Have you recovered from the wedding yet? If your heart didn’t stop then, then it very well may during this episode! It’s the mid-season finale! After such anticipation for the wedding night (ahem!), this was a great, emotional way to cap of the half season.
As many of you heard, we finally have a date for when we’ll see the second half of this season – April 4, 2015!
So let’s enjoy this episode since it’ll be awhile before we have a new one!
Recap – Episode #108 “Both Sides Now”
We begin in 1945 and Frank is visiting the Inverness police department. He’s spent the past 6 weeks in Scotland, searching for Claire and keeping on top of the police instead of heading back to England to start his new teaching post at Oxford. Frank is frustrated because the police believe Claire willingly ran off with the mysterious highlander that Frank saw in the rain. He isn’t giving up hope and he believes that the highlander is somehow involved with her disappearance.
We shift back 200 years and see that highlander is having a picnic with Claire on a lovely vista. The newlyweds are sharing a picnic and, in an unguarded moment, Claire confesses that the connection between them is unique. They are interrupted by Jamie’s acquaintance, Hugh Munro, who has news for Jamie. Jamie introduces his bride and Hugh gives her a wedding gift – a piece of amber with a dragonfly caught in midflight.
Hugh relays his news: an English deserter named Horrocks says he was witness to the murder that Jamie’s been wanted for. Horrocks knows Jamie didn’t kill the man, so now Jamie has a chance to clear his name and return home to Lallybroch.
Back in Inverness 1945, Frank still brainstorming theories with Reverend Wakefield who thinks Claire got lost and is hiding in a cave. (For 6 weeks?!?!?) Mrs. Baird brings tea and is accompanied by the most adorable little boy, the Reverend’s foster son Roger.
Frustrated, Frank heads out for a drink and a meets a girl who says she has information on the mysterious highlander and wants to claim the reward. The girl leads Frank to an alley where her accomplices try to mug Frank for the reward money. Only, they didn’t know Frank was an intelligence officer, has a lot of pent of up rage and, well, he’s related to Black Jack Randall, right? Frank makes mincemeat of the would-be robbers who know nothing of the mysterious highlander.
The Reverend Wakefield is a little freaked by this brooding darkness and rage in Frank. He encourages Frank to leave and forget Claire. Coming from his friend and not the lame police officers, Frank starts to think about it…
Back in 1743, Rupert is telling tales around the camp fire. The MacKenzie rent collection tour is winding down and the motley band is headed home for soon it’ll be Christmas. Jamie and Claire are canoodling in the corner when Jamie notices that something is scaring the horses. Since their group has been collecting the rent, they are a prime target for thieves. The other MacKenzie men notice the skittish horses and they all subtly get into defensive positions. Jamie gives Claire a knife and she skedaddles when the fighting begins. The MacKenzies are victorious over the Grant raiding party which grabbed a few spoils, but nothing too major.
The next morning, the men decide that Claire needs to learn how to defend herself properly so they give her a sgian-dubh (“skeen doo”), a small concealable knife. She gets knife lessons from Angus who makes sure she knows where to stab if her attacker’s front or back is exposed.
The next day Jamie and Claire are supposedly “watering the horses,” but are most definitely not anywhere near water and horses as they frolic in the meadow. They are, um rather distracted as a pair of red coat deserters attack them quite easily. One grabs Jamie and the other gets ready to rape Claire (Is Jamie the only guy that hasn’t tried to rape her?!?!?!)
The guy guarding Jamie has his gun on Jamie’s throat so he’s helpless as the other red coat starts to get down to business with Claire. Thanks to Angus, Claire grabs her sgian-dubh and kills her would-be rapist. Jamie uses the distraction to knock out his guy and the crisis is narrowly averted.
Meanwhile (and 200 years later), Mrs. Baird wants to tell Frank her theory on where Claire has gone. (Remember that Mrs. Baird was one of the druids calling and dancing during the Samhain ritual.) She explains that the standing stones at Craigh na Dun focus the powers of the earth and that some people, on certain days, may travel through the stones to another time. She tries to give Frank hope that the songs and legends say that the travelers often return. Frank listens, dismisses her theory and announces that he’s headed back to England.
Back in the glen, Jamie is remorseful that he couldn’t save Claire who is in shock from the almost-rape and then killing someone. Her nerves are shot and she shuts down since she’s afraid she may blurt out something she shouldn’t.
After seeing the kind of people English deserters are, the MacKenzies decide that the whole group (sans Claire) should accompany Jamie when he goes to meet Horrocks. Claire gets angry at herself from not sticking to her plan.
Frank is starting his drive back to England when he passes the turnoff to Craigh na Dun. He hesitates, and then turns back to take one last look at the wretched place.
Claire starts to wander through the woods a bit and realizes that she’s a stone’s throw from Craigh na Dun.
Jesus Roosevelt H. Christ!!
She heads off to the stones on the hill…
…just as (200 years later), Frank exits the car and heads to the stones himself.
(Cue the swelling Bear McCreary music!)
Frank wanders around the stones and heads towards the tall one in the center. He breaks down, crying, and, for a final goodbye, and calls out Claire’s name.
Claire, running towards the stones, seems to hear his call echoing in the wind. She calls out to Frank in return…
Frank turns around and searches the landscape …
Claire gets to the big stone…
…and is taken away by red coats!!!
Frank is left on the misty hill, all alone, and he heads back to his car.
Claire is trussed up like a turkey and is being taken to Ft. William where Black Jack Randall rules. She uses the journey to come up with a plan.
She’s taken straight to Black Jack who sneers at her new status as a Scot and says he will get all her secrets. Claire, very collected, hints that perhaps he should talk to the Duke of Sandringham to find out who she is. At the mention of the Duke’s name, Black Jack sputters, confirming Frank’s research. See, Claire was listening when Frank talked about his hypothesis that his ancestor, Black Jack, had a very powerful patron. His guess was right on with the Duke of Sandringham.
Claire goes on to say that they are BOTH working for Sandringham, but Black Jack shouldn’t confirm this with the Duke and risk upsetting her (fake) secret mission. Black Jack tricks her by asking about the Duchess of Sandringham (who doesn’t exist). Claire falls for it and she’s exposed as a liar. Whoops!
Black Jack then gets his full “Black” on and ties up Claire, prepared to torture the truth out of her. Just as he’s about to cut into Claire, Jamie breaks into the room through the window with his gun aimed at Randall.
Randall recognizes Jamie as his whipping boy masterpiece, smiles and …
…and we fade to black!
There is a wail of “nooooooo” from viewers everywhere…
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: Wow! This isn’t where I expected them to end the mid-season. The series originally wasn’t going to be broken into two halves so now we get the pain of ending the first half of the season mid-sentence. Such a tease!
Alicia: Evil. Cruel. ARGH! Yeah, interesting place to end the mid-season.
Erica: I was surprised by how much Frank we saw today and it was really interesting to see that dark streak in him that alludes back to his ancestor…spooky!
Alicia: Seriously! I loved how they showed you a hint of his ancestry. Just a piece and then how the decision to not give in is where they diverge. Wonderful storytelling there.
Erica: These last two episodes do a lot of parallel time jumping. While last week’s felt a bit jumbled, this time the parallel was heartbreaking to see where poor Frank is versus Claire. That scene at the stones ripped my heart out. Nice invention, Ron Moore!
Alicia: I have to say from the previews last week I was a little leery of this episode with the areas that diverged from the book, but after watching, they did it masterfully. All the scenes with Frank were heartbreaking and then to flash back and see her enjoying her time with Jamie…just a great way to put this all together.
Erica: I think this is one of the strongest episodes all season so it’s a great way to cap off a tremendous accomplishment.
Alicia: So much to digest during this episode! Claire’s bad luck at the stones, killing a man, falling under Black Jack’s less than gentle care again, the attempted rape, the raiders in the middle of the night, interrupted time with her new husband…she just could not catch a break this episode! And on top of that…did they find Horrocks to clear Jamie’s name or was it all a ruse? How on earth are they going to escape Black Jack and Fort William?
Erica: Yes, the wedding doesn’t exactly get a “happily ever after!” I say this a lot, but I’m so glad Bear McCreary is doing the music for this show. His score during the race to the stones was perfect – melancholy and hopeful.
Alicia: Makes me wonder how they’re going to get through everything else in just 8 more episodes?
Erica: Yeah, there is a huge amount of story left to tell for the book! I think we’re less than halfway through Outlander. I really can’t wait to see what they do with some of the upcoming bits!
Alicia: HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL APRIL 4, 2015?!?!?!?!
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: I know the writers make changes for a reason, but sometimes it’s hard to wait to see the fruits of the changes! It’s nice to see they resolved the wedding ring inscription so quickly. Since Hugh spontaneously gave Claire the amber, he didn’t wrap it in a love poem so there’s no inscription on the ring. Neatly done, I guess. We’ll see if the other beloved lines from the wedding pop up later as well!
Erica: So glad we got to see Roger! I think the writers knew we wanted to see him so the little guy got some lingering shots. Could his cheeks be any rounder?
Alicia: Agreed! Roger was adorable and it was so great to see him.
Alicia: I could’ve done without the melodrama at the stones. I get the dramatic detail it adds to a show, but it felt false to me. Perhaps that’s because they’ve stuck so close to the book thus far and now these big departures were just jarring.
Erica: I know Ron really wanted to emphasize Claire’s relationship with Frank so that the audience isn’t screaming (to quote Ron who’s saying this in a whiny fan voice) “stay with Jamie!” While the audience is pretty ready to chuck Frank for Jamie at this point, Claire is still not ready to stay in 1743 — she’s still indecisive up until Jamie takes her to the stones. I didn’t quite buy her anger at herself for not following the plan, but it was such a climatic chase to Craigh na Dun that I don’t mind.
Alicia: From a show standpoint this was a great episode. From a reader standpoint it makes me worry about what they’re going to cut out or rearrange to get through the next half of the season.
Erica: There’s a lot of story yet to get through! I think some of the “everyday life” scenes at Lallybroch will get truncated. I thought they were going to end the half season with Jamie and Claire going to Lallybroch. That would have made a nicer break point rather than this cliffhanger! But I have a feeling that it’ll spur sales for Diana’s books as people won’t want to wait 6 months to find out what happens next!
Alicia: I thought they would end it with Jamie leaving Claire at the stones and us waiting to find out if she chooses to go or stay. This was an interesting place to stop and no less of a dramatic cliff hanger!
Erica: I wonder how many people are going to pick up the books to find out what happens next? This cliff hanger and 6 month wait should do wonders for book sales! I also wonder if they will be releasing the DVD/Blu Rays for the half season (maybe early March?) or if they will wait until the full season is done. Either way, I’m using Starz Play to watch this first half of the season over and over again during the winter!!
189 days to go!!!
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
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