Previously on Outlander, “Vengeance is Mine”
When you don’t feed your army, give them proper horses or shoes, and make them walk everywhere, don’t be surprised when they’re not all that interested in your upcoming battle. Jamie’s Highland army just walked from England to Inverness (probably 150 miles or so) and they are broken. Not that Bonnie Prince Charlie knows that, or even cares; as the winner of the “Least Amount of Clue” award, he thinks that everybody will rally when the time comes. The problem is that Chuck is not good at math: they don’t have enough men or weapons or dollars or fighting chances that they can take the British. Unfortunately, he’s also terrible at Biology; until you get your soldiers some food, they’re not going to get any better at the marching and the fighting.
Claire is at least in a town big enough to restock her medical supplies, and runs into Mary Hawkins at Ye Olde Apothecary. Behind the scenes, Jamie and Claire had shipped Mary back to her family after the “unpleasantness” at the Duke’s house, but she and Alex Randall crossed paths again, and now that he’s employed they’ve gotten engaged. But in the meantime Alex has only gotten sicker, and Mary has grown herself some balls because she is FURIOUS that Claire tried to break them up back in Paris. But it still helps to know a doctor (or a nurse), so even though she’s pissed she takes up Claire’s offer to help Alex.
If only Claire were a miracle worker. One look at Alex makes it clear that he’s not going to get better; the vaccine for TB is about 200 years out of the poor kid’s reach. Claire will help in any way that she can, but she’ll only be able to ease some of his pain. She’s doing just that when “Johnny” shows up; Johnny is Alex’s pet name for his brother, good ol’ Black Jack Randall! I swear, this show must use a revolving door for all of the recurring characters. In a real confusing spark of humanity, Randall has been funding Alex and Mary since little brother got too sick to get out of bed, and he even knows about Mary’s impending baby. Wait, a baby?! Maybe Alex isn’t as sick as he looks, eh?
Just kidding; he’s a dead man, but Randall still thinks he can get Claire to save him. Er, force Claire to save him. She’s clever enough to strike up a bargain before she agrees, even though she is literally already doing anything she can, and in exchange for Alex’s comfort Randall tells her the current location of Cumberland and the British Army. It’s just like the Hippocratic Oath says.
The recurring character door spins and in walks Collum MacKenzie to the camp at Inverness. Walk is probably a generous use of the word; Collum is not looking well, and his legs are looking even worse. In a private conversation with Claire, he surprises her with a very progressive request for euthanasia when the time comes. He exchanges her agreement for a very interesting bit of gossip (Hippocrates must be rolling in his grave): Geillis Duncan’s baby is alive and kicking. He was placed in the home of William MacKenzie, a childless man and relative of Collum. What an overabundance of information Collum has just shared! I wonder if or when this tidbit could possibly have any relevance to Claire?
Even with Claire’s help, Alex is getting worse, and in his fever state he’s asked his brother to marry Mary. It’s a pretty sly move, actually; as the wife of a British Officer, Mary would be under his protection and have his name. And as his soon-to-be widow, she’ll inherit his property and his pension when he dies tomorrow. Randall is livid at the suggestion, which is a pretty gross proposal, although it’s grosser knowing that Alex knows just what kind of man his brother is. Claire agrees with Alex and does her best to strongarm Randall into the marriage, which infuriates Jamie. Remember Jamie? He’s in this episode, too. Claire has to convince him that this is the best thing for Mary, since all signs are pointing to the Battle of Culloden going down the next day.
This episode is built on deathbed requests; Collum has one now, that Jamie raise and mentor his son Hamish to lead the clan once he’s gone. It’s a bit awkward, what with Dougal being in the room, and also being the boy’s biological father, and he doesn’t take it well. He doesn’t take it well at all, and for a second I thought Collum wasn’t going to need Claire’s assistance in dying. But when he comes in drunk that night to have a private word with Collum, his mind is set toward confession, and after he’s poured his broken heart out to his brother, he turns around to find that Collum has taken Claire’s potion and passed away during his speech. What a dick move–he couldn’t even stick around long enough to let Dougal get some stuff off his chest!
Alex is also on his deathbed, which is doubling as a wedding chapel while his brother and his fiance get married. It’s a weird, weird scenario, and they get through the ceremony just in time for Alex to slip away. And that’s when Jack Randall, out of rage and frustration and agony and grief, beats the everloving crap out of the corpse of his beloved brother.
That Jamie guy has told the Prince that the British army is real close and in for the night–the intel Claire got from Randall–and in a rare flash of intelligence Chuck is persuaded that they should march immediately and catch the army unaware. It’s a very short lived flash, and as Jamie and one of the other generals wait with their men for the Prince to show up, they get word from Murtaugh: the prince is lost. Literally. The prince got lost at night in woods with half of the Highland army, because the prince couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag if it were on fire. The siege is cancelled, and in the morning they will march on Culloden.
Outlander S2E12 = 6.3/10