|10. Band of Brothers|
This episode was brilliant. One of the classics, it presented us with fresh tastes of characters we were just beginning to know. We learned of Darius' ways, his past. We got a taste of Duncan, the warrior, toying with his conscience. In such scenes as Richie helping to train Duncan, we learned more of immortality and of the noble morals Darius instilled upon Duncan. In a brilliant move, flashbacks were not simply the typical look back at Duncan's previous conflict with an immortal. Instead, as he was facing a stranger, the very essence of his warrior self reflect present day's fight. This episode also gives us one of the all-time best baddies out there- Grayson(James Horan).
9. The Gathering
The Gathering is the episode that started it all. It was a wonderfully done introduction to the premise as well as the characters of the HL Universe. We saw Tessa learn of the reality of immortality & the game, and what it meant to both her and Duncan. We saw Richie Ryan (in stunning Green Jacket, LOL!) break into the store and stumble upon the world of immortality which he would one day join. And we saw Conner and Duncan together as teacher and student and as friends through time. It was the perfect beginning, the torch being passed, to an amazing series.
8. Til Death
Oddly enough, this is my only really funny episode on the list, and yet they're the ones I can easily watch a hundred times without being bored. While Double Eagle bravely paved the way for such episodes, my favorite is Til Death, without a doubt. The premise of married immortals is a wonderful base to a hilarious interplay with Fitz, Methos, and Duncan. One of my favorite baddies(from the Vampire) returns as a hopeless romantic nobleman. Every line is beautifully placed and hilarious, especially when Methos is concerned. "My boat now" and "Opera, opera- he's got a lot of opera here. Where's Springstien? Where's Queen?" are only starters. The agreed-to fight for jealousy had wonderful improved zingers. And the last scene never fails to make me laugh. "I just went with a toaster!" Crash!
More fondly known as 'The Methos and Joe Show', this episode was fabulous. The humor weighs with the seriousness perfectly, and the two characters have such wonderful chemistry for their backgrounds and point in the series. It explores areas the rest of the series didn't even try to hint at, and did so with the sort of bonding, friendship, and morality that we have come to expect from any episode with Duncan. Joe's daughter, Methos' past profession and love, watcher verses immortal, poker faces and hitchhiking-LOL. As Peter put it at the Legacy con in DC, "I came, I saw, I did a Highlander!"
6. Comes a Horseman/Revelation 6:8
The four horsemen. How could anyone not put this in their list of favorites? It was simply amazing. The goodies were heroes, the baddies were evil, and the lines were so blurred and skewed that you're not quite sure which site to route for by the end. We catch the first glimpses of Methos' past... and none of us will ever be the same. He was death! Duncan falls into protective mode, and Joe falls back to the sidelines. I must admit, I fell in love with that sweet, brutal Silas- I'd let him have a monkey :-) The quickenings are wonderful, especially the series' first and only double-header. And fabulous acting all around (except maybe Cassandra...) The four horsemen ride again! Good, evil, guilt, judgement, love, hatred *sigh* One of the best, without dispute.
5. Modern Prometheus
More of Methos' colorful past! In fact, I liked this episode so much I started a fanfic which went back to the flashbacks. Again, the ideas of futile immortality come to center stage. Emotions are gone, death is gone, and Methos and Duncan are pitted against the very concepts of life vs death, loyalty vs justice, and friendship vs friendship. Lord Byron, one of my favorite poets, is as degraded and downcast as Gregor from Studies in light... but as a former student of 'Doc' the tides turn and bonds break. Poetry, music, history, and artistic expression all show prominently in this Adrian Paul-directed episode about a doomed immortal- a Modern Prometheus even worse than Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.
4. Something Wicked/Deliverance
Legend has it that if you took in too much evil during a quickening, you went below. The opposite was said for dear Darius, but this time it falls upon a friend of Duncan's... and he feels morally responsible to try to make the futile save. Several times in the past, Duncan has 'gone after' Richie, and it happens again as the evil overcomes him. He breaks away from Richie, Joe, and home, distancing himself perhaps so he won't hurt them, perhaps so he won't be stopped. We see what evil his dark side is truly capable of, and as mch as we enjoy the brilliant acting, we long for him to become his 'boy scout' self again. After a helping hand and a helping head, Methos lowers him down to the holy hot tub with his father's sword to combact himself. He realizes that it is not the quickenings that he is fighting against, it is the evil inside himself which has always been there and will always be there. When he is victorious, he knows it is only a matter of time before the real battle is to take place, but now he is himself again to deal with it as it comes.
Ah, Homeland. What more could I want from an episode? Adrian Paul's directing, wonderful acting, a homecoming, romance, angst, lost love, clan loyalty/betrayal, Scotland, jokes, and a powerful quickening. *sigh* Duncan returns to a home he was cast away from, which he has not seen in 400 years to replace his first love's bracelet and avenge his father's death. We relive the past and feel for him, and I never fail to cry when the first few chords of Bonny Portmore begin. Joe's being there gives it a modern sense of reality, for we learn much more in the unsaid looks and movements, and we know they understand their places there and with each other. And we realize that there is much more to Duncan MacLeod than we could ever have imagined.
2. Studies in Light
Studies in Light. My favorite episode until the end of fourth season hit. Even if it was early in the series, this episode had a certain je ne sais quoi. We are faced for the first time with an immortal who does not want immortality. His mortality tries to leap out through his art, but it's such a fine line, and one he cannot cross unless an immortal takes his head. I love his angst, I love his actions, and I love the last scene as Duncan shows him that he doesn't really want to die after all. The side plot with the dying Linda Plager (versus Tessa) is amazing, as well. To tell or not to tell... to love or not to love. This episode deals with the issues of life and death so strongly and bluntly that it brought me out of my own depression with messages such as my all-time favorite, "Look for the light, instead of the shadows."
1. Through a Glass, Darkly
I could never say enough about this episode. It's my favorite for many, many reasons. First and most superficially, Dougray Scott. *droooool!* I could listen to that man say 'gunpowder' or look worried and scared all day long and not get bored. He is an amazing and adorable actor. Second, the Methos and Duncan interplay is fantastic. For once Duncan asks Methos for help rather than Joe, and gets it and a few quick retorts as you're welcomes. Third, the Scottish history. I'm a sucker for the Jacobites and this episode was drenched with it and more: history, traditional music (Will Ye Nae Come Bak Again!), idealism, reality, and the Jacobite spirit. Fourth, the deeper issues of an immortal's mental insanity. We got a brief taste of it through immortals in the past (Moore/Barnes, Gregor, Cullen) but a trauma so intense that amnesia results is incredible. Methos: "It's a human trait to remember history as we wish it had been. Ask the Americans, or the Germans" Duncan: "Or the Scots" We finally learn that it is from poor, sweet Warren murdering his own student. It is the first time such an extreme and unimaginable event occurs on the show... and one of the only measures to gauge Duncan against at the end of season five. There is more to this episode than a small paragraph could explain. But in a few words, I find it heart-wrenching, intriguing, and inspiring.
Top 15 Finalists (in no particular order)