Outlander Garrison Commander preview post: https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/outlander-musings-and-preview-of-episode-6/
Wow! I don’t even know where to start with recapping this incredible episode? I thought I was well prepared for it… planned ahead, had my comfort food and strong spirits all ready for fortification… it was not nearly enough. Thanks to Tobias Menzies’ fantastic performance and the excellent writing on this episode, my comfort food of Cottage Pie stuck in my throat and much like Claire, I felt myself in need of another drink!
I mentioned in my previous preview for this episode that I thought this would be the turning point, the beginning of the real story. I was not wrong, or disappointed! Ron Moore and the writers for this episode outdid themselves. This was the best episode yet and I think that the way they went about presenting it and painting such a vivid, intense and true picture of Jack Randall and the demons that reside within him was even better than Diana’s depiction of the man. Maybe it was seeing it all presented from his own perspective and imagery that put that darkest part of him right there in the open for us to see. When he described the whipping of Jamie and his reactions to not being able to break him down, you could feel the depth of his rage and know that this event and this man will haunt him and drive him deeper into the madness of his mind until he can feel he has won. I am just in total awe of Tobias Menzies’ portrayal of this tormented man who is so full of inner demons and knows it. His matter of fact way of describing the event of the whipping, his subtle yet so cruel and honest appraisals of Claire’s situation, his way of reeling her in to his web and then turning on her with the sadism that is so very much Jack’s own identity.
The changes that were made for this episode worked, and worked so well!
This episode was all about presenting us with the truest picture of Black Jack Randall, setting the scene for his future atrocities and behaviors… and having to do it all within a one hour time frame. They accomplished that in an extremely real, chilling and graphic way. You are sucked into it along with Catriona Balfe as Claire as she tries to understand him and his warped mind. She tries so hard to convince him and herself that there is some faint shred of decency, of light left within his soul. You can see the fear and the doubt on her face as she hopes she’s made some impact on him, when he so cunningly reels her into his web and then attacks without any feelings of guilt or remorse. I knew that beating was coming and yet I was still unprepared and completely unsettled by it!
The scenes with the razor were profound and just as difficult to watch as Catriona did such a fine job of showing Claire’s doubts, her panic and her attempts to rationalize, sort out and separate her memories of Frank from the realities of this look alike ancestor. The hardest part for her, I think was knowing how much Frank idolized and respected this ancestor then having to face the truth of what the man really was. She was so insistent on holding on to some of that feeling of Frank’s that she allowed herself to be played by Jack and sucked into his mind.
As I expected, there was so much presented in this episode, important pieces leading towards the future events. Our dinner was almost forgotten as we watched in complete silence save for some well placed gasps and sucked in breaths. Besides the graphic images that will haunt you, there is also a lot of important dialogue that should not be overlooked as it contains keys to why the events unfold the way they do in the future. As we listen to the British openly berate and insult Dougal MacKenzie and the entire land of Scotland, we watch Dougal stand stoically and proudly all the while seething inside. You can feel him holding his anger and rage in for as long as possible before coming to his breaking point. That scene gives you a better understanding of Dougal and his inner emotions. He knows damn well what is coming in the future for himself and for his country and he will do anything he feels necessary to stand up and fight for what he believes in, whether it be a losing cause or not. He shows this side of himself when he puts himself and the MacKenzie Clan on the line by rescuing her from Jack Randall.
Another piece of dialogue that I found a little unsettling and important for it’s future ramifications was during the conversation between Claire and Jack when she confronted him with his whipping of the Highlander boy. It was unsettling and suspenseful in itself with Claire rambling on as she does often when nervous, giving out too much information. You could see the wheels turning in Jack’s head and his suspicions rising that she knows more about this man than she’s saying? Then as if her nervous rambling were not enough, she had to lie… Claire can not lie! As Jamie tells her often in the future, she has a glass face and everything shows straight through. Of course it was obvious to Jack as he just smiled at his own sadistic joke and showed her the portrait of a Beautiful Liar! I’m thinking the sketch will show probably show up later on her wanted poster!
Claire’s inability to lie was stressed again after Dougal’s rescue. When he told her drink then accused her again of being a spy or a traitor, she stood up to him and insisted, “I’m no spy, I’m just Claire Beauchamp.” Dougal looked at her face and believed her this time… of course he said it was because of the magic pool and how anyone who drank from it could not lie? But, really all he had to do was look at her face to know. I’m fairly sure he could tell by her face and not the magic pool!
For all of those who are so excited about the upcoming Wedding, and what ever the wedding night entails… Please don’t get too excited? It’s not really such a highlight or highpoint in their lives or anyone else’s at that time. It’s a matter of convenience and saving Claire and the Clan from the predicament that Claire put them all in! It is a low point for Claire and she needs even more than her usual amount of alcohol to get through it!