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Highlander Highlander

"Your camera sees what you want it to see. You can shoot hope or despair, garbage or flowers. It all depends on where you want to spend your life" - Duncan MacLeod

From 'H' we move on to 'J' and Naomi Janzen's first episode, "Studies In Light". In addition to writing "Run For Your Life" and "The Samurai" for Highlander, Naomi was also a recurring writer on Forever Knight and has written for Rysher's adult series, Strangers.

As with "Courage", it is an old friend who has lost the plot who taxes MacLeod's patience and resolve. But whereas Brian Cullen had lost his courage, it was the very will to live, the spark of passion that Gregor Powers had lost. Numb from one too many losses, he finds in the Highlander a timely anchor to his past and a way to recapture his tenuous hold on his own humanity. But the past has come to haunt MacLeod and Tessa, as she comes face to face with a past mortal lover of Duncan's and her own possible future. All opinions expressed here are my own, as is the retelling of the storyline.

Studies In Light

Written by Naomi Janzen


Duncan MacLeod Adrian Paul
Tessa Noel Alexandra Vandernoot
Richie Ryan Stan Kirsch
Gregor Powers Joel Wyner
Linda Plager Shiela Moore
Young Linda Gillian Carfra

MacLeod takes Tessa and Richie to meet an Immortal friend of his, Gregor Powers, who has become a photographer. Gregor's work is being shown as part of a high profile exhibition entitled 'Studies In Light And Darkness'. Arriving there, Mac is troubled by the dark imagery in his friend's photographs, but is startled to see himself in another photograph on display. Not as startled, though, as the photographer. Linda Plager is exhibiting some of her work and one of her most famous is on display - a man running from a burning building in the 1930s, holding a child in his arms. Looking at the photograph, MacLeod remembers the incident - he was the man running from the flames.

When he rescued the child, he found Linda Plager taking photographs outside. Chiding her for her sensational approach to photography, he challenged her to take photographs that showed beauty, not degradation. It was the start of a relationship with Linda that grew into love, but unable to concentrate on his teaching and his love, Linda left Duncan to pursue her career as a photographer, with some success, but always regretting the man she left behind.

In the present, Linda is startled to see the man she loved all those years ago, but her attendant leads her away. (Later, after they have left, Linda will collapse and be taken to hospital). Greg tells MacLeod that Linda is dying. Tessa, Richie and the two Immortals go to a race meeting, where Mac leaves Tessa and Richie with Greg whilst he goes off to think about what, if anything, hes going to tell Linda. Alone with Greg, Tessa is upset by his questioning about her growing old and dying, knowing Mac will live on without her. Angered, she goes after Mac, leaving Richie to talk with Greg. By now, it's obvious that Greg is a dark soul, but we are never told why. As he and Richie talk, we become aware that Greg wants to believe that he has no feelings, but he makes a sideways reference to the number of women an Immortal must bury, implying that he has buried one too many in his life and is trying to cut himself off from all feeling.

Mac goes to visit Linda in the hospital and allows her to believe that he is a relative of 'her' Duncan. He tells her that Duncan was very proud of her. Back at the store, Richie tells Mac and Tessa that he's going to visit Greg's studio and Tessa warns him to be careful. Her intuition is right - as Richie arrives, Greg chases Richie on a motorbike, to see how he reacts, then challenges him to jump across the docks onto a barge. They make the jump together, but Richie crashes his bike and slices open his arm.

They go back to the shop, where Duncan is less than impressed with Greg's actions. He challenges Greg about his attitude, which is at odds with the Greg he remembers, a caring doctor who felt helpless to save his patients during a cholera outbreak in the early days of the American west. Mac tells Greg that his work is not the work of a man who feels nothing. No longer able to tell who he is, Greg destroys his studio, then his work at the exhibition.

He confronts MacLeod at the hospital. Even though Duncan is unarmed, Gregor tries to take his head and they take the fight onto the roof, where Mac disarms Greg, using a convenient metal pole as a quarterstaff, and threatens to behead him if he will not change. Greg tells him to do it, but as MacLeod brings down the blade, Greg feels afraid and Mac pulls the killing stroke. Leaving Greg to face his fears and his pain, Mac returns to Linda, and admits that it is him, not a relative. Without explaining about his immortality, he tells her that he has always been proud of her. He stays with her and is there when she dies.

Next, life changes forever when Tessa is lost in "The Darkness"