‘Outlander’ Recap Season 2 Episode 11: Vengeance is Mine

Outlander Season 2 Episode 11 Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in ‘Outlander’ (Photo © 2016 Sony Pictures Television Inc)

Episode 11 of season two is special because Diana Gabaldon, “Herself” as the Outlander fandom call her, wrote this week’s script. If you were expecting it to go strictly by the book you might need to change your expectations just a bit. A few surprises snuck in, and some interesting twists as well. But trust me when I say you will NOT be disappointed.

We open with one of the best title cards this season, though ‘The Fox’s Lair’ title card was very majestic with that beautiful red fox, in my humble opinion. A servant is dusting and preparing the Duke of Sandringham’s (Simon Callow) wig, and when he is just about done it topples forward to the floor. A bit of foreshadowing of things to come maybe? Let’s find out.

As the episode opens we see the current Jacobite encampment in northern England. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) begins explaining through voice-over that they have done very well in the early aspects of the campaign. But, as Jamie tried to warn Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) in France, the clans do not always do as expected. The Prince had anticipated them all rallying to his cause, but many have not. This leaves the Jacobite forces weakened in comparison to the British. As everyone is waiting, we see Claire working on a man’s teeth. From nurse to dentist, very versatile our Sassenach!

Inside the ‘war room’ the leading officers and junior officers, including Jamie (Sam Heughan), are all discussing the next approach to the mission. All of the room is against the Prince’s approach to push further southward to take London. Jamie is the only one in the room firmly behind the Prince in this decision. Book readers are probably scratching their heads at this, I know I was for a minute, then I realized why. When they all come out of the room Jamie apologizes to Claire for not succeeding in getting the other military leaders to join the push south. They must change history and refrain from the deadly day they spend on Culloden Moor. The push south might have done this, but there will be no push southward to London. They are to head back north for the winter.

Later that night, as Claire slept, Jamie was naked and kneeling by the bed. He was offering up a Gaelic prayer over her. Thanks to the person responsible for giving us subtitles this time – usually we don’t get the Gaelic words translated, so this was a treat to be sure. The showrunner, Ronald D. Moore, has said that it is because Claire doesn’t know the language, so it stays true to the books in that way. Jamie was praying blessings over her and any possible future child she might carry. If this scene does not put at least a lump in your throat, you cannot call yourself a true Outlander fan! He does unintentionally wake Claire by kissing her shoulder. As she turns slightly to regard him, she asks if he is all right. He says that he wanted to watch her sleep. {OMGsh too cute.} When she touches him she can tell how cold his skin is, and he is kneeling naked to boot. {I am suppressing a wise crack, so insert your own here if you like.} She tells him to get into bed, so he does. He snuggles up right behind her to be almost like a second skin. He can snuggle up behind… Oaky, I won’t finish that thought. Claire asks him what he was saying, but he doesn’t tell her. He says she will think he is daft in the head. All right, men, let me tell you something: we women just might like to hear those daft things you think, especially if they are tender and show your love for us! Mark me!! {giggle snort}

The next morning Dougal (Graham McTavish) barges into their room without so much as a knock. Good thing they were up and dressed. Sheesh man, manners much! He was angry over a conversation he had just had and a letter he was given to send Jamie, and the rest of the Lallybroch troops, to Inverness. The men ride to perform the ordered task and gift us with more of that amazing Scottish countryside. The snow on the mountains, the green of the grass, incredible contrasts that are simply breathtaking.

As the group is camping, a British band starts shooting at them from a ridge above their encampment. Everyone has to scatter. Jamie is shouting orders for them all to meet up at the crossroads, but eventually several of them are cornered in a church: Jamie, Claire, Dougal, Rupert (Grant O’Rourke), Fergus (Romann Berrux), Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), and Ross (Scott Kyle). The reason they had to stop is that Rupert was shot in the eye, of all places, and Claire has to dig out a musket ball to have any hope of saving Rupert’s life. In the book, Rupert dies in the church due to a different wound, but I have to say I’m glad he didn’t after we already lost Angus (Stephen Walters) in the last episode.

Claire gets the musket ball out of Rupert’s eye socket and covers it up, with a fair amount of yelling on Rupert’s part. {Can’t say I blame him, OUCH.} She certainly has the knack of a nurse to push past the patient’s pain and get the job done. Love the cheeky Scottish retort Rupert gave when Ross asked what happened to him. “I decided to take a closer look at a musket ball.” Thanks Diana, I’m sure that was your idea but so much like Rupert too. Those little cheeky sarcasms are Diana’s trademark, LOVE IT! Another trademark in this series is Claire’s 20th century references that no one else gets except the viewers/readers. She starts going on about pirates to Rupert as she covers up his eye with a makeshift patch. The reference to Long John Silver is clear; did we just cross over to a Black Sails reference there, Starz? He even asks her what she is going on about and she says her customary, “Never mind.”

As Murtagh and Dougal are watching out the windows they see British troops arrive. Not good! Jamie says he will sacrifice himself for the rest to get away. They want Red Jamie, certainly. Claire, always quick on her feet, uses her English-ness (as Jamie’s sister put it in episode 113) to try to save the men. Jamie is trying to shut her up, but she shouts loud enough for the soldiers to hear her. Yet again Claire overrules her husband. With no time to argue, they do so anyway. Claire is determined to perform the ruse to save the men. Jamie is determined that she will NOT. Dougal goes out to bargain for the men to get away if they turn over the Englishwoman. Another throwback to the first season, Dougal tells them her name is Mistress Beauchamp.

Jamie is NOT happy about the entire situation, but once they heard Claire shouting for help the choice was made. Fergus suggests that she act like she fainted from fright when Dougal carries her out to the soldiers. Jamie wanted to do it, and does in the book, but Dougal does it instead. They cannot know Red Jamie is inside or the deal will be broken. Too funny when Claire does the fake faint in Dougal’s arms, total dead weight. Jamie is left standing there with complete fear for his wife written clearly on his face.

The British mount up and take Claire, the Scots’ horses and weapons, and head off. Jamie finally comes out of the church after they are gone. He is expecting to go alone but Murtagh is not going to let Jamie leave without him. Dougal agrees with Murtagh and tells Jamie that he will need help. Rupert tells Jamie to give Claire a wink for him when they get her back… bwhahaha. The book readers know that Jamie cannot wink, he ends up squinting both eyes at the same time. Just a little inside joke for the book readers. It is also funny because Rupert now has only one eye to do his winking at anyone. The men expected that they would be going to the nearest British garrison. The soldiers and Claire stop at an Inn in a nearby village. As Claire passes a building, who do we see but the astonishing mute friend of Jamie’s, Hugh Munro (Simon Meacock). What a fortunate turn of events for Jamie and Claire. As Claire is passing a tavern door she sees the wanted poster of her beloved Red Jamie. Watch the expressions, Claire, your face tells more than you want it to.

The next morning, after Claire slept the entire night in a chair before the fire in the tavern, they come out to head off. Claire is told they will be going to a different location than the garrison, and she is almost at the point of panic. Thankfully the soldier doesn’t notice her anxiety. Just then, as they come out, Hugh steps forward begging for money. The soldier throws him to the ground, but not before Claire recognizes him. She scolds the soldier for his beastly behavior and helps Hugh up off the ground, in the process whispering what Jamie needs to know as her final destination. Hugh understands and sets off after him. In the book Hugh comes into the picture in a different way.

Claire is taken to a magnificent estate. Really gorgeous view of this massive house and grounds is gifted to us before they show us the exquisite interiors. This is said to be the residence of a Duke, so you would expect it to be a large house and grounds. Can you guess what Duke this estate belongs to? If you are any sort of Outlander fan, you certainly can. It is the Duke of Sandringham. Our Sassenach is out of the frying pan and into the fire. Such the slippery little eel he is, too. He gives no sign of knowing our heroine. The soldier asks that she be given a place to stay for a bit, and the Duke graciously obliges the request.

As Jamie and Murtagh are looking for Claire they encounter a pair of soldiers and plan to take their horses. Murtagh asks if Jamie has ever had second thoughts about taking Claire as a wife given that she has caused them to be traitors, murderers, and now horse thieves. Jamie gives a resounding, “No, it doesn’t,” as his only reply to this snarky question. That is our Jamie, blindly in love and supportive of his wife. Again, husband’s take note! I’m lucky enough to have such a husband. Just had to take the opportunity to brag slightly on the hubs.

The Duke maneuvers Claire into thinking that he wants Jamie to come and rescue her and is willing to help toward that end. He lets Claire write a note to Jamie and he promises to get it through the soldiers by way of a messenger. Claire does write the note, but does it in her own version of Gaelic. This is not an activity that happened in the book, so it is a nice little add to the story. Hugh sees her here in the book and that is how Jamie finds out where she is. The messenger (Scott Hoatson) is sent off to look for Hugh Munro so he can find Jamie to deliver the note. Just then Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) comes into the room to surprise them both. The poor dear is the Duke’s goddaughter. She begs Claire to help her not have to marry a man the Duke has promised her to.

The messenger does find Hugh and pays a bit of a price for it. The man might be crippled, but Hugh is not without an ability to defend himself. He throws the man to the ground, but the messenger manages to get out that he is trying to give him a letter for James Fraser. Hugh takes it and is off immediately to find Jamie.

Claire meets with the Duke again after he has had time to try to get the soldiers around the house to back away from the estate for a while. When the manservant Danton (Andrea Dolente) takes the Duke’s cloak Claire sees a mark on his hand and recognizes him. He is the man who raped Mary in France. The Duke is angry that he’s recognized and the entire thing comes out. The Duke actually tries to spin the tale as a good thing for Claire. The Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber) meant for Claire to be killed. The Duke has proposed that she be only {only, sheesh} raped and let go. The Duke is the eternal optimist and conniving politician rolled up into one. Then the Duke goes right to a desire for gossip. He wants to hear the story of how she killed the Comte. Claire warns them that they will suffer when Jamie arrives. The Duke says that he is looking forward to it. The reason the soldiers are moving away from the house is because the Duke let them know that Red Jamie is on his way there. The trap has been set and Claire is the bait.

Hugh finds Jamie and Murtagh galloping toward the garrison as expected. He gives them the note that Claire wrote. Murtagh is fussing about Claire’s attempt at writing in Gaelic. Jamie just says they will give her lessons later as they try to work out what she is saying. Another gem out of the mouth of Murtagh; he says that the Duke is the original bad penny…snort. The men head off for the estate. They go to Belmont House as expected.

Claire is looking out the window and sees Hugh walking up the back of the house. Mary comes into the room where they locked Claire away, asking why she was locked in. Claire doesn’t have time to explain, she is near panic that Jamie will be caught trying to enter the house. Of course, Mary is scared and afraid to help with any requests that Claire makes of her. Claire runs out of the room and tries to get out through the kitchen. Who might be having a midnight snack…none other than the Duke himself (bad penny, indeed). Does that man do anything but eat? He has an appetite for gossip too and wants to know all the details about how she dispatched the Comte. The cat continues to play with his captive mouse.

Mary, scared but trying to do what Claire asked her to do, goes to the front door to intercept Hugh. She manages to get the message to Hugh just before the manservant Danton catches her at the front door. Hugh gets the message to Jamie and Murtagh, so they manage to go around back to enter from the kitchen. As Claire stalls for time by indulging the Duke’s desire for the tale of how the Comte died and listening to what the gossip the Duke heard on the subject, Mary and Danton come into the kitchen. The Duke tells her to go to bed, so the servant takes her by the arm and is trying to escort her there when Jamie bursts into the kitchen. Danton has Claire with a knife pressed to her neck in the blink of an eye. Jamie is standing there with his dirk in hand, but must drop it or Danton will hurt Claire. Murtagh sneaks in from behind Danton and Claire. Claire takes the opportunity to hit the man in the ribs with her elbow and Jamie grabs Danton and starts to wrestle with him. Claire points out that he is the one who attacked she and Mary in Paris. Mary is struck by this knowledge, as is Murtagh. You will remember he took it very personally that Mary was raped and Claire almost was too. Danton blurts out that it was the Duke’s idea and Claire backs that up, based on what the Duke had bragged to her earlier about saving her life. As Jamie approaches the Duke with measured steps you can see Murtagh grab an axe and Mary grab a knife.

Jamie sees the look on Murtagh’s face and knows he wants revenge. Jamie pushes the Duke that way without the Duke knowing Murtagh is standing behind him holding the diabolical axe. No one sees the knife in Mary’s hands. She stabs Danton and it surprises everyone in the room, including Danton. He crumples to the floor. Murtagh only has eyes for HIS revenge though. As the Duke turns thinking he can escape out the door, he is further surprised by the axe about to relieve him of his head. It takes three blows, but Murtagh takes the head and places it at Mary and Claire’s feet. Murtagh and Jamie are pleased but the ladies look a bit repulsed. Mary simply says, clearly (no stutter this time), that they should go. The group depart together to end the episode. I guess Claire can tell Frank how the Duke died now. If you remember in the first episode of the series, ‘Sassenach’, Frank (Tobias Menzies) was talking to the Reverend Wakefield (James Fleet) about the Duke and mentioned that he died under mysterious circumstances.

Only two more episodes this season but complete joy can still be had in the knowledge that Starz has renewed the series for TWO more seasons. We get the books Voyager and Drums of Autumn still to come. See you all next week!

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