Outlander: Both Sides Now

Outlander_S1_E8_article_story_largePreviously on Outlander: Claire and Jamie got married.

A phone rings at a police station and is answered by a sergeant. It’s some crazy lady on the other end, so he pauses the non-vital conversation long enough to let some higher up know that Frank’s still hanging about. He’s practically set up camp in the local police station. The higher up sighs that he’s let this go on long enough and today’s the day he needs to put an end to it. The sergeant pulls a bottle of whisky out of his desk. You know the Sots always have a bottle of whisky in their desks. My office alone is practically keeping Macallen in business.

Higher Up tells Frank that he’s really sorry they haven’t been able to find Claire. Frank coldly says he’s not surprised, considering how crap the local police are. HU is offended by that and starts listing how much effort they’ve put into this. But frankly, there’s not much to go on. There’s no body, no signs of a struggle, so it’s likely she wasn’t taken against her will. Frank, naturally, hates that theory, despite the Highlander he saw outside their bed and breakfast right before she disappeared. He loses his temper, then collects himself and leaves.

Meanwhile, his wife is having a nice romantic picnic with her hot new husband. He shyly asks her if the intense sexual chemistry between them is usual and she admits that this is somewhat unusual. She holds his hand, and then an arrow comes flying out of nowhere, landing near them. Jamie takes her to the ground, warning her to stay low, then examines the arrow and recognises it. He calls out in Gaelic and a man who’s got ‘mountain man’ written all over him emerges, laughing and embracing Jamie. Jamie introduces him to Claire as Hugh Munro. The man doesn’t seem to speak any recognisable language, he speaks mostly in gestures, which Jamie interprets for Claire and us. Jamie presents his wife and Hugh bows elaborately, then offers them a drink before he shares the news he’s brought. Naturally, Jamie and Claire agree. He also gives Claire a dragonfly in amber as a wedding gift. She loves it and thanks him sincerely. She asks about the tokens the man has attached to his coat and Jamie explains that they’re licenses to beg in various parishes. He also explains why Hugh doesn’t really speak: he has no tongue, having had it removed for him by some Turks who took him prisoner. Lovely. They also poured boiling oil on his legs—which are all sorts of scarred up—to try and force him to convert from Christianity.

They all take a beat, and then Jamie asks what the news is. Someone named Horrocks wants to meet with Jamie. Jamie agrees to it. Hugh gets ready to leave and Claire sweetly kisses him on the cheek. Once he’s gone, Jamie says this Horrocks is a witness who was present during his escape from Fort William, so there’s a chance he may be able to get the price on his head lifted. But he’s not sure he can trust the man, because he’s a redcoat deserter. Which suggests to me that he’s unlikely to swear to any of this in a court of law, because he’ll just get arrested and hanged for desertion, so I don’t really see how this is really going to help Jamie. But Jamie is hopeful and thinks this could be his chance to go home, with his bride. Claire, too, smiles at the thought.

In the 40’s, Frank has gone to Reginald the reverend, who wonders if Claire might have fallen into some river and swept away to some forest 20 miles away. He and Frank have set up a massive pinboard with maps and other bits of info related to the search. He further theorises that Claire found a cave to hole up in and has been living on fish and frogs. For seven weeks. Even Frank knows that’s nonsense. The housekeeper comes in with an adorable little tot named Roger, who presents some biscuits and politely asks if he may have one. How can you resist that? Frank looks sadly at the kid, then at their pinboard.

Later, once Roger has departed with his biscuit, the housekeeper offers Frank some tea. Frank excuses himself to go to the pub for something stronger.

There, he starts drinking and smoking. A blonde woman sits down beside him, greets him by name, and tells him he can call her Sally (not her real name). She hands over a wanted poster with a sketch of the Highlander on it (along with an offer for a £1000 reward, which was a lot of money back then) and tells Frank she knows where the guy is. She’ll take Frank to him, later. She tells him to meet her at half twelve and bring the reward. Yeah, nothing sketchy here. Frank, a bit drunk, asks if Claire is with this man. Sally claims not to know. Frank gets another drink.

It’s nighttime in 1743 as well, and Rupert’s telling a story around the campfire. Claire and Jamie are being gooshy a little apart from the others and talk about Christmastime, and their return to Leoch. The horses start to get restless, which does not go unnoticed by the others. Rupert continues his story while everyone else quietly arm themselves. Jamie tells Claire to run for a nearby fallen tree when he says, and hands her a dagger to take with her. Everyone tenses, and then Jamie tells Claire to go and Dougal calls for the others to protect the wagon filled with goods and money they’ve been collecting. Everyone springs into action, as brigands start going for the grain and horses. Claire watches the battle ensue as the fiddles on the soundtrack go nuts. Even Ned gets in on the action, shooting one man. The attackers retreat and Jamie hurries to check on Claire, who reassures him she’s fine. She asks who the men were. Rupert says they were the grants, and they got away with a horse and some grain, but no cash. Ned is super impressed with his shot. The tension is somewhat relieved and everyone starts to laugh and congratulate each other on not getting killed.

Frank meets with Sally. It’s absolutely pouring rain. She takes him to some back alley and tells him to wait, then backs away. A man comes out of nowhere, punches Frank, and demands the reward. Unfortunately, he’s messed with the wrong guy. So has his partner. Frank pulls a cudgel out of his pocket and beats the absolute shit out of these guys. It’s the first time we’ve seen a glimpse of Captain Randall in him, as he keeps hitting viciously, even after the men are down. Sally begs him to stop before he kills them. She finally manages to pull Frank away, and he grabs her throat and starts strangling her, demanding that she admit there is no Highlander. She admits there isn’t. He lets go of her and backs away.

He goes back to Reginald’s, and I guess he tells him what happened, because Reginald says that there’s the capacity for good and evil in everyone, it’s just a matter of not giving into our worse natures. He urges Frank to turn away from the darkness that beckons him, and return to Oxford and move on with his life. He, too, believes that she left with the Highlander of her own volition, because that’s just the simplest explanation here.

Dougal sharpens his sword the next morning while Claire, Jamie, and Rupert look for the knife she dropped in the melee the night before. They find it and Claire comments that it’s too heavy for her. Poor wee lassie. Ned notes that Jamie gave Claire a knife but failed to show her how to use it. To be fair, it’s not like he had time for a lesson. Ned suggests someone teach Claire how to defend herself. The others say that Claire needs a hidden dagger, like the rest of them have.

Angus is enlisted to show Claire how to use a dagger. He’s a pretty good teacher, showing her exactly where to strike in front and behind. For those curious, stab straight upward under the last rib from behind, it’ll catch the kidney.

Frank finally starts packing to leave, taking some time to look at Claire’s things, all nicely arranged in her suitcase. He pulls out a photo of the pair of them on their wedding day and tears up…

…while Claire’s getting ready to have some alfresco sex with Jamie. Uh, really, you guys? This area’s crawling with redcoats and brigands and you think this is a good idea? And oh look, here are some soldiers to totally kill the mood, take Jamie aside at gunpoint, and try to rape Claire. Yeah, it’s been about three days since someone’s tried to rape her, I guess she was overdue. One of the soldiers gets on top of her as Jamie struggles, and things get very slow-mo and Claire remembers she has a frigging dagger and knows how to use it. There’s that back stab. Her would-be assailant drops like a stone, just as Rupert promies. Jamie uses the distraction to grab the gun and shoot the other soldier. He pulls Claire to her feet and hurries her away.

Mrs Graham, the housekeeper, tells Reginald that she really needs to tell Frank that people tend to disappear up at the standing stones. It’s in songs and everything! Reginald urges her to stay silent and let the man accept that his wife is gone, but Frank overhears the fracas and goes to find out what’s going on. Mrs Graham sits down with him and tells him about the stones and the time travelling rumours that go back centuries. Certain people, on certain days, can pierce the veil of time. Frank is clearly quite sceptical about all this, like most people would be. Mrs G adds that the travellers often return, according to the songs. Well, yeah, you can’t just leave a song dangling. Frank announces his intention to head back to Oxford that afternoon, because he thinks this is all hogwash.

Claire and Jamie have returned to the others. He desperately apologises to her for putting her in danger and failing to protect her. She’s in shock, just murmuring that she’s ok. Her hands are icy and shaking, still stained with the soldier’s blood. Her brain’s skipping all over the place. Nearby, Jamie and Dougal and some of the others mess with the crime scene. Claire gets up and starts walking around, repeating over and over that it’s all right, she’s in shock. Yeah, shock’s fine. The others determine that the men were deserters, so it’s unlikely they’ll be missed quite as soon as men out on a mission. Dougal warns Jamie that if he goes to see this Horrocks alone he’s likely to be walking into a trap. Murtagh agrees and suggests they all go with him, armed. Jamie agrees, then looks up at where he left Claire and realises she’s gone.

Frank collects his things, but after one last look, he leaves Claire’s suitcase.

Claire was apparently found and put back on her horse. CVO admits that she felt angry, though she didn’t know why. They stop in the woods and Jamie tells her she’ll stay there with Willie while Jamie and the others go to see Horrocks. Claire pouts and tells him to take Willie with him, because she can take care of herself. He tells her to keep an eye to the south, where redcoats are likely to come from. He promises to come back and asks her to promise to be there when he returns. She spits out a promise. As he rides away, CVO says she realises she was bitter because she was angry with herself for forgetting, even for a little while, her plan to get home.

Frank drives down the road, listening to the radio report of General Patton’s death, and stops at the sign for Craigh na dun. He thinks about it for a minute, then drives off towards the stones.

Claire and Will hang out in the woods. Will goes to relieve himself and Claire starts wandering about, because that usually works out so well for her. Her mind keeps returning to the incident with the redcoats. She reaches the edge of the forest and suddenly spots the standing stones on the next hill over. She checks to see if Will’s nearby, and wonders if she really wants to go back. Evidently, she does, because she starts racing towards the stones, while in 1946, Frank runs up the hill as well. He stops and looks around at the stones, while Claire runs, slowed by her skirts and cloak. He begins to cry and calls her name. Claire seems to hear him, and she calls his name, screaming for him to wait for her. He, too, seems to hear her echoey voice. She gets to the main standing stone, but just as she goes to put her hands on it, she’s grabbed and dragged off by some soldiers. Frank seems to feel her absence, and after one last look, he pulls his coat around him and leaves.

Claire is bundled off to Fort William to meet with Randall, spending the whole trip there planning out how she was going to handle this situation. At the fort, he offers her mocking congratulations on her marriage and notes she’s still wearing her old wedding ring. She claims it’s sentimental. He offers her wine (which she takes! Jesus, woman!) and asks why Dougal was so determined to keep her out of Randall’s hands. He offers a toast to the king and says it’s nice to see she’s still willing to drink to George. She fires back that the MacKenzies are all loyal subjects. He sits down and explains that he intends to do whatever he can to get her talking. She suggests he ask the Duke of Sandringham about her secrets (remember that Frank theorised that Randall was secretly working for the Duke). Apparently Frank was right, because Randall chokes on his wine a bit. He asks what she knows of the Duke and she laughs that it should be clear to him that they’re both in the same man’s employ. He says that’s impossible, because Sandringham would have told him. He offers to send a message to Sandringham, asking if this is true. She tells him that’s a great idea, unless Sandringham gets mad at Randall for disrupting her work for him, thereby withdrawing his protection. She suggests he simply allow her to continue her mission and say nothing to Sandringham. She goes to get her cloak and he asks if she’s ever met the duchess, because all the duke’s agents meet her. Claire falls right into the trap and says they’ve been in communication by letter. Randall informs her there is no duchess, as he pulls a knotted piece of rope out of his desk. Claire tries to make a run for it, but outside the room is that poor corporal Randall had helping him the last time he gave Claire a beating, and she’s bundled back inside. ‘What kind of a gentleman keeps a rope in his desk?’ she asks. Do you really need the answer to that, Claire? Not someone who can rightly answer to the title of ‘gentleman,’ that’s for sure. Randall ties her hands behind her and dismisses the corporal, telling him not to come back no matter what he hears. He closes the door, removes his jacket, and pulls out a knife, ready to start having some fun. Claire screams for help, as Randall finishes his wine, unsheathes the knife, and demands her real name and everything she knows about Dougal and Colum and the Jacobite rebellion. He tears open the front of her dress so we can get a glimpse of boobs for absolutely no reason at all, then drags her by the hair over to the desk, so he can get ready to rape her. Presumably. He finds her hidden dagger and mockingly says that the lady had claws, wondering if they’re sharp. He prepares to cut off her nipple, but the window bursts open and Jamie levels a gun at him, ordering him to take his hands off of Jamie’s wife.

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