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:
Amanda breaks Kalas out of prison, intending to kill him when he is unarmed, however the plan goes awry when a fellow-inmate helps Kalas get away from her. After his escape, Amanda has to go confess her mistake to Duncan and Kalas begins planning his revenge against Duncan. Duncan and Amanda work together to find him, but this leads to Amanda being taken hostage.
Meanwhile, the wife of a Watcher who was killed by Kalas tells Joe and Methos that she is going to tell the world about their organization. After trying to persuade her, and failing, Joe is left with no choice except to kill her in order to protect the world from the fallout of this revelation. But when he tries to shoot her, Duncan jumps between the woman and the bullet – not to save her but to save Joe from commuting a murder. The episode ends with the woman entering the newspaper offices to tell her story.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫I am Immortal! I have inside me blood of kings!♫
The show opens in a French prison yard – the one where Kalas is being held – and several inmates are acting suspiciously. Abruptly a brawl breaks out and one of the inmates uses this moment of distraction for the guards as an opportunity to stab Kalas to death. While the inmate is rooting through the Immortal’s pockets, Kalas revives, grabs him by the throat, and then tells him that while he could kill him, he prefers instead to use him.
A guard patrols the prison, inspecting the cells. Kalas opens a door into the walkway, incapacitates the guard, and returns to the inmate who had kills him (temporarily) previously. Kalas and the other man sneak through the dark prison yard, killing another guard as they go, and arrive at a wall. Kalas tells the other man that they are now going to await their benefactor. A few moments later a rope is thrown over the wall, from the outside, and Kalas climbs out first. As he escapes to the other side of the wall, we find Amanda waiting for him. He asks her what now and she tells him that now he dies. Kalas asks her why and points out that they do not know each other and Amanda tells him that she knows what he did to MacLeod. She attacks him with a sword, while he is unarmed. While they are fighting, Kalas’s prison friend finishes scaling the wall behind him and attacks Amanda from behind. A moment later the prison alarms begin to sound. Amanda – who still has her sword – asks Kalas if he could not leave his friend behind. Kalas and the other man run away.
On his barge, Duncan senses another Immortal. Amanda barges in, groceries in hand, and tells him that she is here to make him dinner. She tells him about the contents of her bags, which include wine, caviar, and a smoke goose, but Duncan is suspicious and asks what she is doing here. Amanda off-handed asks Duncan about his lady friend, the doctor, and Duncan tells her that’s none of her business. Amanda adopts a false pouty face, removes her coat revealing a low-cut top, and tells Duncan that’s a shame. Duncan goggles at her.
Outside of the prison, still in prison garb, Kalas and his prisoner friend approach a man outside of his car. Kalas, who points out that he and this man are approximately the same size, asks the man for his wallet, car, and clothes The man tells him he is insane and Kalas says he may be.
On the barge, sometime after dinner, Duncan tells Amanda that she has not lost her touch with great wines and two and a half star dinners. He asks her again why she is here. After he presses her about why she is trying to make him happy, she tells him that it is so he does not kill her when she tells him what happened.
Amanda: I broke Kalas out of jail.
Kalas and the prisoner are driving around Paris. After this has gone on for a while, the prisoner asks him why and what the point is. Finally, Kalas senses an Immortal pedestrian and instructs the other man to use their car to run the man down. As the man is lying on the pavement, he leans up and asks Kalas who he is. Kalas bends over and takes the other Immortal’s sword, telling him that he will not be needing it. He then uses the other man’s sword to take his head. The prisoner then watches in awe, laughing madly, as Kalas receives a Quickening.
On the barge, Amanda begins taping her fork on her wine glass and asks Duncan to at least say something to her, get mad, or throw something. Duncan tells her that there is no point as what is done is already done. She tells Duncan that she knows it sounds crazy but that she was trying to do him a favor and to get Kalas out of his life. He replies that two guards are dead because of it.
Amanda: I’m sorry! That wasn’t supposed to happen.
Duncan: Nothing is ever supposed to happen. You should have left it alone.
She tells him that she knows that now but she did it because she wanted to pay Duncan back for all of the times he came through for her. Duncan begins to shout at her, asking if she was planning to die for him, and then he tells her to stay away from him and that he will not allow her to die for him. When he asks if she understands, she storms out.
Algiers – 1653
Duncan is complaining about the heat to another man who tells him that it is still the cool part of the day. Duncan asks the other man, who is obviously Immortal, what the use of a nearby clock is when they have forever. The man replies that it is the Europeans like Duncan who invented counting time by minutes. He replies to Duncan than in Algiers they judge time by morning, noon, and night. As the camera continues flashing to a man in black, riding a horse, the other Immortal tells Duncan that they will leave for Tunis in the evening.
As we hear the Call to Prayer, in the distance, Duncan and the other man feel the presence of another Immortal – the rider we have been seeing. As we see Xavier St. Cloud walk up to them, Duncan identifies him as a Moor and the other man corrects Duncan to identify him as a killer.
Xavier calls out to Duncan’s Immortal friend as Hamza el Kahir. The other Immortal comments on how far and how quickly Xavier has traveled and Xavier replies that he is surprised Hamza has been able to keep ahead of him despite being so old. Duncan speaks up to tell Xavier to keep a civil tongue. Xavier then replies by calling Duncan a fool and asking Hamza who he is. Hamza replies that Duncan is too young for Xavier to concern himself with him. Duncan protests saying he is old enough to take Xavier’s head.
Xavier: I don’t sleep with virgins and I don’t kill children.
Duncan starts to draw his sword by Hamza tells him no and that Xavier is not his concern. Xavier announces to Hamza that he will meet him in two hours in the square in the Old Quarter. After he goes, Duncan asks Hamza who that “camel dung” is and is told his name is Xavier St. Cloud. MacLeod is confused that a Moor might have a Christian name and Hamza tells him that Xavier has been many things. Duncan responds that soon Xavier will be dead as Hamza will show him what Damascus steel can do. Hamza tells him, though, that Duncan should finish his tea and then get their horses as it is now time for them to leave town. When Duncan expresses surprise that he wants to run, Hamza asks if Duncan would rather he commit suicide. Duncan is shocked and tells him that he has seen him fight and knows he is good. Hamza tells him that he is not as good as Xavier and that a man must know his own limitations if he wants to survive.
Duncan tells Hamza that he can ride away alone. Hamza turns on him and tells him that Xavier is right and that he is a fool. He all but pleads with Duncan that he has never fought anyone like Xavier, and MacLeod replies that Xavier has never fought anyone like him, either. After a long pause, Hamza closes his eyes, lifts a hand, and expresses to Duncan a wish that Allah will be with him.
Later, in the square, Duncan shouts to Xavier, asking if he will keep him waiting all day. Finally Duncan senses him and Xavier seems to almost appear beside him. He notes the rudeness and says that it must be Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Duncan says that it is and calls Xavier an arrogant, pompous, boor. Xavier asks Duncan how old he is.
Xavier: Are you a Christian or do you paint yourself blue and bay at the moon?
Duncan: What do you care?
Xavier: I’m just wondering what god I’m going to send you to.
As they square up to fight, Hamza arrives and tells Xavier that he was the recipient of his challenge. He adds that he accepts. Xavier walks away to where the fight will occur and advises Duncan to look and listen as his time will come. Duncan grabs Hamza as he walks away, also, and asks why. Hamza tells him that he cannot allow a friend to die in his place. He tells Duncan to remember him.
Duncan watches from a distance as Xavier wins the duel and takes Hamza’s head.
In the present, Duncan senses an Immortal. He stands up and grabs a sword. Joe Dawson enters the barge and tells Duncan to relax. When Duncan tells him there is someone else, Methos follows behind Joe and enters the barge. Duncan asks why they are here and Joe tells him that he did not know he was coming until the day before. Methos speaks up and says he called Joe. Duncan tells them that six thousand miles is a long way to travel for a social visit and Joe replies that it is Watchers business. Duncan shares that he has his own problems, currently, and Methos asks if the problem has a name. Duncan tells them it is Kalas and that he is no longer in prison as of the night before.
Deep underground in Paris, Kalas’ prison friend brings a group of men to him. Kalas asks if this is the best he can do and the other man replies that these men know the streets, they do not talk, and they do not mind killing. Kalas hands one of the newcomers a wad of cash and tells him that MacLeod has a barge just across from Notre Dame. He tells them to leave the killing to himself, though. When they ask Kalas what he wants them to do, he instructs them to follow him. Kalas says he wants to know where MacLeod goes, what he does, and who his friends are. He shows them a sketch of Amanda and says he wants to know about her, especially. After giving them the sketch, he tells them to leave and then they go.
Alone with his prison friend, who we now know is named Nino, Kalas explains that certain things – such as the killing of MacLeod – one must do himself.
Kalas visits Maurice in his restaurant and asks about his wine selections. When Maurice fails to have the specific aged wine Kalas asks for, the Immortal finally tells him that he will let Maurice select for him. After Maurice goes, Kalas senses another Immortal. Duncan enters the restaurant. After a quick greeting to Maurice, Duncan approaches Kalas’ table and informs him that he should have stayed in prison. Kalas tells Duncan that their kind does not do well in crowds. When Duncan says that they can go outside, Kalas tells him he is wrong again and nods toward Maurice. Duncan looks over and sees Nino with a gun to Maurice’s head.
Kalas: My show. I’ll decide when the curtain goes up.
Kalas and Nino frog march Maurice outside. Duncan sneaks to a side window and after Kalas is in the car, but before Maurice can be pushed into it, he jumps through the window and knocks Nino to the ground. He punches the mortal in the face and hurries Maurice and himself behind a door. Nino shoots at them once but is told by Kalas to get in the car. After the two bad guys are gone, Duncan tells Maurice that he needs to get out of town and that he cannot even go home to get a toothbrush first. After a brief protest, Maurice consents.
Maurice: For a good man, you seem to have many enemies. Perhaps one day you will explain why that is.
Joe and Methos are meeting with a woman named Christine, the wife of a now deceased Watcher named Don. Methos, who she knows as Adam, tries to calm her and console her, she tells both him and Joe that she is angry at them and their ugly little secret society. Joe tells her that Don did not think the society was ugly – that he thought the work was important. She reminds them that Don’s work killed him. She points at a newspaper article about the prison escape.
Christine; Now this… thing… is free. He will live forever and my husband is dead! And all you do is watch.
Methos tells her that Don was interested in the truth and that Immortals are part of that story. Christine replies that she will tell the truth by lifting up their rock so that everyone can see. She goes on, saying that tomorrow she is meeting with the editor of “The Tribune” and telling the world about Immortals. Joe tells her that she will be destroying the good as well as the bad. When Christine tells them that all Immortals are evil, Methos picks up a knife and tells her that they are not all like Kalas. He cuts himself deeply across the palm and she watches wide-eyed as the cut disappears. Methos tells her that she will be destroying him, too. Instead of responding sympathetically, based on their apparent years of friendship, she responds with anger and tells them both to get out of her house. As they go, Joe mutters that this all went well and we see that one of Kalas’ henchmen is listening to their conversation at a window.
Later, Joe asks Methos what they are going to do about Christine and he replies that he does not think they need to do anything at all. Joe asks Methos if he got all of Don’s file and he says he did and that the Watcher took nothing home. Methos goes on, saying that all Christine has is her word, and that what she will tell the newspaper will sound insane.
Methos: It’ll be filed away with alien abductions and Elvis sightings.
Later, we see that the henchman tells Kalas that they met with Christine Salzer. After verifying that the man has spoken with no one about what he has heard, Kalas kills him. With the man’s body at his feet, Kalas calls for Nino.
Kalas: Fetch me another. This one’s broken.
We see Christine in Don’s office, inside a library, looking at pictures of her now deceased husband. Upset, she breaks one of the picture frames and finds a disk inside the frame and looks at it. When she places the disk into a computer, she finds that it contains The Watchers’ database for Europe in 1995. As she looks through the disk, we see on the screen that it includes information – including pictures, known aliases, and locations – of Immortals, also. She mutters that she thinks she hit the jackpot. As she looks at the file on Kalas, Joe arrives and tells her that he wishes she had not seen that. He adds that whatever she is thinking of doing, it will not bring her husband back. She replies that it will make her feel better. Joe asks her to give him the disk for everyone’s sake and she tells him to go to h*** and walks away with the disk.
Duncan visits the club where he found Kalas previously and speaks with the lounge singer there named Danielle. He asks if she has seen Kalas and she says she has not and that she is happy about that as Kalas gave her the creeps. Duncan shares her sentiment. He asks her about Kalas’ friends and she suddenly grows suspicious of Duncan’s motives, says Kalas has no friends, and asks if he owes Duncan money or something. Duncan just tells her “or something” and asks about the bartender, Gerard, and suggests that maybe he could talk to him. She tells Duncan that Gerard does not like him after their last meeting but she is still willing to give Duncan the man’s address so that Duncan can surprise him.
As he leaves, he senses another Immortal and hides to lie in wait. When he strikes out, Amanda blocks his sword blow and asks if he is trying to get killed. He tells her he thought she was Kalas and asks what she is doing here. At first she says she came to hear jazz, then she tells Duncan she came looking for him, and under his stare, she finally admits she came looking for Kalas. She then tells Duncan that she knows she messed up and says that Duncan cannot continue cleaning up after her. She tells him that they can look for Kalas together or work separately. Duncan tells her that she’s irritating but they leave together.
Amanda picks the lock to enter Gerard’s house. They find him dead inside – and they also find his killer. Duncan chases the mortal murderer and as he tackles him, they tumble together down a flight of stairs. During the fall, the murderer’s gun goes off and he accidentally kills himself. Duncan and Amanda flee.
As they walk through Paris, Amanda and Duncan have flirty banter where she accuses Duncan of killing their one lead back to Kalas. They notice as they talk that they are being watched by two separate men. Amanda runs off in the direction of one of the men and tells Duncan to try not to kill this one. Duncan runs in the direction opposite of Amanda to chase the other man. While Duncan catches his man quickly, Amanda finds herself surrounded by three henchmen. She is fighting them off successfully until one of them stabs her with a syringe. She passes out. As Duncan is interrogating the man he caught, he sees a car pass by with an unconscious Amanda inside.
Joe meets with Methos and grills him over the disk and the fact that he said he had wiped all of Don’s files. Methos laughs and tells him that he sounds just like Don who liked books and really hated computer.
Methos: I never thought he even knew what a back-up was, let alone how to make one.
Joe tells him that he is glad he can laugh because his life is about to get turned upside down. Methos tells Joe that empires rise and fall and he reminds Joe of the old Chinese curse.
Joe: Yeah. “May you live in interesting times.” Well things just got really interesting.
We see that they are walking up to Duncan’s barge and he responds to Joe’s comment by agreeing and telling them that Kalas has Amanda. They tell Duncan that there is another big problem and then they share with him the Watcher business they were supposed to be handling without him.
After they tell Duncan, he responds by pointing out that this could cause a panic and that half of the governments in the world could end up hunting them. When Duncan asks Joe how this could have happened after thousands of years, Methos tells him not to blame Joe.
As Amanda is being held captive, she asks whether she is dead or if she is bait. Kalas tells her that she will be the first to know. She asks what his grievance is with MacLeod and he responds that there are greater gifts than Immortality. He pulls down his turtleneck, shows the scar across his neck, and tells her that Duncan destroyed his gift. He tells Amanda that now he will destroy everything Duncan cares for and everything he loves. Amanda tells Kalas that Duncan does not love her and when she looks up at Kalas, she tells him that she can be very flexible.
Kalas: [very close to her] Very tempting. But I spent centuries in a monastery. You’re wasting your not inconsiderable talents.
One of his henchmen interrupts them. After he whispers something to Kalas, the Immortal tells him to watch Amanda but not to talk to her or touch her. As Kalas leaves, he turns to Amanda and just says “bait.”
On the barge, Methos asks Duncan if he thinks Amanda is still alive. Duncan replies that Kalas might try to use her against him and says that one way or another Kalas will reach out to him. A moment later, Duncan gets a call and it’s for Joe.
While tied up, Amanda asks her now two watchmen to loosen her bonds a bit as they are bad for her circulation. When they ignore her, she kicks the ropes around her legs up to them. One of them stands and she turns in her chair to show that her hands are still bound, and she advises him to relax. He approaches her to re-tie her legs and she sticks them out, seductively. When the man touches her leg, she uses his distraction to kick him in the face and then rolls out of her bonds altogether. She then quickly incapacitates both men holding her captive and flees.
Christine is on a park bench outside The Telegram when Joe approaches her and asks if he can sit beside her. She tells him that her appointment is in fifteen minutes and that he cannot talk her out of it. Joe asks if she realizes what this will do – not just to the Watchers and Immortals, but to the world, and she says it does not matter. When Joe tells her that he is begging her, she tells him he cannot stop her. Joe then opens his coat to reveal a gun and asks her not to make him do this. She stops, frozen.
Joe: Try to understand me. I can’t let this happen. I don’t have any choice.
Christine: Neither do I.
Duncan shows up and tells Joe not to do this. He draws the gun and shoots but MacLeod gets between Christine and the bullet. Christine goes inside unhindered.
After Duncan revives, Methos announces that life as they know it is over and Joe asks him if he knows what he just allowed to happen. Duncan says he knows and Joe asks why he saved her.
Methos: He didn’t save her. He saved you.
Kalas, Xavier, Methos, Amanda, Joe… this was a great episode. Speaking of Amanda, now that she is back, I’m more convinced than ever that Duncan’s relationship with Anne was largely built on his attraction to Amanda and Anne’s physical resemblance to her.
This is also the second time on the show that Duncan ends a relationship and Amanda shows up to, uh, console him, almost immediately. I wonder how she keeps such close tabs on him because she obviously does.
I guess Amanda’s prison break plan was to kill Kalas and then… go tell Duncan… so he would finally fall in love with her? I don’t really like that as a sufficient motivation for a person who usually has multiple reasons for her actions. A secondary (or primary) motivation might be that this is the kind of aggressive move you make when you’re an Immortal woman, you’re not as strong as most of your dueling opponents, and you need to stay alive in The Game for a long time. Kalas would be a massive power-up for her and if taking his head is a “two birds, one stone” situation with Duncan, then so be it. Fighting Kalas when he’s unarmed, and has not been practicing, is just Amanda being opportunistic. She obviously could not give this type of explanation to Duncan.
I’m a big fan of the Amanda character more generally and at this point it seems clear she should be a more regular character. She’s a female rogue – which is a hard thing to pull off, but it pairs really well with Duncan’s noble-with-a-wild-streak persona. Elizabeth Gracen and Adrian Paul have ridiculously good on-screen chemistry together. She’s also much less of a damsel in distress than any mortal woman Duncan might date – which makes her more of a partner for him than Tessa or Anne could be. Ex: You just knew that two mortal guards could not hold her captive for long. The show has done a good job setting up her skill set (escape artist, acrobat, master thief, beautiful seductress, etc.) and those make sense for someone who is good at survival over centuries.
The return of Methos is welcome. Peter Wingfield’s interpretation of the world’s oldest man is captivating.
This episode being at kind of the dawn of the tech age is fun, too. “Oh no, all of our Watcher records are on a CD and the newspaper has it!” Cell phone cameras and the wider use of the internet are the next big hurdles though the show ends before that really becomes a thing. I believe Henry Cavill is tied to a Highlander reboot project and I’m extremely curious about how the reboot will tackle Immortals and technology.
Kalas is an awesomely entertaining Immortal villain. He’s genuinely menacing but also kind of a mustache twirler and has a ton of showmanship. In more recent story-telling, there’s always this desire to give the bad guy a lot of complex and relatable motivations. It’s hard to be interesting without them. Kalas succeeds as a less layered villain on the basis of his narcissism and charisma. He’s interesting precisely because he is not relatable.
I really liked the cameo by Xavier (Roland Gift.) One of the benefits of this story-telling format is that it makes perfect sense to flashback to someone who is dead in the present. I am happy to have revisited Xavier in this way as he is one of Duncan’s most interesting prior opponents.
One final thought: I wonder how the world would react to this type of Watcher breach / Immortal revelation. My guess is that the vast majority of people would just dismiss it – regardless of the evidence. I mean, the US government announced last year that UFOs are real and nobody cared. The governments of the world might take Immortals seriously, and maybe even organize to do something about them, but the population would probably not do much more than meme about it.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to Part 2 and the close of a very strong Season 3.