Highlander (Season 4, Ep 82): Methuselah’s Gift

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.


After Amanda is nearly killed by mortals wielding a sword, she runs to Duncan for help. Working together, they figure out that the men trying to kill her are after her crystal necklace – the last piece of the Methuselah Stone. Based on this, they realize that her attackers must be Watchers. Amanda decides to steal the other pieces of the Stone from inside of the Watchers’ Western Europe headquarters. When she arrives, she finds Methos also trying to steal the Stone.

She assumes that he is the one who sent the mortals to kill her. After some intervention from Duncan, a fight, and a conversation, we learn that Methos wants the Stone to try to save Alexa’s life. Amanda agrees to help him. Their second attempt to steal the other pieces of the Stone from Watchers HQ succeeds, but Methos is captured. Amanda agrees over the phone to trade the Stone for Methos, but at the meetup on a bridge over the river, Duncan intervenes, a fight breaks out, the bad guy Watchers die, and the Stone’s pieces are lost into the water below. A brokenhearted Methos returns to Switzerland to be with Alexa as she dies.


From Highlander Wiki:

Amanda is attacked by a band of mortals armed with a sword. Frightened, Amanda enlists Duncan MacLeod‘s help to find out who is searching out the shard holders. She decides to steal the portion of the Stone held by the Watchers, only to stumble across Methos, who had the same idea, with the crystals in hand. Furious, Amanda jumps to the wrong conclusion, assuming he is taking Luther’s path, and attacks him, setting off alarms. The two escape without the crystals, but Amanda continues to suspect Methos. MacLeod sets a meeting with Methos to ask him about it, but when he tells him that Amanda suspects him of trying to kill her and asks him to deny it, he is obviously hurt and leaves without giving MacLeod a definitive answer, only a look that says MacLeod should know the answer already.

A meeting between Amanda and Methos is arranged, but Amanda is attacked again, en route, and when Methos shows up as arranged, she is convinced Methos set her up, and she attacks him. He tries to warn her off, but after a brief fight, Methos, furious, easily disarms her. She came very near losing her head to the angry ancient, but he throws his sword aside in frustration and in no uncertain terms tells Amanda she understands nothing, his only interest is to save Alexa, suffering through her last days. Ashamed of herself, Amanda apologizes and the two agree to work together to recover the rest of the Stone.

Their second burglary goes worse than the first, Watcher chief, Nathan Stern, had increased security around the Stone after the first attempt. Amanda is surprised by the Watchers, while Methos struggles with Stern and is fatally shot, Amanda flees with the stone and Methos awakens to face the horrified Stern who is aghast to find that a trusted Watcher is actually an immortal. Stern seriously considers beheading Methos but, Daniel Geiger intervenes, suggesting the Stone in immortal hands is a far greater danger than an immortal disguised as a Watcher.  Stern agrees and they decide to use Adam Pierson as a trading chip to recover the Stone.

A rendezvous with Amanda is arranged on a bridge. At the rendezvous Geiger murders Stern and demands the stone, revealing himself as the man behind the mortal thugs who had attacked Amanada. With Amanda’s shard, Geiger manages to assemble the crystals which morphed into a multifaceted stone.  When he orders the immortals killed, MacLeod sets off explosives, while Amanda and Methos attack the thugs nearest them.  Amanda liberates a weapon from her attacker and shoots Geiger, who falls into the river scattering the crystals.


This is an Adrian Paul directed episode and I thought it was great. The fact he was directing probably explains why Duncan took such a backseat to Methos and Amanda in the story.

Duncan has a relationship (kind of?) with Rachel MacLeod. It ends. Amanda arrives immediately after. This is the third or fourth time in the series that this pattern has repeated. Is Amanda having Duncan watched?

The show delves back in the direction of magic again. On the one hand, it makes sense to add a sorcery element to a swords show which features Immortal people. On the other hand, as weird as it is to write this, I feel like the introduction of more and more magic removes a sense of groundedness from the series. At least in this case, though, it’s not *new* magic to the show and this time they tie it into the existing canon of the actual world (Methuselah from the Bible.)

There were a couple of really good things about this episode, but it has some weak points, too. My biggest story gripe is that two separate people – Methos and the Watcher, Geiger – decide to go after the Methuselah Stone, simultaneously, for different reasons. That’s too big a stretch to be plausible, so allow me to insert some head canon of my own creation. It makes more sense that Methos somehow manipulated Geiger into pursuing the Stone, while using himself as a compelling back-up plan in the event that this fails. That would explain Geiger saving Methos when the other Watcher wanted to kill him. If we also assume that Methos views MacLeod winning “the Game,” as important, then he might view Amanda as a person who lessens the likelihood of Duncan’s long term survival. Killing Amanda and saving Alexa could have been a two birds with one stone plan.

The other weak point of the episode is Geiger, the young, puffed up Watcher, as the bad guy. He joined the Watchers to figure out how to become Immortal, too? That’s not how it works, as far as I know. But like I said in my head canon paragraph, his motivations make more sense if you imagine that he was manipulated into his efforts by the 5,000 year old Methos.

The best part of the episode? Hands down, Peter Wingfield’s monologue about mortality was the highlight of the episode.

Methos: Three weeks ago, we were standing on a beach in Santorini watching the sun rise on the Mediterranean. Now she’s lying in a hospital in Switzerland, breathing through a tube. You think it’s courage to do what we do? Face another Immortal with a sword, knowing only one of you will live? You try being her! You try living one year knowing that your time is running out, knowing that when it comes to the final fight, however much you train, whatever tricks you have,

One of the undercurrents of this series (and franchise), that makes it compelling, is the careful way it depicts Immortality. Sometimes it’s treated as an incredible gift. You get to see things and do things that normal mortals cannot. It is often treated as a curse. Being Immortal means never having children, and watching everyone and everything that you love die. In that monologue scene I quoted above, we see how painful it is for Methos, five thousand years old, to experience the brevity of mortality. This is of course one of the things about the character that makes Methos compelling. He is manipulative and cunning, the consummate survivor, but juxtaposed within that nature is a tenderness and veneration for mortals. Many other Immortals grow to feel disdain for mortals, but Methos goes so much in the opposite direction that he views a good Immortal winning “the Game” as being of paramount importance. That is what seems to drive him, both to survive, and to see people like Duncan also survive. The worst imaginable outcome would be an evil Immortal winning the game, because it would mean that person dooms humanity forever after to cruelty and darkness.

Inasmuch as my head canon reaction is that Methos might have been the hidden hand behind Geiger’s actions, I also enjoyed seeing him bond with Amanda. I think he now sees in her what Duncan has always seen. She’s not just a pretty face that always gets Duncan into trouble – she’s also a good person. It was interesting in turn to see Amanda interact with him. She is over a thousand years old. She rarely meets Immortals older than she is anymore. With Methos, though, once they were not fighting each other, she seemed extra-pleased to be able to impress him with her burglary skills. As old as she might be, she is very young compared to him.

There’s basically zero chance that Amanda doesn’t get scuba gear and search the river for the other crystals, right? She saw that they are actually magical. She won’t be able to resist. Methos will be back in Switzerland with Alexa and Duncan will pretend not to know that Amanda is searching for them.

So… why do we think Rebecca was cutting this magical stone apart and giving its pieces to her pupils? I cannot think of a good reason.

Overall, this is a good episode, even if I am not a big fan of other magic in the series. Peter Wingfield is great as Methos. I also always enjoy Amanda episodes. Amanda brings ou tthe best version of Dunan, in my opinion. The episode is moving back into the direction of this season’s big plot arc (namely the Watchers as a whole) and I’m looking forward to see what happens from here. There are now too many Immortals who know about their group. It’s mostly Joe’s fault, too.

2 thoughts on “Highlander (Season 4, Ep 82): Methuselah’s Gift

  1. Usually I’m GREAT at remembering TV shows, it’s one of my useless gifts, but even though I watched the entire series most of these recaps are new to me. I remember thinking once before while read “there was magic in Highlander?” As you say it’s weird to consider magic out of place in a show about immortal (aliens? Did they make them aliens in one of the movies?) swordsmen, yet somehow it is. If you had asked me before I would have said there were a couple episodes where they maybe kinda sorta imply something magic had happened but never definitively. Wrong again memory!

    1. Yeah. They weren’t consistent enough with the magic to make it memorable, but it shows up here and there. I think you could argue that the Native American guy who sucked the evil out of people was doing magic. It ended up with a Dark Quickening, so it kind of tied into the existing mythology in a loose way. This was the 2nd part of the whole “Methuselah Stone” saga. We saw the first part when they aired the episode about Amanda’s mentor being killed by her former student. I think the show leaned into magic more, as the series went on, because they sort of ran out of ideas. I know there are a couple pretty memorable “magic” episodes in Season 5. Duncan ends up fighting a Babylonian demon at some point, right?

      There was a movie that said the Immortals were aliens, but as far as I know that’s not considered canon. I always had the impression that the writers for the series viewed them as more akin to fallen angels or fallen angel offspring . They lean really heavily – thematically – in that direction. Maybe the movie and series explanation could be unified under an “ancient astronaut theory” type of umbrella.