The title of the latest Outlander is “Je Suis Prest,” which in (old) French means, “I am ready.” Well, we wouldn’t quite call Clan Fraser ready. Not yet, anyway. Jamie knows he’s facing an uphill battle. Claire’s told him the history of what happens in the Jacobite rebellion. Despite those seemingly insurmountable odds, he knows he can’t stop history. What he wants to do is change it.
But first, he has some work to do. He and Claire have not only reunited with Murtagh and Fergus. Three faces from Season 1 are back: Rupert, Angus and, yes, Dougal MacKenzie. It’s a happy-ish reunion for all but things quickly transition into a time of training. Jamie has to make soldiers out of the men who will wage a war for Scotland.
Meanwhile, Claire deals with her own issues. Being around a camp where men are training for war triggers something in her. She has flashes ofÂ when she was a nurse in World War II, a time that turned out to really affect her psyche. Will her bout with PTSD break her? Or will it simply make her stronger?
Tina: Kara, even though this feels like a transition episode, I really liked seeing the preparations for war and Jamie really taking on the leadership role. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I was super happy to see Angus, Rupert and Dougal. Remember when there was no love for Claire last season? To see them hug her now was cool. But I’m also glad that they didn’t drop the drama that exists between both Dougal and Jamie, and more importantly, Dougal and Claire. That Dougal can be downright narcissistic…or so Claire diagnosed, anyway.
Kara: I love that Claire educates Dougal on the story of Narcissus. I, too, am glad to see Rupert, Angus and Dougal. With the Frasers back in Scotland — and Colum making an appearance in last week’s episode — I knew it was just a matter of time before we’d see them as well. But since Claire and Dougal have such a complicated history, their interactions will always be interesting to me. I love that Claire speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back, when it comes to Dougal. But I have to admit, I don’t think I realized how committed Dougal is to this cause. Last season he used Jamie’s back as a way to raise money for the Jacobite cause. Now he’s ready, willing and able to lay down his life. I didn’t think anything mattered to Dougal more than his own self-interest. Turns out, he’s even more loyal to Scotland.
Tina: This Dougal/Claire scene where she let him know what’s what with him and what she thinks of him is possibly my favorite scene of the entire episode, actually. Yes, he’s selfish. Yes, he’s a downright bastard. He loves himself but he’s loyal to Scotland above all. I’m with you. I didn’t realize that about him. Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen him in such a long time. I guess I’m like Claire when she says something like:
“If I ever thought of you, then I might hold a grudge for all the things that you have done to me. But I don’t.”
I haven’t thought of Dougal since last we saw him. But I adore Graham McTavish. His scenes with both Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan were stellar in this episode. I, for one, am beyond happy Jamie wouldn’t let Dougal have his way. He showed he could be a leader.
Kara: Dougal’s used to being in charge and he tries to assert himself as the alpha more than once. He doesn’t seem to think Lovat’s men need training. He wants to join up with all the other Scots joining the uprising as quickly as possible. Dougal’s worried that by delaying, he won’t get a good leadership position. But making sure the men are trained and actually ready to fight is much more important to Jamie. When Dougal takes it upon himself to recruit more men — men who desert immediately when given the chance — armed men who were given access to the camp without any resistance — Jamie’s had it. It’s time to show Dougal who’s really in charge.
I have to say, again, how surprised I was by Dougal. I really didn’t think he’d take orders from Jamie. But he does and when Jamie makes a mistake, Jamie knows he needs to lead by example and punish both him and his uncle. So Jamie takes his lashes. If these men weren’t fully committed before, they are now.
Tina: It pained me to see Jamie take those lashes. You’d think he’d try and avoid those at any cost. There’s no more room on his back, Kara! But I get it. He wants to set a good example for the men so he takes the lashes and then some. It wasn’t just six of them like the others had faced a little earlier. He piled on the lashes. Man, he is so noble. He holds himself up to a higher standard. Anything to get his men ready for what lays ahead. He did get them ready or at the very least, as ready as they’re going to be.
Before we get to Claire’s issues, can we talk about that British boy that infiltrated the camp? The brave stupid kid wouldn’t talk. So Claire stepped in which meant more acting for Jamie and Claire. What did you think of what went down?
Kara: I think Claire sees an opportunity to get the kid to talk and she takes it. And I love that their pseudo-struggle turns a little too real when Claire lands a well-placed kick? Shove? I’m not exactly sure what she did, but she got him. That kiss was pretty sweet, too.
Do I think Jamie would’ve actually tortured the boy to get the information? I don’t. But Claire’s calculated move is really a win for both sides. Jamie gets the information he needs and William Grey gets to keep his honor by helping an English lady in distress. And because Jamie doesn’t kill him, Grey now thinks he’s indebted to Jamie. Once that debt is repaid, Grey says he’s going to kill Jamie. Prophetic? I certainly hope not.
Once Jamie gets the location of the British troops and their armaments, he takes a raiding party to go and steal the wheels off their canons. It’s smart. What can the King do with a bunch of canons that are stranded out in the woods? And hopefully the delay in getting those weapons delivered will give an advantage to Stuart’s army.
Tina: Once again, Jamie shows how smart of a leader he is — he gets to be teacher and mentor and gives the pep talks and comes up with competent schemes and all that jazz. It’s nice to see. At the same time, he knows something is up with his wife. She’s not acting herself. She’s too quiet.
We know that this training camp has triggered some painful memories for her from when she was a nurse in World War II. The part that comes to mind the most is when she spots Angus’ dirty feet. She getsÂ so angry at him. It was intense. I thought she was going to hit him or something. She kept seeing the American soldier that died. They were in the same car and then there was an explosion. The soldier died.
The miracle worker that Claire thinks she is blames herself for not being able to save him. She was lying there scared. She heard the soldier’s screams. She couldn’t get to him. She couldn’t move. It’s always interesting to see a flash of Claire’s other life when she lives in this completely different era. It should be jarring but it isn’t. It paints even more of a picture of Claire and that’s welcome. It’s easy to forget that Claire is not of this time. Her experiencing PTSD in this scenario makes sense and reminds her that she’s traveled through time.
Kara: When the flashbacks started, I liked them. Because they were happy at first. Or, not necessarily happy but all was well in them. She met two Yanks and kind of bonded with them. But with each progressive flashback things got worse. And for that final flashback, she had to cover her ears as she listened to her almost-friend cry out as he died. I mean, there’s so much that happens in war that isn’t talked about and we can’t imagine. War is ugly. Some people die quickly, but others die slowly and in extreme pain. I know Claire wants to save everybody, but she can’t. She’s gotta focus on doing what she can to help turn the tide of this Jacobite rebellion now.
Outlander airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on Starz.
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