Sunday, May 10, 2020

Highlander: The Series 3x18 - Testimony

Today on Highlander: Duncan goes to Russia.

We start with a plane landing, as Anne arrives in Paris to see... 

...Duncan, who is feeling really awkward about all of this now that she knows he's alive. Richie, meanwhile, is in disguise because he's supposed to be dead. Season 3 follows an overarching plot really well, and it's nice considering how standalone a lot of the episodes of this series are. It might be the most interconnected season on an episode-to-episode basis.

Richie may be creepy, but he has no relation to... 

...Even Creepier Richie, of the Dark Order. They're what happens when Toad becomes a wrestling stable. "WE ARE MANY." 

Anne gets stopped by airport security. Meanwhile...who is that bomb redhead in the background? 

Duncan gets talked-to by this random French guy in a trench coat. I thought this was leading to something, like maybe the guy would ambush him, but nope. It was just a random guy making random conversation. Sometimes that happens on this show. Not everything means something. Cool.

The guy says that he's waiting for his "girlfriend, who just spent 7 hours sitting next to my ex-wife" and I feel like there's an interesting story there.

The bomb redhead collapses with abdominal pains and Anne swings into action. Medical staff show up and they get her to... 

...a French hospital. TASTE the socialized medicine! What if it turns out the hot redhead is an illegal Russian immigrant? WILL FRENCH TAXPAYERS PAY FOR HER APPENDECTOMY? 

Anne explains to head doctor Le Patri'arche that the woman has an intestinal obstruction. She kinda forgets that she's in a foreign country where no one knows she's a doctor. 

Regardless, the guy listens to what she says, and they usher the redhead off to surgery. Anne turns around and runs right into...

...Duncan, who she hasn't seen since he got "killed" by Kalas. 

She's very happy to see him, and he's mostly happy to see her, but it's clear he's at least a little uncomfortable letting her into his world. Is it because he isn't super-into her, or is it because he knows she'll be in danger if she is? Not sure. 

Cut to the villain of the episode, Russian mercenary and now mafia lieutenant Kristov. He's a poor man's Xavier St. Cloud who spends his time painting and then ruining his paintings in fits of rage. He also keeps an entourage of guards: 

::the guards shiver in fear and cover their balls:: 

It turns out that the redhead who collapsed is "his woman", Tasha, and her obstruction was a heroin balloon she was transporting for him. She didn't die, but she might get arrested and implicate him. Never mind that he put her in a huge amount of danger, he wants her back NOW.

 "Y-y-yes Lord Helmet!"

We switch back to Duncan and Anne, who are now perusing Duncan's never-before-seen storage facility. I've been wondering about this for ages. Where does he keep all of his accumulated artifacts, which give him a nearly limitless source of wealth? Right here in a locked storage room in Paris. 

This is a tremendous addition to the series. I wish I had a vault full of artifacts from over the centuries. If he ever needs a quick million, he can sell a thing or two from the vault. 

Duncan says that John Kirin was immortal, which explains a lot for her. Man, I love S3's interconnectedness. He also tells her that Kalas is an immortal, but he's in jail so they don't have to worry about him.

...I feel like being in jail is like the last thing that'd stop an immortal.

Anne wants to figure out what makes him immortal by studying his DNA, maybe isolating the earthworm genome that causes regeneration. Duncan does the "it's a kind of magic" routine by dismissing the idea and saying it's just something you have to accept and not question too much.

Come on, let her figure this whole thing out. I want to know what the deal is.


Get outta here, George Lucas!

Anne talks to Tasha, who it turns out is Russian. The police are about to haul her in for trafficing drugs into France, unless she gives up the info on her boss Kristov. She refuses, so Anne gets to talk to her to try and get through to her. Tasha is all rude about it because she inexplicably loves Kristov. 

Kristov meanwhile poses dramatically in his art studio. Not sure if he sent his goons to kill Tasha or just bring her back, but they're en route to the hospital. 

The chief goon made one big mistake, though.

...he didn't wear very doctor-like shoes. 

Yeah, those are Russian Mafia shoes if I've ever seen them. Duncan follows him just in time to... 

...stop him from shooting...Anne? Tasha? Both? 

After a chase, Duncan throws him down some stairs and the police get him. Duncan also got shot during the melee but he just sorta walks it off. 

Anne checks his wound and it isn't there anymore. He's still pretty achey though, and needs to go lie down. 

Next, our heroes feed each other and get ready for some frisk and hanky-panky. 

Duncan senses an immortal during all of this and goes "oh COME ON" 

Luckily it's just Richie. He says someone spotted him, and laying low while playing dead isn't really working. 

Anne is like "explanation plz" so they explain that Richie died and can't let anyone see him. Oh yeah, he's immortal too. 

Next to interrupt them: The police, who want Anne to come down and talk to Tasha, make one more attempt to get her to talk and tell them about the Russian Mafia. Duncan is ready to get back to bed post-haste, though Anne SORTA wants to stay here and help the police. So off she goes. 

Meanwhile, Duncan goes outside and bumps into Poor Man's Xavier. Of course, they know each other. Cue the flashback! 

Russia, 1750: Duncan is trekking across Siberia like a nomad, living off the land. Something that used to be a normal way of life but now may as well be impossible for most of the world. He makes friends with some Cossack mercenaries, who love to get drunk and dance. We now get a flashback WITHIN a flashback:

Duncan met one of these guys when the Cossack in question tried to duel him randomly in the woods, which led to Duncan kicking him right off his horse. 

The guy is so impressed with Duncan that he invites Duncan back to their camp. Duncan accepts even though the guy just tried to kill him. It was a different time! 

Back in the regular flashback, Kristov is the leader of the Cossack camp. They aren't working for Dr. Wily, but good guess. They're working for The Czar and purging the land. But we'll worry about that later, right now it's time for... 

...HEAVY DRINKING, as Drunkan breaks bread with his new homies. 

This leads to him trying to follow along in traditional Russian dances. It's comedy gold. 

Back to the present, Anne unfortunately walks out while Duncan is telling Kristov to stay away from Tasha. Kristov sees her and tells Duncan he'll come after everyone Duncan cares about if Duncan gets in his way.

Duncan tells her it's time to go back to Seacouver, cause this isn't gonna work out. She of course flips out and he tells her she's in a lot of danger if she stays here. She says she handles danger on a daily basis. Time for another flashback: 

The Cossacks are riding for battle, and want Duncan to go with them and do murderin' 

Who are they murderin'? These farmer-types who are on The Czar's land and The Czar don't take kindly to their farmin'.

...not sure why I'm typing like this. 

The Cossacks unleash chaos on an unsuspecting village, killing everyone in their path and burning everything. Duncan refuses to take part, and then actively joins the resistance against them. 

This means he has to fight his former "friends", the Cossacks. Remember when you met these guys because one of them tried to fight you in the woods for no reason? 

Alas, while the Cossacks are fought off, the village is still burned to the ground. That was just the beginning of Kristov's mercenary days. He's driven by the mighty dollar.

When it comes down to it, it makes sense that there are more "evil" immortals than good ones. Having that kind of power no doubt corrupts more people than it doesn't. 

Back at the casa, Duncan and Anne are trying to have a moment of peace. It's worth noting how weird it is that whenever they show the barge in the show, there's nobody around. It's always totally empty and quiet here at the Quai De La Tournelle. In the real world, you could go here virtually any time of day and see 10-20 people hanging around, playing catch, walking with their kids, taking pictures, or just slowly walking through mist while wearing a trench coat because they just watched Highlander.

Duncan implores her to leave Paris, while she insists that she can handle whatever danger comes with being in his life. He thinks she doesn't know what that really means, then she says that Richie told her about Tessa, so she knows. Begrudgingly, Duncan may have to let her stay around for now. 

They talk to Tasha again, and Duncan offers to get rid of Kristov if she agrees to testify against the Russian Mafia. 

Unfortunately, Kristov has kidnapped Richie, and says that if she talks, Richie dies. 

Duncan insists that she talks anyway, and says that he'll save Richie before anything happens. He got the location of the bad guy hideout from Tasha, you see.

Anne: "What if you don't save him in time?"

Duncan: "Then...I don't."


Next thing we know, Duncan pops up at the domain of the bad guys, which I'll call Sand Rat Cellar from Final Fantasy Tactics, and starts ambushing them one by one. 

Elsewhere in the Sand Rat Cellar, Richie uses his Thief class skills to get untied. Kristov is such a fool that he left Richie's sword right there in the same room, so Richie grabs that and sets out to find him. 

...which he quickly does, outside of the Sand Rat Cellar. 

This is awesome. Richie's a LOT better than he was the previous times we saw him fight, and it's been a while. 

At this point, he easily holds his own against Kristov, and it's a hell of a brawl. 

Unfortunately, they keep cutting away to show Duncan engaged in slow Stealth Gameplay Sections with Kristov's minions, and it really breaks up the fight. His rescue mission is pointless anyway because Richie got free on his own, unbeknownst to Duncan. At least if he neutralizes the goons it'll keep them from interfering. 

The battle continues, and it's a really good fight...from what little we see of it between all of the cuts to Duncan. This fight legit makes me want to see Richie get more fights in this series.

When I was a kid I firmly believed that Richie was going to take over as the show's main character at some point. Like he'd get powerful enough on his own to be a badass, and someday someone would beat Duncan in a fight, and Richie would avenge him before setting off on his own for the last couple of seasons.

In retrospect I can see that wasn't ever going to happen. A lot of this program is driven by flashbacks, and a Richie show wouldn't leave you with any historical flashbacks given his youth.

Still though, S6 onward should have been captained by someone new. Methos would have worked. Ah well. 

Duncan battles goons! 

Richie might be in trouble! It looks like Kristov is about to get the better of him. I believe Richie broke out a sweet counter-attack here...possibly one that Duncan showed him in an earlier episode. 

After taking out all of the guards, Duncan can't find Richie anywhere...then a Quickening goes off outside. 

Duncan stalls out at this point, frozen at the realization that Richie might have just died. 

No worries, as Richie shows up, looking no worse for wear. Duncan is relieved. 

Richie clearly had fun with that, and takes a big breath. I wish we'd seen his quickening, or at least seen more of the fight. Though they did manage to really build the suspense at the end there with the audience not knowing who won. I could see a lot of viewers at home, especially Richie fangirls, being freaked out by this episode because they waited so long to let us see who won the fight. Richie's victory was in no way certain, and this show hasn't shied away from killing people.

Time for Richie to go on the lam. He's got a fake passport and our heroes drop him off at the airport.

...he's also got more chemistry with Anne than Duncan does. 

Seriously, they've got a ton of chemistry. Maybe they should get together instead, because her chemistry with Duncan is...lacking. 

Duncan and Richie wish each other well and let it be known that they're both gonna hope for the best for the other. 

Whoa, a feels moment. Good to see these two on the same page. That's it for Richie for a bit, as he's taking off for parts unknown. Not sure when he'll be back. 

These two leave to go home, and Anne is worried about Richie too. This is their life now, lots of worrying about people when they're not around. Duncan never knows when he's going to get bad news about someone he cares about. One phone call from Joe Dawson is often soul-crushing. ...speaking of, where was Joe in this episode? 

"Can we PLEASE go have sex now?" asks Anne before throwing Duncan into the car.

...well, that's what she was probably thinking. They spent the entire episode getting interrupted! 

Here's our K-named villain this time around. This is why we put these immortal notes at the END of the post: Sometimes they have huge spoilers. Crazy that Richie actually got to take out a bad guy, even if they kept the focus on Duncan for most of the final act. See also: Macho Man Randy Savage's title wins and Hulk Hogan.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate that Anne wants to know how it works instead of just rolling with it.

    Is the bullet still there? Did it go through Duncan? Does the immortal regen spit out a bullet stuck inside? I'm thinking like Anne.

    Duncan: "Then... I don't" ...well, he's right.

    This whole bit with Richie in the later part of the episode is really well done.