Monday, March 18, 2019

Highlander: The Series 3x03 - The Revolutionary

Today on Highlander: It's Charlie's last episode for a while, as we deal with something that would be relevant today...or any decade: Armed Insurrections. It'll be a blast!


We open with actual footage of the Balkans on an old-timey TV. This part of the world was in perpetual crisis in the 90's.

A group of rebels led by noted immortal Paul Karros has seized control of some parts of this unnamed country, prompting a showdown with the dictatorial president and his military.

Here are some of the rebels, and By God they're the spitting image of the crew from Contra Force.


Paul Karros is the leader of this motley crew. He's got a K name, so we know he's the bad guy. He got to his exalted position as leader of the rebels by being unable to die, which in a lawless land is the social equivalent of a cheat code.

Here's Mara, a sympathetic journalist who is trying to help the rebels. Paul is angry because she hasn't gotten him on 60 Minutes yet.

Paul then shoots a government officer in front of his troops to show them that the government's forces die super-easily. He then waves his giant gun around with the safety off while he talks to them, which nobody in the scene seems to notice. Jesus Christ. If I were there I'd have been covering my groin the entire time like the minions from Spaceballs.

Next thing we know, Karros and his associates are in Seacouver to talk to American news media about their heroic battle. He should probably stay out of Seacouver. At this point every immortal should know that with Duncan lurking there Seacouver is like a Sarlacc Pit for them.

Speaking of which, Duncan and Charlie are en route to where Karros is speaking. You see, Duncan and Karros go way back. Charlie has only heard of Karros from his time in the special forces, and Duncan won't tell him anything. Oh yeah, Charlie was special forces. I forgot that detail. It's surprising he puts up with Duncan at all since Duncan never tells him anything he knows. Hell, Richie is way nicer to Charlie. Freaking Duncan.

Flashback time! Another detail I'm just remembering now: This is the first season to actually tell you the when/where of flashbacks as they start. The first two seasons leave you to piece it together or guess. The year is especially important. Given this series' attention to continuity, at this point you can stitch together Duncan's past from the flashback years and it all fits together. It's too bad the first two seasons don't have this small-but-important detail.

Here, Karros is at the center of La RevoluciĆ³n! Except he isn't doing it for the people, he's doing it for his own glory when he inevitably swoops in and seizes the presidency post-rebellion.

Duncan isn't happy about any of this. Why's he even hanging out with this guy? Because he thinks the people need their freedom.

A huge battle takes place. For real though, these two seem so mismatched that it's hard to believe Duncan considers the guy a friend. Then again Duncan is barely even nice to poor Charlie.

Duncan helps tend to the wounded, which was his primary role in other conflicts before this.

 He also talks to this nurse about whether or not the war is worth it. Also, Latinas, am I right

Back in the present, an assassin shoots at Karros and hits a priest standing next to him. I like how Karros is all "lol" while everyone else hits the deck.

Duncan chases the assassin...and gets shot in the chest.

Damn. Lest we forget that he's immortal, this would have definitely been the end of a normal person.

At a nearby hospital Local Medical Facility, we get our first glimpse of Anne the Sassy Surgeon as she tries to save the shot priest.

She barely even notices Duncan when he gets there, which instantly makes her interesting. He notices her though. She saved the priest, now leave her alone! EVERYBODY OUT!

Back at the ranch, Karros and Mara talk about politics with Charlie.

 Mara and Charlie hit it off...a lot. Russian women, am I right

Karros: "It's hard to imagine giving up being a warrior for all this comfort."
Duncan: "The boredom of my life would probably kill you."

Duncan thinks that the president is going to negotiate sooner rather than later, only to find out that Karros has no intention of negotiating and plans to keep the war going as long as possible.

Mara isn't too enthused with Karros' methods.

"It'll be the day when a skirt like you tells PAUL KARROS what to do!" he yelps. ...well, no, I made that part up.

Karros meets with his would-be assassin. Turns out he hired the guy to shoot him! Luckily he's smart enough to pay cash.

After Karros murders the assassin to cover up his false flag attack, Duncan goes to the morgue to see the body. All I can think of is how the wall is basically a green screen. You could put anything on it!

A Link to the Past's finale: Coming Very Soon. Will I get that last heart?

This morgue guy is pure comic relief, as he cackles insanely and makes jokes about the corpses. Presumably after the scene ends he drags open one of the doors and introduces Duncan to his wife.

Another flashback, as the dynamic duo continues to fight for the Mexican rebels.

But at what cost? Duncan finds that nurse he was talking to earlier, and she dies after saying the battle is indeed worth fighting. Karros announces that he's seizing control of the government and storms off.

There are so many more magical ways these two could be spending their lives than this.

In the present... Anne the Surgeon managed to successfully save the priest's life, and doesn't take kindly to Karros having a press conference about it in her hospital. She then turns around and bellows at the reporters that too many of them are white males! I did NOT see that coming!

"When I said everyone out, I meant everyone!" says Anne. "You cis monster!"

"We have a wonderful hearing specialist if you need one" she says before kicking Duncan out of the hospital.


Meanwhile, Charlie visits Mara to offer his services to the cause. case she needs someone watching out for her. DUN DUN DUNNNN!

Elsewhere, Duncan is questioning Paul on various things he's been blamed for while Paul denies everything and says it's all fake news.

"Your would-be assassin was found killed...with a sword" says Duncan.


At this point I realize that Karros has a striking resemblance to Michael Ironside, aka General Katana of Zeist fame. Will I cover Highlander II? I probably should. Tentative plan is to cover the rest of the series, then Highlander: Endgame since it functions as kinda the series finale, then go back and run through the first three movies. So, see ya in 2028, General. Which is, ironically, around when the movie takes place.

Next thing we know, Karros is confronted by the president he's been fighting against, who wants peace. Duncan is off to the side like "what now, 'foo" because he knows peace isn't his friend's goal.

Karros goes all-in with the act, however, and locks the president in the most aggressive grapple-hug ever. Now that the war is over, he's going to have to stage like 3 more fake terror attacks to get it going again.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Mara are hanging out. He's thinking about going back to the Balkans with her. Not sure if this is a bodyguard situation, a boyfriend situation, or both. It's kinda unclear and they never really show each other any physical affection onscreen.

Over a chess game, he asks Duncan what he should do. Duncan tells him to follow his gut, more or less. Don't leave for Karros though, because that guy's a fraud. Mara's cool.

We get another flashback, where Karros is having enemy combatants executed even though the war is over. This flagrant violation of the not-yet-existent Geneva Conventions enrages our hero.

Seriously, it's hard to believe they didn't already fight it out back then. Duncan looks like he's at the end of his rope with all the fighting. This is right before he goes off to become an honorary Native American, specifically because he was sick of all of the white man's shit.

Duncan's main point of contention isn't anti-war, though. He agrees with The War, but doesn't agree with Karros continuing it longer than is necessary. The rebels won, the government conceded, now they can affect real change, right? Not if Karros has his way, because he wants to storm the government palace, execute the president, and become leader himself. This will result in a lot more deaths, however. The same exact thing is happening in the present.

Duncan takes Mara to look at the body of the would-be assassin, showing her that Karros killed the guy and likely hired him in the first place.

She confronts Karros, and to his credit he doesn't immediately have her killed. Maybe he isn't as vile as we thought!

...he waits until later, planting bombs at her house. Duncan and Charlie figure this out and get there just in time to keep her from getting blown up.

Duncan actually spotted that microscopic trip-wire as the door opened. His Perception stat is TEN.

After that, they hit the deck to avoid a drive-by shooter, and Duncan senses an immortal watching this unfold.

Duncan follows his nose to the nearby dock, where Karros is brooding. It's time to get rid of this guy.

Karros uses a Roman straight-sword, as someone who grew up in the age of the Roman Empire. He was actually a Thracian, Baltic people who were oppressed by the Romans, which explains his lifelong obsession with rebellions and fighting governments from below.

Seacouver lurks in the background. It's worth noting that this dock is piled-up with guns and ammo that Karros is trying to ship back to the Balkans. He can't because of an arms embargo, which he came here to try and lift by getting fake-attacked. I never really touched on the weapons. Then again the episode didn't either.

Duncan wins this fight fairly easily, and has Karros subdued at sword-point. Very surprisingly, he doesn't offer Karros any mercy. Usually he'll only kill people if he has no other choice. I guess at this point, after he tried to blow Mara up, there just isn't any point in letting the guy go.

Instead of the usual SWING, we get a quick little Shhhhick motion as Duncan turns away and slices the guy's throat. That somehow seems worse than a big swing.

The third straight "small Quickening" follows, with very little electricity, and we get one of the more iconic shots from the show's intro. Interesting that the Quickenings have been so subdued in these first few episodes, not the explosion-fests of previous seasons. It's like they're saving S3's budget for the bigger episodes on the way.

But wait! We get one huge explosion here, as all of the ammunition crates blow up. That's one way to get rid of them.

This mushroom cloud is uncomfortably close to our hero. HE DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.

Back at the ranch, Charlie is packed-up and ready to leave with Mara for unknown new adventures. The war may be over, but he can help rebuild. Duncan is all "cool!" like Pete Davidson. Do you even care, bro?

Well, he does give Charlie a quick handshake before wandering off. #DuncanCares

Not even a hug, eh? I never got the impression that Duncan even really liked the guy, which is weird because they had a lot in common and had each other's backs for like an entire season. Also, these two were good friends in real life, but none of that really came through on Duncan's side.

Duncan puts up the peace sign. Fun Fact: This shot was edited out of Bush-Era airings of the show.

No, I made that up. But it wouldn't be very surprising, would it?

Duncan may be aloof about all of this, but Charlie looks like he's about to legit break down as he nods at Duncan and walks out of the dojo. This is pretty much his goodbye to the audience, though he comes back later on for a brief time.

I like the guy, but at this point there probably isn't that much for him to do. Especially with Amanda about to return and Methos on the way, but we'll get to that.

The real question is...who would willingly move to The Balkans?

Paul Karros: He saw some shit. I want to know more about his watcher, Oni Berberian. What a name.

All things considered, this was basically a better version of the Warmonger episode from S2. I mean it's strikingly similar. Check out that episode here.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Seacouver and Paris would be like death-traps by this point.

    Ha, I love that LttP picture.

    If I had a nickel for every fight at the docks in this series, I'd go get a sandwich.

    It's funny that Charlie gets shuffled out at the same time Anne is introduced. A lack of chemistry there would end up being an issue too.