Highlander: Two of Hearts

Katherine: "Charity begins at home."

The fifth and final immortal babe audition episode: Claudia Christian as Katherine.

I honestly don't know if this was the best one, or if I just wanted it to be. When this episode aired in the late nineties, I was a big fan of Claudia Christian's. She was terrific as the brash Commander Susan Ivanova in one of my favorite shows, Babylon 5.

Yes, I most certainly didn't want Highlander to go in the cops and robbers direction. I wanted it to go in a more ambiguous, thought-provoking Methos-centered direction. But if we had to have cops and robbers, or even philanthropic pseudo cops and robbers, this was probably the most viable series spin-off idea, and Claudia the most compelling actress that auditioned. Would I have watched this spin-off? Yes. But I would have watched Claudia Christian in anything.

The producers clearly thought this was the format that worked, too, since they reproduced it for Amanda and another Nick in Highlander: The Raven. They were trying for a poignant mortal/immortal pairing. Again. Even though the guy they paired with Claudia did pretty well, the producers weren't thinking it through. Did Connor and Heather work? Did Duncan and Tessa? Or maybe it was that it just didn't work for Amanda. We'll never know if it would have worked for Katherine.

Probably not.

Once more with the criteria.

1. Charisma? Yes. Claudia Christian was a leading lady. She could do comedy, drama, action, romance; she did it all on Babylon 5, and was a big favorite with the fans.

2. Acting ability? Yes. She had a few clumsy moments in this episode, but I thought she mostly did just fine. She was better than this, and would have been in a series setting.

3. Athleticism, especially with a sword? I thought she pulled off the fight scenes, and she had a quality of intensity and desperation in the sword fight that worked. She got a huge quickening, too, and she handled it well.

4. Compelling immortal flashbacks? Pretty much. She was an advocate for the poor back then, too, as well as a healer. Her accent was questionable, though.

5. She also had the requisite great hair.

There was a rumor in B5 fandom at the time that they did offer the spin-off series to Claudia Christian, but the deal fell through. Five auditions, and as we all know, Elizabeth Gracen got the job by default.

Flashbacks:

— 1270 England. Katherine as a healer. Bartholomew dropped by to recruit for the Crusades and institute a killer tithe, and she challenged him. And some knight shot her in the back.


— Bartholomew was a good villain, viciously religious, gleefully evil. I liked that he used his old shield from the Crusades to fight Katherine in the end.

— There were bits of Katherine trying to track Bartholomew over the years, many of which were anonymous clips of war and death from other episodes of Highlander.

— According to the Watcher Chronicles, Katherine was born in Greece in 326 BC. That certainly would have allowed for a fairly wide range and variety of flashbacks.

Bits and pieces:

— Katherine said she modeled for the drawings in the Kama Sutra. I doubt it; she was Greek, not Indian. Maybe Katherine was another historical name-dropper, like Methos and Amanda. Who, of course, were not in this episode. Neither was series star Adrian Paul.

— Lots of black vehicles. It's what immortals drive.

— My review of Highlander: The Raven, the spin-off series, is here.

Quotes:

Bartholomew: "Who are you to question God's will?"
Katherine: "I am not speaking to God. I am speaking to you."

Bartholomew: "Faith, hope and charity. These are my weapons now."
Katherine: "Spare me."
Bartholomew: "I don't think so." (Two men with guns come in)
Katherine: "What happened to faith, hope and charity?"
Bartholomew: "Meet Mr. Faith, Mr. Hope. Charity has the day off."

Katherine: "Don't do that."
Nick: "What?"
Katherine: "Piss on something you don't understand."

This was one of the two better spin-off episodes. But none of them really did the job. "Indiscretions" did the job. See my next review,

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

3 comments:

Mark Greig said...

I too was a massive B5 fan, I adored Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova, my favourite character after Londo and G’Kar, and was heartbroken when she left (replaced by Tracy Scoggins of all people). I agree that of all the tryouts she was the strongest actress although I’m likely a bit biased. However, I’m not sure what accent she was going for in the flashbacks. Was it supposed to be Irish? Somerset? Cornish, maybe? And I used to think Elizabeth Gracen’s cockney was bad.

Much as I love Christian this episode still left me feeling ‘meh’. Like all the other potentials Katherine wasn’t that engaging to me. Her relationship with Nick was kind of been there, done that. I get it, she’s immortal and he isn’t, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is something the series has done a dozen times before and often a lot better. I also noticed that nearly all these female immortals were all primarily motivated by either revenge or retribution. Couldn’t the writers think of anything stronger than ‘I’m pissed off and want to kill someone’?

Steven O'Shea, a veteran of Prime Suspect and Bad Girls, always makes for a decent bad guy. One of the things I love about the Paris episodes is seeing lots of familiar British character actors pop up. But how long did that final duel take? One minute its broad daylight, then suddenly midnight. They’ve done this a few times in the past and it always bugs me.

Dustin said...

I wanted to love Claudia Christian and I really did like her, but I think my bias influenced me too. She was the strongest actress of the babes. She had the gravitas to carry the role of an immortal, unlike a couple of the other babes. Her swordplay was just ok, but at least it was her doing it.

I was expecting her guy to die by the end of the episode and was surprised when he didn't. Their relationship was fun.

Kyra, Katia, Reagan Cole, Katherine - that's four immortal babes with k/c names.

Shane Brannon said...

This was my favorite of the babe episodes, probably because I too love Claudia Christian. If she and this Nick had been in Raven it would have been a better show. It may not have lasted any longer but it would have been better.