Last time: I wanted a buddy movie with Slan and the Kurgan. Also, we bade Connor a temporary farewell, to which he probably responded by looking at us bleakly.
40. A very brief tour of the early seasons. Also, recipe for a series.
The last time I watched Highlander: the Series with any regularity, I was also working my way through a friend’s collection of James Lee Burke novels. It took longer than I like to admit to see that the show and Burke’s Dave Robicheaux mysteries have the same formula:
- The hero is a helpful man with an occasionally spotty past;
- Someone from that past surfaces unexpectedly, and the viewer/reader is treated to flashbacks;
- This causes trouble for the hero, either because the old friend is evil or because the old friend has attracted the attention of other people who are. There will be a fight.
This sounds tedious in list form, but it’s my kind of formula. I love shows in which the episodes are variations on a theme: Le Monstre de la Semaine, c’est moi, as Louis XIV might’ve said had he watched Kolchak. The Problematic Immortal of the Week serves just as well, and includes recurring bad guys like Xavier St. Cloud (Roland Gift, as though having that Fine Young Cannibals song carved into the hard drive of our brains wasn’t evil enough), amoral thief Amanda—a character who would eventually get her own spinoff—and friends of Duncan’s like Hugh Fitzcairn (Roger Daltrey).
The second season introduces the Watchers, who keep tabs on immortals, and Duncan’s in particular, Joe Dawson (played by Jim Byrnes, who I’ve loved since Wiseguy, for heaven’s sake). How great is Dawson? he gets to do the opening-credits narration, that’s how great. He owns a bookstore, he is full of esoteric knowledge, and he can kick no small amount of ass. If the whole Highlander universe had to come down to one character surviving, I would, albeit regretfully, choose him—sorry, Rachel from the first movie, you’re number 3.
The nice thing about the series is that they go to the trouble of hammering out answers to some of the questions the first movie raises, like what happens when an immortal is killed by mortals or by non-sword means, what happens when ordinary people find out about the whole Gathering/ruler-of-the-world thing (spoiler: nothing good), and how much trickery plays a part in the duels. It’s a great fleshing out of hundreds of little what-if scenarios.
Also, more or less in order:
- Duncan moves to Paris and lives on a houseboat(!);
- Evil Watchers!;
- Tessa dies;
- Richie doesn’t, because Richie is immortal, because whhhhhyyyyyyyy???;
- Duncan acquires a dojo;
- Sheena Easton turns up briefly.
As unnatural as it seems to break an overview in the 3/4-point of a season, the Big Bad of season 3, Kalas, brings us to a sort of turning point in the series—more on that later.
Next time: No idea. It’s been a crazy week.
Next time on TCBOM!: It’s a really old guy who wants to be left alone! Now we can start the party? Or, Dial M for Ethos.