Friday, August 29, 2014

Highlander: The Series 2x16 - The Vampire

When I watched Highlander: The Source, I remember thinking that any episode (ANY episode) of the series would have been a better movie. This above-average episode would have been a much better movie. Hell, The Zone would have been a better movie. Slightly.

Whoa, this time around the title font has red splashed on it. Was this episode written by Paul Heyman?

Duncan is at a party, hob-nobbing with The 1%. It must be pretty cool to be able to spend all of your time hob-nobbing at parties with your massive amount of money.

Some woman flirts with him a lot but he isn't into it. You're too old for Duncan, lady! He likes 'em not looking like they've been through two divorces. HAW!

Duncan finds the body of a murdered guy in the pool with two tooth holes in his neck. Our hero goes to investigate and- WAIT WTF IS THAT IN THE BACKGROUND HOLY SHIT

Flashback, as our hero remembers being in a town where a "vampire" was on the loose. Vampire on the loose!

Behold... Muttonchops McGee. I like the cut of his jib. That look on his face says that those quakers wronged him and he shall HAVE VENGEANCE!

A body is found with two tooth-marks in his neck, and...


More fun with Muttonchops McGee. Duncan doesn't believe that an actual vampire (or "vampyr" as Rupert Giles would say) is behind the murder, because he sensed an immortal around the time that it happened.

The immortal in question is goth extraordinaire and professional Spike cosplayer, Nicholas Ward. Duncan suspects him of being "the vampire killer" because... well... I mean... I'm not for judging books by their covers, but look at this dude. Seriously. Come on.

We the audience don't have to wonder for long, as Ward kills Muttonchops McGee with a weird hook device that puts two holes in the neck. The heroic McGee holds up a cross, to no avail.

Back in the present, Ward is a fairly successful rock musician, and he's planning to marry this supple lady. Not sure why she's into him, given what a creep he clearly is.

::thinks back to a few seconds ago::

Successful rock musician? ...OH.

Flashback time again, as Duncan confronts Ward with his suspicions. Ward, of course, denies everything and plays dumb.

Duncan talks to Ward's girlfriend in an attempt to warn her that he may not be all he appears.

She responds by turning into a hideous she-banshee! RUN, DUNCAN!

Meanwhile, the town vampire hunter actually manages to catch Ward in the act and subdue him. He then stakes him, and that should be the end of the vampire.

Of course, then he turns his back on the vampire corpse and it, of course, comes back to life.

Ward kills the guy with his own stake! My God!

Duncan (in Jack the Ripper costume) confronts Ward in an alleyway and the fight is on!

The battle goes until passing townspeople interrupt. For the most part it was going Duncan's way, but there was a moment where Ward got a good stab in.

Back in the present, we are reminded that Paris is very misty.

Duncan finds out where Ward is and speeds through traffic to get to him before he kills more people.

A CHASE SCENE~! follows, as Duncan leaps out of second-floor windows and Ward shimmies away.

Duncan ends up getting knocked down a slope and Ward makes his escape. With the murdering aspect of this episode, it's almost like an S1 Cop Show plot. However, the quality is of S2 level.

Ward with the babe he's going to marry. This still makes no sense to me, given that she's a supple Frenchwoman and he's... well... ah... I mean, I'm not for judging boox, but look at the guy. Seriously.

Duncan interrupts the love-fest and goads Ward into stepping out with him. Meanwhile, the supple Frenchwoman probably saw Duncan and went "Mon Dieu, what am I doing with THIS guy".

They go out to an empty racetrack and THE CLASH BEGINS! And by that I mean the clash of their outfits. Well played.

They bound down opposing steps! It's good versus evil! Behold the duality!

A Grayson moment follows as Ward gets the better of Duncan, briefly. He didn't dominate anywhere near as much as Grayson did, though.

Duncan even does the same behind-the-back parry, then counterattacks.

SWING. Fight is over now.

One of the better Quickenings in the series follows, as the racetrack EXPLODES.

This is totally gonna make the opening credits in future episodes.

(After presumably apologizing to Ward's widow) Duncan meets Joe in the streets to talk about the defanged vampire who wasn't.

Joe asks Duncan if he wants to go out for drinks. "I only drink with my friends" is the response. WHY SO MEAN TO JOE?

In closing, this episode brings up one of the issues I have with this show. Almost all of the villains are introduced and die inside of one episode. Ward was a fairly compelling villain - with a lot of potential as an immortal who loved to murder and instill fear of the supernatural while doing it - and now he's gone already. More villains need to last for multiple episodes.


  1. Great review. But no love for the "Everyone's a critic" last line? Seriously, though, this was a pretty good episode. Loved the Hammer Films atmosphere of the flashback stuff and the effete, campy Ward. Very nice duel, even if the part where the two, well... fly down several stories safely to continue dueling was a little inconsistent (it's one of those moments where you just have to start singing "Princes of the Universe" and let it ride).

    But you bring up a good point about the one-off villain problem with the show. I caught some Highlander back in the day and loved it, but rewatching it now, its doggedly episodic nature sometimes frustrates. I'm hoping later episodes get a little braver in pushing story arcs (and it seems to be, with the Kalas arc, for example).

    1. Thanks for the comment. This show has so many opportunities for major story arcs, but they almost always opt for the one-episode-and-done route. Kalas getting FIVE episodes was amazing. I wish Evil Duncan had gotten a longer arc, as that had a ton of interesting potential.

  2. Oh, that's a pity. I only remember the later seasons in broad strokes, and I was hoping the Kalas arc was a new start (even on its own it's pretty damned good). So many missed opportunities. I wish they'd done more with some of the one-off immortals like Hyde or Cullen or even Ceirdwyn or Carl from Run for Your Life. Even Charlie never really went anywhere (and seriously, Mac, just TELL HIM already!). But that's the way of 90s television, though. Still a sentimental favorite.

  3. I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that long story arcs can often get way too heavyhanded, and don't mind one-off episodes that much; but if you end up always having one hero battling people and always killing them rather easily, and not really having much continuity / character development, it does play out terribly repetitive in the end.
    This, I think, was one of the reasons why the later introduction of more Amanda and some Methos into the mix was a good thing - there were more opportunities for character interplay, other Immortals getting their hand into a fight (like Methos in Chivalry), potentially letting people go (even if that did not happen that often in the end) or even playing with other aspects of being Immortal completely. (Some of the best episodes - at least in my opinion - actually have no Big Bad. Or the Big Bad has a lot to do with being Immortal other than just the fact they end up beheaded at the end.)
    Oh, and also because it is more fun to have some people play foil to Duncan's Big Hero and bring him down a few notches. In the first seasons, they could have done that with Richie and the mortal characters, but it seems like they were afraid to do that at the time, and especially poor Charlie ended up being really badly used because of it.

    There's a lot of wasted potential floating around with most things Highlander. Like the later films...

    It's funny that the actor from this episode later played Robert Whatshisname in Till Death, which just might be my favourite episode of Highlander of them all (I think precisely because it deals with another aspect of being Immortal and does so in a very fun way). He was good, to have them bring him back and play two quite different characters, and at first I did not even realise. Maybe they really should have done more with him.

    1. Till Death is a really good one. There are a few actors who got to play multiple roles throughout the series. For instance, the bad guy in Duende also plays another immortal a couple seasons earlier. The guy from Bad Day in Building A shows up as an immortal cult leader in an S5 episode. And of course, Kronos' actor plays an unrelated immortal in one episode of The Raven (one of the few passable episodes).

    2. Oh, right; I guess some of the episodes don't stick so much with me, and also I don't think I've still seen them all, now that I think about it...
      I've only watched the episode of The Raven that brought back Jan Triska, because of Jan Triska. :D And even though Jan Triska's still good, I could see why everyone ignores The Raven... it didn't have half the impact The Valkyrie did.

  4. Duncan also doesn't believe a vampire is behind the murder because vampires don't exist! ...even in this world full of immortals.

    Duncan's finishing move! Yes!

    Joe, I don't think he's that into you.