Changing format a bit:
This is going to be a two-in-one post. covering episodes 113 & 114. Time is tight, so I’m trying to force myself to keep the recapping on the shorter side! One week to go until season 2…
Outlander, Season 1, Episode 13: “The Watch”
The official synopsis, courtesy of Starz:
Jamie finds himself between a rock and a hard place when a redcoat deserter from his past resurfaces. Claire tends to a laboring Jenny while Jamie and Ian join The Watch, resulting in devastating consequences.
The Watch, led by Taran MacQuarrie, has arrived at Lallybroch. MacQuarrie has mistaken Jamie for a thief doing some breaking and entering, but Jenny soon clears things up with a lie, introducing Jamie as her cousin, Jamie McTavish. Ian and Jenny have been paying off McQuarrie for the past few years in exchange for protection from the redcoats. As extortionists go, he could be worse, although the band of thugs he travels with seem intent on stirring up trouble and getting in Jamie’s face.
Later, MacQuarrie is joined by the deserter Horrocks, who’s ready and able to blow Jamie’s cover. If the Watch realizes who he is and that he’s wanted, they’ll likely sell him out to the redcoats without blinking an eye. Horrocks realizes that Jamie is at his mercy, and blackmails him. When Jamie goes to pay him off, Horrocks indicates that he needs even more, making it clear that Jamie is safe only so long as he keeps paying. Ian, always there to protect Jamie, runs Horrocks through with a big sword, and the two friends bury him. MacQuarrie doesn’t seem too peeved to find out that Horrocks has been killed, but insists that Jamie join his raiding party to take Horrocks’s place. Ian decides to go along as well.
Jenny is in labor, and the baby is breech. Claire has seen childbirth, and as the midwife is unavailable, it’s up to her to deliver the baby. It’s a looooong drawn-out labor, giving the women plenty of time to bond.
Jamie and Ian depart with the Watch. Jamie and Claire have a tender good-bye. MacQuarrie and Jamie seem to connect and understand one another, and McQuarrie makes clear that he would never turn Jamie over to the British.
As they reach the spot picked out by Horrocks for their raid, Jamie realizes that it’s a trap just as their group is ambushed by a band of redcoat soldiers.
Back at Lallybroch, Jenny eventually gives birth to a health baby girl. Three days go by, and the women are getting nervous. Finally, Ian limps into the yard supported by one of MacQuarrie’s men. Most of the men have been killed, Ian reports. MacQuarrie was injured and Jamie wouldn’t leave him — so Jamie has now been captured by the British.
Claire is devastated, and gazes off down the road, wondering where Jamie is and how to get him back.
Outlander, Season 1, Episode 14: “The Search”
The official synopsis, courtesy of Starz:
Claire and Jenny set out to rescue Jamie from his redcoat captors. When Murtagh joins up, they turn to unorthodox tactics to send word to Jamie. When word finally arrives, the news isn’t what anyone had hoped.
Claire is ready to dash off in search of Jamie. Ian wants to go with, but he’s injured and in no condition to go anywhere. Jenny to the rescue! Despite just having given birth, Jenny straps on two pistols and rides off with Claire in hot pursuit, using her excellent tracking skills to find out where Jamie has been taken.
Finally, they come across an encampment of British soldiers and see MacQuarrie held as prisoner, but no sign of Jamie. They capture a courier and Jenny tortures him for information until Claire thinks to look in his messenger back for information. They discover that Jamie has escaped, and the message is a request for the garrison at Ft. William to help find and recapture him. Claire is about to treat the wounds of the courier, but Jenny points out that they can’t let him live. As the two women debate his fate, they hear a sound and turn to see Murtagh slitting the man’s throat.
With Murtagh there to ride with Claire, Jenny can go back home to her baby. The women part with hugs and affection, but not before Claire gives her some advice about the coming years of hardship and urges her to plant potatoes. Jenny remarks that Jamie had told her that Claire might sometimes tell her things about the future, and that she should listen to Claire. Not weird at all!
Murtagh has an unusual plan for finding Jamie: Stop looking for him. If Jamie is hiding out in the Highlands trying to avoid detection by the British, there’s no chance of finding him. Instead, they need to make themselves very visible so that Jamie will catch word of their presence and come to them. To that end, they travel from village to village, with Claire providing services as a healer and a palm-reader while Murtagh performs atrociously bad dances. They ask everyone they meet if they’ve seen a tall red-haired lad passing through, but no one has.
They decide to up their game after Claire remarks that Murtagh should “jazz up” his performance. Claire ends up dressed as a boy, singing a popular Highlands song to the tune of “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”. It draws a lot of attention, but no Jamie. Meanwhile, Claire and Murtagh are venting their worry on each other with constant sniping and arguing. Finally, they reach the end of the road and share an emotional moment, as Claire realizes that Murtagh was in love with Jamie’s mother Ellen years ago, and Murtagh confesses that he loves Jamie like a son.
With new determination, they keep looking, and Claire finally gets word of a message to meet at a nearby location. Certain it’s Jamie, she runs to the meeting point…
… only to find Dougal there instead. Dougal informs Claire and Murtagh that Jamie was captured, and has already been tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang. He’s at Wentworth Prison, and may already be dead.
Claire is ready to rush off, but Dougal stops her for a private word. He declares his interest in Claire, advises her that once she’s done grieving for Jamie she’ll need protection, and asks her to marry him. Shocked, Claire declares that Jamie’s not dead yet. She sees through Dougal’s words, and realizes that if Dougal marries her, he’ll get the Fraser lands that belong to her by marriage. Claire wants Dougal’s men to help her try to rescue Jamie, refusing to give up. Finally, Claire and Dougal strike a bargain: He’ll give her his men, if they choose to go — but if she fails or if Jamie’s already dead, she’ll marry Dougal.
Dougal’s men are reluctant at first, as it seems like a no-win situation, but ultimately Willy, Rupert, and Angus agree to help. The five ride toward Wentworth Prison, a massive fortress that looms in the distance.
Thoughts and Highlights:
Jamie and Claire’s good-bye is sweet and tender — but there’s an ominous feel as well. After they kiss, time slows as Jamie walks off and Claire gazes after him. She may not realize it, but it’s the last time she’ll see him free and whole.
The entire labor and delivery sequence is so well done. I particularly love this shot of Jenny, making her pregnancy look both real and beautiful, as she describes the intimate sensations of being pregnant:
In “The Search”, Claire looks full-out adorable in her “drag” get-up:
Here’s a closer look at that amazing coat and vest:
Major facts that the episodes get on the table:
- The Watch is dangerous, but also holds up its end of the bargain by protecting the lands that pay them off.
- Ian and Jamie fought as mercenaries together in Europe years earlier, which is how Ian lost his leg.
- Claire is afraid that she’s unable to have children, something she tearily confesses to Jamie after he shares his dream of a large family. Jamie being glorious, selfless Jamie, he immediately reassures Claire that he’s fine with not having babies, so long as he has her.
- Murtagh is completely loyal to Jamie (and to Ellen’s memory), and will do anything to protect Jamie.
- Dougal is creepy and stalkerish as he tries to seduce Claire, basically declaring Jamie dead in advance and advising her to give up hope. He seems to have gotten over Geillis’s death already.
Jamie, telling Claire why it might be best if she can’t have children:
“I can bear pain myself, but I couldna bear yours.”
Claire: “Haste ye back, or else.”
Jamie: “Or else what?”
Claire: “Or else I’ll follow you, I’ll drag you back by your thick red curls, and you won’t like it one bit.
Murtagh: “You think you’re the only one who loves Jamie? He’s a son to me.”
Jenny is one bad-ass woman. From the way she handles her pistols to getting on horseback three days post-partum to the casual stop by the side of the road to express breastmilk, Jenny is tough, determined, and committed to doing whatever she needs to protect her family.
McQuarrie seems a decent guy. His men seem like thugs, but McQuarrie is a former soldier with a sense of honor. And — added bonus — he’s played by Douglas Henshall, who’s always wonderful.
We don’t see Jamie at all in “The Search”, and it’s a very effective way of keeping the tension high. We have no more idea than Claire does whether Jamie is alive or dead, free or a prisoner. The little bits shown of Claire singing and dancing may be amusing, but the desperation behind the roadshow is always apparent.
Claire is determined to find Jamie and save him, and it’s 100% believable that she’ll do it or die trying.