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Headscratchers: HIGHLANDER
  • Why the heck would Connor and Duncan Macleod still remain such devout Catholics when it is the hate and xenophobia of said religion that caused both warriors to become homeless exiles and reviled monsters by their own people?
    • Okay let's get something straight: the hate and xenophobia of men and women who were afraid of what they didn't fully understand drove them away. The religion and the beliefs themselves did nothing.
    • Where are they shown to be Catholic? I've seen the first film and the majority of the TV series, and I don't remember any scenes where they pray, go to church (except for the Holy Ground protection, obviously), or anything else particularly religious (even Connor lighting that candle in the church before talking to the Kurgan isn't much to go on).
      • The fact that Connor remains in the church for a while before the Kurgan shows up implies he is still somewhat religious.
      • In the first film, it's "tradition" that keeps the immortals from fighting on Holy Ground. They consider a catholic church to be Holy Ground, which implies that they're catholic. (Though heck, maybe a mosque would also count as "Holy Ground" for the purposes of the tradition. Maybe the ground just has to be holy to somebody.)
      • Holy ground means any holy ground. They just usually use Catholic/Christian churches in the movies and TV series because there are a lot more of those and more of them have lenient filming policies, and/or it's easier to replicate the general style of one for a set.
      • Plus the iconography is recognizable to a wider audience than other holy ground. If they meet at someplace less recognizable, they'd have to keep explaining that, while if they meet in a Catholic Church, the camera just has to pan past the pews and the crucifix to get the message across.
    • And is it really "the hate and xenophobia of said religion" that make them exiles? It's not only Christians that have been known to react to the unknown in that way, and among Christians, the Church has taught for most of its history that demons and pagan gods don't have enough power over nature to work such magic, unlike many sects and splinter groups.
    • They're not necessarily Catholics. It's been pointed out that any "holy ground" is considered a no-no for fights, no matter which religion or whatever claims it as such (which does raise questions about religions that claim the entire planet as holy, but that's neither here nor there). It's been speculated (by the Watchers, no less, a group who, almost ever since Immortals came about in the first place, have had a stalker-esque obsession with recording every minute detail of the Immortals) that the only known time two Immortals did go all the way to a Quickening on holy ground was around 79 A.D., in a little out-of-the-way place called Pompeii. See here for a discussion on holy ground, as well as a way it was apparently subverted (Early Installment Weirdness, there, possibly).
    • Duncan is shown praying in a church in at least one episode, and during his dark quickening he drags himself into Darius's old church and essentially begs God for help.

  • I'm just going to run with the holy ground thing a moment. Who enforces these rules? Outside of "it's tradition," what reason would a guy like the Kurgan bother to listen to the holy ground rule. Especially at the end of the film in the church where one quick whack would have ended the game for him. I'm sorry, but I don't see a guy like him giving a holy damn about tradition.

  • It's common knowledge (among the immortals, anyway) that they can only die via decapitation. So why do you never see one wearing, like, a big honking steel collar around their necks?
    • Because that would be painful and restricting. Plus their swords fire lightning so wearing a large metal ring around your neck is a good way to get shocked.
    • Swords fire lightning? What the F are you talking about? They probably don't because it's not sporting (and besides, if they get incapacitated, their opponent would just take it off anyway. Notably, the Guardian in Highlander: The Source actually does wear a big metal collar. (I remember watching it and thinking, "Oh that cheater.")
      • He's trying to explain the weird lightning-y shit that happens when The Quickening takes hold. Two reasons I can think of why no big steel collars: one, the Immortals are meant to not be drawing attention to themselves, because men "can feel them, try to drive them away". And there's no rule against ambush; you're safe only on holy ground. Therefore you have to walk around looking like Darth Malak all day - not very subtle. Two, a metal collar is actually a hindrance rather than a help because it makes you less able to turn and move your head, and it also gives your opponent a larger target to aim at. Medieval plate armour wasn't just the metal, it was about three layers of padding and leather beneath it. That wasn't to prevent chafing; it was to try and stop a really nasty tactic as follows: you don't bother going for a vital point, you just swing the blade of your sword straight at the guy's chestplate. The blade might not penetrate — but it does stand a good chance of carving through the armor and pushing the metal of the chestplate into any wound you cause. From that point on, with every movement you make, the folded-in edges of the ruptured plate tear your wound further open.
    • With all the disadvantages a big (non-magical) metal collar would have, why not use a titanium chain-mail cowl? Or something that is more resistant to shearing and breaking than wired steel, at least. Regular chain mail wouldn't be too useful, but if you had a strong enough material (especially with the padding underneath), it could be a great help (and you would really only need the padding around the neck, and slightly above/below to avoid slipping, since immortals probably get used to pain really quickly and easily heal anywhere that isn't the neck).
    • And in the series there was a guy who wore a mask that incorporated a collar that protected his neck. It still didn't save him.
    • besides the oponent can always just gut them and take off the neck protection before they regenerate. dealing a blow that shuld be deadly for mortals almost alweys broght a victory to the dealer in the series.
    • Nevertheless, it at least couldn't hurt to have a chain mail scarf, at least as long as the metal wasn't right up against the skin. Say chain mail inside a layer of cloth to disguise it. Perhaps it would be considered unsportsmanlike or something. Or even illicit: have all the rules of the game been revealed?
    • You're all missing the Occam's Razor: It wouldn't do you any good because your opponent could still cut you ABOVE or BELOW the coller and your head would still come away from your neck.
      • A properly designed collar would easily prevent that. And even if it didn't, some protection is better than none. If I were an immortal I'd rather force my opponent to radically alter his tactics and fighting style to get around my neck armor (possibly giving me an opening to take his head) than just leaving my one weak point wide open to attack.
    • It's strongly implied that immortals follow some code of honour. It's possible that said code prohibits them from using any neck protection or it's just considered to be a humiliating sign of cowardice among them.
      • Several immortals have been shown in the series to cut up an opponent, before going for the head. Being centuries old, and presumably having learned proper swordsmanship besides 'decap=win', fighting an opponent with a collar doesn't change the fight much at all. Incapacitate, remove collar, decapitate. In fact, wearing anything around your neck that could resist a decapitating blow from a reasonably fit adult wielding a sword would really hinder your ability to lean and move quickly. Humans tend to lead with the head in every full-body motion and move they make.

  • In the original film, why does Connor try to mack on Brenda ("I'd like to walk you home") and then act all pissy that she's following him?
    • Initially I agreed that's a problem, but on reflection I actually think that portrayal is actually Fridge Brilliance for the following reasons:
      • First: Connor MacLeod is crap with women. He doesn't know how to relate to them. He's held himself aloof from women for four centuries thanks to a bad case of Who Wants to Live Forever?; the implication in the film is thatt he hasn't asked a woman out on a date for four hundred years. Kate, the girlfriend he had when he became an Immortal wound up screaming for him to be burned to death. Heather, the wife he had after becoming an Immortal died and caused his Who Wants to Live Forever? syndrome. The only close relationship he's ever implied as having since then was with Rachel, to whom he's a father figure — not a lover. More to the point, he's lonely and he wants Brenda to like him (although see below); emotionally, he's acting like a teenager, which fits entirely with a guy who's basically been locked at just past puberty for four hundred years or so. Wild mood swings come as part of the package.
      • Second: Connor gets pissy with Brenda on two occasions: first, when he's just survived an encounter with the Kurgan and in a context where he's trying to keep her out of harm's way. At that point his blood's still up, his adrenalin hasn't worn off, so he's not as gentle as he might otherwise want to be. Second, when he discovers that she's a cop, he thinks she's trying to set him up for murder in a Honey Trap, and even more so when he finds out her only real interest in him is because of his sword. That's after she's agreed to have dinner with him and in a context where he thinks her interest in him is genuine and not mercenary. On both occasions I'd call his reactions understandable.
      • Third: When he shows interest in Brenda at the bar, he's faking it. To this point in the film MacLeod's only knowledge of Brenda is that she's sought out and retrieved a fragment of his katana. Connor wants to find out who she is and what she knows about the Immortals, so he's faking an interest in her so he can pump her for information.

  • I'll save some time and just like to this site. I don't agree with every single point raised, but the bulk of it is good.
  • The final episodes of the series Bugged Me. I didn't mind the It's A Wonderful Life treatment; while not exactly a new idea, it provided fodder for some interesting scenes, so fair enough. But the antagonist of the episode, O'Rourke, was just blah. He was hard to take as a credible threat, especially compared with previous bad guys like Kronos, Kalas, or even Grayson. These were guys who could stand up to MacLeod on a physical level, bad guys with centuries (or, in the case of Kronos, milenia) more experience, greater knowledge of fighting techniques, or just plain more devious than Duncan. O'Rourke does not play in that league. Obviously MacLeod doesn't want any harm to come to his friends, but it's never for a moment suggested that he thinks O'Rourke is anything special as a swordsman. Their final fight is nice, but that's due more to the location. The episodes work OK, but I'd have liked a bad guy with a little more presence and a higher intimidation factor.

  • Sure, the Kurgan's BFS looks cool, the way he assembles it. But how does it stay in one piece when he swings it?
    • Duct Tape.
    • Trick catch, I think. I've seen swords like that in Real Life, and while I don't know or don't recall the exact mechanism, it's probably something like "press pommel into hilt, pull hilt from crossguard, and twist". It doesn't need to be that complicated to put it together, since it falling apart is the thing that has to not happen by coincidence.
    • It's a kind of magic....

  • Okay, regarding Highlander III: Why in the HELL would those two Immortals serve Kane for ANY period of time? Did they just not KNOW that there can be only one? Surely they would know that Kane would kill them both eventually.
    • I don't think they had any choice. Plus one of them survived until he met Connor.
    • "Okay, so here's the deal: you two can serve me, and we'll all go around killing immortals for a long time as an unstoppable team until we're the last three left. At that point, you might actually be strong enough to kill me. Or, I kill you now. What do you say?" Or, alternatively, Kane was the one to mentor each of them and they served him because of this, and because Kane wanted an alternative to having to grow eyes in the back of his head in case an immortal should come at him from behind, or in his sleep, or whatever.
    • The way I remember it was that there can be only one on Earth. Thus, they had no reason to worry about it on Mars. It is also the only way to explain Connor becoming the One, and keeping that from the first movie.

  • Okay, so after hearing all the whining about how the movies came out, I've only seen the TV series. Maybe this was answered in a movie, I dunno, the hell does "There can be only one" work when (a) nobody seems to know where immortals come from, they're just random babies that show up somewhere, and (b) nobody knows at what point the immortal babies are gonna stop showing up on the planet? If new candidates keep entering the game, how do you know when you're the only one left?
    • In the first movie, they apparently stopped showing up, since Connor became the One in that film. And you know you're the only one left when you get the Prize, which in the first movie was basically infinite knowledge and psychic powers. In The Source, Duncan becomes the One in a different fashion entirely, and his reward is being able to have a kid. But given the, uh, contested continuity of any of the sequels, it's difficult to say anything with certainty.
    • I've always thought that Highlander: The Series is to Highlander the film as Stargate: SG1 is to Stargate the film. Each tv series exists in a fundamentally similar but still different universe of the film. Highlander the film takes place during the Gathering and when Connor MacLeod defeated the Kurgan he became the last Immortal on Earth and won the Prize. Highlander: The Series posits that it wasn't really the Gathering, Connor and the Kurgan weren't really the last two Immortals left, and that Immortals continued to be born after Connor MacLeod (a question that was left open in the film). In the Series' universe the Gathering is still a long way off and there are a lot more Immortals than were ever shown in the film. Whenever the Gathering occurred in the Series, presumably then Immortals would stop being born and all surviving Immortals would be called together to one area and have to battle it out until only One remains. The continuity of The Source with Highlander: The Series is, as the above troper said, contested. The Series wasn't originally written with The Source in mind and The Source was such a radical departure from all previous Highlander media that it's easy to consider it Fanon Discontinuity at the very least.

  • It's been so long, but the one of the thing I remember most about the cartoon,even more than insert name MacLeod being completly useless, is that at the gathering they agree to take the oath the obviously evil ripoff of The Kurgan basically loudly declares his intention to take out the pacified immortals and take over the world; So in response the other immortals go ahead and take the oath without dealing with the one desenter who pretty much said he was going to wipe them out once they made themselves defenseless.
    • No, he comes along with everbody else and pretends he is gonna swear the vow of pacifism, but when they all have finished swearing except him that's when he refuses and declares himself the last immortal, ruler of the world.

  • In the original Highlander, why would Juan Ramírez teach MacLeod the ropes? If there can only be one, why not behead him then and there?
    • In the series at least, it's clear that mentoring young immortals is just something that older immortals do, like the Holy Ground ban. Even the evil ones, like Xavier St. Cloud, will have their own protegees.
    • Because he's not a dick. Plus a few mistakes during his final fight show that while smart, he's not as smart as he could be.
    • Also, he's something of an idealist who wants a good person to win the prize rather than someone like The Kurgan. Training new immortals is probably what he does. If they're the decent sort he lets them play the game, but if it turns out they're just murderous bastards he probably takes their head right then and there.
      • Moreover, it's clear from his appearance that Ramirez must've been middle-aged when he died his first death. No matter how skilled his millennia of experience might make him as a swordsman, he's still got the physique of someone who's a bit past his prime, and knows he won't be able to beat a rival like the Kurgan, who's every bit as skillful, but whose age was arrested at the height of his strength and agility. Better to pass on those techniques to someone who's basically a good guy, and whose body is locked at its physical peak.
    • This troper always got the impression that the good immortals were waiting for the Gathering, while the less scrupulous ones wanted to jump the gun. Thus, the good immortals would fight immortals they didn't like (read: evil bastards), but had no problems making friends and such with other immortals. Then when the Gathering came, it was understood that they'd have to fight and kill each other, but the Gathering was a long way off.
      • I thought that if it got down to a certain group of immortals (for example, Ramirez, Connor and Kastigir surviving), the survivors would just have gone on their merry way and lived for as long as they bloody well liked.
      • I get the impression in the original film that Connor, at the very least, is tired of life (which is why, when he gets the Prize, he also gets mortality). So even if it came down to several good people at the end, they would duel by mutual agreement in a "let's get this over with" sort of way.

  • I just realised something. Ramirez says to Connor that if The Kurgan won the Prize, mankind would suffer an eternity of darkness. But The Prize is apparently being able to grow old and have children. Wouldn't the Kurgan just die in about 50 years or so? Granted, 50 years is a long time but it's not an eternity.
    • Or maybe the prize is whatever the victor wanted most. Connor wanted to be a regular joe. The Kurgan, naturally, would have wanted to treat the entire world (and everyone in it) as his personal playthings, killing, raping, maiming and looting to his heart's content...forever.
      • If, as it was with Connor, the Prize gives the Kurgan the power to know all men's thoughts and dreams, to make him "at one with all living things", it basically puts one hell of a weapon into the Kurgan's hands. He can't be stopped, because he knows the thoughts of those trying to stop him; he can manipulate and arrange things so that man perhaps develops the technology to overcome his mortality and rule as a king forever over the whole world. Hence the eternity of darkness. Or alternatively it may just mean the Kurgan could personally see in a new Dark Ages with the power at his hands.
    • No, being able to grow old and have children is just a side effect of the Prize. Watch the end of the first movie again: Connor gains more or less infinite knowledge, and the ability to essentially telepathically conference with the greatest minds in the world. There may be more powers associated with it that we never see, the Prize, in the first movie, at least, is likely total power.
    • The prize entails the option to grow old, die, and have children. Connor says he now can do these things, because he's become awesomely powerful and the game is over anyway. That doesn't mean he's had mortality forced upon him.
  • How can there eventually "Be Only One" when, as we saw in the TV series, there are new Immortals emerging, and no one can tell who they are until after they've become an Immortal? Does the power just go away once there's just one left? (Feel free to mock if this has actually been answered.)
    • Because "the Game" is a myth. Yes, Immortals do gain power from taking the heads of their peers, but there's no Game. There will never be a Gathering. New Immortals will continue to appear, and get murdered or taught the rules of the Game.
    • Additionally/alternatively, as the main page points out, the various sequels and spin-offs of Highlander are good at contradicting each other and ignoring previously established information. Just because something was true for the original movie doesn't mean it's going hold for any other iteration.
      • Bearing this in mind, it's likely that there was never intended to be a real answer. What's one major problem with The Source? The Prize is revealed and is completely retarded. It makes a better story if the 'truth' about the Game is something no one ever really finds out; it adds an air of mystery and lets your imagination fill in the blanks if you so desire. If competent writers had handled the franchise (even with having to retcon the end of the first movie so there would still be a franchise to begin with) I doubt they ever would've elaborated on it any more than the first movie itself did. Highlander works best on a personal level; what are Immortals like, how do they deal with Who Wants to Live Forever?, how do they see the world as it changes around them, what do they know about history that's been lost, etc. There's a pattern of the worst parts of the franchise being the parts that try to answer the underlying questions instead of letting them be background for the characters.
    • The new Immortals emerging part was added to make the series last longer.
    • Here's a thought, what if the new immortals were emerging because immortals were dying... But not by the hand of another immortal? We've seen that a human CAN kill an immortal if he puts his mind to it, what happens to the quickening though? It doesn't go into the human, making him immortal, but it's gotta go somewhere...
      • It's been shown that the quickening goes into the nearest immortal. Granted, in those scenes, the nearest one was in the room or otherwise nearby, so who knows what happens if there isn't one around for miles.
      • There was a flashback to the French revolution back in the third film, I think. There Connor is imprisoned, while another immortal gets the guillotine. They are some distance apart but within the same town, and there was no visible quickening.

  • In the original film, Immortals had powers we never saw again. They could telepathically link with animals and use their abilities (kind of like Animal Man). Conner was shown surviving under water. Also, Ramirez force some sort of Quickening on Conner when they first met.
    • We did see such abilities the TV series. Some immortals did possess some special abilities like Cassandra's Compelling Voice and John Durgan had a sonic roar and Peter Kanis could mentally control attack dogs. Other supernatural elements existed in the show, including the demon Ahriman and the crystal that apparently granted immortality.
    • Connor's survival underwater isn't a special power, it's a restatement of the fact he can't die unless he's beheaded. He's simply letting air out of his lungs that whole time, not breathing. Also, Ramirez isn't forcing a sort of Quickening on Connor. He does make Connor feel strange, but that's simply because he's around another immortal - that much was consistent across the whole film if not the whole series. The Novelization makes it clearer: Ramirez forces Connor to put his arm into the air during a violent thunderstorm so he'll be hit with lightning, which induces the Quickening since it would otherwise be a mortal injury - it calls out the immortal's own inner abilities to defeat death. As for the animal ... this is something of a reflection of the Prize itself, in that the Prize allows its wielder to know every man's thoughts and dreams. When there is only one, all of the immortals' abilities to "feel" living beings have condensed down into one individual, who then has complete knowledge of all living things.
    • Yup, Connor's survival underwater was just part of being Immortal. Short of beheading, no injury could kill them. Connor took a "mortal" wound in his first battle from the Kurgan...but never actually died. The Kurgan got a full magazine from an Uzi in the chest and fell down, but it didn't kill him. "Dying" temporarily was something they invented for the series.
      • Except everything we've see show's they're just a susceptible to injury and "death". They just get better quickly. Shouldn't he drown and revive, rather than just be able to stay underwater indefinitely.
      • Well I know no one likes to mention Highlander 2, but Connor and Ramirez did both apparently "die" temporarily when they got riddled with bullets, unless someone failed to notice their hearts were still beating while they were bagging them up. Which would have been difficult considering that it would have been pushing blood out of their wounds still. So the series wasn't the first to use the idea of temporarily being "dead" from non-beheading mortal injuries.

  • I was watching the episode "The Darkness"(2X4) of the series, and something occurred to me. Duncan Was prophesied to never marry, and as of that episode he has never married yet. Later in the "Endgame" and the "Quickening" he is showed as married before the movies. In the Quickening he has the excuse of saying to hell with the prophecy and got married. But in Endgame, he was married to Kate 200 years previously, kinda ruins the time-line.
    • Considering all the retcon's that the Highlander series did, that isn't really a headscratcher. It's no different then a TV series stating that a main character was born an only child only to later have their sibling turn up.

  • In the episode "The Colonel", Killian imprisons MacLeod in an old barracks. Dawson, trying to locate his friend, contacts Killian's Watcher on the pretext of asking for some details of MacLeod's death. She tells him that, though Killian had MacLeod shot, he didn't actually behead him, and tells Joe the location of the barracks. Question: How did she know that Killian didn't kill MacLeod? Sure, she knows that Killian and his goons transported Duncan to the abandoned building. But unless she actually went inside and saw him in his cell, how does she know he's still alive? Granted, there was no lightning, but we've seen (granted very few) Quickenings that weren't accompanied by a light show.
    • Basically she extrapolated from some simple logic: Why would Killian bother bringing Duncan to another location if he was just going to kill him anyway? It's not like Immortals up to then have cared very much where they leave bodies. She figured if he didn't bother to finish him right then and there, he probably wasn't going to kill him right after dragging him someplace specific like that.

  • Did it never occur to our heroes that Kalas was bluffing when he threatened to reveal the existence of Immortals to the world? Such a revelation would screw him just as thoroughly as anyone else. I suppose it's possible he edited himself out of the Watcher records before setting up his scheme, but it seems like that would be a good way to get yourself killed: the entire Watcher organization is going to be out for his blood, to say nothing of the fact that EVERY SINGLE OTHER IMMORTAL (bar Methos, who's not in the records) is going to be pissed at him for ruining their lives.
    • Kalas is Ax-Crazy, Chaotic Evil, but had no intention of releasing the secret of immortals while he was alive. The computer was set up to a deadman's switch that would release the information in the event of his death. He did this as protection from Duncan, knowing that Duncan would never kill him and let Kalas win in order to save everyone's identities. He was also not worried about the Watchers, seeing as how the first two he met he killed rather easily. He undoubtedly underestimates them and thinks that they are all observers and scholars. Also he might never need to fear any other immortal ever if he knows where they live, what names they use, and what they look like. He could use that information to blackmail other immortals and kill them as well.

  • Immortals are born in isolated tribes in say New Guinea, Siberia or the Guiana Highlands? Or do they just never become Immortals...?
    • Sure there are. We just didn't see them on the show.
    • Also it was established in The Raven spin-off that violent death is required to turn immortal. Die of old age or poison, and you stay dead, just like any other mortal.
      • Doubtful. Violent death is simply more impressive than old age or poison when becoming immortal. Since immortals stop aging at the time they first die, then those immortals who died of old age and then become immortal will be simply too weak to fend off the evil immortals who come for their heads.
      • It's not "doubtful," it's fully and explicitly canon.
      • I would also imagine that anyone becoming Immortal in a small territory like an island would have a very hard time hiding their condition and eventually just climb onto a boat and sail until they hit land, wherever that happened to be.
      • Yet, the main series contradicts the poison part because Nefertiti dies the first time by drinking poison to join her queen in the after-life.

  • Don't Wiccan immortals have kind of an unfair advantage? You just cast a circle and create holy ground; fifteen minutes and you're completely untouchable.
    • Considering that Wiccanism was only recently invented, perhaps most immortals wouldn't respect it enough to consider it holy ground.
      • Actually, Paganism [which Wicca is part of] has been around for far longer than religions like Christianity. And an immortal could just push you out of the circle anyway.
      • First, there is no such religion as "Paganism". Paganism is just an old (originally derogatory) term for any non-Judeo-Christian religion. Second, while Pagan (that is, non-Abrahamic) religions have been around for many thousands of years, Wicca is not really related to any of them. It is a very recent invention that borrows bits and pieces from some non-Abrahamic religions (as well as more Judeo-Christian elements than most Wiccans care to admit) but it is not an old religion. That doesn't mean it's a false religion, but it simply doesn't have the ancient roots some of its followers claim.
    • It doesn't seem to be as much respect as Belief Makes it Real. Pompeii supposedly happened because of Immortals fighting on holy land. You need a lot of people believing unconditionally that a specific location is holy for it to be so.
      • It doesn't have to be common knowledge — an ancient burial ground has counted at least once. On the other hand, any Immortal who's young enough to be a legit Wiccan probably isn't experienced enough to think of it. Even if they did, casting a circle takes time and produces only a small plot of holy ground; you can't stay in a 10' radius circle your whole life and you can be easily ambushed when you step out. It's a good trick, but lots of Immortals have good tricks (Slan Quince's sword-gun, Pallin Wolf's night-vision goggles, or Michael Christian's inside information).
    • Besides Wiccanism aside the rules seem to imply that you can't just declare any old piece of earth "Holy" and stick your tongue out at other Immortals.
    • Immortals have tried the old "I'll become a priest and thereby be on holy ground all the time," notably Darius. It doesn't stop mortals from assassinating you, or presumably an Immortal hiring mortal hirelings to achieve the same result.

  • Some of the Immortals seen in the various movies and tv episodes seem to wield some fairly inappropriate weapons. If you're fighting a millenia-long battle against people who can only be killed by cutting their heads off, logically you should only favor weapons engineered for cutting and/or chopping. So, katanas make sense. Humongous claymores make sense. Battle axes, naginatas, sabers, and even plain old broadswords make sense. But then in the first film, you see Connor fighting a guy who carries some kind of rapier. In Highlander: Endgame you see Immortals with punching daggers, tiger claws, chains, and one idiot with a club with spikes in it. How do these guys plan to cut off the other guy's head with these things?
    • You don't have to cut their head off in combat. You can easily "kill" them to incapacitate them, then saw their head off with a dagger or something when they're down. As for the guys in Endgame, they were breaking the rules to begin with; they were pretty much all working together so their leader could take the head, so they didn't need to worry about decapitation.
      • But isn't that just making an already difficult job even tougher? I mean, sure you could try to saw the guy's head off with a dagger, but it would be a very long, very tedious process in which many things could happen (you could get arrested by police, the opponent could recover before his head is fully decapitated, etc) not even going in to how hard it'd be do do it with a sabre.
      • ^Exactly (although I think you have a misconception about what sabres look like). Better to carry a weapon specifically designed for cutting and/or chopping and take the other guy's head in one easy swing.
      • Well, in the series at least, Duncan lops off a couple heads with the barest of effort (in one instance, it looks like he only moves the blade—in this case, a rapier—a few inches and takes off the head). So it might be that the neck isn't just the immortals' only vulnerable part, but it is also a weakpoint to hit For Massive Damage.

        Alternatively, maybe the immortals using the less-than-practical armaments do carry a saw or something under their coats, but never get to use them. Or, in the case of the McLeods specifically, if you "kill" him, hey, his katana's sitting right there.
    • Also some of the "Rapiers" in the series have ridiculously large and heavy blades, Richie's in particular has a big honkin' headslicer on it.
    • If memory serves, isn't the guy with the rapier Connor fights in the first movie just some mortal doofus in the eighteenth century who unwittingly challenged a drunken Connor to a duel not realizing he's immortal? In that case, it makes perfect sense why he wouldn't be carrying around a blade designed to lop someone's head off; he's not aiming to be lopping anyone's head off.
      • Yes, but I was referring to one of Duncan's fights during the series, where he cuts off someone's head with a rapier by apparently shifting the blade about three inches.
      • True, but I was responding to the OP where he or she points out that Connor fights a guy with a rapier at one point.
      • Conner isn't fighting a guy with a rapier, he's fighting a guy with a rapier. Fasil (the first opponent Connor fights in the original film) used one. Especially egregious because Immortals being disabled by "killing" them through normally fatal wounds didn't get introduced until the series.
      • Fasil wasn't using a rapier. Brenda correctly identified it as "A Toledo Salamanca Broadsword", or at least a Spanish-pattern broadsword. Like an 18th-century Scottish Claymore (the one-hand broadsword kind, not the original 2-hander), this is a heavy-bladed sword with a basket hilt. A rapier may or may not have a basket hilt, but it would have a much lighter blade (see The Princess Bride for some excellent examples of rapiers).

  • Do the "immortals" (that very word just bugs me; all but one of them will die and all of them can!) have to be standing on holy ground to be unable to fight on it or can they attack someone on holy ground from outside it? For instance, think of that scene from Sleepy Hollow wherein the Hessian, who cannot attack on holy ground either, stands at the edge of the churchyard, throws a makeshift harpoon through a church window into someone, and drags their carcass over to him, all without setting foot on the grounds. Could an immortal do that?
    • The rule may be that an immortal can't attack another immortal who is on holy ground, rather than forbidding them from attacking while they personally are on holy ground.
    • No one knows what the limits of the rules are, not even the Immortals themselves. Given that, most Immortals probably wouldn't take the risk of attacking someone from just outside holy ground.
    • In one of the TV episodes, an immortal wanting to kill a human priest waited until he had lured him off Holy Ground before killing him. It seems to be one of those rules that the exact meaning of is unknown. Originally, in Endgame, Sanctuary was supposed to be on Holy Ground, but fan outcry made them change it, even though it makes no sense in-universe to put it anywhere else, and explains why the human guardians were dressed like monks. Also, the Pompeii incident was rumor, not fact. Indeed, given that if fighting on Holy Ground caused the eruption, you would expect that any witnesses to the event would have also perished.
  • In the episode "Mountain Men" MacLeod faces off against an Immortal named Caleb who has kidnapped Tessa. MacLeod is familiar with the wooded mountains where they are hiding; a while back, he was trained by a, well, mountain man named Carl. Duncan and Caleb spend a few minutes arguing just before the obligatory sword fight. I don't have the precise wording of the scene in front of me, but the wording struck me as very odd.
    Caleb: "Old Carl had some mighty fine words for you. Could say he used up his lifetime supply."
    Duncan: "You killed him."
    Caleb: "Think what you will."
It's almost an Exact Words setup for a reveal that he didn't kill Carl, but that never comes. If he did it, why not say so outright? If he didn't, wouldn't this be a good time to bring it up?

  • How much do the MacLeods really care about the Prize? They have made plenty of immortal friends over the centuries, some of whom have been mentors, pupils and/or lovers. If it wasn’t for the Monster of the Week, it looks like “team good” would just give up on fighting.
    • I think it's an artifact of the first movie where Connor is shown acting friendly with two Immortals (Ramirez and that African guy whose name I can't remember). The reason he was acting like that is because in the first movie the Immortals were all waiting for the Gathering so the good Immortals had no reason to fight each other. It's a bit like when two expert gunslingers would meet in the Old West. Contrary to popular folklore, if two famous gunslingers met each other they wouldn't feel obligated to duel; they'd usually remain cordial but keep a respectful distance from one another. They'd only start fighting if there was some personal vendetta between them or if they'd had too much to drink (or both). The Immortals in the first movie seem to follow the same rules. Until the Gathering begins, they don't fight when they don't have to. However, the Series is supposed to take place during the Gathering. I guess when all the Evil Immortals are all gone Duncan and the other Good Immortals would just draw straws or something to see who wins the Prize.
    • The African guy's name is Kastagir.
  • Wouldn't quite a lot of deaths other than simple beheading cause decapitation? An explosion, for instance, being set on fire, or being trapped in a position where you can decay...
    • Probably, although all three happened without causing decapitation.
    • Probably depends on the exact placement of the bomb. In the anime, "Search for Vengeance," Colin's reincarnated girlfriend was able to decapitate Marcus' immortal partner by stuffing a grenade down her throat.
    • I think any injury that separates the head from the body would count. In one episode an immortal was caught in a ship's propeller, chopped up offscreen and a quickening resulted.
      • The Novelisation touches on this. Macleod asks Ramirez if beheading is the only way they can die, to which Ramirez replies that nobody's quite sure - that immolation or something like it might also do the trick. "I wouldn't recommend trying to find out," though, is how it ends, which seems like pretty good advice.

  • At the end of Highlander II, Connor suddenly switches from the BFS he took from a Mook to his signature katana. Where the hell was he keeping it all that time?

  • What would happen if a mortal decapitated an immortal? Who gets your powers? Does anyone get your powers? Do you pick up your head and stick it back on your neck?
    • I think it goes to the nearest immortal. I remember in the alternative timeline the Watchers were killing Immortals and they didn't seem to be getting their powers at least.
    • My guess is that the power is redistributed among new potential immortals.
    • An episode of the Series had Ritchie obtain the Quickening of an Immortal with Down Syndrome, who committed suicide by sticking his neck out on the rail of an oncoming train.
      • Mikey did not have Down's Syndrome, I don't know where that came from (saw it on another trope page too)...he was mentally challenged, but he didn't have the signature Down's features.
    • An episode of "The Raven" had Amanda's mortal friend outsmart an Immortal and behead him. The Quickening went directly to Amanda, who just ran in when the head was chopped off. There was another episode where the same mortal friend shot a window that an Immortal was underneath for a large sharp piece to decapitate the guy. No one got the Quickening in this case.

  • Why are they called immortals? They are not technically immortals according to Word of God, since its stated that any sufficient damage could kill an immortal regardless if you cut their head off? Like rip them appart (explosives), burned them to crisp, boiled them, squash them or even heavily damaging their heads (like a sniper shot or a shotgun in the face), making the entire "they cannot die" a complete lie. Also, since they can't regenerate (according to Word of God, this decision took hours and hours of deep, meaningful discussion) any part of their bodies and need to heal "natural" would make most immortals (or at least the protagonist) get hold of horrorific, crippling damage... which make the Kurgan car trick less awesome and more moronic. In fact they are only ageless and having a little boon in the physical department, making the entire Franchise misleading.
    • It's a franchise about a bunch of immortals, not a bunch of invincibles.
    • Dude, if someone lived without getting any older for centuries and could shrug off anything short of decapitation and heavy artillery, what term would you recommend that gets the idea across?
    • Agelessness alone makes you immortal.
    • I'd like to see a citation for this alleged Word of God that Immortals can die after sufficient damage even if their heads aren't taken off.
    • If I remember correctly, Adrian Paul and David Panzer did have a discussion about this. I'm trying to find the article in which they talked about it. As powerful as the Immortals are, if you do severe amounts of damage to their bodies, they're going to die. An Immortal isn't going to survive having their bodies blown to bits from an explosion, nor are they going to survive having heavy artillery rip them to shreds. Hell, anything that outright destroys the body is definitely going to kill an Immortal. I also recall that the Immortal who discovered Manny, one of Jacob Kell's men; was blown apart by artillery fire soon after discovering his protege.
    • They certainly can regenerate. Not to the extent of replacing lost limbs, maybe (like with Xavier St. Cloud), but certainly to the extent of quickly healing minor wounds. We see this quite explicitly when Methos tries to guilt-trip Don Salzer's widow by showing that he's one of the Immortals she's about to expose: he slices his hand with a knife, and it heals within seconds.
    • There are many different forms of Immortality (as this very site proves). Being Ageless is just one requirement, but it still counts.

  • Why eternal childs are in such disavantage in the game? Oh, I get the idea that the first few years would suck ass really hard, but Kenny by being several hundred years old should be a deadly warrior. Just because his body doesn't grow "old" wouldn't mean he couldn't train it at its peack condition, like a child Monk or an Olympian level athlete. There is also reflex, a tactical mind, several martial arts especifically for weak willed bodies and not being where the pointy thing is aimed at. It would never be like as "strong" as his adult body but that doesn't mean he would be defenseless. It's just, when the Tv define it, it make it sound like his body by being "immortal" would be unchanged as that of a child no matter what. But if that is true, it would mean that '''all''' immortals are exactly as they where in life. They would be incapable of learning, changing, growing wise and no matter how much training they put themselves through, they would still be a farmer, a backer or a illiterate soldier for all "eternity".
    • Reach and leverage is a serious factor in any fight, especially one determined with swords. He might live hundreds of years but he is at a disadvantage against any immortal who lived just as long and does the same, but isn't stuck in a younger body. Plus, it's harder to get fake credentials as a child then as an adult meaning their ability to get around is degraded.
      • Immortality does not work that way. Once becoming immortal, your body is Mode Locked, you do not age physically. This does not stop you from learning, as Duncan learned how to use a katana well after he became immortal. Connor learned from Ramirez after becoming immortal. Hell, Ramirez himself had to have learned other languages after becoming immortal, unless you think Connor knew egyptian somehow.
      • Yes, but your still subject of the peak limits of the body. Obviously things like reach and leverage are limited due to size. Even at peak physicle condition, he's weaker and slower than other immortals.
      • To put it bluntly, he can't cut off an adult's head so easily because it's so high.

  • Why are there more male immortals than female ones? I haven't seen much of the series so I'm not discounting a sizeable quantity of female immortals but from what I've seen the males outnumber the females by at lease two thirds.
    • When Duncan meets his first woman immortal, he too is surprised. The series seems to say that women are at a slight physical disadvantage in swinging a heavy sword and so there are a larger number of male immortals due to the females losing more sword-fights on average. Even on the show, Duncan would frequently offer to defend Amanda, despite her being older than him. This isn't to say that the series doesn't have it's share of immortal Action Girls who can defeat male immortals.
    • If you're an immortal, but your first death is peaceful and natural, then it sticks. You only become fully Immortal if you die a violent death, and this typically happened to warriors, who historically have typically been men.
    • Plus until recently women weren't likely to have *any* training in combat, at least not in the majority of cultures. As Amanda said, "Books are for monks, and women don't fight with swords." She was incredibly lucky to be found by one of the few other women Immortals, and one who was a decent teacher. Another surviving woman Immortal was a Celt, a culture which *did* train women in combat (as well as having women judges, etc.). Any woman not lucky enough to either come from a more egalitarian culture, or be trained by someone truly bucking every tradition of their culture, would be a sitting duck for the first Immortal to come across her.

  • Here's the biggest one of all: how come no one ever 'kills' and Immortal and then decapitates them? they die for at least a minute, so it should be as easy as pulling a gun and hacking off the dead guy's head. But nobody ever does this or uses a few arrows or poison or anything.
    • Shooting them first is considered against the rules, or at least unsporting. Whoever set up the Game set it up to be one-on-one duels in spirit. As a note, the villain in Endgame actually makes a point of breaking those rules. One of his goons has guns, and he has them beat up on a single Immortal before he finishes them.
    • Villains on the show have also done this. Xavier St. Cloud worked with Horton's men to drive up in a van and riddle his opponents with bullets before Cloud took his head. Kalas had his Mook driver run another immortal down in his car before taking his head and his sword. No rules against it, but think about it. If it becomes well-known that you aren't one to play by the rules, neither will others, and they will see you as a threat. Maybe some older, more powerful take it upon themselves to end the upstart. Maybe one of the Watchers decide to maybe interfere a little, and reveal your location to someone who is able and willing to take you out.

  • Minor question: what happens to bullets inside an Immortals body? Ritchie gets shot by an Uzi and he doesn't "pop" out bullets.
    • Either they continue on through, or they break up and are absorbed somehow.
    • We know for a fact that a healing process of immortals is somewhat supernatural, It's entirely possible that their bodies indeed pop the bullets out or are absorbing them somehow...
      • ...or all of the bullets are just piling up there, somewhere.
      • Maybe if the bullets didn't continue on through, the immortals after they regain consciousness would then have to perform a little painful surgery on themselves to remove the annoying bullets in their bodies, probably involving a scalpel and a lot of pain-killers. Something we never see on the show or the movies.
    • If they just passed on through, we'd see a lot fewer cases of "Immortal is shot diving in front of mortal to sace their life, and has to either move on or reveal their secret," and a lot more "Immortal is shot, and mortal unlucky enough to be standing behind him dies."
      • Immortal is shot, and since the movie/tv series was done in the 80's/90's, it's too expensive/gory for the time to do a FX shot of bullets popping out.

  • What would be the possible consequences if The Masquerade was ever broken: if the whole world suddenly knew about Immortals, like that one episode where Kalas threatened to give the news agencies the files on Immortals? Would the immortals be hunted? Would they become celebrities? Would they be stuck into laboratories to find out their secrets? Would they all stand trail for murdering other immortals?
    • This troper imagines that for the most of the society it would soon become just another conspiracy theory, but considering the circumstance that actual verifiable data is leaked, it would propably result in some establishment concern of some sort.
    • Depending on how public the exposure was, either the Evil Government Agency or Evil Corporation would cover up their existence and quietly recruit/study/vivisect them, or they'd wind up one more category of celebrity stalked by Entertainment Tonight.
    • There would also be litigation on the actual rights and citizenships of the immortals since many may predate the country they reside in.
    • How about making an army of Immortals? All you need to do is sedate them and, while they're out, fit them with an explosive neck collar ala Battlefield Earth. Once you do that, you have an army of people who can't be killed except for removing their heads, which you can do at the slightest hint of disobediance or betrayal. Along with the various torturous methods of study that you can do to someone that you know won't die no matter what you put them through, most likely in hope of replicating whatever it is that makes them immortal in the first place (aside from being from Zeist. That planet doesn't exist).
  • In Endgame: Why, oh WHY would multiple Immortals willingly help Kell game the system? They had to know that Kell would eventually turn on them, and by the time he did, he'd be far too strong to resist. For that matter: why would Kell use Immortals as henchmen instead of Badass Normal humans? Ones who would gain no advantage from killing him in his sleep or poisoning him so he's too weak to defend himself, then lopping his head off.
    • Presumably he made them an offer along the lines of, "Work with me, or I take your head right now." And then once they were working for him, fed them vices and such to keep them in line.
  • Could Connor defeat Ramirez and take his head? Would certainly make the first film play out differently.

  • How did the Frasers know who Connor Macleod is? A young man from a rival clan who has not yet fought in battle, yet every Fraser recognized and avoided him.
    • Not every Fraser did cognize him. You could hear someone calling off attackers. "No, not him!"
    • There had probably been meetings between Clan Macleod and Clan Fraser before that battle. Odds are that Connor was present at one of those meetings. Or there had been several battles, and one of the Frasers just happened to recognize that Connor was the rookie.
  • When was Connor's first death? In the first film, at the battle between the Macleods and Frasers, the Kurgan is clearly after Connor's head. Also, Connor got "the buzz" in Kurgan's presence. Both would indicate Connor was already immortal at the time of the battle. While immortals get some sort of buzz in the presence of pre-immortals, that pre-immortals don't. Killing Connor before becoming immortal would have been of no use to The Kurgan. If Connor wasn't immortal, why would the Kurgan care who killed him? So long as the head stayed attached, he could come after the untrained Connor once he'd risen.
    • I'd chalk Connor getting the buzz up to Early Installment Weirdness. I figure The Kurgan wanted to kill him not for his quickening, but because that would be one less person he had to worry about in The Game, and the fact that he wanted to kill him himself is probably so he could be sure Connor was decapitated and not just stabbed or something.
  • Why exactly was Connor's love interest so obviously happy to suggest that Conner had survived by making a pact with Lucifer? Why was she so visibly distressed to see that they wouldn't be burning a man to death? I don't actually know what the characters were saying before they went to fight because I couldn't hear it over the horses. I can only imagined she must have expressed some desire to kill him, though; you'd think that she'd be more somber about having no better explanation for Connor's recovery than that he must have dealt with Satan, like the rest of the guys in that scene.
    • This is sixteenth century Scotland we're talking about here. As far as she's concerned, that's not the man she loves, that's some demon inhabiting his form, or he's made a Deal with the Devil (which for their purposes is just as bad) or something. She might just be exceptionally devout.
  • The Kurgan's skull helmet is hella cool, but what kind of animal does it belong to?
  • Why doesn't Ramirez finish off the Kurgan when he has the chance? After he cuts the Kurgan's throat, the latter is staggered, leaving him an opening for a killing stroke. But instead, Ramirez stands there and mocks him, allowing him to recover and kill Ramirez. What gives?

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