Previously, on Outlander: “Rent”
When last we left Claire and Dougal, she was being “questioned” by the troop of Redcoats that found them arguing by the stream. She assured the Lieutenant that she was a willing guest of the MacKenzies but still had to go with them to the nearest military outpost to meet with the Garrison commander. She should be happy about this, right? She’s back with her people and received as a favored guest at the General’s dinner table, but everything is just… wrong. Tense. It doesn’t help that Dougal and General Thomas’ verbal sparring has only the thinnest veneer of civility, though in fairness the General is a pompous, condescending dick who mocks everything about Dougal and about Scotland.
Dougal excuses himself to the taproom while Claire regales the table with her mesmerizing adventure (doesn’t it make you wonder what version she’s told them?) The General promises her safe passage back to Inverness, and instead of running out of the room and getting herself on her merry way, Claire drinks another glass of wine… and in walks Black Jack Randall.
With no more purpose than to ruin a good party, Randall proceeds to counter every good feeling Claire has generated with the British officers. He talks about a Private who was recently killed by Scottish rebels, eventually baiting Claire into defending all of Scotland and their unfair oppression by the British. It’s a noble, heartfelt plea to empathize with their fellow man… made to a table full of decorated British officers in charge of taking Scotland over for the king. Might be the wrong audience, Claire, and now you have 10 men staring at you and questioning your loyalties.
Luckily, her backpedalling is interrupted by a soldier who has just arrived at the garrison with a massive shotgun wound. Always the emergency healer, Claire preps the man for an amputation, just as the doctor shows up with his hacksaw. She returns to the General’s private room to find the room occupied by Randall; the General has gone a-rebel huntin’. Posting a guard outside the door, Randal begins a long, undisturbed interview of Claire and her motives. Randall is uncannily good at seeing through Claire’s lies and subversions, and he lays out a pretty good case for not believing her. Forced to present the true account of how she ended up in the woods that day, she lies again; a long involved tale of a spurned love and a two-timing British soldier (didn’t Frank tell her to stay as close to the truth as possible??), but Randall again cuts right through her bullshit. Surely tired of her constant stream of garbage, he offers her the opportunity to turn in the MacKenzies as Jacobite supporters in order to hitch a ride to Inverness.
Defensive of her patron family, she refuses the offer, knowing that Randall has other, far more nefarious ways of getting the information out of her if he wants it. He tells Claire the story of the one hundred upon one hundred lashes, the day he flayed open Jaime’s back to the bone. He poetically, lovingly describes each stroke, the skin peeling open, the blood dripping, the horror and the beauty of his art inscribed in broken flesh. Scotland has changed him, Randall explains to her, and has opened up a darkness and a hatred in him. Claire is a healer, though, and wants to save his soul with kind words and hope; Randall begins to think that there may be a day when he could look in the mirror and see the man he used to be. And then BAM!!! He punches Claire in the stomach.
“Never play a playa” he says, basically, but in a more 17th Century British kind of way; and while Claire gasps for the wind he has knocked out of her, Randall has his Corporal literally kick her while she is down. Repeatedly, and in the stomach. Luckily Dougal storms in, pulling Claire up off the floor and storming her away from there, but not before Randall makes it clear: she can leave today, but will be delivered to the prison at Fort William by tomorrow for more “questioning”.
Dougal and Claire ride at a frenzied pace, stopping only for a drink at a reclusive spring. The spring, it turns out, forces it’s drinkers to tell the truth, so when Claire answers yet again Dougal’s questions about her spy-ness, he finally believes her. Because of the magic spring. And now that Dougal knows that Claire is true, he explains in no uncertain terms that he will still have to legally hand her back over to Randall, and her only protection would be provided by taking a Scottish name and living on a Scottish land. In other words, she’s got about 24 hours to marry a clansman.
Oh, don’t worry. She is not about to become Mrs. Dougal MacKenzie. As Claire reads over her marriage contract, sweet young Jaime approaches her with a pre-wedding drink to calm her nerves. He’s not much of a prospect, he knows, with no money and a price on his head, but his name will protect Claire from Randall, which is reason enough for him. Almost–it probably doesn’t hurt that Jaime’ll finally get to lose his virginity, and to his sassy Sassenach wife.
The best of the episode:
- Jack Randall. Man, that man is smart. Sneaky. Wily. Sly. Wouldn’t he make such a fantastic hero? I can just see him interrogating criminals, good copping and bad copping all on his own, poking holes in the alibis, smirking that smirk of his. He could be his own Law and Order… if he weren’t a completely sadistic, potentially psychotic villain.
- Another day, another episode of wondering why in the world Claire still thinks saying whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and is going to work out okay for her. It’s great that she can empathize with the plight of the Scottish (and she’d be hard pressed not to, considering what a smarmy ass the General was), and obviously she’s growing as a person, but did she really think that NOW was the time to bring up her newfound loyalties? How does this woman have no filter at all?
- That hacksaw scene was hard core. I’m not squeamish–not even close–but the surgeon went after that poor guys arm with the gusto of a landscaper.
- So there’s going to be a wedding! I hope there is at least a pretty dress, since the bride clearly won’t be smiling. I know the consummation was a last ditch effort to persuade Jaime that this was a bad idea, and finding out he’s a virgin was fun, but in the bigger picture: they’re going to have sex?! But she’s married! To Frank!!!!
- This guy. The one black guy in Scotland forced to watch a lashing.