Highlander (Season 4, Ep 74): Reluctant Heroes

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.


MacLeod and Richie witness a murder attempt on a grocer. The killer, Immortal Paul Kinman, is arrested. But Duncan wants his head, and thus refuses to identify him to the FBI or to police, planning to kill him after he walks. In the interim, the husband of the murdered woman calls Duncan a coward for his refusal to testify.

Duncan eventually gives in and testifies, but to no avail. Kinman escapes with help from an FBI agent who had been secretly aiding him all along. After the escape, Kinman betrays his FBI accomplice and kills her. However, Duncan tracks him down, kills him, and lets the grocer know his wife’s killer did not get away with it.


Richie and Duncan are leaving a movie, and while Richie complains about how boring it was, they witness an attempted murder. Duncan senses the Immortal shooter approaching at a distance and manages to knock the mortal would-be victim to the ground first, saving him from the gunfire. Richie and Duncan give chase as it is revealed the target’s wife was hit and killed.

Richie and Duncan catch up with the Immortal shooter in a parking garage. Richie and the still unnamed assailant draw swords but do not duel. When Duncan arrives, the other Immortal and Duncan recognize each other. He asks Duncan if he has the boy do his fighting for him. Richie withdraws and Duncan begins dueling the man. The fight ends abruptly when they hear the police close by. The shooter enters a stairwell, sword in hand, and is apprehended by the police.

♫We’re the princes of the universe.♫

The next day, Richie visits Duncan, while he is doing repair work on his house (the house that elevated off the ground during a Quickening a couple episodes ago.) He carries a newspaper and tells Duncan that a bullet went through the window and killed the wife of the man they saved. He adds that the police are looking for them as the witnesses. Duncan tells Richie that they were not there, that they cannot afford the publicity that would come with identifying themselves publicly, and most importantly, he does not want Kinman, the other Immortal, to know who Richie is.

Richie: He’s that good, huh?
Duncan: That good.


England – 1712

Duncan, a mortal named Lord Dennis, and the Queen of England, among others, are playing croquet and discussing mounting English tensions with Scotland. The Queen seems uninclined to concern herself with that topic at the moment, while Duncan and Dennis do not share her opinion. However, Duncan senses her mood and backs off the topic, while Dennis does not She tells Lord Dennis that he is a fool and that she will not associate with fools.

Later in a pub, Duncan and Dennis discuss what happened, with MacLeod telling the other man that his timing is terrible.

Dennis: The Queen has time to spare, England doesn’t.
Duncan: The Queen can be our greatest ally. You said so yourself when we met in the Highlands months ago. Now that I’ve seen her I know it to be true.

The other man tells Duncan that he spoke the truth, with Duncan replying that he does not disagree with what he said, only how and when he said it. Just then, Kinman enters the pub. He looks disgusted to be there, covering his nose with a cloth, as if to block out a disgusting odor.

Dennis begins speaking with Kinman, but the conversation quickly turns into an argument. Kinman mocks the idea that Dennis is friendly with commoners, and notes that none of them play croquet with royalty for a living. He describes Dennis’s politics as disingenuous. Dennis, in turn, threatens the Immortal over the insults, commenting that the drink he is getting will be his last. Duncan tries to play peacemaker between them, but Dennis challenges the other man to a duel, which the Immortal gladly accepts.

After Kinman leaves, Duncan pleads with Dennis to withdraw, asking him if he could not see that the other man was goading him. When Dennis refuses to withdraw, or let Duncan fight in his place, Duncan yells that he is a fool and that the Queen was right, before leaving.

Duncan later meets with Kinman and asks him to withdraw, arguing that fighting a man, when the advantage is his, is not honorable, but only sport. Kinman says that he will withdraw only if Dennis apologizes publicly and agrees to shut his mouth about his politics forever. Duncan counters that the duel should be to first blood, noting that this will satisfy honor and will close the matter. Kinman reluctantly agrees, acting as if this is a favor to Duncan. When Kinman returns to his table, where he had been dining with the King, the King instructs him to do a good job of it and he says that Dennis is entirely too friendly with the Scots. Kinman assures him that the matter is in good hands.

During the duel, Kinman cuts Dennis on the face. Duncan steps in, notes that first blood has been drawn, and that the duel is over. He faces Dennis and tells him that he has proven his courage and satisfied honor. After winning, Kinman begins boasting, and asking the gathered audience if anyone is present who can offer a better challenge. He suggests Dennis’s sister, who is present.

Dennis: Sir, you will take back those words or I will have your head.
Kinman: that would be quite a show, wouldn’t it?
Duncan: [to Dennis quietly] Let it stand.
Kinman: And after I’ve had your sister, perhaps your mother would care to be entertained.

Dennis angrily charges at Kinman, who then quickly kills him. As the crowd disperses, Kinman whispers to Duncan, who is kneeling over his now dead friend, that he is next.

In the present, a woman named Kayla Brooks approaches Duncan, at his house, and identifies herself as being with the FBI. She asks him if he will testify against Paul Kinman. Duncan plays dumb and acts as though he only knows about the murder from the newspaper. She tells Duncan that she tracked him down through a witness description of him, Richie, and his T-bird convertible. Kayla tells Duncan that the Bureau has been tracking Kinman for five years and finally captured him last night. Duncan congratulates her. She tells Duncan that Kinman ditched the mask and weapon before they captured him, and says that the only people who can now tie him to the shooting are the witnesses who chased him. Duncan wishes her good luck in finding the witnesses. She leaves, but not before telling them that she knows they are the witnesses and that the local police will track them both down sometime soon, too.

After she leaves, Richie asks why they don’t just testify against him. Duncan replies that he does not want to put Kinman away, he wants to bury Kinman.

Later, we learn that Kayla was correct, as we catch up with Duncan and Richie leaving a three hour police interrogation, where both men insisted to officers that they were training in the dojo on the night in question. Duncan tells Richie that they can only hold Kinman for forty-eight hours before releasing him, and Richie notes that Duncan plans to be waiting for him when he is released.

Duncan warns Richie to get out of town, immediately, but then they are interrupted by the man they saved from gunfire. He accosts them for refusing to testify. Duncan tells the man that he will have his justice and that it is better this way. The man, Markham, asks Duncan if he is afraid or if Kinman bought him. Duncan tells him to go home, leading Markham to pull a gun on Duncan. Duncan disarms him and advises him again to go home. Markham starts calling Duncan a coward. Richie tries to intervene but Duncan tell him that it’s okay.


After Dennis is killed, Duncan meets with the Queen. She informs him that Kinman was paid to kill Dennis by those who wish to see the war with France continue.

Queen: The court is alive with treachery! Jacobites, Tories, Whigs, French spies, all at each others throats.

Duncan approaches her, with permission, and tells her that he cares nothing for intrigues, only Kinman. She replies that she will not give her court a battle between a Catholic Scotsman and a Protestant Englishman, as that will only further divide them. Duncan says that she cannot ask him to do nothing, but she replies, heatedly, that she can ask whatever she wants as his Queen. She demands Duncan’s word that he will not fight Kinman. Duncan protests, but she overrides him, saying that there is more at stake than his pride. She demands his word, now, and Duncan kneels and gives it.

In the commoners’ pub, later, Duncan toasts the death of Dennis, just before Kinman and an Earl enter. Kinman immediately begins attempting to provoke MacLeod, who in turn refuses to address him. Kinman implies outloud that Duncan is keeping quiet because he is a coward who wants to live another day. Furious, Duncan holds his tongue and leaves. The people in the pub join Kinman in naming Duncan a coward as he leaves.

In the present, Markham is yelling that Richie and Duncan are cowards. Kayla approaches Markham and promises that Kinman will not walk. He asks if she can arrest Duncan and Richie, and she asks him in turn what the charge would be. She then takes Markham’s gun from him and they walk away.

Kayla Brooks interviews Kinman. He correctly ascertains that she has nothing on him. She responds to this by pulling out a pistol and pointing it at him. One of her colleagues sees this and starts talking her down. She insists that Kinman has to pay, but the other man tells her that Kinman is not worth her life. Finally, she relinquishes her gun. Kinman watches them coldly as Kayla’s colleague says he is going down to his car to get rid of the gun and to get a bottle of scotch He warns her to not do anything crazy.

After he leaves the room, she begins kissing Kinman passionately, who in turn applauds how convincing she was.

That’s a twist! That’s very twisty!

Kinman asks her to get his sword from the evidence locker, and she tells him that she is in the FBI and that she can get anything. Kinman confirms that Kayla does not have a witnesses, but she adds that if she had one, she would take care of it for him.

When Duncan visits the dojo, Richie tells him that Markham is in his office. Duncan agrees to talk to him again, and there Markham tells Duncan that he needs to tell his two children that he will not testify against Kinman. Duncan tells all of them that he’s sorry and leaves. Markham offers Richie $200,00 to convince him to testify. Richie also refuess and tells him how sorry he is.

A while later, Richie and Duncan argue over justice. Richie does not want Markham to spend the rest of his life believing that Kinman got away, and that they let him. Duncan argues that Kinman has been doing this for centuries and says the only way to get justice is to take his head.

Duncan visits Markham in his store and asks him why Kinman went after him in the first place. After some badgering, Markham finally tells Duncan. He explains that he took a loan from a man named Vince Petrovic, and when he tried to pay him back, Petrovic wanted half of the store and for the two of them to be partners. When Markham refused, Petrovic sent Kinman. Duncan asks why he did not tell this to the police and Markham tells him that if he had, Kinman would have been sent after his kids.

MacLeod visits Kayla and identifies Kinman as Alice Markham’s killer. Kayla presses Duncan, and suggests that Markham paid him to testify. Duncan denies it but she smiles and says they will be in touch.

That night, Duncan tracks down Petrovic and warns him to stay away from David Markham. Petrovic feigns outrage, but then orders his driver to take care of Duncan. They fight, MacLeod beats him up easily, and then warns Petrovic again to stay away from Markham.

The FBI duo is moving Kinman and as they go to place him in a car, Kayla draws a gun on her partner, Frank, and shoots him.

Richie later informs Duncan that Kinman escaped. Duncan leaves to go find him.

Kayla and Kinman discuss their stories, as she is worried it might not have been wise to kill Frank that way. She concocts a story about Kinman taking her gun, and forcing her to drive him away, before dumping her. He decides that he likes the part about taking her gun, which he then demonstrates that he has done, shortly before he kills her.

MacLeod visits Markham and warns him to get out of town. Markham tells Duncan that he caved and gave Petrovic a piece of his business.

Kinman visits Petrovic and demands payment for his services. Petrovic tells him that he missed, got caught, and won’t get paid. Kinman reiterates his demand while holding a gun. Petrovic tells him that he’s a dead man, but Kinman responds by shooting him in the leg. Petrovic changes his tune, promises to get Kinman the money, but the Immortal shoots him several more times as a reply.

Kinman: Where’s the challenge in that?

Just then, Duncan arrives, and offers him a challenge. Kinman shoots and Duncan and misses. MacLeod mocks him, asking if he can beat him without his little toy. Kinman throws the gun down and they begin to duel with swords. After running Kinman through with a sword, Duncan suggests that Kinman close his eyes and think of England. Then he beheads him.

Duncan visits Markham sometime later to check in on him. He informs Markham that it was Kinman who killed Petrovic. Markham comments that Kinman is not human, and just continues getting away with murder. Duncan almost leaves it at that, but turns and tells him as he is leaving Markham’s store that Kinman did not get away with it. Then he leaves.


This was a really good episode. Kinman was a fantastic villain. He was such a stereotypical smug English villain, especially during the flashbacks when he got to wear 18th century clothing, and he did it so well. The twist with the FBI agent, Kayla, being his love interest was also masked well.

This show does not often put Duncan into a situation where he has to be thought a coward, so seeing how Adrian Paul handled that for Duncan was a lot of fun. MacLeod is anything but a coward, but he is willing to be thought one if honor demands it – even if that eats him up.

This episode also lets Duncan do something that he probably should not – namely tell a mortal that he killed an Immortal. Markham did not find out that Kinman was Immortal, but Duncan letting him know that Kinman was dead as tantamount to a confession of murder. Would Markham keep quiet if investigators ask him about it later? Maybe. But if not, Duncan can always just deny it and that would be fine. It was important enough to MacLeod that Markham knew justice had been done that he opted to take that risk.

My first main gripe with the episode is that Kinman is presented as being *really good* with the sword but we do not see why Duncan thinks so. Did Kinman beating a mortal in a duel, two hundred and seventy years prior, leave that big an impression? Further, when the duel with Kinman finally happens, Duncan wins it relatively easily. Maybe the perception Duncan had when he was barely more than 100 years old was not terribly accurate. We just haven’t seen him misjudge something like that before.

The other gripe I have with this episode is that Duncan is on the scene for yet another Seacouver murder and we did not get to listen to the interrogation from the police when they undoubtedly brought that up. “Listen man, you’ve been present for 25% of this city’s homicides over the last four years… what gives?” On the other hand, maybe everyone in Seacouver sees 10 homicides per year. Seacouver is basically the worst place on earth. I can’t wait until our midseason trip back to Paris.

Gripes aside, this episode was excellent. The period piece costumes from 1712 looked fantastic. I enjoyed the distracted yet deceptively sharp portrayal of Queen Anne by Nicola Cavendish. Duncan gets to deal with the tension of mortal justice and real justice, yet again, and this time he is on the real justice side of the scale. It was also run to see Richie processing how difficult these choices can be. The biggest thing that makes this episode work was the portrayal of Kinman by Peter Outerbridge. I usually enjoy the unapologetically evil Immortals the most, and he was one of the best the series has provided.

Good episode. Would recommend.

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