[This is not a spoiler-free review of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 705: “Singapore”
Written by Taylor Mallory, Directed by Tracey Deer
“Singapore”—the weirdest title in all of the Outlander series. For those wondering, it was indeed in reference to the fall of Singapore in 1942 that Claire (Caitriona Balfe) references in speaking to Jamie (Sam Heughan) about Fort Ticonderoga’s weaknesses.
The show starts with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) finding her two wayward kids, Jem (Blake Johnston Miller) and Mandy (Rosa Morris), playing in Lallybroch’s graveyard. We learn that Brianna does not know if her parents are buried there as she has avoided the place like a plague. Jem goes there to talk to his grandfather and place a stone on a cairn for him. At the end of the episode, Brianna returns to speak to her father and places a stone herself. Considering therapy may be a little dicey with her situation, speaking something aloud to someone, even if they are not there, can have a therapeutic effect.
Brianna shows up for her first day at work and finds out that hazing is alive and well. Hazing from a male-dominated workplace towards a woman that is your superior is ballsy and beyond reproach, especially when it is locking Brianna in a tunnel. As she finds her way, clever girl, she encounters a forcefield-like phenomenon that grows in painful loudness as she approaches. Considering what the stones do to her, it was quite brave even to try to go through that thing. Was I the only one hoping she would not be somewhere else in time when she came out?
Her solution for trying to earn the respect of her coworkers is to show up to the pub, which apparently is something women do not do in the 80s (???), and buy everybody a beer. Her personality can be off-putting, and while the men agreed to stop harassing her, I do not think it will be the last time she has issues.
Back at home, the nuckelavee is still causing issues on their land and terrifying at least one of their kids. I love how Jem is so matter-of-fact about this nuckelavee being a thing and not concerned about all this supernatural stuff. He’s been there, done that. This topic will surely be for a reason in the show, or they would not keep referencing it.
Jemmy is being bullied at school, and the staff are not helpful. The school has the audacity to suggest they only speak English there when he utters a phrase in Gaelic. Sound familiar? I loved seeing the inclusion of the dovecote from season two, albeit only briefly.
The Fraser-adjacent storyline has William (Charles Vandervaart) traveling with Denzell (Joey Phillips) and Rachel Hunter (Izzy Meikle-Small) toward Fort Ticonderoga. On the road, they meet a man who tells them they are going the wrong way and offers for them to stay the night at his and his wife’s house. They take them up on it, but the food will not help with the Airbnb review. The trio finds out that southern hospitality is not all that it is cracked up to be when the couple tries to murder them in their sleep to try to steal whatever they have on them. Through this struggle, William kills the husband, and it is his first time killing a person. All the big talk about killing murderers being the right thing to do was not actually coming from someone without experience handing out deaths. This sweet, innocent boy is off to war and has no idea what it entails. William and the Hunters part ways on the road the next morning.
At Fort Ticonderoga, Jamie leads a group of men called Fraser’s Irregulars and is again placed in a leadership position. Being in a leadership position as Colonel doesn’t mean that what you say will be considered, even when it makes logical sense. Jamie has pointed out to General Fermoy (Olivier Raynal) that the British may take Sugar Loaf Mountain and be able to shoot a cannon from there. The French General is gob-smacked that anyone would do that or could do that, even when Jamie literally shows him. Fermoy will later eat his words when the English do climb that mountain and do use cannons to start attacking the fort.
Claire helps out in the infirmary, which treats not only soldiers but also the local men, women, and children. One man, Walter Woodcock (Tobi Bakare), has a gangrenous wound on his foot, and there is a disagreement between Denzell and Lieutenant Stactoe (Daniel Gosling) as to where to cut off his leg. Claire overhears the conversation and inserts herself into the debate. Hearing both sides, she agrees with Denzell’s approach and is impressed with his knowledge. She attempts to educate both about sterilization with hot water, but only one actually appreciates it, Denzell.
With the fort being evacuated ahead of the British attacking and inevitably winning the fight, Walter must be left behind because his sutures are not healed enough to make the trek. Claire says that the British will have to show mercy to him because he is sick, but the thought of leaving people behind made my stomach turn. We have already seen what some English soldiers are like, and giving them the benefit of the doubt doesn’t seem to be prudent in regards to showing mercy.
There is an insertion of a sort of love triangle with Rachel Hunter showing interest in William and Ian (John Bell). Considering the war the series is entering, it will be interesting to see how this takes precedence over other storylines from the books and how religion plays a part.
If this episode wasn’t packed full enough, Ian approaches Claire with questions about his fertility now that Rachel has sparked something in him and the necessity of traveling to a Mohawk village for the cause. He questions her about the death of his daughter and wonders if he could ever father healthy children. Ever the Auntie Claire that she is, she reassures him that she does not think he will have a problem in the future. The answer comforts Ian, and he gets possibly more reassurance when he visits his former wife, Emily (Morgan Holmstrom), and meets her son . . . who looks suspiciously like Ian. He is given the opportunity to give Emily’s son his English name, Ian James.
There are only three more episodes for this half of the season before another significant break. “Singapore” mostly felt like a filler episode—setting things up for the next big moments in this half of the season. It moved characters on in terms of story and location. Brianna being afraid of the Lallybroch cemetery hit the most emotionally as we are all waiting to see what happens to Jamie and Claire in the end. The answer could be right there, a few feet from her. It’s a real brain twister (I really want to use the F-word here) for Brianna; she saw her parents a few years ago, but they do not exist in the time she is currently inhabiting. There is nothing recent about Jamie Fraser, and Claire hasn’t existed since 1968 in Brianna’s current present. This episode also placed something new and supernatural into the series that has me more intrigued than anything else that happened, and the nuckelavee also piques my interest. The show’s half-season is starting to pivot towards battles, both emotional and physical.
NEXT WEEK, FRIDAY, JULY 21, AT 8 PM ET: EPISODE 706: “WHERE THE WATERS MEET”
Synopsis: “Jamie and Claire help civilians flee Ticonderoga after the fort falls into British hands. Roger discovers the identity of the mysterious ‘Nuckelavee’.”