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In the first Highlander movie, in the scene when Kurgan is talking to Connor McLeod in the church, he has a conversation with a priest after Connor leaves.

Priest: People are trying to pray.

Kurgan: He cares about these helpless mortals?

Priest: Of course, he died for their sins!

Kurgan: That shall be his undoing. I am but a worm...etc. etc.

I don't know much of the Highlander mythos, but what does this conversation mean in the context of the story? Could Kurgan's first question be referring to the Highlander and not Jesus? Connor is for all parts an immortal being with some kind of powers as well.

And if it doesn't apply in some way to Connor then the line, "that shall be his undoing," which means that showing compassion for mortals is a weakness that will affect the future of the person he is talking about!

My question is: how will this battle between the two Highlander Immortals affect Christ? Or is there some kind of really intricate double entendres that are way over my head, where he is using the analogy of Christ to discuss McLeod's future? And is Kurgan really that smart as a character that that would make sense?

2 Answers 2

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Frankly, I think it's just a quirk of the language, and it is much simpler (square brackets inserted to show how I personally parsed the text when reading it):

Priest: Of course, he [Christ] died for their sins!

Kurgan: That [the generic quality of willingness to risk/sacrifice for those you care about, which was the undoing of Christ, - AND which MacLeod possesses] shall be his [McLeod's] undoing [Because I will use that to lure him into a disadvantageous battle with a hostage he cares about]. I am but a worm...etc. etc.

In other words, he merely mentally connects the risk-taking on someone else's behalf and willingness to sacrifice that are among the main attributes of Christ, and the same quality in MacLeod, considering it a weakness in both, with advantageous benefits to Kurgan in the latter case. There is no effect on Christ from their battle.

I also see no super-fancy double entendres. The ability of a <bad guy> to notice the weakness of a <good guy> being the danger to innocents or those he cares about - and using that weakness, for example by taking hostages - has been the hallmark of both real world conflict AND works of fiction since well before writing was invented. Nothing extra smart required for this thinking, merely remotely passing familiarity with the main tenets of Christianity.


"I am but a worm" is a bit of a word play, and a bad one, too.

In the original, it is referring to humility (and wasn't even remotely related to Christ to boot - it's a quote by King David in Psalm 22 in Old Testament).

In Kurgan's mind, this was seemingly related to both

  1. "McLeod's body is gonna get put to Earth real soon and be eaten by worms",

  2. and a reference to self-sacrifice at the same time, since MacLeod is humble enough to not value his own immortal life over those mortals he sacrifices himself for.

Not exactly a super-IQ double entendre either, IMHO.

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  • DVK thank you for answering. If you watch the scene link again with your interpretation it makes sense (if Kurgan speaking as if ignoring the priest), up until the worm comment, which is in the bible, because that comment is biblical (OT) and also the Devil is referred to as a worm in the (NT): "thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’"(Mark 9:43-48) meaning Kurgan knew exactly what the priest was talking about(Devil v. Jesus)! Also it is not Mcleod's humility but his own.
    – user15235
    Jun 24, 2013 at 19:32
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I realize this question is over a year old now, and DVK already gave a good answer. I have another viewpoint on this, however, so thought I'd post it as an alternate answer.

To begin with, you have to understand Kurgan's character - he's far more intelligent than he appears, but he's also a complete sociopath with no empathy whatsoever for others, especially mortals. His words to the priest did indeed have a double meaning - mockery of the priest's beliefs being one, the other being his upcoming battle with MacLeod.

He obviously has no respect for the church or its sanctity - this is prevalent in his behavior (taunting the nuns, putting out the candles, shouting as he leaves, etc.). He also sees himself as a God in his own right, and is therefore mocking the "lesser" Jesus who died for the sins of others. Keep in mind that Kurgan's first death was almost 1000 years before Jesus was even born. After saying as much, he then sees the look of shock on the priest's face and slips "back into character" and feigns a more respectful attitude, even then still mocking the sanctity & authority of the priest.

The original script had him actually kneeling before the priest instead of just bowing to him:

PRIEST: This is the house of God. People are trying to pray. You're disturbing them.

The Kurgan kisses the Priest's hand noisily, dropping to his knees.

KURGAN: Forgive me, father. I am a worm.

Patting the Priest's head for luck, the Kurgan boogies down the aisle in hobnail boots.

So, no - his fight with MacLeod does not have anything to do with Jesus. Kurgan, however, sees the Immortals and their conflicts as "above" the mortals or their concerns. He's also twisted enough that he really enjoys watching the priest squirm.

The priest, meanwhile, is not aware of the other context of the conversation, which is indeed his opponent MacLeod and his willingness to sacrifice for others. It's likely that (as mentioned by DVK) this is the point where Kurgan decided to kidnap Brenda.

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  • +1 for "the priest is not aware of the other context of the conversation".
    – Martha
    Sep 29, 2014 at 21:14

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