Monthly Archives: May 2016

Outlander Season 2 Episode 8 Review: The Fox’s Lair

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“After she’s done with you, I’ll send in the maid to sweep up your remains”

Welcome back home to Scotland, Outlander. Straight away those breathtaking  shots of the Scottish countryside made me realise how glad I was that Jamie and Claire were back home. Scotland is the true heart of the show, and this episode made it clear what lengths Jamie and Claire will go to to protect it. For Jamie and Claire, being back in Scotland is a blessing, the daily life of Lallybroch “worked like a tonic on our battered souls”. It’s great to see characters from last season, mainly Jenny and her husband Ian. Jenny  is a character that really grew on me last season and had great moments with Jamie and Claire, and it’s so good to see her character again.outlander07801

However all this peace cannot last, and after the time jump, the plot soon begins after the Frasers open their letters one morning. (I liked that Claire got a letter from Louise, she’s a character that I will miss now we’ve moved from France, and it’s nice to know they keep in touch). Jamie ‘s letter instantly diminishes the work Jamie and Claire put in place in France though, in a document from Prince Charles who not only has landed in Scotland, but has forged Jamie’s signature on a list of Jacobite supporters. This has left them traitors to the crown and open supporters of the rebellion, with no means to prevent it.

“It’s all coming to pass isn’t it? The Jacobite Rising, Culloden, the destruction of all of this” Claire says looking out at the fields of Scotland with Jamie. Jamie is still convinced they can change history however,as the only option they have left to save Scotland is by winning the rebellion. After the emotional turmoil both endured in France though,  Claire isn’t convinced they can. After a reminder of all the good she’s done in saving lives and helping others, they both decide to try and change the future by winning the rebellion.

Jamie receives instructions from Prince Charles to gain the support and men from his grandfather, Lord Lovat. Jamie and Jenny have only met him once from a distance and he holds a pretty bad reputation. Jamie needs his support to help fight the rebellion though, so they head off to meet him and make their case. We also find out that Jamie’s father was a bastard who slept with a kitchen maid, a fact that Jamie is worried to tell Claire, but she quickly assures him it doesn’t change her opinion of him one bit.outlander28401

In arguably the best scene of the episode, Claire wakes up in the middle of the night to find Jamie sitting downstairs with Jenny’s baby, and watches from the balcony above as Jamie lovingly whispers to the baby in Gaelic. It’s a heartbreaking reminded of what could have been, and Claire’s expression of love and sadness sums it all up. This would have been Jamie and Claire with their child, and it’s a sad yet beautifully well acted moment.

Jamie and Claire leave Lallybroch, and it’s sweet to see Fergus is there with them, who insists on going with Jamie and Claire, which Jamie allows and gets Murtagh to bring him with him.

Lovat plays both sides, has numerous affairs as well as three wives. Before we meet Lord Lovat, we are greeted with a surprise appearance from Colum, who is there to secure an alliance with Lovat and who also doesn’t support the rebellion. But the surprises aren’t over yet, as Laoghaire makes her return. She begs for forgiveness, and promises that she is changed to Claire down on her knees. Claire isn’t having any of it though, and rightfully rips into her for her role in the witch trail last season. I’m not fan of Laoghaire or the way she is written, and I can understand why fans were annoyed at her appearance, but it was great to see Claire get the anger of her chest. I haven’t read the books yet, but I am aware of her character’s role later, so i can understand why the writers would want to establish her as a character again, as well as at least attempt to humanise her, considering her future.

At dinner, Jamie tries to stir up anger against the British in an attempt to win over support from Lord Lovat and Colum, but doesn’t convince them considering France hasn’t backed them officially yet. Lovat’s son Simon supports Jamie though, though has a timid character and is quickly shot down by Lovat.

Jamie realizes Lovat wants something in return for Jacobite support, and after meeting with him finds out he wants Lallybroch in return for sending men. If not, he will rape Claire instead. Jamie keeps his cool though, telling him of Claire being La Dame Blanche and claiming “After she’s done with you, I’ll send in the maid to sweep up your remains.”. Lovat’s belief in the supernatural means he believes him.

They decide to try and get Simon to defy his father and support the rebellion, meaning Lovat would hopefully send troops in order to protect his heir. He needs his confidence built up though, and after noticing the way he looked at Laoghaire during dinner, Claire decides to use her in order to boost Simon’s confidence. Laoghaire agrees, with the promise of Claire’s forgiveness and the attempt of Jamie’s.

Laoghaire flirts with Simon, while Claire goes to the chapel nearby. An earlier encounter with Lovat’s seer, saw her being thrown out of his room in anger, and when Claire sees her again in the chapel she asks what spurned Lovat’s roughness. Turns out that the seer had a vision of an axe over Lovat’s head in his study, though was unclear as to what side was killing them. Meanwhile Laoghaire’s intense flirting eventually scares Simon off, and Claire and Jamie’s plan appears to be in ruins.

However Lovat has the contracts drawn up ready to be signed that give Lallybroch to Lovat in return for men, but just as Jamie is about to sign, Claire startles everyone by pretending to have a vision. She claims to see what the seer told Lovat, only this time the room was covered in white roses, the sign of the Jacobites. Furious, Lovat charges towards Claire but is stopped by Simon. Finally having gained confidence, Simon stands up to his father and voices his support for the rebellion, but Lovat still signs a neutrality agreement with Colum, not having any part in the rebellion. Jamie and Claire pack up to leave, but Claire gets Jamie to thank Laoghaire in person who is clearly still besotted with him.

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As they are on their way, they are approached by Lovat and his men who will join Simon. Lovat explains that he wins both ways, if the Jacobites succeed he can claim a great victory for his son, but if they fail he will disown his son and claim he had no part in it. So they ride on, hopeful in steering the rebellion the other way.

This episode in terms of plot wasn’t the greatest, and had a lot stuffed in but being back in Scotland and seeing old characters again meant it was still a great episode. The small character moments between Jamie and Claire and the others were the best part, and I’m intrigued to see what they do moving forward with the rebellion.

Until next week,

Sarah

 

Outlander Season Two Episode 7 Review: Faith

 

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“My sins are all I have left”

This was arguably up there with the most devastating and powerful episodes of Outlander, being dark and utterly heartbreaking.

The episode opens with a flash forward to 1954, with Claire and her young daughter in a library. Her daughter points out a heron, and asks Claire if she’s ever seen one.Claire responds that she has, a long time go in Scotland. We flash back again to 1745, with Claire lying on a bed, looking broken. In a mixture of blurred scenes we see the birth of Clare’s baby with Mother Hildegarde and the Royal executioner there to deliver it. Claire wakes up after this, only uttering “where’s my baby?” before Mother Hildegarde informs her that her baby was born stillborn, and it was a girl.

Later on, Mother Hildegard tells Claire she baptised her, and gave the baby the name Faith.Claire is turning very ill, Mother Hildegarde bringing in a priest for Claire to give her last confession. The priest asks if Claire would like to unburden her sins, with Claire responding with the best line of the episode “My sins are all I have left”.

That night, Claire is struggling with her high fever, until Mayster Raymond sneaks in and visits her. Raymond massages her and manages to save Claire’s life before having to quickly leave before being seen.Her fever has broken, and Claire desperately asks Mother Hildegarde about Jamie. Mother Hildegarde tells her that Jamie is locked in the Bastille for duelling with Randall, although the fact that Randall is alive means his sentence won’t be as severe. Claire’s still furious at Jamie’s betrayal, telling Mother Hildegarde that  “Revenge mattered more to him than me, or his child”.

After weeks of healing, Fergus comes to ask Claire to return home, as she does Claire notes that “my body had healed but my soul had not”. Once arriving at their house in Paris, Claire is greeted emotionally by the house staff, sharing an especially heartbreaking moment with Magnus. Claire’s face is devastating as we see the suffering she’s enduring, as she thanks Magnus and bows to him. In the next scene Fergus brushes Claire’s hair, pausing and running off while looking at a perfume bottle, like the last time we saw him at the brothel before his encounter with Jack Randall. Before Claire gets any answers though, she finds the christening gift Jamie bought for the baby, the set of spoons and angrily pushes them away before bursting into tears. She’s then distracted however, by Fergus having a bad dream, and asks him to tell her about it to make it go away. Sadly in this case it won’t as a tearful Fergus tells Claire what we didn’t see with his encounter with Jack Randall, flashbacks showing us that Randall raped Fergus before his cries altered Jamie, who in such a fury and in pain at seeing this, then demanded the duel with Randall.

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It’s  a horrible scene to watch, especially considering the shot of Randall’s red jacket last week was enough to tell us what had happened without needing to show it. Reading interviews about the scene, the showrunners wanted the audience to feel the same anger that Jamie felt, and to show how he could betray his promise to Claire. I understand that and you did definitely feel the rage and hatred Jamie had in that moment, but it was still painful to know whether you saw it take place or not. Outlander has handled rape as more than just a  plot device to shock the audience, and I hope they continue to do so. Claire’s shocked to hear this, and it’s terrible to think of Fergus suffering alone all these weeks. Claire reassures him it wasn’t his fault, and after realising the pain Fergus endured and understanding Jamie’s reasons for betraying her, Claire acts to set him free.

Claire first goes to Mother Hildegarde, who as the daughter of Louis XIV, she knows must have connections in court in order to grant Claire an audience with the King who she can petition to release Jamie. Mother Hildegarde tells her that she can grant her an audience, but the King will expect payment. This payment will most likely be Claire having to sleep with him. Claire’s only response is “If it comes to sacrificing my virtue mother, I’ll add it to the list of things I’ve already lost in Paris”

 

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Claire meets with the King, in a tense conversation, Claire desperately trying to act relaxed throughout their small talk. Before Claire can get to her payment though, the King requires a favour. He takes Claire to the star chamber, where Mayster Raymond and the Comte are brought out. They’ve been accused of dark magic and sorcery.  The royal executioner Claire’s reputation as ‘La Dame Blanche’ means the King wants her skills to look into their souls and see the darkness in their souls. Claire doesn’t want both of them to die, but she plays along. Claire tries to get the Comte to admit to sending the gang that attacked her and Mary, but he denies it. He does however admit to poisoning her, and calls her a witch since the poison he gave her didn’t kill her. Her name as the ‘White Lady’ however Claire claims, means she uses white magic and not dark magic.

The King then brings out a deadly snake, a myth claiming the snake wouldn’t harm true servants of God. Claire however manages to stop it, getting the King to agree for the men to drink her poison, which she makes with bitter cascara so the men will live and hopefully be set free. Mayster Raymond drinks it, and though in pain, he survives as Claire knew he would. However when Claire goes to pass the cup to the Comte, in a stunning shot Claire’s necklace that detects poison turns black, and then it’s clear to everyone the Comte has to die. Claire realises that Mayster Raymond slipped actual poison into the cup just after drinking it himself. The Comte knowing his time is up, bitterly exclaims “I’ll see you in hell” before drinking the poison and dying on the floor.

 

 

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The King tells Mayster Raymond to leave France and never return, and as he walks out the door, Claire’s only thought is of a line from The Wizard of Oz, “I’m going to miss you most of all”. I get the feeling we will see him again at some point. Claire thinks she’s done, but her payment is not done. Back in the King’s chambers Claire lies back on the bed as the King rapes her. Afterwards, the King informs her he will get a pardon for Jamie, and will write to the English Crown to try and get them return to Scotland if they wish.

Jamie returns home with a full beard, and what follows is a broken and pained conversation between the two. Claire’s still furious at him, but ultimately blames herself for everything, for putting Frank before her family. She tells Jamie they had a daughter. “Mother Hildegarde let me see her. So I wouldn’t have to imagine.” We then see flashbacks to earlier on in the episode, with Claire in hospital still and holding her daughter for the first time. As she rocks her, Claire begins to sing ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ and the fact that she’s singing such a happy song in such a sorrowful moment makes it all the more crushing. We see that Louise visited her later on, Claire refusing to let go of her child. It’s nice to see Louise visiting her and supporting her friend. Claire lets Louise takes the baby, and it’s taken away by Mother Hildegarde. Claire back in the present, tells Jamie that she slept with the King to gain his freedom.

“How can we ever be the same? She asks. “We can’t be” Jamie replies. He explains that to move forward and “The only way we can live with is to carry it, together.”

“Then bring me home. To Scotland” Claire says. After an emotional season, it’s time to say goodbye to France and go back to where the true heart of the show is. Jamie and Claire’s time in Paris has been a great change for the show, but after all the suffering the characters have endured, it will be nice to see them back where the truly belong together.

Before they leave, however they visit the grave of their daughter, Faith. Jamie leaves her one of the spoons on the grave, of St Andrew to “Leave a bit of Scotland with you”. As they sit at their daughters grave, Claire takes Jamie’s hand.

After this episode I had to lie down, it was so incredibly emotional and heart wrenching. If this doesn’t get Caitriona Balfe all the awards, then there’s no justice in the world. She was extraordinary in this episode, and carried the episode completely. Everything Claire felt, we felt too.

Until next week,

Sarah

 

Outlander Season Two Episode 6 Review: Best Laid Schemes

 

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“Bad things tend to happen when we’re apart”

 
After last week’s incredible episode, it would have taken a lot to beat it this week but Outlander still gave a heart wrenching and emotional episode.

The episode begins with Murtagh informing Jamie that Randall has been released from prison, and he eagerly starts planning the duel with Jamie. When Jamie tells him the duel is off , he’s clearly annoyed but doesn’t press the reason why.

Claire meanwhile is volunteering at the hospital, and hears an overly detailed explanation from the royal executioner about his methods  to kill one of the patients who has committed a crime. However he soon makes it clear that the King is hunting down all those who practice dark magic, and hints to Claire to warn their friend Master Raymond.

Claire soon rushes off and warns Master Raymond that he is in serious danger, who tells Claire she’s put herself at risk, but agrees to flee the city. I doubt we’ve seen the last of him yet though.

We see Claire and Jamie in a happier place, Jamie massaging Claire’s feet and the two seeming a lot more content with each other. Jamie tells Claire that he didn’t agree to spare Jack Randall’s life because of Frank,  but in case their plans to prevent the rebellion fail. Jamie wants Claire and the baby to be able to go back to someone who loves her, in case the worst happens at Culloden. Claire promises to go back to Frank in case this happens. I admit I was quite surprised to see they were already seeming happy around each other after last week’s dramatic ending. It seemed a little odd to have their relationship mended so quickly, after all the betrayal and hurt that was between them last week. I understand why Jamie’s reasons for keeping Randall alive for Claire’s back up plan with Frank may have lessened the anger, but I still feel it was too rushed. It would have been interesting to see how they managed to recover and repair their relationship after last week, but I guess the writers thought the ending would be even more dramatic having Claire and Jamie just back on good terms again.

Claire tests out whether she can mimic the symptoms of smallpox to destroy the Comte’s shipment on Jamie, which proves to work.Murtagh thinks that killing Charlie would be easier, but Claire wisely notes that it would only cause Charlie to become a martyr in Scotland.”You’re in for a pleasant evening” Murtagh mutters, who again has the best lines and expressions in this episode.  Murtagh isn’t impressed, and Claire and Jamie both agree that they have to tell him the truth about their plans.

Jamie heads out to the courtyard with Claire anxiously watching at the window. Jamie explains to Murtagh about everything, and Murtagh instantly accepts it, saying “If you believe your wife to be a witch, then who am I to contradict you?”. I love how he trusts Jamie so much he doesn’t even question the fact that Claire travelled through time. However Jamie doesn’t get away that easily though, landing a punch and claiming “You shoulda trusted me with that knowledge in the beginning!

Jamie and a loyal Fergus go off to plant the fake smallpox potion at the shipment, Fergus sneaking in and painting the men’s coats with the concoction and making sure to leave bottles with the stuff in that they will drink. leaving Claire and Murtagh.  Murtagh and Claire discuss the future, but Claire assures Murtagh that she knows nothing regarding the future of him or Jamie, or anyone they know. Jamie and Fergus rush back home, not staying to see the results of their plan.

Jamie is then summoned to see Prince Charlie and a bitter Comte St Germain, who informs Jamie that a mysterious illness has befallen the crew. Jamie is forced to agree to move the wine shipment into his warehouse, the Comte determined to go along and make sure everything goes according to plan, meaning Jamie and Claire need another plan. (Also there should be a drinking game for the amount of times Charles has said “mark me” this season).

Claire and Jamie have to decide on another plan, Murtagh dressing in disguise with hired bandits to capture the shipment. Murtagh’s expressions during this scene are everything. “It feels needlessly risky. Like we haven’t thought it through enough” Claire ponders, but there isn’t time for an alternative plan.

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Before we see this plan set in motion, we see an adorable scene between Claire and Jamie, Jamie feeling the baby kick, talking to it and expressing how he can’t wait to meet it. After the end of the episode this scene was heart breaking to watch the second time around.

The plan is set in motion, with Murtagh and the rest of the bandits attacking Jamie and the Comte and their shipment. The Comte refuses to stand down though, leading to a tense moment with Murtagh and the Comte pointing their guns at each other.  Jamie manages to salvage their plan though, pushing the Comte to the ground to appear to save his life, whilst leaping to ‘attack’ Murtagh to save both their lives. Murtagh has to knock Jamie out for the effect though.

We then switch to a nice juxtaposition from the dramatic scene with Claire, Louise and other ladies sitting down giggling about people’s affairs and other gossip. Claire isn’t amused however and instead questions the ladies on whether the poverty in Paris distresses them “Surely we must do something to change the situation”. The women agree, but only as far as to get their husbands to petition, or remove people to other parts of the city.  Not being able to stand it, Claire apologizes and leaves to go to the hospital, a place where she knows she can be of use. However after a long night of volunteering, Mother Hildegarde thankfully insists Claire spend the night at the hospital as she’s clearly exhausted. When getting Claire into bed though Mother Hildegarde notices blood on Claire’s legs, but quickly assures her it’s normal at this stage of her pregnancy. Also I’m glad we got a few seconds of seeing Fergus play with that cute dog. outlander-2x06-best-laid-schemes-1080p-mp4_002156323

Meanwhile Jamie returns home and misses seeing Claire but before he can relax he is urgently called to the brothel to help out Prince Charlie, and Fergus tags along as well. When they get there, Fergus is instructed to stay where he is, but he can’t help wandering off and looking for stuff to pickpocket in someone’s room. The camera slowly pans to a red military jacket hung up in the room, and it doesn’t take long for complete dread and horror to hit you. A shadow enters the room, and the door closes. It’s a well shot scene that doesn’t have to show a lot to make the audience understand, and the looming presence of Randall cleverly hangs over the scene. I’m glad no more was shown, and while it’s not made explicitly clear what Randall did to Fergus, we didn’t need to see it, just ending the scene there was enough to be incredibly terrifying and dramatic, without overdoing it.

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Claire returns home in the morning and it’s obvious from the faces of the servants that shit has gone down. Claire finds out that Jamie is duelling Randall, and is devastated to hear of this betrayal. She instantly races off to try and stop it, clutching her stomach in pain on the way. She arrives too late though, as Jamie and Randall are already duelling. Stopping them now would only endanger Jamie, so Claire can only watch from a distance.However the pain in her stomach soon overwhelms her, and more blood begins to pour out. As Claire screams in agony and falls to the floor, the authorities arrive to arrest Jamie and Randall, just as Jamie stabs Randall in the groin. Jamie soon sees Claire and screams out her name, but all Claire can do is lie in pain and watch the authorities take him away. It’s a heartbreaking end to the episode, Outlander seems determined on crushing my heart and letting me endure all of this pain. 

Next week can’t come soon enough, as how are Claire and Jamie going to get out of this? Poor Claire has to recover from her miscarriage alone, and deal with Jamie being imprisoned. I hope we see Murtagh again soon after he’s finished selling the wine shipment in Portugal.

Until next week,

Sarah

Outlander Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Untimely Resurrection

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“Fuck the King”

 

Well that was intense. This episode was probably my favorite of the season so far, incredible performances and heartbreaking and shocking moments that just blew me away.

After the chaotic dinner party last episode, everyone has been arrested, Alex Randall being accused of raping Mary, Jamie and Murtagh as well, despite not doing anything wrong.Claire has been awake all night when thankfully Jamie returns, who didn’t expect Claire to still be awake. “I’m not the only one” Clare says softly, and both cast a glance to a sleeping Fergus. Duverny secured Jamie and everyone’s release, minus Alex who has been accused of raping Mary and is still locked up.Sandringham has already released Alex from his service, and Claire and Jamie agree to help him.

Claire and Jamie discuss the attack, Claire noting that they were well spoken and dressed. When telling Jamie they called her ‘La Dame Blanche’ and ran away, his expression makes clear he knows about the nickname. He admits that he started the rumour that she was a witch while drunk in the brothel to keep up his manly appearance to Charles  while remaining faithful to Claire. They realise that the attackers must also attend the brothel, and lead them to whether Comte St Germain was behind it.

Murtagh tracks the Comte, but finds nothing susiciuos as he reports back to Jamie.In a heartbreaking scene, he admits to Jamie he feels at fault for the attack and not being able to protect Claire, the baby as well as Mary.”I’ve failed you” Murtagh brokenly claims. It’s horrible to see someone so loyal and trustworthy as Murtagh feel like a failure, considering how important he is to Jamie and how protective and helpful he’s always been in helping both Jamie and Claire. Jamie reassures him and sets him to finding and getting vengeance on the attackers.

Elsewhere Claire pays a visit to Mary, who’s being forced to stay inside and leave Paris once she recovers. Claire has convinced her aunt to let Claire give Mary a medical examination. Mary gives Claire a letter to give to the authorities clearing Alex’s name. It’s another sad scene when Claire asks Mary how she’s feeling and Mary’s response is “Ashamed. Like I’m a different person now. And I’ll never be the same.” It’s an honest and affecting confession. Despite my mixed feelings over Mary’s attack last week I’m glad to see they’re showing the mental impact on Mary and how she’s handling recovery, rather than the attack straight away just being discussed to further Mary’s eventual marriage to Jack Randall. However while with Mary she learns of her and Alex’s plans to marry, which puts Frank’s future in jeopardy. “Did I hold the key to Frank’s existence in the palm of my hand” Claire ponders, dithering over whether to help Alex’s release from prison if it prevents Frank being born.

Charles visits Jamie, and tells him that the cause is about to receive ten thousand pounds, but it’s the Comte who’s offering it. He wants to buy a large shipment of wine, but needs a business partner to make up the funds. From this they can make a profit, and convince the French King to invest in their plan. But Charles wants Jamie to sell the wine to the Comte, to keep an eye on him. Charles arranges a meeting between Jamie and the Comte to work out the details.

Claire walks with Alex Randall, not being able to let him remain in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. However she still wants to prevent Alex and Mary marrying and help Frank be born, so she talks Alex out of marrying Mary, by pointing out the limited options the two face and the standard of life he could bring her. Alex loves Mary and so for he sake he takes Claire’s advice to let her go. It’s another depressing event from this episode, and it’s annoying to see Claire tear them apart. Claire does acknowledge the faults in her actions, but for the sake of Frank she thinks it’s worth it. Still Claire is letting her friend marry a monster like Jack Randall for a man that she’s not planning to return to and has moved on from. I can understand Claire’s actions and I don’t dislike Frank, but the lengths she takes in this episode to secure Frank’s birth almost feels too extreme considering the happiness she’s denying others.

Jamie and the Comte share a tense conversation at the brothel, both acknowledging that they haven’t forgotten their actions towards eachother. They don’t want to work with each other, but they make plans for Jamie to contact him once buyers are secured. Hardly a strong partnership. Claire and Jamie know they need to stop the shipment from reaching the Comte, and since smallpox would prevent the ship’s contents from being usable Claire wonders whether she can mimic the effects of Smallpox on sailors to stop the shipment.

In an beautiful and sweet scene, Jamie presents Claire with a box of spoons for each of the twelve apostles that have been passed down in his family for years. He wrote to Jenny to send them over, who was so happy to hear the news of Claire’s pregnancy. It’s nice to hear Jenny mentioned, I loved her character last season and I hope we see her again soon. Claire openly wonders whether she will be a good mother, but Jamie’s reassurance soothes her worries. It’s great to see a discussion of how Claire would handle motherhood though, and to see Claire communicating with Jamie and acknowledging the fears she has about raising a child. It’s an important and honest scene that I’m glad was shown, especially with Jamie reassuring her that they will both figure it out together.

Jamie and Claire are at Versailles, Jamie helping the Duke pick horses at the Royal stables. As always the costumes blow me away, Claire’s outfit this week is gorgeous.

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Jamie and the Duke’s conversation highlights that the Duke doesn’t think too highly of Prince Charles, and he wonders why a smart man like Jamie is backing a weak character like Charles. Jamie admits to the Prince having faults, but maintains his belief in the cause to cover the real reason behind his close relationship with the Prince and the sabotage he and Claire have been planning. While spotting a magnificent horse, the Duke comments that he can’t claim it yet as he is a man “who cherishes options”. How fitting to his character.

Meanwhile Annalise, who Jamie knew as a teenager and fought a duel for invites Claire for a stroll around the gardens. In an icy conversation, Annalise comments on the difference in Jamie’s character and how his involvement in politics and intrigue is so unlike the boy she knew before. “He’s still Jamie” Claire claims to her. Also as if Jamie would still be the same person he was when he was a teenager, Annalise could have hardly expected him to stay the same when he grew up. As Claire says “I doubt he will ever lose sight of who he is”. The important parts of his personality are still there.

Annalise points out that a gentleman is staring at them, and here is the surprise shock of the episode, the return of Jack Randall. I knew Jack Randall was coming back this season, but holy shit I wasn’t expecting him to be back so soon. Let alone standing in the gardens of Versailles as if he perfectly belonged. He looks so out of place in France, and for a second I’d forgotten how much I loathe his character. It doesn’t take long to be reminded though. “Jamie? He’s here? Where?” Randall whispers in a chilling voice once Annalise runs off to find Jamie. Claire desperately tries to leave this conversation but is stopped by Randall whenever she tries. tumblr_inline_o6u4rmknke1smw1z7_540

“The King” Randall notes. “Fuck the King” Claire angrily remarks in what is probably my favorite line of the episode. But no, the King is actually there and greets Claire and Randall. The French are soon laughing at Randall, the King throwing serious shade at his French accent and the English uniform. But then Jamie turns up in an intense and well s hit scene, Randall clutching his sword, Claire looking terrified, and the music swelling as Jamie walks over. It’s anti climatic in the end, but in the best way. Jamie doesn’t even spare Randall a glance, just greeting the King, enquiring about Randall’s health without even looking at him. Turns out Randall is here to help his brother get his job back with the Duke.

“Perhaps you should beg” The King states, as his entourage snicker behind him. Randall gets on knees and everyone’s laughing at him. “Not now, you English arsehole” The King sneers. There’s more laughter, with even Claire and Jamie joining in. I like the King a lot more now for being so rude to Randall, it’s brilliant to see such a threatening monster like him completely powerless in a situation, and below everyone else there. Claire and Jamie rush off, but not before Jamie runs back to Randall and exchanges words. Like Claire, we only see, their interaction and its excurinating not to hear the conversation between the two men. Jamie returns, but tells Claire he’s challenged Randall to a duel, which he’s accepted.

In the best scene of the episode, Claire stops the duel by accusing Randall of attacking her and Mary, getting him locked in the Bastille for long enough to admit to Jamie that she needs Randall to stay alive of at least a year so Frank can be born.  “It’s a part of the future!” Claire brokenly cries. “I thought we were here to change the future” Jamie retorts. It’s an excellent point, and yes Claire loves Frank and wants him to exist in the future, but as I said earlier the lengths she’s going to are questionable. Preventing the rebellion is one thing, but stopping Alex and Mary from getting married, and now asking Jamie not to kill the man that’s tortured both of them is too far. Changing the future is going to have consequences and I’m sure some would disagree, but I don’t know if Frank is worth it.But then if she doesn’t save Frank, would Claire never be in Scotland to time travel back to the 1700’s in the first place? I’m a little confused.

The scene between Jamie and Claire is superb.”Must I bear everyone’s weakness?” Jamie bitterly says. Claire then tells him that he owes her a life, she’s saved his life twice and therefore now owes her this debt . It gets through to Jamie, but it’s a cold move. Jamie is an honest man and will repay his debts. Things have changed in their relationship now though, once Jamie agrees to wait a year to kill Randall when Claire attempts to embrace him he halts her in her tracks. “Don’t touch me” he whispers in a hardened and sour tone. It’s devastating but understandable and the raw emotions displayed between these two are so wonderfully painful. And just like that, there is distance between them again. Damn you Outlander, for giving me all this pain in a brilliant but soul crushing manner.

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Also please give the cast all the awards.Especially Sam Heughan though, still annoyed he hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves, he’s simply incredible as Jamie.

Until next week,

Sarah

 

 

 

Outlander Season Two Episode 4 Review: La Dame Blanche

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“We’re doing a bad thing for a good reason”                  “Isn’t that what all bad people say?”

Jamie is playing chess with Duverney, with Claire standing by his side. This distance however between the two to them is evident.Duverney asks if they have settled on a name, and it’s something they haven’t even begun to discuss yet, or something they agree on yet. Whilst Claire and Jamie are disagreeing, they stop short when faced with the steely glance of Comte St Germain. He ends their chess game and glares at Claire and Jamie throughout, looking even more suspicious when Claire has a glass of wine and falls horribly ill straightaway. Thankfully Claire and the baby are are alright, with Claire resting in bed back at home. Instead of poison however, Claire realises from the after taste that it was bitter cascara, which Claire knows is sold by Master Raymond, mentioned last week that he sells it when someone ask for poison, giving the effects of a poisoning but not the same damage. They suspect the Comte, but they have no proof to back up their accusation.

Needing a distraction, Jamie tells Claire about his meeting with Duverny. He proposes to Claire that they throw a dinner for the Duke, so he can meet Charles and also undercut him at the same time, preventing the Duke of Sandringham from donating funds to the rebellion. Claire’s lack of enthusiasm is noticed by Jamie though, and she finally admits to him that Jack Randall is still alive. Jamie doesn’t have the reaction she was expecting though. “This is wonderful news!” Jamie exclaims, now driven with the desire to get to kill Randall himself, “something to look forward to”. Thankfully he doesn’t plan to go back to Scotland but still ecstatic at the hope he has now.

Jamie’s desire to kill Jack doesn’t bode well for the future of Frank, and Claire goes and confronts Master Raymond who admits to selling bitter cascara to a servant, but he doesn’t know who. He takes Claire into a back room filled with artifacts and as Claire looks around in wonder, he comments that she’s “fascinated by things not of this time”. Noticing her troubled mood, Claire she’s worried about the future of her ‘friend’ Frank . Master Raymond promises answer through his bones, which reveal that Claire will see Frank again. We already know this information, but Claire is shocked. Before she leaves though, Master Raymond gives her  a necklace that apparently changes color in the presence of poison.  Useful after the incident at the beginning of the episode.

Also shoutout to Claire’s beautiful outfit. The costume department deserves all the awards.Outlander Season 2 2016

Over at Louise’s, Claire receives news from Louise. She’s pregnant. Her and her husband haven’t slept together in months, and the child is her lover’s. She wants an abortion with help from Claire, though Claire warns the dangers of it, and how it could kill her. Claire suggests that she sleeps with her husband and convince him that the child is his. “Sleep with my husband? But my lover will be furious!” Louise exclaims, but her options are limited.

Later that evening, Jamie returns home into bed with Claire. Before anything happens though, Claire notices bite marks on his thighs. Jamie admits that a prostitute got ‘carried away’. Claire’s understandably furious, but Jamie claims nothing happens though he was badly tempted. For Jamie wanting to have sex again is a good thing, as Randall has haunted him for months and prevented him being intimate with Claire. He’s finally feeling like a man again. Claire’s still upset, feeling unwanted and completely alone in her pregnancy these months. They’ve barely discussed the baby, she tells Jamie. Jamie tries to explain to her what we went through at Wentworth, “naked, alone” “trying to hide under a blade of grass”. It’s a wonderfully acted scene the pain and the struggle Claire and Jamie have been dealing with coming to surface. Jamie sleeps elsewhere that night. But later on Claire enters his room, unrobes, telling him to “find me Jamie, find us”. Finally these two are together again and reconnected.

Whilst lying together afterwards, Jamie hears a noise from above, realising there’s someone on the roof. It only turns out to be Prince Charlie though, having escaped from his lover’s house when her husband arrived early, Jamie’s and Claire’s home being around the corner. Claire treats him for a bite, and after admitting it’s a monkey bite it’s obvious that Louise is his lover, and is pregnant with his child.

Claire and Jamie realise they can use this to their advantage, by having both Louie and Charles at the dinner for the Duke they can reveal the pregnancy and Charles will be broken and therefore not be someone the Duke will bet his money on. “Does this make us bad people?” Claire wonders, “We’re doing a bad thing for a good reason” Jamie reassures her. “Isn’t that what all bad people say?” Claire responds.

On the day of the dinner Claire along with Mary Hawkings, Murtaugh and Fergus go the hospital Claire volunteers at. Claire has promised to be back in time to greet guests, but work at the hospital and then a broken carriage means they are significantly delayed, so Claire and Mary start to walk home. Also happy to see the cute dog is still there.

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Jamie greets guests and in unpleasant news it turns out the Duke has invited the Comte St Germain along. The night however is going to get much worse. While walking back, Claire and Mary are attacked, and Murtaugh is beaten down. In a violent scene, poor Mary is raped but before they can get to Claire they realise who she is and believing her to be a witch from rumours they flee the scene. The damage has been done though. Poor Mary has passed out from the shock. I’m unsure how to feel about this scene, Outlander has included rape before but unlike shows such as Game of Thrones it’s never been gratuitous, or a lazy plot device. The aftermath and the effects are included, shown through the trauma Jamie has been going through this season. The show has always dealt with it well. I know it’s in the books and yes historically accurate for violence of the time, and I assume a way to  get Mary to marry Jack rather than her other older fiancee. I can only hope the aftermath is dealt with as well as Jamie’s so I will wait to see, and hope this isn’t just a lazy plot device that has been done too many times on television.

Returning to the party traumatised, Jamie and Claire don’t want to ruin their plans so they place Mary on a bed upstairs with Alex Randall watching her. Jamie assures Claire they can send everyone home, but Claire is determined to pull of their plan. “Breathe” she tells herself before heading down to join her guests for dinner. Louise informs her that she convinced her husband the child was his, telling him about a drunken night they supposedly slept together. Jamie brings the pregnancy up at dinner, and Charlie is obviously upset.

Upstairs Mary begins to wake,bt waking up in a dark room with Alex looming over her is enough for her to freak out, obviously traumatised. Alex’s attempts to calm her only worsen her, and she flees from the room. Alex has to chase after her and hold her down, and her screams attract the attention of the guests who enter the room to see Alex on top of her holding her down, Mary in her nightgown. Alex is mistaken to be attacking Mary. Among the guests are her uncle and fiancee who are furious and don’t listen to explanations from Jamie or Claire, and a fight breaks out. The episode ends with the Comte going to get the police involved.

This was an incredibly dramatic episode, and was crucial for Jamie and Claire’s relationship. It was great to see their reconciliation and developments in their plans, despite the events that occurred in the episodes. It was good to see them questioning the methods of their plan, such as using Louise’s affair to their advantage. Jamie and Claire aren’t bad people but it’s interesting the show is looking at how their determination to save Scotland is changing and shaping their actions for the worse. I’m intrigued to see if it’s really the Comte behind Claire’s poisoning and the attackers, as whilst he’s definitely capable, it almost seems too obvious, and too extreme.

Until next week,

Sarah