‘Outlander’ Recap/Review: Episode 113, “The Watch”

Outlander 2014
[This is not a spoiler-free review/recap of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]

Episode 113,“The Watch,” Written by Toni Graphia, Directed by Metin Hüseyin

Recap: A man stands with his pistol pointed at Jamie, who turns to face the barrel as Claire moves down the stairs. The tension is broken by Jenny, who orders the man to put his gun down. The man does not immediately lower his weapon as Jenny introduces Jamie as her cousin and he calls himself Jamie McTavish, the name he once used at Castle Leoch. He finally lowers his weapon, apologizing for the confusion. Jenny continues her story, littering it with some truth, including his marriage to Claire. The man finally introduces himself as Taran MacQuarrie as Ian joins the rest and delivers Taran’s refinished sword to him. Dinner is requested and Jenny takes off for the kitchen with Jamie right on her heels.

Catching up to her, Jamie reprimands his sister for allowing the Watch into their home. Ian and Claire soon join the others in the kitchen and Ian assures Jamie they will only be a few days. Jamie’s anger is not assuaged, even though Ian tells him Taran and his men are not all bad and keep them safe from the redcoats and other raiding clans. Jamie worries about the Watch knowing about the price on his head, but Jenny tells him they will be fine if Jamie can keep his wits about him. This particular group of men have been coming to Lallybroch every few months over the last two years and Jamie shouts at Jenny that he would never have allowed this to happen. Not backing down, Jenny throws it in his face that Jamie was not around, but Claire cuts in before it can escalate further, urging the siblings to keep their voices down so the Watch does not hear them. The pair break apart and stand in silence until Ian assures Jamie that, although they allow the Watch to come to their home, it has taken its toll on them, but something they had to do. He is open to hearing a better solution from Jamie, who offers nothing in return.

Jenny suddenly cries out in pain and Claire rushes to her side and tries to get Jenny to sit down, but she continues to prepare dinner for the men. Claire then urges Jamie to listen to his sister and to not provoke the men of the Watch.

Gathered for dinner, Taran asks more about Jamie and Claire reveals he fought in the French army with Ian. Taran also served in the French army, but in Austria, while Ian and Jamie were in Spain. The trio revel in some of their old war stories, but Taran is suspicious since Ian has never mentioned Jamie in any of his stories. After Taran raises his glass for a toast, Claire wonders how long the men are staying. Taran reveals they will only be there a few days, but that a few more men will be joining their company tomorrow since they have a plan in the works. When Taran asks to see the smithy in the morning for his horse, Jamie offers his services. Taran accepts and praises the cook before he and his men take their leave after dinner.

The men of the Watch gather the next day as Jamie tends to Taran’s horse, but cause chaos as one man sets fire to a wagon of hay as the others stand back and laugh. Jamie and others rush to put out the fire, and when they do, Jamie turns his anger on the men of the Watch. One draws his pistol and points it at Jamie, who attacks and fights off the other men as they become the aggressors. Taran approaches and orders the men to stand down, and offers his apologizes to Jamie. He also tries to wrangle Jamie into joining the company, but James concedes that he is done with fighting. Jamie is drawn back to the house by the sounds of the dogs barking. As he approaches, he sees the additional members of the Watch and is surprised by the appearance of Horrocks. Recognition registers on Horrocks’ face, but when Taran inquires, Horrocks brushes it off before heading into the house.

Secluded in a room with Claire, Jamie tells her of Horrocks’ arrival and his worry that the man will not keep what he knows about Jamie to himself for long. Jamie, who thought Lallybroch would be a safe haven for them, believes they should not have come back at all, but Claire is quick to cut down his sentiments, knowing they can handle whatever trouble crops up.

Jamie walks through the house and comes upon Horrocks explaining a potential ambush to the other men of the Watch. He pauses for a moment before quietly turning away. Outside, Jenny and Claire tend to the laundry with the help of young Jamie, before he is sent away for splashing water on Claire. When the pair are left alone, their talk turns to Jenny’s pregnancy and her belief she is carrying another boy. Claire reveals to Jenny that she is an only child and Jenny tells Claire about their brother Willie, who died when Jamie was only eight, and how Ian became like a brother to him after. While walking more clothes to the line, Jenny doubles over in pain and reveals her water has broken. Claire moves into action and takes Jenny into the house.

Inside the bedroom, Claire examines Jenny and discovers the baby is breech. Claire attempts to turn the baby, but is unsuccessful in her endeavors. When Claire suggests she goes to get Ian, Jenny is adamant that he is only told that the baby is coming and nothing else.

Jamie spots Horrocks on his own in the house and moves to confront the man. Horrocks wondered when Jamie would seek him out and after the man rambles a bit, Jamie demands to know what he wants. Horrocks wishes to sail to the colonies, specifically Boston, but lacks the funds for the journey, even with the money he will collect from the upcoming raid. The man swears Jamie will never see him again if he gives him the money and Jamie simply wonders how much.

Claire returns to Jenny, who is now pacing the floor. Claire asks Jenny to tell her what it is like being pregnant as she continues to cross the length of the room. Jenny tells her that in the beginning it is like wind in your belly, but later, when the child begins to move it is like a fish tugging on a line. There is also fear when they stop moving, for fear they have died. And finally, towards the end, when the child is restless, Jenny compares it to a man pouring himself inside you. The pair are soon informed the midwife is unable to come and Claire assures Jenny they will be alright on their own.

Jamie and Ian tend to the scorched hay wagon and Ian reprimands his friend for provoking the men of the Watch. Jamie wonders why Ian is not more upset by their presence and he informs him that Taran has been easy on them and not taken as much as he has from others. Ian also tells Jamie that he sometimes looks forward to Taran’s visits since he does not look down on Ian. He is also grateful that they keep the redcoats at bay since Ian is determined to not let what happened between Jenny and Randall ever happen again. Jamie is still uneasy and when Ian inquires, Jamie informs him that Horrocks knows about the price on Jamie’s head and wants money. Ian tells Jamie about a sum of money from his and Jenny’s father, but Jamie is hesitant to take it and does not want his sister to know about Horrocks’ threats. Jamie refuses the money, but Ian assures him that it is what Jenny would want and what Ian wants for him too.

Back in their bedroom, Jamie tells Claire the money was meant for her and their children. Claire grows worried at the mention of children, and though Jamie believes he has let her down, she feels just the opposite. Holding back her tears, Claire confesses to Jamie that she does not believe she can have children, since she was unable to conceive while married to Frank. Claire knows she should have told him prior to their marriage, but she did not count on falling in love with him or wanting a family with him. She apologizes, but he comforts her with the thought that it may be for the best since he could not bear seeing her in pain. The pair break from their embrace as Claire leaves to return to Jenny.

Jamie walks towards the spot where he is to meet Horrocks, concealing a pistol on the way. Horrocks whistles, revealing himself to Jamie on the high ground. Jamie walks to him and tosses the bag of money to the man. As he turns to walk away, Horrocks stops him and demands more money, which is something Jamie does not have. Horrocks threatens Jamie and his family as he draws his pistol. The man has no time to make another threat as an unknown assailant runs a sword through his chest. Jamie is startled by the attack, but relieved when Horrock’s body falls to reveal Ian. Jamie is grateful to Ian and the pair prepare to dispose of the body.

Later that night, Jenny’s cries reverberate through the room as Claire prepares a birthing area. Jenny removes her wedding ring and hands it to Claire to put away. In the jewelry box, Claire finds a carved snake figure Willie made for Jamie’s fifth birthday. During their talk, Jenny also reveals their mother died while in childbirth and asks Claire to give the snake to Jamie for her. Understanding her meaning, Claire tells Jenny to give it to her brother herself.

Jenny’s cries carry through the house and one of the men call for her to stop howling. Ian pushes past and makes his way to his wife upstairs, leaving Jamie alone with the Watch. Taran offers Jamie a bag of coins for the burned hay before wondering about Horrocks’ whereabouts. Jamie gives nothing away and is pleased to hear they will be moving on the next day.

Ian and Jamie join Taran for breakfast, who tries to deduce what happened to Horrocks. Tarim flat out asks Jame why he killed Horrocks and, before Ian can interject, Jamie confesses he is a wanted man and Horrocks tried to blackmail him, which led to his death. Tarim is surprisingly pleased by the news and uses what he now knows about Jamie to get him to agree to ride with the Watch. Jamie swiftly agrees to joining them this once and Ian stands to join Jamie.

Claire warns Jamie to be on guard since they could still turn him in after he has severed his purpose. Ian believes Jamie will be fine, but is still determined to go with him. Claire urges Ian to stay with Jenny, but she too wishes Ian to accompany her brother. Claire stands aside to let Ian pass to say his goodbyes to his wife. Claire motions for Jamie to follow her into the hall. She pulls out the snake figure and presents it to Jamie. Claire repeats Jenny’s orders for Jamie to hurry back before they kiss goodbye.

Ian and Jamie ride alongside the Watch. Jamie questions Tarim about his choice to live on the road and be part of the Watch. The man tries to convince Jamie to take up with them, but Jamie confesses Claire is reason enough to be settled. Jamie wonders is Tarim has plans to turn him over once the raid is over, but Tarim assures him he will not since he too knows what it is like in prison.

As Jenny’s labor progresses, she makes Claire promise to take care of Ian, but Claire assures her there will be no need for that. Jenny is finally ready to push and positions herself on the bed of hay Claire has arranged in the bedroom.

Back with the Watch, the company approaches the area Horrocks told them about to stage the ambush. Jamie agrees the area is ideal, but becomes suspicious as he looks around the area and realizes there is no way out for them. A group of red coats reveal themselves and attack the men, gunfire ringing.

Claire swaddles the child and hands Jenny her baby girl. A few days later, Claire stands just outside the front door of the house holding baby Margaret, looking longingly at the road for Jamie and Ian to return. Jenny takes the baby from Claire and sends her inside for a nap before joining her on the steps. Jenny tries to reassure Claire that Jamie will return since she too stared at the road waiting for him to return all those years and he finally did. After a moment, Jenny reaches into her pocket and retrieves two large ivory bracelets belonging to her mother, giving them to Claire, who is now the Lady of Lallybroch. Jenny also reveals they were given to her mother as a wedding present from an admirer. Claire attempts to show Jenny a bit of affection with a kiss on the cheek, but the other woman is startled by her actions. The dogs’ barking draws the pair’s attentions as two men stumble up the road. Claire and Jenny run to meet whoever is approaching, which is revealed to be Ian and another man from the Watch. Claire wonders where Jamie is and Ian tells them of the ambush orchestrated by Horrocks and the redcoats, which left the rest of the men dead and Jamie captured by the redcoats.

OUT_113-20140703-ND_0023.jpg
Review: I have been a bit down on the second half of the season, simply because I do not believe it is up to par with the first eight episodes. However, “The Watch” inches the show just a bit closer to the high regard I held it in last year. Much of my enjoyment comes from Douglas Henshall’s performance as Taran MacQuarrie. While the other members of the Watch were interchangeable and almost forgettable, I appreciated Taran’s interactions with Jamie, which reminded me a bit of those he shared with Dougal and Murtagh (who have been sorely missed over the past few episodes).

As Sarah pointed out in her review of Lallybroch, Jenny’s hostility towards Claire in the episode was a bit off putting and it is nice to see the growth in their relationship in “The Watch.” No, they are not skipping along and singing cheery songs with one another, but there seems to be a mutual respect and trust that has emerged between them. Although Jenny was not entirely receptive of Claire’s outward expression of affection towards the end of the episode, it was lovely to see Jenny present Claire with her mother’s bracelets and for Claire to attempt a bit of sisterly affection in return.

Outlander continues to deviate from the novel, this time with the reappearance of Horrocks and the role he plays in Jamie’s capture by the redcoats. His reintroduction into the story adds a bit of tension to the episode since he is a liability to keeping Jamie’s secret, but it is slightly disappointing to see him reduced to a predictable blackmail scheme. Since the Ronald MacNab (who betrayed Jamie in the novel) and his son were featured in “Lallybroch,” it may have been better to build on that animosity since the Murrays and Frasers believed their tenants would not betray Jamie. The change is in no way a detriment to the episode, but a missed opportunity to make more of an impact leading into the next few episodes.

  • sigrid28

    “Desperate times call for desperate measures”: so says the trailer for Episode 14 of “Outlander.” Jamie Fraser (and probably Diana Gabaldon as well) would have known the ancient source of this aphorism, whether it be Hippocrates or Erasmus. The producers of the television series are tasked with making the desperate
    measures called for seem totally justified by what has come before.

    This time they get a little serendipitous help from history. Odd how Episode 13 seems ripped from the headlines, following a week when news in the U.S. was dominated by demonstrations protesting the murder of Freddie Gray, who died because of police brutality in Baltimore, where the National Guard had to be brought in to restore the peace.

    Next to this travesty of social justice, Episode 13 of “Outlander” fleshed out a double scourge that likewise disrupted the lives of Highlanders in the eighteenth century: Plagued on a daily basis by the hostile presence of the British army of occupation, families like the Murrays and the Frasers were also at the mercy of the Watch, the closest thing they had to a local police force, a vigilante militia that might seize private property at will or violate the sanctity of their homes with impunity.

    Claire, who served in the European theatre
    during World War II, adapts very quickly and effectively when chaos descends
    upon Lallybroch in Episode 13, because she understands chapter and verse the
    interplay of collaboration and resistance required to survive within such
    circumstances. She brings to bear the steely
    detachment of a combat nurse trained to stop soldiers from bleeding out while
    all hell breaks loose around her. Faced
    with the difficulties posed by the intrusion of the Watch and the breech birth
    of Jenny’s baby, Claire goes into combat nurse mode, which for her is second
    nature.

    If Claire is used to operating in top form under
    pressure, Jamie takes longer to come to terms with the situation and seems
    shell-shocked at first by events in Episode 13.
    Hampered by the emotional onslaught of coming home after long absence, like
    veterans returning from war in our day, he has trouble fitting in, which is
    amply demonstrated by Episode 12. In
    Episode 13, he is completely miffed by what he sees as Ian and Jenny’s betrayal
    when they welcome the Watch into their home.

    Unlike Jamie, Clair understands Ian and Jenny perfectly. They are like French citizens during the
    German occupation, carrying on but doing so with a heightened sense of danger. In the four years of Jamie’s absence, since
    his father’s death, by necessity they have developed the ability to be seamlessly
    duplicitous. Jamie does not really get
    his bearings until he is forced to fall back on instincts he developed first during
    as a soldier in France and then as an outlaw in Scotland.

    Under these conditions, is it any wonder that
    neither of them gives very serious thought to parenting? When Jamie realizes that life is falling
    apart so spectacularly at Lallybroch that there will be no prospect of
    supporting a family, Claire picks this moment
    as the opportune time to tell him that she may be barren. Here are two people each with a very high
    tolerance for truthfulness and irony.

    That said, the scene in which they discuss
    these inadequacies is one place in the television adaptation where dialog imported
    word-for-word from the novel does not work:
    In the novel, the reassurance Jamie offers Claire is the product of long
    contemplation on his part. He says he
    has known this for months because Geillis Duncan told him. In
    Episode 13, the same words spoken as if off-the-cuff just don’t ring true.

    This dilemma points to a difficulty posed by
    adapting a huge novel for television:
    There are only sixteen hours available.
    Ronald D. Moore’s challenge is to include as much of the novel as
    possible while supplementing the material in ways that satisfy a television audience.
    To keep the “Outlander” franchise alive
    for another season, he must constantly ask, what will make viewers care about what
    happens next to these characters?

    There is a handy way to evaluate Moore’s success
    in this episode. One need only ask, does the fleshing out of the Watch make Episode
    13 more successful as an hour of television—or less?

    The onerous presence of the Watch in
    eighteenth-century Scotland represents an added layer of misery piled on the
    protagonists within “Outlander.” Episode
    13 is the one place in the television series where the audience comes to
    appreciate that: In many ways, we are as
    surprised by the casual ferocity of the Watch as Claire and Jamie.

    Preparation for the introduction of this
    plague upon the Highlanders is begun in Episode 12, devoted primarily to
    character development. This primes the
    audience for viewing the events of Episode 13 through the eyes of the Murrays
    and Frasers of “Lallybroch,” whom we have come to know intimately. This skillful transition between episodes
    puts the audience in a good position in Episode 13 to share Jamie and Claire’s
    initial surprise and growing disgust with the Watch.

    While it is reassuring when Claire and Jamie
    spring into action as a result of the threats posed by the Watch, it is also
    clear that they are beset by a whole new set of serious complications that may
    make whatever they do inadequate: They
    have no money or resources to speak of.
    They are separated with no way of contacting each other, and the British
    once again have Jamie in custody. With
    this set-up, admirably supported by both plot and characterization, desperate
    measures are called for and must inevitably follow.

  • Lori

    Safe at home…not. This episode is one that sort of makes me wish I had not read the books. The changes were good, though not necessarily better than the original story, they were on par. It was easy to believe that the Watch and Horrocks put Jamie in a “no win” situation versus the likes of McNabb turning Jamie in. This is a new Jamie, a very grown-up, very mature version of a young man that is feeling the full weight of being responsible for his family and his clan. When he agrees to ride out with the Watch (like he really had any choice!) and tells MacQuarrie that if it weren’t for Claire, he might join them, I felt disappointed. I wondered if he meant it or if he was just saying it to keep his guard up. I realize that we are indeed finally seeing the flaws of James Fraser. But, Claire is his true north and that is what will guide him through everything.
    I am becoming a huge fan of Laura Donnelly. The part of Jenny would have been a great challenge for anyone, but she has given it her all. Steven Cree and Douglas Henshall made this episode complete. Is it me or could the actor portraying Horrocks also have been a good Jamie? Yes, yes, I know…there can be only one JAMMF and it’s Sam Heughan. Speaking of which, this was Sam’s episode in every way. He looked so natural shoeing the horse. His expressions and delivery of lines were perfect.
    I will be glad to see the return of the hairy highlanders next week. Really miss those guys. The next couple of episodes are going to be rough and then it will be over until 2016! What the heck are we going to do?

    • DrBlueFrogPhD

      I think Jamie saying “If it wasn’t for Claire,” was giving us some insight as to what might have become of Jamie if Claire hadn’t shown up. After all there aren’t many prospects for a Scottish outlaw on the run. I know a lot of people have speculated that Jamie would have married Laoghaire, but I can’t believe her father would have been okay with that. Jamie didn’t have designs on becoming chief of Clan MacKenzie, nor do I believe he ever would have been able to live long enough to achieve it had Dougal gotten his way. You can tell that MacQuarrie was the more “honorable” man of the Watch, an ex-soldier, he understands the delicate balance that must be maintained, etc. It’s not hard to envision a single, listless, untethered Jamie becoming his “#2.”

      • Lori

        True, his options pre-Claire were very limited without a pardon. Up until MacQuarrie told Jamie that he wouldn’t turn him over to the British, he thought he was trapped and had to do MacQuarrie’s bidding knowing it could go wrong in so many ways. It’s obvious in his parting with Claire that he believes that he might not return. It’s only going to get more intense from here.

        • DrBlueFrogPhD

          Yes, Jamie & Claire’s parting is rather foreshadowing (assuming that they don’t divert too much from the book – but I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers). Poor Jamie & Claire just can’t catch a break!

  • DrBlueFrogPhD

    All-in-all this was a good episode. I enjoyed the changes they made, including adding some much needed dialogue between Jamie & Ian that appeared in the prequel short story “Virgins” (currently available as part of a collection of short stories called “Dangerous Women” – if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!) and the absolutely necessary reconciliation between Jenny & Claire.
    Switching the Judas-like role from McNabb to Horrocks was believable, though I have an inkling that McNabb may still have had a hand in it (either tipping off Horrocks or going to the British himself). I may be reading too much into this but I’m thinking of the dead body that they showed in the second half preview last year, it looked a lot like McNabb, plus it would have been an opportune time for this particular British commander to double-cross Horrocks and earn himself a feather in his cap for killing a deserter & capturing (or killing) a wanted criminal in the same fight.
    The long drawn out birthing scenes were well done (Good Job Laura Donnelly!) and I thought it was a great opportunity to see Claire go into “battle-tested combat nurse mode.” As much as Jenny believed that Claire lacked the necessary domestic experience to run Lallybroch, you were able to tell that she admired her nursing skills and saw that they would be equally beneficial. Plus, anyone who is willing and able to deliver her newly-met sister-in-law’s breech baby without batting an eye probably deserves Jenny’s respect. It was touching to see Jenny be surprised by Claire’s display of affection towards her. You can tell that Jenny isn’t necessarily used to female companionship that shows outward displays of affection (though I was rather surprised that Claire seemed comfortable with it, but then again the nurses probably would have hugged each other and such in comfort during the war – since it’s human nature to take comfort where you can get it during times of crisis). I wonder how much of that was taken away from Jenny when her mother died.

  • Pingback: Directors for Outlander's Second Season (So Far) | Outlander TV News()