At last! After that surprise cliffhanger ending last week (ugh!!!) we finally learn what Claire decides to do now that she’s got a chance to escape Dougal and head off with the English army!
Recap – Episode #106 “The Garrison Commander”
When we last saw our heroine, she had a tricky decision: who is her ticket to freedom? Dougal or the English army? Remember that the last red coat she saw up close was Black Jack Randall and, well, that didn’t exactly go over well. Also, she’s seen signs of English aggression everywhere.
Claire decides to stick with the devil she knows and reassures earnest Lt. Foster that she is indeed a guest of Clan MacKenzie. Lt. Foster insists that she speak with the local garrison commander, Brigadier General Lord Thomas, in a nearby village. Dougal declares that Claire’s not going anywhere without him so the unlikely trio head off on a hard ride for the village.
Heading into a village overrun with the English army, Claire is feeling a bit more comfortable, surrounded by her fellow Englishmen while poor Dougal is the lone Scot in a village on MacKenzie lands. Oh irony!
Claire meets the officers at lunch who are delighted to see such a lovely English lady. They are, um, less delighted with Dougal’s presence. Dougal’s less than thrilled as well so the two sides come close to sparking off a war during small talk introductions. The patronizing English think Dougal a “fine specimen” of the “savage” Scots. Dougal suggests they should’ve stayed in London. In the end, Dougal leaves to grab a drink at the pub downstairs to avoid further skirmishes.
Claire holds court with the officers who are fascinated with her fictional tale of woe. Lord Thomas offers to have Lt. Foster take her to Inverness so she can head off and meet her fictional relatives in France.
Yes!! After months of scheming and waiting, she now has an escort to Inverness and the chance to head to Craigh na Dunn and (hopefully) Frank! To celebrate, she has a bit more wine.
Before she can drink too much, Black Jack Randall bursts in the room and shows that he’s pretty much unpleasant to everyone and not just the Scots and Claire. He’s up in arms that Dougal MacKenzie is downstairs and is shocked to see Claire dining at the table with the officers.
Black Jack doesn’t fess up to almost raping her, but starts to interrogate her on her loyalties since she’s been a guest of the MacKenzies for some time. For some reason, Lord Thomas suggests that Captain Randall escort her to Inverness. What?
The conversation gets worse for Claire as Randall continues to goad her with discussion of barbarous Scottish acts. Claire tries to be fair to both sides, but she gets provoked and shows her sympathies for the plight of the Scots who feel invaded by the English. Whoops!
Lord Thomas thinks she should leave Scotland and see her family very soon so she can reverse her sympathies. Before he can prescribe what to do, an officer bursts in with news of a small skirmish and a wounded officer below. Claire moves into action and heads to the pub to examine the guy. Dougal gets a quick second with her to warn her to be careful of Randall. She’s too distracted by the screaming guy and shrugs off Dougal’s warning. She looks over the young officer and decides that she needs to amputate his arm.
When the deed is done, she heads back up to the dining hall, but most of the officers have taken off to find the errant rebels. Instead, Claire finds Black Jack getting a shave from his lackey, Corporal Hawkins.
Claire has a flashback to shaving Frank with the exact same razor. That razor will become a family heirloom and pass down the family line along with handsome good looks. Thankfully, the bad temper didn’t make it down the family tree to Frank.
Now that Claire and Randall are alone, he apologizes for their last encounter. Disarmed, but suspicious, Claire gamely chats with him. He’s still crude and continues to interrogate her.
Trapped, she’s forced to make up another cover story about an affair that went awry. Black Jack still isn’t buying and decides to make her prove her innocence. He offers her passage to Inverness if she will provide evidence that Dougal is raising funds for the Jacobites.
She professes that she knows nothing of the matter, but Black Jack is convinced she’s lying. He threatens her and Claire says she’s heard about his methods at Castle Leoch and has heard the story of him whipping a “poor highlander boy.”
Black Jack knows exactly who Claire is talking about and believes he was just. After the initial 100 lashes, Randall believed that Jamie deserved another round of public flogging for trying to escape and being defiant. Black Jack gets lost in recounting the tale to Claire – about how his arm hurt from brandishing the whip (yeah, poor Jack!), about how Jamie made no sound and how he got lost in trying to break Jamie. While the rest of the public saw the pain and horror of Jamie’s ruined back, Black Jack saw it as art.
Did we mention he’s named BLACK Jack?
Claire is crying throughout the recitation, but she tries to convince Jack that he can change since he’s self-aware of how horrible the situation was. She seems to be reaching Black Jack and he offers to escort her to Inverness.
Psych!!! Instead he punchers her in the stomach and asks Corporal Hawkins to kick her. Hawkins looks like he’s never scolded a cat, let alone hit a girl. He’s reluctant, but Black Jack taunts him into kicking Claire.
Dougal charges in and saves Claire from any further abuse. A few English guards charge in for a standoff. Dougal demands that they let them go, or there will be a war. Black Jack lets Claire go with the condition that she be brought to Fort William by sundown the next day or she’ll be branded a fugitive and Dougal will be given the death penalty for harboring an English criminal.
Dougal and Claire charge out of there and make a quick stop for water from a smelly river. Dougal, once again, asks Claire if she’s a spy which she, once again, denies. He puts away his blade and Claire asks if he was going to kill her. See, they were at a “magical” spring (St. Ninian’s spring) and, if she was lying, her insides would be burnt out. Since she didn’t burst into flames, Dougal now believes her so he won’t kill her. If only they came to visit this spring months ago!!!
Dougal now presents Claire with a plan to get Captain Randall off her case. The English can’t compel a Scottish person unless there’s proof of wrong doing. So his plan is to make her Scottish. Easy, right? All she has to do is marry someone Scottish. She’s afraid that Dougal wants to marry her, but, no, he has someone else in mind, even if he would like to “grind her corn.” Dougal is the real poet in the family, aye?
Nope, Dougal wants her to marry Jamie. But Claire is already married and trying to get back to Frank! She has to decide to marry this stranger or face Captain Randall/prison/flogging/other horrors.
As she thinks things through, Jamie joins her with a bottle of wine. (Yeah, he already knows his prospective wife quite well.) She’s surprised that he seems willing to take part in Dougal’s plan, but he says he owes her for patching him up and because they’re chums and couldn’t leave a chum to the likes of Randall.
She tries to find reasons why he shouldn’t want to marry her. Didn’t he fancy anyone else? Well, no, he’s not a great marriage prospect as a soldier and with a price on his head. Doesn’t he care that she’s not a virgin? Well, no, since he is and he figures someone out to know what to do. Lol!
On that note, with every argument defeated, Claire grabs the wine and seems to be in agreement on the plan.
Next week’s episode is called “The Wedding.”
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: It’s coming! It’s coming! It’s coming! Up until this point, we get flashes of Jamie, but he isn’t quite a main character. Now we’re going to see a lot more of Jamie. Oh, and he’ll be on screen a lot more often too!
Alicia: LOL! Finally!!! All this teasing and, at last, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! I love the fact that Gabaldon never does what’s expected, I mean usually the romantic leads have some kissy face time or romantic interludes but these two – while flirting maybe a little – have been more like chums and Jamie’s been a bit more like his male kin (little chauvinistic) from time to time than some doting swain. Love it!
Erica: I feel like so many elements of the story and character are starting to pay off big time now that a lot of the story has been established. Example: I love TV Frank. Ron Moore made it a point to make sure they established the strength of the Frank/Claire relationship and they’ve really done a great job of that. So my skin crawls even more when we have Black Jack on the screen. Creepy, reptilian, dead-eyes…
Alicia: Seriously. I mean Tobias Menzies has always been an actor I enjoyed but he is freaking brilliant in this show! Gack, listening to him recount that entire flogging episode was horrifying and spellbinding all at the same time. I could see where Randall got lost in the grotesque beauty of it all…how it was like a religious experience for him…*shiver*
Erica: The flashback to Jamie’s whipping was really graphic. Well done, but, not something to see again and again…
Alicia: And after seeing that…I have to say..I feel Randall gave in rather easy to Dougal’s request to take Claire out of that place, but, I was glad for the comic relief after all that drama. I mean seriously Dougal? A smelly spring? I thought you above such superstitions!
Erica: But Dougal is a Scot and superstitious are wired in their DNA, aye?
Alicia: BTW now that you pointed it out, Erica, I have to laugh every time I see Claire take a drink of something other than water. Which isn’t unusual since they didn’t drink water like we do at that time, but it just stands out with her now. Thanks a lot. ;P
Erica: Well, she’s also drinking for reasons other than just being thirsty…Lol I can’t wait for next week’s episode!! It will have the scene that author Diana Gabaldon is most anxious to see…
Alicia: That Herself’s most anxious to see? I think you mean that all we Outlander fans are most anxious to see! “The Wedding” means Wedding night aye?
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: Oh, the layers of dialogue between Claire and Black Jack!! All the stuff about “revealing his true nature” and her “matching his honesty” – cat and mouse games! Nicely done, Ira Steven Behr!
Alicia: Man was that intense and wonderfully played out. My shoulders are still tense!!!
Erica: We’re also getting a lot more insight to Black Jack’s masochistic nature by having him relate the story of Jamie’s flogging rather than having Dougal tell it. So creepy…
Alicia: I will say, though, Menzies has captured Black Jack Randall brilliantly! I wondered if he could pull it off and I’m so happy that he has made me admit that I was terribly wrong. Is it sick that I kind of relish those moments when he’s in Black Jack mode? I’m twisted, what can I say?
Erica: It’s like when people slow down to watch an accident on the side of the road – can’t take your eyes off him even though you know it’s wrong and gruesome. I agree, this is definitely more than I thought Tobias could pull off based on his previous roles. He is doing brilliantly!
Erica: So now we get the payoff on the new character, Lt. Foster. It makes Dougal’s character much more anti-English if he isn’t the one to bring Claire to her. The new scene with the English army at lunch with courtly manners was a nice contrast to the Scottish outdoor camps we’ve been seeing.
Alicia: I agree to liking the ‘dining with the officers’ scene and the contrast it provided, but I did not like them taking that side of Dougal’s character from him at all. It rubs me wrong because to this point they’ve been so good about staying true to the essence of the characters and that is a major piece to Dougal’s character. I mean having Randall tell it was an amazing, and dare I say Emmy and BAFTA worthy, moment but still…I was quite disappointed with the change.
Erica: Hmm…I see what you mean. I’m hoping that there will be something else later that shows that softer side of Dougal to make up the difference. Perhaps we’ll get something in the second half, towards the end…?
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
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