Friday, February 18, 2022

Highlander 4x03 - The Innocent


This episode deals with something no other episodes dare touch on: What would happen if an immortal were special needs? An episode that probably wouldn't be made today, it's kind of sad and unhappy but I'll make the most of it. Let's goooo.

We start with this unknown beefcake immortal, who is a hard-working tool-guy who runs a scrapyard.

His apprentice...charge...friend? Is Mikey, a special-needs guy who LOVES trains. Astute viewers may notice that he generates an immortal buzz as he walks up.

The beefcake guy and his wife have been looking out for Mikey for a while, but all of that is about to come crashing down as they sense someone else is here.

Mikey poses like Danhausen while the beefcake gets ready for action. Unfortunately, according to the Watcher Chronicles, the beefcake is only like 60 years old so he only has maybe 25 years of immortalness, and isn't much of a threat to someone seasoned like...

...this dastardly guy, who we know is dastardly because he wears all black. He actually looks a hell of a lot like Methos from behind.

This actor is tremendous and I've seen him in a bunch of stuff, most notably Californication. I'd like to see him in more stuff. He would have been a great Spike in the Buffy series.

Speaking of actors, I'm pretty sure the guy who plays Mikey was also in a Miami Vice episode. He was much slimmer and more in-shape then, had a full head of hair, and played a NASTY villain. Like one of the worst/most memorable, who actually gets the better of Crockett in a rare event.

Back to this...the bad guy wins the resulting fight with the beefcake quickly. So quickly that it's all off-screen while Mikey and the wife hide.

The wife starts screaming after seeing her husband die, and Mikey tries to stop her because if the bad guy finds them, they're probably both dead...or worse.

Unfortunately, he doesn't realize his strength, and accidentally suffocates her.

Jesus, this is rough.


Sorry, I'm just legit glad to see him. He's biking up to Duncan's place when he finds Mikey wandering in the shrubbery of Oregon.

Mikey has clearly been through a lot...but can't articulate what, instead going on about trains and train statistics. Richie quickly realizes that he isn't a bad guy, and offers to give him a ride.

Unfortunately...they aren't alone.

Not-Spike is watching from a distance. This is actually brilliant, immortals can keep tabs on each other without setting off their immortal-alarm if they keep a distance and use binoculars. Not sure why more of them aren't stealthy like this. Instead most of them just wander around until they run into something, like people jostling around a nightclub at 2 AM trying to hook up before they turn the lights on and kick everyone out.

In any case, this guy is a headhunter, and he's found the jackpot. He already slew one weak opponent today, now he's found another one in Mikey and a fairly-new immortal in Richie. Our man Richard only has two years of immortal experience at this point, but it's fair to say that being trained by Duncan goes a long way and he'll be no pushover even if inexperienced.

Richie shows up at Duncan's place...but he can't just show up, nope, he's got trouble in tow.

Duncan just bought a house...and it's a total wreck. "An expensive wreck" as Richie puts it. Duncan is thrilled with the purchase, because fixing the house up is gonna give him something to do.

This house is actually kind of a character in this season and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Some solid bonding moments between Duncan and Methos happen while they sit around painting this house.

Mikey starts fooling with Duncan's stuff, like this priceless clock that he quickly pulls the hour hand off of.

Richie tells Duncan that he can't just leave someone who needs help, which prompts Duncan to remember something similar...

...back in 1868. He's minding his own business when he hears a beating happening. Most people would just walk on by, as Dionne Warwick would say, but not this guy. He's gotta do something.

The beating in question is some rancher guy whipping a Native American that he "bought and paid for" because the kid tried to escape.

Duncan orders him to stop, so the guy turns his whip on Duncan...only to quickly get disarmed and have the whip used against him. Turns out Duncan has pinpoint accuracy with a whip. Is there any weapon type he isn't an expert in? Probably not. If this were Secret of Mana he'd have all weapons at Level 9.

"How dare you, you...INDIAN LOVER!"

I mean...guilty as charged, I guess

After the guy runs off, Duncan helps this kid up and says they need to get to a doctor.

The kid is all like "the white man won't give me his medicine, I'm fine on my own" before keeling over. Duncan is gonna haul him to the doctor anyway.

Back in the present, Duncan fixes Mikey's train while asking him where he lived before this. Mikey clearly doesn't want to talk about it, and keeps defaulting to talking about trains.

A meeting is called. Richie suspects that Mikey was being taken care of by an immortal, and something bad happened to them.

Mikey is curious about everything, and accidentally knocks over a pile of empty water jugs in a truck while the guy transporting them freaks out. Duncan and Richie run around picking them up while Mikey wanders off.

...and wanders right into A GIANT MODEL TRAIN based on the Orient Express. This must be Christmas for him. I'm guessing this is what Duncan and Richie were taking him to see in the first place.

After they haphazardly pile these jugs back up (LOL what a mess), our heroes realize that Mikey has disappeared.

The bad guy, who Mikey never got a look at in the first scene, shows up and tries to kidnap Mikey by telling him he knows of a place with lots of trains like the one Mikey is so clearly impressed with.

That's right, kids, not all kidnappers are unattractive monsters. The majority of them are handsome well put-together guys like this.

Mikey doesn't like the idea of going with this random guy, so he takes off on the train instead. This guy would have loved Zelda: Spirit Tracks. I mean, no one else loved that game because stylus controls are absolute junk, but it'd have one hardcore fan.

Our heroes show up to save Mikey again as the conductor yells at him. It's too bad Mikey isn't a kid, people would be a lot more understanding of him. He's trapped in a man-body so he gets no sympathy.

"That isn't even the real Orient Express!" yells Mikey accusatorily as he's pulled away.
That was legit hilarious and I bet it was an ad-lib given that Duncan almost started corpsing.

Next our heroes debate what to do with the guy to keep him out of trouble. Richie knows some social workers he can talk to, as he is only a few years removed from being Street Kid Richie.

After Richie heads out, Duncan senses an unwelcome presence. The Bad Guy is downstairs and tries to ambush Duncan right out of the elevator. Amazing how this guy didn't bump into Richie on the way out. I'd actually like to see Richie deal with this guy, since this whole thing is kinda Richie's problem now.

He finally introduces himself: Tyler King. What an incredibly douchey name. He wants Duncan to get out of the way and let him have his easy prey. "He'll get whacked soon anyway...why not by me?"

They have a very quick fight before being interrupted by Mikey, who then runs off.

We come back from commercial and Mikey is wandering the streets.

Duncan goes out to find him, and...

...does so just in time to see Mikey brawling with police officers who tried to help him up after he ran in front of their car and got hit.

Needless to say, Mikey gets arrested, and Duncan can't do a damn thing about it. Which brings us back to the flashbacks, another time Duncan tried to help someone and it didn't go so well:

Duncan very cautiously brings the Native kid into town for medical treatment. Turns out this particular town is full of people who lost someone(s) to a battle with Cheyenne Indians not too long ago, so he couldn't have picked a worse place to bring one.

"What's that awful smell" they say as Duncan rides by. Well, the guy is saying that, the lady is too busy looking at Duncan. "It's like Niagara Falls downstairs" she mumbles.

"Ah yes, that one would fetch a good price" thinks this guy in a very visible thought-bubble. "Has a pretty mouth. Handsome for a guy, this one."

The guy on the left there doesn't take too kindly to what he sees. "Well I never!" mumbles the lady on the right. The guy in the back is thinking about how much he could sell the kid for to the guy in the previous picture.

After riding past that rogue's gallery, Duncan finally reaches the doctor. The doc is very apprehensive to help, and explains to Duncan that the people here have been attacked by Cheyenne and want him gone. Finally after some pleading from Duncan and the kid (who speaks perfect English, to the doctor's surprise), he agrees to help.

Duncan stands guard while the kid's whip-wounds get treated. That one guy steps up to let Duncan know that he don't take too kindly to any of this, but Duncan won't get out of the way.

We get a scene-fade back to the present, showing both the kid and Mikey as Duncan looks at them through a window.

Richie talked to the social workers and found a good place for Mikey, a facility out in the countryside that is part of a large church (thus on holy ground, a plus) where they can take care of Mikey.

I swear, if they put him in a regular non-holy ground place, that damn Tyler guy would get a job as an orderly and work there for 6 months just to get access to where Mikey is so he can get him. What a creep.

Back to the past already...might as well have just kept the previous flashback going. A mob is forming, egged on by this one guy. One thing I know for sure about angry mobs: Their collective IQ is only as high as their lowest-IQ member. Nothing makes people more idiotic than being in an angry mob.

Luckily, the town sheriff shows up, Duncan explains the situation, and he stands guard with Duncan. However, they need to go after the medical treatment is done, because this town doesn't want them around and staying around is asking for trouble.

Unfortunately, the kid sneaks out the back of the clinic, only to run right into The Whipmaster, who was waiting for him there. This guy is even creepier than Tyler. While he tries to wrestle the kid, the horse just looks on. Do something, horse!

The kid wrestles his gun away from him and shoots him, 100% in self-defense. Unfortunately, it's right in front of the mob.

Duncan tells the kid to surrender, but he runs away. That's it for him, because that one guy in all black was ready to fire the second he turned around.

There's absolutely nothing Duncan can do about this, the kid's gone.

Back in the present, our heroes rescue Mikey from jail and Richie gives him a model train and a conductor hat.

In other news, I wonder if Duncan is getting tired of bailing people out of jail all the time. All of his antique money is gonna eventually run out, guys.

Mikey doesn't want to go with them to the facility in the country, because they won't be with him. They say they'll visit but he still won't go. So Duncan suggests that they stop at a trainyard along the way. THIS gets Mikey fully aboard with the idea.

The trainyard is...a trainyard. However, to Mikey, it's EVERYTHING. I'm fascinated by trains too so I can empathize.

" happy"

The festivities are interrupted when all three of them, one after another, sense something.

Tyler is here. Duncan says he'll deal with it, so Richie brings Mikey back to the car while Duncan and Tyler go into a nearby building.

Another battle! Not sure what was up with the battles between these two. The first one was really short, and this one is almost entirely shrouded in darkness. Seriously, you can barely see what's going on.

Trouble is afoot, as police have arrived to arrest Mikey for the murder of that woman at the beginning of the episode. They were actually looking for Duncan's car, knowing they'd probably find Mikey there.

Back at the fight, Duncan swings from a cable in swashbuckling style. This shot actually made it into the show's intro after this.

Duncan wins the fight. Though between the darkness of it and the cutaways, this fight really wasn't the focal point at all.

Not gonna say "Tyler deserved better" or anything, but I wish they'd used that actor in a more robust role in another episode.

THE QUICKENING. Now Duncan is 1% more douchey than he was before, thanks a lot Tyler.

Elsewhere, Richie and Mikey are hiding on the train tracks. Why? Because...

During the arrest, Mikey threw both cops around, and one of them is dead. Duncan walks around until he senses Richie.

He gives Richie his jacket, which he left at the car, in a fairly potent moment of absolute resignation on Duncan's part.

Duncan finally gets Mikey to explain what happened before Richie found him, and he tells the whole story, including how he didn't mean to kill that woman, and was just trying to keep her quiet so the bad guy wouldn't find them.

They talk it over, and Duncan says they need to end this. Mikey is going to rot in jail, and won't have much of a life even if he were somehow free. He killed a cop, and it's basically over for him. Richie really goes through the stages of grief here, trying to rationalize the whole thing and come up with ways to save the guy.

Duncan offers to "do it" but Richie says it's his responsibility. Mikey knows what's going on, even though he sorta pretends that he doesn't, and goes with Richie for a walk down the tracks.

Richie apologizes as he draws his sword, and you can tell the guy is completely shattered. Mikey tells him to wait, and...

...does it himself, laying down on the track as the Coast Starlight approaches in the distance. He tells Richie that he's okay with this.

Poor Richie just stands there as the train approaches, and goes by, right over Mikey.

As the nearest immortal, Richie has The Quickening, so at least it went somewhere instead of the guy's essence just evaporating into nothing.

Richie is pretty destroyed...and so are these train tracks. A week later another train probably went through here and ran aground, killing like 300 people. Nice going, guys.

Aside from the destroyed infrastructure, they're gonna have a lot of explaining to do with the police. They could just tell the police what actually happened, and I'm guessing that's the idea.

Later, Duncan is working on his new fixer-upper house...which is an absolute dump, and cost him like $100,000 (or in inflated 2022 dollars, $1,430,580)

Duncan asks if Richie wants to talk about what happened. He doesn't.

But wait! A train goes by, and both of them look up.

A quick flashback, only remembering the good times they had with this guy.

They nod at each other in understanding, and that's it for this one.

SUPER sad episode and I'm glad it's over. Not much else to say about this one. It IS a good episode and it certainly stands out.

That's two sad episodes in a row, and the next one is pretty serious too.

At least after that things will settle down a bit and we'll get more of Highlander's comedic side again with Amanda and Anne returning. ...simultaneously.

Other Highlander Posts


  1. I think the fight scene was probably shot in darkness because Tyler King's actor wasn't that skilled with a sword. They had to use a lot of camera trickery and stunt doubling to make some of the villains look remotely good next to Adrian Paul -- see Simon Killian in "The Colonel" or Terence Kincaid in "Reunion" for two good examples.

    1. I'll keep an eye out for that in those two episodes when I get to 'em. You can really tell how much more fun Adrian Paul is having when he's working with a guy who can keep up with him in a fight, and there are a few brawls like that.

  2. Duncan having Mana Magic would explain a few things.

    I remember watching this one and thinking things were going to work out when it was revealed he was going to a place that had a holy ground. Then not so much.

  3. Love this series but must say that this is worse than all preceding episodes- the montage at the end was salt in the wound after witnessing the characters' solution to the opening dilemma. There presumably are eternals like the monks or holy grounds that would have accepted Mikey, and this episode left me scratching my head for lots of reasons