Monthly Archives: June 2016

Outlander Season Two Episode 12 Review: The Hail Mary

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Despite knowing already that Jamie and Claire fail in their plan to prevent the Battle of Culloden, it was still incredibly frustrating to watch them not succeed in their attempts to change history.  I still throughout that maybe, Jamie could convince Charles not to battle at Culloden and their last ditch attempts to stop it would work. Watching it you knew that the attack on the birthday party wasn’t going to go as planned, but I still convinced myself that they could change history somehow.

Jamie’s frustration echoes that, and how this season he and Claire have been rebuked every turn almost in their attempts to shape the future. Now there’s certainly no chance of stopping it, and Jamie and Claire are heading to what they’ve always feared, helpless to stop it.

I was glad we got to see Alex again, even if it was in poorer circumstances. It’s sad to know that Alex’s illness is now causing his immediate death, but there’s some comfort in knowing that he and Mary got to share some happiness together, even though it was short-lived. Especially considering last time we saw him Claire had dashed his hopes of a future with Mary.

Mary appeared to have matured significantly since the last episode, I’m not sure how much time has supposed to have passed since then. Her relationship with Alex as well as her pregnancy have caused her to grow up, and her frostiness when she meets Claire again is expected.  The devotion she has to Alex was incredibly sad to see, but thank god her marriage to Jack Randall will be short-lived. Not to mention it’s a huge relief knowing that the child recovered from her marriage with Jack is actually Alex’s.

It was a shock seeing Randall again this episode. Tobias Menzies is beyond amazing in this role though. He’s the most horrible character to watch on-screen, and yet you can’t keep your eyes off him when he appears. It was interesting to see a Randall at the mercy of Claire this week, rather than the other way round. Randall’s vulnerability this week was odd, I wasn’t convinced at first that his affection for his brother was genuine. It’s hard to wonder how Jack treated Alex so kindly compared to everyone else in his life. It adds some further layers to this twisted character, and it’s something to know he can feel love and affection towards someone else. It felt odd watching him be nice, especially in his pledge to look after Mary and her child. But the Randall we know and hate was still there, his scene with Claire serving as a strong reminded of how sick this character is.  Even when he needs help he’s still manages to unnerve everyone. His small, small good side is till tainted by his terror, and his beating of Alex after his death was awful.

Murtagh again continues to be the most lovable character on the show, and his offer to marry Mary was so sweet. Never change Murtagh.

The scene with Dougal and Column was incredibly sad, and Dougal’s face when he realises Column has passed away while he was speaking was heartbreaking.

Until next week,

Sarah

Outlander Season Two Episode 11 Review: Vengeance is Mine

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This week didn’t hit the same highs as the past few episodes, but had important character moments and developments which I greatly appreciated. Plot wise it didn’t move the story forward in any significant way regarding the Battle of Culloden, but overall still managed to be interesting and important with the characters.

  • An episode where Prince Charles didn’t say ‘Mark me’ has to be noted. I’m glad there was less of him this week, though I do like how the writers showed his fierce determination in continuing moving forward in the rebellion, and not wanting to follow his generals advice in going back to Culloden. I’m not a massive fan of his character, but appreciate the dedication he has in his cause and in pursuing it.

 

  • I admit I had forgotten about the Duke of Sandringham, but it didn’t take long to remember how much I hated him. I wondered if we were ever going to find out about the attack on Claire and Mary, and it was a good and shocking reveal that the Duke was behind it. The fact that he expected Claire to be grateful for only having his men order to rape rather than kill her really only reinforced what a detestable character he was. I like how the reveal was done with Claire noticing the mark on the servant’s hand, as they focused on that in earlier episodes this season.

 

  • You may hate the Duke but he had the best comedic moments in this episode. The opening episode title with the wig falling over was brilliant. I loved how the first thing he did when Jamie entered to save Claire was to put his wig back on, he couldn’t bear to face Jamie without looking presentable. It was even better because he didn’t put it on properly. 193.jpg

 

  • Munro was a character I had completely forgotten about, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve seen him. Still, it was nice to be reminded of his character again, especially in his loyalty to Jamie and in helping Claire by receiving her messages and giving them to Jamie.

 

  • Angus’s death last week hasn’t been forgotten, poor Rupert consistently bringing him up. It’s nice to know he’s still being remembered so often, even after time had passed after the battle.  Rupert can’t get a break though, thankfully Claire managed to save him after he was shot in the eye by a British soldier.

 

  • Murtagh finally being able to avenge Claire and Mary was great, as you could tell his failure to prevent the attack had haunted Murtagh, and for him to be able to honour them by killing the Duke and bringing his head to Mary and Claire was a powerful moment. Murtagh never disappoints. Case in point, his best lines from the episode ““Tell me, does it ever occur to you that taking Claire to wife might not have been the wisest thing you ever did?” and “I kept my word, I lay your vengeance at your feet.”

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  • I was so happy to see Mary again, when Jamie and Claire left Paris I was sad that we didn’t see her before they left, that one scene after Claire visits her after her rape didn’t seem like a fitting farewell to the character. After another surprise was revealed that she was the Duke’s god-daughter, it made the Duke working together with the Comte for the attack on them so so much worse, especially his lack of remorse. Mary’s inner strength was on display this episode, and though her initial hesitance at going to the front to warn Munro was frustrating, her gaining the courage and eventually stabbing her rapist was an important moment. Mary deserved to exact her revenge more than anyone, and having her kill her attacker was the best part of the episode for me. I hope we see her next week too.

 

  • I was loving Claire in this episode, especially considering she wasn’t prominently featured in last week’s episode. Her feistiness and showing  she had just as much dedication as Jamie to protecting their men was a fantastic scene. ” Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these not my men too?” is probably my favorite line of the episode.

 

Until next week,

Sarah

 

 

Outlander Season Two Episode 10 Review: Prestonpans

 

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If I was a mess this week watching Outlander, god knows how I’m going to survive the finale. Knowing the rebellion is going to fail is going to make watching everyone head off for war incredibly painful.

  • Philip John directed this week’s and last week’s episode, and he’s done a brilliant job. I hope he directs more episodes in the future. The battle sequence wasn’t like other battle sequences I had seen before, and the battle being clouded with fog heightened the uncertainty the characters and the audience were feeling in the moment. The opening shot of the single soldier was fantastic. The slow motion and the sound effects were used brilliantly, and created the perfect tense moments.

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  •  Fergus had some of the most heartbreaking scenes this episode, having to watch the men go off to battle while he was left to tend the fires with Claire wasn’t what he thought he should be doing in war, and he sneaks off to join the battle. Along with the shots of Battle , the moments of Fergus clutching his knife in terror as what chaos surround him was a powerful scene, and horrible to see the shock and pain Fergus gets from seeing the reality of war.

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  • I like how the audience felt sympathy for both sides, the sights of the massacred British soldiers demonstrated the horrors of war that both sides had to endure. Dougal’s murder of the British soldier we met last season trying to help Claire was unexpected and sad to watch. Of course the Scottish and the characters have every reason to hate the British army, but outside of the brutality  we’ve seen committed from characters like Randall, this episode showed that many were just men serving their country as they were taught. Jamie’s pissing contest with the British soldier showed not only a much-needed comedic moment, but also a nice human moment between two men outside of their obligations to war just having a laugh together.

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  • Noticeably a lack of Claire this episode, but her scenes were still important and affecting. It showed the pains the women endured, simply having to wait for the men to return, hoping their loved ones would be alright, never knowing how badly wounded the soldiers they treated would be. Claire’s speech to try to keep them busy and focused was a nice moment, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that later this season.Sam Heughan was incredible this week, Jamie’s role as a leader in war fits the character perfectly and it’s great to see Jamie in a better place in a role he suits so well.
  • “You’ve won a battle but you will never win this war”- couldn’t help but be reminded of a similar  line Robb Stark gives in Season 3 of Game of Thrones, “I’ve won every battle but I’m losing this war”.

 

  • Prince Charles’s weaknesses are truly on display this week, not that we didn’t know already that he wasn’t a strong leader to command such a rebellion, but his inability to make choices and understand the Scottish men around him highlight how doomed this rebellion was. I’ve said it before, but there should be a drinking game for whenever he says ‘Mark me’.
  • The second Claire said goodbye to Angus and Rupert you knew one of the them was going to die, but having Rupert appear to be mortally wounded but then having Angus suddenly die was so unexpected and heartbreaking to watch. Angus was a loved character on the show, and his return last week was so joyful. I’m disappointed we didn’t get to spend more time with the character this season, but it’s not surprising in a big battle episode that the writers wanted to kill a character off. Even with only 50 losses for the Scottish in the battle, it demonstrates how every life lost has devastating emotional consequences. As Claire holds Angus as he dies, it brings the story back to the first line of the episode. with Claire thinking

“How many men had I seen killed in war?”

“Far, far too many”.

Until next week,

Sarah

 

Outlander Season 2 Episode 9 Review: Je Suis Prest

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“I don’t know if I’m ready to go to war again”

Despite not being as plot heavy as last week, this episode surpasses last week with the strong character moments and dealing with the practical and emotional impacts of war.

The episode opens with Claire and Jamie taking their men forward to join the rebellion, only to discover men deserting on the way. Simon has left to urge the deserters to return, by promising them land after the rebellion. Claire and Jamie stop with other members of the rebellion, meeting up with Murtagh and Fergus, who joyfully hugs Claire when he sees they’ve returned. Angus and Rupert have returned, and in a needed bit of comic relief reveal the fate of Willie, and just as Claire and Jamie get worried about what’s happened to him we only discover that “The lad.. He went and got himself married” Angus and Rupert somberly note. It’s great to see these two again, and all that characters from last season reuniting and being together again.

 

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That’s not the last reunion though, as Dougal makes his return, to a happy Jamie and a pensive Claire. “It wouldn’t be Scotland without you Dougal”, Claire tells him. Dougal, a proud Jacobite supporter, is thrilled to have Jamie supporting the cause, but Clan Mackenzie has only brought in three members for the rebellion.

Dougal seems more naive in his faith of the men they’ve brought, but Jamie knows what the Scottish are up against, so he chooses to stay and train the men before they join Prince Charlie’s army. Murtagh begins with teaching the men drills and how to march properly, his yelling providing some great lines, such as “What are you laughing at bastard!”.

As Claire observes all the training around her though she is caught off guard by flashbacks of her time in WWII, watching men train and die. Before we can look deeper into these flashbacks we get a training montage of the day, the men improving and practicing with weapons, and physical training, everyone there playing a part in preparations for war. It’s nice that they showed how everyone was affected by war, and everyone had their own roles and duties even outside of the actual fighting. After a successful day, Dougal is eager to join Prince Charlie but is rebuked  by Jamie and Murtagh who know that the men still have a long way to go.

Another flashback from Claire after seeing Angus look in disgust at his food, shows her meeting two American soldiers, and commenting on the poor state of the food. Later on with her head in her hands, Jamie sees she’s not herself but Claire insists that she’s fine.

The next of training shows the men half heartedly doing the drills, lacking motivation. Jamie quickly steps in, acknowledging how silly something such as marching may seem to them in regards to the battle itself. “Then I went to France, became a soldier. Then I saw what a modern well trained army can do.” Jamie proceeds to highlight the harsh realities of battle against the British, finishing with “It takes more than courage to beat an army like that. It takes a soldier.” The men are finally motivated and cheer, but Jamie’s victory is soon cut short when Douglas, Angus and Rupert suddenly charge towards them, sword in hand, screaming and wild.

“That’s how you bring down redcoats” Dougal proudly exclaims, but Jamie isn’t happy and this contradiction of what he’s just tried to teach the men causes him to pull Dougal aside. Jamie reasserts his authority as a leader, but Dougal laughs, asking if Jamie seriously thinks he knows more about fighting than him, to which Jamie bluntly replies that he does. Dougal is taken aback, but accepts Jamie as his superior. This lasts for about 5 seconds, and Dougal goes into to see Claire and manipulate her into thinking Jamie needs help but is too proud to accept it. Dougal reminds her of her promise to marry him if Jamie died, but Claire sees right through this bullshit though. “You suffer from narcissism” Claire harshly declares, before delivering the best line of the episode “Fuck yourself”. Claire Fraser is my hero.

Another training montage follows, this time with more physical fighting training, Dougal and everyone teaching the men the skills they need for war. Jamie and Murtagh then lead them men in loading and shooting guns, both commenting on Claire’s lack of spirit. Later on at dinner, Claire gets furious at Angus for treating his feet badly, putting him at high risk of trench foot. We then see another flashback of Claire’s time in WWII, Claire giving a speech to soldiers, dealing with the same lack of interest and care in her warnings. Furious, Claire storms out. It’s something I hadn’t thought about a lot, the fact that Claire had lived through another war and had seen and endured horrible things, watching men die. It’s understandable that in the preparation for another one these memories would come back to haunt her, and I like that the writers chose to explore this part of Claire’s life, making t well directing and paralleled with her current situation.

Later that night, then are alarmed to see men entering the camp, but it’s only Dougal with some new recruits. Jamie however, isn’t impressed. Then men on watch shouldn’t have let all the men through so easily, and Jamie orders them brought to him. Jamie’s angry at Dougal for not obeying orders, but Dougal persists “when did you order me not to recruit new men?” he asks. Jamie then sets Dougal and his men to guarding the camp for the rest of their time there. Jamie arrests the men who were originally guarding the camp, and gets them whipped. 

Later, Claire walks by the men firing their guns and it soon overwhelms her as she falls to the ground, falling into another flashback. In this one Claire and the two American soldiers we’ve seen her chat to get fired at while driving, and Claire and one of the men are thrown over and hidden in a ditch. The other soldier however was still by the car, and is crying in pain. However much Claire wants to help, she knows it would only cause her death. The other soldier attempts to sneak across but promises to come back for Claire. Just as he runs over, he is sadly shot down. Claire now alone and having to her the other boy’s screams of pain curls into a ball and puts her hand over her ears. The next morning she’s still there, shocked and rigid in fear when a soldier discovers her.

 

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Back in Scotland this is how we see Claire, with her hands on her ears on the ground as Jamie rushes over. After she explains, Jamie reassures her that’s there’s nothing she could have done, and Claire knows this and told herself this, but “Then I just closed the door on that night”. Now that another war is here “I’m not sure I’m ready to go war again”, she confesses. Jamie recommends sending her back, but Claire refuses, knowing that would be even worse. In the most honest and heartbreaking moment of the episode, Claire gives this speech

“If I go back, it will just be like lying in that ditch again helpless, and powerless to move like a dragon fly in amber. Except this time it will be worse. Because I’ll know that the people out there dying alone are people I know. People I love. I can’t do that Jamie. I won’t lie in that ditch again.I can’t be helpless and alone ever again.”

Later Jamie is suddenly attacked by an intruder in the camp, who is with the British. Jamie doesn’t want to kill him, but just as they are about to torture him to find out who he marches with, Claire steps in. “Scottish bastard!” she yells, and predents to a be a captive who resisted Jamie’s advances earlier, and says he can sleep with her if they let the intruder go. As they start to make a scene, the intruder yells at them to stop, and promises to tell them information if Jamie lets Claire go. It’s an incredibly fun scene to watch, the two acting their parts to perfection and the glances they give eachother and how they react to eachother reinforce how well they know eachother. (Murtagh’s reactions during this are everything)  He introduces himself as William Grey and is travelling with a large group of men who are heavily armed. If the information he gives proves true, Jamie orders him to be tied to a tree where his men will find it. “I owe you my life” William admits before being taken away, “I must regard it as a debt of honour” “Once it is discharged, I will kill you” he says. I have a feeling we will see him again.

 

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Dougal’s men were guarding the camp, but the unguarded fires by Jamie caused them to be noticed, so Jamie submits himself to being whipped. It’s horrible to watch him suffer this again, and the men are clearly horrified seeing Jamie’s already wounded back be whipped again. Jamie and his men then go and sneak into the British camp, sabotaging and taking the wheels of their supplies, preventing them from coming after them that quickly. Jamie returns and thanks Claire for saving lives with the information she got out of William.

The last scene with a beautiful score behind it, and well directed shows the men marching towards Prince Charlie’s camp and reaching the outskirts. Jamie lets Dougal ride ahead and announce their presence.

“No turning back now, Sassenach” Jamie notes

“I should say not”, Claire retorts.

And then with the last line, after all the suffering she’s relieved and gone through with Jamie, Claire utters the Fraser motto. “Je Suis Prest”.

Until next week,

Sarah