It’s Monday and I’m still trying to process this last episode.
Below are my thoughts about it and its characters. If you haven’t watched the episode, be aware that there are spoilers. As for all the rest of you that have seen it, I hope you stop by and give me your thoughts on it.
This episode starts and ends with hope. It starts where it ended last week, at the brook with Lt. Foster offering assistance to Claire, if she needs it and she tells him she is indeed a guest of MacKenzie’s but he insists for her to accompany him to Ft. William and meet his commanding officer, which she has no choice but do, Dougal in tow. She is actually happy about being among her people and is hopeful in soliciting their help in escorting her to Inverness.
Well, after meeting some English officers and a few glasses of wine, our Claire gets a bit too comfy and just then, in walks Captain Randall. And from there on, I’m now sure everything will go south. But not Claire! She’s full of hope that one of these noble English officers will sympathize and offer her an escort. After all, these are her people. I loved watching her entertain all these men, but once she proved not to be just an ‘English Rose’ but a woman with a mind, all those men just ran for the hills and abandoned her to one of the best tête-à-tête sessions I’ve ever seen. This was her only hope to convince Captain Randall to help her get to Inverness and let me tell you, our girl tries very hard, but this man can read her like a book.
He’s not buying any of it, and in the end tells her so. He is plainly playing her like a harpsichord [btw, wasn’t that the instrument playing as she’s dining with the those pompous asses?!], and even I can see her wheels churning as to how to reach this man that reminds her so much of her beloved Frank. Captain Randall wants her to corroborate the fact that MacKenzie is a Jacobite and she’s playing dumb, telling him she knows no such thing.
At this point he tells her that if she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll employ other tactics to get at the truth [SHUT THE F* UP CLAIRE!]. I just knew she couldn’t let this one pass by! She tells him she’s heard of ‘his tactics’ before. They earned him quite the reputation at Castle Leoch. You could see that Black Jack was itching to talk about this particular case of inflicting pain and administering his own brand of justice to a young man who had already been flogged with 100 lashes just a few days ago. He deemed it appropriate to give him another 100 for having been found with bread in his possession.
And here is where we get to go into the mind of a monster. What a trip! Hell and damnation, but this is one sick SOB! The way he describes himself, his victim and the act of flogging is very disturbing. But to watch the said act as he is describing it is beyond anything I’ve ever read [excluding the Bible] or seen [excluding Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’]. The scene is brutal in its honesty. If this scene was visually and emotionally hard to watch, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been on the actors in it. Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies were brilliant. Those scenes opened the eyes of the audience as to the strength of this young man, but most of all, we were let into a dark mind of a monster.
No normal, sane human would ever enjoy describing his actions as form of bonding and connecting to his victim by flaying him to the bone. No normal, sane human would refer to that heinous act as ‘bloody masterpiece’. However, an insane, sadistic man would and did.
“I think all they could see was the horror. I could see the beauty. I saw the truth. That boy and I, we were creating a masterpiece, an exquisite, bloody masterpiece. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Black Jack Randall
Our Claire finally and irrevocably gets the picture, but still, deep within her heart tries to reach him by offering what little understanding she can. Both are trying to explain his darkness by using war as an excuse, but I’m not buying it! BULL! This guy relishes his darkness and he’s not willing to leave it.
“I dwell in darkness, madam. Darkness is where I belong. I need none of your sympathy and you‘ll get none from me.” – Black Jack Randall
Now let me back up a minute here. It’s noteworthy to mention that the scene between BJR and Claire took in the garrison’s dining room and only the two of them were there. It was actually exhilarating and amazing to watch the exchange.
To some, this episode may have been boring [once more I say to each their own] but to me, they were tension filled; riveting; painful; absorbing; revealing. And when I say revealing, I don’t only mean ‘character revealing’, I mean it also as showing me the caliber of both, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies, acting abilities. HOLY SHIT but they are brilliant. I couldn’t avert my eyes from Claire’s eyes. This woman’s quiet tears were falling unchecked to her bosom while staring at this man who is oh so casually talking about flogging a man almost unto death. You can see that she is in pain as much as loathing, wishes with all her might to somehow reach deep inside this man, and try to fix him. Well, that is until he sucker punches her! All bets are off now! Kudos to Caitriona Balfe for once more showing us how strong she is in this role.
This might have been Tobias Menzies’ finest hour, but he needed someone like her to bring this all out, and boy she held her own! The same could be said for Sam Heughan. Tobias Menzies needed him as well to pull this scene off. In the end, all three did an outstanding job and this show continues to bring it’s A game, as I give props to the writers, directors, show runner, producers, costumes, music [OMG this was great too], and finally those hard-working makeup artists that had me squirm as I watched Jamie’s back.
The end of this episode came quickly as usual and I whooped as Dougal once again saves the day by whisking Claire out of the garrison, with BJR telling him he’s not done with her and to bring her back for further questioning on the morrow. Dougal may have saved her but he still doesn’t trust her and while they stop by this creek, he once more asks claire, while she’s drinking the sulfurous water from the creek, is she an English or french spy [all the while hiding his dirk behind his back] and at this Claire is pissed as hell for having to repeat it over and over that she’s just plain Claire Beecham. Lo and behold, he says he believes her and the reason for it?!
The magic spring! Yeah! If she was lying, she’d be dead by now from water eating her gizzard out! So now that he trusts her not to be a spy, he finally wants to protect her by making her a Scot. And the only way to do that, is for her to be married to one. No, not him but we now know it will be Jamie she’ll be marrying if he’s willing, which HELLO! He sure is and I’m loving this ending and I can finally exhale!
What did you think about this episode? Did you buy into BJR’s excuse? Were you able to watch the flogging? What did you think of Cait’s performance in this episode? And Sam’s? And Tobias’s?
“Doesn’t it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” – Claire
“No,” Jamie says, “So long as it doesn’t bother you that I am.” – Jamie Fraser
Here is preview for next week’s episode “The Wedding”