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, Methos, and Amanda contemplate life on the run after Christine Salzer meets with a reporter to discuss Immortals. The danger they may all soon face causes Duncan and Amanda to admit their feelings for one another. During Christine Salzer’s meeting, she and the journalist she is speaking with are murdered by the Immortal Kalas, who takes the disk containing the Watcher files, with an intent to use the information for his own purposes.
He uses the disk against Duncan, threatening to expose all Immortals and Watchers to the world’s media unless Duncan gives up his head. Duncan considers this but decides to fight instead. As the two Immortals battle atop the Eiffel Tower, Duncan gets the idea to cause a power outage using the lightning from the Quickening he takes from Kalas. He beheads the Immortal bad guy. During the aftermath of the Eiffel Tower boosted Quickening, Kalas’s computer catches on fire. Joe eventually finds it later, melted. As the episode ends, though, we learn that another disk of Watcher files remains at large.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:
♫I have no rival! No man can be my equal!♫
Duncan and Amanda are staring at the Eifel Tower. She asks if he remembers when it was built, and he replies that he does, noting that at the time, half of Paris thought it would destroy the city forever.
Duncan: There were fistfights all along the shores of the Champs Elysees.
Amanda: Now you can’t imagine Paris without it. I think I could come here forever.
Duncan: If they let us.
Duncan tells Amanda that when Kalas had her, he thought he had lost her, and he says, full of meaning, that he did not like the feeling. As they talk, we see from a distance that someone with a Watchers tattoo is photographing them from a distance. He whispers into a walkie-talking that Amanda and MacLeod are playing tourist and that it must be a slow day.
Back with the conversation, Amanda tells Duncan that they have lived through witch hunts before. He agrees but says that this will be different due to technology and intelligence. He says this time the people looking for them will find them. He adds that existence of Immortals will scare them immensely. He says that what people are afraid of, they will either destroy or use. She tells him that she is not ready for this and he agrees saying that he is not either.
Christine is meeting with the journalist, telling him about Immortals, and he is skeptical of what she is saying, blaming her reaction to her husband’s death. He finally convinces him to look at her information and she shows him one particular Immortal, Graydon Hammer, who has a distinctive scar on his face. She is able to show him pictures of several people, over the previous century and a half, all who are identical and all who have the exact same scar. The journalist finally begins to believe what she is telling him and he asks her how many Immortals there are around the world. She tells him that there are a lot more than just Hammer and he seems deeply alarmed.
Joe Dawson and Methos, posing as Adam Pierson, meet with another Watcher named Jacques who is furious that they let Christine get their records and go to the newspapers. He starts screaming at Methos that the digital database they created was not sanctioned. Methos tells him that it would have been useful, causing him to shout and ask why. He says that he just screwed up a Watcher system that has worked well for thousands of years.
Jacques: Security is the reason we stay separate! So that one idiot won’t compromise us all!
Joe tries to step in and tell Jacques not to blame Adam. He turns to face Joe and tells him that he does not blame Adam – he blames him – and he says that if Joe had told him about this, Christine would be dead and their secret would be protected. He then reminds Joe that Europe is not his territory.
Jacques: Next time I’ll know to send a man!
Joe: You son of a b****! [punches Jacques – who takes the punch and then punches back, knocking Joe to the floor]
After, Methos tells Joe that he is going to speak with the Editor of The Tribune, not in an effort to stop the story from going to press, but in an effort to control the hysteria by answering questions. Joe warns Methos that history has been written and that people have been known to kill a messenger who arrives with a new version of the truth. Methos asks him why he would tell the truth? He then smiles and gets into the car.
High up on the Eiffel Tower, Amanda asks Duncan if he has ever wanted to do something really crazy. We see that she is standing on scaffolding as a group of onlookers watch her, worried. Duncan reminds her that they cannot fly and she asks if he has ever tried. She asks what the worst is that could happen and she points out that she will not die. Duncan tells her that if she falls, it will be in front of a large crowd. She then points out that everyone will know the truth tomorrow anyway. She leans down from the railing upon which she is standing and tells him to lighten up, break the rules, and get up there with her.
Duncan: The whole world is about to crash down around their ears and you want to play games.
Amanda: Yes, why not? What better time?
Duncan finally agrees and climbs up there with her, and people gasp and one man takes pictures. He looks out and says the view is nice. She tells him that they should jump. He tells her no, and then to take her mind off of that, he suggests quickly that they should dance instead. He dramatically tosses off his sunglasses and then dances a tango with Amanda atop the Eiffel Tower.
Duncan: How’d you do it, how’d you get me up here?
Amanda: [delighted] Because you love it!
Duncan is eating grapes as a man offers him employment. The other man tells Duncan that he could use a man who understands Western armies and he adds that his court offers many diversions. Duncan tells him, calling him Your Highness, that he does him a great honor but says he cannot say. The Turkish royal suggests that perhaps he can entice Duncan to change his mind. Duncan replies simply, “perhaps,” causing the man to clap, a gong to sound, and beautiful woman to dance her way into the room. Duncan senses that the woman is an Immortal and when she unveils herself, we see that it is Amanda. He smiles broadly at the sight of her while she looks somewhat put out at the sight of him. She feigns to trip onto his lap and whispers for him to help her get out of here.
Duncan: Not a chance, you’re on your own. Want a grape?
Duncan resumes talking with his host, who notes that Duncan is looking on his dancers with favor. Duncan agrees but points out that the pale one does not seem to know what she is doing. The other man tells him that she is new to the dance. He smiles and adds to Duncan that she has other skills to compensate. He sees Duncan and Amanda making faces at each other and suggests that perhaps one of her other skills would interest him. Duncan smiles, says “perhaps,” and leans forward to watch more intently. A few moments later, someone comes in, whispers to the king, and then Amanda is hauled away. Duncan laughs and says that her dancing was not that bad, but the other man replies that she is a thief and that she will be punished. He redirects Duncan’s attention to another dancer in the back, from Persia, and says she has truly special skills. He and Duncan share a laugh and continue watching, though Duncan now looks slightly concerned for Amanda.
We see Amanda being hauled around by guards. She is told that her thieving hands will be removed. She apologizes and says that it was a mistake. She asks the guard to tell the sultan that she is sorry and that she promises to return his jewels. The guard tells her that the sultan never changes his mind. Amanda, with her hands chained together, abruptly attacks the guard. She runs into a locked gate, but just before she is once again apprehended, Duncan appears and knocks out her pursuer. She tells him that it’s about time and he asks her what she is doing. The two of them then flee, fighting their way through sultan’s guards as they go.
Duncan: Why do I do this?
Amanda: Because you love it!
As they go, Duncan is shot by a bow and arrow. Amanda helps him pull it free after they escape and chides him for fussing over a little arrow. They begin to bicker until Amanda offers to kiss and make it better. Duncan asks her how much better, just before they lock lips.
In the present, high up on the Eiffel Tower’s railing, Duncan and Amanda end their tango with a kiss. The watching crowd cheers and they give a small bow.
Duncan: You know, Amanda, I want you to know, if it all end, I mean, uh–
Amanda: You love me. I know. You always have.
They kiss again.
Christine is still meeting with the journalist, going over the Immortal files with him. She tells him everything is there, names, aliases, history, and he asks if the people who entered these files, are called the Watchers. She tells him that her late husband was one of them. He tells her he would not have believed it if he had not seen it with his own eyes. She asks what he is going to do with it and he tells her it is the story of the century and the beginning of the Apocalypse. He tells her that when the story gets out, all h*** will break loose.
While they talk, Kalas enters the room with them. One of his henchmen follows and kills the journalist by throwing a knife at him from across the room. Christine looks at Kalas and says that Dawson sent him. He says “hardly” and then nods at his henchmen who then charges at Christine with a knife.
Later, Kalas now has the Watcher files and comments to one of his men that you have to admire their group. He notes that the Watchers have files on half the Immortals in Europe on the disk. Nino asks if this information is what Kalas is after and he asks if someone is watching him. Kalas tells him that somebody was watching him, but that this man is now dead. He looks at Jacques’ Watcher file and tells Nino that he is after the person who sent his Watcher.
Amanda and Duncan walk toward his barge. She suggests that the two of them stow away on a private island for a few decades while the world sorts itself out. As they arrive, they feel an Immortal, and we see quickly that it is Methos. Duncan asks the ancient Immortal what is up and Methos replies that the editor of The Tribune is dead, as is Christine Salzer. Duncan asks how and Methos quickly replies that he did not do it. Methos tells them that the disk is gone and that the Tribune’s computer was wiped clean. Amanda asks him if he thinks Joe did it and he says no, noting that Joe already had his chance. She asks who did it then, and Methos speculates that he thinks it was a local Watcher named Jacques Vemas. Duncan asks if anyone has spoken to the man and Methos replies that he has not, yet, but adds that it would not surprise him if Vemas denies doing it.
When Amanda says that she is glad it is over, Duncan answers that maybe it’s not. He points out that someone out there has the disk and that they do not know who it is. He suggests that Kalas might be behind this. Amanda asks Duncan how Kalas would even know about this.
Amanda: I mean, I know he’s dangerous, but aren’t we being a little paranoid.
Duncan: Maybe. [to Methos] Tell me more about this Vemas.
We see Vemas on the phone, talking to someone unknown, when he sees Kalas at a distance. Vemas calls out to Kalas and says that he knows him. Kalas replies that he knows him in turn. Vemas cuts right to the chase and tells Kalas that he murdered two of his friends. As Kalas admonishes him not to get stuck on petty details, Vemas runs to his car and starts it. He then drives his car into Kalas, knocking the Immortal to the ground. Then he pulls out a high powered gun and begins shooting it at Kalas through the driver’s side window.
Outside, Duncan arrives. They can hear the machine gun fire from the gate. Meanwhile, Vemas has chased Kalas a long distance and run him over again. This time, after running him over, Vemas exits the car, gun in hand, and grabs an axe which is lying on a tree stump nearby. He approaches Kalas with it, but when he arrives, the Immortal suddenly moves, holding up a sword to the man’s chest. Vemas tells him that he is not afraid to die. Kalas tells him that there are worse things than dying.
When Duncan arrives at the spot where Vemas had exited his car, he finds the Watcher lying on the ground dead. He then senses Kalas, who tells him that it seems he is always a day late and a dollar short. Duncan challenges him, but is attacked a moment later from behind by Nino. Kalas’s mortal henchman does not last long against Duncan. In pain from an injury, he feels to Kalas, who asks it hurts. The other man says yes, so Kalas chokes him to death.
Kalas: Not anymore.
Just before Duncan and Kalas resume their fight, Kalas tells Duncan that Salzer’s file is on his computer. He says that if he is not back at his office by a certain time, to stop it, the computer will automatically send the contents of the files to every news agency in the world. When Duncan says he is lying, Kalas replies that Duncan knows him better than that.
Kalas: Kill me and you blow everyone’s cover. Everyone! Or you can lose your head and save us all.
He tells Duncan that he will allow him to think on it, and then he walks away.
Later, Amanda tells Duncan that he should have killed Kalas, causing Duncan to reply that it is not as simple as that. She asks if he just plans to let Kalas take him and Duncan responds with silence. She hears a lot of meaning in his silence and asks what he is thinking and says he wouldn’t do that, before asking him if he would. Duncan asks if she has any good ideas. She tells him that for one, he should kill Kalas. Just then another Immortal approaches them. It’s Methos. He sees the looks on their faces and asks if he missed something.
After Duncan explains the situation to Methos, the ancient Immortal says that he cannot see that Kalas has left any doors open. He points out that Kalas will feel them coming if they approach his hideout, and upload the files automatically. Duncan says there is one option.
Methos: I was in Rome once, 93 AD. The Coliseum. I saw Christians facing the lions. Some of them looked almost happy to die for their faith.
Duncan: Your point, or are we just strolling down memory lane here?
Methos: Then afterwards the only ones looking happy were the lions.
Duncan tells him that this is not about faith and Methos says it is about sacrifice. Methos adds that it is a h*** of a thing to be a martyr. He adds that this is what Kalas wants. Duncan tells him that he is open to suggestions. Methos suggests that Duncan should fight his best fight, which leads Duncan to ask if Methos is suggesting that every man look out for himself and not care about the rest Methos answers that life is about change, that civilizations rise and fall, and he asks Duncan what it matters if everyone finds out.
Duncan: This isn’t about civilizations, it’s about people. Amanda? Dawson? Richie? Our world is not an ant farm.
Methos: [commenting on Duncan] The passion of youth.
Duncan: [sarcastically] Well, boys will be boys.
Methos then says that every cloud has a silver lining, pointing out that if Duncan dies, Amanda will be free to date.
The phone on Duncan’s barge rings and Amanda answers it. Kalas tells her it is delightful to hear her voice again. He tells her to put Duncan on, causing her to say MacLeod is not here, but she offers to take a message. We do not hear what he tells her before she hangs up.
On a building rooftop, Amanda sneaks up on Kalas and begins dueling him. He blocks her blow and tells her that this was not very sporting. They duel for a while and eventually Kalas disarms her. Just as he approaches her to take her head, she jumps off the side of the building, and rappels down. A man down on the ground has been photographing their entire fight and Kalas notices him as Amanda goes.
Later, we find Duncan and Amanda mid-argument. She tells him that at least she tried to do something. He replies that nobody asked her to and asks if she has any idea what happens if that disk goes public. She tells him that she does and that he stays alive. Duncan pleads with her, forcefully, to stay out of it. She storms off.
Duncan finds Joe in his office, screaming at someone to “find him.” Duncan tells him to relax and says that there are ten million people in Paris, adding that his guys cannot be everywhere. Joe tells him that they have to be. The large room, filled with people, goes silent as everyone notices that Duncan is here. Joe shouts to all that it is Duncan MacLeod and asks if anyone has a problem with this. The Watchers then put their heads down and return to working.
Joe: We can’t kill what we can’t find.
Duncan: So much for Watching.
Joe: He hunts us, we hunt him.
Duncan: No more rules.
Joe asks Duncan if he can beat Kalas if he finds the bad Immortal before the Watchers do. Duncan says maybe, causing Joe to ask Duncan how he would do if he actually fights to win against Kalas. Duncan’s only reply to Joe is that he needs to find the disk.
One of the Watchers finds Kalas’ hideout. He clicks on the files and pulls up Kalas himself. Just then, though, Kalas enters the room and the man hides. Kalas notices that someone has messed with his computer and walks away cautiously. From a cell phone, the Watcher, named Martin, calls Joe. He tells him where Kalas’ place is and tells Joe that as soon as Kalas leaves, he will take the disk and go. Outside of Martin’s hiding place, Kalas listens to their phone call. Abruptly, Martin stops talking because Kalas rams a sword through his chest.
Kalas picks up the phone and tells Joe that it is not that easy. Kalas asks where MacLeod is and Joe lies, saying he does not know. Kalas orders him to find Duncan and says that either MacLeod fights him tonight or else they are all on CNN. Joe tells Duncan that they know Martin was on the Rue de Mars, near the Eiffel Tower, which leaves only about one thousand places where Kalas might be. Duncan asks if there is any chance of finding Kalas before the deadline and Joe tells him no.
Duncan goes out to meet Kalas. On the way he runs into Amanda first. They apologize to each other about their fight earlier, and she apologizes for the many years of her being difficult for Duncan. He touches her face and tells her that it was worth it. She says it sounds hokey, but tells him she wants to give him something for luck. She tries to tell him something, but cannot get the words out, so he tells her that he knows and that she always has.
Duncan meets Kalas at the Eiffel Tower and tells the other Immortal that he is early. Kalas replies that he is careful. They begin their duel, high up on the Tower, and we see Amanda, Joe, and Methos watches the sparks from their sword blows from the ground level far below. Duncan runs Kalas through with his sword.
Duncan: Hear that Kalas? It’s the fat lady singing.
Kalas recovers enough to swing again at Duncan but he is soon disarmed entirely. He reminds Duncan the if he dies, Duncan will be finished, too. Duncan muses that maybe it is worth it to rid the world of him. Kalas admonishes him to stay noble, saying that nobility is what he is good at. Then he tells Duncan to finish it. Duncan pauses and hears a lightning strike high up in the sky. He smiles and tells Kalas that the Eiffel Tower is the world’s biggest lightning rod. He takes Kalas’s head.
From the ground below, Duncan’s three friends see that someone is getting a Quickening but they do not know who. As the Quickening goes on, lightning seems to shoot outward from the top of the Tower. We see shots of glass and electronics exploding nearby. Finally we see Kalas’ computer explode, too, just before the Quickening ends.
When Duncan finally arrives down on the ground, Amanda runs to him and kisses him. Duncan and Amanda walk to the others and Duncan jokes that this was a big Quickening.
After, the four of them give a toast and Joe asks what they should drink to. Methos suggests the wonders of modern technology and a beaming Amanda suggests MacLeod being in one lovely piece. Duncan toasts to Fitzcairn and Paul. They all toast to old friends and new friends, then finally clink glasses and drink. Joe hands Duncan the melted Watchers disk and tells him he thought he might be interested in it. Duncan says that it is better late than never. Not long later, Methos and Joe excuse themselves as Amanda overtly feigns being sleepy.
Alone together, Duncan returns the necklace, with a crystal, which she had given him for good luck, telling her that he guesses it worked. Amanda brings up to Duncan that the two of them have said some things to each other now that they have never said to each other before. Duncan asks if she wants him to take them back. She tells him that she does not want him to do so tonight, at least.
As the episode ends, we see the bookstore where the deceased Watcher, Salzer, once hid the disk that caused all of this trouble. The camera pans slowly to a row of books and zoom in until we see a CD tucked away snugly between two of the books on the shelf.
This was a strong close to a very strong season. It did not happen right away, but I think Highlander finally has the right mix of surrounding characters around Duncan. Amanda is a perfect romantic compliment to Duncan, and Methos is the wise but less noble older brother figure Duncan has needed within the cast since Darius died. Even Joe Dawson as a Watcher / Duncan-cheerleader is usually entertaining on screen.
The episode wraps up a big Watchers storyline but hints, as the episode ends, that we will be revisiting this again. From a story-telling standpoint, we should. If Joe has a boss, then that boss needs to call Joe in for a meeting. Between what happened with Horton, Joe’s inappropriate friendship with Duncan, Christine Salzer attempting to go public – and Joe not stopping her, and then Kalas stealing the Watcher files and using them to kill Jacques… Joe’s run of leadership in this organization has been an absolute disaster.
Duncan powers-up again with the Kalas beheading. I think at this point, there should be *very* few Immortals that Duncan would not feel very confident facing. I wonder if Duncan will somehow be an expert forger now that he has Kalas’ Quickening? I wish the show would put little Easter eggs in like that because I think it would be fun.
Kalas is now my favorite Duncan antagonist. I’m sorry to see him go, though admittedly I do not think there was any additional story with Kalas left to tell. I liked that he was always a half-step ahead of Duncan. Very few of Duncan’s opponents out-think him – or even attempt to do so. The chess match with Duncan was therefore a lot of fun. I liked that Kalas was not a gray area bad guy… he was in the black and had always been there. I even liked his Joe Diffie looking hair and mustache.
Amanda and Duncan also indirectly tell each other that they love each other. That’s not really a surprise but it is an advancement in their situation, that they said it aloud. In Amanda’s case it has been obvious for a long time that she loves Duncan. She checks in on him constantly, especially after break-ups. Flashbacks tell us she has been doing this for centuries. It is noteworthy that Duncan seems to realize, once he thought Amanda was gone, that he loves her in return. I would and will be happy to see Amanda be Duncan’s primary romantic interest – to the extent that’s a story focus – from here until the series ends.
Also regarding Amanda, I really enjoyed her fight with Kalas and her fighting style, too. Elizabeth Gracen is really believable with her sword work in this confrontation. I also enjoyed that she had an exit strategy when she became disarmed. Way too often, it seems like Immortals who are losing could just run instead of waiting to be killed. She is supposed to be much older than Duncan so it is fun to see her surviving in a believable way, and in a stylish way.
It should also be mentioned that the Duncan and Amanda tango, on the Eiffel Tower, is one of the most memorable and iconic moments in the entire run of this show – as was the epic Eiffel Tower Quickening. Like I said, it was a good episode.
On the Amanda note, though, did Duncan get over Anne quickly? Yes. He allegedly was in love with Anne just a few episodes ago. Now it’s like she vanished from history. Is that quick turnaround a problem for the show, or Duncan as a character? Not really. For as noble as Duncan is portrayed to be, he consistently sleeps with Amanda when presented with opportunities to do so. This is his one major character flaw but it is treated as endearing on screen. Duncan’s big true love is Amanda. Everyone else – especially mortal women – are placeholders. They might be important placeholders but all of them are temporary in a way that Amanda is not. Anne, Tessa, and any mortal woman Duncan ever has a relationship with going forward, should have a massive problem with Amanda. I remember Tessa hating that Amanda made her feel as though she needs to compete with her for Duncan. Duncan downplayed it at the time, but Tessa was not wrong. I wonder what Tessa would think if she had known that Amanda and Duncan have been sleeping together, off and on, for hundreds of years. I don’t think he ever really told Tessa that explicitly.
My one and only gripe with this episode is that Duncan’s Quickening was too convenient a solution to the Kalas computer problem. There just so happened to be a lightning strike, during the big duel, to give Duncan this lightning rod idea? And it works? I would have preferred a plan wherein Duncan thought about this in advance and intentionally uses the Quickening, on the Eiffel Tower, to cause a power outage in an effort to buy time for Joe’s men to find the disk. Having the disk already be melted just feels like cheating. This is a minor quibble, though.
With the strong finish to this season, I’m really looking forward to Season 4.