It has been almost twenty years since Highlander went off the air (1998). A few years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the start, I meant to do some fandom-things, but as happens, I did not. It is not the best show, it has so many issues, but I do love it, and why not celebrate what is fun? I’ve been tempted to do a rewatch of the show, and I have decided I would start (and hopefully maintain) a watching journal as I work my way back through the show, from the episodes I’ve memorized to the episodes I’ve only seen once. I hope to use this journal to ramble about other shows, games, books, and movies, but if I can get a post for every episode of Highlander, I’ll consider it a victory.
And so, Episode 1, “The Gathering” (following Hulu’s episode order–spoilers for the episode, the series, and anything else inside)
Synopsis: He is Duncan MacLeod, etc. etc., stroke of a sword, quickening, what not, in case you didn’t watch the movie, which is fine, because we retcon THAT entire ending and happily move to 90s Seacouver in this most movie-like episode. We get introduced to our Season 1 main characters, Duncan “Mac” MacLeod (everyone’s favorite boyscout immortal), Tessa Noel (everyone’s favorite sassy welder/artist), and Richie Ryan (eventually everyone’s favorite street urchin/thief/biker–it takes him a few episodes to mature a bit, although Season 4 Richie is best Richie…). We also get a few special appearances, with Connor MacLeod (<3), the Kurgan rip-off Slan Quince, and a higher ratio of Queen music and naked ladies. It’s really like watching the movie. ANYWAY. It’s a little stodgy in as much as first episodes can often be, setting up the characters and the Rules for being an Immortal (beheadings, holy ground, one-person challenges, etc. etc. Game), but the charm of the later dynamics has its origin here.
When Richie decides to steal from an antique store (in his search for money and ~a place to belong~, which is the only reason I can figure why he stalks the MacLeods stalking Slan while he creeps), he winds up in the middle of an Immortal grudge match. Slan literally swoops in, which is the only cool thing he does since he mostly Creeps, but the MacLeods fight him off and stalk him while he creeps. Eventually, despite her welding torch, Slan keeps threatening Tessa (which happens in…most episodes), and Duncan fights him, and then there’s beheadings and lightening. Hooray, everyone but Slan, especially Connor, because Christopher Lambert’s laugh and subtle wit make me smile. Also, Connor the French trader. I am fine with him not being the main character, but he has a bit more flair and charm in this episode than Duncan does, and the bickering between Duncan and Connor is /priceless/. I will miss you Connor (*aggressively ignores the fourth movie*)
I had almost forgotten about Slan’s bomb-pommel-thing. He should have thought ahead and reloaded that. I guess Slan has two cool things in this episode.
I’m always glad I started in Seasons 4/5 because Season 1 is hard to love at first… But I do love the start of the TV show fighting on bridge and ending up in river trope, AND fighting in abandoned warehouse trope.
Connor: “I’m a friend of Duncan’s from the old neighborhood. *heh*”
Tessa: “Please, don’t sat anything in front of the lady. Let me just go in the next room and crochet while you have cigars and brandy and talk about beheadings.” (SASS MASTER)
Tessa: “You’d think in 400 years, a person would learn how to listen.”
Connor: “You know, I’ve been thinking. […] Why are you smiling? Because I’ve been thinking? [chuckles]”