‘Outlander’ Recap/Review: Episode 114, “The Search”

Official Episode 114 Jenny Laura Claire Caitriona
[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 114,“The Search,” Written by Matthew B. Roberts, Directed by Metin Hüseyin
Recap: Jenny rushes about the house with instructions for Mrs. Crook as Ian lays injured on the couch. Claire breezes past Ian, but halts when he call out to her, wondering what she plans to do. When she tells him she intends to get Jamie back, he tries to rise from the couch to accompany her. She refuses, and after Jenny also tells him he is not leaving, he turns Mrs. Crook to rally the other tenants with proper weapons to join in the search, but Claire refuses the assistance since Lallybroch could suffer for going against the English. Ian concedes, but offers to make a rough map of where they were ambushed to help in the search.

Claire mounts her horse and prepares to leave, but is startled by Jenny coming to join her. Although Claire has Ian’s map and some knowledge of the area, Jenny has the skills to track the soldiers. Before Claire can argue again, Jenny takes off on horseback with Claire trailing behind her.

The pair travel through the land, pausing to refer to Ian’s map and investigate tracks left in a field. Spotting birds circle the sky nearby, Jenny knows they are getting close to where the men were ambushed. Claire and Jenny come across the spot where Jamie was taken to find the bodies of some of the other men of the Watch. Jenny knees to say a prayer over each of the bodies. Looking at the fallen men, Claire is reminded of her time in the war, when the fallen men of the victors were taken from the field of battle and buried, but the defeated are left to decay where they fell. Jenny’s voice pulls Claire from her thoughts and informs her there are more tracks heading east, including those made by a heavy cart that will make it easy for them to follow.

After more traveling, Claire and Jenny take a short respite from riding to allow Jenny a moment to relieve herself of breast milk since she has been away from the baby for some time. Claire wonders if they will actually find Jamie and Jenny tells her that they have to before Jamie is reunited with Jack Randall, who will most likely finish what he started. Claire hopes to avoid Randall by going over him to his superior Lord Thomas, who she believes took a liking to her when they met at Brockton. Jenny is not convinced by Claire plan, but they continue on with their search.

Jenny comes upon warm horse droppings and they find themselves close to the English soldiers’ campsite. They spot Taran restrained on the cart, but do not see Jamie anywhere in sight. One solider is seen receiving a letter and setting off on his own, giving Jenny and Claire an opportunity to learn more about Jamie’s whereabouts.

Along the road, Jenny throws herself into the path of the soldier’s horse, causing him to stop and providing Claire the opportunity to sneak up on him. She makes her presence known by holding a pistol to his head, as does Jenny. The pair manage to tie him belly-down to a log and Jenny hits him with the stock of a rifle while trying to get information from him. The solider refuses to answer, throwing insults at the women before Jenny sticks a hot rod to the bottom of his feet. Claire tries to reason with him, but he does not tell them anything of consequence until he reveals himself to be a courier. At this, Claire tells Jenny to stop and goes through the man’s bag hoping one of the dispatches will mention Jamie. Claire finds a document detailing Jamie’s escape and the army’s attempts to retrieve him. Jenny realizes that since the letter has not reached Fort William, they will not know of Jamie’s escape and will not go looking for him and proceeds to tear up the dispatch. Claire knows Jamie will not return to Lallybroch and Jenny agrees, saying that he will go north and deeper into the Highlands where the garrison would not follow because it would take them too far from their supplies and reinforcements.

Claire moves to gather supplies to tend to the soldier’s injuries, but Jenny stops her since they cannot allow the man to live. Claire does not agree and the pair argue and stare each other down until a noise draws their attention. They turn to see Murtagh cutting the man’s throat. Ridding his knife of the blood, he tells the women to make camp while he hunts for supper.

Jenny joins Claire by the fire later that night and tells her the story of how she roped Jamie and Ian into teaching her how to track when they were younger. They are startled by a noise, but regain composure when Murtagh, who was sent after them by Ian, returns with meat for dinner.

Jenny gives Claire a bag of rent money to Claire, as well as a small knife for protection as she prepares to return to Lallybroach. Before Jenny can leave, Claire implores her to plant potatoes and sell any unproductive land for gold because of a famine that will take place in two years time. Claire also warns of the coming war, to which Jenny replies that Jamie told her Claire might talk about such things and that Jenny should listen to her. They embrace and Jenny knows Claire will do whatever she can to bring Jamie home. Jenny mounts her horse and takes off for Lallybroch.

Claire joins Murtagh at the horses as they prepare to head north. Claire wonders how they will find Jamie and Murtagh tells her they will not find Jamie, but he will find them. Murtagh brought a case of Claire’s medicine and plans to use her skills as a healer to attract attention. The pair travel from village to village and stopped in each one for Claire to tend to those in need. In the evening, Murtagh takes to the stage as a means to draw more attention. Claire also begins to read palms as a way of inquiring about Jamie, but her efforts are to no avail. Murtagh joins her at the table and Claire does not believe their plan will work.

Murtagh continues his act in another village and Claire suggests Murtagh adds a song to jazz up the dance. Claire begins to sing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” from The Andrews Sisters as they walk through the crowd, which inspires Murtagh to change their approach. It is Claire’s turn to take to the stage since Murtagh believes a Sassenach dressed as a man and singing a particular song will speed up their search. Claire reluctantly takes to the stage, but gradually becomes more comfortable with the performance. Word does spread about her, as one of their next stops draws a large crowd and Murtagh moves through the crowd to collect money and inquire about Jamie. A man who was at one of Claire’s other performances watches her again along with his small company and observes the success she and Murtagh have reaped from their act. Claire concludes her performance and meets Murtagh backstage. They have just performed in their sixth village and Claire wonders how much longer they must keep at it. Murtagh is determined to keep going as long as it takes, knowing that Jamie will recognize the song as one Dougal used to sing.

The pair continue their travels and both perform their song and dance everywhere they go. They come across a gathering in the woods and find that a group from another village has stolen their act. Claire and Murtagh confront the gypsies after the performance in an attempt to stop them. Claire tells the leader she is singing the song in order to find her husband, and that once he is found, she will never sing it again. Offering him the money Jenny gave her, she asks for his word that they will not perform the song again. Murtagh chastises her for trusting the gypsy since they will no doubt keep performing the song and confuse Jamie. He tries to get her to return to Lallybroch so he can track the gypsies on his own, but Claire refuses and pulls rank as the Laird’s Lady to continue on with Murtagh.

Claire continues to draw a crowd as the pair travel from place to place until they reach the coast. The pair stop for the night and set up camp. Sitting around the fire, Claire and Murtagh begin to argue about their situation. Murtagh accuses Claire of being stubborn and trusting the gypsies. Claire fights back with her words, accusing Murtagh of not understanding what it feels like to lose someone you love. Her words force Murtagh to tell her the story of a woman he once loved. She had another suitor and during the MacKenzie gathering he single handedly killed a boar as a way of proving himself worthy. The Laird was so impressed by his actions that he gave Murtagh the tusks, which he made into bracelets to give to the woman as a wedding gift. Realization dawns on Claire, who retrieves the bracelets belonging to Jamie’s mother that Jenny gave her. Murtagh tells Claire she is not the only one who loves Jamie and that he is like a son to him. Claire breaks down and apologizes to Murtagh as she embraces him.

The next morning, the pair decide to go back to where they started and begin again in their search. As a means to make money, Claire once again begins to tell fortunes. She also comes face to face with the gypsies, who bring word from a messenger meant for Claire. Their leader, Mr. Ward, tells her where to go and Murtagh confirms it is a place Jamie would know.

Claire and Murtagh once again resume their travels and finally make it to the location. Running toward a cave, Claire cries out for Jamie, but is met by another familiar face. Dougal informs Claire that he has news of Jamie, who is alive, but was captured again by the red coats and sent to Wentworth Prison, where he stood trial and is sentenced to hang. When Claire tries to leave, Dougal stops her, but Murtagh puts himself between the two. Dougal says he needs to speak to Claire alone and Murtagh concedes when Claire agrees.

Dougal draws Claire away and, while taking her hands in his, tells her she must let Jamie go. He urges her to return with him, but she tries to pull away saying that she needs her husband, to which Dougal offers her protection if she takes him as her husband. At his words, Claire pulls away, disgusted by Dougal’s disregard for herself, Jamie, and Geillis. Dougal tries to scare her by suggesting Jack Randall may return to Lallybroch, but Claire does not relent. He tries again, saying the only way to save herself and Lallybroch is to come under his protection and Claire soon realizes his true intentions. She figures out that Dougal wishes to control the Fraser lands, which is why Dougal kept Jamie away from home for so long with lies about his sister and Randall. Dougal does not give up on trying to persuade her and says that even Jamie would want his home and Claire protected, even if that meant she would have to marry Dougal.

Claire backs away from Dougal and only breaks her silence to ask how many men are in his company. He reveals there are ten men with him and quickly realizes she is thinking of breaking into Wentworth to save Jamie. Dougal does not think they will succeed, but Claire is determined to try, even going as far as promising to marry Dougal if they fail. Dougal agrees, but will only take the men who volunteer to go with them and the pair shake on the deal.

Claire and Murtagh meet with Dougal’s men, a group that includes Angus, Rupert, and Willie, but the men refuse to go with them. Claire tries to persuade them, knowing that Jamie would go after them if they were in his situation. The men remain silent at her plea until Willie volunteers to join Claire, which causes Angus and Rupert to agree to go with Claire to Wentworth.

Claire, Murtagh, Angus, Rupert, and Willie ride off towards Wentworth and stop when the prison is in sight.

Official Episode 114 Claire Caitriona Duncan Murtagh
Review: “The Search” has all the makings of a fun adventure film and, for the most part, pulls off one of the most enjoyable episodes of the second half of the season. Perhaps it is because I consider “Rent” my favorite Outlander episode, but I found “The Search” very reminiscent of the earlier episode. Both take place on the road, both have performances of sorts (Claire’s singing and Dougal rousing the villagers with his speech and showing off Jamie’s back in “Rent”), and both show a variation of the action to show the passage of time. Even Claire sitting in the middle of a busy road talking to Murtagh brought back her sitting beside Ned Gowan as he collected rents. Interestingly, both episodes also precede less than desirable encounters with Black Jack Randall.

Murtagh and the other men have been sorely missed over the last few episodes and I will admit to actually cheering when Murtagh showed up to help Claire and Jenny. Along with his dancing skills, Murtagh brings back a bit of the show’s humor, most notably in his line about Claire only holding her tongue until they reach the horses. Claire also had a few humorous moments in this episode, including muttering under her breath about the wagon being weighed down by a “rather large red-headed Scot.” On the flip side, Caitriona Balfe and Duncan Lacroix must also be commended on the fireside scene when Murtagh tells the story about Jamie’s mother. It’s a lovely scene, but an emotional one as they both come together to grieve Jamie’s situation and their currently unsuccessful search.

With Claire leaving behind her life with Frank, the show has also abandoned the 1940s, save for Claire’s performance of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in this week’s episode. Caitriona Balfe has a lovely voice and it is fun to see the 1940’s seep into the 18th century, as well as Murtagh just brushing it off as a bonny tune. Speaking of performances, one of the episode’s most memorable moments comes courtesy of the puppet show alongside the title credits. The puppeteer is seen later in passing, but the beginning is a wonderful call back to Claire’s journey in “Sassenach” and the song she heard at the end of “The Way Out.”

Although the episode could be faulted for being a tad repetitive with some of its scenes, “The Search” is a pleasant diversion from what is to come in the series’ final two episodes.

Outlander 2014
Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014

Outlander 2014