Full spoilers for Outlander continue below. There was never any doubt in my mind that Outlander would show the shades of grey to fighting a battle like Prestonpans. This is a show that has impressed upon us time and again that nothing in life is without complexity, be it sex, love or violence.
Wee Caps are written at 1 AM after the midnight release and are my immediate reactions/feelings about the episode.
History tells us this was a 15 minute victory for the Scots. And to win in 15 minutes, you kill and wound a lot of people. So the one thing I will tell people is that this episode is graphic and violent, from the first minute. If that sort of thing bothers you, this episode will be harder to watch. I did grimace a few times.
The title card shows the juxtaposition of the Highlander music and the British army music. One that wails in the night, the other that is rigid yet direct. It is a symbol of things to come over the next few episodes.
I can see why Sam was proud of this episode. He was in and out of it for the whole hour but it was really the rest of the expanded cast that had the spotlight. But whenever Jamie is on screen, the camera just finds him. This episode explored his relationship with everyone in his life who is at the camp with him.
I thought it started a bit slow. We got 2 of the 3 MarkMe early on. You can see that even when other men/generals are arguing, Jamie is always thinking. One of the most accurate lines of the night about Jamie is when Dougal tells him that something he just engineered (on his feet) was smart and cunning and that he reminded him of Colum. I wondered if Dougal recognized at that moment why Colum wanted Jamie to succeed him and not Dougal.
The actor that most impressed me tonight besides our two leads? Young Romann. He was good, I mean really really good. I love the relationship that has developed between Claire and Fergus as well.
The scene that was in the preview where Fergus interrupts a kiss? I could tell they weren’t going to kiss because Jamie didn’t lick his lips. But don’t worry, there was some great kisses in this episode. Jamie had what can only be described as battle lust in his eyes both before and after the skirmish.
There is a scene with the specimen bottle that shows boys will be boys no matter what the circumstances.
The parallel stories between the two soldier friends Rupert and Angus and the two farmer friends Ross and Kinkaid were nice but not exactly original writing by Ira.
The set production/cinematography was really good, I actually would love to see that on a big screen. The use of the morning fog was excellent.
The scene with Claire and the women at the hospital while the battle sounds began shows that sometimes waiting and wondering can be just as hard as swinging a sword. Claire was back in field hospital taking charge mode. I wonder if she hadn’t worked through her PTSD with Jamie last week if she would have had a hard time at the hospital.
The music was superb and the heartbeat type sound before the battle was unique sounding and really captured the adrenaline of both nerves and excitement that I would imagine precedes a battle.
With war comes loss. Loss of life, loss of innocence, loss of stability. And PrestonPans is no different.
I wonder how many times they had to film those scenes, it must have been exhausting. I also wonder if those were the scenes that Sam filmed while Cait was doing Faith.
I look forward to watching it again on my HDTV tomorrow to catch the little things that one misses on first watch. It certainly isn’t the kind of episode that you watch over and over like last week but it was very important in many ways.
Even though this was Sam’s favorite, I’m glad it was not submitted for Emmy. He had deeper performances in other episodes in terms of meaty scenes that voters like. But I loved watching his eyes in this episode. I’m glad they are continuing to show how intelligent Jamie is.
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Storyboards are an important tool sometimes used in the pre-production process. The director works with a storyboard artist to plan out each shot required to shoot a particular scene and tell the story. The storyboards are then shared with the entire crew, so everyone has an idea of the director’s vision for the scene and can plan accordingly.
‘s war, what is it good for? Leaving our heroine curled in the fetal position, apparently. This week’s episode of the Starz drama delves into Claire’s experiences in World War II, which turn out to have been even more ghastly than we might’ve realized.
Unfortunately for Lady Broch Tuarach, she’s not likely to be in any more comforting of an environment for some time to come, because Clan Fraser is officially marching off to battle.
Not that I don’t love impending bloody carnage and soul-crushing loss as much as the next girl, but knowing what’s to come, how about we focus on some lighter fare for the moment? Dougal, Rupert and Angus are back — though Jamie might wish that weren’t the case — and we become acquainted with the boy who will become the man known as Lord John Grey. As Oldlanders know, this is a verra good thing, indeed.
Let’s review the major events of “Je Suis Prest.”
GETTING THE GANG BACK TOGETHER | Jamie, Claire and what’s left of their contingent arrive at Perth to rendezvous with Murtagh and pretty much everyone else. As Claire’s voiceover informs us, a bunch of Lord Lovat’s men deserted along the way, so Young Simon was tasked with trying to bribe them back into the fold. Murtagh gives the Frasers a little good-natured ribbing about being five days late, and then — wait, that wink was at Claire, right? I’m going with Claire. #Clairetagh4eva
Fergus acts like a big, curly-haired Labrador puppy when he sees them, and then Rupert and Angus are there, as well… so you know that means Dougal can’t be far behind. Claire’s surprised that the three men have broken with Colum’s desire to keep Clan MacKenzie neutral, which prompts Dougal to launch into the first of many “for glory, for Scotland!” speeches. Mistress Fraser rolls her eyes hard, and with relish.
The “army,” such as it is, needs a lot of training. So rather than follow Dougal’s desire to march off and battle the Brits alongside the rest of the Jacobite forces, Jamie decrees that they’ll camp where they are until the ragtag bunch of volunteers learn how to fight as one. Dougal acts like he’s kind of OK with that, but he’s verra much not OK with that.
LOADED FOR BARE | How do we know? Because as Jamie’s putting the fear of God into his men, telling them horror stories from his time fighting in France, Dougal, Rupert and Angus come screaming down upon them, shirtless, muddy and demonstrating how warfare is done in the ancient Highland tradition. On a related note: Did someone change the MacKenzie battle cry to Tulloch Hardbody? Because damn, Dougal!
Well-aged washboard abs aside, Jamie is irked by his uncle’s refusal to let his nephew lead. “I ken what these men will face, and I know how to prepare them for it,” Jamie says with barely restrained anger. “Ye don’t.” And though Dougal appears to back down, he’s merely changing tack: He later tries to get Claire to lobby Jamie on his behalf, but she basically tells him to stick a bagpipe up his bahookie. She correctly susses out that Dougal doesn’t want glory for Scotland, he wants power for himself. And to that, she says: “F—k yourself.”
WAR IS HELL | Yes, Jamie’s narcissistic uncle probably deserved that, but Claire’s a wee bit testy this episode, no? Turns out that being around all of the men preparing for battle has dredged up a very traumatic memory from her own time in World War II, in which some American soldiers with whom she was friendly were killed during a German ambush while she lay, helpless, in a trench nearby.
Her PTSD manifests itself in uncharacteristic quietness, then a higher-than-normal number of f-bombs dropped, then ultimately in a full-on panic attack that leaves her balled up behind a wagon, palms pressed to her ears. That’s where Jamie finds her, whispering, “Please, shut up” to the memory of a dying Allied soldier screaming for his mother.
After Lady Broch Tuarach has pulled herself together, she realizes that she buried the nightmare: “I just closed the door on that night. Walked away,” she tells her husband, who is very understanding as he suggests that she should go back to Lallybroch in order to get away from the fighting. But she refuses, saying that returning to Jamie’s family home will be like being back in the ditch again, “helpless and powerless to move, like a dragonfly in amber. Except this time, it’ll be worse.”
You guys know already that I’m a fan of the little things Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan do to make the Jamie-Claire relationship sing; for that reason, I won’t waxtoo poetic about the look Big Red gives his lady as she says she’s not going anywhere. It’s a gaze full of love, solidarity, respect, a teeny bit of amusement and an insane amount of pride — and it all happens in a microsecond. He agrees that she should stay with him, then promises that she’ll never be left alone again. They kiss, and it’s a good one.
MEET JOHN GREY | OK, back to Dougal’s asshattery. He goes on an unauthorized walkabout and brings back a handful of “volunteers”… who Jamie quickly realizes have been threatened into joining the Jacobite army. After releasing the men from their conscription, Fraser orders the men on sentry duty — who clearly weren’t doing their job, considering Dougal’s huge group of armed men just waltzed into camp — to be whipped as punishment in the morning. Along the way, Jamie stands and intones, “I’m James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. I command this army,” and I’m sure there are things that are sexier, but I’m having trouble thinking of any of ’em right now.
Anyway, later that night, Jamie is peeing when he’s attacked by a teenage member of the British army — marking the first time (but certainly not the last) that Lord John William Grey tries to get his hands on Jamie’s sweet D. I mean his dirk, aka his knife. Why, to what did you think I was referring? Those of you who’ve read ahead in Diana Gabaldon’s novels know that the young attacker, who introduces himself as William Grey when pressed, will become a major character as the years go on. But for now, he’s just a scared kid whose attempt to infiltrate the Jacobite camp went horribly wrong. Oh, and Jamie broke his arm.
Still, Grey is “quite prepared to die,” he announces, and won’t give up any details about his unit’s movements until Claire wanders over and pretends to be Jamie’s captive; when Jamie says he’ll spare Claire’s virtue if the boy spills what he knows, Grey relents. (A little too early, in my opinion, because watching the silent looks Mr. and Mrs. Fraser shoot each other during the farce — including after she knees him in his standing stones — is pretty fun.)
“I give you your life. I hope you use it well,” Jamie says, releasing the boy. But young Grey is going to have the last word, which is quite ballsy, considering the circumstances: He vows to pay back the debt… then kill Fraser. “Then I must hope, sire, that we do not meet again,” Jamie says, clearly tickled by the kid’s pluck. “A Grey does not forget an obligation, sire,” Grey replies.
CANNON MARAUDER | Sooooo…. who was on watch and missed the intruder this time? That would be Dougal and his men, but Jamie points out that the unshielded fires drew Grey’s attention, so he — as commander — is responsible, too. So he asks Murtagh to whip him, as well. Wait, isn’t poor Jamie’s back basically a piece of wet paper towel by this point? Is this really a good idea? But he doffs his shirt and takes his punishment, proving to his men that no one is exempt from responsibility. And when that’s done, it’s time to raid Grey’s camp! Huzzah! Except for you, Dougal. You’re still in the naughty corner.
So Fraser and his men rub soot on their faces and sneak into the enemy encampment to steal the pins from their cannons and abscond with the wheels from the cannon wagons. It’s a huge success, and when they’re back, Jamie triumphantly climbs on top of his sleeping wife and happily kisses her. While I’m wondering how none of the schmutz on his face gets on her, he tells her to get dressed, because they’re about to take off. Claire (and I) lament that she was pretty sure she was going to get a little victorious lovin’, but Jamie says there’s no time. (Side note: If Dragonfly in Amber taught me anything, it’s that there is ALWAYS time for a quickie, no matter the circumstances. #justyouwait)
When Jamie and his group arrive at the Prince’s camp, Jamie throws Dougal a bone and allows him the honor of riding ahead to announce their arrival. The war is officially on.
I loved this episode. Even the last week’s highlights section felt like a very fast pace as if preparing us for the urgency of what is to come.
I also loved the war is war comparison. From the Jacobite Rebellion to WWII and even the Gaelic singing at the very beginning had a somewhat Native American sound to me, I felt that Matt Roberts (great writing again, Matt!) tried to show that men preparing for battle go through the same things.
PTSD Claire was a surprise because I hadn’t realized she’d done more than field hospital work. It was yet another reminder that war is the same at its essence.
I managed to go four paragraphs without raving about Sam. This episode underscored the “He’s the man he was meant to be”. So many things I observed watching with bleary eyes on my ipad. I canna wait to watch it again Friday night on a larger screen.
- Sam still does a great job with his left hand in the injured position. I know it’s a small thing but it so impresses me.
- I love how he wore the Laird’s coat during his troop rally speech.
- Standing up to Dougal, giving out punishment when it was due, taking it as well. He showed all signs of a leader here and his men saw it. Well written and well acted.
- COMMANDO? Yes, Jam that’s what it is called and you’ve been going commando for awhile now. Oh, you meant commando raid? Love the black eyes, his real eyes popped right out through the camouflage. I wonder if they will play hide the commando in full face paint when things calm down. I know I would.
- Minor point but I loved the color of his hair in this episode
- I also loved how he gave his men his full name to get the MacKenzie connection
Other random observations since this is just a wee cap and not a full recap
Full Metal Murtagh
Fergus: Mom! Dad! equivalent and how he called for Claire first
Young William Grey. The ForeShadow Knows. There was a grand canyon worth of foreshadowing there but non-book readers will think he’s just another character to come in and out.
Willie got married? I wonder if they just cut the part since he’s not in the books or if the actor had other obligations. I wanted more Rupert!
Claire’s fuck yourself speech to Dougal was classic.
I loved how Claire emphasized the word “sadist” before starting her next fake performance and Jamie caught on right away. It really shows once again how in tune they are with each other. I want to watch that fight over again, their looks between them were great. And I’m glad that he didn’t rip her bodice off. See, Diana. There are ways to get your point across without pretending to rape someone.
THIS is the Outlander that everyone came to love last year (minus sexy times but Jamie was sexy as hell) and #SexisComing
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In honor of WORLD OUTLANDER DAY,
let’s go back to where this love story really cemented itself in the hearts of Outlander fans, especially Jamie and Claire fans and book fans in particular. Since the first announcement of plans to adapt the book series to television, book fans had long anticipated the wedding episode. It has become the single most iconic scene of the TV series to date and one of the most beloved of Diana Gabaldon’s book series.
The magic in the story is usually subtle, but potent, and not the main focus, but the magic associated with the wedding vow deserves some attention. Blood is a powerful symbolism, and sometimes even has mystical powers. The blood oath makes use of this to make a commitment that cannot be broken.
Blood spilling is a potent force in the working of magic, and in some mythologies certain types of blood are deemed more powerful than others. Some consider the blood of royalty, the blood of a special line (Fraser, the Fraser Prophesy, which book readers will recall), the caster’s own blood (Jamie and Claire), and virgin’s blood (Jamie) to be most powerful.
In many ways their wedding ceremony represents the traditions of their time, but their blood vow may be described as something between a binding traditional handfasting and an initiation. It is a blood bond, a spiritual blending, a binding of their souls, not just to God but to one another, and not just for this lifetime, but forevermore. Not until death-do-us-part, but for all lifetimes to come. Jamie knew what he was doing and knew its significance, but Claire did not.
Would Claire have agreed to the marriage if she had known about the blood vow? Probably. Although she had just gone through the stones at Craig Na Dun and had been mysteriously transported back in time 200 years, she was hesitant to embrace the faery mythology generally accepted by the Highlanders at the time. Looking back, Claire confesses that she wouldn’t have changed a thing. That, my friends, is a commitment.
As Outlander fans, we agree with Claire. We wouldn’t change a thing.