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Highlander: Methos

Duncan: "Have you..."
Methos: "Made any sense of it? Found any purpose?"
Duncan: "You read minds, too?"
Methos: "No. It's what I'd ask if I'd just met me."

I have a confession to make. I've fantasized about Methos on and off for years. There's something about the combination of the actor and the character that was magical. Methos is one of the chief reasons why I wanted to review this series.

So. Here we go.

What would a five-thousand year old immortal be like? I can almost hear the discussion in the writers' room.

He'd be the ultimate survivor type. Clever and quiet, able to blend in anywhere. (How perverse of Methos to join the Watchers in order to preemptively watch himself. And how smart.) He'd be good with a sword, but he wouldn't be the type to boast or seek out fights or he'd have been dead a long time ago. The rock music was a strong hint that Methos likes new things, likes what the modern world has to offer. He would have to love change, or the world would have left him behind a long time ago.

It was a brave choice to cast a young man in the part instead of an older "wise man" type, like Darius or Constantine. The right young man, that is. If they'd cast a less talented actor than Peter Wingfield, Methos would have returned once, as they'd originally intended, and that would have been it. Instead, this episode was a brief, tantalizing introduction to a character that most fans immediately wanted to know a whole lot better. I know I did.

The one problem I had with the plot was, would a man who had lived so long and clung so tenaciously to life give up his head to Duncan so easily? Methos certainly knew how powerful any immortal who killed him would be, and yes, Kalas had beaten him. But Methos already knew Duncan by reputation, and must have been fairly certain that Duncan wouldn't take his head. Was he manipulating Duncan for some reason? It works dramatically, but doesn't quite scan logically.

With such a cool main plot, why on earth did they spend so much time on Richie's brief racing career and his life lesson at the track? I like Richie, don't get me wrong, but couldn't they have found a more interesting plot direction for him than motorcycle racing? He did look somewhat cute in that red and white leather jumpsuit. But really. Maybe the point was to contrast the oldest living immortal with one of the youngest, and least mature. And maybe I'm giving the writers too much credit.


— 1920 Paris. Kalas had become Antonio Neri, famous tenor, but fame hadn't mellowed him any. He tried to kill Maria, an aspiring opera singer who was a friend of Duncan's.

— In this week's Most Obvious Symbolism, Kalas nearly strangled Maria right before Duncan slashed his throat. Maria was even wearing a red ribbon around her neck.

— Duncan was with yet another singer. Duncan likes singers.

— More flashbacks within flashbacks.

Bits and pieces:

— Methos used an alias, Adam Pierson. His apartment contained diaries going back to the beginning of the written word. He was into some interesting and diverse sculpture, too. Did he create the sculpture?

— Kalas owned a bar called "Nosferatu." Appropriate name for ancient, unkillable evil.

— Kalas tortured and killed his own watcher. I think if I were a watcher with such an evil assignment, I'd ask for another. Give me a monk or something.

— The Shakespeare & Co. bookstore is real; it's near Notre Dame. I went there when I visited Paris in 2005, and it looked much the same as it did in this episode.

— Methos got Kalas arrested for the murder of the watcher. Kalas is now in jail. Let's see how long that lasts.

— There were several terrific duels. I particularly loved Duncan in a tux sliding across a waxed floor, and Duncan and Methos dueling in the tunnel under the bridge. Interestingly enough, both of those scenes wound up in next season's credit sequence, so I wasn't the only one.

— Methos said it had been two hundred years since he last faced someone.

— I'm actually rather proud of myself for keeping this review relatively short, since I could write about Methos all day.


Picasso: "Buenos dias."
Duncan: "Picasso. Que tal?"
Maria: "You know Picasso?"
Duncan: "We've met."

Methos: "Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod. Have a beer. Mi casa es su casa."

Methos: "It's good to be a myth."
Duncan: "Yeah. No one hunts for a myth. Or a watcher."
Methos: "What better place to hide? I'm in charge of finding myself, and I make sure it never happens."

Methos: "How many people have stood on the same stage with Julius Caesar and the Rolling Stones?"
On the actual stage? I think being in the audience would have made more sense. But hey.

Methos: "Live, Highlander. Grow stronger. Fight another day."

The introduction of my favorite character certainly rates a four, but when you add in the tiresome motorcycle plot, what do you get?

Billie Doux knows that there can be only one.


  1. Mmmm, yes, I totally agree with your assessment. Methos as played by PW just lights up the screen, although this first episode shows that they didn't know that was going to happen and they hadn't realised how to write for him.

    I always fast forward through the bike racing bits. I never really warmed to Richie, for a number of reasons, but I certainly feel sorry for him. Imagine if someone more practical and sneaky had taught him ... ? And really, when you've got forever, why would you only teach someone for a year or two and then cut them loose?

    And Adam Pierson should have run to Watcher HQ the moment that Duncan passed on Don Salzer's warning about Methos to Joe. The Watchers, having just lost two of their own would have understood that Adam was also in danger. And living in Paris aka Immortal Central, Adam would surely have had a backup plan for discovery by another Immortal. I guess that goes under 'plot device to introduce character of the week who Duncan has to save'. And possibly Methos' curiosity about Duncan.

    Thank goodness Methos became more than the plot device of the week.

    I also was irritated that Duncan told Joe about Methos so quickly. Then again, I suppose he had to. Joe had trusted him enough to tell him that Methos was real, after all. It's just that later on Duncan was all about the 'us and them' with Immortals and Watchers.

    IMO, every episode after this that featured Methos was one of the great episodes. Somehow he inspired the writers, maybe because it was never just about the enemy from the past, or the old girlfriend in distress. And all the bits with Methos/Joe and Methos/Amanda worked so well, that I'm just surprised that the spinoff wasn't about the three of them. Or possibly Methos and Joe with Amanda flying in and out unpredictably.

  2. The spinoff should absolutely been about Methos! I've always thought - or maybe I read it here a review or elsewhere? - that TV wasn't ready at the time for a show centered on a morally ambiguous anti-hero, which of course became all the rage in later years. I think the Richie bike plot would have worked better in season 2 soon after he became an immortal. They could have centered the episode around Richie trying to carve out his life as an immortal with flashbacks of a time when Duncan was going through the same thing - what do I do with my life in between fights to the death? It would have worked a lot better than the melodrama of Under Color of Authority.


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