Author’s Note: I’ve read Outlander an embarrassing number of times, 10-ish?, so I obviously knew what to expect this week. There were incredible performances all season long #EmmysForCaitrionaBalfe and Sam Heughan, but nothing, NOTHING, prepared me for the brilliance of Sam Heughan’s multi-layered performance in this episode. Brave doesn’t begin to describe his agonizing, heartbreaking portrayal of a man who sacrifices EVERYTHING to save someone he loves, and I truly hope those who vote for acting awards, don’t let his leading man looks overpower their perception of his talent. That shizzle usually only happens to women though, so he’ll probably be okay.
So let us begin….
The sun is shining on a beautiful Wentworth morning (#Oxymoron) and the hills are alive with the sounds of fife and drums which remind me of happy July 4th Celebrations from my New England childhood. The redcoat who read the names at Taran MacQuarrie’s hanging is there and he’s leading the morning drill. This soldier has a hero’s face and just like I hoped he’d save the men at the hanging, I have a glimmer of hope he’ll intervene and save Jamie, but alas he does not.
Jamie is lying on his cot in the dungeon cell and the look on his face breaks my heart. Both his hands are bloody and I want to bring him some antibiotic ointment and bandages, but that isn’t possible. The camera pulls back to a chilling sight as Jack Randall is asleep next to him.
The music has awoken Randall and he stands and walks toward his clothing as his now benign naughty bits half-heartedly bounce with each step. He hears a strange sound and goes to investigate leaving Jamie begging to be killed in a voice that does not sound like his own. Just as BJR arrives at a door, MacRannoch’s cows stampede and knock him unconscious on the floor leaving him bleeding from the head. The MacKenzie men hurry past him and I wish they’d stop for a moment and finish the job.
The men find Jamie; Murtagh wraps him in his kilt and carries him out the door looking for all the world like the hero he has become to us. All Hail Lord Murtagh!
Claire is waiting for the men in the middle of a road and when she spies the wagon coming toward her, she quickly jumps aboard to help Jamie and just as quickly he tries to choke her. Rupert knocks his hand away and takes off like a bat out of hell for the Abbey. They arrive and get Jamie settled on a cot in a sparsely appointed room. Claire tries to coax Jamie to talk, but he rejects her plea. Jamie flashes back to his time in the prison with Randall. Just after Claire left, BJR pulled the nail from his hand, and Jamie fell to the floor and vomited. Randall pulled him into his arms and ‘baptized’ him. (It’s been a very busy week, I’m exhausted and there’s so much religious imagery in this episode, I decide to skip church on Sunday and work in my garden which is usually my ‘closest to God moment’ every week as I love working with soil.)
BJR says the only thing I’ve ever agreed with which is “Dear God, you are a magnificent creature.” Randall begins to fondle him and it’s very difficult to watch. #gag He then threatens Jamie saying he needs to respond or “my men can have Claire back here within the hour.” Jamie spits in his face….hard and accurate and for one brief moment I think of American baseball where they spit way too much and it comforts me. Randall turns into the sadistic lunatic we know he is and throws poor Jamie over a table and ……. I really can’t go there, we all already know.
Claire sedates Jamie with whisky and laudanum and performs a grueling surgery to repair Jamie’s hand. One of the monks comes into the room and hands over a scary looking vice.
A monk tells Claire to go rest as he will watch Jamie, so she staggers from the room and vomits in the hallway, which is becoming somewhat of a habit, and then goes to chapel. (Aside: My hubby and his ten siblings had 12 years in Catholic school and he LOVED this scene! I’m a Presbyterian and only liked it. ) While at the chapel, she takes a moment and unburdens her heavy heart to this man. I’m a big fan of his soup can art.
The next day, Jamie tells Claire he does not want to be saved. He refuses to eat; they are all worried about him. Murtagh, the world’s second strongest, kindest man, goes to speak to his godson. Their conversation is in Gaihdlig. I think if I listen hard enough, I will understand. I have obviously overestimated my talents cuz I got nuthin.
Back to the dungeon cell and terrible things are happening. Jamie is hallucinating, BJR is torturing him, there’s horrible pain, branding and Sam Heughan is delivering the goods. #EmmysForSamHeughan
Back at the Abbey, the MacKenzies and Claire have realized Jamie’s not getting better and they must leave Scotland as they are not safe from the damn redcoats. Murtagh goes to secure passage on a ship. Jamie tries to bully sweet Willie into giving him his knife so he can kill himself. Willie refuses and tells Claire. Claire confronts Murtagh and finds out Jamie also told Murtagh he wants to die. Claire faints. This episode is so painful to watch and re-cap, and I know I must watch it at least two more times. So, I decide to do a shot every time somebody faints or vomits because that will get me through.
The monk tells them Jamie’s soul is in torment and Murtagh says the only way to save his soul is for someone to enter the darkness with him and they look at Claire. Later, Claire picks lavender and pounds it and makes it into an oil. She rubs it on herself and Jamie and forces him back into the dark world he inhabited with Randall. I’m not going to re-hash what happened, we all know…but I’ll take a moment now and mention again Heughan’s bravery as an actor.
Jamie finally tells Claire what happened with Randall and says that “Randall broke me”. Claire disagrees and tells him “you did what was necessary to survive”. Note: I wish men understood that if we love you, we will do whatever it takes to help you, save you, keep you well. She reminds him that he swore he would protect her with his body if need be and she’s right. She says if he stops being her husband, she will die there with him. And…finally he listens to her, they embrace and thus begins his slow journey back to life. First stop? Murtagh cuts out Randall’s brand.
Jamie, Claire & Murtagh are leaving for France. They’re all on the beach with the ship waiting a small distance from the shore. Claire kisses Willie goodbye. Angus has a humongous brain fart and tries to get jiggy with Claire as he says goodbye. Rupert is a gentleman and kisses her hand. Murtagh tells them all to ‘piss off’. I love Murtagh and I love them too, so I wrote a song! It’s right down there….can ye see it?
On the ship, Jamie seems to be getting stronger as he’s able to walk unassisted. They briefly discuss what their future may be like and then Claire shares the joyous news that she is pregnant and we finally get a real smile of hope from Jamie. They kiss and embrace and sail off to their new life in France ending our first season of Outlander, the best television program of the year.