Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Highlander 4x20 - Till Death


This episode contains the stunning and beautiful Angelina de Valicourt, seen here in the worst possible picture anyone could take of her for the episode thumbnail. Come on, guys. Anyway, she's smart and sexy and rambunctious and... Dammit, I told myself I wouldn't make this weird. She's just gorgeous, and also immortal, that's important. Yep, she's immortal and gorgeous. I don't have a crush, YOU have a crush. Dammit, I'm being weird again. I'll just start this.

It's safe to say Gina de Valicourt is probably the Best Lady of Highlander Season 4. I mean I personally give her Best Lady status. Although I also think maybe that title should go to:

"My mind says no but my body says yes" Dominique.

The lady from "The Blitz" was also something else, determined and steadfast. Actually this has been a good season for memorable ladies.

We start things at this French chateau. It's got nothing on Mentmore Towers in the "menacing" department.

Gina is napping in an ornate bedroom. Dat statue THICC THO as the kids probably still say

An intruder breaks in, setting off her immortal senses as she springs alert. The Buzz is very useful in that regard isn't it? It's like a sleep alarm. Duncan never has to check behind everything when he gets back to The Barge, he just knows if someone's there.

This nefarious immortal named Robert has come to claim Gina's head.

They battle it out, and it's actually one of the best fights in this season. They brought back the "sword sparks" that were much more common in the first couple seasons and it's great to see them again finally, especially being used as often as they are in this fight.

Seriously this fight is full of huge sparks. ...why, though? All the major fights Duncan has had, and they go FULL SPARKS on this random fight between two immortals we've never seen before?

It's a really good fight, transpiring across this chateau and through some pretty gorgeous rooms with impressive light-sources. I'm not even kidding that this fight puts most of the actual episode duels in S4 to shame and kind of makes me wonder what we've been missing if the show's capable of putting together a scene like this at random. More stuff like this please.

Robert gets the better of Gina and pins her arms over her head, revealing that he doesn't just want her head, he wants the rest of her too.

They toss their swords away and start disrobing. What is this!

Gina: "It's like Niagara Falls downstairs right now."

Turns out this guy is Robert de Valicourt, her husband, and playing games like this is how they get off. And get off they do...a lot.

Back in the present, Methos is meditating in The Barge, which he just sort of let himself into. Does he have a key? Does the door not lock? Does Methos just scoff at locks and pick them?

Also it would have been hilarious if he would have said "Sorry, I didn't mean to barge in"

In any case, Duncan gets a letter that Gina de Valicourt and Robert de Valicourt are getting re-married. They renew their vows every 100 years and they've been together for 300 now. Neither of these guys can imagine being with anyone for that long.

Methos then reveals that he's been married 68 times. "Never one of US though, that's too much commitment."

Duncan's reaction to Methos having 68 wives. Actually 68 wives isn't that much over 5000 years. It's like 1.36 per century. Assuming he's actually 5000 years old. That always seemed like a rough estimate / ballpark guess / rounded number. He might actually be like 52XX, or 47XX, who knows.

Duncan himself has been married zero times. Except that one time when he was married for like an hour before the woman left him and ran away, and doesn't really count. Then he proposed to Tessa and she immediately died.

In any case, Duncan says that if there's anyone he can imagine being married to for 300 years, it's Gina de Valicourt, and proceeds to tell the story of how both he and Fitzcairn were head over heels for this woman. In the 1600's Duncan could have almost anyone (and Fitz could probably have almost anyone for that matter, as their game was unprecedented for the era). Yet neither of them wanted "anyone"... they wanted Gina.

Back in the day. Duncan was about a hundred here, Fitz was about 500. I think this is a little after they helped each other learn how to read. And as promised, they're both enamored with Gina.

Both Duncan and Fitz asked her out on a date separately, then she "mixed up the times" so she could go out with both of them at the same time. So now that's happening, while they squabble for her attention.

Then it turns out that she brought them out here...to help her break into the Baron de Valicourt residence to steal gold. This guy stole 20,000 gold from her family, apparently. Fitz and Duncan both clearly don't know exactly how much that is, but pretend they do.

After they help Gina over this wall, Duncan just sort of leaves Fitz on the other side of it lol

They get inside the building, and the place is full of priceless antiques and various collections. They should be able to get their 20,000 gold pieces worth of value pretty fast here.

But wait! Baron Robert de Valicourt is here, he's an immortal, and he's none too pleased with this trio of trespassers.

Then, he looks right past Duncan and Fitz and sees Gina.



Duncan and Fitz are like "en guarde, ya scoundrel!" while Robert continues to barely notice their presence.

Duncan then engages Robert in battle. The results are actually inconclusive, as Robert is distracted and neither guy seems to really be trying to go for the kill.

Robert disengages from the fight so he can talk to Gina. He's smitten.

She is also smitten!

Then they leave together so he can take her to dinner. The date with Fitz and Duncan is cancelled, and she suggests they go to the opera without her.

They're both mystified, after vying for her affections for however long they've been doing that. What we've just seen is an ultra-rare occurrence, one that happens once in a blue moon, or perhaps during Orbital Wobble. This, lads, is the Double-Friendzone, where two guys like the same woman and then she takes off with a third guy outta nowhere.

Later, Gina invites both of them to meet her in...this snowy field for some reason. They both wonder what the other is doing there, and assume Gina has summoned them because she wants to marry one of them. Naturally, both men think it is HE who is the husband-to-be.

Gina arrives, and they bow...hilariously trying to one-up each other, each bowing lower than the other is.

Gina offers them her hand, and they basically clonk heads trying to both kiss it.

Tremendous. Gina seems to get a real kick out of having these guys so completely enamored with her.

Adrian Paul is damn near corpsing here. Roger Daltrey is such a hoot.

Anyway, she doesn't want to marry either of them, she wants them to give her away to Robert. You know, like a dad gives away a daughter. Yeah, they're deeply friendzoned. They're Captain Friendzone and the Game Master.

Later they bring Gina flowers and get to witness her and Robert gazing into each other's eyes. It's a dark day for the lads. Ironically, if they hadn't been squabbling with each other so much, it's safe to say Gina would have ended up with one of these two suitors. They kept getting in each other's way though. Which is great for Gina because it freed her up to meet someone she actually vibed with.

Back in the present, things aren't so vibey anymore though. All they do is fight. Here they are fighting about the color of the tablecloths for their upcoming re-wedding. Also, my God this chateau is an endlessly gorgeous location.

She then shatters his priceless Ming vase, one of seven left in the world. Duncan walks in to see this and is all "uhh is this a bad time"

Robert is so angry about the vase that, according to him, "I could kill her". I hope that isn't where this episode is going.

Also, it's great to see that Ward the Vampire cleaned himself up and is doing so well now.

Duncan and Robert go for a walk. Duncan may adore Gina and possibly still love her, but he and Robert also are acquainted enough to get along. Time for some reminiscing:

France! 1796! These star-crossed lovers have been together for a full century now, so they're doing their first re-wedding party.

Speaking of star-crossed, Fitz is of course flirting with various women at the party.

I think the implication is that everyone here (or almost everyone, save the chateau staff) are immortals. Here's Sean Burns, having a total ball. Guy appears in more episodes post-death than when he was alive, unfortunately a trend with this show.

Fitz apparently proposed to this other lady to get her into bed, and is now trying to weasel his way out of it, which Sean certainly frowns on. He and Duncan basically box Fitz into a corner where he has to apologize to the woman, then she tells him she would rather marry a shrew anyway. Or something like that. Man, Fitz got owned.

All of that hilarity aside, their breath is taken away by the arrival of...

...Gina, my God what a woman.

She needs help with her dress, and our heroes get stuck in a door momentarily because neither can let the other go first.

She's like Helen of Troy. Revolutions could be started over this woman.

Speaking of revolutions, the French Revolution is in full swing. Duncan warns Gina that, being rich, their house might be a target of the revolution's violence. She says that they're staunch supporters of the Poors, so they're protected. ...except once such things get going, they tend to not discriminate as much as you think, and once they eliminate all of the "problem people" they need to find something new to go after. I wouldn't say anyone is protected, regardless of their staunch support of any movement.

And on cue, we're informed that Robert has been captured by peasants and is going to be put to the guillotine. So the re-wedding is postponed, and our heroes swing into action...after Fitz unties Gina's dress so she can put something else on. Stay strong, my boy.

They arrive to find Robert about to be guillotined. Fitz explains that the guillotine is actually very humane compared to hanging. Yeah, thanks Fitz. Also Gina is dressed as a boy, and a non-noble, to avoid getting attacked by the enraged peasants.

They mount a daring rescue, with Duncan charging at the bloodthirsty crowd and chasing them away from Robert.

Lots of heads on sticks. This is like the worst place for immortals to be, right here, so they get the hell out as soon as they have Robert.

A little while later, Robert comes to his senses and is informed by this friar that "this young man" rescued him. Then they make out in front of the horrified friar.

But wait! She takes her hat off to reveal her supple womanliness, and the friar is like "OH OKAY"

All is well that ends well. This guy is probably the luckiest immortal in this entire series. Unless long relationships aren't your thing, I guess.

Fitz remarks on how they were THIS close to Angelina being single again.

Duncan: "Do you ever stop?"

Fitz: "My friend, the only thing that'll stop me is a blade."

Maybe important to note is that in the final episode of the series, we find out that if Duncan hadn't been in his life, Fitz would have died about 200 years sooner than he did. That timeframe lands right on the time of this flashback. Just an interesting thing to make note of and likely on purpose, considering the series continuity is very tight from Season 3 onward.

Duncan talks to Robert about his marital difficulties and offers some advice. Robert is gonna try talking to her, and...

Gina: "Robert, I want a divorce."

A stupified Robert begs Duncan to go and talk to her, maybe he can change her mind. Problem is, she split up the record collection. Yeah, the vinyl records. She's gone.

Duncan talks to her, but it's to no avail, she's given Robert enough chances. She also seems to kinda wonder how different things would be if she'd gone with Duncan or Fitz instead.

Then they reminisce on Fitz and wish he was there with them, talking about how much fun they all had in essentially their youth.

Angelina gives Duncan a peck, and she's off to stay wherever. Props to Duncan for not offering The Barge as an option and moving in immediately on his freshly-single friend, even though I'm sure that would be great for both of them. He knows Gina and Robert belong together and wouldn't work the same with anyone else.

Duncan now presents Methos with an offer he can easily refuse: Since he doesn't know them, Methos can fight Robert in front of Gina and create the illusion that he's in mortal peril, thus winning Gina's affections again. If she thinks she's about to lose him, it'll get rid of all of their personal animosity and rekindle her lost appreciation of the relationship.

"Do I look like an actor?"

Methos says he hasn't felt guilt since the 11th century, and while he'd like to see Gina and Robert live happily ever after, he'd like to see himself live happily ever after more. Also he doesn't actually give a damn about those people.

Finally Methos agrees to do it, if he gets The Barge. Duncan reluctantly agrees because he doesn't have any other immediate options. Then Methos is all "Like you say darling, I'm an ACT-TOR."

Duncan and Gina rush to where Methos and Robert are about to fight.

Gina: "Who is this guy??"

Duncan: "I don't know! I think he's one of those young ones who kills for sport!"

After Robert boasts about his time as a pirate, Methos tells him why he hates sea travel. "Back in 765 I sailed across the Atlantic to Iceland with a bunch of Irish monks. 6 of us in a row boat with no facilities."

Methos' thousand-yard stare says it all.

Just as Duncan and Gina show up, they start dueling.

It's very much a choreographed fight, with them "calling the match" by telling each other what they're doing next.

Gina wants to charge into the fight and help, and Duncan has to hold her back. This is one scenario where I could see an immortal completely ignoring the "one on one" rule and have it make sense.

Methos gets the better of Robert in their fake fight, and looks like he's going to go for the beheading. Wait, what was the plan here? I mean like...how was this supposed to go? Was Methos just going to decide to show mercy and leave?

We don't find out, because Gina breaks away from Duncan and charges Methos, who immediately flees the scene. This is legit probably the single funniest moment in the entire series. Guy does NOT take risks.

Surprised he didn't yell "IT'S A PRANK BRO" as he ran.

Gina is overjoyed that Robert is alive, and tells him how much she loves him.

He's legit injured and in pain, yet it all washes away since they're together again.

They're reunited! Only problem is... she wants revenge on that guy who tried to murder him.

"Getting between a married couple is a rule I haven't broken for 2000 years!" bellows Methos angrily. He wasn't down with this big deception from the get go. He then demands The Barge.

Duncan grabs a few things and leaves.

Duncan: "With friends like you, who needs enemies?"

Methos: "Opera, opera, opera. Lot of opera here."

So far The Barge isn't really all it was cracked up to be.

This episode is so quotable that this whole post is just gonna end up being me quoting people.

Methos gets the buzz, and...it's Gina. They really need to put a lock on the door. She isn't gonna let Methos continue to live after what he did to Robert.

We then get a horrifying moment where it looks like Gina is about to behead an unarmed Methos. While Gina was shown to be a very capable fighter in the intro, I have no doubt Methos would win in a fair duel, but here he's cornered.

Robert and Duncan sprint over after learning that Gina went to see Duncan. She emerges from The Barge, by herself.

She announces that she killed the bastard! NO! Methos...is dead??

To say these guys are mortified is putting it mildly. Their whole plot sure has backfired.

After Duncan spills the beans that the whole thing was an act to get Gina to come back...

...Methos pops up. He seems very amused by all of this. Looks like he already told her what the deal was.

She isn't exactly amused by their trickery, but the end result is something they're all happy with so it's whatever.

She asks Duncan to give her away, as is tradition. I love how even Methos seems enamored with her after meeting her.

Duncan then swings her around, which I'm pretty sure was Adrian Paul ad-libbing because nobody seemed to expect it, and spins her over to Robert. What a great episode.

Later, back at The Barge! Duncan and Methos are hanging out.

Duncan got them a re-wedding present and it just arrived. It's a priceless Ming vase, one of... six in the world!

He tosses packing material everywhere and makes a general mess because it isn't his place anymore and he's bitter.

Careful with that, my God man!

Methos decides he doesn't want The Barge after all and tosses Duncan the keys, causing him to predictably drop the Ming vase.

I'm sure he can come up with another one, and now it'll be one of only ::checks notes:: five in the world!

Duncan is dumbfounded yet again and Methos takes off. Yeah, that whole crooked scheme was probably the most Duncan has gotten on Methos' nerves yet.

Here I was wondering how Methos owning The Barge was gonna figure into future episodes, trying to remember when the next time we see it was, and how Duncan got it back. ...then by the end it just goes back to Duncan anyway.

Truly great episode and almost definitely the best one of S4.

I alluded to it before, but Robert's actor was in another episode. He's one of four (I think) actors to play two different immortals or characters in the series. Check him out in "The Vampire" and see how different these episode reviews were a decade (Jesus) ago.

Other Highlander Posts

1 comment:

  1. I really have to wonder how Methos managed to convince Gina he was innocent. I'm guessing he probably told her things that only a friend of Mac's would know.