**This is not a spoiler-free review/recap of the episode. If you have not yet seen the episode, read at your own risk.**
Episode 211: “Vengeance Is Mine”
Written by Diana Gabaldon, Directed by Mike Barker
The opening this week has a wig that we have come to know as belonging to a fabulous man, who doesn’t have difficulty playing or planning parties, the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow). The wig is being groomed and falls to the floor, that’s pretty big foreshadowing.
I enjoyed seeing Claire “in the field” doing some healing work by pulling teeth. I feel like the field hospital in last week’s episode and now this dentistry puts Claire back on solid Lady Broch Tuarach ground. This is the Claire we know and love.
On to what is going on behind that closed door Murtagh was staring and pondering on, the Bonnie Prince Charles is not happy, and “Mark Me!” He lets everyone know when he isn’t happy. I think Andrew Gower has done a phenomenal job with this character. You don’t want to like him but there is that charisma there that reels you in. Then out of nowhere BOOM! There is James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan). He is standing up for Prince Charles and it is a good thing it is a room full of men, because just with the stare downs he was giving, most women would have probably said, “Yes, I will follow you over a cliff.” This whole segment in the conference room really made Jamie stand out and that makes me happy.
Awe, poor Rupert (Grant O’Rourke), he is sitting there drinking his ale, missing his friend. So who does he reach out to for some jovial fun? Another kid at heart, an actual child, the one sitting there terrified watching Claire (Caitriona Balfe) yank out people’s teeth. I thought his story was funny, but the mom didn’t have to be SO angry with him. We miss Angus, too, Rupert.
I am not going to lie, when I saw naked Jamie standing by the bed saying a Gaelic prayer this is when it hit me, this was THE moment that I could tell that Diana Gabaldon had written this episode. This one small moment that took little more than two minutes was just enough connection we needed as viewers to be reminded of this character bond. It was sweet, it was loving, and it showed this dimension of Jamie we don’t usually get to see, especially substantial since it followed strong soldier Jamie. (I feel these extreme moments are when Sam Heughan does his best work.) These tender moments are what (for me) have lacked over the course of Season two, just reminders that this is a couple that do care strongly for each other, are soulmates, and doing the best they can do in these stressful situations.
Good Morning Dougal, I always think it is fun that as much as they don’t care for each other there are still these moments where Claire, Jamie, and Dougal agree with each other.
So I have to admit when the first Lallybroch man was shot in their camp, it surprised me. I then realized when the redcoats were closely following our favorite little family group that I was watching with my hand over my mouth waiting to see how exactly Rupert was going to hang on to his horse. I don’t think I have had a suspenseful moment like this in season two and kind of chuckled to myself that I was so engrossed with the screen. I checked the time and realized I was only 16 minutes into the episode, then I got excited that there was at least 30 more minutes to go. The church scene was well paced in my opinion, I felt it gave enough time for me as a viewer to appreciate the importance of the decision made here without dragging on. Again we see visceral Jamie, and I checked the episode time. In less than 22 minutes, all facets that make up Jamie Fraser have been on display. I wish Sam Heughan would have had a little bit more material that examined these characteristics in the earlier episodes of the season because in less than half an hour he has really seemed to shine. I know many say that episode 210 ‘Prestonpans’ is his best episode so far and it was great for “Red Jamie,” but I am leaning towards this episode as the one to better showcase his range of acting. I could feel the emotion of him not wanting to hand over Claire to Dougal.
There are two items that I was extremely happy with for the overnight stop, one being I am so glad that Claire didn’t have an attempt of attack on her body (besides the creepy guy that made one comment). The drama it would have created would have dulled the drama that had just happened at the church, so well done on a comment and moving on. The second item is HUGH MUNRO (Simon Meacock)!
Oh Simon Callow, he is another perfectly cast member of this team. I really don’t have anything to say about the conversations between Sandringham and Claire other than they did it so well. Again, these are scenes that have great pace. I really like the breakup of the Belmont scenes with skipping back and having that little horse stealing moment with Jamie and Murtagh, and then the arrival of Hugh with the letter. There was no “well, here they are at Belmont to save Claire”. I enjoyed the back and forth between the two different sets of characters and being able to see what was going on from both sides, not just Claire’s. The ending of the episode was everything I wanted and more. When I think I cannot love Duncan Lacroix’s portrayal of Murtagh anymore than I do there is a scene where he just shines. I felt the ending of the episode really gave room for Mary (Rosie Day), Murtagh, and Jamie to each have their moment.
Overall I really, really enjoyed this episode. I loved that it had love, suspense, and humor. I was giddy that it was a complete story in one episode, the arc was amazing, and I didn’t feel like anything was dragging on or left out. I think director Mike Barker did a great job with the pacing over the entire episode, and Diana wrote what needed to be written. We really got a lot out of ALL of the Outlander characters in this episode when I had really started to feel it had turned into the Claire show. I hope that this episode set a pace that continues for the last two episodes. I can’t call a favorite until the season is done, but this episode is in the top seat for season two so far.
We are taken to the Jacobite camp where Claire’s voiceover is telling us that the army had moved south since the win at Prestonpans, gained artillery, and taken control of the Garrison of Carlyle. But that support from those in the Lowlands of Scotland and in Northern England had not come to aid and they were awaiting instructions from Prince Charles. We see Claire looking at Murtagh and him shrugging with no knowledge. She then goes back to her work of dentistry (or mainly pulling teeth).
The Bonnie Prince is behind closed doors with his Generals and advisors going over the best course of action to continue on to London, or to turn back. Lord General George Murray thinks they should turn back and the Bonnie Prince think they should continue on. Prince Charles asks Quartermaster John O’Sullivan what his opinion is and O’Sullivan states that even though he and Lord General Murray usually disagree he agrees with him on turning back. This takes Prince Charles by surprise and Jamie steps forward to give support for the Prince, making Lord General Murray protest to being challenged by a junior officer. Jamie retorts with what about the Prince’s decision to march forward so they can take London. They argue over the logistics of not knowing where the three British armies are that stand between them and the goal of the city, Jamie is saying that they are unlikely to run into all three and if they stay cautious they can make the 5 day journey, Murray argues that just the vast number of men (over 30,000) the British have that if they meet even one of the three it would severely cripple their low number of barely 5,000. Jamie argues the risks are those risks of war.
Claire is still in the yard pulling teeth with Murtagh and Rupurt keeping her company. Rupert sees a young boy that is about to possibly have teeth pulled with he attempts to make a joke about is friend Angus having lost his two front teeth by being kicked by a cow, he was scared to (we will say poo) for a week for being scared of being bitten. This unnerves the boy more and makes is mother scowl in disapproval.
We are taken back into the advisor meeting with Prince Charles giving a speech on behalf of his wanting to move forward and taking this chance and asks if there is anyone in the room still willing to march and move with their prince? Jamie Fraser is the only one that comes forward, making a strong statement as he moves to the front of the room to bow to the Prince. Who is shocked at it only being “one man” he can count on, and makes it known as he yells at the rests and tells O’Sullivan to “do as he must, but may God damn him to hell for it”, he then dismisses them.
Back out in the courtyard it is the young boys turn to see Claire, he refuses to receive treatment and she scolds Rupert asking him “what did you say to him”? The Prince stomps out of the building behind them with Murray and O’Sullivan quick on his heels attempting to get him to turn around, he continues on without acknowledgement and Jamie comes to join Claire and the rest of the Lallybroch men who have gathered around. Jamie apologizes to Claire and says that the Prince does have a fighting man’s heart. Claire attempts to console him with the fact that if they had been able to actually take London they wouldn’t have been able to hold it. Jamie was thinking if they did march to London then it would change history so in the future “her” history books would be different. The Lallybroch men ask Jamie if it is true that they are turning back and he lets them know it is in fact true and he will see all the men safe back to Lallybroch, and Claire safe no matter what happens.
That evening Jamie is standing over a sleeping Claire and he prays in Gaelic for the Lord to watch over her and any children that she may be able to have, to keep her safe from harm. He snuggles into bed with her, she wakes and asks what he was saying and he just tells her is was nothing he wants to shares with her while awake because it would seem silly, he wanted to watch her sleep in peace for a bit. They cuddle together and go to sleep
The next morning Dougal comes in storming up the stairs with a letter in his hand, he shoves it to Jamie and tells him to “read it”, it is a letter from O’Sullivan commanding Jamie to lead his men to Inverness to obtain lodging and provisions for the rest of the army that will be following. Dougal states it is “exile” they want Jamie and the rest of them gone, so as he cannot persuade the Prince. When Jamie says he will go speak with Prince Charles, Dougal informs him that the Prince is gone, with Lord General Murray and they took Jamie’s horse because “he wouldn’t mind”.
The clan is marching, the Lallybroch men are on their way to Inverness when they make camp for an evening, Rupert still missing Angus. Suddenly one is shot and they all scramble, British redcoats have found them and are firing on them with rifles. Jamie, Claire, Fergus, Murtagh, Dougal, and Rupert take off on horses and think they have lost them when all of a sudden more redcoats are quickly behind them. Rupert is shot in the eye, and with Dougals assistance holds on to his horse. They are able to shake the redcoats by hiding in a thatch of trees.
When they come out they assess Rupert and attempt to take shelter in a church, because if they don’t stop to take care of him Rupert will die. Ross and the rest of the Lallybroch men are already in the church with horses hidden. Jamie instructs Ross to take their horses and hid them as well. In the church Claire is able to remove the bullet from Rupert, and stitches his eye up. Dougal, Jamie, and Murtagh are attempting to determine what a light is that is outside when all of a sudden it separates into multiple torches, the redcoats have found them, have Ross and the horses, and are saying if they don’t come out and surrender they will torch the roof of the church (which is flammable and will go up quickly). The men go back and forth for a moment on what they will do, Dougal wants to fight, Jamie wants to go out and turn himself in so the rest can hopefully get away with his exchange. Dougal reminds him that he is the wanted “Red Jamie” and he will hang this time, there will be no getting out of it. Claire seeing these two aren’t going to agree decides to take matters into her own hands and screams for “Help, someone save her”, even though Jamie is furious she wants them to use her so the church won’t be fired on and attempt to get the redcoats to allow them to leave and live if they “turn her over”. Dougal immediately goes along with this idea, and Murtagh agree that Claire is right, and tells Jamie the soldiers will not hurt her. Jamie visible distressing at this idea of turning his wife in attempts to stand strong in his disapproval, Claire exclaims that she is Lady Broch Tuarach and the men are her responsibility as well. Dougal goes outside to bargain with the redcoats, and comes back in saying a deal has been struck if they turn over Claire, the horses, and weapons the redcoats will move along with the lady ‘Mistress Beauchamp’. Inside logistical discussion are being had with how Claire should “look” (Fergus has the idea of being faint), and where the redcoats will take Claire once they leave the church. Jamie scoops up Claire to take her out while saying they will come get her, Dougal reminds Jamie that he is a known man and takes Claire from Jamie (as Jamie clings reluctantly). Jamie watches from the church as the transfer happens, and the redcoats leave with Claire among them. Dougal calls to Jamie who is already walking out and making plans of following them, Jamie, Murtagh, and Dougal discuss who is going where. It is decided that Murtagh will go with Jamie to obtain Claire back, and Dougal will continue to lead the men.
Claire’s voiceover lets us know she has lost track of where she is as she rides along, when they stop for the evening Hugh Munro (Simon Meacock) Jamie’s friend recognizes Claire when she is dismounting the horse. A letter comes for the Captain and he has to move on, Claire is going to be taken Belmont (not where Jamie thinks they are taking her) But luckily Hugh has stayed the night and approaches Claire before her departure, she conveys to him that she is going to be taken to Belmont instead and sets Hugh off on the mission to find Jamie so he can change course to find her. Claire is told that Belmont is a very nice house owned by a rich Englishman.
Claire rides onto the grounds of Belmont and once inside asks “who did you say lives here”, right before the Lieutenant asks if he has the “honor of addressing the Duke of Sandringham”? Both Claire and the Duke are slightly gob smacked to see each other but don’t let on that they know one another. The Duke agrees that he would be delighted to take care of Claire in his home. The Lieutenant leaves and immediately Sandringham exclaims “he needs a drink” and asks what exactly has Claire been recused from, rabid bears? When she says “highlanders” he says it is “much the same thing”. She asks for that drink.
Jamie and Murtagh are scouting out a couple of horses to steal when Murtagh asks Jamie if he ever thought marrying Claire may not have been the wisest thing he ever did? Jamie doesn’t miss a beat and simply says “no, it doesn’t”.
Back at Belmont Claire and the Duke are finishing up a meal, and discussing the restraints Sandringham is feeling due to the war. She asks why he didn’t let on that he knew her and he of course has the “plan” all laid out. He tells Claire that the army has made a ring around his estate since they don’t fully trust his loyalties, and he is being watched at every entrance of the estate is being watch since they still suppose he may be a Jacobite. Sandringham then goes on to say he supposes that Jamie must be intent on rescuing Claire, probably as they speak. She confirms and Sandringham tells Claire that he wants to “be rescued as well” and that couldn’t happen if he told the soldiers that he knew Claire. She questions him and he says that she should know that in his heart he has always been a Jacobite. Sandringham tells Claire that he is reasonably sure that Jamie doesn’t know where Claire is and that the only way she can get a message to him is by his “good offices”, and that if Jamie rides into the estate he is coming into a trap. He has a man that can get messages past the soldiers, and he will allow Claire to write to Jamie to let him know, as long as it is guaranteed that Jamie will take Sandringham when they leave and he can get somewhere safe. Claire agrees and requests paper and quill, she writes a letter in Gaelic and sends it to Hugh Munro, who she assures Sandringham will find Jamie.
As Claire is handing over the letter Mary Hawkins comes into the room, Sandringham disdainfully acknowledges his Goddaughter as she and Claire embrace. Mary takes Claire downstairs, and exclaims she can’t marry Mr. Grangier who only wants to attach himself to the family of a Duke, even if it means marrying “soiled goods”. Claire realizes this is a loyalist approach (again Sandringham playing both sides) and comforts Mary by telling her Sandringham just made a decision that may mean Mary may not have to marry the loyalist.
Sandringham’s messenger is riding and approaching anyone he meets looking for Hugh Munro, he finds him and Munro attacks the messenger and keeps him pinned while he reads the letter. By the time the messenger gets to his feet Munro is gone through the trees, still off to find Jamie, but with new information from Claire’s letter.
Sandringham and his valet Danton come in to a room that is occupied by Claire, Sandringham asks if Claire has already tired of Mary, and says that the soldiers have gone out further from the estate at his request. As they talk Claire notices the birthmark on Danton’s hand and asks when he started working for Sandringham. Quickly realizing that Claire has recognized Danton as the man who attacked and assaulted her, Mary, and Murtagh in Paris. Claire confronts Sandringham about the fact that he was one who had them attacked, he explains that he owed the Comte St. Germain a large sum on money and he was able to persuade the Comte to have Claire raped versus killed as the Comte wanted in lieu of his payment. Claire says he is going to regret sending his guards so far away once Jamie gets there and finds out that he was the one that set up the attack in Paris when Sandringham tells her that it was all a set up that he has told the soldiers that Red Jamie is on the way so he can prove his loyalties instead of running. Sandringham then demands Claire be taken and locked into her bedroom.
Hugh has just come across Jamie and Murtagh and delivers Claire’s letter to Jamie, they attempt to decipher the letter and finally figure out that she has told them she is at Belmont, with Sandringham, and it is surrounded by soldiers.
Claire is in the bedroom looking out of the window when she sees Hugh Munro running over the hill towards the estate, just in time Mary comes through a corridor hidden behind a wall asking why Claire is locked in. Claire attempts to inform Mary of what is going on and that Sandringham has set up a trap for Jamie, that she needs Mary to go down and inform Hugh it is a trap. Claire agrees to take Mary, and says she is going through the kitchen. Claire makes it down to the kitchen only to come on across Sandringham who is sitting by the fire in there eating. He has her sit down to join him, not allowing her to go out through the kitchen like she was hoping. Sandringham sits and asks Claire how she was able to kill the Comte in front of the king, while talking to him Claire sees a knife in the meat behind Sandringham and excuses herself to get some food, this attempt at obtaining a weapon doesn’t work because Sandringham gets up and grabs the knife himself, and serves her while continuing to talk about the Comte. Mary comes into the kitchen and Sandringham gets very agitated that she has come in, being quick on her feet Mary says she was just coming for something to eat, but she sees Claire has not been able to make it out to contact Hugh of the trap. Sandringham gives Mary a plate of food and dismisses her, so Mary runs to the front door and a redcoat who is then knocked on the head by Munro. She is able to get out that Claire is in the kitchen and to tell Jamie this is all a trap before Danton enters and chases Mary off.
Hugh has gone back and told Jamie it is a trap and now they make their way down the estate towards the kitchen where Sandringham is still regaling Claire with all of the stories he has heard of how she was able to kill the Comte. Danton comes dragging Mary into the kitchen saying he found her attempting to go out the front porch. Mary claims he didn’t want to marry Mr. Grainger and she was attempting to run away until she got outside and she got scared. Sandringham sends her to bed, and as Danton is heading through the door with her Jamie pops out and Danton grabs Claire with a knife to her throat. Danton tells Jamie to throw his weapon away and Jamie drops his dirk as Murtagh comes in from the other door and slams it startling Danton and giving Claire a moment to jerk away from him. Jamie attacks Danton as Claire yells over the confrontation that this is the man that attacked them in Paris. Mary hears this and understanding starts to seep in, all while Danton and Claire confirm it was Sandringham behind the entire ordeal. Jamie punches Danton and goes towards Sandringham. Sandringham continues to attempt and spin stories his way, Mary picks up one of the discarded knives and stabs Danton. Jamie shoves Sandringham to Murtagh who takes an ax and proceeds to chop off Sandringham’s head and present it at Jamie, Claire, and Mary’s feet with “I kept my word, I lay your vengeance at your feet”. A startled Mary suggests they leave, and the episode ends with Mary, Murtagh, Claire, and Jamie walking out of the kitchen with a headless Sandringham body lying on the floor by the hearth.
NEXT WEEK, SATURDAY, JUNE 25th: Episode 212: “THE HAIL MARY”
“As Jamie puts all of his efforts into turning the Jacobite army away from the impending slaughter at Culloden Moor, Claire attempts to comfort the sick Alex Randall. She is stunned when Alex reveals an outrageous plan to save the mother of his child.”
SOURCE (Photos and Clips): Starz