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:
When Anne arrives in Paris, she encounters a woman named Tasha who has a medical event in the customs line and then treats her. She and Duncan subsequently learn that the woman is smuggling heroin into France, via balloons in her intestines, for an immortal named Kristov and the Russian mafia.
Kristov warns Duncan to stay out of his business. When that does not happen, he kidnaps Richie and threatens to kill him if Duncan does not kill Tasha and thereby prevent her from talking to the police. Instead of killing the woman, Duncan comes for Kristov himself. While Duncan is there, getting through Kristov’s guards, Richie manages to free himself and duel Kristov. Richie wins the duel. He leaves the country the next day. Anne tells Duncan that she will try to get used to a life like this and assures him that she wants to try.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫Heeeere we are. Born to be kings. We’re the princes of the universe.♫
Richie is with Duncan at the airport, admonishing him to relax and pointing out that he cannot make Anne’s plane land any sooner. Duncan, tensely and sarcastically, asks Richie to explain Immortality to Anne instead. Richie tells him that she already knows he is still alive so he is halfway there already.
Richie: Whatever happens I just want you to know you’re on your own. I already found a hotel.
Duncan: Well, thanks for the support.
Duncan asks him where and reminds him that he is supposed to be dead in France. Richie assures him that the place is in the middle of nowhere and returns the conversation to Anne and advises him to look on the bright side – namely that since she has already seen him die once, he will not have to kill himself to prove his immortality to her. Duncan, still nervous, gets up to find Anne’s gate at the airport and tells Richie to pay their airport bar bill.
Standing in line at the airport, a woman collapses to the floor. Anne yells for an ambulance and assures the woman that she is a doctor. Duncan notices the paramedics, and that Anne is following them, and calls out to her. Anne follows the patient to a medical facility and talks to the French doctors there, sharing what she knows, namely that she believes the issue is an intestinal blockage. After she finally hands the patient over to the French doctors, telling them the woman’s name is Tasha, Duncan is there, and notes that now she is practicing in France. As she is explaining to him what happened, she suddenly realizes she is talking to someone she had believed to be dead.
After hugging and kissing Duncan, in disbelief, she pulls away and tells him that he better have a good explanation for this. Duncan advises her to leave with him for somewhere else as the explanation might take a while.
Elsewhere, a man we have not met until now, Russian, young, and bald, is complaining to someone that he has lost a woman. The man he is complaining to explains that the woman – Tasha – fell at customs and was taken to a medical facility. The young Russian man and the man he is speaking with, speculate over whether Tasha is dead but conclude that the man who lost Tasha does not know for certain that she is dead. Asa result, the bald man concludes that the other man does not know if she will talk to the police. He then punches the other man in the face, knocking him down, while shouting that he knows nothing. When the other man gets up, the younger seeming bald man tells him to go to the hospital and to make sure she cannot talk.
Anne and Duncan are in a storage room filled with articacts from Duncan’s life. He has already told Anne about his immortality and she is looking at a sword with which he fought at the Battle of Culloden. She says that this helps to explain a lot of their time together and asks him about Kirin – a man she treated who returned to life – and Duncan tells her that Kirin is also immortal. Anne next asks about the man who killed Duncan and he tells her that his name is Kalas and that he is in prison, so he will not be hurting anyone any time soon. She seems to be stuck between being crying and being awe-struck and tells Duncan that all of this is like a fairy tale.
She starts mumbling quickly and nervously about having seen things like this before with patients coming to life on the table and suggests that if she just sampled Duncan’s DNA she might be able to figure out how this is happening, whether spontaneous cell rejuvenation or through some other means. Duncan takes her hand and tells her that she should just try to accept it. She says she is trying. Duncan suggests that they should go but as they are going, Anne asks to make a small detour to check in on Tasha. She says she knows Tasha is not her patient but that she feels responsible.
At the hospital, Anne talks to a doctor there about Tasha and learns that the woman survived. She also learns that the obstruction was a balloon filled with heroin. Anne asks if she can go talk to the woman and the doctor tells her Tasha is in room 412. Duncan waits outside while she does. Tasha tells her to leave her alone. Anne asks why she would do something so incredibly stupid anyway, only to be told again to go away. Anne asks if she knows what would happen if a balloon like that broke or tore, and as Tasha tells her that she does not scare her, Anne tells her someone needs to scare her as that is a bad way to die.
Anne: Whatever they’re paying you Tasha, it’s not worth it.
Tasha: You think I do this for money?
The aforementioned bald Russian guy is staring at a picture of Tasha just before he spits on it. The henchman he sent to make sure Tasha does not talk is in the hospital now looking for her room. Anne is still in there. He walks past Duncan, and though he is wearing a white coat, Duncan notices that his shoes do not fit the look of a doctor. The man walks right into the room, draws a gun, and shoots at Tasha. Duncan – who had followed him – pushes his arm away just in time to cause the bullet to misfire. The two men wrestle over the gun, it misfires again, and then finally the man headbutts Duncan and makes a run for it. MacLeod chases the man down the hospital’s checkerboard floored hallways and into a stairwell corridor where he finally overtakes him. Duncan throws him down a flight of stairs, at which point security catches up, and Duncan tells them that the man slipped.
A few moments later, Anne finds Duncan and asks how he knew about the nurse and he tells her that it is not often you see a nurse wearing three hundred dollar boots. Duncan is still recovering from having been shot in the shoulder by one of those misfired shots. Anne insists that he let her take a look and she suggests that he body is probably in shock. Over his protest, she rips open his shirt and sees that the wound is almost healed. She seems more shocked now than just after she learned about immortality.
Anne: I think I ruined your shirt.
Duncan: It’s alright, I already had a hole in it. Okay, we better get home. I think we have had enough surprises for the day.
Later, in bed, Anne is feeding Duncan and asking him about the historical events he attended. His answers are short so she suggests that they play a game wherein she gives a name and Duncan tells her the first thing that pops into his head. When she says Marie Antoinette, Duncan replies “very sexy” and as Anne looks like she now no longer wants to play the game, Duncan insists that she was. She asks him about Lincoln and Duncan describes him as human. When she asks about Washington, Duncan tells her that he was in China at the time. Duncan starts kissing her on the neck when she starts commenting on the fact that she is with an older man who actually made it to America on the Mayflower.
Duncan: Impossible, I’d never make it as a Puritan.
Abruptly Duncan senses an immortal and stops what he is doing. Just as Anne asks him what, Richie says Duncan’s name and tells him that he is sorry and that it is important. Richie enters and tells Duncan that despite being in the middle of nowhere, a couple of guys recognized him. Duncan asks if he talked his way out of his and Richie says he is not sure. Duncan again tells him that he needs to get out of the country and offers to help him get in touch with someone who can get him a new passport. Richie explains to Anne that he is also Immortal and that he died. Duncan adds to that explanation that Richie died in front of thousands of people at a racetrack. Richie tells her that he made the record book as the most promising rookie who ever died. Richie insists to Duncan that he does not need to stay on the barge and then leaves, saying he will meet up with them later.
Duncan gets a phone call and it is for Anne, from the police.
After meeting with police, Anne tells Duncan that she did not come to Paris to get involved with the Russian mafia. Duncan suggests then that the should go. As they are going, Anne stops and points out that if she does convince Tasha to testify that she might get the mobster put away and keep some heroin off of the streets. Duncan tells her that it is her call. Anne returns to talk to Tasha and the police and Duncan says he will wait outside.
Tasha tells Anne that if she talks they will kill her. Anne tells her that outside of prison, the police will try to protect her. Anne adds that if she does not talk, she will go to prison, and will not likely last long there. Tasha tells Anne that when you love someone, it is not so easy to leave, and that she wants it to be like before she knew what he did. Anne smiles and tells her that they both know it does not work that way. Tasha admits to being frightened and Anne tells her that it is okay to feel that way.
Outside, Duncan senses an immortal and sees the young Russian man with the shaved head.
Russia – 1750
Russia and a Russian Cossack share a horse and return to the Cossack’s camp. As they approach, Duncan senses an immortal there. The Cossack riding with him dismounts and goes to meet the immortal, calling him Kristov. When the Russian immortal asks him why he is only now returning, and notes that the Cossack’s horse returned an hour ago, the man who had been riding with Duncan admits that Duncan unhorsed him. He then tells the story of their meeting, as we see a flashback within the flashback, of meeting Duncan and thinking a fight with him might be good for sport or that Duncan – who he thought rides a horse like a prince- might even run away from a confrontation. Instead of running, Duncan rode right at him, unhorsed him, and then rode back to him with a sword drawn. The Cossack threw back his head, laughed and told Duncan that no one unhorses a a Cossack. When Duncan told him that he did, the man invites Duncan to their camp.
Kristov having heard the story introduces himself and tells Duncan that this is his camp. Duncan gives his name in return and tells Kristov that he is traveling east. Kristov invites him to stay with them and to enjoy Cossack hospitality.
Kristov: Anyone who can throw a Cossack off his horse deserves a celebration.
Over the feast, Kristov extols Duncan on the virtues of the Cossack lifestyle and fighting abilities. He then tells Duncan that another beast is now coming for Mother Russia and that they could use another warrior. Duncan tells him that he has had his fill of war but Kristov presses him, adding that Duncan has shared their fire and food and that he should share their fight. Their talk is interrupted by a Cossacks camp dance. Kristov watches from a distance, stoically, as Duncan learns and participates in the Cossack dancing.
Back in the present, Duncan and Kristov stare at each other outside the hospital. Duncan says that he sees he is part of this Russian cartel. Kristov tells him that he would rather be an artist but says Duncan knows how fickle the public is. He tells Duncan that he is not here for him. Anne finds Duncan outside and calls to him.
Kristov: What an enchanting woman. She belongs to you?
Duncan: You keep her out of this.
Kristov: Fine. You stay away from mine, and I’ll stay away from yours.
He leaves and Duncan walks away quickly with Anne. A few moments later, she asks if Tasha will be safe if she testifies and Duncan suggests that she might walk if they nail her boss. Anne asks again about whether she should testify and Duncan tells her that this is a mistake. Anne is confused and reminds Duncan that he just said they might let Tasha walk.
Duncan: Not her, you, coming here, being with me, it’s wrong.
Anne tells him that she does not understand and Duncan tells her that Kristov knows who she is and he says that he will kill her if she gets in his way. He then tells Anne that Kristov is an immortal.
Duncan is riding with the Cossacks and asks Kriistov who the invaders are. The other immortal asks him what the difference is, arguing that an enemy is an enemy. The two immortals ride to a farm. Kristov explains that the outsiders are not permitted to farm here and that the Czar pays the Cossacks to drive them away. Duncan is outraged and says that this is not a battle, it is a slaughter. One of the other men tells Duncan that they are going to do this for holy Mother Russia. Duncan tells them both that he will not help them commit murder. The Cossacks respond by telling him “so be it” and then leaving him behind as they ride to attack the farmers, which appear to be unprepared, unarmed, and mostly made up of women.
Finally, Duncan has seen enough, and he rides in to help those being slaughtered. One of the Cossacks shouts at him that he is betraying them. As they fight, Kristov also shouts at Duncan but his attention on Duncan causes him to be stabbed with a pitchfork through the chest. Duncan helps to evacuate the farm as it begins to burn down.
In the present, Richie gets a new passport ID from Duncan, who tells him that it should get him through and to keep in touch. Richie replies that he knows it doe snot mean much, but he offers Duncan any help he is able to give, if Duncan ever needs it. Duncan tells him that he can provide some help and instructs him to take Anne to the airport with him in the morning when he goes. Anne stands up, objects, and says that they are still discussing this. Duncan tells her that they are not discussing it and that she is leaving. She tells him that if the roles were reversed that he would not leave. She also tells him that she deals with life and death every day. Duncan tells her that she deals with saving lives whereas Kristov deals in taking them. He adds that she has to leave and walks to another room, leaving Anne alone with Richie.
Later, Anne finds Duncan outside on the barge and asks him to wear a coat, even if he cannot actually die of a cold. He puts it on and she tells him that Richie just told her about Tessa, and how she died. She explains that she does understands Duncan’s motivation for protecting her and that it’s partly based on that experience. Duncan admits that it is partly based on that but says that it is also that the dynamic of their relationship is wrong.
She tells Duncan that she has seen death and that she is not afraid of it. Duncan replies that her whole life will never be the same, which causes her to laugh and say that it has not been the same since the day she met him. She tells him that she has tried life with him, and without him, and that she prefers life with him.
Duncan: You stay close to me. You keep me between you and Kristov.
Anne: It’s a deal.
Sometime later at the hospital, Duncan and Anne are explaining to Tasha the police have agreed that if she explains all that she knows to them about Kristov that she will be free to start a new life somewhere else and that she will have help in doing so. Tasha is unsure and hopes that if she remains silent that maybe Kristov will leave her alone. Duncan reminds her that he has already tried killing her once and he advises her to stop protecting him and to start protecting herself.
Tasha: Whether I’m free or in prison, I’m still dead.
Duncan: I’ll take care of Kristov, just tell me where he is.
Richie hails a taxi to go to the airport. As one stops, and as Richie is loading his luggage into the trunk, the driver steps out of the car, hits Richie hard over the head, and then tosses him into the trunk. Then he quickly drives away.
As Duncan and Anne argue over whether there is another way to protect Tasha from Krstov, other than Duncan fighting him, Duncan gets a phone call. Kristov tells Duncan that he thought htey had a deal. Duncan tells him there was no deal, at which point the Russian immortal offers him another deal. He tells Duncan to kill Tasha himself or else he will kill Duncan’s young friend. He tells Duncan that it was an unexpected bonus to find out that his young friend was one of them. Duncan tells him to leave Richie out of this, and Tasha out of this, but Kristov cuts him off to say that this is not personal, it is business.
When Duncan gets off of the phone, he tells Anne to go to the police and to stay with Tasha, as it is safer there. She tells him that they need to stop Tasha from testifying, to save Richie’s life, and Duncan tells her that there is another way to save Richie’s life – and he says he can do it if he gets there fast enough. She asks what happens if he does not and Duncan tells her that in that case he does not.
Kristov paints a mural next to Richie as the young immortal sits next to him, tied up. He tells Richie that he should feel privileged to be in the presence of genius.
Outside, Duncan sneaks up on one of the guards of Kristov’s hideout and chokes him out. Kristov and Richie both feel Duncan coming. As the Russian gets a sword, and holds the blade to Richie’s neck, Richie reminds him that after the quickening knocks him down, Duncan will be right there to pick him back up.
Richie: If I die you’ll be right behind me.
Kristov angrily agrees with Richie and decides to leave him alive. He yells for a man named Fidor and then leaves with him after he comes. As the Russian mob shoots ad Duncan inside the warehouse, Richie quickly tries to free himself from the ropes tying him to the chair.
A short time later, both armed, Richie runs into Kristov. The older immortal tells Richie to leave now, calling him boy, while he still has his head. Richie tells him in turn that one thing he hates more than being called boy is Kristov’s stupid paintings. As Duncan sneaks around taking out Kristov’s men, one by one, Richie and Kristove begin dueling with Kristov having the upper hand.
Duncan hears a Quickening outside. He looks both relieved and very pleased to see Richie stumble into the warehouse from outside a moment later.
The next day, Duncan and Anne drop Richie off at the airport. Duncan tells him that they have done this bfore and Richie jokes that maybe this time he will make it out of the country. Richie thanks Duncan for not letting Kristov use him. Duncan tells him that Kristov thought he was a kid and was wrong. They hug.
Richie: I’d kiss you but, uh, people might talk.
He leaves and Duncan walks away with Anne. She asks if this is the way that it will always be. He replies that he does not know. He asks if she can live with it and she tells him that she does not know but says she would really like to try. Duncan sees Richie some distance away, holding his bags, and nods.
I really enjoyed the plot swerve of Richie taking out Kristov. On the one hand, he has only been immortal a couple of years. It should be unrealistic that he takes out an immortal who is hundreds of years old. On the other, though, he lucked into a first Quickening of Mako, a man who was hundreds of years older than even Duncan. As result, Richie is unusually powerful for someone so young. He is also lucky in the fact that Duncan – one of the best immortal swordsmen alive – is his teacher.
Assuming then that Kristov usually uses the swords and guns of mortals to protect himself, he may have been unprepared to deal with someone like Richie despite the age and experience advantage. Richie is going to be an even bigger surprise for some unprepared immortal sometime later.
My big complaint of the Richie-Kristov fight is that it happens mostly offscreen. I understand the effort to build suspense as to who won. The effort actually works. However, I’d like to see Richie get a legitimate onscreen win at some point, too.
Duncan encounters Kristov and the Cossacks in 1750. That means he essentially does something pretty close to a beeline from Scotland to Russia right after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 (which we saw the aftermath of in the previous episode when Duncan smuggled Bonnie Prince Charlie out of Scotland.) It’s interesting that Duncan was such a fierce Jacobite – so much so that he left Scotland after the uprising was put down – but we do not hear him talking bout the politics of that bit of history, ever, in the present day. Perhaps there is nothing left to say. It seems to have been hugely important to his personal development, though.
I am not happy to see Anne hanging around for a while. I guess that Kalas needs someone to go after, and use against Duncan, whenever he inevitably escapes from prison. The chemistry with her and Duncan is just… off. However, since she looks like Amanda it would be fun to see her and Amanda in an episode together. I cannot remember if that happens or not.
All in all, this is a good episode. Richie is sent off from France on a high note.