Highlander: Studies in Light

Tessa: "Did you tell her?"
Duncan: "Tell her what? That eternal life does exist, but not for her?"

This one was about the importance of meaning in one's life, illustrated by the title of the photography exhibit: "Studies in Light and Darkness." On the one hand (light), we had mortal, dying Linda Plager, a great photographer who was inspired to create a life full of meaning by none other than our hero, Duncan MacLeod. On the other hand (darkness), we had Gregor, an immortal with no meaning in his life, who created violent, dark photographs and played life and death games with mortals.

How do immortals deal with crippling depression? They really can't go to shrinks. Does Prozac work on immortals, or do they just act out eternally? Suicide wouldn't be that hard if you really wanted to do it; just find a nasty immortal and pick a fight. Did Duncan's shock therapy work? Does Gregor's condition explain evil immortals to some extent? Do they develop emotional illnesses that can't be cured?

Gregor's conversation with Richie on the docks hinted strongly that Gregor thought Richie was a potential immortal. Richie didn't pick up on it, but expressed the opinion that living forever would be, like, the best. But this episode's message was that eternal life doesn't bring one happiness. Not everyone has the endurance to handle immortality.

This was still a mildly clumsy early episode with less sophistication than some of my later favorites, as well as a bit too much tinkling piano during the tear-jerking scenes. But it was touching, and it effectively explored a negative side to immortality that wasn't just inexplicable evil. Plus, I thought Adrian Paul did a fine job with Linda's death scene. I liked that Duncan told Linda the truth about himself, and that he was proud of what she'd done with her life.

Flashbacks:

— 1938 Seacouver, Washington. Duncan rescued a child from a burning building (typical Duncan), and Linda photographed it.


— 1939 Seacouver, Washington. Linda Plager broke up with Duncan.

— 1883 Washington Territory. So Gregor was once a doctor. Early in this episode, it was easy to assume that Gregor was always uncaring. In the flashback, we learned that he cared too much.

— They invested in a really good short hairpiece for Adrian for the thirties flashbacks. Much better.

Bits and pieces:

— Gregor mentioned that he had considered taking Duncan's head just so that he could feel something again. Again, the concept that a quickening can change someone, based on the type of person the victim was.

— If Linda was once so important to Duncan, how come he didn't recognize her name when they came into the gallery? It was in great big letters on the wall. Hard to miss.

— Duncan: "Your camera sees what you want it to see. You can shoot hope or despair, garbage or flowers. It all depends on where you want to spend your life." I thought this was a good description of optimism and pessimism, and was probably illustrative of Duncan's basic optimistic nature.

Three out of four stars,

Billie
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Billie Doux knows that there can be only one.

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