Not so long ago, I rewatched a favorite film from childhood, Highlander. It’s a charming little gem that works in spite of itself, and I’ll always love it, even if I would cut out the prurient and unnecessary “sex in silhouette” scene.
But I have a question spurred by rewatching it that grew into two questions instead of one, and I figured I might as well post it here to see if anyone still actually reads this thing.
The First Question: About Suicidal immortals
For this first question we have to accept that the immortals aren’t wired like Anne Rice’s vampires, who are apparently incapable of suicide. We have nothing established in the movies of this series saying or showing they can’t, though.
If an immortal, as defined in the movie, cut off his own head, would The Quickening keep him alive? The Quickening is a life-enhancing force which makes the immortal who survives a duel stronger in some way. There’s lightning, there’s wind, windows blow out, there’s shouting, and there’s some sort of growth of power implied.
Given its immense transference of power, could The Quickening sustain the Highlander and drop his head back on him if he jumped up into a sharp, industrial ceiling fan or helicopter blades like that one dude at the end of the original Dawn of the Dead?
I think the answer should be no, but I’m not completely sold on it.
There’s also the question of what happens to the power from The Quickening? Say an immortal offs himself, does it dissipate or get equitably distributed to the other immortals throughout the globe?
The Second Question: The Quickening and mortals
Then, I began wondering about mortals in the presence of The Quickening. When one immortal kills another they get the “power” of the dead transferred to them. We’ve never seen a mortal in the presence of an immortal who, for example, got decapitated in a car accident because they were driving a convertible.
Would The Quickening dissipate in the absence of another immortal, or would it jump to the closest mortal and, quite possibly, turn them into an immortal? Lots of story potential there, but I don’t know if it would violate the rules of the game.
Naturally, I also have to wonder about Darth Vader. If he lopped off Connor MacLeod’s head and he’s so mechanical that he seems unable to summon Force Lightning without killing himself, would The Quickening kill him or would it restore him to a more powerful state that would free him from his hellish existence?
Questions like these bouncing around my head are why it’s so hard to fall asleep. Guess it’s time to watch Captain Kirk climb the mountain again.
4 thoughts on “A QUESTION ABOUT “HIGHLANDER””
For the record, one of your questions bothered me as well, and it was answered in the TV series. An immortal saved Duncan’s life then tried to kill him soon thereafter. As the duel started, Duncan asked, “Why Dave me just to kill me?”
He replied, “Because it would have be a waste of a perfectly good quickening.”
The theatrical release based on the series (which was terrible) established that an immortal’s strength was directly tied to the number of kills *and* included the kills of the one they killed, and so on down the line to the first one killed. So, wasting a quickening would not be a good idea.
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The theatrical release based on the series (Endgame, right?) was a classic compared to the truly, deeply dreadful “Highlander: The Source,” a movie that was the equivalent of being slapped in the face for being so dumb to watch it. I mean, I did, and I deserved what I got. I never got that much into the series.
I always though of it as the Quickening was sort of broadcast out and the closest immortals caught the lion’s share of it. When one died, all of them caught a tiny bit so they when each other died. But the closet (likely the one that killed him) got nearly all of it. I could be wrong of course. I only (choose to) remember the one movie.
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“I only (choose to) remember the one movie.”
OF COURSE they ONLY proper reply is, “There can be only one!”
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