Sunday, December 8, 2019

Highlander: The Series 3x14 - Song of the Executioner

This episode is the beginning of a five-part arc and sorta the beginning of the second half of the series. From here on out the series really hits its stride. I think at this point the creators realized they still hadn't topped Band of Brothers from Season 1, so they...made another Band of Brothers with this episode. If that S1 episode is where the series showed what it could be if it reached its potential, this episode is where the series really starts reaching said potential.

What's the one thing that could have improved Band of Brothers? If it were a multi-parter, because wrapping up that entire story in one episode felt a bit rushed. As a result, this episode begins a new multi-parter that sends Duncan to Paris and introduces a new ancient mentor character, much like Darius was supposed to be. He might be kinda cool, we'll see.

We begin with Gregorian chanting music and stainglass windows in a theater, where...

Duncan and Anne (not Anna, of Highlander: The Source fame) are watching a production of Cats on Broadway.

Just kidding, it's a production of monks singing in Gregorian.

The audience is completely mesmerized by this performance.

The leader of the monks is Paul, who is neither a fighter OR a lover.

His main thing is how he's stuck in the past and hasn't caught up with the 20th century yet. He just took an airplane for the first time and is appalled at how bad the dialogue is in modern movies.

As Paul goes off about Immortal Problems without coming out and saying it, Duncan concernedly looks back and forth at Anne. JUST TELL HER ALREADY

Meanwhile, watching all of this on a monitor is the secret owner of the theater, the vile Antonius Kalas.

"Oh yeahhhh. Nicccce."

After Duncan and Anne sod off, Paul senses a disturbance in the force.

Kalas shows up, and he's got a super-raspy voice. He also has a scar on his throat, the only place where immortals can get scars. It seems that he used to be an amazing opera singer himself until he was wounded by Duncan. We won't get that backstory until a future episode though. turns out that he now owns this theater, and personally booked the monks to sing here in order to draw Paul out. He specifically did this near Duncan's town to draw out Duncan, as well, and see who Duncan is close to these days. It was a diabolical plan to take out his two most hated people at once.

Kalas easily defeats Paul, who hasn't lifted a sword in years. This is what he gets for leaving the monastery to go on monk-tour.

Kalas does allow him to pray first...though he doesn't get through the entire prayer.

Meanwhile, Duncan and Anne are waiting for Paul to show up and Anne is getting frisky from their theater date, as she's never seen anything like that before.

She can't see Duncan and Paul being friends though, because Duncan doesn't seem much like a celibate monk.

That's our cue to go back! Way back! Duncan was born in 1592 and became immortal in 1627, so he's been alive for about 66 years at this point and been immortal for about 31. He still doesn't quite know what's going on, as he stumbles into the monastery of...

...PAUL...HEYM sorry. All immortals are welcome here on holy ground if they want to avoid all of the problems of the outside world.

Duncan is covered in dirt and doesn't trust anybody here, but he was told by noted immortal Peter Hale that it was a safe place for their kind where people would stop trying to kill him.

Other monk Timon asks for Duncan's sword and Duncan is all "no way pal"

Another monk here is Kalas, seen here singing with a beautiful singing voice. Not at all like his raspy modern voice.

Duncan is wowed by the beauty of the singing. However, he's concerned because there's no sign of Peter Hale, who he was supposed to meet here. They tell him that Peter already left the shrine and disappeared, which Duncan finds suspicious.

In the church mess hall, Duncan eats all hunched over like he's in prison and has to guard his plate.

Timon tells him about Macbeth, the latest work of that hot new writer Shakespeare.

Duncan has heard of Macbeth, but he hasn't read it. Shakespeare's a hack anyway!

Turns out Duncan can't read, so Timon is going to start teaching him. This "Duncan can't read" thing figures into a lot of early flashbacks, including the next episode after this one.

Next, Duncan peers at Kalas while he's polishing his sword.


Wait, what the hell is Kalas doing with a sword in a monastery?

Speaking of Young Richard, that sends us back to the present. He's thinking about starting a career in racing, because it turns out he's super-good at racing. You'd think more immortals would capitalize on their regeneration ability and go excel at pro sports. Except maybe football. We don't have any data on whether immortals heal from concussions and whatnot, since from the neck up they seem to be somewhat vulnerable. Or maybe it's just the neck.

"That's great" says Duncan, still pre-occupied with Paul's whereabouts. Which means Duncan is as enthusiastic about the Richie Stunt-Racer B-Plot as I am. Well, here it comes, whether we like it or not.

Duncan thinks someone got to Paul. This might have been the first time Paul left the monastery in a while. Duncan says he'd guard Paul 24/7 until he got back to safety, if he had to.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Anne learns that one of her patients just died, and freaks out. There's no way said patient should have died, and it looks like it was a medication mistake on her part that led to it. This prompts a visit from...

...the final boss of the hospital: The Patriarchy.

My God.

Anne has trained for this day.

The Patriarchy tells Anne she needs to think about getting a lawyer, and Anne LETS HIM HAVE IT. ALL OF HER TRAINING HAS LED TO THIS MOMENT! SLAY, QUEEN!

After Anne dismantles The Patriarchy, we pan over to see Doctor Kalas lurking nearby. This right here is the problem with European universities letting anybody become a doctor. If we don't weed out the poor and unattractive, how will we know we're getting the best doctors?

Elsewhere, some douchey guy just got fired from playing gigs at Joe's Bar. He gets in Joe's face while Duncan looks on relatively unbothered. This is how you handle trouble situations: Just sit there and go about your business, don't jump up and escalate it.

After the guy leaves (a lesser show would have had a brawl break out as everyone acts like uncivilized idiots) Duncan gets a mail...with Paul's cross in it. So Paul's gone, and the perpetrator even knew where to mail the cross so Duncan would find it. At this point he knows it's Kalas, so we go back to the past to find out why.

Duncan is coming along pretty well in Reading Comprehension 095, and he got rid of the huge beard to boot.

As he investigates the lack of Peter Hale, he visits his suspect Kalas. Here we see Kalas copying holy scripture, and we learn that one of his many talents is calligraphy. He can forge something with perfect accuracy.

Fun fact, in real life these two guys couldn't stand each other. The actor who played Kalas disliked Adrian Paul pretty much immediately. So they have this palpable tension whenever they're in a scene together.

In other Kalas news, he's over a thousand years old at this point, and was a renowned warrior in England up until he joined the monastery. In the present he's almost 2000 years old, which is pretty impressive. Not many immortals in the series are over 1000 much less older than that.

Elsewhere, Duncan practices reading with Timon. He's getting the hang of this Shakespeare.

Paul wants him reading more holy scripture, but he's more interested in reading drama and exciting tales of battle.

Timon leaves the monastery without telling Duncan, only to be accosted by a robed Kalas in the woods. Wow, this shot is creepy.

Duncan hears Timon left and goes to return his book. He's also concerned that Kalas is nowhere to be found, and thinks Timon is in danger. When he arrives on the scene his suspicion is confirmed. Unfortunately he doesn't have a weapon, and can't intervene.

When Kalas goes back to the monastery, Duncan is waiting to ask him why he's ambushing the monks as they leave.

Kalas admits to it, but says nobody will believe Duncan over him. Too bad for him, Paul was listening in on the conversation.

His name... is PAUUUUL....HEYYM-

But seriously there is a resemblance. In any case, Kalas is given the boot from the monastery. He points at both of them and says they'll regret it. This is the beginning of his downward slide in life. It's just the beginning of why he wanted revenge though. We'll get the rest of the flashback story in the next episode.

Back in the present, the cops show up at Joe's Bar with a warrant to search it for drugs. Turns out that guy Joe fired earlier came back and planted drugs. Is Kalas behind this?

Elsewhere, Anne is distraught because the prescription mistake that killed her patient was signed off on by her. She doesn't remember signing it and doesn't know why she'd do that, so she isn't sure whether it's actually her fault or some inexplicable mistake. They head down to the hospital to look at the papers she supposedly signed.

Doctor Kalas is the culprit, of course. It must be a big hospital because he and Duncan haven't sensed each other yet.

Anne says that her signature is definitely on the paperwork, but she didn't sign it. She's perplexed, while Duncan puts two and two together that it's a forgery by Kalas.

Duncan hauls Anne to see The Patriarchy while she wonders what this is all about.

The Patriarchy is caught off guard by the presence of a large man with his strong man-hands. If there's anyone The Patriarchy will listen to, it's a deep-voiced man.

Duncan asks Anne to write her signature a bunch of times, pointing out that it never looks exactly the same twice.

There are small differences each time, because of course there are. Meanwhile... the signature on the papers that caused the patient's death? It's an exact copy of her earlier (actual) signature on the same page.

"MEANING IT'S A FORGERY" says Duncan while everyone looks on in shock.

"My God. Now that a man with strong man hands has told me the truth, I believe it!" says The Patriarchy before leaving to play golf.

Duncan knows what's going on, but he can't tell Anne. She demands that he stop keeping secrets.

"If you walk away, we're done" she says. He walks away. He can't have her being a target of Kalas. The less she knows, the better., these two break up a lot.

Also a target: Joe. This is why Duncan can't get too close to people, because he never knows when someone from the past is going to show up and try to hurt him and the people around him. At least Joe knows what Kalas looks like.

Duncan ambushes that goon from earlier and makes him give up the goods on Kalas' involvement.

Kalas finally calls Duncan and challenges him directly, something Duncan has been waiting for. Time to settle this.

He's lurking at the theater, and wants to battle Duncan on stage. Look at the giant 1994 cell phone!

Joe warns Duncan that Kalas is as good as he is...maybe better. Well, that's reassuring.

How often does Duncan fight someone as good as he is or better? Once in a blue moon. This just got interesting.

Duncan arrives for the big battle. My question is...who is manning the spotlights?

The battle is joined! You can tell right away that they're evenly-matched because Duncan isn't having fun like he usually does.'s the return of sword sparks. When was the last time we got sword sparks? It's been a WHILE.

The battle spills off the stage and up through the theater stands. It's a good thing all of these sparks didn't set the place on fire.

Meanwhile, Kalas left a perfectly-forged note at the hospital to make it look like Duncan wanted to apologize to Anne, just to get her to the theater. Not sure if he wants to use her as a hostage, since he already summoned Duncan there, or if he just wants her to see what Duncan really is.

Richie, looking for Anne to make sure she's okay, sees the note. He's gotta get to the theater before she does.

The battle continues! This is a long one, to say the least. It isn't really up to the standard of some of the better fights in this season like Lyman Kurlow though. Not yet anyway. We'll see how their later fights go.

This one ends with Kalas IMPALING DUNCAN. MY GOD.

I don't think Duncan has gotten fully-impaled like this since he fought Grayson in Season 1. He grabs ahold of the cross-hilt with both hands to keep Kalas from drawing the sword out of him, which is a super-smart move. Note to immortals: If you get impaled, try not to let them get their sword out of you for the final strike.

Kalas gets his sword back regardless, and takes a moment to tell Duncan that his hatred of him is due to THIS. He lost his singing voice due to this throat scar that Duncan gave him on their last meeting.

Duncan throws himself over the side of the catwalk to keep Kalas from beheading him.

Anne walks in just in time to see Duncan fall to his "death"

First of all, ouch. Second of all...where's Kalas? You'd think he'd jump down and finish the job. Maybe he just wants to ruin Duncan's life more before he kills him.

Richie runs in and literally drags Anne out of the room while she screams a lot that Duncan is dead.

Richie talks to Anne about it and tries to help as much as he can, and she takes off.

Duncan limps out of his hiding place, having listened to the whole thing. It's important that she thinks he's dead, because she'll be in less danger now. I get the sense that he's humiliated at losing, as well. It's time for him to go back to Paris and get away from all of this for a bit, since he can't be seen here if he's considered dead.

Back at the theater, Kalas lip-syncs along with opera, no doubt reminiscing on the days when he could sing for real.


1 comment:


    Duncan's mail is sent to Joe's bar?

    Man, Kalas is a dick.