"My God, you’ve got a lifeline like the Mississippi - wait a minute, how old are you?" – Greta
"The Darkness" was one of the first episodes I featured on my website, back in 1997. Seems a long time ago. At the time, speculation was mounting about what the shock ending of series 5 would be, and it seemed timely to go back to the stunning plot twist of series two, with two deaths and the birth of an Immortal. It seems a somewhat fateful choice now, seeing how "Archangel" turned out. All opinions expressed here are my own, as is the retelling of the storyline.
Written by Christian Bouveron and Lawrence Shore
|Duncan MacLeod||Adrian Paul|
|Tessa Noel||Alexandra Vandernoot|
|Richie Ryan||Stan Kirsch|
|The Hunter||Andrew Jackson|
Taking a break from preparing the antiques store for re-opening, Tessa, Duncan and Richie go to a bar, where Richie finds a girl who is a fortune teller. Intrigued, Tessa asks Greta to read her palm, as much to tease Duncan, who clearly believes her to be a shyster, as for any other reason. Everyone, including Greta, is alarmed by the reading, because Greta sees a vision, a vision in which Tessa is in great danger. Greta warns her to get out of the city. Tessa is spooked when Greta says she saw men fighting with swords. Duncan and Tessa decide to leave and, as they are leaving, Duncan asks Tessa to marry him. Stunned, but elated, Tessa agrees, if only to stop Duncan asking everyone in the bar if they should marry.
What Duncan does not tell Tessa is that he spent time with gypsies in the 1840s, initially with Immortals Jacob and Irena Galati, (recounted in "One Minute To Midnight"), but was forced to leave when the gypsy girl he loved read in his palm that he would bury many women, but marry none. As Tessa tells Richie she is to marry Duncan, MacLeod spots two men watching them. He goes to check them out, but they vanish.
The following day, the trio are putting the final touches to the store before the opening day. Mac spots someone hanging about outside and, when he goes to check, the man runs off. Mac chases him and catches him in an alleyway, but another man on a motorbike comes up and the man gets away. (This is a favourite plot device in Highlander, also used in "The Hunters" and "Promises"). With Duncan out of the way, the leader of the men, (never named and, for convenience, hereafter called The Hunter), goes to the store and, after stunning Richie with a tazer, (I think that's what they're called), kidnaps Tessa. Duncan returns to the store, to find Richie still laid out on the floor. He realises he's just been expertly set up.
The Hunter takes Tessa to his house and tells her that he hunts Immortals and that she is bait. He is a Watcher and, like James Horton, regards Immortals as freaks, but unlike Horton, he kills them for sport, not from some twisted desire to save humanity. He rings MacLeod and taunts him, letting him speak to Tessa. Richie finds one of Tessa’s earrings and, in desperation, Duncan goes to Greta, who is reluctant to help him. Her mother had the gift, but she does not believe that she does. After Duncan pleads with her, she tries and sees Tessa as a prisoner, a man with a mask and a sword and a wall full of mounted animal heads.
Duncan goes to a taxidermist, to try and find a customer who matches Richie's description of the Hunter. He sees the same man following him as before and chases him. This time, the chases ends when the man falls to his death from a fire escape. Waiting back at the store, Duncan and Richie are surprised when Greta appears. Upset and unable to forget about what's going on, she reads Duncan's palm and has visions of his life, but she also sees the house where Tessa is and tells Duncan that it's a Tudor house with coloured glass windows. She asks Duncan to ring her when it's over and writes her phone number on a matchbook, which she gives to him.
That night, the Hunter telephones Duncan, but he is out. He gives Richie his address, to give to MacLeod. When Richie turns up, Duncan is already there. Richie and Mac go in, but Richie is laid out by the Hunter, who faces Duncan in a windowless room. As Duncan walks in, the doors close and the lights go out. The Hunter has infra-red goggles and has the upper hand, until MacLeod, (in one of the most improbable fight endings in the series), throws Greta's matchbook into the air and ignites it with a sword stroke, blinding the Hunter and giving himself enough light to cut the man down. He finds Tessa and tells Richie to take her home in the Thunderbird. He stays to check through the man's computer files. As Tessa and Richie leave, they are robbed at gunpoint and killed. Duncan hears the shots and runs out, but Tessa is dead. As he cradles her in his arms, Richie's eyes open. He is Immortal. The episode ends with MacLeod taking a last look at the store, before telling Richie to sell it, whilst "Dust In The Wind" plays.