Season Two, Episode Eleven: “Vengeance is Mine”
Written by Diana Gabaldon
Directed by Mike Barker
All photos courtesy Starz.
Author’s Note: This post contains mention of sexual violence and a picture of a body part.
That episode, guys.
I mean…I can’t even with this right now. In the best way possible. On a scale from one to even, I just can’t.
So let’s break this down.
~ The Jacobite Rebellion got off to a decent start, having taken the major Scottish cities of Perth and Edinburgh
~ Prince Charles wore a super fancy coat. He has a super fancy council but Jamie is still his bbf (best bro forever).
~ The Jacobite forces snuck around a bog to launch a surprise attack on the Redcoat forces at Prestonpans, to great success.
~ Fergus was an idiot but is still alive.
~ Angus was brave and amazing and is now dead.
~ Dougal was Dougal and offended Prince Charlie. Jamie smoothed things out as best he could.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s get into this week. Because this episode, guuuuuuuuuys.
We open with another council meeting. In attendance: Fancy-pants Prince Charles (Andrew Gower), Lord General George Murray/General Man (Julian Wadham), Quartermaster John O’Sullivan/Irish One (Gerard Horan), and Resident Hero Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).
The Jacobites have been on a roll since the Battle of Prestonpans, having pushed across the English/Scottish border and conquered territory as far south as the city of Manchester.
The council discusses their next move:
Jamie: We should just push on to London, ya know? Bring the fight to the heartland and all.
Prince Charles: You are so right, Brotein Shake! *whispers* I love our rad bromance…
Prince Charles: What?
General Man: Um. Yeah. Okay. See, here’s the thing. We’re not gonna do that.
Prince Charles: ???????
Irish One: Yeah, it’s just…we’re in England now. And the English don’t seem too keen on a prince who wears head-to-toe tartan and takes over their cities with an army of Scottish highlanders. Go figure.
General Man: Yeah, it’s super weird. But anyway…we should go stay in Scotland for the winter. You know, rest up, drink some hot chocolate, take a nap. We can try the whole invasion thing next year.
Prince Charles: ?????????????????????
Claire (Caitriona Balfe), meanwhile, is outside giving dental cleanings and pulling rotten teeth. (Because being a combat nurse also makes you a qualified dentist, I guess?) Jamie comes out and tells her that they’ve got to pack up and head back to Lallybroch, Land of Potatoes.
But before that can happen, Dougal (Graham McTavish) gets orders commanding Jamie and his forces to ride north ahead of the army and set up a winter camp at Inverness, essentially banishing the Fraser forces from the Prince. Dougal is most displeased.
On the road north, the Fraser camp is attacked by Redcoats. Everybody scatters, with Dougal, Jamie, Claire, Fergus, Murtagh, and Rupert (Grant O’Rourke) riding off together. They manage to lose the British forces, though Rupert takes a musket ball to his eye. The group takes shelter in a nearby church to treat his wound.
A few hours later, the Redcoats show up, threatening to burn the church down if the Scots don’t surrender. Predictably, Jamie says he’ll turn himself in to ensure everyone’s safe passage. Claire, however, is having none of it. She instead pulls her “Help, I’m an English captive of a terrible Scot” act from a couple episodes ago. This proves effective enough to let everyone go free, with just one problem: Claire is now with the Redcoats, being escorted to “safety”.
Claire spends the night in a random tavern. In the morning, a soldier informs her that she’s being taken to Belmont, a Fancy People House, and not to the nearby garrison, which is where Jamie and Murtagh will be trying to find her. Luckily, Claire has been spotted by Hugh Munro (Simon Meacock), Jamie’s tongue-less beggar friend from Season One. Claire manages to sneakily tell him that she’s Belmont-bound.
While Hugh goes off to find Jamie, Claire is taken to Belmont, which is surrounded by Redcoat soldiers. Inside, we meet everyone’s least favorite two-faced Wig Wearer: the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow).
Surprisingly, the Duke doesn’t out Claire as the wife of a famous Jacobite rebel. Instead, he maintains her charade and invites her to dinner and a chat:
Sandringham: Apparently, everyone thinks I’m a Jacobite supporter.
Claire: How shocking.
Sandringham: I’ve been placed in this house, surrounded by soldiers and under constant supervision. I only have a cook three days a week!
Sandringham: When Jamie comes to get you, he has to rescue me, too.
Claire: Lol, yeah, okay, like that’s gonna happen.
Sandringham: If you want Jamie to know that there’s a gazillion soldiers around, you’re gonna have to use my messenger and you can’t do that unless Jamie rescues me, too. So, ha!
So Claire promises to save Sandringham and writes a note for Sandringham’s messenger to give to Hugh the Beggar to give to Jamie. No sooner has Claire finished doing this than the door opens and in comes Real Life Actual Porcelain Doll Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day)! Turns out she’s the Duke’s goddaughter and he’s arranged for her to marry yet another ugly, terrible man. She begs Claire to take her along when Jamie comes for her.
So to summarize: Claire stuck in house with Duke and Mary. Mary being forced to marry ugly, terrible man. Claire being forced to force Jamie to rescue the Duke. Claire also wants to rescue Mary. Meanwhile, the Duke’s messenger has found Hugh, who has found Jamie, who is now coming with Murtagh to save Claire. And I guess the Duke and Mary, too.
It is all ridiculously insane and I AM LOVING IT.
Later in the night, Sandringham finds Claire and says that he’s convinced the Redcoats to back off from the house a bit. He refuses to explain how he’s done so. A servant named Danton (Andrea Dolente) walks in and Claire recognizes the purple birthmark on his hand from the night she and Mary were attacked in Paris.
Claire: Holy crapoli, that’s the man that attacked Mary and me in Paris!
Sandringham: What? Oh yeah, I know. I told him to.
Sandringham: Yeah, I like…owed the Comte St. Germain a bunch of money? And I couldn’t pay him? So I just, like, told him I’d have you raped because you destroyed his stuff. And Mary was just there, I guess, so…you know, what you gonna do?
The Duke explains that he’d like to prove his loyalty to the Crown by capturing Jamie and turning him in. He then locks Claire in her room like he’s some sort of Disney villain. Because let’s be real, he’s basically a Disney villain at this point.
But it isn’t long before Mary sneaks into Claire’s room through a (very convenient) hidden passageway. Claire tells her to sneak outside, find Hugh in the garden, and tell him to tell Jamie that everything’s a trap. Mary’s like, “Go out in the dark and talk to a beggar? Ew, no!” Claire rolls her eyes and heads off to do it herself.
Claire doesn’t get far, though, since she runs into the Duke having a midnight snack in the kitchen.
Sandringham: Omg, hi, hello, how are you, sit down and tell me how you killed the Comte St. Germain! Did you stab him or just death glare him to death?
Claire: I hate you so much.
Meanwhile, Mary has finally gotten her crap together enough to leave Claire’s room. She walks into the kitchen, where the Duke yells at her to go to bed. Instead, she sneaks outside and tells Hugh to pull an Admiral Ackbar and tell Jamie it’s a trap.
Okay, so here’s where things start getting real. Are you ready? You’re not, no one could ever be, but that’s okay, we’re gonna do it anyway.
So Claire is stuck in the kitchen with the Duke, right? And Danton walks in with Mary:
Danton: She was wandering around the house, sir.
Mary: I don’t want to marry the awful man so I decided to run away but then the dark was so scary, you know? And then I just couldn’t run away because dark = scary so then I-
Sandringham: Ugh, whatever, go to bed, I can’t even deal with you right now.
Jamie: *casually walks in the door* Oh hey, what’s up, I’m here to party/rescue my wife.
Because he clearly has never met Jamie Fraser, Danton threatens to cut Claire’s throat.
Jamie throws Danton to the ground. Claire yells that Danton was the one who attacked her and Mary. Danton is all, “the Duke made me do it!” Jamie punches him in the face then turns on the Duke. Predictably, the Duke starts denying all of it. Murtagh sneaks into the room behind him.
And then, on the other side of the room, Mary picks up a kitchen knife and straight up stabs Danton in the kidney.
Like, that girl just stabs him dead.
Not one to be upstaged, Murtagh hefts an axe and cuts off the Duke’s head, leaving a seriously impressive splatter of blood across his face. He picks up the head and presents it to Claire, saying, “I lay your vengeance at your feet.”
In the understatement of the century, Mary says, “I think we’d better go now.” Exeunt all.
Pros of this episode:
~ HAHAHAHAHAHAHAhaaaaa. Oh man. Oh, where to begin?
~ Mary MotherEffing Hawkins finally stepping up to the damn plate. First, she sneaks out to warn Hugh. Then she ratchets the badassery up to eleven and stabs the guy who raped her. Because a girl can only take so much until she snaps and stabs a dude. Mary Hawkins has totally arrived and I can’t wait to see more.
~ Murtagh chopped off the Duke of Sandrinham’s head and laid it at Claire’s feet and it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to anybody, anywhere, at any time. It’s fine if you disagree. Just know that you’re wrong.
~ From the moment the Fraser camp was attacked, this was a fun, fast-paced romp. While some serious things did happen, this episode was primarily a daring adventure story which serves as an excellent antidote to the poison that Paris became. It also offers a short respite from the tension we feel in the Jacobite camp. We all know Culloden is coming, so it’s nice to have some fun before we get kicked in the gut.
~ We will no longer have to listen to the Duke of Sandringham blather on about God knows what.
~ Also Jamie praying over Claire in Gaelic. Because Jamie praying over Claire in Gaelic.
Cons of this episode:
~ Again, not enough Fergus. Though the Frasers did successfully PROTECT FERGUS 2K16.
~ While this episode was amazingly fun, I’m sure some people will object to the fact that it didn’t do much to advance the main Jacobite plot. And with so few episodes left in the season, there’s not much time to wrap everything up. This week did hook us back up with Mary and shows us that all is not well in Prince Charles’ inner circle. But it is a rather abrupt sidetrack from the flow of the story. On the other hand…you all saw Mary stab that guy, right?
~ I remain without the Comte St. Germain’s wardrobe. Have now started speaking exclusively in French. I am not entirely fluent in French, so I often find myself resorting to just making French-like sounds.
Okay, people, I think we’re all done here. Please feel free to resume your usual activities. I’ll just hang out here and chant Mary Hawkins Mary Hawkins Mary Hawkins over and over under my breath until next Saturday night.
Outlander airs every Saturday at 9/8c on Starz.
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