Saturday, February 1, 2020

Highlander: The Series 3x16 - Methos

This is it, the long-awaited debut of Methos, the 5000 year old immortal who has seen it all. He's a mainstay for the second half of this show. Originally he was supposed to be a one-off character. That is, until Peter Wingfield played the role so well that the showrunners decided not to kill him off at the end of the episode. It was a good call, because after this episode the audience was super into Methos and it wasn't long before they brought him back as a series regular due to popular demand.

 This kinda looks like an album cover. Is Methos the band, or the song? Probably the song, since a lot of bands make their name huge on the cover.

"Methos" - The new hit single from rock band Nosferatu.

 We jump right into the Kalas antics this time, as he's hunting for the legendary Methos, the world's oldest immortal. Chasing Duncan to Paris had the fortunate side-effect of also lining him up to go after Methos, as Paris is the epicenter of immortal activity and Methos' current residence.

 A super-obvious Watcher is following Kalas around and quickly gets made. You'd think these guys would be better at watching.

 Kalas zaps him with electric shocks until he talks. He quickly gives up the info, telling Kalas everything about the Watchers. Kalas is intrigued by this and wants to know if they have information on Methos, to which the guy essentially says that they have detailed files. Well, not too detailed, because Methos keeps such a low profile that nobody knows what he looks like. They just know of his deeds and general location.

It's worth noting that Kalas didn't seem to like electrocuting this guy. When the guy refused to talk, Kalas got a look of disdain that he had to torture him. All he cared about was getting information. He's very much Lawful Evil rather than Chaotic Evil like so many other villains on this program.

 Duncan gets a call from Joe on his 1996 cell phone. He gives Joe the news that Kalas and Fitz had a run-in. Joe asks what happened, Duncan says "Kalas was better" and they immediately move on with little more than sad acceptance. It's a little bit of commentary on how "normal" this stuff is for them. People just get killed, and it is what it is, even if you've known them for centuries.

In later episodes we learn that Duncan heavily blamed himself for Fitz's death. Right now he's so focused on finding Kalas that I don't think he's really stopped to process it yet. It's more something that affected him long-term.

 Now we go from the interesting A-Plot of Duncan hunting Kalas and Kalas hunting Methos to... the very not-interesting B-Plot of Rad Racing Richie. This subplot takes up way too much of this episode and drags it down from "great" to "above-average" as far as Highlander episodes go. Even though this is generally regarded as the best episode of the current trilogy, I'd personally say it's the least of the three. The Methos debut is the main thing that elevates it, but it's hard to ignore the issues with everything else around it.

 Look at those racers go! TOUR DE FRANCE BAY-BEE! Which one's Richie?

 ...oh, Richie is the timekeeper. They're not letting him race, most likely because he's a Silly American.

This Ricardo Montalban looking guy is the Vince McMahon of French Racing. He's unimpressed with Richie's successes in Long Beach, and refuses to let him compete. "YOU GOTTA GRAB THE BRASS RING" he grunts.

 Richie then steals a bike and peels around the track at high speed, demonstrating his intensity.

 "Oh Yeahhhh. Nicccce." says the Vince McMahon of French Racing. It turns out he's also the Creepy Richie of French Racing.

 He tells this aging former champion guy that Richie is replacing him on the squad. I'm guessing this will come back to haunt Richie, because we can't have anything nice.

 Flashback time, as we go back to the Flapper Days of 1920. Women's flapper outfits were SO HOT.

 Duncan is taking Young Maria out on a date, even though he's like 15 years older than her (physically). Turns out her uncle just asked him to do it to keep her out of trouble, but she's excited about it nonetheless.

 She's an opera singer, and a really good one. So is...wait, what the hell? Kalas?

 That's right, Kalas is here at the party, and after singing with Maria they go for a dance. Duncan meanwhile just stands nearby glowering at this, because he knows what kind of person Kalas is from the monastery. Kalas says he's changed since they last met, and obviously Duncan can't get into any details to warn Maria about her new friend. I hope she doesn't die.

 In the present, Kalas visits the legendary Shakespeare And Company bookstore.

 There's a watcher historian here who has been heavily-researching Methos. Kalas found out his location from that other guy, and he's here for all of the information the guy has on that subject. Turns out it's a lot. Since this is already a bit like Terminator, I feel like there should be a gag here with Kalas asking for books that don't exist yet and the guy saying "hey, just what you see"

 Duncan, hot on Kalas' trail, arrives too late. The historian is already dying. Before he goes, he writes "ME" in blood. Duncan doesn't know what this means yet.



 Back at the B-Plot, racers are tearing around the track!



"This is some GOOD SHIT."

 One of the other racers, a German dude, befriends Richie. He and his girlfriend are going out and it turns out his girlfriend's super-hot friend really wants to meet Richie, so they set up a double date. Stuff happens, there isn't a match, we don't even get to really see the super-hot friend. The guy Richie replaced comes back, and he's upset, and there's some scuffling. This all takes up way too much of the episode, so this post might actually be shorter than a normal Highlander post.

 Joe calls up Duncan again as they try to figure out what the score is. He's like the Chloe to Duncan's Jack Bauer.

 They've pretty much gotten it figured out now. Since Kalas went after the historian tasked with keeping track of Methos' life - and given the "M-E" - chances are Kalas is after Methos. Joe explains that Methos is 5000 years old, and if Kalas kills/absorbs him he'll gain all kinds of knowledge and power and likely be unstoppable. Duncan has heard of Methos and always thought he was just a made-up story.

Joe says that there's another Methos scholar in the Watchers: Adam Pierson. He works at a nearby university. Kalas might be after him next. Duncan's going to intercept.

 More stuff happens, as Enrique (the guy Richie replaced) crashes his motorcycle drunkenly. Richie and his German friend feel bad now.

 Back in 1920, Kalas is romancing Maria with drinks. She was pretty into him at first, but he's coming on kinda strong. I think she was mainly interested because he was a fellow opera singer and they could have made some music together, but now he keeps trying to kiss her and stuff.

Duncan booked her on a ship to New York so she can study at the Metropolitan (even in 1920, Duncan was loaded) just to get her as far away from Kalas as possible, so she regretfully informs him that she's leaving town and they won't be able to sing together.

 Kalas gets upset with all of this and CHOKES HER. If he's this possessive of someone he JUST MET, imagine trying to break up with this dude.

 Duncan (w/ cape) arrives just in time when he finds out she's here, and interrupts the attempted murder in progress.

 What follows is a great little fight scene - better than the one they had in "Song of the Executioner" - where they clash in this lavish room. Highlights include Duncan sliding under a Kalas swing like Mega Man, seen here.

 He pops up and swings at the air. This scene is great.

 Sparks return here. Kalas Vs. Duncan is always spark-worthy.

 Duncan slides backwards along the floor while en-guarding Kalas, a shot that made it into the permanent intro of the show after this.

 Kalas throws Duncan through a glass window! It's Omega/Moxley all over again!

 After an aggressive onslaught Kalas goes for the kill and gets blocked, another shot that gets into the intro of the show for a while.

 Kalas is slowly overpowering Duncan here. He seems to have his number every time they fight. Duncan doesn't seem to do too well against over-aggressive opponents, as he also had a lot of trouble with guys like Grayson and Caleb the Mountain Man.

 Duncan reaches for a glass shard in a desperation move, and...

 ...slashes Kalas' throat, ending his singing career and sending him packing. This guy lived for 1500 years before this with a beautiful singing voice, and Duncan just ruined it. No wonder he hates Duncan so much. Basically means he's spent the last 76 years (1920 to 1996) rasping his way around, in his mind deprived of the one thing that made him great.

 Maria is okay. She should really get over to New York though. Duncan's friends are basically on death row.

Now that we know how Kalas got these scars, our hero arrives at the university for the meeting with Adam Pierson. It's worth noting that Joe called Adam and let him know Duncan was on the way, and Adam is interested in meeting the legendary Duncan Macleod.

He senses an immortal here, and probably assumes it's Kalas going after the same guy he is.

 In a room with topless statues (this really is France) our hero finds...

 ...Adam Pierson, who is ALSO METHOS. He's laying around on the floor drinking beers, which is a little laid-back for the Eldest Immortal.

 "Mi casa es su casa" he says. What better way to keep track of other immortals than to join the Watchers and pretend to be a mere mortal?

 Duncan realizes who he's looking at. Both of them have heard a lot about the other. Duncan is mainly just surprised that Methos even exists.

 A few minutes later Kalas arrives, only to find that our heroes already left the premises.

 The Terminator Menace Theme plays as he paws at things in the room and looks for clues.

 Nearby, they go for a walk. Duncan tells Methos how much danger he's in, and Methos assures him that he didn't get to this age by being an easy target. He the instantly kinda neuters his threat level by saying he hasn't been in a fight in about 200 years. He's still really good, though. Maybe even above-average.

 Kalas finds Methos' diary, which goes back literally thousands of years. I would pay a large amount of money for this book. The Highlander creators were sitting on a gold mine with Methos. I don't know why he didn't end up getting his own show. 5000 years of history to mine for flashbacks? Sign me up. In this show you very rarely go back further than the 1600's.

 Methos explains that he's actually more than 5000 years old. It's just that the 5000-year mark is about the first time period that he's definitely sure he was around for. He took his first head around then, and doesn't know how old he was already at that point. "It all just becomes a blur after that" he says.

Very, very few immortals are even close to this guy in age. Kronos is at least 3500, Kurgan is about 3000, Grayson and Kalas are both almost 2000. That's about it. Very few others even break 1000.

Back to the B-Plot! Rad motorcycle action!


Methos returns home, and senses a disturbance in the force. 

Kalas is like "You must be Methos" 

"I was reading your DIARY. Shame I couldn't read the sections in hieroglyphics, but the ancient Greek was most enlightening." 

"You should have been there."

This is a guy who shared a stage with both Julius Caesar and the Rolling Stones. Give him the show!

They battle it out, and this fight also gets sword sparks. It's a very brief fight, mostly consisting of Methos backing away and trying not to trip while Kalas relentlessly assaults him. 

Methos proceeds to climb the side of a bridge to escape once he realizes Kalas is much stronger than he is. With some practice I think Methos will be a formidable character, and he's gonna need to get his skills back up if he's going to hang around Duncan. The guy draws trouble.

 Kalas nearly gets Methos here, until Methos pulls the desperation maneuver:

 It's the Royal Rumble DOUBLE-ELIMINATION, with both guys going over the top rope and into the river.

 Kalas is up, and Methos is nowhere to be found.

 Duncan meanders through the tunnel under the Bastille. As the previous episode showed us, nothing good happens down here.

 Methos shows up, soaked and beaten-up.

 He attacks Duncan, and demands that Duncan fight him.

 Duncan doesn't want to and doesn't understand this at all, but he fights back. This might be the only time they ever "fight" and Methos barely tries.

 Methos says that if Duncan doesn't kill him, Kalas will. He was boggled by the strength of Kalas and knows Kalas has his number. Duncan is among the most morally-sound immortals out there, and Methos would rather his power go to him than have it taken by Kalas.

 "He might be able to defeat us separately, but he can't defeat both of us."

This exact same idea would be reused in Highlander:Endgame. Pretty much the same exact scene too.

 Duncan says he'll defeat Kalas on his own. Methos says he can't guarantee that. He then goes on to say that if Kalas finds him again and gets the better of him, Kalas will be strong enough to beat Duncan.

Two problems here: One, we already know Kalas is stronger than Duncan because we've seen him beat Duncan twice already, so it's weird to hear Methos saying that Kalas needs his power to beat Duncan.

Two, it's wildly-incongruous with Methos' character that he's just giving up like this. He didn't last for 5000 years by giving up. He'll find a way to evade Kalas. This is a guy who evaded the rest of the Four Horsemen for over a thousand years. Maybe he's rattled by his fight with Kalas and really does believe he's going to die soon either way, but it's hard to believe even at this stage.

They probably hadn't figured out his character yet as of this episode, so chalk it up to that. He wasn't even supposed to be recurring until the last minute.

 Duncan finally seems to agree with Methos, and puts his sword to Methos' throat...and we get an awkward cut in the episode. Wonder if he actually killed Methos here before the decision was made and they had to re-edit it.

 Time for the B-Plot! I DON'T CARE.

 ::rad 90's racing music plays::

 "I OWN Richie! He's MY beast!"

 Duncan gets back to Methos' casa, and finds Kalas there. Is Kalas just gonna lurk here until Methos eventually has to return?

 The battle is joined! ...again! We sure have seen these guys fight a lot now. They take it outside onto a bridge, and sword-sparks are happening.

 Really good scenery of the Seine during this fight. It's stormy and rapidly getting darker as the fight goes on, as tends to happen during some of the outdoor fights in the show.

 It would have been awesome if we'd gotten some lightning here. This show's willingness to film outdoors (especially in misty/rainy Europe) is great.

 They're pretty evenly-matched here, and Duncan doesn't let Kalas get one over on him this time. He's done messing around with this guy, and wants revenge for Fitz.

 They fight back into the street, when...

 ...the French po-po converge on the scene! Duncan immediately runs for cover, leaving Kalas out in the middle of the street.

 The police (all of them, I think) proceed to arrest Kalas for the murder of several people and the assault on Adam Pierson.

 Methos pops out and goes "That's the guy."

This is some great turnabout here. Methos pulled one over on Kalas by calling the police on him and turning him in, much like Kalas earlier used the police as a tool against Fitz and Duncan.

 Duncan asks Methos why he did it. Methos says he wasn't sure if Duncan would win, and couldn't risk it. At least now Kalas will be in jail for a while.

 Duncan knows he'll have to finish this at some point, whether he wants to or not. For now, at least the threat of Kalas is out of the picture.

 Duncan tells Joe that Adam Pierson was Methos all along...and he's already disappeared.

 Yep, completely cleared-out. Not sure when we'll see Methos again, but it'll be soon I'm sure. Season 4 might be a little bit of a step down from Season 3 in overall excitement and storytelling, but we can look forward to a LOT of Methos and Amanda in it. I can't wait.

Duncan reads the one book Methos left for him: Sartre. A little existentialism left for Duncan by the guy who went through a crisis of existence earlier in the episode.

That's it for the Kalas Trilogy. That said, Kalas...will be back.

1 comment:

  1. "Highlander - We Can't Have Anything Nice"

    Methos is so great.