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:
Kalas tracks down a Watcher historian, Dan Salzer, and tortures him to learn the whereabouts of Methos, an ancient Immortal believed by most to be a myth. Kalas wants to kill Methos, get his power, and thus gain an edge against Duncan specifically but against all Immortals generally. Duncan learns of the plan and tracks down Methos first. He discovers that the five thousand year old Immortal has been masquerading as a Watcher, Adam Pierson, whose job for the Watchers is the study of himself. He makes certain the Watchers never find him by hiding among them.
After meeting Duncan and liking him, Methos prevents Duncan from dueling Kalas by having Kalas arrested for the murder of the Watcher historian. Then Methos goes into hiding and takes all of the Methos Chronicle from the Watchers with him when he goes.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫Heeeere we are. Born to be kings. We’re the princes of the universe.♫
The episode opens with a sign for “Nosferatu” in neon lights. Inside, alone on a stage at the piano. Kalas mutters to himself.
Kalas: Ah, MacLeod. What will give me the final edge? The power I need to finally defeat you.
Just then he senses another Immortal and mutters the name “Methos.” He steps out of the establishment, with the Nosferatu sign in view, and looks around. We see someone with a Watchers tattoo on a pay phone telling someone else that he will be following Kalas and that he will give a call back. The well dressed man follows Kalas but loses him around a corner. Moments later Kalas has his arm around the man’s neck and speaks to him menacingly.
Kalas: Looking for me?
Sometime later Kalas has the man tied up and is monologuing about the wonders of electricity as he holds two electrical prods over the man. Kalas asks him why he was following. The Watcher insists to Kalas that he was not following and asks why Kalas will not believe him. The Immortal tells him that his reason is based on long experience. He touches the two electrical probes together and a zapping sound occurs.
Abruplty the Watcher, Roger, tells Kalas that he was going to rob him. Kalas does not believe him, so he shocks him. After the man screams out, Kalas tells him to try again. Kalas asks him again and holds the probe menacingly over Roger’s forehead. Finally Roger breaks down and tells the Immortal that he is his Watcher. When the Immortal does not understand, Roger explains what a Watcher is. Kalas confirms that they watched Fitzcairn, MacLeod, and Methos before Roger nods and adds that they do not interfere. Under threat of additional torture, Kalas insists that Roger tells him everything.
Duncan is driving around and gets a call from Joe Dawson. Joe informs Duncan that one of his Watchers has gone missing and that the man was tracking Kalas in Paris. Duncan tells Joe that he knows Kalas is in Paris and that he already got to Fitzcairn. Duncan asks where Kalas was last spotted and Joe shares that it was at a jazz club in Saint-Germaine called Nosferatu. Duncan thanks him and Joe warns him to be careful.
Richie is attending a motorcycle race. An older racer, Phillippe, stops and is approached by a man in a suit jacket after he stops. The older man asks him why he did not finish his run and Phillippe replies angrily that Basil forced him off off the track. The man in the suit tells him that would not have happened two years ago and suggests that it may be time to retire but the racer rejects the suggestion.
Richie walks onto the track in order to speak with the man in the suit. He tells the man, who is a team owner, that he is a rider and wants to join his team. He adds that he has international papers and recently took third place at Long Beach. The owner tells Richie blandly that this is not Long Beach. Richie responds to that by walking away, stealing a helmet and motorcycle from the pit area, and then racing onto the track to be timed. The owner is impressed.
Phillippe speaks with Basil as this is going on and asks the other rider if he will speak with Saracen, the owner, on his behalf. Basil apologizes for running him off the track but begins revving his engine at Phillippe to indicate that he rejects the suggestion he might speak with the team owner.
When Richie completes his circuit, he parks and Saracen tells him that he could arrest him for that stunt. Richie agrees but says he could also just add him to the team. Phillippe returns at this moment and tells Richie to get off of his bike. The team owner tells Phillippe that it is no longer his bike.
Duncan speaks with a bartender at Nosferatu about Kalas but the man refuses to say he has seen the other Immortal – even as Duncan points out he is hard to miss due to his unusual voice. Duncan alludes to Kalas having had a throat injury. Just then, Duncan hears a female lounge singer and turns to listen.
A woman who looks remarkably like the present day singer is performing the same song. He is attending a black tie event with a well dressed woman who is nervous about meeting someone. Duncan assures her that the man meeting her is likely just as nervous to meet her, as she is to meet him. She laughs at the idea that Antonio Neri, the world’s greatest tenor, would be nervous to meet Maria Campolo, a woman who sings a little. Duncan insists to Maria that she has a great gift and tells her not to underestimate it.
Duncan guides her around and we learn that Maria’s uncle asked him to escort her to this event. She jokes that they are on a date and when Duncan reminds her that it is not, she replies that she is allowed to pretend. As they walk, Duncan greets Pablo Picasso and Maria is surprised that they know each other. All that Duncan will say of him is that he is a good man.
As they approach Neri, Duncan senses an Immortal and soon sees that Neri is Kalas. Kalas sings and Maria approaches him from the audience, suddenly singing with him. Initially Kalas seems surprised but then he appears to welcome her efforts. After the operatic performance is over, Kalas tells Maria that her effort was quite lovely before welcoming Duncan to his home. He tells Duncan that he is glad for him to be here.
Duncan: Are you?
Kalas: My friend, the past is gone. Forgotten. We all change over the years. I know I have.
Maria clears her through and Duncan introduces her to Kalas who praises her voice as one of an angel. She asks if the two of them know each other. Kalas smiles and tells her that Duncan MacLeod knows everybody and then he tells her that Duncan once did him a great favor. He explains that he once lived a cloistered life until Duncan advised him otherwise. Duncan quips that the change does not seem to have hurt him much, looking at the lavish surroundngs, and Kalas replies evenly that he owes his success to Duncan.
Duncan tries to excuse them and argues that it is getting late. Maria objects saying that they only just arrived. Kalas takes Maria’s side and says that they cannot leave without her first dancing with him. Duncan watches intently as the two walk off to dance. Once alone, Kalas begins inquiring about the nature of Maria’s relationship with Duncan.
FLASHBACK WITHIN FLASHBACK!
Kalas’s expulsion from the monastery, courtesy of Duncan, and the threat he levels at Duncan, is replayed.
Back in 1920, the dance ends and Maria reports to Duncan that Kalas is setting up an audition for her with the director of the Paris Opera, adding that Kalas(Neri) is having a dinner party for her on Friday. Duncan tells her that she will not be available. He says she must instead get ready for her surprise. He says she cannot just sing at the Paris Opera and points out she must learn languages, study, and build a repertoire. To that end, Duncan tells her that she is going to New York to study at the Metropolitan Opera, adding that her ship sails on Tuesday.
Duncan: I’ll send your regrets to Mr. Neri.
Maria: You can’t fool me Duncan MacLeod. I know why you are doing this. You’re jealous.
Returning to the present at Nosferatu, Duncan tells the lounge singer that he has not heard her song in a long time. She tells him to stick around because the owner has a real thing about it and they play it every night. Duncan asks who the owner is but the singer stops talking as a large man approaches. Duncan turns to see the man who is telling him now that the bar is closed. MacLeod asks the man who the owner is and the man shouts at him that the bar is closed. They get into a fight – which is very one-sided in Duncan’s favor. The large man finally tells Duncan that the bar is owned by Shakespeare and Company.
Kalas enters an old book store. The owner says that he is sure he has never heard of *him* but does upsell Kalas on his book collection – including a copy of a signed original work by Poe. As the bookstore owner goes on about it, Kalas finally tells him that he is here for the store owner himself. He tells the man that he is Immortal, that he knows he is speaking to a Watcher, and he starts asking questions of him about a particular old Immortal named Methos. When Kalas sees that the store owner recognizes the name Methos, he pulls a large knife and demands that the man either speak or never speak again.
Some time later, Duncan enters the same bookstore. He can tell a struggle has occurred inside and proceeds cautiously. He finds the owner in the back, bleeding out. When he asks the man who did this to him, the owner writes “M E” in his own blood on book pages.
Richie is leaving practice, now in Saracen team gear, as Phillippe shouts at the team in street clothes. Phillippe gets aggressive toward Richie and it easily taken down by a wrist hold. He stares coldly at the team members as they leave.
Duncan calls Joe to tell him about his missing Watcher. Joe says he is already aware that they fished Roger out of the river. Duncan pauses before telling him that Kalas killed another of his people, then, in the American bookstore. Joe tells him the bookstore man’s name is Dan Salzer. Joe is particularly shaken by this revelation.
Joe: He’s not a field guy, he’s a historian. He had no reason to be near Kalas.
Duncan: Before Salzer died he was trying to write something. They were the letters M-E. What can they mean?
Joe says he needs to make calls before telling Duncan that Salzer is working on the Methos Chronicle. Joe wonders aloud, in dread, of what might happen if Kalas finds the Chronicle or Methos himself. Duncan laughs in reply telling him that Methos does not exist.
Duncan: The oldest Immortal… he’s a legend. He’s like, well, like Adam and Eve.
Joe: Oh, no. He exists alright.
Joe tells Duncan that he has never personally seen Methos but adds that the man is elusive. He then suggests to Duncan that he consider how strong Kalas would be if he took the head of an Immortal that old. Duncan replies that this means he will have to find Methos first in that case. Joe directs Duncan toward a guy they have at the university named Adam Pierson who has been their top Methos scholar for about ten years.
Richie is at a bar with his Saracen teammates. One of them tells him to try and look happy as he just made the Saracen team.
Basil: Is it Phillippe? Is that what’s eating you? He can’t cut it anymore. That’s just the way it is. Everybody gets old.
While they are talking, they hear someone out on the track riding at high speeds in the dark of night. They walk out to the track and figure out that the rider is Phillippe. He drives his bike too fast and crashes it – dying in the process. Richie checks the body and confirms to Basil that he is dead as others runto call an ambulance.
At Nosferatu, Kalas asks the large man what he told MacLeod. The other man replies that the only thing he shared was that Kalas visited the bookstore. Kalas orders him to get back to his work before rubbing a scar on his neck.
In 1920, Maria visits Kalas to let him know in person that she appreciates his offer but that she is leaving for New York tomorrow to study at the Met. He replies that her presence is all the thanks he needs. The two sit down to drink together as Kalas flirts with Maria. As she lets her guard down, he abruptly grabs her by the throat and tells her that her love MacLeod took everything from him. It is unclear whether Kalas has killed her when Duncan arrives, sword drawn.
The two Immortals duel as Maria lies on the floor. Mid-duel, as Kalas has the upper-hand with Duncan lying on the ground, MacLeod grabs a piece of broken glass and slashes Kalas across the throat. Kalas runs away as we see Maria alive, getting up off of the floor. Duncan comforts her that everything will be alright.
In the present, Duncan approaches the Watcher University Library. As he gets close, he feels the presence of another Immortal. Duncan calls out to Adam Pierson and eventually finds a man with headphones on listening to music. Adam greets Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and tosses him a beer.
Adam: Mi casa es su casa.
Duncan: [shocked] Methos?
Kalas finds Adam/Methos’ home and looks around inside as Duncan and the ancient Immortal talk outside the university library. Duncan is in awe of the fact Methos has lived for at least five thousand years. Duncan starts to ask him a question but Methos assumes this question is whether he made sense of their lives or found purpose.
Duncan: So you read minds too?
Methos: It’s what I would ask if I’d just met me.
We cut to seeing Kalas look around inside Methos’s home again before returning to Duncan and Methos talking outside again. Duncan admits he did not think Methos really existed. Methos replies that it is good to be a myth. Duncan agrees noting that nobody hunts for a myth or a Watcher. Methos replies asking what better place could there be to hide.
Methos: I’m in charge of finding myself and I make sure it never happens.
Methos tells Duncan he even has a few entries on him in his journal. Duncan is surprised that he keeps a diary and Methos says he has kept one almost since the beginning.
Duncan: That would make a h*** of a read.
We see Kalas going through Methos’s things as he discusses Kalas with Duncan outside. Methos tells Duncan that Kalas killed a good friend. He asks Methos about the last time he faced an Immortal ad Methos replies that it has been about two hundred years. Methos insists though that he is not an easy mark and he tells Duncan that he cannot fight his battles for him as Duncan insists that he stay close to protect him.
The Saracen team goes through a time trial and Richie finishes second . After, Basil warns Richie that he was tight on the last turn.
Outside his home, Methos feels the presence of an Immortal. He looks around before spotting Kalas. Kalas introduces himself to the famous Adam Pierson. He tells Methos that he found a diary inside.
Kalas: It’s a pity I couldn’t read the hieroglyphics but the ancient Greek was most enlightening.
Methos: You should have been there.
They begin to duel across a bridge. Kalas gets the upper hand and as he tells Methos that he has been out of the game for too long, Methos throws both of them over the side of the bridge and into the water below. When Kalas surfaces, Methos is gone.
Later, as Duncan walks alone through a tunnel, he runs into Methos. He asks the ancient Immortal if Kalas found him and Methos says that he did. Duncan asks if Kalas is dead and Methos says no and hten attacks Duncan.
Methos: Because there can be only one.
Duncan disarms him quickly and Methos tells him to do it. Duncan angrily says no and surmises that Methos wanted to lose his head. The other man asks Duncan if he thinks it’s easier to want to die after thousands of years.
Duncan: Then why?
Methos: Because if you don’t kill me, Kalas will.
Duncan: Not unless I get him first.
Methos: And if you don’t? I cannot beat him. I have tried. He will take my head and then he will have the strength to take yours.
Duncan is not happy that the only solution of a five thousand year old man is that Duncan kill him. Methos replies that Kalas might be able to beat either of them but that he cannot beat both of htem together. Duncan asks why, if it is that simple, that Methos not just take his head instead. The other man replies that it is not only a question of who is the best fighter. It is also about passion and hate. He tells Duncan that he does not have the fire. He then tells Duncan that he does have that fire. He places MacLeod’s sword against his own neck and encourages him to live, grow stronger, and to fight another day.
We see a motorcycle race. Richie and Basil Dormin are running one and two when the other race bumps Richie with his motorcycle. Richie crashes. Dormin wins the race as Richie gets up in extreme frustration. After, the owner chides Richie for the way he took the corner before he crash. Richie replies that he made a mistake and the owner tells him that he only gets one. After the owner leaves, Dormin walks up and offers Richie a consolation drink. Richie accuses the other driver of setting him up, and Dormin in turn tells him that this is a grown up game.
Kalas waits for Methos at his home. Duncan arrives. Kalas asks Duncan if he was after Methos all along but MacLeod tells him that he is the one he is after. Kalas tells him that he will get Methos when he gets him and they begin to duel. Their duel goes outside to the same bridge where Kalas fought Methos earlier. Duncan goads Kalas about the fear he is now feeling. Duncan has the upper hand as an emergency vehicle arrives with sirens blaring. The two men puts their swords away and Kalas tells Duncan that they will fight again some other time.
The police arrest Kalas for the murder of Mr. Salzer. Kalas tells the Inspector that they have no proof of that but Methos steps out and tells him he is wrong and identifies him. Shocked, Kalas allows himself to be cuffed and escorted away.
After, Duncan finds Methos and asks him why he did this. Methos replies that he did not know if Duncan could beat him for certain and that it was a chance he could not take.
Methos: Remember, Highlander. Live, grow stronger, fight another day.
Later, Duncan tells Joe on the phone that Adam Pierson is Methos and Joe is stunned. Duncan tells him to think of it as a little joke on him, “Adam, the first man,” and Joe says aloud that it was the best way to steer clear of other Immortals, too. Joe tells Duncan that he will be on the next flight but MacLeod advises him not to bother as Methos is gone and all of his Chronicles went with him. Joe asks about Kalas and Duncan replies that the other Immortal is in jail, at least for now, but that he can wait for him.
The primary plot of this episode is this show at its apex. The hunt for Kalas, the introduction of Methos, the duels, the scenery, the costuming, the flashbacks, all of it was perfection. The Richie subplot… was just there. I kept waiting for all of that motorcycle racing to tie in with Kalas in some way but it never actually happened.
Methos: Peter Wingfield is just perfect casting for this role. It’s hard to convey ancient wisdom with a young face but he pulls it off. This is probably the most compelling Immortal that the show introduces. I really want to just sit and listen to Methos talk about things.
The characterization of this guy is fun, too. The writers accomplish a lot without a lot of screen time. He is young in appearance. He is exceptionally clever (his job, his choice of alias, leaving himself an escape over the bridge in the event Kalas could beat him, making sure Duncan does not die, etc.) I think it’s also clear that Methos is an exceptional manipulator. I seriously doubt he would actually offer up his head – to Duncan or anyone – after five thousand years. But I think he knew Duncan would not actually take it and he wanted to see how Duncan would react. That offer cemented Duncan’s trust in the future even if it changed little of how the present turned out. Methos also learns that Duncan probably can bat Kalas head to head without risking Duncan’s death. We also learn that Methos is introspective – he has a five thousand year old diary. He is someone who readily embraces modernity (he’s listening to rock and roll music when we meet him.)
This all happens in the last 15 minutes of the episode.
Kalas: While I do not think he is the most dangerous opponent that Duncan has faced (Grayson or Hyde probably are) he is the most fun. It’s a modern convention to make bad guys layered in their motivations. Kalas is an old school sneering villain but he is that while also remaining compelling on screen. He is one of the few Immortal villains who continue to survive for several episodes. I know he will eventually be taken down but I’m really enjoying the cat and mouse between him and Duncan.
I mentioned that the duels in this episode are particularly good but I especially enjoyed Duncan’s 1920 duel with Kalas. There’s something fun about watching guys in tuxes sliding all over shiny floors, in a luxurious setting, having a sword fight.
This episode brings up the concept that an Immortal gets stronger by killing another Immortal but again we do not exactly learn how this works. It is implied that fighting skills transfer. Methos tells us that fighting skill must also be coupled with an inner fire for actually fighting or it does not help much.
Anyway, this is a really great episode except for the pointless Richie scenes. I’m ready to see what happens next in the Kalas saga.