Commentary: Abramowitz and Panzer introduce themselves. We haven't seen Abramowitz on screen before, and I was immediately pleased that he was going to be doing commentary. Panzer is okay (the abuse of Grecian formula aside), but Abramowitz was the real creative force behind the series, IMO. Panzer does say that the 6 years of doing the HL series were the best years of his life, and I've heard him say that before in a way that made me believe it.
They talked about the casting of the role of Joe Dawson, saying that Michael York and David McCallum both wanted to play the part. They cast Jim Byrnes because he was "more real, more earthy", although I suspect that York and McCallum also wanted more money, and that may have entered into the equation. Then Panzer started talking about Byrnes' background and mentioned he had done tours in Vietnam and lost his legs there, and was a real man, a real "mench" at which point Abramowitz gets this very funny look on his face, and tells Panzer he's mixing up Byrnes' character with Byrnes' real life, since Jim lost his legs in a car accident. Both men totally lost it, they were laughing so hard and the camera cut away.
Abramowitz said the originally conceived character of Joe Dawson was a much tighter, more serious personality, but it was clear that Byrnes himself helped define the role. Panzer mentioned that the notion of the Watchers was unique to the series, a new element that had not been introduced in the movies. Abramowitz said it brought a human perspective and let the audience become a part of the show, and give them someone to identify with, and Joe became Everyman.
Abramowitz said Dawson had an agenda, and that he thought DMotCM should be the One because not only was he a great fighter, but he had a righteous soul, and (as Abramowitz said) "he was right."
The episode opens with Duncan and Richie in a bizarre bar in Paris, with loud rock music playing and some seriously anti-social individuals sitting around at tables. Duncan is brooding about Darius' death and clearly went there spoiling for a fight. That's what I think is interesting about that scene, frankly. EDM was right on the surface. He was angry, frustrated and wanted to hurt somebody. Duncan is a natural aggressor, proud of his strength and quickness and power and used to using that power to resolve conflict. With only a little provocation, he beats the crap out of some bar bullies and would have literally killed a guy if Richie hadn't stopped him.
Then DM, Tessa and Richie all pick up and go back to Seacouver (Tessa: "Either we're together, or we're not". Gotta love that woman) to track down the clue Darius left (how did they know it related to Seacouver and not to Paris, or to Timbucktu, for that matter? And why did they keep calling the clue of a couple of letters and several numbers a "zip code"? Ah, well, literary license, I guess.)
And DMotCM walks right into a Watcher stronghold (the bookstore), and we meet Joe Dawson. Very cool guy from the moment he shows up on screen. Fearless, bold, unintimidated and clearly secretly delighted to finally get to talk to the guy he's been Watching for so long. Great, great character.
The scene with Horton and Dawson and MacLeod at the party, where Duncan hits Horton was fascinating in its restraint, really. It took a lot for MacLeod not to let loose on Horton then and there, but he stopped himself, also watching for Dawson's reactions and not quite able to figure out how much Dawson knew.
And that scene in the warehouse, where Duncan gives Joe the slightest signal, and Joe understands and turns away at the right moment. After a long, tense tussel where Duncan slowly turns Horton's gun on him, with his finger on the trigger ready to blow Horton's face off, Duncan, ever the sucker for a woman's pleas, lets Horton live because his daughter begs him to, leaving his demise to "another day." Nicely played, both physically and emotionally. My only real objection to that scene is that DM turns his back on Horton, leaving the gun on the table within reach, an incredibly arrogant, or incredibly stupid move (or both).
Horton grabs the gun and shoots DM several times as his daughter tries to stop him and Joe yells (ineffectually). Fatally wounded (three or four shots, I think), Duncan manages to run Horton through, gasping, "For Darius!", before he staggers away and dies as Horton's daughter is kneeling by her father's body screaming, "Why?".
Duncan gasps awake, but now he is alone in the warehouse, and Joe has disappeared from the office he had occupied, leaving a blank computer behind (why would he leave a computer behind?). He believes he has killed Darius' murderer but we know, of course, that Horton didn't die, but returned to cause havoc in later episodes.
I like this episode for a number of reasons:
1) We meet Joe Dawson, and learn about the Watchers, which is a whole cool concept that has marvelous potential. 2) We see Duncan in his warrior/hunter mode, aggressive, angry and barely under control. 3) Tessa demonstrates that she won't put up with shit from anybody, including Duncan (or Richie). I like her a lot. 4) There were several very well-played scenes, full of dramatic tension.
I don't know what the Euro minutes were (I watched this one early last week and don't remember anything revelatory, but that could just be me having a senior moment.