"The Modern Prometheus"


Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod)
Stan Kirsch (Richie Ryan)
Jim Byrnes as Joe Dawson


Jonathan Firth (Lord Byron)
Peter Wingfield (Methos)
Jeffrey Ribier (Mike)
Tracy Keating as Mary Shelley

Written by James Thorpe
Directed by Adrian Paul
Production No. 96517-105
Full Credits

Table of Contents:

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Teaser Back to Top

A rock concert [see Notes]. A band is playing on stage to the chants of the crowd, who're saying "Byron!" After the concert, the band walks out the back door, surrounded by crowds of screaming fans, held back by their security guards. Jerry manages to get close to Byron, shouting over the guards:

Jerry: "Did you get my tape? I'm Jerry, Jerry D--(?)." Byron ignores him, and Jerry starts reciting the song for him, "'In the confusion, love a man, not an illusion.'" [I think that's it. The background music is still playing, and the crowd is yelling, so I'm not 100% sure.--Jinjifore].

Byron stops and looks at him: "'I could never be all that you dream.'"

Jerry gapes, overwhelmed: "You listened to it!"

Byron, casual: "I thought it was good. Come on, Jerry, let's go for a ride."

Jerry, ecstatic, gets in the limo: "This is for real!"

Byron: "As real as it gets."

They get in the limo and it drives off, pursued by the fans. As it pulls away, we see the license plate: Byron 1.

Cut to a warehouse elsewhere. Byron is in the rafters, crouched on a girder, urging Jerry to come out with him. Jerry is creeping along, following, while Byron goads him.

Byron: "Come on, Jerry. Spit up the fear and taste the glory!" He holds out his hand. "Just one more step." Jerry takes the step, but misses and slips. Byron grabs him, holding him danging above the long drop. "Feel it, Jerry. Revel in it. This is to be mortal, and to seek for things beyond mortality." He heaves Jerry up next to him, laughing. "The world is watching, Jerry. Can you fly?"

Jerry, shaking like a leaf, takes a drink from the bottle Byron hands him: "Sure." Then, as Byron takes a drink. "Can we talk about the music?"

Byron ignores him, looking down at the floor below: "Are you ready?"

Jerry: "Huh?"

Byron hands the bottle back: "First we jump, then we lay down some tracks. You and me, Damon and Pythias!" Jerry looks at him blankly, and Byron looks disgusted, and tries again. "Batman and Robin." Jerry looks out over the warehouse, seeing the bare floor replaced with screaming fans. "All you need to do is soar, Jerry, like an eagle. If you're not living, you're dying, Jerry." As he speaks, Jerry sees the crowds in his mind's eye, chanting, "Jerry, Jerry . . ."

Jerry stands up next to Byron: "I'm cool."

Byron: "Good."

Jerry looks at him: "Batman and Robin."

Jerry: "No guts, no glory." He looks down. "Geronimo!"

They jump, Jerry still seeing the screaming crowds below as he falls to the ground. The bottle falls with them, and smashes on the concrete, followed by Byron's cane. The two men are lying side by side, Jerry's body twisted awkwardly, Byron sprawled next to him. Byron revives with a gasp, and pushes himself up.

Byron, pointing at Jerry's corpse: "That was a very good try." He picks up his cane and walks off, laughing.

[This is as good a time as any to describe Byron's clothes. I can't help, actually, but think of the Black Adder III episode "Ink and Incapability," where Edmund describes Bryon, Shelley and Keats as "running around Italy in a big shirt trying to get laid . . ." But I digress. Byron, even in modern times, is always dressed in a white ruffled shirt, with tight pants and tall boots and a long coat (okay, like long coats are unusual for immortals, but you get the picture). He's also very pale, with shadowed eyes and red lips.)

Act One Back to Top

At a nightclub, Mike is up on stage, playing guitar with the rest of the band. Duncan MacLeod, Joe Dawson, Methos, and Maurice (Don't blink! You'll miss him!) are sitting at a table, listening with appreciation to Mike playing, all of them nodding to the music.

Duncan: "This kid's great."

Joe: "Well, we picked him up in London. Came to every show, every night."

Methos listens with interest, and looks back on stage to where Mike is playing. Just then, he and Duncan sense another immortal, and they look around to see Bryon standing in the door. A big grin spreads over Methos's face.

Methos: "Well, well. Look who's here!" (Not to make a big deal about it, but Methos is really, genuinely happy to see him.)

Maurice goes and shakes his hand on his way out. (I'm guessing it's his club?)

Joe, amazed: "Byron."

Duncan glances at Methos: "Lord Byron?"

Methos stands up as Byron approaches.

Byron: "Hey, Doc."

Methos: "Hey."

Byron: "It's been a long time." They shake hands.

Methos: "You've become kind of famous again."

Byron, smiling: "Yeah, I just can't seem to shake it."

Methos chuckles and gestures to Duncan and Joe: "Duncan MacLeod, Joe Dawson."

Byron, looking at Duncan: "Any friend of Doc's . . ."

Duncan smiles tightly, but doesn't say anything, and Byron turns his attention back to the stage.

Byron: "Now that kid's not bad. Who is he?"

Methos: "Ah, that's Mike. He's from London."

Byron goes over and sits at a table next to the wall, watching as Mike finishes his song. Everyone applauds, and Mike comes down to where the guys are sitting.

Duncan: "You were great, Mike."

Mike: "Yeah, it's a rush."

Joe: "Beautiful, man."

Mike: "Thanks, Joe."

Byron, from his table: "Great chops, kid."

Mike looks up, and recognizes him immediately. He quickly excuses himself to Joe and walks over to Byron.

Mike: "You're who I think you are, aren't you?" Starts babbling. "I've got every CD, imports, everything. Man, I've been a fan of yours forever."

Joe, listening to this, turns to Methos: "You mean to tell me you knew him all this time and you never told me?"

Duncan: "Yeah. Doc."

Methos turns slowly and gives him a look, still smiling.

Flashback Switzerland, 1816 Back to Top

Methos, Byron and Claire Clairmont are riding in an open carriage down a shaded road. Methos is driving while Byron and Claire are busy necking in the back. Methos takes a drink from a flask and hands it back, then turns and sees that they're not paying him any attention. He yawns loudly, and Byron breaks off long enough to take the flask.

Byron: "It seems the good doctor grows weary of our entertainments."

Methos: "As spectator, surely. As participant, never."

Claire: "Doctor Adams, your effrontery shocks me."

Byron: "You're not shocked are you? You would be if you saw him at his labors, cutting up corpses, up to his elbows in rotting flesh and maggoty entrails."

Claire: "Actually . . ."

Methos: "There are some questions about life that only the dead can answer."

Byron: "Only the dead and poets."

Methos: "Well, then I shall have my answers when the Shelleys arrive."

Byron: "Or rather, Percy Shelley and that woman Mary he calls wife that he seems so interested in seducing." [Er, I think what Byron means is that Methos is interested in seducing Mary, but he looks like he's talking to Methos, so it's not clear. Opinions? --Jinjifore]

Methos laughs, and looks back to the road. He sees two woman come up to the road, both of them calling delightedly to Lord Byron.

Methos: "What do we have here?"

The ladies come up to the carriage, walking alongside, begging Byron for a poem. Byron obliges, standing up and pulling a scarf from his pocket, taking one of the ladies' hands as she trots alongside the still-moving carriage.

Byron: "'This band, which bound thy yellow hair, / Is thine, sweet girl, thy pledge of love, / It claims my warmest, dearest care (?), / Like relics, left of saints above.'"

He tosses the scarf to the two ladies, who squeal with delight as they catch it. They stand in the road, looking at the carriage as it drives on, Byron sitting back down and putting his arm around Claire again. As the carriage draws near a fork in the road, another carriage, driven by Hans Kershner, approaches. Methos pulls the horses to a halt as he and Byron sense the other immortal. Byron takes one look, and slaps Methos on the shoulder, urging him to move over so he can have the reins.

Methos: "You know him?"

Byron gets in front and takes the reins: "Hans Kershner. He thinks I slept with his wife."

Claire: "Did you?"

Byron: "Of course!"

Methos and Claire look at each other.

Methos: "Hold on!"

Byron whips the horses up, and they take off, Kershner in hot pursuit.

Kershner: "Hold it there, you scoundrel!"

Kershner chases them down the road, the three in Byron's carriage laughing and shouting, Methos getting in the back and putting his arm around Claire. Finally, though, Kershner's wheel hits a rock and the carriage turns over, tumbling him to the ground.

Methos, turning back to shout as they drive off: "Next time, send your wife!"

They drive away, laughing, leaving Kershner seething in the dirt.

They arrive at the gates of Byron's house, Byron still driving, the three of them still laughing and winded.

Byron: "Am I as dangerous as my reputation, Doctor?"

Methos: "You are mad, sir. Are you trying to get us killed?"

Byron: "You speak of death. Yet note how quickly your heart beats. You seem more alive than ever, sir!"

They go into the house.

Later. Methos, Byron, Claire, Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley are all gathered in a parlor (or whatever the proper term is) sprawled over the various pieces of furniture and on pillows on the floor, all of them drunk on laudanum. Methos is draped langorously over a sofa, listening to Byron.

Byron: "Is there no relief to this eternal boredom? We need better diversions."

Methos, lazily: "What exactly did you have in mind?"

Byron: "New stories." He strolls over to Methos as Methos rouses himself enough to make an unsuccessful grab at a passing maid, and leans down to talk to him. "I say we call forth the armies of night, and do them battle soul to soul until they, or we, cry 'Hold, enough!' and give over the field." He staggers back to the cushions and lies down with Claire, kissing her.

Claire: "Sounds thrilling."

Methos: "Sounds morbid."

Percy goes to Mary: "Stories of horror, to bring forth our own ghosts from deep within us." He grabs Mary's hand. "Those, dead humors, rattling around the midnight of our souls." He stumbles back to the pillows, and Byron gets up and weaves toward Mary.

Byron: "Yes, but who will be first to amuse and frighten us tonight?" He stands behind Mary, replacing Claire who's touching her hair and face. "The quiet Mrs. Shelley, perhaps?"

Mary has been holding a skull, looking at it. Now she holds it to her stomach, cradling it almost protectively.

Mary: "You mock me, sir. Yet I have felt death. I've held it in my arms. I hope never to feel the like again."

Byron grabs her chair and turns it to face him: "Yes, but feel it you did. In tasting grief, in tasting fear, is that not the time we truly live? And so, fair Muse, what ghosts have you to share tonight?"

Mary: "I'm afraid my imagination fails me at present."

Byron: "Ah, but look, dear lady." He stands and goes to Claire, holding the decanter of laudanum for her to drink. "Your neighbor greedily gulps the nectar of creativity itself."

Percy takes the bottle and holds it to her: "Drink the laudanum, my love. Drink." She takes the bottle and drinks. "To stimulate your imagination, my dear."

Mary gives the bottle back and staggers up, gasping for breath. She walks around to where Methos is sitting, and he gets up, taking her and whirling her around, laughing, until he realizes that her choking is for real. He lays her down immediately, looking worried.

Byron: "What melodrama is this?"

Methos, sharply: "Your wife has had enough, sir!"

Percy gets up, waving his hands: "Take care of her, good doctor. Into your hands I commend her spirit."

He sits down, cradling the bottle as Methos picks up Mary and carries her out, leaving Byron and Claire locked in a passionate embrace in front of the fireplace.

Later, Mary lies in bed, having a nightmare. She sees herself walking through a misty forest, and sees a cloaked figure in front of her. Her dress catches on a branch and she wakes up, sitting up in bed. She sees a girl standing by the window and hears her crying. She gets up and goes to her.

Mary: "Clara?"

The little girl turns, but her face is partially covered in feathers, her nose turning into a grotesque beak. Mary looks at her and screams at the top of her lungs, but can't make a sound . . .

In the bedroom, Methos walks over the bed as Mary wakes up with a shriek. He kneels on the bed beside her, taking her hand and stroking her hair while she tells him about the dream.

Mary, gasping: "My baby Clara. I dreamt she came back to life. She had a beak for a mouth. And I was in the forest, there was a man, a monster, a beast. I couldn't tell what it was." She was almost hysterical, but now she's calmer, sinking back into the drugged sleep. "Sometimes . . . sometimes I wonder who is the more unhappy. Those who die, or those who live." She closes her eyes.

Methos pauses, then says softly, still stroking her hair: "Perhaps, dear Mary, death is not truly journey's end, but just another turn in the road. If we believe that, we can live without fear."

Byron, from behind him: "Bravo. Bravo."

Methos turns toward him: "Be still!"

Byron walks up and pushes the curtain aside to look at her: "Still. So still." He walks around to the other side of the bed. "Almost like . . . death." He gets on the bed, too. "Yet look, she stirs. Is she not beautiful?" He caresses Mary's thigh through her dress.

Methos reaches over and touches his wrist: "That she is. Now let her rest."

Byron: "Ah, but does she want to rest?" Looks at Methos. "I say we take her, and push the bounds of our passion to heaven itself."

Methos: "And I say we leave before we push the bounds of decency." He starts to get up, but Byron puts a hand on his cheek, stopping him.

Byron: "Decency means nothing. All that matters is this moment, the three of us here in this room." He takes Methos's hand and puts it on Mary's chest. "Look at her. Feel her hunger." Methos closes his eyes. "What is the point of living if we don't taste what life has to offer us?" Byron continues touching Mary through her clothes, and Methos is stroking her shoulders, breathing deeply. But then he stops.

Methos: "Enough." He gets up and starts to leave, and sees Byron lean down to kiss Mary. He crosses to him and pulls him away. "I said, enough."

Byron, petulant: "How dare you? This is my home, my life. I will do with it as I chose." He draws a thin sword from his cane and presses the point to Methos's breast. "Unless of course you choose to stop me."

Methos, tiredly: "Put it away and let her be. I would rather have your poetry than your head."

Byron: "Very well. As a favor to you." He nods his head. Methos responds by bowing slightly, and Byron retaliates, grinning, with an elaborate, deeper bow, and Methos copies him, bowing even more deeply while Byron smiles, watching.

Present Day Back to Top

Outside the club, Methos is straightening up, holding a notebook. He starts talking to a girl standing next to him as Mike, Joe and Duncan walk out.

Mike: "Man, that was amazing. It was like Jimi Hendrix was in my head and I was just playing along."

Joe: "You want to open for us tomorrow night? Maurice says it's okay."

Mike, excited: "Yes. Of course, man, I'll do whatever it takes."

Duncan: "You already did what it takes."

Joe: "So come by in the morning, we'll run a couple of tunes and we'll see how it--"

Byron, interrupting as he strolls up: "Hey, Mike, you want to come jam?"

Mike: "You serious?"

Byron: "I'm only asking once." He walks off.

Mike: "Sure!"

Joe: "I'll see you in the morning."

Mike: "I'll be there, man. I can't believe this is happening to me!"

Joe: "Take it easy, all right, don't get crazy."

Byron: "Now or never, Mikey!"

Mike: "Uh, I gotta go." He dashes off after Byron.

Duncan walks off in the opposite direction, and Methos falls in with him.

Duncan: "He's an arrogant son of a bitch."

Methos: "Lot of geniuses are." Glances over his shoulder. "He's connected. He could make that kid's career with one phone call."

Joe: "Yeah. He's in the Big Time now."

At Byron's place, Mike is playing his guitar, having quite literally let his hair down. (Just a frivolous note: Mike has very long, very wavy, hair, but every time he's with Duncan and Joe he wears it tucked in his hat, and when he's with Byron it's always down. Just an observation . . .) A woman is dancing to his music, laughing, while Byron makes out with another one on the bed. There are bottles of booze sitting around, and as Mike finishes playing the dancer falls down by the bed, laughing.

Byron: "Bravo. You're the man." He applauds him from the bed.

Mike, to Byron: "You really think so?"

Byron: "I said so, didn't I? Didn't I say so?"

The dancer crawls over to him, saying if he won't come to her, she'll come to him.

Byron: "So, you're going to run by the studio tomorrow night, lay down a few tracks, meet some people?"

Mike spreads his arms, letting the dancer sit down in his lap: "You know it, man."

Byron holds out a tray: "Nightcap, anyone?"

Mike: "No, I'm okay. I'm okay, I gotta get going."

Byron: "That's cool."

Mike: "So what time tommorow?"

Byron, snippy: "Well, actually, tomorrow's a little busy. So maybe I'll get my manager to send by a couple of tickets for tomorrow night's show."

Mike looks at him, while the women are cajoling him to "stay and play." Byron comes up behind Mike as he turns to look at the women. He shakes a small plastic envelope in front of him.

Byron: "You don't know what you're missing."

Mike turns to look at him, and Byron holds the envelope out.

Act Two Back to Top

Joe and the band are rehearsing at the club. Mike comes in, in a rush, and Joe stops the band.

Joe: "You're late, brother."

Mike: "Sorry."

Joe: "You know, you don't want to do this, we don't have to."

Mike, talking fast: "No, I'm ready, I'm ready. See? Look." He fumbles with his guitar and Joe waves a hand impatiently.

Joe, getting a little exasperated: "Come on, tune it up, okay?"

Mike plays a little, and Duncan, sitting at a table, looks slightly pained.

Joe: "You with us?"

Mike: "Yeah."

Joe: "All right. Let's give it a whirl."

He points to the drummer, and they start up again, but it's soon obvious from the look on Duncan's face that it is not going well. He glances over his shoulder at Methos, who's sitting at the bar, and finds him looking more than just a little concerned. Finally, Joe cuts it off.

Mike, nervous: "What?"

Joe, trying very hard to be polite: "Why don't you get a little sleep, okay, Mike? We'll try this later."

Duncan: "Tough night?"

Mike looks from Duncan to Joe, jerky and nervous: "No. Um, yeah. Yeah, it was hot. Byron thought I was great, I was flying?"

Duncan: "Looks like you still are."

Joe: "He, uh, give you a little something to help you fly?"

Mike: "What are you trying to say?"

Joe: "Look, maybe this is none of my business . . ."

Mike: "We're talking about Byron, here. You should be happy for me, not bitching at me, all right?" He unplugs his guitar. "I'm out of here." He runs off.

Joe tells the band to take five and goes over to Duncan.

Joe: "Boy, oh boy. I sure screwed that up."

Duncan: "Somebody did." He stands up. "I'm going to talk to Byron."

Methos looks up quickly: "Wait! I'll go with you." He caps his pen (Oooh, fountain pen, my kinda guy . . . ;)) and shuts his notebook as Joe walks up. "Worried about the kid, huh?"

Joe: "He's in a tough spot."

Methos: "To make great music, you have to experience life."

Joe: "The good and the bad, huh?" He shakes his head. "Hallelujah."

Methos: "Sometimes the man is not as strong as the music."

At Byron's place, Byron is talking to an assisstant as Duncan and Methos come in.

Byron: "Life, my friend, is in the details. I want almonds, not cashews. Almonds. Roasted, unsalted." He snaps his fingers, shooing him off. "And fetch me my women. Tall, beautiful women with long black hair. I know you want to make me happy." The assisstant leaves, and Methos walks in, smiling.

Byron: "Afternoon boys." He walks up to Methos, putting his arm around him as they walk into the room.

Methos: "Still lacerating the help, I see."

Byron: "It's good being the star."

Duncan: "Yeah, you and Mike had quite a session last night."

Byron goes to a drawer and pulls out a small silver case: "Yeah, kid's got a good shot."

Duncan: "That's why we're here."

Byron offers the case to Duncan and Methos, but they both decline.

Methos: "No, thanks."

Byron: "You gotta rev the engine or you're just idling. I don't understand how you guys can live without it." He takes a small spoonful of whatever-it-is (Cocaine? Heroin?) and sniffs it.

Duncan: "Just fine, thanks. So did Mike, until last night."

Byron, sighing: "Oh, that's better. Immortality gets pretty damn dull after the first couple of centuries, doesn't it? What's the secret, Doc? What do you do when there's nothing left but the dark, cold emptiness that stretches out for centuries behind you?" He looks in the mirror. "And when you look in the mirror, all that you see is the abomination that you are . . ."

Flashback Switzerland, 1816 Back to Top

A servant is leading a goat down the main hall, while Mary watches, standing uncertainly in front of the doors to the parlor. Byron's voice can be heard, faintly, through the doors. Methos appears at the top of the stairs.

Methos: "Shall we?" He starts down.

Mary: "I confess I'm afraid to go in." She walks over to meet him at the foot of the steps.

Methos: "It's just his way of being entertaining. They're only ghost stories."

Mary: "Told by master wordsmiths. Lord Byron's words will live forever. What have I to offer in such company?"

Methos puts his hand on her shoulder: "Your heart. Your dreams. Your nightmares." He steps down, continuing to voice over as the scene shifts inside the room, where wine is being poured down a woman's leg for Percy to drink as it streams off her foot."Come. Let us show Byron and Shelley that they do not have the only creative minds of the day."

The door opens and Methos and Mary come in, Mary on Methos's arm. Byron leaps up.

Byron: "Ah! We'd almost despaired of your company." He puts his arm around Methos. "Hark, Percy, the good doctor is in love with your Mary. What do you say to that?"

Percy: "I say run. And fleet be thy feet. Fly from love." Takes Mary's hand and pulls her into his arms. "That horned beast that impales all men." He jerks her to him on the word "impales," and then lowers her to the cushions and starts kissing her.

Just then, Methos and Byron sense another immortal.

Byron, to Methos: "It seems my destiny awaits." He turns to the room. "With your permission, my friends, I take my leave." He leaves, and Methos follows, Mary watching them depart.

In the hall, Methos glances at the door.

Methos: "Jealous husband?"

Byron: "Uh-huh." He puts on his coat and goes to the door, where Kershner awaits.

Outside, a storm is brewing, lightning flashing overhead as the three of them walk out towards the gates. Methos runs up beside Kershner, speaking angrily.

Methos: "Think, man, who you would kill! Would you be Lord Byron's murderer?"

Kershner, derisively: "Aahh."

Byron, drawing his sword from Methos's hand: "He shall be Lord Byron's first conquest."

Kershner laughs: "Then, try me, boy."

They toss off their cloaks and begin. Byron is fighting with a heavier sword than his cane-sword, but he's holding the cane in his hand as he fights, using it to block. Mary runs up during the fight and watches, until Kershner finally runs Byron through, grabbing his cane to hold him. But Byron yanks the sword from the cane and stabs Kershner, then beheads him with the other blade. Mary runs forward, shocked, as Methos catches Byron and lowers him to the ground. Then he grabs her and pulls her back away from the body as the Quickening begins. While Mary watches terrified, the lightning crawls over Byron's body, making his limbs twitch and lift. The body elevates as fireworks and other pyrotechnics go off behind Mary and Methos [it looks to my humble gaze as though they re-used the fireworks from the "Duende" Quickening as the background. --Jinjifore], and Methos watches her face as she looks around, taking it all in. The Quickening fades, and Byron's body floats back down while Mary and Methos watch.

Act Three Back to Top

Mary is kneeling by Byron's body, and she jerks back in shock as he twitches, still in the aftershocks of the Quickening.

Mary: "How . . . ?" She gets up and goes back to Methos, who takes her arm. "He lives! Yet I saw . . . "

Methos: "It was a trick of the storm."

Mary, angry: "I'm not Claire. Don't speak to me like a fool. I've seen him die and live again, while my daughter Clara lies buried in her grave. How can he live while my flesh and blood turns to dust? Explain."

Methos, calmly but quickly: "There is no explanation. He is not governed by the rules of mortal flesh. He is of a different kind."

Mary: "How do you know this? How can you know it?"

Methos: "Because I am like him. Immortal." He looks at her pleadingly. "I beseech you tell no one of this. We must live in secret."

Mary nods, understanding at once: "Or you would be hunted."

Methos nods back: "For the perversion of Nature that we are."

Mary, looking at him, sympathetic: " Poor tormented creature." As she speaks, her mind flashes back to her dream, to the figure in the woods. In front of them, Byron begins to revive, gasping. "The sad hero of a never-ending story. Resurrected by lightning to eternal life." She reaches up and touches Methos's face. "To eternal lonliness."

In front of them, Bryon staggers to his feet, propping himself up with his sword.

Byron: "An interesting bit of entertainment this was, I'll wager." He walks up to the them, heading inside. "Come. There's a fire inside, and stories to tell." Looks at Mary. "If you have one."

Mary, looking at Methos: "I do. Mine will be about the aunguish of immortality."

Methos looks a little nervous: "What will you call your story, Mary Shelley?"

Mary: "Frankenstein. The modern Prometheus." Looks at Byron's retreating back, flashing to her dream again. "A man born of fire." Byron stops, and glances back over his shoulder, and we fade to . . .

Present Day Back to Top

Back in Byron's rooms, Byron is pacing, a copy of Frankenstein open in his hand, reading from it.

Byron: "'Light, feeling, and sense will pass away. And in this condition must I find my happiness.'" He walks over, stopping in front of a poster of Frankenstein, with the monster's face, the same one that Mary saw in her dreams. "Frankenstein, gentleman. Mary Shelley's greatest work. The point is that we are all Frankenstein's monster. Doomed to walk the frozen tundra for eternity. Or the streets of Paris as the case may be." Waves a bag of something. "But at least this gives us the illusion of life."

Duncan: "If you think that's what life is all about then you're already dead."

Byron: "So speaks the hero."

Duncan gets up and walks over to face him: "You listen to me. This is no illusion, no poetic fantasy. This is real, and it's a warning. Leave the kid alone." He leaves.

Methos, who's said nothing, quietly hands back the skull he's been holding and follows.

Out on the street, Methos and Duncan walk to his car.

Duncan: "Your friend's a mess."

Methos: "He's a genius."

Duncan: "He's pathetic."

Methos: "Very easy to think that way." Looks at MacLeod. "You ever starve to death, MacLeod? Byron feels hunger like that every day. Twenty thousand people screaming his name, it's not enough to fill the hole inside him. He always wants more, he always needs more."

Methos: "You know, Charlie Parker, Van Gogh, Mozart . . . messed-up guys."

Duncan finally turns and faces him: "Yeah, Da Vinci, Bach . . . normal guys. And still great artists."

Methos: "And Byron is also a great artist. He's given the world great poetry."

Duncan: "But at what price?"

At night. Byron is standing on a roof, next to a lightning rod, as lightning arcs through the sky. He's yelling at the top of his lungs, daring the lightning to come and get him.

Byron: "Come on, Old Man. Come and get me!" Looks down. "Are you still there?" Looks back up. "Missed me!"

Below him, Mike is looking up at him.

Byron: "That's the difference between you and me, kid. I embrace life and you run from it. Daddy doesn't want you playing in my sandbox."

Mike, nearly in tears: "I didn't tell them to come, I swear."

Byron: "Details, kid!"

Mike: "They just don't get it."

Byron: "Well, of course they don't get it. They never will. Because they're dead inside and they don't even know it." Comes over to the edge and kneels in front of Mike. "The world is full of small men with small dreams." Grabs his shirt. "What do you want, Mike? Are you ready to grab onto life with both hands and squeeze it 'til it screams for mercy?"

Mike nods: "I'm ready."

Byron: "I don't think so." He pushes him back and stands again. "You want to play in the big time you gotta be a big boy. Go home, kid. I said go home!"

Mike stumbles off, leaving Byron taunting the heavens again.

Outside the club, Mike comes up to Duncan and Joe as they're leaving.

Mike: "Hey, thanks for nothing, guys."

Duncan: "What's the problem?"

Mike: "Did I ask you to mind my business? Stay the hell out of my life." Points at Joe. "If he wants to play in little clubs like this for the rest of his life, that's fine, that's fine. Okay? I'm not, all right?"

He starts to leave, but Duncan grabs him.

Duncan: "Hey, Mike. You think Byron gives a damn about you? You think he cares whether you live or die?"

Mike: "He's my shot."

Joe: "Yeah, maybe." Mike starts to leave. "Hey, Mike! You're still opening for us in a couple of hours, all right?" Mike turns, then waves his hands, throwing it all back.

In his apartment, Byron is listening to music, writhing around, throwing things, pacing angrily. The door opens, and Mike comes in. Byron turns to look at him.

Byron: "So. Mummy say you could come out and play?"

Mike shakes his head and walks forward, taking off his hat so that his hair falls down loose.

Mike: "I don't need anybody's permission."

Byron grins: "By George, I think he's got it." He picks up a box from the shelf. "Let's celebrate." He opens it, showing it to Mike. "Name your poison." Mike looks a little hesitant, and Byron takes out a needle. "Now Mike, I hope you're not going to let me down again."

Outside the club, Joe is just coming out as Duncan walks across the street to meet him.

Duncan: "Mike never show up?"

Joe, shaking his head: "No. What the hell. I should have figured. I mean, who would choose my life over Byron's?"

Duncan: "You would."

Joe: "But he wouldn't be in this spot if it wasn't for me."

Duncan: "Don't hold yourself responsible for it."

Joe: "Hey. You would."

Duncan looks at him: "I'll see you later."

At Byron's place, Duncan walks in, looking around, then spots Mike on the floor beside the couch. He checks his pulse, then turns his arm up to see the tourniquet around it, and the needle tracks on his elbow. He picks up the bottle of booze from his hand.

Duncan, whispering: "Damn him." He stands. "Damn him!!" He hurls the bottle at the wall, smashing the glass on the Frankenstein poster, splattering it with red.

Act Four Back to Top

At the concert, the fans are waiting, chanting Byron's name. In his dressing room, Byron is leaning over a pinball machine, tapping on the glass. He looks up as the door opens.

Byron: "Hey, Doc. It's going to be a killer show tonight."

Methos comes in, shoving his hands in his pockets.

Methos: "I didn't come here for the show."

Byron: "Well, uh, party doesn't start 'til later, but hey, make yourself at home."

Methos: "Leave town."

Byron, turning to look at him: "Say what?"

Methos, looking upset: "MacLeod's going to be coming here. I'm telling you as an old friend that it would be a good time to go on tour. In another country."

Byron: "And disappoint my fans?" Walks over to the pinball machine again. "I told you, I've got a show to do."

Methos walks up to stand beside him: "Used to be more than a show. There was a time when you were reaching for the heavens."

Byron: "There is no heaven. It's just an illusion for fools and innocents." Walks across the room again. "I have no hope, no dreams, no poetry left. All I feel is this raging hunger. And all I hear is my own voice screaming my failure. You know what I've become."

Methos: "Yes, I know."

Byron, coming back to him: "But do you know who you are, Doc?" Methos shakes his head. "You're the guy in the audience and I'm the guy on the flying trapeze. Who do you think's having more fun?"

Methos: "Who do you think's going to live longest?"

Byron, turning away: "Who cares?"

Methos, quietly: "I do."

Byron, looking at him again: "Do you want a tombstone that says, 'He Lived For Centuries?' Or do you want one that says, 'For Centuries He Was Alive?'"

Methos: "You're not listening to me. I don't want a tombstone."

They regard each other for a moment, and the band starts up onstage.

Byron: "You hear that?" Smiles. "They're playing my song." He leaves, and Methos closes his eyes.

Duncan is walking along backstage. He senses another immortal, and meets Methos as he's coming out of Byron's room.

Methos: "[??]'s dead, I know." [I'm assuming he's saying Mike's last name, which sounds like "Paladino" or something, but I'm not sure. --Jinjifore] He shakes his head. "Byron didn't force him to do anything."

Duncan: "That's a load of crap. Mike's dead because of Byron."

He tries to push past, but Methos steps in front of him.

Methos: "No, Mike is dead because of . . . Mike."

They move to the other side of the hall to avoid some equipment movers, and Duncan goes on.

Duncan: "The kid idolized him. Maybe he didn't pull the trigger but he sure as hell put the gun in his hand. 'To live like me you have to be like me?' Come on, Methos. Mike couldn't do that, he wasn't immortal."

Methos: "Which is not Byron's fault."

Duncan walks off, and Methos follows him,

Methos: "Mac, Mac! Wait. Think. Think about the poetry, think about the music that he's made. Think about the musicthat he will still make. You going to kill all that as well?"

Duncan: "And what about Mike. What music could he have made?"

Methos opens his mouth, like he's going to answer, then closes it again while Duncan looks, prompting him. Then Methos steps aside, lettting Duncan pass.

After the concert. Byron and the rest of band are coming out, and Byron stops as he senses Duncan. He turns and sees him waiting in a side corridor. A security guard asks if Byron wants him to take care of it, but Byron waves him off.

Byron: "Leave me. Go on." Byron walks down to meet Duncan. "Let me guess. You want an autograph." Upstairs, the crowd continues to chant Byron's name. "You hear that? They love me."

Duncan: "Doesn't help, though, does it? Tell me, is there anything you despise more than yourself?"

Byron says nothing, just turns and leads the way down another passage. While the crowd continues to chant upstairs, they go to a storage room, and without further conversation, begin to fight. Byron is using his trick cane again, but Duncan quickly takes it away.

Duncan: "Guess you won't be needing this." Tosses it aside. "Makes us even."

Byron: "No." He switches his blade to his other hand and flicks his wrist. A gun appears in his hand and he shoots Duncan in the ankle. "Now we're even." He pulls off his coat, and starts reciting from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," [see Notes] "'Foil'd, bleeding, breathless, furious to the last, / Full in the center stands the bull at bay!'" He presses Duncan back.

Upstairs, the crowd continues to chant, and Byron pursues a limping Duncan, still spouting verses.

Byron: "'Mid wounds, and clinging darts, and lances brast, / And foes disabled in the brutal fray.'"

They continue to fight, and Byron slashes Duncan's arm.

Byron laughs: "'And now the matadors around him play, / Shake the red cloak, and poise the ready brand.'"

They're fighting on top of loading beds now, Duncan still hopping on one foot, but holding his own.

Byron: "'Once more thru all he bursts his thundering way.'" He attacks again. "'Vain rage!'"

But Duncan grabs Byron's blade as he attacks, bringing his sword to his throat and kneeling down with him.

Duncan, looking sad, almost tearful: "'The mantle quits the conynge hand, / Wraps his fierce eye--'tis past--he sinks upon the sand.'"

He whirls and takes Byron's head. Almost at once, the Quickening takes up him in the air, the white mist holding him up, then it lets him down and the lightning and other pyrotechnics start. Scenes from Byron's life flash by: the music, the carriage chase, Mary's bedroom, his rage in the apartment, while music plays. The last scene is from right after the concert, when Byron says, "They love me." Then it's over.

Tag Back to Top

Methos is in the club, slumped over the bar, leaning his forehead on his arms. Joe is on stage, playing, but they're otherwise alone. Methos lifts his head up, and reaches behind the bar for a glass and a bottle and takes them to a table. As he sits down, he senses another immortal, and looks up as Duncan comes in. Joe stops playing, and sighs, and starts again. Methos looks at Duncan, cold, and pours himself a drink without a word. Duncan gets a pained expression, and comes in. He puts his coat on a chair near Methos, and goes to the bar for a glass.

Methos: "Matter and antimatter. Byron knew that, too." His voice gets a little bitter. "His life had become one long tragedy."

Duncan pours a drink and sits down: "We all know how those end."

They sit, not saying anything, and we hear Byron's voice.

Byron: "My task is done, my song has ceased, my theme has died into an echo. It is fit."

Notes Back to Top

About the music: All of Byron's music is from the band M.E.L.T., which happens to be the band of Marcus Testory (Caspian from "Comes a Horseman" and "Revelation 6:8"). The songs are from their CD, which is also, I b'leve, called "M.E.L.T." The song "Steps" was played during the opening sequence, and "Alpha et Omega" during the Quickening.

Sorry about the poetry thing. It's kind of embarassing, because I'm supposedly an English major, but the truth is my field is Renaissance and back. They ever run into Chaucer or Milton or any Beowulf stuff, I'm okay. But the Romantics are a little after my time and my knowledge of Byron is limited to a passing familiarity with his major works and the infamous observation by Lady Caroline Lamb that he was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know."

Thanks to a kind soul named Silvia, I now know that the verses recited in the final battle between Duncan and Byron are from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimmage," Canto One, Verse 78. The first Canto of the poem is rarely anthologized, which is why it was so darn hard to locate. Thanks, Silvia!

The gathering in Switzerland did happen more or less as described, at least as far as I know, even to the detail that Mary Shelley did get her idea for Frankenstein during that visit. And the full title of the novel is, just for the record, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

One last trivia tidbit: The role of Hans Kershner was played by F. Braun McAsh, the series' sword master.

Next week, the last show of the season, "Archangel."


These pages are written by Jinjifore and are translated into HTML and maintained by Ian.

Disclaimer: All the dialogue, characters, situations, and darn near everything else belong to a bunch of fine and talented folks at Rysher Entertainment and Panzer/Davis, and in particular the dialogue belongs to the credited writer of this episode. Me, I just wrote the rest down in my own words, which belong to me, but the episode itself was made by the aforementioned people and is owned by them. This humble synopsis isn't meant to infringe on their rights, and I'm sure as heck not making any money from doing these.

Everything not belonging to Rysher, et al, ©Copyright 1997 by Jinjifore

Feel free to copy and distribute as long as this copyright notice and disclaimer are included, except where local bandwidth laws apply.

Also, check out Ian's home page.

Celtic clip art courtesy of the Celtic Art Web Page.
Last Rev: H71 [ 1 Jul 97 ]