Squeeeee…it’s Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander episode!!!! We’ve been dying to see this since she announced the news last July at San Diego Comic Con! What an episode written by Herself would be like? Well, this is action-packed, bloody with a rare, tender moment and some great lines. What else would you expect?!?!
Recap – Episode #211 “Vengeance is Mine”
After the victory at Prestonpans, the Jacobite army has successfully invaded Northern England, however, none of the Lowlanders or English have rallied to their cause. Without that additional support, the Bonnie Prince and the gang are arguing on whether to march on London or head back to Scotland.
Charlie is all about marching on London (no surprise), but all the generals point out they don’t have the men to get past the three English armies standing in their way. Well, all the generals, but one –Jamie is vehement for marching on London. (It breaks from history since the Scots are defeated at Culloden back in Scotland.)
Charlie is not happy that his generals oppose him, their King and God since, you know, the whole Divine Right of ruling and blah, blah, blah… He considers them all, but Jamie, to have betrayed him and curses them all to Hell. With that proclamation, the meet is over.
During all this indecision, Claire is (what else?) patching up people which means a day as a dentist. Claire uses a lot of force to pull out some teeth which freaks a little boy waiting in line. Rupert is sober, but understandably out of sorts and reminisces that Angus lost his front two teeth. Neither the boy nor his mother seem amused. The boy cowers in terror when it’s his turn.
Jamie, Claire and the Lallybroch men discuss the news that they’re headed back to Scotland. Jamie knows that they’re on a collision with history and the men are nervous that they are now retreating. Jamie promises the men that he’ll see them returned to Lallybroch. He promises Claire he’ll protect her.
That night, while Claire is sleeping, Jamie prays for Claire’s safety wherever she goes. She awakens and asks him to come to bed and explain what he was saying. Jamie says it’s easier to say when she’s asleep because with her awake it might sound a little foolish. (We think we can all agree that anything James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser wants to say is never silly…right? Sigh.) They enjoy a rare, happy snuggle.
The next morning, Dougal storms in with the news that the Prince has been whisked away (with Jamie’s horse) and the generals order Jamie to take his men to Inverness and prepare for the army’s arrival. Dougal blames the jealous generals since Jamie has too much influence over the Prince. With this move, they’ve neatly separated Jamie from Charlie proving that Colum MacKenzie and Lord Lovat are the only wily old men in Scotland. Jamie is resigned and cheekily asks Claire when she was last in Inverness. (Does he mean the last time in this century or the last time before she went through the stones?)
Sexy and playful Jamie is back…be still our hearts!
The Lallybroch group is on their way when they’re ambushed by redcoats. Ross and some men scatter in one direction while Jamie, Claire, Murtagh, Fergus, Dougal and Rupert head in another.
Gunshots. RUPERT! Rupert is down! Ahhh! After Angus last week, the heart can only take so much!
In mid-gallop, Dougal jumps off his horse to catch Rupert on Rupert’s horse as they lose the English army. Rupert was shot in the EYE so Claire needs to attend him now.
Jamie and Murtagh sneak up on a quiet-looking church to see if they can shelter there. Jamie nearly bashes in Ross’ head and learns that the rest of the Lallybroch men have already taken the church. When Ross sees Rupert carried inside, he asks what happened. Rupert replies (in the funniest line of the season) “I decided to take a closer look at a musket ball.”
The men take watch at the windows while Claire examines Rupert. The aforementioned musket ball didn’t get to the brain, but it takes work to get it removed. Claire bandages his eye saying all he needs is a peg leg and parrot to be a true pirate. This makes no sense to eighteenth century Rupert who didn’t grow up on Errol Flynn movies. Arrrr!
Murtagh sees the dreaded redcoats have surrounded the church. They’re ready to light the thatch roof on fire to force the Lallybroch men out one by one.
Without any alternative, Claire puts on the “I’m an English lady hostage” routine. It worked with young John Grey, right? Jamie is against it, offering to turn himself in to protect his men (and likely get beheaded), but Claire points out that as Lady Broch Tuarach, she has a right to protect them too.
Dougal goes out to negotiate with the English. The Scots will leave and disarm in exchange for the English lady. Jamie plans on meeting Claire at the local English garrison where they’re rescue her – again. Dougal hands over an ”unconscious” Claire (Fergus suggests she fakes a faint so they won’t pester her too much) and these English troops seem to be a decent sort.
English hostage ruse saves the day again!
The English and Claire stop for the night in a local town with a few beggars in the streets including Hugh Monroe! Hugh is Jamie’s mute beggar friend who, last season, gave Jamie a tip on a witness to exonerate him of his English crimes. Hugh also gave Claire a dragonfly in amber. Hugh sees that she’s in the company of the English and decides to stick around.
Claire doesn’t see Hugh until the next morning when she and the redcoats are leaving. How fortuitous since she just learned that they are taking her to an estate in Bellhurst and not the garrison. Hugh goes to beg her for scraps and she’s just able to say Jamie’s at the garrison and she’s being taken to an estate. Nice work Claire!
The officer escorts Claire through a camp of English soldiers and into the fancy estate which belongs to none other than THE DUKE OF SANDRINGHAM! Bum, bum, buuuuummmm.
Luckily the Duke doesn’t flinch when the officer introduces “Ms. Beauchamp.” Sandringham agrees to watch over the lady and the lieutenant takes off. Alone at last with the Duke! Claire is not happy. This is going to be interesting.
Since the English took their horses, Jamie and Murtagh are stealing a pair. Murtagh asks Jamie if marrying Claire was the right decision since they’ve had to become spies, murderers and now horse thieves. Jamie regrets nothing. Awwww…
With the English army camped on his estate, Claire guesses that Sandringham’s plan to act as a Loyalist AND a Jacobite isn’t going too well. At dinner, he confirms that the English think he’s a Jacobite and are keeping tabs on him. He bargains with Claire – he’ll help her escape if she agrees to free him. Claire agrees and writes Jamie a letter in Gaelic which Sandringham sends off. Dinner is interrupted when Mary Hawkins drops by, to the annoyance of her godfather, the Duke. He sends Claire off to try to spend time with his annoying goddaughter.
Sandringham has arranged a marriage for Mary to a Loyalist merchant which helps him get back into the English crown’s good graces. Mary doesn’t want to marry him anymore than the old farty French dude so she begs Claire to intercede.
Claire’s Gaelic letter gets to Hugh who gets the message to Jamie and Murtagh. Murtagh is puzzled by Claire’s attempt at Gaelic, but they get the gist that she’s with Sandringham.
The Duke tells Claire that he got the English army to back off his estate so it’s easy for Jamie to rescue them now. Claire sees the Duke’s valet has a big birthmark on his hand. The same birthmark she saw in Paris the night she and Mary were attacked. You know, the night that Mary was raped. Sandringham knows the jig is up and confesses he orchestrated the attack. Rape was better than the death the Comte St Germain had in mind. Really, Claire should thank him. (Unfortunate thing about Mary though.) Um, no. What a d*ck!
Sandringham admits he told the English army that Red Jamie was coming so he’s laid another trap for tonight. He locks Claire in her room. Of course. This is the Duke of Sandrngham…
Claire sees Hugh run across the lawn and then Mary pops in through a hidden door. She agrees to help Claire if she can escape with them. Claire agrees and, since Mary is too proper to speak to a beggar like Hugh, Claire sneaks out to tell Hugh to warn Jamie that it’s a trap.
She heads to the kitchen exit when a wigless Sandringham, with a case of the munchies, catches her. Dang it. The Duke won’t let her escape and he’s just dying to know the details on how the Comte died. Mary, also trying for the kitchen exit, bursts in and fakes a case of the munchies as well. The Duke gives her food and sends her away.
Mary runs for the other exit, the front door, and runs right into a redcoat. Luckily Hugh was waiting for a distraction and bashes the officer in the head. Mary gives Hugh the message about the trap just before the evil valet grabs her and demands to know where she was going.
Danton, the evil valet, brings Mary to the Duke in the kitchen. Mary claims she was running away to avoid marriage. Sandringham starts his favorite pastime of berating her when Jamie bursts in. Danton holds a knife at Claire’s throat which disarms Jamie. Murtagh sneaks in and Claire punches Danton in the stomach and wiggles free.
Claire reveals Danton’s and Sandringham’s parts in the Paris attack. Mary grabs a knife and calmly stabs Danton in the gut. He’s so dead.
Meanwhile, Murtagh picks up an axe and whacks the Duke’s head off. He then picks it up, sort of smiles at Jamie and kneels before Claire and Mary. He declares: “I kept my word. I lay your vengeance at your feet.” He’s so sweet. It’s a warm, fuzzy moment Murtagh-style.
Mary wisely says it’s time to go.
Reflection – what did we think?
Alicia: I want the Dougal action figure now (complete with detachable tam) and Pirate Rupert ;P Who’s on top of this!
Erica: There was a LOT of action and blood in an episode which didn’t have a battle. For those who think Outlander is just a sweet romance – they are so wrong! I did enjoy seeing a tender Claire/Jamie moment. It’s so rare this season to see them quietly enjoying each other’s company.
Alicia: Wow Mary…amiright? Who would’ve thought little, mousy Mary would’ve had that in her? I don’t condone killing but…and the Duke. Can’t say I’m going to miss the character but Simon Callow’s performance of him is sooooo good!
Erica: Ah, Mary and Murtagh. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for, right? Never cross Murtagh…
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Alicia: Um…ok here goes:
1. So, instead of Claire being taken prisoner, they have her pull the ‘I’m a captive’ card.
2. The Duke admits to having staged the rape, but in the book he was actually trying to kill the Frasers.
3. In the book he admits that Black Jack works for him and he gets Randall ‘victims’ for his proclivities (or something along those lines).
4. Murtagh cutting off Sandringham’s head is because the Duke cut off Hugh Munro’s and Murtagh hands it to Munro’s widow.
Actually…there’s so much different here. However, none of it really bothers me as far as changes go and I actually like Murtagh giving the head to Mary and Claire and that Hugh is alive and well. 🙂
Erica: I’m okay with these changes and I’m pretty sure that the person that wrote the book is as well! TV always needs to streamline so this generally gets us to the same place, but Hugh is alive! It’s such a striking image when a bloody Murtagh lays the head in front of Claire and Mary. It also shows that Murtagh’s honor is untouchable. He really hasn’t had a big moment so I’m glad we finally got to see Murtagh being so very Murtagh.
Alicia: However, they still haven’t gotten to Claire’s meeting with BJR and trying to heal his brother, but with Mary in tow…maybe that’s coming? I mean only 3 more episodes right? It’s kind of important Mary and the Randall men meet up again!
Erica: There’s only two more episodes. I think the focus of the next episode is Mary and Alex. By omitting any mention of BJR in this episode, it makes his return more surprising. I don’t think we’ll see their wedding until the finale which is coming up too soon! Yikes! We have Mary/Alex/Black Jack, Jamie and Dougal, Culloden, Jamie and Black Jack and whatever they are doing in the 1960’s with Roger and Bree. No wonder the finale will be 90 mins!!
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
Next week we get the penultimate episode and then Starz will marathon every episode of Outlander during the 4th of July weekend. (No new episode that weekend). The season two finale will be on July 9th and will be 90 minutes long!!!
Want a sneak peek at next week’s episode? Here’s the official preview from Starz but there’s a SPOILER ALERT for non-book readers so proceed with caution!!
Episode #212 “The Hail Mary”
As Jamie puts all of his efforts into turning the Jacobite army away from the impending slaughter at Culloden Moor, Claire attempts to comfort the sick Alex Randall. She is stunned when Alex reveals an outrageous plan to save the mother of his child.
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