One too many (bad) HL fic It's sad. Most of the people who write HL fics featuring Methos as a main character are Methos fans. But most of them are also horrible at writing him.
Or maybe it just seems that way when I'm reading the nth fic that goes agonizing about the Horsemen and about how Methos goes around being all tortured and angsty about what a horrible person he used to be and wishing MacLeod could forgive/judge/accept his past...blah blah blah. And, of course, they take it for matter of fact that MacLeod's got every right to be the One (in capitals) to mete out judgment/punishment/etc to anyone around him who has unsavory pasts that he doesn't want to ignore.
Fanfic writers have no effin' sense of scale. No, the problem is, many writers don't even attempt to aim for a sense of proportion. Canonically, the time of the Horsemen happened somewhere around 2000-1000 BC. That's a thousand years...in the Bronze Age. The Horsement were accused of being raiders who raped and pillaged across the continent, killing and enslaving all that stood in their way. I'm hard pressed to think of why that wasn't completely normal for people who weren't themselves victims in those days. I mean, remember the Peloponnesian War (500 odd years after the time of the Horsemen) when the Greeks seiged and sacked Melos, killing all the men and enslaving all the women & children? I'm sure the Horsemen attacking seemed to be the end of the world to the villages they wiped out, but objectively (and canonically) speaking, four fighters (no matter how good they are) against random villages is nowhere on the same levels as invading armies wiping out city-states. The only difference is that the Horsemen lived long enough for more than one generation to hear of them and turn them into oral histories and myth, eventually winding up in the Bible, whereas the millions of other petty warlords/god-kings/warrior states/etc. of the time had their time and died out, leaving little behind for the historians to agonize over.
Fanfic writers are lemmings. No, seriously. Shallow lemmings, at that. On the surface, the two Horsemen episodes painted MacLeod as the force of righteous judgment and Methos the penitent recipient of judgment. But if these people can grasp the subtext of DM/M slash, why are they blind to the other subtexts that was streaking through the entire season with all the subtlety of a nova? Why are they incapable of seeing the episodes from any other POV than the stereotypical one? Hell, they're not even being objective about it.
In a rundown of the various Methos episodes - what do we have? He offers his life to help MacLeod defeat Kalas (though I still think he wasn't serious about that, so let's not count this). He kills Kristin because she was a clear and present danger to Mac and his student (and because Mac couldn't kill her due to their history, and thus didn't thank him for that, so let's not count that either). He comes to the rescue to save Mac's sanity during the Dark Quickening mess, and never had a word of judgment about the stuff Mac did while 'evil'. Risks both his cover identity with the Watchers (who knew how to kill him and were trigger happy besides) and his life to save Amanda and to try and save Alexa (mortal girl who had less than a year to live). Risks his cover again to get Watcher info for Mac (during his bereavement and without a word of thanks). Risks his life again to save the marriage of people he didn't even know and didn't even deign to keep the price he originally named for his help. Sacrificed the life of Mac's friend to save Mac's life (for which, understandably, he was not thanked for). Saved the life of Mac's student (for which no one thanked him or even respected him). In Valkyrie, when another old friend of Mac's comes calling and killing mortals but who wasn't a danger to Mac, Methos did not counsel him to whack her, and didn't judge him when he did.
Horsemen & Revelations two parter - I mean, what really went down here? Methos' ugly past shows up, including a former victim who last saw him 3000 years ago. Said victim, who incidentally also seduced MacLeod back when he was like 12, gets the first word in about what abominations the Horsemen were. Mac confronts Methos and is obviously NOT LISTENING to anything other than the only answer he judged to be 'true'... "Is what she said true?" "The times were different. I was different. The world was different." "Did you kill all those people?" ...Yeah. If we're literal, killing ten thousand in a span of one thousand years averages out to be 10 kills per year which is less than the body count Mac racks up with just Immortals. But obviously some people failed math just as much as they failed ancient history. And in the end, with Mac abandoning their friendship, his girl gunning for his head, and his former brothers trying to turn him back into something he's not anymore, Methos still manages to scrape through the whole thing, save Mac's life and the population of Bordeaux, ending the threat of the Horsemen, somehow surviving the ordeal (though it came close), and killing at least one person he like to save his former victim. This despite all hands turned against him and what not.
Later in the season, in Forgive Us Our Trespasses, MacLeod's ugly past came knocking. A petty person would be gloating about how the shoe's on the other foot. But Methos makes no mention at all of the Horsemen when he's talking to Mac about black and white and shades of grey. Then, in Modern Prometheus, Mac kills Methos' old friend whos crime was to be famous enough to have star-struck fans, and got a mortal who was only a nodding acquaintance killed due to drug overdose. Hell, the kid was over 18 and bore some responsibility for his own bad decisions under peer (and idol) pressure; it's not like Byron forced him to do drugs. If the man was mortal, the most he'd be brought up on would be possession of illegal substances. And what lame excuse was that, that Byron was burnt out and wanted to die? Because we all know that the right answer to suicide is to help the person die, especially if you don't like him, amiright?
Anyway, I hate the fact that so many fics take it on face value that MacLeod is a paragon of virtue who is just and right in placing judgment upon all who cross his path, and that Methos should be rightly tortured by his past. They disregard the fact that, from a more objective look at the actual canon, Mac is a very flawed and human person (and a hypocrite, but that's a whole 'nother rant). And we have *never* saw Methos apologize for his past or angst about it. He has his regrets throughout a very long life, but they're in context of what the world and times were like. He's learned from his regrets and experiences, he understands that the past can't be changed despite how bad it looks like through the moral-filters of the present, and most importantly - he has *moved on*. Unlike just about every other Immortal in the show (including Mac) older than a few decades, he lives in the present, not in the distant past. He is no longer the person he was then, and will not become such either. Pity so few writers grasp that part of his characterization.