The 2nd season of Outlander is entering the home stretch. I’m writing an “Insta-Reaction” post for each episode right after viewing, to share some initial thoughts, questions, reactions — you name it.
I may be talking about events from this episode, other episodes, and/or the book series… so if you’d rather not know, now’s your chance to walk away!
Outlander, episode 211: “Vengeance Is Mine”
The official synopsis (via Starz):
Claire and the Highlanders are sent north after the Jacobite leaders decide to halt their march on London. A band of redcoats makes trouble for the Scots, leading to a most unexpected reunion for Claire.
3rd to last episode of the season!
Major plot points:
- The Prince’s army has advanced into northern England, but lacking the support of his generals to march on and attack London, the Prince has no choice but to turn back and return north into Scotland.
- Jamie and Claire set out to lead the Lallybroch men to Inverness, but they’re attacked by redcoats along the way.
- After being cornered in a church, Jamie agrees with Claire’s plan to trade her (as a pretend hostage) to the British in exchange for the Scots’ safe passage. Jamie and Claire plan to reconnect near the garrison to which Claire will most likely be taken.
- After some convoluted back and forth, Claire ends up as a “guest” (prisoner) of the Duke of Sandringham.
- Claire realizes that the Duke’s servant is the one who attacked her and Mary in Paris. The Duke admits that he arranged the attack and rape as a way to pay off a debt owed to the Comte St. Germain.
- The Duke has set a trap for Jamie, but he’s able to rescue Claire and Mary (the Duke’s goddaughter, also staying at his home).
- Murtagh cuts off the Duke’s head, Mary stabs her rapist, and they all make their escape.
This episode was written by Diana Gabaldon herself, and it’s great to see her take on this action-packed segment of the story. People who expected Diana’s screenplay to exactly mirror the book were undoubtedly surprised — proving once and for all that this is an adaptation, and that even Herself changes the source material to fit a new medium.
Okay, descending from soapbox.
Another terrific episode! The initial scene has the Prince demanding that his generals heed his call to march on London. The military men unanimously feel that it would be a foolhardy mission and basically refuse. Only Jamie stands by the Prince and tries to rally the others, but to no avail. Why does Jamie support the Prince? Not because it makes sense militarily, that’s for sure. It’s clear that Jamie is keeping in mind all that he’s learned from Claire, including the fact that the Jacobites never did advance on London. If Jamie can make it happen this time, then perhaps the further outcomes can be changed too… but alas, the plan fails.
Dougal makes a return from his exile to deliver a message to Jamie. The Prince and his cronies have already departed, and Jamie is to take the Lallybroch men to Inverness to await further orders. Jamie and Claire exchange a brief, ironic look, seeing as the last time Claire was in Inverness was 200 years in the future!
The escape on horseback, trying to outrun and evade the pursuing redcoats, is quite well done, with our little band of heroes galloping through the woods and Dougal making an impressive jump from his horse to Rupert’s in order to save Rupert from falling off.
Rupert is shot in the eye, but survives. Claire gets the chance to perform all sorts of nasty medical procedures in this episode, from tooth extractions to pulling the bullet out of Rupert’s eye socket. That woman has got a backbone made of steel!
The Duke is as sly and slimy as ever, playing Claire and setting a trap for Jamie. It’s great to see Mary step up and fight back, rather than remaining the meek little girl, “soiled goods” to be married off to whomever the Duke considers most advantageous for himself. Hugh Munro makes a welcome reappearance as well, acting as go-between to make sure that Jamie knows where Claire is.
Murtagh sure can swing an axe! The end of the Duke is bloody and splattery. Remember back in Paris, after the attack in the streets, when Murtagh swore he’d lay vengeance at Claire’s feet? Well, now he literally has, placing the Duke’s severed head right in front of Claire’s toes.
It is a totally engrossing episode, and the action pretty much never lets up. Claire was in full-on badass mode, and it looked good on her! I hate knowing that the end is near and that disaster is just ahead, but at least this episode didn’t leave such a foreboding of tragedy as the previous one did.
Rupert is mourning his friend Angus the only way he knows how, by telling stories about Angus’s missing front teeth and other randomly weird facts. So, in comradely support of Rupert, I’m including this picture from last week, because I miss Angus too!
While packed with action, the episode still allowed room for some more personal moments, such as Jamie saying a prayer over Claire as she sleeps before joining her in bed. It’s a sweet, tender moment that shows the depth of love and commitment between Jamie and Claire. Their love is so strong that even a moment of simply a quiet embrace tells the whole story of their devotion to one another.
It’s hard to believe we’re already so close to the end of the season! It seems like there’s still a lot of story to cover in the next two episodes — Alex Randall, Culloden, and Claire in the 20th century, as well as Roger and Brianna and Claire’s big reveal to them. I have such faith in the production team, though! I’m sure the next two episodes will be heartbreaking and amazing.
And now that we know that there will be at least two more seasons, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that this wonderful story will continue onward!