville, Tennessee (aka “Music City.”) That settles it for me. Kalas is a Vanderbilt… probably Cornelius Vanderbilt.
This will pick back up in Paris.