And… SPOILER ALERT! Watch episode 211, then come back for all the juicy details.
Okay, party people.
We’ve been hearing rumors since winter that Diana Herself was going to be writing one of the episodes this season, and here it is! (I joked at the time that you would know which episode it was because it would be 14 hours long and feature a scene in which Claire reads all of Dragonfly in Amber while trying to get star anise seeds out of her hair. Just a joke, people. Just a joke.)
Vengeance is Mine is the name of this episode, and our opening image is: a wig being powdered and readied… for what, though? And oops, it topples to the ground. Hmm.
Claire tells us that the Jacobite army is moving along, and has had some progress, but now they’re encamped in Northern England without all the local support they had been anticipating.
In the war room, Bonnie Charlie makes it clear that he thinks they can simply “reach out and take” London.
But his generals and advisers? They all agree—there’s no way.
Jamie stands with the prince, but he’s outnumbered. Yet he insists London is attainable. As he says, “We are but five days from that city.”
John says it’s not the “five days that concerns me.” The three British armies are the real problem. Can they “slip past them all”? Or will they be wiped out by the vastly more numerous British?
Meanwhile, Claire is playing dentist. And Rupert is still mourning Angus.
So what shall the Scots do? Charlie is convinced: “Is there no one among you still willing to stand by your prince, your rightful king and your God?”
Well, Jamie is. But there’s a fine line between bravery and foolishness. Which side will they fall on? He is, after all, just “one man.”
“I am betrayed by both friends and allies,” says the prince.
So now Jamie comes out of the meeting, which did not go well. “Sorry, Sassenach,” he tells Claire, although his face already tells her everything she needs to know. He wonders if it’s too late to make things “different than they were in Claire’s history books.”
Okay, so new plan: “Home for winter.” But as Ross points out, the Brits will be right behind them at this point. They’ve opened a Pandora’s Box here. The British won’t forget this rebellion, and they won’t forgive it. It’s win or die time. And winning seems far-fetched.
This is depressing. Diana, a little help here?
Oh good, Jamie’s got his shirt off and he’s speaking Gaelic. Thank you, Diana.
“Get into bed,” says Claire (echoing the thought in all our heads). I do have to say, it’s nice that they always seem to have a warm bed to sleep in these days. In the books, I seem to recall many nights of sleeping out in the cold wet heather.
Okay, moving on. Dougal comes storming in. Jamie—Lord Broch Tuarach, excuse me—has been called to Inverness. O’Sullivan, the guy from the war room, is exiling both men because they have “too much influence.” So they’re being sent on a fool’s errand to “obtain provisions.” But as Claire points out, there’s no money to do that.
Oh yeah, and the prince left and took Jamie’s horse. Well, this is not promising.
Okay, so off to Inverness (which, you may recall, is where Claire first went through the stones in Outlander). What will happen there this time?
Oh, there we go—sleeping in the cold, wet fields. That’s more like it.
Claire is removing the splinter from hell from Ross’s finger (something which Rupert is quick to point out wouldn’t have even fazed Angus) when all of a sudden—oh shit, Redcoats firing shots. Quickly, onto the horses! Claire and Jamie ride away, along with Fergus, Dougal, Murtagh, Rupert—you know, the gang.
But the Redcoats are hot on their heels. Dougal seems to have a plan as Rupert, wounded, dangles precariously from his horse. Dougal jumps horses, saves his friend’s life, and they ride off.
They all duck for cover as the Redcoats ride by. They must stop or “Claire assures me Rupert will die,” says Jamie. (Book readers go: le sigh.)
So now that Rupert has “decided to take a closer look at a musket ball,” they all must pile into the church while Claire tends to Rupert’s eye, or lack thereof. Rupert’s—well, eye opening? What would you call this?
And so they make a run for it, and come nightfall, they are barricaded in the church! And we book readers think we know where this is going, but Diana isn’t content to let us sleep through the rest of the episode. Stay alert, people. Some changes are afoot.
The musket ball is removed from Rupert’s eye socket, and Claire promises to get him a “black eye patch like a proper pirate.” So everything seems to be fine except, well, they’re stuck in the church, aren’t they?
The torch lights of the Redshirts approach, the other Scottish men and horses taken captive.
Jamie offers to take the fall for all of them, as he is the one with the “price on his head.” So now Claire does what she does—
After all, “it worked the last time.”
“Bring out the woman or we shall set fire to the thatch!” yell the soldiers. There’s no time to waste. Jamie doesn’t like the plan, but Claire insists.
“Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these men not my responsibility, too?” (Love that Claire is taking on more of a leadership role with the men, the true equal of her husband. Thanks, Diana!)
So the negotiation is set—Claire in exchange for all their freedom. Sorry, not Claire– “Mistress Beauchamp.”
Jamie is afraid Claire won’t be able to pull it off. She’s “a bad liar.” So Fergus suggests she faint, you know, like a woman.
Jamie carries her to the door—but wait, the Brits can’t be allowed to see Jamie. He’s too known. So Dougal will have to do it, and Claire needs to say goodbye to Jamie yet again. Oh God, I hate this.
But no. Dougal carries Claire out. The weapons are surrendered. The British soldiers make fun of the “Jacobite army,” which, granted, does seem a bit pathetic at the moment. Claire is handed over and the deal is done.
The Jacobites are invited to go home and “resume their lives as peaceful, loyal subjects of the crown”—something Dougal won’t do until the “true king” is sitting on that crown. (Note to self: appreciate democracy more.)
And the Redcoats ride away with Claire, Jamie powerless to do anything but watch her go… until he and Murtagh can go and fetch her back.
Claire tells us in VO that she quickly loses her sense of direction on the horse, and can’t leave a trail for Jamie to follow. (Although it seems to me he can probably follow their tracks, no?)
They stop for the night at a local town, and a familiar face watches them enter—it’s Munro the beggar, whom we met last season, blissfully alive in this version of events. (Okay, I’ll roll with that.)
Okay, so this plan is going well. Let’s see, we’re in the pub, we’re having some ale… ew, creepy British soldier offers to “warm Claire up.” Her two wedding rings glisten in the fire as she clutches her ale. In the morning, they decide to take her to Belmont—not where she was supposed to go.
But now Claire sees our familiar beggar, Munro, and recognizes him. “I still don’t understand why we’re going to Belmont instead of Hazelmere,” she says, just loud enough for him to hear. Nice, Claire! (Forgive any misspellings, by the way. These towns no longer seem to exist! Scottish readers, a little help?) Where was I?
Right! And who is it exactly that lives in Belmont? Why, the Duke of Sandringham, of course. Oh crap!
The duke is “delighted to offer the hospitality of my humble home.” By the time he says he needs a drink, I’m starting to feel the same way.
And just for chuckles, in case things were getting too serious, Murtagh, lurking outside the home, asks Jamie: “Does it ever occur to you that taking Claire to wife might not have been the wisest thing?” And Jamie answers: “No, it doesn’t.” (Not for nothing, Murtagh might have a point there. How many times is this that Jamie has had to rescue Claire from some sort of fortified building? No matter. Let’s move on.)
Okay, so this should be easy enough. There’s only one servant; Claire and the duke seem to be alone in the house. Sandringham admits he wouldn’t subject Claire to the Tower of London, where the rodents eat your wig. But of course, there are the soldiers camped out in front of the house to worry about. And why are they there? Well, Sandringham is being watched… still suspected of being a Jacobite.
No idiot, Sandringham knows that Jamie is coming to “rescue” Claire, and his plan is to be “rescued” too—read: escape. He assumes, wrongly, that Jamie couldn’t know where Claire was unless Sandringham told him. But he knows a man who can get notes past the soldiers. He will then be removed from the house and dropped in “some safe haven.”
Sounds like a deal to me. PS—not sure I could write with a quill. Sounds like one of those charming things that sounds adorable, but wouldn’t work very well. I don’t know.
And turns out Claire has learned some Gaelic. Convenient. And her note will be delivered to Munro, the beggar.
Oh, and look who we have here! It’s st-st-stuttering Mary c-c-coming to c-c-complicate the plot! Turns out, Mary is the duke’s goddaughter… and she’s getting married. How lovely! Wait, what’s that you say?
Who’s Granger? you ask. Doesn’t matter. Let’s move on.
Now the messenger is looking for Munro. Lots of riding through the misty woods and—oh, look, it’s Munro! Well, that was easy. And Munro—who does not leave the poor man a tip—takes it.
Claire and Sandringham now need to discuss the plans for Mary’s wedding. And now, here’s a servant of Sandringham’s who has a familiar marking on his hand—he’s the rapist of Mary! (Wow, I’m trying to keep up. This is a bit different than the book.)
Now we learn that, in the show’s version anyway, Sandringham put the rapists up to it. He was doing the bidding of the comte. (Remember him? Icy blue eyes, chiseled jaw, heart of a piranha?)
Why would the duke do such a thing? you ask. I have no idea. Diana, what is going on here?
I see. So having Claire raped seemed like “sufficient revenge”– THEME ALERT– for her wrongdoings, enough to appease the comte and get him to lay off trying to kill her. Why, Duke, you’re practically a saint! Let’s call the Nobel committee, shall we?
But, wait, there’s more! Sandringham has warned the guards that Red Jamie is coming. It’s all been a trap. (In fairness, however, he did tell her when she got there that it was “all a trap.” Turns out, he was being literal.)
So will Claire and Jamie be “hanged side by side,” as the duke now promises? And what will become of M-M-Mary? Well, let’s send Claire off to her bedroom and see where the night takes us, shall we?
Cutting back to Jamie for a moment, he now sees Munro again and receives his message.
Turns out Claire may “speak” some Gaelic, but speaking and writing are two very different things. Jamie and Murtagh do understand, however, that she’s with Sandringham, “the original bad penny”—(thanks, Murtagh).
Locked in her bedroom, Claire sees Munro coming up the field behind the house. And Mary comes in, wanting to escape with her. Can Mary go out and meet the “filthy beggar”? No, she’s too precious for that.
Hold up, did the painting just become the hidden door into the hallway? Because that’s awesome. Let’s see that again:
Of course, she can’t just sneak out without running into the duke. Time to sit down for some food and wine. Claire insists that she killed the comte “by accident,” but as the duke admits, the comte was a man with no sense of humor—apparently therefore deserving to die.
And here’s Mary—stuttering about looking for a snack. Oh, poor Mary. She takes her food to bed. This is fun. I have no idea where this is going. Diana?
Ooh, Mary gets a message to Munro. She is now grabbed by… her rapist! Oh crap!
But Jamie, still outside, is getting ready to storm the castle. He swiftly takes down a Redcoat guard.
And inside, Claire is still trying to distract Sandringham. Mary nicely covers for why she’s not in bed—more business about not wanting to get married. But it doesn’t really matter if the duke is buying it or not, because here comes Jamie!
The rapist grabs a knife, sticks it to Claire’s throat! Sandringham… puts on his wig, of course (as you do when facing imminent death). But now Murtagh charges in, and the bad guys are no match for our dynamic duo. The rapist is taken down. And Claire makes sure the guys know exactly who he is… as well as the little tidbit that Sandringham arranged for the rape.
Jamie grabs the duke by the neck and Mary picks up the knife. Oh, please do it, Mary! Yes! She stabs the rapist in the side.
Okay, that was fun. But now Murtagh is done with this shit. And so he does what he’s been wanting to do for a while now: he chops off the duke’s head! And it is grisly, too. Not just a swift slice for the Duke of Sandringham. He gets the full treatment.
And finally, blood splattered all way from his kilt up to his tam, Murtagh presents the head to Mary, kneeling before her.
I’m actually crying. This is such an important moment for Murtagh, who has been racked with guilt since not protecting her in the first place. (I talk about this in Outlander 2: Written in Diana’s Own Heart’s Blood, AKA Top Five Dragonfly Moments.)
And they all escape together. Holy cow, that’s how you end an episode!
In the commentary, Diana tells us that she was given this episode because all the events are recognizable from the book (yeah, but, like, totally different). The chapel scene is, of course, different. They had to lose the horses because the old churches wouldn’t let them in. (Again, continuing with a theme from the Writers Guild panel: just because you can write it in a book doesn’t necessarily mean you can film it!)
And—book readers– in case you were wondering why Rupert didn’t die here… well, it’s because we already lost a beloved character (Angus) last time. And they felt it was enough already. (I agree. Can we keep Rupert for a while? I’m exhausted!)
Or just follow this blog. 🙂
And for those who wanted to get some Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry