Once Out of Nature

(1) Incubus (Highlander)

By Selena
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 26th January 2004 (4)
Tags: Novella

I found the title of this story confusing, because I couldn't find an Incubus anywhere -- then I looked up the word in the dictionary and found that it had another meaning besides "demon that sleeps with women", and that meaning does fit the story very well: "something that oppresses, worries or disturbs greatly, esp. a nightmare or obsession".

The summary says: "While Duncan is in the monastery, Methos and Cassandra form an uneasy alliance searching in Donan Wood for clues left behind by the old hermit. They find far more than they bargained for." In other words, this is set post-"Archangel".

This is told mostly from Cassandra's point of view, as she has to choose between her friendship with Duncan and her hatred for Methos, while he has to try to persuade her that, yes, he can be trusted, as he needs her help to help Duncan -- to figure out whether he was really seeing a demon, or whether Duncan has finally gone mad.

And then complications ensue.

I like this -- the characterisation of Cassandra manages to strike a strong middle -- neither the loony bent on revenge, nor is she willing to forgive and forget just on the strength of Duncan's word. After all, in her eyes, Methos is the most consumate liar of all time. At the same time, she is trying to overcome her old reactions to him. And the Methos here is good too -- he knows that Cassandra would never believe that he cares, so he just throws on the pragmatism with a trowel.

(2) Transferences (Highlander)

By Selena
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 26th January 2004 (5)
Tags: Novelette

Summary: After Morgan Walker's death, Watcher Amy is transferred from field duty to psychiatric studies. In preparing a report on a confessed child killer, she learns the true meaning of the Watcher oath to "observe, record, and never interfere."

This is a sort of tangential sequel to "Incubus" in that it is set later than it (naturally, it's set after "Indescretions") but just follows up on the Watcher character in "Incubus", Andrew Lanart -- as investigated by Amy, Joe's daughter from the episode "Indescretions". This is interesting for its Watcher-centric PoV, with a few more ponderings about what it means to be a Watcher. And we also get to see Methos from Amy's point of view, which is also a treat.

(3) Once Out of Nature (Highlander)

By Selena
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 26th January 2004 (6)
Tags: Novella
Characters: Methos, Cassandra

Summary: The Immortals have a new group of deadly enemies: scientific researchers intent on learning their secrets. Now it's Cassandra's turn to ask Methos for help, as she risks her identity and both their lives.

This story is in a couple of different chunks, really; we start off with some nice Cassandra-Duncan interaction, where he talks to her about the events of "To Be, Not To Be", and Cassandra has some troubled thoughts of her own too. Then we have Cassandra asking Methos for help, with all the tension that comes from that. Then we have some Amy PoV, as Methos starts playing games, that only we as the Reader know, because we know things that Amy doesn't. Then we have The Raid, and then we have the Aftermath, in which Methos' plans come together just in time to mess everything up -- almost. One feels as if the author is killing several birds with one stone in this -- but they were worthwhile birds, so even though this could have been broken up into more than one story, it probably works better as one story, since the motivations run as a common thread through it all.

One of the things that gets touched on in this series is the nature of immortals, as to whether they are really human any more, and what that means for them and the mortals in their lives. That's why I decided to pick the last story title "Once Out of Nature" as the title of the series -- the question being, that once an Immortal, could one ever go back, and would one want to? They are "out of nature".

Interesting thoughts.