There Can Be Only Monday! Talking About Highlander…A Lot, Part 25

Last time: I put my fingers in my ears and said, “La la la I can’t hear any really sappy songs, how about you?” until it was over.

25. Maybe I do have something in common with the Highlander other than chronic ennui. Too bad it’s at the end of the next paragraph…

On a picturesque bridge, Connor encounters a cheerful immortal man dressed like popular interpretations of Jesus. This would be Sunda Kastagir, an old friend. Why do I feel like Connor is the dullest person in all his relationships?

They reach as if for their swords. Connor comes out empty-handed; Kastagir has a flask. Then they hug. If this whole there-can-be-only-one thing were democratically decided by the ruled (us), I suspect Kastagir would win, because a guy who can look at the Gathering and say “I think we should have a party” is the guy you want ruling the world.

It can be hard to pick out amid the swinging swords, but I’ve often thought Highlander is in part an exploration of the nature of God—the premise sort of demands it—and Connor is the deity we’re familiar with from traditional Christianity: not particularly interested in being visible, occasionally capricious, basically well-intentioned, but with no real plan to interfere in the lives of humanity for good or ill. This would make Kastagir more of a water-into-wine Jesus figure (or any of the many analogues available in mythology), and the Kurgan would probably be related to the Gnostic version of the Demiurge—he wants to rule, but something critical is missing.

Hey, not all of my referents are popular songs, or even my idea of popular songs.

But back to Kastagir, who is with us for all too short a time and who should probably buy a thick metal collar tout de suite. (That cannot possibly be a spoiler.) (Perhaps Connor has an antique diver’s helmet he could borrow?)

Connor sniffs at the flask. Kastagir says, “Maybe you think I’m tying to poison you.” If you’re starting to daydream about all the sneaky things immortals could do to disable each other and gain the upper hand, so am I, but the movie doesn’t want to follow us there—and with the Kurgan running around, can you blame it? That could get bad in a hurry.

Their reminiscences lead to another flashback, this one to the 18th century, when Connor is trying to fight a duel of honor while completely stinking drunk. He’s run through several times, bouncing right back every time, and eventually apologizes for the insult that started the whole thing and wanders away. It’s hilarious, but it’s more grist for my wounds-and-recovery-of-immortals mill, because I repeat: he’s run through several times. I just watched the 1940 Mark of Zorro movie, and granted that nobody in the Zorro film is supernatural, nonetheless Basil Rathbone’s character is killed stone dead by about three-quarters of anything that happens to the Highlander in this flashback.

So there you have it: from the sublime Kastagir to “Do Immortals Have Spleens?”. This movie is like that sometimes.

Next time: Speaking of the sublime to the ridiculous, it’s likely I’ll be looking at either Hitchcock or Bruce Campbell for Friday.

Next time on TCBOM!: One Kurgan, one explosion, one good time.




J. A.

It reads. It writes. It watches. It researches. It overdoes many of those things!

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