Jamie and Claire meet up with Murtagh and wee Fergus at the encampment. Good ‘ol boys Rupert and Angus arrive and are greeted with hugs and kisses from Claire, then share the tragic news that Willie is no longer with us and by that they mean he’s married an Irish girl and moved to America. I, for one, am hopeful we might meet him again. #Foreshadow Dougal’s also arrived but hasn’t brought any men cuz Colum is the boss of him and said no.
Dougal, always the politician, wants to hit the road and meet up with the Prince so he can begin his Arse Kissing Offensive. But Jamie points out the obvious, these Scottish Gomer Pyles need LOTS of Basic Training before they can show their faces in public. Claire watches Murtagh attempt to train the men to march while Jamie and Dougal teach them hand-to-hand combat. Over-eager Dougal pleads to push on and join Charles and Claire becomes quieter as she deals with PTSD flashbacks from her WWII experiences. During the war, Claire met two young American soldiers, one of them is Corporal ‘Jesus H Roosevelt Christ.’ Jamie tries to discover what’s bothering Claire, but like most wives, she blows him off and says everything is fine.
The young Highlanders are not taking their training seriously so Jamie gives them a Churchillian-worthy speech which inspires them. I feel it too and jump from my plaid La-Z-Boy and attempt to enroll on-line in the Scottish army. Jamie’s speech is suddenly interrupted when ADHD pre-schooler Dougal and a few men charge in and quash his efforts. I wonder what the Casting Call looked like for this scene because I’m pretty sure I could beat the daylights out of most of these dudes.
Jamie suppresses his anger and explains to overgrown toddler Dougal MacKenzie that these are his men, his Clan and he’s the boss. Dougal ‘pretend agrees’ then goes straight to Claire who’s either cooking a bizarre dinner or making medicine, either way I’m not eating it, and tries to manipulate her into manipulating Jamie. Claire’s not having it, however, and rips him a new one using all the psychological theories available in the 1940’s along with a dollop of Greek mythology.
Basic Training continues as the Highlanders work to turn the accountants and blacksmiths into fighters while Claire continues to experience PTSD. She examines Angus’s filthy feet and tries to explain trench foot to him, but he won’t listen. Other people’s feet gross me out and I think Caitriona Balfe should’ve gotten hazard pay for that scene but that’s just me. Claire flashes to WWII when she gave the same speech to soldiers and they didn’t listen either.
Dougal waltzes into Jamie’s field office with a few wimpy guys he’s strong-armed into joining up. Jamie asks how they made it into camp without being stopped and orders that the guards be brought to him. Jamie then tells the men if they don’t want to be there, they can leave and they all scram. Dougal or ‘Douglas’ as my auto-correct refers to him, is so petulant and impatient I long to slap him sideways but I can’t reach him through my TV.
Next day everyone gathers in the courtyard as Murtagh whips the pasty, white back of the poor, clueless guard who let them enter the camp. Afterwards, Jamie practices shooting with the men and with every shot Claire jumps out of her skin until she finally collapses behind a wagon and we see the source of her PTSD. During WWII, she was the lone survivor of a horrible jeep explosion where three young soldiers were killed including the sweet Corporal JHRC. She couldn’t help them because the Germans were close by, instead she had to lay helplessly and listen to their dying screams. When Jamie finds her, she finally tells him what happened. He wants to send her back to Lallybroch so she doesn’t have to go through war again but, Claire is the bravest woman in literature, so she says no. She won’t be helpless and alone, she’ll stay with the people she loves and also Jamie = Hotness, so she won’t leave and none of us would either, let’s just admit it.
Later that evening, Jamie’s taking a well deserved pee when he’s attacked by a young English boy who then lands in his pee puddle which is disgusting. The boy says he recognized our hero as ‘Red Jamie’. He won’t give up any intel even when Jamie threatens him with a hot knife. Quick-thinking Claire emerges from the shadows, pretends she’s a captive and says she’ll no longer resist Jamie’s advances if the boy is set free. Jamie pretends to ravish her while Murtagh’s all Smirky McSmirksalot. (The following meme is for the book readers!)
The boy, William Grey, spills his guts and tells Jamie everything except the General’s shoe size. As thanks, Jamie tells his men to take the boy to the camp, if the info is correct, tie him to a tree. If he lied, kill him. Jamie says, ‘I give you your life. I hope you use it well.’ Grey says ‘I owe you my life and I regard it as a debt of honor.’ THIS IS IMPORTANT STUFF FOLKS, commit it to memory!
Jamie gathers the men to find out how Grey got through the lines. Dougal’s men were the culprits and it looks like Dougal’s gonna finally be at the bidness end of Murtagh’s belt. Instead, Jamie strips off his shirt and asks for 18 lashes for his uncovered fire. I get that he’s all noble and everything, but hasn’t his back been through enough? Also, this meme is un-necessary, but I can’t seem to help myself.
Jamie and some of his men head into the British camp, and he orders Dougal to stay behind and guard the camp. Jamie and his men steal the cotterrrrr pins out of the cannon and take the wheels and burn them in a bonfire minus marshmallows. He gets home in the morning, looking like a reject from a Beetlejuice retrospective, wakes up Claire and tells her about the Cotterrrr pin Caper He also says their success was due to her selflessness and getting info out of ‘William’ Grey.
The troops travel to the gathering area and since Jamie doesn’t give a fig about politics, he graciously lets Dougal strut ahead on his horse and announce their arrival to Prince Charles. Next week it’s Prestonpans folks and Je Suis not the least bit pret. Not one bit. Until then, Tulach Ard Y’all!
PTSD and Me and Why I Continue to Admire the Acting Skills of Caitriona Balfe
A word about PTSD. I’ve had it and still do. Twenty years ago an F3 tornado bore down on our home which is set on a small rise and backs up to open flat Texas parkland. It’s normally a wonderful place to live, however, when you can see a tornado approaching for three-full hours and you have 3 small children in the house (2 of my own and one borrowed) and no cellar, it’s a nightmare. So, for THREE hours, as the children played near me in the kitchen and the electricity went out (no cell phones), I stood near the back door and watched the funnel cloud rise and fall and rise and fall. It rarely veered off course, just headed towards us. Later, I described it to my husband as someone pointing a rifle at my children, then laughing and pointing it away. After the tornado killed 30 people in a nearby town and demolished countless buildings and cars along the way, it headed straight for us taking out 25 homes in our old neighborhood less than 2 miles away. By then the kids were wearing their bike helmets and in the kitchen closet, my son feeding Cheerios one-by-one to his 2 year old sister, to entice her to stay in there and we were all praying. When the house began to shake and I saw large ‘things’ shooting out of the funnel (doors, sides of houses, etc.), it descended one last time and hit an over-filled retention pond near our house, shot up into the sky, went over our house and landed in an empty field a half a mile away. The electricity finally came back on and the TV stations were reporting the death toll numbers but no names were released as they hadn’t notified families yet. My husband finally made it home around 8:00pm and it was then that I knew he was alive.
I did therapy but bio-feedback saved me. Still, during rainy season, or when I see an odd-shaped cloud or there’s a tornado watch, I begin to shake and fall apart inside. Even though twenty years have passed, it never really leaves me. So kudos to Caitriona Balfe for once again, accurately portraying a traumatic experience to perfection.