"So I slave away all day while you sunbathe on a barge?" - Tessa Noel
With "Band Of Brothers", Highlander changed up several gears and things were never the same again. It remains one of the best episodes and features, in my opinion, one of, if not THE best fight the series ever saw, as an over-matched Duncan MacLeod is taken to the limit and beyond in his efforts to stop Darius' former lieutenant and present enemy, Grayson, from killing anyone who is associated with the peaceful priest. All opinions expressed here are my own, as is the retelling of the storyline.
Written by Marie-Chantal Droney
|Duncan MacLeod||Adrian Paul|
|Tessa Noel||Alexandra Vandernoot|
|Richie Ryan||Stan Kirsch|
|Randi McFarlane||Amanda Wyss|
|Victor Paulus||Earl Pastko|
A phone call from the Bureau of Arts and Monuments in France astounds and elates Tessa, as she is asked to curate an exhibition on sculpture. But the position is based in Paris and, as Duncan observes, that's not a flyover job. Richie watches dumbstruck as Tessa and Duncan calmly discuss this, seeing his new found life disintegrating. As the two lovers consider the options, the tension is temporarily broken by the arrival of a parcel for Duncan - from Paris. The parcel is from Duncan's friend and mentor, Darius, and is a set of runes. Incomprehensible to Tessa and Richie, they carry a warning for Duncan - Grayson, Darius' oldest enemy, is coming to Seacouver.
Duncan and Richie leave Tessa at the store and go to the island, where Duncan begins preparations for the inevitable confrontation with Grayson. He tells Richie that Darius, now a priest, was once a great general and led an army across Europe. Grayson was his lieutenant, but everything changed when Darius cut down the oldest living Immortal at the gates of Paris. The Quickening changed Darius, turning him away from war and, ever since, he has worked for peace from Holy Ground. Duncan has no answer for Richie when he asks him if theQuickening of an evil Immortal could pervert a good man. He tells Richie that Darius changed him, but by his teaching. They met during the Napoleonic wars and Darius had gently challenged that Highlander's belief that it was always necessary to fight to triumph. Although Duncan had been unable to wholly put aside his warrior heritage, Darius had made him re-evaluate his beliefs and, after the war, he left Europe for the New World, in an attempt to put wars behind him.
Alone in the store, Tessa encounters a tall stranger, who knows more about ecclesiatical antiques than usual and she correctly guesses that this is Grayson. She warns him that he cannot blackmail MacLeod and, when he agrees, speculates that he is afraid of the Highlander. Impressed by her fire, Grayson leaves, and Tessa tells him MacLeod will never know he was there. Later, she wakes to find Duncan has returned from the island and they make love, but afterwards, he cannot sleep and she finds him training in the workshop, trying to identify the strength he can draw from his belief. He feels the presence of an Immortal and, checking, finds a toy soldier on the doorstep, its head removed, a warning from Grayson.
One of the runes spoke of international peacemaker, Victor Paulus, a mortal disciple of Darius and when he arrives in Seacouver, Duncan interrupts an attempt to assassinate him. When he returns to the store, he tells Tessa that she should take the job in Paris and says that Darius will know where to hide her. At this, she realises that he intends to face Grayson. The following day, Paulus is making a speech at a cemetery, watched by Duncan, when Grayson appears. The two Immortals talk and Grayson offers Duncan a deal - stay out of his business and he will leave Duncan and those around him alone. Duncan refuses, unwilling to stand aside and let Paulus be killed. He returns to find Tessa packing, with Richie helping as best he can, and gives Richie a plane ticket to Paris. Tessa realizes how seriously Duncan is taking Grayson's threat.
With his friends on their way to Paris, Duncan meets Grayson, who again offers him a deal - ally himself with Grayson for a century or two and they need never face each other until they are the last two. When Duncan again refuses, Grayson's accent slips and his Scottish fire is on display as they fight, but they are interrupted by passers-by before either man can gain an advantage. As Victor Paulus reaches the end of his stay in the city, he holds a last press conference, but Grayson is startled when he arrives. Plans had been made for Paulus to be waylaid en-route, plans once again disrupted by MacLeod. As Grayson leaves the press conference infuriated, he is handed a note from Duncan, with the time and place.
Grayson meets Duncan at a sulphur mine and taunts him that his greatest contribution to history was the creation of gunpowder, but that MacLeod will never have the chance to be so influential. The two fight, with Grayson driving the younger Immortal back. Fourteen hundred years older than Duncan, his power and anger beat down MacLeod, who is unable to withstand him. Only in the last moment is Duncan able to block Grayson's final stroke, turning the fight round and disarming his opponent before taking his head. His arrival in Paris is greeted with relief by Darius and his friends, but Darius restrains Richie from following Duncan and Tessa, who take a long walk, followed by a meal alfresco. The two decide to stay in Paris and Duncan tells Tessa that he quite fancies the role of a kept man, as he can hang out on the barge and catch up on his reading. To which Tessa replies "Barge.....what barge?"