Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-02-21 Entry: "The End Of Highlander"

Duncan is entertaining a woman after their night at the opera in "Black Tower" - there's a knock at the door and she opens it but there's no-one there. When Duncan turns back to light another candle, she gets dragged outside and kidnapped by two thugs, who leave a musical box of a knight from Keram Toys as a clue.

Scotland, 1634, and a man running through the woods is chased by a better dressed man with a sword. The better dressed man gets the worst of the end of the fight, getting a knife in the chest for his troubles. Duncan turns up at this point, and gets the guy's name Devon Marek, but also feels something when he touches him. The guy dies, and Duncan buries him, not recognizing the sensation of a pre-immortal.

So Duncan goes to confront Marek, who's got the woman as hostage. He's also got a whole bunch of armed killers there - bounty hunters, assassins, general thugs - and he wants to play a game. Marek hides the girl, Duncan tries to find her, and the killers try to find Duncan. He's then given 60 seconds to leave before the killers come on his trail.

Much running around and having Marek's henchman think it's a simulation for a video game, leads to Duncan taking out all the killers, and finding the girl. Then he goes to confront Marek, but the woman turns up to shoot him. Duncan just manages to get away by falling to his death in the lobby. Marek kills the woman, and then he and Duncan fight. Amazingly the quickening gets captured on video screens - wouldn't it have blown those out with all that electricity flying around?

"Unusual Suspects" sees the return of Hugh Fitzcairn... well, okay, it's set in 1929, so it's not really a return - I guess that's one nice thing about this show, they can bring anyone back in flashback.

Fitz's wife Juliette and he are hosting a grouse shoot for his business partner, accountant and lawyer... okay, is Roger Daltrey really playing the clarinet? Oh, Fitz has been poisoned - he's dead! The breaking glass when the wife screamed was a nice touch.

Cue Duncan's arrival - Fitz is hiding in the greenhouse - watching his funeral from afar. And he's broke again, because he didn't have time to set up a new identity to bequeath his money to. But he wants Duncan to find out who killed him...

A whole string of murders follow - and some very silly moments... especially Duncan talking to the moose. And obviously Fitz ends up bankrupt at the end...

"Justice" sees another test run for the spin-off show. So we have an immortal woman on the roof with a crossbow, and we have Duncan in a fencing club with an Argentinian Olympic fencer. On exiting, Duncan senses her presence and goes to confront her. She's trying to kill the
Argentinian, but takes the shot at Duncan and then leaves.

Duncan goes to his dinner appointment with the Argentinian. Katya, the Immortal, comes over the wall and meets Mia (the Argentinian's daughter)... who she obviously knows. Duncan senses her, and they end up fighting.

Armondo Baptista (the Argentinian) killed her daughter Elena. Elena was adopted when she was six years old on the streets of Buenos Aires, and Katya raised her for years, moving from place to place to hide the fact that that Katya wasn't aging. And then, in 1996, Elena was shot by Baptista, but because he was an important man in Argentina, he got away with it.

Elena was married to Armondo, but having an affair with his assistant Ramon. She's obviously upset when Ramon starts putting the moves on Katya. Armondo discovers the affair, and then discovers them in bed together. Grabbing a gun he goes to confront them and shoots them both. Then he regrets it and calls for an ambulance, but she dies on the way to he hospital.

Katya has dinner with Duncan, and then spends the night. We get a morning flashback - England, 14th Century - and she's a barmaid. A nobleman comes in and demands the inn be cleared (paying well for the honour) and leaving him alone with Katya. She wants him to make her an honest woman, but knows it can't work. He confronts his father over wanting to marry her, knowing that if his father disowns him, the throne would have to go to the Lord's worthless brother Leopold. The Lord gives in and says they can marry, and invites her to dinner. Once she arrives, she is accused of witchcraft and a sham of a trial is held. And so she is stoned to death.

Back in the present, Katya is still determined to get her revenge, so she breaks in to Baptista's house... but Duncan got there first... he fails to persuade her to give up her revenge but she goes to confront Armando, and they end up in a duel. Just as she's about to win, Mia comes in and finds them with Katya's sword at her father's throat. She can't go through with it...

Okay, why are Amanda and Methos in the credits? It's not as if they've been in this season so far. Even Dawson was only in the first two... perhaps one of them will show up in the next episode: "Deadly Exposure."

And it takes us to Miami Beach, Florida, and a not very funny stand-up comic. The next act though is a eye-catching one... we have our immortal, in a tight fitting PVC outfit carrying a gun and a badge... It's a strip act from the initial cop costume... although I don't think you're likely to see a cop dressed like that though.

Turns out she's a bounty hunter, but just when she's about to get her man, the DEA raid the place. Her mark gets shot though, and she chases the guy who shot him but he gets away. After this she's taking a vacation... her last one was two hundred and fifty years ago, so she's due for a break. I wonder where Regan Cole is going to turn up... Paris by chance?

She's in a cafe watching a photo shoot in the adjacent square. However, the photographer accidentally gets a shot of the guy from the teaser who shot Regan's mark. She throws the film away, but they don't know that so they grab her and kill her. On finding the camera empty, their boss is obviously not very pleased.

Regan gives the model a ride home, and pretty much gets his entire life story. Once they get back to his apartment, the thugs turn back up looking for the camera film. When she manages to take the thugs down with relative ease, the model has some obvious questions... and so do the police, what with the dead body and all.

Regan and the model find the film in the trash can and get it developed. Of course, the thugs are back, and she deals with them again. The dynamic between Reagan and the model is a fun one... they drop in on Duncan when they find the thugs were actually police.

Flashback to London, 1833, and Duncan is caring for his horse, when Regan turns up with a completely silly exotic name. She seems determined to get Duncan in to bed - this girl doesn't waste any time! Of course, Duncan should know better when she starts tying him to the bed. She gets her thousand pound reward for his capture, but the punishment is a private beheading, so she's having second thoughts... especially when the crime was just sleeping with the Duke's wife... So she stages an intervention... dressed as a nun as well... of course, Duncan gets his revenge by tying her to the coach...

The bad guy gets a photo of Regan, so he knows who he's chasing. But there's a million dollar bounty on his head, so Regan is interested in getting him. Then Interpol show up again... at least, he's probably Interpol, but he accidentally dry-cleaned his ID.

Regan realises that Kendall (the villain) is here for the joint anti-terrorism conference so goes to investigate... she manages to get a badge from a woman that vaguely resembles her and gets inside... she's definitely brazen when she's working... oh, but our friend from Interpol is there...

The male model doesn't make his rendezvous with Regan... so what's happened to him? He went back to his apartment to make a phone call, and now he's been shot. Okay, so they won't have a spin-off with her and the model.

Regan's being escorted to the airport, but she's the only one who knows what Kendall looks like, so Interpol need her. Kendall meanwhile has killed one of the conference attendees who looks a little like him and goes to the conference himself. He manages to smuggle an oxygen cylinder (with bomb inside it) inside. Fortunately, Regan met Doctor Bellows earlier, so knows that it's really Kendall at the conference, so she gives chase.

Unfortunately, after finding the bomb and confronting Kendall, he turns out to be wired with plastic explosive, and it's wired to his heartbeat. Fortunately for Regan, she gets four seconds from shooting him in the head to his heart stopping. So she pushes him out of the window into the river. Unfortunately, she's declared dead in the explosion so has to move on to a new identity... still in the bounty hunter business though.

"Two Of Hearts" sees Claudia Christian as our guest female immortal, Katherine. In this case, she's a cop in Chicago. It looks like they're trying to rescue a female hostage from the people holding her. Having to save her partner, she lets the thugs know that they're there. She gets taken hostage, and her partner shoots and kills her, before shooting the bad guy... did he know? It looks that way, as they both escort the original hostage out.

They screwed up the post titles chapter stop... The hostage is returned to her father, and he tries to pay them off, but they refuse the money. Perhaps they're private detectives... they're definitely intimate... He's having trouble dealing with the immortal side of her life. But she has personal business in Paris...

She's there to see a Bartholomew, who she has apparently been trying to see for 700 years. He's setting up a Mission for Kids, but she doesn't want anything to do with that... cue flashback.

She was a village healer in England, trying to ease the fits of a sick woman. She gives her yellowroot, which the woman who teaches her thinks is poisonous. Her teacher thinks she's learned more from Katherine since she came than she has taught her.

And then Bartholomew arrives - preaching of a crusade, and gods will, but recognising that another Immortal is present. He's trying to find recruits for the Crusades. Okay, he's a religious nut. And Katherine won't have anything to do with it. And then, by order of the Baron, they must tithe half of the coming harvest to him, for the Crusade. She challenges Bartholomew, but the Baron turns up and shoots her in the back, disposing of the body before Bartholomew can take her head.

Back in the present day, they arrange a meeting at noon in the car park. Of course, Bartholomew cheats, turning up with two guys with guns. Fortunately for Katherine, her husband turns up and saves her.

In the flashback, Katherine has been thrown in a charnel pit, and Bartholomew has chosen to go on the Crusade. But before going, he goads the Baron into destroying the village, killing everyone and burning it to the ground.

Of course, her husband has a sensible plan - get a lead on the money Bartholomew is ripping off and put a stop to his plans. They break in to the building, but the police find them and arrest them. Katherine has pretty much got as smart a mouth as Susan Ivanova. They do find a briefcase full of passports, guns and credit cards in a whole bunch of identities for Katherine and husband. And the police decide to end the surveillance of Bartholomew as they've found absolutely nothing after 9 months work.

Now they're unarmed, Bartholomew comes for them. And he's not being subtle. But they manage to get away over the rooftops. Once safe, Nick makes an ultimatum - he's either in all her life, including the immortal stuff, or none of it.

Well, they're back in the gun business, after a long distance call to the father of the girl they rescued at the start. And now, they're coming for Bartholomew's head. Of course, he's getting out of there, pulling thirty million dollars worth of diamonds out of the bible in his safe.

They end up in a conventional challenge - but Bartholomew brings his shield, which I think is the first time we've seen one of those in a challenge. Meanwhile, Nick breaks in but gets shot by the hired help. Fortunately he had a bulletproof vest on. He comes out and threatens to shoot Bartholomew, but Katherine tells him not to. And then she finishes it. Cue quickening. Nick sensibly ducked back inside and rounded up the diamonds. And then they go off to the Bahamas to talk.

So there was no Duncan in that one at all?

"Indiscretions" is the Methos and Dwason show... although it starts with three women in the back of a limo, one of whom doesn't look well. There seems to be some police surveillance though. And there's a wealthy immmortal... the women think they're in for a modelling shoot, but the ill one gets shot on arrival.

They screwed up the chapter stop again....

Methos, coming out of an abbey, meets the wealthy immortal from the teaser - Morgan Walker, who knows Methos as Doctor Adams. Methos ducks out of the duel, having no qualms about being called a coward.

Ah, the surveillance wasn't the police, it was a new watcher. And she's a little distraught about the murder. Cool - a history of the Watchers - started by Hammurabi when he saw Gilgamesh come back to life. The new watcher is a little annoyed at Joe, as he pulled strings to get her the assignment. Oh, she's his daughter, Amy.

Methos is in the back room hacking in to the Watcher's database. Looking up information on Walker, so he can avoid him. He was really looking for MacLeod to deal with it, but he's in London seeing Claudia Jardine play. Cue flashback...

New Orleans, 1808, Benjamin Adams is looking after a sick slave. And the woman there is flirting with him, as a prelude to the two of them ending up in bed together. But Captain Walker is back from running slaves, and not too happy about the good Doctor.

Of course, Dawson doesn't want to interfere in Methos' life, resorting to his oath to avoid helping... and obviously Method throws MacLeod back in hs face.

Amy is following Walker, but he discovers her and takes her captive. She claims to be a reporter, but he wants to know what a Watcher is. He's disturbed by the fact that she knows he's an immortal. And he has her journal.

Walker is still dealing in slavery, although his cover heading a modelling agency lets him find suitable candidates. He discovers Amy's tattoo, and he wants to know about Joe Dawson.

Dawson goes to see Methos, who's running away again. They're also being followed. Dawson wants Adam to help him find Amy, considering she was Walker's watcher. Flashback to Walker's discovery and subsequent killing of the slave the good Doctor spent the night with. Methos ducks out of the fight then, like he's trying to now...

Methos has spotted the tail, and Dawson pulls a gun. So do the guys tailing, but Methos takes the bullet. Dawson manages to shoot one of the guys, but the other one causes them to run away. And then they run out of gas... in the middle of nowhere...

They hitch a ride, the bad guys manage to follow them, there's another shoot out and Methos manages to deal with them. Walker calls to tell Dawson he wants to trade Amy for Doctor Adams. So Dawson goes along with it, finally giving in and telling Methos, who knew all along because Dawson is a terrible liar.

Walker and Methos fight, and the world's oldest man easily wins. A drink together ends the show.

That was fun - these two make a great team - and really should have done more together. Their bit part in Highlander: Endgame doesn't quite capture their dynamic here. The video intro bit on the disc does talk about this being the format for a possible anthology show spin-off - basically Methos and Joe sitting aroung telling tales about other immortals.

And so, on to the finale... starting with "To Be"...

Ah, there's Amanda... it's about time... but she's taken hostage right at the start, and a coaster for The Light Horse is left. Flashback to London, World War 2, and an irish immortal is trying to recruit MacLeod to the cause of Ireland against the English. They've planted a bomb in the bar and need to leave in a hurry. MacLeod obviously isn't too happy about this. Liam O'Rourke is the immortal in question - and he and his mortal girlfriend were sent to gaol for life. He stayed in there until she died.

Amazingly Methos wants to come along to help Duncan! Once they leave, O'Rourke comes in and takes Dawson hostage too. He leaves another note for Duncan, who has to go alone - and Methos wants to go along knowing it's a trap.

Duncan does go alone. And ends up in an impossible situation. So Duncan agrees to lay down his sword - his life for Tara's - in return for Liam's sworn oath that Dawson and Amanda will be freed. Duncan's determined that no-one else dies because of him.

Duncan kneels before O'Rourke, ready to give his head, when Methos turns up and shoots them all. But Duncan gets shot by O'Rourke and ends up unconscious on a moving train, rushing down the tracks.

Cue lots of flashbacks - all the people who have died throughout the series. And then he awakes to Hugh Fitzcairn. God's decided to hold an intervention, and Fitz has been sent as the messenger!

Duncan finds himself somewhere in France, and watching Amanda and some guy making out by a piano. This Amanda never met Duncan, in this world there never was a Duncan MacLeod... so what happens to Amanda when Duncan isn't around?

Unfortunately, the guy by the piano isn't her husband - her husband is stealing a whole bunch of bearer bonds - he's some guy she has to hide when her husband returns with the money, before Amanda kills him, via poisoning his champagne.

Duncan tries to intervene, claiming his car broke down, and he needs to call a mechanic. Amanda seems to be smitten with him, but he does succeed in breaking the champagne glass. And then the Hunters come for Amanda's head.

And now, alternate Dawson, busking for money on the street. What happened to the Watchers? They went over to the killing, and Dawson couldn't stop them... eventually, he just gave up. And there's James Horton...

Duncan wants to know what happened to Richie... but lets start with Tessa. Well, okay, lets start with Tessa next episode... In "Not To Be"...

Tessa has a family, two beautiful children, and was never killed in the street. And they screwed up the chapter stop again!

Duncan goes to Tessa's gallery, wanting to meet her. She's given up sculpting - claiming she wasn't very good. She gave up because there were no buyers. She meets Duncan in a cafe for a drink, when her husband comes in. The husband invites him to dinner.

The husband is rich, but only through working 70 hours a week. He's a workaholic and she wants to go away for a few days, which he objects to, but finally gives in. Duncan turns up for dinner, but the husband gets called away for yet another crisis at work. Duncan decides he should leave, but Tessa wants him to stay. She's clearly not happy here, and falling into his arms isn't going to solve anything.

And then, in a bar, Methos. Who's definitely a lot darker than he was before... obviously his falling out with the watchers didn't go well. And Fitz died here 280 years prior in the mess with trying to blow up King George, that he didn't have an annoying Scotsman to save him.

Methos fell in love. 1995, around the first time he and Duncan met, and his girlfriend wanted Methos to tell the Watchers that he was immortal. He buys her a ring and wants to propose marriage. But she tells Horton, wanting to stop the killing, and Horton kills her... and makes a pretty good attempt at killing him, before Kronos turns up.

Richie didn't do too well either, forever running. First from the police, then from the Immortals, not knowing what he was, or why people were trying to kill him. And then Methos turned up - became his teacher, taught him everything he knew, and then a test - to kill Joe Dawson... set up as one of the guys who killed Silas and Caspian. So Richie confronts Dawson... but he's never killed anyone before... and he's having a hard time doing it now. Dawson manages to get to him and he fails to go through with it, so Methos and Kronos take his head.

Two years later, and Joe's a shell of a man. Methos is questioning him to locate Horton, and he's still the master manipulator. Duncan turns up - and fights Methos, beating him.

So he's been shown what the world would be like without him. So he's got to go home, and keep doing what he does best - be the world's most annoying boyscout.

So Duncan and O'Rourke duel, and obviously Duncan wins. The end.

Then an hour and a half of Mulan 2 - this, to be fair, was rubbish. The storyline is predictable, the animation is cheap, the backgrounds are non-existent, and if it weren't for the cast reunion, there'd be nothing redeemable about this at all. And they don't even get Eddie Murphy back, but at least the guy voicing Mushu is a reasonably close match.

This is followed by an episode of Charmed that I could have easily skipped. They're building Drake up for his subsequent death, what with him only having one more week to live. There's also no sign yet of Leo's punishment, even though he knows something is coming because he's leaving messages for his sons... and the next episode is their 150th, so they're likely to pull out all the stops. The only other interesting note in this one was the villain, Mr Sark... well, okay, Baron something or other, but he was a bit thinly drawn here compared to Alias' Sark.

And now, on to Deadwood. And episode one is titled "Deadwood" just so there's no confusion. They appear to have borrowed the composer from Firefly for the theme music here, although there's no singing in this one. And we open in the Montana Territory, May 1876. The sheriff has a man in lockup for stealing a horse, and the guy he's selling it from turns up with a lynch mob. The sheriff hangs the guy in the gaol, so it's all legal-like, and then hands over his badge and sets off for Deadwood to open a hardware store.

He arrives about the same time as Wild Bill Hickock does. There's a lot of corruption in this town, but that's what you get when there's no law there. A guy comes in to town claiming indians have attacked a family who were travelling back to Minnesota, and when they ride out there, they find a survivor. The man who came to town meets a sticky end, but was it at the hands of Hickock, or the guy from Montana (Bullock)?

There's also a deal made on a gold prospecting claim, which Swearengen engineers between a New York couple and a seller. Of course, he's seeded the claim so it looks like it's paying, and he gets a cut of the sale. The wife of the guy who buys the claim, Alma, is clearly addicted to something...

And then "Deep Water" sees Swearengen (the innkeeper / chief con-man / Lovejoy) wondering if Hickock and Bullock are in league, considering they arrived at about the same time. Calamity Jane is worried about the child found in the attacked caravan. Brad Dourif as the Doctor is a great bit of casting in this...

Bullock and his partner are looking to buy their lot, so they haven't got to keep paying rent to Swearengen. He, however, doesn't like the possibility of a silent partner (Hickock) and doesn't apparenly like Jews (which Star is). Bullock obviously takes a disliking to Swearengen at the tone of questioning.

Alma gets a new supply of whatever drug it is she's addicted to from the Doctor. Her husband is still out trying to make his non-paying claim turn up gold.

The girl is awake, but the agents who attacked her caravan are going to have to kill her so she doesn't identify them and ruin Swearengen's activities. Jane isn't particularly tough when confronted.

Seth Bullock and Sol Star make another attempt at buying their lot. Swearengen has conditions on the deal - 500 now, half of six months profits, and then 500 in the autumn when he's got to know them better. Seth makes an attempt at a counter offer, that ends in a shouting match between him and the saloon owner.

So there's an attempt made on the life of the little girl, and an attempt made on the life of Hickock. Seth ends up backing up Hickock again.

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