Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Highlander: The Series 3x15 - Star-Crossed

This is one of my favorite episodes in the entire show, as Fitzcairn returns for more shenanigans. Fitz is, of course, played by Roger Daltrey of The Who. Or as the kids of 2019 know them: "The who? Are they on Tik Tok?" 


We get a "previously on..." to let us know that this is a continuation of Song of the Executioner. With Duncan taking a loss at the hands of Kalas, what'll happen next? 

Anne being held back by Richie reminds me of something... 

...and with Anne thinking Duncan is no more, it's time for Duncan to flee to Paris for a while until everyone forgets about him again. 

Ah, good old Paree. My favorite place, just about. It's just a little expensive, and there are obnoxious tourists everywhere. Man though, what an atmospheric location. 

Duncan arrives at the airport, sensing a disturbance in the for- 

-what the hell Fitz was like 4 feet behind him, what good is Immortal Sense if it DOESN'T WORK 

Well, here he is. Fitz, one of Highlander's greatest characters. When Duncan says he's here to avoid a woman who thinks he died, Fitz immediately questions why Duncan doesn't just tell her the truth if he cares about her. I know right?

Fitz may be a cad and a lover of women, but he tends to do the right thing. I'm not quite saying he's my favorite immortal, but he's certainly in the discussion.

Fitz then drives Duncan from the airport to the town center where his barge is parked. I've made that drive a few times and I don't remember this part! Since it's one big route going between them, I should remember it. Maybe they're using Orly Airport instead of Charles De Gaulle Airport. ...also Fitz narrowly misses multiple accidents on the way. Not sure if the joke is that he's a bad driver, or that because he's English, he's used to the other side of the road.

Looked it up, and it's possible this is actually on the main route. It could be the area next to the massive park in the southeast area here, which is home to the zoo and the Hippodrome. It's much more likely to be a back road though, which figures as Fitz probably doesn't know where he's going.

Duncan is vaguely worried by all of this bad driving, except that since they can't die it's "welp lol" 

Fitz cutting between cars! STOP GOING IN THE WRONG LANE! 

Somebody tries to run Fitz off the road at one point. Turns out Fitz has lots and lots of enemies everywhere he goes. 

We get a nice sunset as they peel through the countryside. 

...and crash upside-down! MY GOD! 

Don't worry, I can see their immortality! They're okay! 

From there, they just take a taxi the rest of the way. So much for Fitz picking anybody up. Enterprise Rent-a-Car should SUE. 

Duncan introduces Fitz to noted French leech, Maurice. He somehow got the barge back for Duncan after our hero lost it at the end of S2. Nobody knows how, and it was probably illegal. 

We get a sweet view as Duncan is back home yet again. This would be a good time for a Fun Fact: The reason the English drive on the wrong side of the road like maniacs is because during the era of horse-drawn carriages, the driver was expected to defend the carriage against the attacks of highwaymen. It was important that they be on the right side of the carriage so that their sword arm, usually the right arm, would be facing out and thus able to swing at their attackers.

This is true.

England (and everything they ever conquered, besides Canada) drives on the wrong side of the road... because it was the most effective way to kill their enemies while driving.

Never change, England. 

As Fitz puffs on a pipe, Maurice makes excuses about his illegal activities. At least he fixed food for our heroes. Unfortunately we're skipping the barge banquet, and... 

...going for a walk around Paris. Fitz tells Duncan about how he's in love with a woman named Naomi, and how he feels like he's awake after hundreds of years of being asleep. He's never had feelings about anyone the way he feels about Naomi, and for now, he's off the market. Fitz is of course a legendary philanderer, so him being off the market for women means my odds of getting a date on Paris Tinder just went up by about 12%. 

Fitz starts prying about the Anne Situation, and wants to know if Duncan loves her. Duncan isn't sure how to answer, so Fitz keeps asking, and doesn't understand why Duncan won't answer the question. 

Here's the culinary institute where Fitz is taking classes to become a chef. I wonder if this place is still there. I'll give them a call and find out, as soon as I figure out how French telephone numbers work. NO AREA CODE? 

Here's Fitz's paramour, the beautiful and talented chef Naomi. She's currently being accosted by this other chef who she once had a very brief fling with. He's obsessed and wants her to give him a chance. 

Fitz and Duncan arrive at the kitchen, where Fitz continues to sing the praises of Naomi while Duncan tries bites of the food. There are so many health violations going on here. 

 The Other Guy grouses about Naomi's "English boyfriend" and Fitz is all like "HELLO"

Duncan can see that they've got problems, so he sorta just stays back and out of it. No drama plz

Fitz calls him "old chum" and the guy is all "I AM NOT YOUR CHUM." 

He swings at Fitz and gets put in an ARM-BAR, as they continue to rampantly violate food safety codes. 

Duncan steps in when the guy attacks with a spatula, holding him back. Fitz then flies in with a punch of his own, clocking Duncan. 

"THIS IS RIDICULOUS" says Naomi when reached for comment. I mean, it really is.

After the covetous Frenchman sods off, Fitz and Naomi smooch a bit. She has to go teach a class (that's right, Fitz is Hot For Teacher), which leaves us with time for a flashback:

We go back to the land of Italy, where the sex is almost as constant and passionate as it is in Spain. The Prince (who looks a little old to be The Prince) is upset because his voluptuous and succulent daughter might not be saving her virginity for marriage and he suspects she's trying to fool around with some goon that works for a rival nobleman. That's nearly as big of a slight as being smacked with the back of a glove!

Indeed, rumor has it...she went on a date. Scandalous! So, The Prince hires Nearby Scot Duncan Macleod to guard her.

First of all, hiring a lad like Duncan to hang out with a horny young woman and make sure she doesn't have any sex, well, seems counterproductive. Is this guy just not thinking?

She's been getting love letters from some suitor, and the Prince is outraged. Duncan pretends he can read it and is also outraged. This is a few years before the flashback in the previous episode where he learned how to read at the abbey.

Duncan brings the letter to a guy who CAN read and bribes him to tell him what it says so he doesn't have to look like an idiot around the Prince. The guy snickers a lot while reading the extremely dirty letter, saying that it gets too raunchy to repeat. The point is, the end of the letter says where the secret admirer wants to meet the daughter, and when, so Duncan heads off to interrupt their get-together.

 Of course, the secret admirer is Fitz, who is madly in love with this girl half his age (well...a LOT more than that, but physically speaking). She informs him that her father has hired a swordsman to protect her, and Fitz is in danger as a result.

 They (God, she's cute) are interrupted by the arrival of...

...Duncan, who is still taken aback by encounters with other immortals. He doesn't have any beef with Fitz, though he can't let Fitz carry on with the girl. That's right, he's basically Virgin Alarm. Well, not all of his jobs have been dignified.

The Daughter: "omg, are you fighting over me?"

Fitz: "Hold on, my love. It will take me only a moment to dispose of this...this...Fop."

The battle is joined! Both guys are really good, even at this point in time, and it's about even. Duncan was a fencer and soldier well before he became immortal, plus Fitz has a couple hundred years on Duncan at this point.

They're interrupted by a random Town Guard telling them that they can't fight here, and asking if they can read all of the signs that say no fighting allowed. Neither of them noticed those signs because they can't read. That's right, Duncan isn't the only one who can't read! Which brings us back to the present, as...

...Fitz and Naomi cuddle up around their latest dish. NO HAIRNETS? The health code continues to be violated!

"NOTHING" they say as someone barges into the room.

Behold, it's the nefarious cook, and he's packing a firearm. This is definitely the way to show Naomi that you're a winner and a better option than her current choice!


"Jealousy is only a love of oneself" Fitz says, after asking if he really loves Naomi.

Fitz easily defeats him and again gets him in an ARM-BAR. Now you're just embarrassing yourself bro.

As he leaves, dejected, he's approached by Kalas, who preys on the downtrodden and purposeless people in our society by making them his minions.

That's right, Kalas is here in Paris.

Meanwhile, over by Duncan's boat...

Duncan and Fitz drink coffee out of tiny French mugs. They also got the super-sized meal, which means a slice of cheese and four sunflower seeds. In any case, it turns out Fitz might have embellished a bit to get into the culinary school, and needs Duncan to hack into some computers to change his records to reflect all the stuff he made up.

Turns out Duncan knows a bit about how to break into computers, and gives it a go. Unfortunately Fitz quickly gets on his nerves about it and he gives up.

Problem is, Fitz wants Duncan to add all kinds of stuff to his file to not only back up what he's been lying about, but also to make him seem way more important than he is. He suggests putting in that he was a personal chef to Harry Truman (he wasn't) which bewilders Duncan given how long ago that was and Fitz's lack of thinking things through.

We get another flashback, as Duncan and Fitz both inadvertently admit to not being able to read. Turns out Fitz's love letter was written by the same guy who charged Duncan two coins to read it, and he only charged Fitz ONE coin.

Back in the present, Kalas has the jealous French guy go on the computer and investigate Fitz's history. Kalas knows how to get the information they need, and they quickly find proof that Fitz is none of the things he claims to be. Kalas has the guy call Naomi here so he can expose Fitz. The guy also tells Naomi that Fitz is a complete fraud. Meanwhile, Kalas calls Fitz and tells him that "they" know his secrets and that he better get down there right away. Fitz doesn't know who it was, as he hasn't met Kalas.

Fitz arrives to find the guy dead...and then Naomi shows up. Kalas is of course nowhere to be found. Naomi thinks Fitz killed the guy, because...it's quite apparent. She tells Fitz that they're done and that she can't believe he'd murder someone. Also, whatever the guy had found out about him, she didn't care, she never cared, and Fitz didn't have to kill him.

...then the police show up because Kalas called them in too. This guy is a master at ruining lives. Just a spectacular piece of shit.

Fitz then leaps from a window to escape the police. So basically he has to let a woman he cares about think he's dead, much like Duncan just did. Also, he didn't tell her he was immortal. What's with all the grief he gave Duncan about telling Anne? THE POT CALLS THE KETTLE BLACK.

Meanwhile, Richie is showing Duncan clips of his racing exploits, where he came in third in a noteworthy race last week. He's going to enter a contest here in Europe and try to make it big.

Duncan looks like he gives no Fs, which isn't the case. He's just got a lot going on, and doesn't know when Kalas is gonna show up.

More racing clips play on the TV as Duncan wonders whether Richie is really thinking through his efforts to get into the high-profile celebrity life of motorcycle racing, given that immortals generally try to avoid those kinds of things for obvious reasons.

"It'll take ten years before anybody even notices I'm not aging" says Richie while ogling the racing footage.

We mercifully go back to flashback, as the nobleman is pissed. It seems his daughter ran off with that vile Englishman because Duncan wasn't doing his job.

Duncan goes straight to Fitz's pad and finds the room a mess. The daughter chimes in with the cutest "Helloo!" I've ever heard.

Duncan tells Fitz that he should be ashamed for seducing this girl and taking her innocence. Fitz says that there's nothing innocent about the girl in question, and that he knows a virgin when he meets one. She seduced Fitz, and she's no virgin. Matter of fact she taught HIM a few things.

Duncan asks how this is possible, and Fitz points out that she has always been watched by "handsome, strapping guards" that her father hired because he's a dolt. I TOTALLY CALLED IT.

They go to try to appeal to the lord's sensibilities.

Unfortunately, the castle guards have strict orders to take Fitz's head, so there'll be no appealing to anything.

Duncan demands that HE be the one to defeat Fitz instead, and they have a mock battle where Duncan "kills" him. The castle guard leader guy is a bit of an ass, and still wants to bring Fitz's head to the boss. Duncan says that Fitz fought honorably and died like a warrior, and he won't see Fitz paraded around on a pike. If they're going to behead Fitz, they'll have to go through him. The guards back off, and Duncan takes Fitz's "corpse" away.

Once he wakes up, Duncan helps Fitz to his feet and they agree that Fitz's time fooling around with the nobleman's daughter is over. Fitz is permanently thankful to Duncan for saving his life here, and they decide it's time for them to go learn how to read...well, later, because right now they're going to go get drunk. Duncan didn't actually follow up on learning how to read or get it done until 21 years later when Timon taught him at the monastery.

Fitz laments the state of things while puffing on his pipe. His life here in Paris could be over for now.

Duncan asks what the guy who called him sounded like. When Fitz says "raspy" Duncan and Richie immediately know what's going on. Kalas is here, and true to form he's going after Duncan's friends first. Richie better watch his back.

The police arrive, as Fitz is now wanted for murder. Fitz slipped out already and dove into the water, while Duncan and Richie play dumb.

Richie regales her with tales of his motorcycle racing and she gives no Fs. There was actually some great attention to detail before this: When the police knocked on the door and Fitz headed for the exit, Richie immediately picked up Fitz's mug and chucked it out one of the windows into the river. It would of course have his fingerprints on it. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot. No doubt Richie thinks of these things first since he was quite the hoodlum in his day.

Fitz surfaces at the tunnel near the Bastille, where he's supposed to meet Duncan. Unfortunately, Kalas is right behind him, and has been following him all the way from the barge.

That's right, Kalas staked out the barge and called the police on their tea party, knowing that he'd flee and Kalas would be able to track him down by himself. None of this is explicitly spelled-out by the episode, and it took me two viewings to pick up on all of it. For instance, when Duncan asks the detective how she knows Fitz is there, she says "we have informants" and leaves it at that. Given Kalas' penchant for using phones to menace people, we can put two and two together.

What follows is a battle on what looks like a police skiff, with alarm lights flashing menacingly.

Fitz is really good, but he can't defeat Kalas.

Duncan shows up to meet Fitz here (which Kalas probably didn't plan on) but he can't intervene, because of that whole code thing they have.

That and Fitz won't let him. He knows now that Kalas is responsible for ruining his life with Naomi, and wants to deal with it. "My fight, laddie!" he bellows. It's the single most poignant line of the season.

Fitz of course loses the fight, and laughs at Kalas at the end to deprive him of the satisfaction of seeing his defeated opponent looking angry or afraid. What follows is a fairly gigantic Quickening:




So...if Kalas was already as powerful as Duncan, maybe a little better...this should give him even more of an advantage. Duncan is going to have a more uphill fight than ever next time.

There's a really powerful moment here that is easy to miss. Duncan can be seen in the background sitting down and slumping over while sparks from Fitz's Quickening fall over him.

Duncan jumps up onto the skiff and challenges Kalas, who says he isn't prepared. Of course, immortals are dazed and weakened right after a Quickening. Duncan is willing to stand here and wait until Kalas is ready to fight, because unlike Kalas he doesn't kill people when they're vulnerable and off guard.

Kalas says they'll finish this another time and breaks a nearby pipe to fill the area with steam so he can get away.

That leaves Duncan to stand here with Fitz and deal with what happened.

The camera changes to a view from above. Maybe the implication is that it's Fitz's perspective as he leaves.

That's it for Fitz, the biggest delight in this series. Well, not quite*

Duncan still has Fitz's pipe, because Fitz gave it to him before he fled the police (it doesn't do well in water).

Richie didn't really know Fitz, and there isn't much he can do besides let Duncan deal with this on his own.

Duncan looks about ten years older here as he drifts off into heartache. Nothing is going his way at this point.

Thus ends my favorite episode of Season 3. It might be the best episode of the season, though the episode before this, the episode after this, and the two Finale episodes are all certainly competition. Also the Brian Cullen episode, and the Samurai. This season really has some high notes (unlike Kalas himself, with the throat injury and all)

* - Fitz shows up in at least one episode in every season after this. Being a flashback-centric show like this means that even if someone's gone in the present, we can still see plenty of them in the past. There are several episodes that take place fully in the past and give us more of Fitz and Duncan's wacky adventures, and they add so much to the series.

Also noteworthy: This episode ties in directly with the final episodes of the show, where Fitz returns as a spirit to help Duncan get through a rough time. When Duncan blames himself for Fitz's untimely death and says it's all his fault, Fitz's spirit informs him that "If it weren't for you, I'd have died a few hundred years earlier. And all those years meant a lot to me."

1 comment:

  1. This really was a strong episode. Fitz is a fantastic guest star, and Kalas is my favorite Highlander villain. Not to mention it was interesting to see Fitz and Kalas fight with clunky broadswords rather than the more graceful katana/rapier duels the series usually featured.

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