Monday, June 20, 2016

Outlander 2x11 Review: “Vengeance Is Mine” (Heads Will Roll) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

“Vengeance Is Mine”
Original Airdate: June 18, 2016

In a tense episode that has Claire spying once again, many storylines from the season are wrapped up.

The episode begins slowly with Prince Charles and his men at an impasse once again. Jamie and the prince want to head straight to London — the prince because he wants this rebellion to end quickly (with a victory) and Jamie because he wants to do anything that will change the course of the rebellion from what Claire has told him happens in history. But none of the prince’s generals are willing to support a march to London, and the prince leaves in a huff.

But Jamie’s skills at diplomacy are on display — and are enough to make a higher-ranking general worry about Jamie’s influence on the prince. To get Jamie out of the way, once the prince is gone, the general orders Jamie to take his men and head to Inverness. We know from the first episode this season that Inverness is where the battle happens that separate Jamie and Claire and sends her back to the present time. As they march closer, their fate is coming closer, too.

But before they can get too far, the British find them and fire on their camp. The men scatter, with Jamie, Claire, Rupert, Murtagh, Dougal and Fergus on horseback trying to outrun the British. In a terrific chase scene, the British close in on Jamie and his people and manage to shoot Rupert in the eye (yikes). But before Rupert falls of his horse, Dougal is able to jump from his horse to Rupert and pull him back to safety. Dougal is far from my favorite Scotsman, but he has been showing his courage and skills in battle since this rebellion started, and that jump was mega cool.

Rupert’s injury, though, is mega gruesome. Claire has been acting as doctor and dentist to the men in the army, and their families, and she shows her medical acumen once again as she removes the bullet from Rupert’s eye and sews it shut to heal. Outlander is consistently one of the grossest shows I watch — and I watch Game of Thrones — and this episode was no exception. And Rupert’s eye was only the second-grossest injury this week.

After Claire stitches up Rupert, she and the men hide out in a church to try to recover, but soon the British catch up to them. As the British get closer, Jamie and his men try to come up with a plan. Jamie, always the hero, thinks he should turn himself over since he is the one with a price on his head. Maybe by turning himself over, his men and Claire would be able to escape. Dougal, of course, wants to stay and fight. And Claire, of course, wants to pretend to be a British woman taken by the Highlanders — again. She reasons that the British wouldn’t hurt her and they can trade Claire for their freedom.

Not only has Claire done this plan several times now and it seems boring to rehash once again, but I also feel like they are banking a lot on soldiers’ sense of duty and gentlemanliness. Her plan works — again — but eventually, as the solders get backed into a corner with this rebellion, I feel like their sense of propriety will fade away. I know they didn’t have much time to come up with a plan, but this doesn’t seem like the best they could do. Especially since it separates Claire and Jamie and will lead them both into enemy territory. But for now, Claire goes off with the soldiers, and Jamie and his men get away unharmed.

This episode is stronger than the last few, and much of that is because the focus is back on Claire and things are moving quickly. Watching her think on her feet is always a delight, and she starts scheming right away when she sees a beggar that she recognizes. When the soldiers tell her she’s going to Belmont, rather than the garrison she and Jamie expected her to be taken, she is able to get a message to Hugh, when he runs into her (on purpose) on the street. When she arrives at Belmont, she realizes it’s the house of the Duke of Sandringham.

The duke doesn’t give her away, but there’s no pretending that they are happy to see each other. With the duke’s return, so much of what happened in Paris comes back as well. Starting with Mary, who is staying with her godfather, the duke, before she gets married off to another dreadful Englishman.

Mary has never been in charge of her own life, and it’s brought her nothing but sadness. But in this episode Mary is fed up and decides to take charge. She pleads with Claire to talk to her godfather to get her out of her upcoming nuptials, and when that fails, she takes things into her own hands — quite literally.

Before Mary’s coup, though, Claire has a tense, delightful dinner with the duke. Claire and the duke are both wicked sharp and great at hiding their loyalties when needed. The duke has been playing both sides of this rebellion for so long that I wasn’t sure which side he was actually on, and Claire wasn’t sure either. He says that the British have noticed him playing both side as well and have stationed men outside his home to keep an eye on him. He tells Claire that he is tired of being watched and wants to help Claire so that Jamie will rescue him as well and bring him to a safehouse. Claire agrees, falling right into the trap that he has laid.

When Claire is talking to the duke, she notices that his valet has a birthmark — the exact birthmark of the man who attacked her and Mary. She realizes quickly that the duke had a hand in their attack in Paris, and when he can no longer keep up the charade, he comes clean. He cruelly says it was his idea to rape her and Mary because the Comte St. Germain, who hired him to repay a debt, wanted to kill them. He tells Claire she should really be thanking him.

The duke has always been a weasel, but he has never seemed truly evil to me until this moment. He has always been callous, but I didn’t think he was capable of anything this terrible — if only because he seemed too much of a coward to actually make a big move. But he proved his lack of humanity when he hired men to rape his goddaughter — traumatizing her and shaping her life forever.

When Mary learns of his betrayal, she gets her revenge. Everyone she knows has tried to take away her agency – including Claire, her one friend, who broke up her romance with Alex. But when Mary hears that the duke set her up and his valet is the man who raped her, Mary picks up a knife, and then used it. She stabbed her rapist and took back her future. During the commotion, Jamie and Murtagh were able to get into the kitchen to try to help Claire and Mary. And when Murtagh learned that the duke had orchestrated the attack, he used his axe to cut off his head. (This is the grossest injury this week — it was a bloody mess.)

Mary, calm now, tells them she thinks they should probably get out of here. And so they leave the bodies of their enemies behind and go out into their future. (Even though it looks grim, I am sure the future will be brighter for Mary now.)

Aon rud eile:
  • Jamie’s prayer over Claire while she was sleeping was very sweet and shows that their relationship is staying strong after the pain in Paris and the fear of war. 
  • The pacing of this episode started slow but picked up considerably, making it a fun, tense episode to watch.
  • I guess Jamie's kidneys are fine? Claire was worried last week, but no mention of it this week.
  • I'll be on vacation next week, but I'll be back for the finale. 


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