Thursday, June 27, 2019

Highlander: The Series 3x09 - Shadows

This is one of the weirder episodes. In this one, Duncan discovers the horror of insomnia.




We start with this scene of Duncan playing piano. Joe says "I didn't know you played piano" and a somewhat-confused Duncan says "...I don't" before leaving the bar.

As Duncan walks out into the street, he finds himself stalked by a Death-esque monk with a sword.

He prepares for battle...and immediately loses. WHAT?

He snaps awake, swinging at the air and showing more fear than we've seen out of him since he fought Grayson.

Anne tries to get Duncan to go out, and he's just not in the mood. Turns out he hasn't been getting any sleep lately because of a recurring nightmare. Also, Anne may or may not be keeping him awake. We don't know, because we haven't actually seen them do anything. It's weird.

Anne fixes breakfast while Duncan...looks like he's playing some pocket pool there. Gross, dude.

Richie shows up with this random un-confident tall guy, who is apparently a music sensation.

Richie says he's gonna agent for the guy and he's gonna be a huge superstar. This subplot goes -nowhere-

Elsewhere. Anne and her fine-ass legs accompany Duncan to a Creepy Statue Exhibit, starring noted artist John Garrick.

Duncan stares at creepy statues and almost visibly grows a 5 o' clock shadow.

After a sense-off, we learn that Garrick is an immortal. He's also a mirror universe version of Egon from Ghostbusters who never became a doctor of the paranormal and had nowhere to channel his weirdness.

So these two go way back, of course. He wasn't always a Creepy Statue Maker...he used to be a witch.

Flashback time! England in 1665 is a foul place that reeks from everyone using the streets as a toilet and horribly maiming each other for not loving God enough.

Duncan tiptoes around like someone carefully crossing a heavily-marked dog park.

This is from his phase where he was super well-dressed while still being somewhat ill-mannered and unsure of his place in the world. I think he was about 120 at this point, and split his time between being a goofball and having threesomes with Rebecca and Amanda.

The witch-burning trials are in full effect. Here, a young woman and her cat are facing trial for witchcraft. It's implied that they're going to burn her at the stake. Wait, what about the cat? WE NEVER FOUND OUT ABOUT THE CAT.

Also, town weirdo John Garrick is in line for the executioner. Duncan tries to put in a good word for him, because even when you're immortal, being burned at the stake is no barbeque no picnic.

This leads to Duncan trying to talk on Garrick's behalf, only for Garrick to bellow that he's indeed a witch and that they cannot die. Yo, ixnay on the annot die cay!

Garrick then STABS DUNCAN...who of course revives, freaking out the townspeople.

This leads to Duncan also being declared a witch. WHAT IS HAPPENING

Duncan puts up the Too Sweet (woop woop) and hisses a lot until the townspeople run away.

He then rescues the young woman and rides off into the sunset. Wait, did he just leave Garrick there? And is Garrick mentally unstable? AND WHAT ABOUT THE CAT?

In the present, I notice that Garrick bears a striking resemblance to Dustin Hoffman. In any case, he gives Duncan this imp statue as good luck. Uh...thanks?

Duncan isn't too enthused about this, even though the statue is worth thousands of dollars. He leaves with Anne and her fine-ass legs.

But wait! The Nazgul from the beginning of the episode is here.

Duncan locks into combat with it...but it isn't even really there. This leaves Anne and other onlookers shocked as Duncan appears to fight the air.

The cops show up and Anne manages to talk them out of hauling Duncan away in an Animal Control van. The cop mockingly calls him "Bruce Lee" a lot.

They drive, and Duncan continues to twitch from lack of sleep. "I don't need a doctor" he bellows.

WELL TOO BAD BECAUSE YOU HAVE ONE. Anne is really starting to worry. Duncan says he needs to work this out on his own.

Duncan visits Joe and explains how he's hallucinating and can't sleep.

Joe: "With all the crap you guys go through, I'm surprised you're not all nuts"

Duncan then name-drops Darius and Constantine as immortals who have never wavered from being good guys. Still think we need more Constantine episodes. Oh well. Supposedly Constantine was slated to come back for many more episodes, until Methos caught on and they went with him as Duncan's ancient mentor instead. Methos was originally supposed to only last a couple episodes at the most.

Duncan hangs out with Garrick some more and they talk about how they're both mental. Garrick reveals that he, too, has seen the Nazgul.

In fact, he made a statue of it. He says it's a racial memory all immortals have.

"It's something...from the dark end of your mind."

His diagnosis? Duncan is afraid of death, and for whatever reason his mortality is catching up to him lately.

Meanwhile! At the B plot! Richie got the kid a gig at Joe's Bar. He plays music before a very 80's Miami Vice type crowd. I...I don't know what the point of any of this is. I mean, this is a weird episode in general.

Back at the A plot, Duncan snaps awake on a table when the phone rings. He was up late reading psychology textbooks, trying to figure out his brain.

The Nazgul is here at the gym, ready for battle. Duncan's fear of it pretty much ensures he can't win, much like how he was afraid to fight Martin Hyde.

This is about as freaked-out as he ever looks, outside of Martin Hyde actually. Man, he was really afraid of that dude. "Prodigal Son" was such a good episode, probably the sole 10 out of 10 episode in Season 2.

Duncan fights the Nazgul again and this time he actually gets the upper hand on it until it vanishes, leading to him swinging at the air like a madman.

Richie walks in and nearly gets decapitated by Duncan as he swings all over the place. His shirt gets slashed open and he was that close to being Duncan's latest victim.

This is easily the angriest we've ever seen Richie on the show. He's had enough of this, and says Duncan better get his head on straight. All he owes Richie right now is a new shirt.

Meanwhile, Anne breaches all kinds of laws by asking a co-worker to look up Duncan's medical history. She comes back and says that he doesn't have any medical history, aside from a couple of hospital visits for penis-injuries. "Bent penis, rugburned penis, the works."

Duncan and Anne go on a date while Duncan grows a 10 o' clock shadow.

When he finds out that she was looking up his medical history, Duncan very uncharacteristically flips out at her. "I NEED MY SPACE" he bellows.

He then yells at everyone else in the vicinity. I don't know why Anne stays with this guy at all. It's been one weird thing after another in the few weeks they've been dating.

Duncan practices Bushido to clear his head.

The Nazgul appears again, and Duncan yells at it that it isn't real, ignoring it until it goes away. He then becomes a Paladin and reverts to level 1 while gaining more HP.

Duncan visits Garrick, who tells him that he did the right thing and the key is to just not fight the shadow when it appears. Just deny its existence until it stops existing.

Flashback time as we finally see the end of the witchcraft scene. Turns out Macleod really DID leave Garrick there and ride off with that girl. WTF, Mac.

This led to the townspeople burning Garrick at the stake, which he fully blames Macleod for. Why did he get himself into this predicament then? Macleod was trying to help him and he wouldn't shut up about being supernatural.

In the present, Garrick screams Macleod's name. Elsewhere, Duncan wakes up with a start. So...Garrick has some kind of telekinetic power to mess with Duncan's mind?

Duncan asks Anne to meet him...uh...by a polluted river and some broken fence. What is this, Lowered Expectations? He apologizes and she accepts it, but it seems like she's pretty underwhelmed with what's going on.

Anne offers him some pills that'll getcha f***ed up, man. They'll also help him relax and stay asleep. I think they're ultra-strength Xanax.

Duncan initially refuses because he's understandably anti-drug. However, at this point he's desperate to feel normal.

Meanwhile, at the B-plot! Still-alive Richie laments to Joe that the musician kid dumped him for another manager.

Moving on from that...uh...whatever that story was, Richie just casually mentions to Joe that Duncan has been hanging out with some Garrick guy. Talk about burying the lead. Joe says that Garrick is insane, and has been for centuries, and is definitely the wrong person for Duncan to be listening to. Surprised Duncan didn't figure out Garrick was insane back when Garrick was pretty much insisting that the townspeople burn him. He was like the South Park version of Mel Gibson, practically tying himself up at the stake.

Duncan lays around the house and paws at the Xanax bottle. He hasn't even taken any yet, he's just completely beaten from lack of sleep.

He tells Richie that if he loses his mind and attacks Richie, he wants Richie to kill him. Richie flips out, saying there's no way he's going to do anything like that, and that he's had it with all of this shit!

After Richie storms out, Duncan proceeds to take THE ENTIRE BOTTLE. I'm pretty sure that's not the intended usage. WTF?

Richie runs into the Nazgul downstairs, and is shocked to see the thing Duncan's been talking about (mainly that it's actually real). The Nazgul quickly knocks him out and proceeds up to Duncan's lair. Poor Richie, getting jobbed out.

The Nazgul arrives. Duncan is prepared for battle...on a full bottle of Xanax, no sleep, and a general unwillingness to actually fight because he thinks the shadow isn't real. Nevermind, he's not prepared at all.

Duncan throws his sword away and decides not to fight. It worked last time!

He notices Garrick's ring on the Nazgul's hand and immediately realizes who it is.

JUST IN TIME too, as he blocks Garrick's attack.

The insane Garrick reveals himself and says it's time to get revenge for Duncan leaving him to burn at the stake.

They fight, and Duncan's main struggle is trying to stay awake / stay aware. He keeps drifting off momentarily into dreams of the Nazgul killing him.

Finally, he gets a lucky swipe on the overconfident Garrick.

...that's it for this guy. SHIIIIIIIIIING!

Wait...hold on...not in the apartment!

NO! NOT THE TV!

There goes the wine collection!

There goes the cat!

I'M KIDDING.

I think this is the only quickening ever to take place in Duncan's residence. Not sure if he ever has to kill anyone on the barge.

Duncan is cured now and sleeping normally again. I...don't really understand this episode. Did Garrick have some kind of mental powers or what?

In any case, he asks Richie to get rid of that super-creepy imp statue.

Anne visits and it's a chance for Duncan to apologize for his recent behavior.

Anne, however...

...has had enough of Duncan not telling her anything, not letting her in on any of his problems. She realizes that he doesn't want her to know him, and gives him back his keys. That's when you know it's over.

Well, that didn't last long. It's a shame. Can't say I blame her at all.

::sad glass-breaking noise::

That was a weird episode, and I'm not sure I understand exactly what happened. Well, not all of S3 can hit high marks. This guy seemed interesting, just wish things had made a bit more sense.


...AND WHAT ABOUT THE CAT?


4 comments:

  1. That picture of Duncan in the title is something.

    You know there's an episode of DS9 that has that same piano setup, except it isn't a dream.

    I guess I can't say all of those "Duncan almost kills Richie" moments never had a pay-off.

    RIP all of Duncan's ancient stuff! DON'T QUICKENING INDOORS.

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    1. The only survivor of the quickening? That creepy imp statue. Dammit.

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  2. I thought it was interesting seeing Duncan vulnerable like that in the past/present and the part when he was slashing at air made me laugh out loud.

    Also liked how at the end Dunc shows a bit of regret over how he had to kill Garrick. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for what Garrick went through. I find myself looking for any reason to side with the episode's antagonist probably because I know they wont last long.

    I always think Richie is annoying when he's angry just like Counterfeit episode 1

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    1. That's an interesting point about the villains. I didn't realize it until now but I think I too was looking for reasons to be sympathetic with the last few villains (Brian, Garrick, the messed-up Obsession guy). I make jokes about Duncan being the real villain of the show but sometimes it doesn't seem too far off when he's playing executioner for (or at least beating up) all these other people who went down a bad path.

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