Friday, April 1, 2022

Highlander 4x04 - Leader of the Pack


Today on Highlander: ...Oh God, the British.

We begin with this hapless immortal being chased down by a group of snarling dogs.

The dogs are the henchmen of Kanis, a particularly aggressive immortal who sends his dogs to attack his opponents for him and then finishes them off when they're weak. So he's basically Hollywood Hogan.

Elsewhere, Duncan has taken up a part-time job teaching history at a local college. It's something to do, and I'm sure he's got a ton of knowledge to impar- wait what the hell, he's being followed by one of those dogs!

Back at the ranch, Richie senses Duncan and snaps awake from his accountant work. It's good to see these guys doing regular jobs. Also it must get annoying for these two, constantly getting The Buzz when they're just minding their own business, because the other guy took the trash out or something.

Richie says that Duncan will break even on the house's value around the year 2000 if they don't raise property taxes. This was 1995 so "the year 2000" felt like this monumental distant era. Richie throws his hands up and sighs while Duncan assures him that he's got the time.

Richie goes out to get food, and notices that this random bicyclist walking by is...

...THE GUY WHO SHOT TESSA. As soon as Richie processes this, he goes in a full sprint after the guy.

He then breaks into the guy's house and beats him down. "THIS IS HOW WE DO IT" said Jaden Smith when reached for comment. Like, dude, you're not helping

They end up rolling around as the beatdown continues and the guy claims he never shot anyone.

He's got a pregnant girlfriend too, as the police charge in and break up this fracas.

"FOOL OF A TOOK" bellows Richie as he shakes down this Hobbit-looking m******f*****er.

Back at the college...lots of hot young women are walking by. Seriously, this entire establishing shot was just cute women walking by and giggling.

Duncan is teaching The Keeds about armor and swords.

He concludes with a hilarious story about how one battle in the Crusades went south when the horses on either side began to mate because one of the sides was only using mares and the other side was only using male horses, and the mares were all in heat.

This is a true story, BTW

Elsewhere, Duncan gets stopped by the dean, who wants him to attend a meeting on life insurance or something. Also, the university has uncovered a problematic tweet from 12 years ago where he joked about The French, so now he's gotta go.

Duncan bids adieu to the students (for today...he wasn't actually fired, this was 1995 not the 2010's) before noticing something.

...more dogs. Like the one from earlier. Now he knows something is up.

Flashback time! England 1785. A kid is being chased down by hunting dogs. This is a lot like the scene in the previous episode when he rescued that Native American kid from a whip-wielding fucko.

Duncan shoots one of the hunting dogs that had almost caught the kid, and it seemed like he had no choice. Kanis arrives just in time to see this, and is infuriated.

Duncan isn't playing around here, as Kanis threatens to sic more dogs. Turns out the kid threw a rock at one of them and has to pay for it. Duncan says it isn't alright to chase down and try to hurt the kid over this.

I gotta say, shooting a dog is probably the worst thing Duncan has done to-date on this show, even if he had no choice.

Kanis totally freaks out about all of this. Is it bad that I'm actually kind of on his side? The kid threw a rock at them. What a little jackass.

The Duchess rides up on the world's luckiest horse. She wants Kanis' dogs killed as they're clearly a menace, to which Kanis says he'll see her dead first. Saying such a thing is treason, so...

...her goons haul Kanis away to be tried.

So Kanis was defending his dogs against some jackass, Duncan shoots one of them, and now Kanis is getting hauled off to jail for because he said the wrong thing to a noble who was calling for the rest of his dogs to be killed?

Seriously, Kanis is having a really bad day here and all of these other people are awful. Is he supposed to be the protagonist of this episode?

Back in the present, Duncan follows the dogs to a nearby graveyard, where Kanis is lurking. Alright, I see now why he's the bad guy...

...he has gone full-on edgelord, and sports a flea collar. If he were any more edgy, he'd be the guy unironically telling people to "git gud" at Soulsborne games. None of us are actually "gud", we just battle the game until it eventually gets tired, like wrestling an alligator.

Not sure if his vendetta against Duncan is why he's here, or if he's just out hunting and happened to have found Duncan as his next target.

Meanwhile, at the police station...

...Richie, who has done time in D-Block himself, is giving a statement about why he assaulted this random kid.

Duncan shows up, and even though he's usually the voice of reason (at least in mortal affairs), he's borderline murderous when Richie points the guy out to him.

We get a flashback to Tessa getting shot. This is still rough.

I think the worst thing about this was how completely random it was. She didn't get killed by an evil immortal, or go through some sort of grandiose death scene. She just...randomly got killed by some random nobody and that was it, with no fanfare, no nothing.

This detective has had enough of the whole thing, because Richie has no proof, and the kid has no priors, unlike Richie's massive criminal record. If anything, this kid should be pressing charges against HIM for assault.

The girlfriend insists that he didn't do it! He'd never hurt anyone!

Well, maybe not. But would Extremely High On Drugs Him hurt someone?

Richie flips out that they're just gonna let this guy walk out. He's PISSED and if he keeps this up he's gonna spend the night in jail himself.

Duncan follows these two, with uncertain motivations. However, when he hears them talking about their baby, he pauses.

He might be more confused than anything else at this point, but he quickly realizes this isn't worth pursuing any further, and leaves.

Back at the house, Duncan hears dogs barking and starts to freak out, only to find that it's a kid walking a dog nearby. Kanis is living rent-free in his head now.

Rent-free, like it'd have to be for anyone to want to live in this dilapidated house HYOOOO

Flashback time. Duncan is rolling around with The Duchess in a tent while dogs bark in the distance.

Finally, she pops up, moaning about how she can't concentrate "with this infernal racket!"

Well I never!


They receive word that Kanis' dogs killed one of the guards while said dogs were trying to rescue him. She's had enough of this, and orders Kanis' immediate execution, without a trial, before furiously making out with Duncan.

Damn! The Duchess is hardcore!

Kanis is hung from a tree, grumbling all the while about how he won't forget this.


The Duchess demonstrates how hot riding pants are, as she's cena nuff.

Kanis swings in the breeze with a big dopey grin.

Hours later...

...he bursts out of the dirt while his dogs stand around waiting.

You'd think he went after the Duchess for revenge, but he didn't. It appears he just sort of sodded off for a few hundred years, and just recently decided to track down Duncan.

In the present, Richie visits Joe and explains the situation with Tessa's murderer. Richie can't believe that Duncan doesn't want to go after the guy. Duncan thinks revenge doesn't serve any purpose, and Richie disagrees.

"It doesn't" says Joe. No, but it'd make Richie feel a lot better.

Duncan goes for a run, now that his worst modern-era memories have been stirred up. We get a bunch of Tessa flashbacks:

I like the marriage proposal in particular, which wasn't too long before she lost her life.

After all of that sadness, the run is cut short when...


Duncan gets absolutely torn up by them and barely gets into the car / to his sword. Leaving the sword in the car and going for a run seems pretty idiotic, but he wasn't going too far from it and his enemy radar would give him time to go back and get the sword if needed...under normal circumstances. Dogs can't be sensed.


Richie goes to the apartment of The Murderer, to finish the job. All he finds is his pregnant girlfriend.

He's pretty murderous, but his target isn't here.

A significantly worse person would kill the girlfriend, so that the guy would suffer the same way Duncan had to suffer. I don't even think that crosses Richie's mind, or the viewer's mind for that matter, though. He's here to stop a bad guy, and that's it.

As the girlfriend continues to insist that he has the wrong guy, Richie leaves. He can't be bargained with, he can't be reasoned with.

Actually, Richie is acting very much like a bad immortal here, someone hellbent on revenge and letting it cloud their vision. Duncan has fought quite a few guys who were acting just like this, over whatever score they had to settle.

Back at Duncan's loft, he gets a phone call from Kanis, who asks if he enjoyed his run.

"ATARI, DON'T CALL ME NO MO" yells Duncan in a Soulja Boy voice.

Richie shows up and talks to Duncan about everything that's going on. Duncan is mainly worried about Kanis, while Richie still doesn't understand why Duncan wants to just let Tessa's murderer go.

Turns out, it's mainly because of the pregnant girlfriend. But also, he's done this kind of thing before, and it never fixed anything or brought anyone back to life.

Elsewhere, Kanis has a Viking Funeral for one of his dogs, who was hit by an RV while chasing Duncan out of the park. Even though Duncan didn't do a damn thing to his dogs besides run away and defend himself, Kanis is going to go ahead and blame him for this too.

Elsewhere, Kanis creeps on a dog breeder. He threatens her if she doesn't give him her finest rottweiler to replace the one he lost. Duncan shows up right then (no idea how he knew where to find Kanis, or if it was a coincidence because he was already on the way here) and Kanis beats a hasty retreat.

Duncan is ready to Take This Outside, but Kanis points out that his rottweiler is hanging out with the woman's son, and will murder said boy if Kanis even thinks about it.

Worth Noting: The kid petting the rottweiler looks absolutely terrified in this scene. That or he's just a really stiff actor IDK

Duncan goes back to the woman, and hits it off with the rottweiler that Kanis was looking at. Turns out, this dog is female, and currently in heat. Which gives Duncan an idea.

Elsewhere, Richie ambushes this guy in the alleyway behind the restaurant he slaves away at. The guy clearly has had a rough life and is trying to at least make it work in whatever way he can, but Richie has NO MERCY.

He says he was so drugged-up back then that he can't remember half the stuff he did, as Richie hoists him over the side of a balcony.

Before Richie drops him, he wants the guy to remember what he did, and describes everything about it, what he was wearing, etc. The guy finally realizes that it really WAS him.

He tells Richie how sorry he is, even though he still can't remember it, and how he's trying to turn things around, and so on. Richie is FULL OF RAGE, but he seems uncertain now.

Back at the house, Kanis arrives as his dogs have the place pretty well surrounded.

Duncan's sword is guarded by this mighty beast.

Duncan expected all of this, however, and has been keeping the lady-dog from the pound in this room nearby. He opens the door, and all of a sudden Kanis' goons are completely distracted and run in there.

Also, for some reason "Road Dogg" Jesse James runs by and also dives into the room.

Kanis is INFURIATED at their disobedience, while Duncan shuts the door so they can go mano-a-mano.

THE BATTLE IS JOINED. Wait, not in the house!

Kanis battles with a fencing rapier. This guy dresses stylishly and likely sees himself as very cool when what he actually is is a coward and a sociopath, regardless of what he went through way back when. Duncan pretty much just has fun with this, knowing Kanis probably won't be a match for him due to centuries of hiding behind dogs.

And sure enough, Kanis struggles to make any meaningful progress in this fight, and was pretty much doomed the minute he stepped onto this porch.

The fight ends in the yard after Duncan leaps off the porch in a massive somersaulting SHIIIING.

The house itself gets lifted into the air momentarily by the Quickening, which is a comical effect that I would have left out, though it does lead to Duncan grumbling that he should have gotten earthquake insurance for when this happens.

Back at the loft, Duncan is chilling with his pooch, who he has to return to the pound tomorrow...with interest (she is now with puppies)

Kanis' dogs are here too, and they're all chill now. Richie is like "WTF" at this scene.

He explains that he tried to kill that guy, but it didn't feel like he thought it would, and wouldn't have brought anyone back. So he let the guy go.

Well, tomorrow will be the best day of Raymond R. Kessel's life, so Richie did him a favor.

I'm mainly surprised that Duncan didn't go all high-horse and try to stop Richie from exacting revenge.

Duncan approves of Richie showing mercy, and knows the boy wonder learned a major lesson today.

Here's Kanis, from back when Dresden was in Saxony. I'm wondering about this Devon Marek guy who made Kanis what he was. Looked into it, and it turns out Devon Marek is in a Season 6 episode that is sort of a sequel to this one. I had no idea, and now I kinda want to just jump ahead and see that one. Well, in due time, I suppose.

Come to think of it, this episode is basically a sequel to "The Darkness" in Season 2...which was also the fourth episode of that season. The S6 sequel, "Black Tower", isn't the fourth episode of that season but it's close. So we have this sort of trilogy here where the episodes are spaced exactly two seasons apart. Interesting.


  1. Wow, that picture of Richie punching has a peace sign in the background.

    The most fun about Highlander is seeing how different the same characters look hundreds of years later.

    Nice ending for this one at least.

    His first teacher was the one who hunted him down as sport? Yikes.

    1. Devon Marek is one of the bigger pieces of shit in this series.