Highlander: Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Keane: "What happened to your friend?"
Duncan: "It's Tuesday. He doesn't take heads on Tuesday."

Interesting twist on the standard Highlander episode. Evil immortal blows into town, big battle, Duncan takes him out. But this time, it was reversed. Duncan was the bad guy. And fortunately, nobody died.

A long time ago, after Culloden, Duncan deliberately hunted down, challenged and killed a man who had caused the deaths of countless innocents. And Duncan threatened and terrified a child, which was very unlike him. He didn't have innocents killed, though, as Rosemont did. Duncan went over the line, but only a toe. People change, and even good people make mistakes, especially in war. As Methos so wisely said (he must have been channeling Darius), "We are all both. Good and evil. We have rage and compassion. We have love and hate, murder and forgiveness. Why don't you try forgiving yourself for once?"

Bringing in the death of Sean Burns was an inspired plot point, because how could Duncan explain that one away? Killing not one but two of Keane's friends made Duncan look pretty dark. And it was enough to make it believable that Duncan would feel guilty enough to consider letting another immortal kill him.

This strong dramatic episode was effectively lightened by Amanda's frantic attempts to save Duncan from himself. I absolutely loved Amanda barging in on Methos in the middle of the night and enlisting him in her cause (with the extra added bonus of Peter Wingfield answering the door wearing only a pair of boxer shorts and a sword). And the many scenes in the Luxembourg Gardens were great. Methos even dueled Keane to save Duncan. Not that it made a difference.


Or did it? Was Amanda wrong about Duncan's state of mind? Or did her meddling with Methos just delay the inevitable long enough for Duncan to get his head around the problem, pun intended?

Flashbacks:

— England 1746: Steven Keane and the Earl of Rosemont talked about the Earl "making a mark" by slaughtering civilians in order to keep the Scots from rising again. Rosemont wanted to save his sons from fighting the same war. Doesn't make it anywhere near the right thing to do.

— Scotland 1746: Duncan experienced the results of Rosemont's policy change and took revenge.

— England 1779: The saintly Sean Burns told his friend Keane to let go of his obsession with tracking and killing Duncan MacLeod. And it worked, for awhile.

— There were clips from several previous episodes: "Through a Glass Darkly," "Deliverance," and "Till Death."

Bits and pieces:

— Amanda was way too inept trying to take Keane out in the teaser. Tell me again how she's managed to stay alive for 1,100 years?

— Was this only the second time we got a glimpse of Methos' apartment? Of course, not the same one. But it was delightfully weird. A computer, a bed on the floor, and several bizarre old objects. And is it me, but do Methos and Amanda have some romantic chemistry?

— Loved the Luxembourg Gardens. Beautiful location. The Paris episodes always looked the best.

— In the flashback, Duncan shot Keane to get to Rosemont, which was breaking the rules and, again, unlike him. And in the gardens, Methos shot Duncan in the back to save him. "You are such a pain in the ass."

— Yet another French cop. I don't think we got her name this time.

— Methos told Amanda that he was no longer working for the Watchers.

— Steven Keane had a K/C name. But he wasn't a bad guy, so he doesn't count.

Quotes:

Old woman: "God will make him pay for this."
Duncan: "He'll not have to wait for God."

Amanda: "You are the best man I know. You make people better. People like me. People who didn't give a damn about anything in their whole lives until you came along with your big brown eyes and your boy scout rules..."

Methos: "Scholarly interest. I just came by to watch the perfect immortal die."

Intelligent, well-executed story with depth. And about a thousand times better episode about Culloden than "Through a Glass Darkly." Four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux knows that there can be only one. And that's Methos.

6 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I liked this episode a lot. Everyone got a lot of meaty material to play with, especially Elizabeth Gracen in the scene where Amanda pleads with Keane to spare Duncan. We rarely get to see this side to Amanda, an emotional and concerned woman who will do anything for the man she loves, even going so far as to frame him for robbery. But he forgave her in the end, after selling her out to gain his own freedom. They have a funny kind of love but it works for them.

One minor quibble, I’m positive that’s not the Luxembourg Gardens were Duncan and Keane first duelled. The Luxembourg doesn’t have a small lake for starters, plus it is a silly place for a duel to the death anyway, what with the French Senate and dozens of armed police only a hedge away. I’ve no idea where it actually is but I wish I did, it’s a gorgeous location. Billie, you’re right on that one, the Paris episodes are, for me, what really sets the series apart, otherwise it would be just another fantasy show (albeit a really great one) shot in Vancouver.

Plus, it meant they would cast British actors like Peter Wingfield, so win-win there. Loved Methos shooting Duncan in the back to stop him from duelling Keane (“You’re such a pain in the arse”). But why didn’t he tie him up afterwards? Or maybe he did, Duncan was friends with Houdini after all. We also got to see how Methos has managed to survive for so long; the bastard cheats. After all you don’t get to live for five thousand years by fighting fair.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks for the info about the Gardens, Mark. I've only been to Paris once, and that was for only two days; I didn't get to see much.

I absolutely agree that the Paris episodes always looked great. Even when the story sucked.

Dustin said...

I agree about Amanda's fighting ability. And it's not the first episode where she has fought this poorly. She definitely shouldn't have lasted as long as she has.

Shane Brannon said...

About Amanda's fighting prowess-- She who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. She confronted two Immortals during the series run, Kalas and (mistakenly) Methos. Both times she was defeated handily. And when she was losing to Kalas she ran. I expect that she's done this more than once over the centuries. It was one of the things that was wrong with The Raven, she suddenly became so good a fighter and it didn't jibe with what we knew.

ECCH English On Line said...

Hi guys, greetings from Good'ol Mexico.
Anybody knows what's the pop song's name playing in the night club at the beggining of the episode?

Billie Doux said...

Hi, ECCH English On Line: According to Youtube comments, the song is "Where We Are Happy" by the Easter Island Philharmonic. Honestly, though, I have no idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xowNxNEVftE