Highlander (Season 4, Ep 84): Through a Glass, Darkly

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.


Duncan runs into an Immortal friend, who fought with him for Scotland in the Battle of Culloden, but the man (Cochran) has amnesia. Duncan figures out that the reason for his amnesia is that Cochran killed his student in a brief fit of rage at the other man, before immediately regretting it. The emotional shock and guilt was too much to live with. Duncan helps him get his memory back, though, and the episode ends with Duncan refusing to kill him, and Cochran on the run as a fugitive for his crime.


Duncan and Methos meet together at Alexa’s tombstone. Methos shares that she loved Greece, Santorini especially. Duncan states that she would never have seen it but for him. Methos confesses that despite knowing she was dying, for every moment that they spent together, he was still surprised when she closed her eyes for good.

Duncan: You know, the Navajo have a saying, the spirit lives as long as someone lives who remembers you.
Methos: Aren’t you a little young to be so smart?

Abruptly they both sense another Immortal. Duncan looks around until he finds a man he recognizes named Cochran, who shouts at Duncan to leave him alone and to stay away.


Eriskay Island, Scotland, 1745

Duncan and Cochran are fighting with Scots against the English army.

In the present, Duncan calls out to the man again, but Cochran turns and runs, shouting for help.

Duncan returns to Methos and explains the interaction, with the latter telling him that he needs to be paranoid about the encounter, suggesting that Duncan’s confusion is what the other Immortal wants.

Duncan: [exasperated] You don’t trust anybody, do you?
Methos: I find it safer not to make a habit of it — no.

Duncan says that Warren Cochran was his friend and that if he wanted to face him, one of the two would be dead Duncan says Cochran never walked away from a fight in his life.


Eriskay Island, Scotland – 1745

On a battlefield strewn with dead bodies, Cochran describes the death of two Scots, father and son, as glorious, adding quietly that he thinks sometimes he would give up his immortality to have a son. The two Immortals discuss the war, with Duncan more skeptical about their situation than Cochran. Duncan is worried that Prince Charlie is leading them toward a battle his army is not equipped to win. Cochran admonishes Duncan to trust his prince, and he states that when they are done, Charlie will sit on the throne of Scotland as the one true King. Duncan and Cochran toast to Charlie and then lead others in it at well.

In the present, Methos continues to warn Duncan not to take anything for granted. Suddenly a police car pulls up. Duncan advises Methos to leave. Alone now, he is stopped by an Inspector who tells Duncan that they have a man who swears Duncan attacked him with a sword. Duncan is asked to go with them, and agrees. We see Methos is watching all of this transpire from a distance.

At the station, the Inspector tells Duncan that the man who made the accusation has no identification and no idea who he is. While they are talking, the police learn that his name is Warren Goddard. Duncan tells him that they are old friends. However, when Goddard/Cochran senses Duncan, he points to him from a distance and yells that Duncan is the man who attacked him. The Inspector tells Goddard/Cochran that Duncan says that he is his friend, Cochran replies that he does not know him.

Duncan starts talking to him about his past and the fog seems to lift from Cochran’s eyes for a moment, long enough for the Inspector to see that Cochran indeed does know Duncan. But a moment later, Cochran holds his temples and begins shouting again that he does not know him. Duncan embraces him tightly and tells him that they do know each other and adds that theywere the best of friends.


Scotland – 1746
Before the Battle of Culloden

Duncan and another man, mortal, find Cochran lying on the ground with a huge dagger shoved into his chest. Duncan credits the deceased Cochran for successfully keeping English scouts from knowing that their army is coming. When the mortal man goes, Duncan pulls the blade from Cochran’s chest and he revives. He revives and asks Duncan if he got them, noting that there were thirty men waiting for them. Duncan confirms that he got them. Cochran is angry about English trickery, but Duncan retorts that the problem is the English outflanked and outmaneuvered them.

Duncan: I’m with Charlie to the death, but I see what I see. Open your eyes man. He may be the one true prince and the man that Scotland needs to believe in, but he’s not the man to lead us in war.

Cochran punches Duncan and calls him disloyal. Duncan draws a sword and tells him that no man on earth can call him that. Cochran backs down and apologizes. Duncan nods and punches him in the face. The two laugh together again. Cochran makes to rejoin the army, but Duncan stops him and reminds him that he has been seen dead, with a blade in his chest. Cochran protests about missing the right but finally agrees with Duncan, insisting that he will have ot fight for them both. They part, with Cochran shouting at him to bring them glory.

In the present, Duncan asks Cochran if there is anything that he can remember. Warren has a more recent flashback of meeting with another man about Scotland’s freedom, but tells Duncan that nothing he can remember makes any sense. He tells Duncan that he saw lightning. Duncan asks an officer in the room to give them a moment. However, at that moment, a woman walks in, says his name, and kisses him.

She asks him where he went, and Cochran replies to Duncan, confused, asking if he knows her. Duncan tells him that this is his wife. Cochran asks her if the police told her, and she says that they did, but that she did not realize the seriousness of the situation. Duncan pulls her aside and tells her that he is an old friend and asks if he ever mentioned him. She says he never mentioned Duncan. He asks when was the last time she saw him and she answers that he left on Friday to do some research in Normandy and that he was only supposed to be gone for a couple of days. She goes back to Warren, and then leaves with him.

After he leaves, Duncan goes to visit Methos, who is in the middle of rescuing some of his old documents from water damage after a Parisian flood. Duncan explains that he saw Cochran, and that the Immoral did not remember anything about anyone.

Duncan: I just didn’t think Immortals got amnesia.
Methos: Well, it can’t be physical. If he’s not faking it, he must have had one h*** of an emotional shock.

Methos asks how he reacted when Duncan told him what he is, but MacLeod answers that he did not get the chance. He asks Methos for information. He refuses initially but gives in when pressed. Methos asks Duncan what it would be like to start fresh, and suggests that it is a blessing, but Duncan says it would be until someone comes and takes your head.

We see Cochran, alone, staring into the distance and having flashbacks of the Scottish war against the English. He wife enters with drinks, and reminds himthat he was born n Killiecrankie in 1964. He stares around at the antiques and asks if they are his own, and she replies that they are, and that he has collected them for years. He stares at a painting and flashes back to fighting the English in the 1700s. She tells him that he writes travel books and that he left last week on a research trip.

Cochran flashes back to where he was a few days ago. He is inside a museum and tells a man inside that this is the place where they stood with Bonnie Prince Charlie himself, and that the place is where it happened. Another man answers him, saying that this is where it almost happened. Cochran says out loud that if MacLeod had not lost his nerve, Charlie would have joined him. The man replies again, though, that the English would have squished his army if he had., that there would have been 10,000 more dead Scots, and nothing would have changed.

Cochran tells the man not to cast away his birthright, saying also that if anything happens to him, the other man will be the one to carry on the dream.

In the present, Cochran tells his wife that he remembers marching and the clans joining together. He starts describing the scenes of the war to her. After a moment, he asks what is happening to him and they embrace.

Duncan and Methos argue over what to do about Cochran. Duncan insists that he wants to help his friend, while Methos says it is a mistake. When MacLeod points out that an Immortal who does not know who he is is a danger to all of them, Methos suggests luring him outside and taking his head.

Duncan: You know, I never know when you’re kidding.
Methos: That’s part of my charm.

He gives Cochran’s file to Duncan, which explains Cochran’s recent life, alias, and job. Duncan asks what Cochran was doing on his research trip, but Methos replies that Duncan over-estimates the efficiency of the Watcher network.

Cochran and Duncan meet later, and Duncan explains to him about Immortality. Cochran is incredulous and tells Duncan that he is crazier than he is. Duncan asks what he remembers. Cochran shouts the biography that his wife told him, but Duncan pushes back and gives him his true biography. Cochran shouts for him to stop it and asks him to leave him alone. Duncan angrily asks what he is hiding from and Cochran tells him that he does not remember. Duncan stabs him in the hand, and when he pulls back the blade, he shouts at the other man to look at the wound. Cochran watches on astonished as it heals. Duncan tells him that they have known each other for over three hundred years.


The Coast of Normandy – 1786

Cochran is with a younger man named James, waiting for Prince Charlie to meet them. We learn the prince is travelling all the way from Italy. Cochran tells the young man that without Charlie there is no Scotland, but with him, he can raise an army of 10,000 men in a week.

Duncan arrives and chastises Cochran for coming, immediately putting out the other man’s cook fire, and warning him that the English could have followed across the channel. He tells Cochran to send James and Sarah back home while he can. Abruptly guns begin firing on them. Cochran refuses to flee. Duncan follows Charlie up the road, as he searches out who is firing on them. While the two Immortals are gone, James and Sarah are both shot and killed.

The two Immortals kill the men who ambushed them, at least those that they found, but return to their camp to find James and Sarah dead. Cochran is devasted.

In the present, Duncan asks Cochran what happened last weekend. The other man flashes back to the argument from the previous weekend. The man he is arguing with tells him that he will not spend another three hundred years on Cochran’s lost cause. The man arguing with Cochran tells him that Charlie was nothing and that Cochran’s entire life has been for nothing.

With Duncan, Cochran sems to be remembering. Duncan pushes him to remember Picardy in 1786.


Auberge aux Arts
Normandy – 1786

Cochran tells Duncan that they are about to change the course of history. They met with Prince Charlie. Duncan is unimpressed, telling Cochran privately that he will not lead clans to their slaughter again for him. Cochran shouts at him that he is a traitor, and the two begin dueling in the dinner hall. Charlie shouts at them to break it up.

Charlie: If you my two most stalwart of supporters cannot agree upon my fitness to rule, howmay then the 10,000? I’m afraid this will never work.

Cochran begs him to stay, but he refuses. Cochran blames Duncan and vows never to forgive him.

In the present, Cochran says that Duncan is the reason their cause failed. He draws a sword and tells him that he betrayed both his prince and Scotland. Duncan protests that this is not the way that it was and he begs him to try to remember. We see the flashback play out again, by differently this time.


Cochran and Duncan wait to meet Charlie, who arrives drunk and barely able to walk. Cochran attributes tis to weariness from the journey. When they greet him, he’s intoxicated and paranoid, warning them to trust no one, especially the French. When he speaks to MacLeod, and remembers the MacLeods who served under him at Culloden, the prince attributes the defeat to bad luck. When Cochran offers to raise an army of 10,000 men, Charlie seems surprised, but immediately begins talking about the need for money to run a court. Duncan redirects him to the topic of the army. Before Charlie can address them on that, dinner is served, and he stumbles to the table, followed by the two immortals. Duncan tells Cochran that even if they can raise an army of 10,000, Charlie is in no state to lead it. The argument and duel that follows is largely the same as Cochran’s memory of it, except that Charlie falls over before they can draw swords. Cochran leaves Duncan to pick him up. Charlie begins crying and apologizing. Duncan tells Cochran that he will not ask men to die for him anymore.

Cochran in the present is heartbroken, muttering Charlie’s name.

Duncan visits Methos who has obtained more info on Cochran. Duncan relays his recent visit with the amnesiac Immortal. Methos tells Duncan that it is a human trait to remember things in the way we wish they would have been.

Methos: We rewrite history so that we can live with it. Ask the Russians. Come to that, ask the Americans or the British.
Duncan: Or the Scots.

Methos tells Duncan that Cochran left for Normandy with a kid named Andrew Donnelly, adding that his Watcher did not go with him because his sister was getting married. Duncan asks who Donnelly is, and Methos says he was Cochran’s student. Duncan asks where Donnelly is now, and Methos replies that nobody knows.

Duncan visits Cochran’s wife and she tells him that her husband went out and that she could not stop him. Duncan asks her about Donnellly and she describes the work he does for Cochran. Duncan notes that she does not like Andrew much, and she admits that she does not. Duncan asks where he can find Andrew, but before she can answer, an Inspector arrives also asking about Donnelly. He tells her that Donnelly was found decapitated in an abandoned Inn in Normandy.

Duncan overhears this from the other room.

He finds Cochran alone in the place where Andrew was killed. Duncan asks him what happened, and we see another flashback to their fight. This time we see that when Andrew insults Charlie that Cochran responds by killing him. He is immediately and intensely remorseful, even as he receives the other man’s Quickening.

Cochran: Andrew, he was like a son.
Duncan: And you killed him.

Cochran babbles that he knows Duncan must think he is a monster, and he asks Duncan to slay him if he is a monster.

Cochran: What thing on earth could be more evil than me?!

He tells Duncan that he should have left it alone and he should have let him forget. Cochran draws his sword and Duncan responds that he does not want to fight him. Cochran asks why not. The other man presses on, forcing Duncan to duel him. Duncan eventually disarms him and then refuses to kill him despite the other man asking him to do so.

Cochran: Please, I can’t live with this.
Duncan: You’re gonna have to.

As Duncan walks away, Cochran hallucinates that he is seeing Charlie and once again having the conversation about raising the 10,000 man army to try again against the English. He imagines a conversation where Charlie tells him that he will not join their cause.

[Note: the conversation happens with “Will Ye No Come Back AGain” playing in the background.]

Two weeks later, Duncan is discussing this with Methos, noting that a man who had a wife and a student two weeks ago now has nothing and is living as a fugitive. Methos notes that he is alive. Duncan wonders whether he should have left things alone and not made him live with it. Methos says that they all have things form their past that they wish they hadn’t done. Duncan asks him what he would do, if he had the chance to forget.

Methos: No, I wouldn’t. Who would remember Alexa then?


I really enjoyed this one, but I also thought it kind of didn’t work. The episode asks us to think about memories, both good and bad, and ultimately posits that the memories of the good people in our lives are worth the pain of the bad memories.

The acting in this episode really stands out. Dugray Scott (Ever After, Mission Impossible 2) was great as Cochran. Struan Rodger was also an excellent guest star, playing Bonnie Prince Charlie. You might remember him from his role as the Three-Eyed Raven on Game of Thrones.

Fantastic acting notwithstanding, the story of this episode did not really work. It makes sense that Highlander would do an episode about the Battle of Culloden, given the historical significance for Scotland, but the story gives us a huge emotional reaction without really setting the stakes properly It’s hard to feel Cochran’s grief and despair when the episode kind of just drops us into that moment without any preamble. I also thought the idea of seeing the same event twice (three times?), from two different perspectives, worked better on the screenplay page than brought to life on screen.

The best parts of the episode were Duncan interacting with Methos. I enjoyed the way that the 5,000 year old man grieved Alexa. I like the back and forth between Duncan and Methos, with respect to giving each other wise counsel. I also laughed at this exchange:

Methos: So lure him outside and take his head. Problem solved.
Duncan: You know, I never know when you’re kidding.
Methos: That’s part of my charm.

I also really enjoyed one other exchange:

Methos: [quietly] Boy scout.
Duncan: What did you say?
Methos: Nothing.
Duncan: Didn’t think so.

From a history-telling standpoint, this episode is not particularly kind to Bonnie Prince Charlie. That is perhaps to be expected considering that the man’s nickname in history is “The Young Pretender” and that his reputation in history is as a debaucherer and a drunk. It would be fun if Highlander ever did a proper explanation of the Jacobite Rebellion and why Duncan (and the Highlands) supported it so fiercely. We do not get that here, though. The military loss here seems to play a role in Duncan’s desire to begin wandering around the world.

I’m a sucker for traditional Scottish music, so I might like this episode a bit more than it deserves. They got me with the bittersweet rendition of “Will Ye No Come Back Again” near the end. The embed below is a different version, but also excellent.

All things being equal… I liked it.