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Highlander Duncan MacLeod Darius Highlander

"Same Clan, different vintage" - Connor MacLeod, The Gathering

This page recounts the present day storyline of "Highlander", for Season 1. The title chosen for each season is taken from an episode from that Season and is of my choosing, reflecting my feeling about the entire season. In this case, as ideas and characterisations were being drawn together by the actors and writers, "The Gathering" seemed appropriate. Episode titles are shown in italics.

This part of the site is dedicated to the memory of Werner Stocker, who portrayed Darius and died during the filming of The Hunters.

Season One - 1992/93

"The Gathering"

Regular Cast

Duncan MacLeodAdrian Paul
Tessa NoelAlexandra Vandernoot
Richie RyanStan Kirsch
DariusWerner Stocker

The GatheringOur story starts with an intimate moment disturbed. Duncan MacLeod and Tessa Noel have been living in a city in the Pacific North West for several years, where they run an antiques store. One night, a young street punk called Richie Ryan breaks in to the shop whilst they are celebrating Tessa's birthday, but is caught by MacLeod, who threatens to cut off his head with a sword, ("The Gathering"). Stunned by MacLeod's seeming over-reaction, Richie watches in disbelief as another man jumps in through the skylight and challenges the antiques dealer, only to be disconcerted by the appearance of a third man with a japanese sword, who is in turn hunting him. The intruder is Slan Quince, who is hunting Duncan, unaware that he is himself the target of Duncan's kinsman, Connor MacLeod. Intrigued, the kid follows the MacLeods, only to see first Connor, then Duncan fight Slan. He sees Connor defeated, but escape, leaving Duncan to behead Quince. Amazed, he watches Duncan caught at the centre of lightning and explosions as he witnesses, for the first time, a Quickening. Before he leaves, Connor tells Duncan that he must watch Richie, which Duncan does by taking in the boy, who has no family, and employing him in the antiques store. After what he has seen, MacLeod also tells Richie the truth about himself and the others - that he is 400 years old and he, like them, is Immortal.

Family TreeRichie comes to live with Mac and Tessa, but initially finds it hard to put down roots, having been a loner all his life. Now that he has some stability, he tries to learn who his father is, but falls prey to a conman who pretends to be his father ("Family Tree"). In the end, all that he succeeds in learning is that the woman who he always thought was his mother was, in fact, his foster mother. MacLeod encourages him to think that this is a rare chance - Richie can choose who he wants to be.

Road Not TakenRichie tries to change, putting his old life behind him, but sometimes it comes after him. Learning that a close friend died on drugs, robbing a jewellery store, Richie tries to find out why the one clean guy he knew turned bad, ("Road Not Taken"). But it is MacLeod who recognises what happened. Kiem Sun, an old friend of MacLeod's, has been trying to ferment a potion for centuries that gives men strength, whilst making them obedient to his will. A mortal student of Kiem's has stolen the last batch of the liquid and is using it for his own ends. Kiem and Mac hunt down the student and defeat him, but Mac warns Kiem that his persistence in seeking to perfect control over mortals means that their friendship is over.

Innocent ManAs the summer ends, Mac takes Tessa to meet Lucas Desiree, a friend of his from the American Civil War, ("Innocent Man"). As they approach Lucas' home, Mac feels the Quickening of Lucas' death. They return home saddened, only to learn that an itinerant and brain damaged war veteran has been arrested for Lucas' murder. Mac returns to Stevenson County, where he learns that Sheriff Howard Crowley, who found the man standing over the body with Lucas' sword in his hand, is an Immortal and the real killer. Mac convinces the authorities of the man's innocence and justice is served the Immortal way, when Mac takes Crowley's head.

Free FallWhen an attractive young woman, (well, that's what the story demanded - if you go for the "kissed by a brick" look), walks into the store covered in blood, Richie tries to help, but when Mac returns, he tells Tessa and Richie to get out - for she is Immortal, ("Free Fall"). Felicia Martins tells Mac she jumped off a building, but she doesn't know why. He tells her about her Immortality and starts to train her, thinking she is a new Immortal. In fact, her real name is Felice Martens and she is at least 300 years old. She is running from an Immortal lover whose mortal wife and stepchild she murdered and she uses the training she gets from Duncan to defeat him and take his head. MacLeod discovers who she is and confronts her, before she can leave with Richie, who is besotted with her. Not for the last time, Mac walks away rather than take a woman's head.

Bad Day In Building AEvery series has naff episodes and "Bad Day In Building A" was one of Highlander's most notable. Die Hard meets Highlander as terrorists try to spring their leader from jail, by taking over the courthouse where he is on trial. Unfortunately for them, Duncan and Tessa are there, paying off Tessa's parking tickets and, inevitably, they lose.

Mountain MenWaiting for Duncan to return from a business trip to Paris, Tessa goes up to the hills to sketch, where she is taken captive by Caleb Cole, his son and their companion, who are on the run from the law, ("Mountain Men"). When she fails to return, Duncan goes after her and tracks Caleb and the others. Caught by Caleb's son and the other man, Duncan jumps off a cliff, to certain death. Stunned, they rejoin Tessa and Caleb, who is falling for her. They tell Caleb about MacLeod and show him Mac's sword. Alarmed, Caleb breaks camp, but not before he unwraps a large and well honed axe. Tessa realises that Caleb is Immortal and confronts him about it. Mac pursues them and, having caught Caleb's (step) son, fights with Caleb, who has killed the third man in a fit of jealousy and paranoia. For the first and only time in the series, Tessa sees Duncan caught in the power of a Quickening as he kills Caleb.

Deadly MedicineA strong contender for the all time worst episode is "Deadly Medicine". Knocked down in a hit and run, Mac survives and walks out of the Emergency Room at the hospital. This intrigues the doctor who treated him, who is indulging in some very unethical research in his basement. He kidnaps Duncan, who escapes, but is forced back to rescue Randi, a reporter who has dogged him for most of the series.

The Sea WitchWhen Richie comes to the aid of an old girlfriend, who gets caught up in a drug deal that goes wrong, Mac and Tessa are left holding the baby, literally, as she and her daughter shelter with them from the vengeful dealer and his henchmen, ("The Sea Witch"). She ended up with the drugs and the money and he wants them back. Mac destroys the drugs and learns that the dealer is Alexei Voshin, with whom he has an old score to settle. He fights Voshin, ending the girl's problem and avenging the lover Voshin killed in Stalinist Russia. The girl leaves to build a new life for her and her daughter with the money.

Revenge Is SweetAn enquiry for a cavalry sabre leads Duncan, Tessa and Richie into danger when Rebecca Lord walks into the shop, ("Revenge Is Sweet"). She is mourning her lover, Walter Reinhardt, and believes Mac killed him. He knows better - he fought Reinhardt on New Year's Eve 1988, but didn't take his head. Rebecca knows nothing of Immortals, but is determined to kill MacLeod, who has Reinhardt's sword. Mac suspects that Reinhardt is back and his suspicions are proved correct. When Reinhardt kidnaps Richie, Mac and Rebecca set him up, convincing him that Mac has killed her. He comes out of the shadows, convinced that MacLeod is distracted by killing a woman, but finds the Highlander to be ready for him and more than he can handle.

See No EvilAt this point in the series, the scriptwriters still hadn't quite got a handle on where they were going, so we got a couple of Equalizerish episodes, to see how that worked. First, MacLeod single handedly captures a serial killer who is re-enacting the murders of Marcus Korolus, an Immortal serial killer from the twenties who Mac killed, in "See No Evil",Eyewitness then, at an exhibition of her work, Tessa looks out of a window and sees a woman murdered on a bridge, ("Eyewitness"). No one except Mac believes her, as there is no corpse, but the killer wants her dead, to protect the secret of his Immortality, which he believes he can easily do as he is the police chief, Andrew Ballin. At the end of a very poor episode, Mac confronts Ballin and creates a promotion opportunity for the Seacouver police.

Band Of BrothersHowever, the series was about to improve dramatically, taking on a darker, harder edge. The idyllic life of Duncan and Tessa was to be shattered forever by the arrival of a message from Mac's teacher, the priest Darius, in "Band Of Brothers". Darius' most powerful enemy, Grayson, was coming to Seacouver, to eliminate a mortal peacemaker and disciple of Darius, Viktor Paulus. Grayson was a lieutenant of Darius when they led an army across Europe in the 5th century, but turned against him when Darius killed the then oldest living Immortal at the gates of Paris and became a man of peaceBand Of Brothers. Determined to protect Tessa and Richie, but uncertain of his ability to handle Grayson, he sends them to Darius for protection, then sets out to face Grayson. Grayson, a fellow Scot, offers MacLeod a position at his right hand, but Duncan refuses. In what is probably the best fight in the series, Grayson takes MacLeod to the limit before the younger Highlander prevails. MacLeod follows his friends to Paris, where he and Tessa decide to stay, living on Duncan's barge; Tessa takes up a post as a curator, Duncan takes up the role of a kept man and Richie that of a fish out of water.

For Evil's SakeIn his role as a kept man, Duncan does the shopping, but as he is returning to the barge one morning, he sees a clown dressed as a mime kill an elderly man, ("For Evil's Sake"). Helping the police, he tells them that he could identify the man. The police inspector, LeBrun, is convinced he has seen Duncan before. Later, mysterious men with guns stake out the barge and, when Duncan fells one, he finds that he is a policeman. LeBrun has remembered Duncan - when he was a young gendarme, they were chasing the assassin Kuyler and he saw Duncan then. LeBrun's assistant is in Kuyler's pay, but Duncan silences the mime forever and LeBrun arrests his assistant.

For Tomorrow We DieDuncan hasn't finished with LeBrun, for when his old enemy Xavier St Cloud crosses his path again, Duncan throws one of Xavier's gas grenades into a cement mixer and LeBrun fishes it out, ("For Tomorrow We Die"). Convinced MacLeod is the gas poisoner, LeBrun tries to run him in whilst, in a race against time, Duncan has to stop Xavier from gassing an exhibition Tessa is organising. Frustrated, Xavier comes for Duncan, but in the fight, Duncan cuts off Xavier's hand and he disappears into the Seine.

The Beast BelowHighlander's take on Phantom Of The Opera came in "The Beast Below", in which a slow witted giant Immortal is living under the Paris Opera and falls under the spell of a soul diva who isn't so much evil as just pantomime wicked. He almost takes Duncan apart before finding out he is being used and returns to the monastery where he used to live, while the diva gets run over by a convenient truck.

Saving GraceA couple of old girlfriends soon appeared, to test Tessa's restraint. Grace Chandel, on the run both from the police, who want to arrest her for killing her husband, and the Immortal ex-lover who was the real killer, the possessive Carlo Sendaro, ("Saving Grace"), was welcomed by Tessa, when Duncan and Darius help her escape, Duncan making sure that Carlo will not trouble her again.

The Lady & The TigerThe same was not true of Amanda, described by Duncan as "a bad habit". It was in "The Lady & The Tiger" that we first met the unprincipled cat-burglar with a passion for circuses, robbery and 400-year old Scotsmen, here trying to set up MacLeod so that the Immortal thief she had double crossed, Zachary Blaine, would not take her head. In the end, she takes Zachary's, but not before Duncan has done all the hard work. Which pretty much set the pattern for all of the Amanda stories to come.

Eye Of The BeholderRichie's inability to speak French gets him a plateful of shrimps when he thought he ordered fruit salad, much to the amusement of a young girl, who turns out to be a model for the designer Gabriel Pitone, ("Eye Of The Beholder"). Pitone, in turn, turns out to be an Immortal and an old friend of Duncan's, although when Richie finds out that Pitone is a thief and a murderer, friendship is set aside as Pitone tries to silence Richie, first by framing him, then by trying to kill him. Duncan finally loses patience with his old friend and, this time, doesn't let him off the hook.

Avenging AngelIn "Avenging Angel", mentally unbalanced Alfred Cahill revives after being killed by a prostitute, thinking that he is an angel sent by God. Obsessed with the Knights Templar, he kills the girl and her pimp. When MacLeod tries to stop him killing again, Cahill turns on him as the Devil and they fight in a museum to the Templars, which is, of course, NOT Holy Ground, despite being in the titles ever since when they're talking about Holy Ground. I'm so glad we got that sorted out.

Nowhere To RunThen we move on to Highlander's version of Under Siege, in "Nowhere To Run", in which the charmless son of a personality bereft diplomat rapes the daughter of a local retired military man. When Daddy comes to call, he turns out to be her stepfather and an Immortal, Colonel Everett Bellien, and he and his mercenaries lay siege to the diplomat's neglected Chateau, seeking to remonstrate with the son. Fortunately, Daddy's old friend Tessa is visiting at the time and her boyfriend Duncan seems rather good at this military thing and so lots of mercenaries end up dead, as does the son, but not Bellien, who flees with his step-daughter.

The HuntersAfter that, the series had to go some to end on a high note, but we were not to be disappointed. In ("The Hunters"), Duncan's old friend, Hugh Fitzcairn, comes to see him, with news that Immortals are disappearing. When they go to see Darius, they find him decapitated inside the church. Returning to Fitz's hotel, they are attacked and Fitz is spirited away,The Hunters whilst Duncan returns to the church, finding a book hidden by Darius. It is a history of Immortals, written by a secret society of mortals. When these mortals come for Duncan,The Hunters he is ready and follows them back to their hideout, rescuing Fitz, who is about to be guillotined and confronting their leader, a wild eyed fanatic who wants to destroy all Immortals. He gets away, leaving a shattered MacLeod to mourn his friend and teacher. The series ends with MacLeod vowing revenge on the men and pouring Darius' ashes into the Seine, to flow out to the sea.

Next... The Darkness