Outlander Episode 211 “Vengeance is Mine”
Whisky, Rhenish, Tea, and Wee Dram relish seeing our beloved characters’ true nature
Whisky: Let’s just take a moment to savor how delicious that title looks on-screen. To get an episode like this, with a narrative arc more in keeping with the broad, sweeping story lines of the novels, who better to get in on the action than Herself?
Tea: You’ve been talking up Ron’s podcasts all season long, and last year, too. This is the first time I listened, and I’m so glad I did. Diana was so gracious and generous as always, still with her tell-it-like-it-is style.
Rhenish: I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, but I agree that, even though the script doesn’t directly track with the book, 211 just rings more true than almost any other episode to date. I think the key is the return of the humor and wit we love. Now if only something else Diana’s known for had made it into the episode…
Wee Dram: … but opening with the foreshadowing of the wig falling was a stroke of brilliance. Because I haven’t read the books, I didn’t get it the first time I watched, of course, but I can see now that it was an inside joke for the novel readers.
T: So at the top of the show, Prince Charles was forced to face the reality that his troops are no longer supporting him.
R: In the last episode, we saw BPC showing his compassionate and peace-loving, “we are all my father’s subjects” side, though he was still a bit wishy-washy. In 211, he starts to show some backbone — that he has “a fighting man’s heart.” Maybe he isn’t so bad a leader after all.
W: I didn’t get this the first time I watched: the main reason Jamie wants to charge on to London is because it gets the army as far away from Culloden as possible.
T: To no avail, unfortunately. My heart sank when he apologized to Claire. What else could he have possibly done?
R: And who’s to say that a campaign toward London would have had a better outcome? Fate is bigger than Jamie and Claire, it would seem.
T: I loved seeing capable Dr. Claire at work providing much needed services.
R: Claire Fraser, DDS….thank God for Novocain!
W: The dental work that’s in the episode is not in the book, although it felt very true, at least to this book-reader, because it is mentioned in later books as something she does at gatherings. She has a stronger constitution than I could ever dream of having in my lifetime.
R: And yet so tenderhearted at the same time, like here when she’s awoken to this beautiful scene!
WD: This was my favorite part of the episode.
T: I’m so very glad the Gaelic praying over Claire was included.
W: The scene in bed is the only one that made it to the screen exactly as Diana wrote it. It is based on a prayer that is in the Carmina Gadelica, a collection of prayers that accompanied everything from marriages to hunting expeditions. Diana did add one phrase of her own, “and the child she may one day bear.” The scene was actually from the first book but wasn’t used until now. It fit here beautifully.
R: These are the moments that Outlander fans live for! You can feel the love between Jamie and Claire in their gazes. What could have made it even better is… er… a rising of a different kind, if you know what I mean.
WD: We always know what you mean, Rhenish (winks).
R: At this rate, Claire’s next pregnancy is going to be an immaculate conception… just sayin’…
W: In all seriousness, the lack of sex in this season has become a fundamental flaw. Any intimacy they portray now will be of a heartbreaking, desperate, never-see-one-another-again nature. It’s just too much.
T: I do agree, but this was an intimate, beautiful moment and helped further cement Jamie and Claire’s connection. I never dreamed of having my husband pray over me while I slept, but now find that I want nothing more than that. Hmm, I wonder how to break it to him…
WD: I felt so bad for BPC until he stole Jamie’s horse and took off. Mark me, he’s bad news.
R: I cannot believe that BPC had the nerve to take Donas without even asking. It’s the man’s horse, for crying out loud! I loved Donas’ “personality” in the book and wish we got a little more of it in the show.
W: I’m just wondering why Dougal took the liberty of reading a message meant just for Jamie. Oh wait. That’s right. He’s Dougal. That’s why.
T: After the redcoats attacked the camp, I felt the terror of the group trying to escape, especially with Claire shrieking “Fergus!!” I loved how Murtagh had Fergus ride with him — such a perfect grandpa move.
W: Diana campaigned to kill Rupert in this sequence, as she had in the book, but with the shift from Willie dying at Prestonpans to Angus, Ron wasn’t ready for that to happen just yet. Diana lobbied to gravely wound him instead.
And what a grave job indeed! Rupert’s bullet to the eye was gory, disgusting, and fantastic. Grant O’Rourke, who plays Rupert, couldn’t stand to look at it because of how realistic it was.
R: Even with a punctured eye, Rupert makes us laugh in the kirk. Did anyone else scream “shhhh” when Rupert screamed while Claire extracted the musket ball?
T: Things got real in the church, aside from Rupert’s eye surgery. The panic once everyone realized they were truly trapped — och!
WD: When Claire declared herself Lady Broch Tuarach in the name of saving the others, I was floored. Remember, I haven’t read the books. I have to say in all honesty that Claire really bugged me in Season 1. Now I understand her far better. I really love her and admire how brave she is.
R: Claire is such a strong woman to give herself up to the redcoats and save the rest of the group. In the book, it’s Dougal that shouts out that he has a British woman hostage, and then Dougal and Claire have to convince Jamie that it’s the best plan. This change from the book was great as it shows how strong and stubborn Claire is, and it provided a chance for Jamie to express his love again for Claire. And he got to punch Dougal, so bonus!
T: This scene had so many great lines — Dougal telling Jamie to quit being a hero, Claire getting in Jamie’s face when he originally says nay to her idea, Murtagh quietly agreeing with Claire, Fergus suggesting that milady faint to avoid questions at first…
R: …and the best one of all: “We will find each other….trust in that.”
W: It’s important to remember that the code of honor in the 18th century meant that people would actually abide by agreements like those made during the hostage exchange, even between the British and the Highlanders.
T: Absolutely. And when Jamie planned to go after Claire alone, it was wonderful to hear Murtagh tell Jamie that, while he could order the others around, that was not going to work on him. Of course, egotistical Dougal had to comment about Murtagh being “almost good enough” to replace Dougal himself. Och, that man!
T: It was great to see Hugh Munro again, wasn’t it? And so very fortunate that Claire saw him just when she needed to get a message to Jamie! While a bit contrived/corny that he happened to be there, it worked out very well and I love his character.
R: Did anyone else thing that Munro looks like Radagast the Brown from Lord of the Rings?
W: I’m glad that, for all of the things that have to be left out of an adaptation, Hugh Munro doesn’t get hanged.
WD: I could not believe it when the Duke of Sandringham showed up. I was so afraid he was going to give up Claire’s secret.
R: And nice new ‘do, Sandringham! This guy is always showing up in the strangest places… even Claire can’t believe it.
W: The battle of wits exchange between Claire and Sandringham was fun to write but a chore to edit, according to Diana. So much had to be cut for time.
R: Sandringham steals the scene every time. He is the character I totally love to hate… and love to watch. The delivery of his lines, pompous and condescending, with biting sarcasm and a bit of wit, is just perfect for this creep who is an absolutely evil self-serving bastard.
T: Even though I knew what to expect, I couldn’t help but gasp when Claire saw him. His face is the absolute best. He can look innocent, cunning, evil, and surprised all within the same minute. He is constantly making excuses for himself and Claire was having none of it.
WD: Seeing Mary Hawkins was a good surprise.
W: It seems like working the knowledge of Sandringham’s relationship to Mary Hawkins into the Paris sequence would have been an easy fix. It was awkward to introduce it here, however necessary.
T: I was just as happy as Claire to have Mary enter the scene and felt badly for Mary due to the scorn and disdain that her godfather sends her way.
W: It was also awkward that Mary doesn’t ask about Claire’s baby. The reason they didn’t include that discussion was because they wanted to save Mary’s news of Mary’s until the next episode.
R: Claire writing in Gaelic was so clever.
W: Murtagh the Grammar Police! Grammarians: please be aware that this is what you sound like when you pick at trivialities. Give the girl a break!
T: The humor of this scene was sorely needed in this heavy, action-packed episode. “She even misspelled ‘help’” made me laugh out loud.
W: Diana rewrote the scene with Claire and Mary talking about finding Hugh in the garden, in order to use the secret door. The real Bonnie Prince Charlie once stayed in that very room!
WD: I hated the idea that she had to live in the Duke’s home with the birthmark guy, even though she didn’t know his part in the Paris attack, because you could tell how mean and scary he was to her. Can you even imagine living in the same house with someone like that?
And Jamie and Murtagh’s rescue mission was the best.
T: Murtagh’s affection, fierce loyalty and devotion to Jamie are what you want to see in a godfather — not the Duke’s treatment of Mary! What a world of difference.
WD: When Mary tried to leave through the front door and he viciously grabbed her arm and took her off to the Duke, I was especially glad when Mary was able to take care of her attacker in the kitchen.
R: Little Mary has sure come a long way. Who knew she had it in her to stab the valet, Danton — the girl who moments ago was appalled by the idea of talking to a beggar on the front porch. I have watched the final scene several times in spite of my dislike for all things violent and bloody, just because it was written, choreographed and acted so beautifully.
T: The Duke’s excuse-making begging to Jamie, the short moment when he thought Jamie was going to let him go — not realizing that Jamie was merely passing him off to Murtagh. The look between Jamie and Murtagh at that point was nothing short of perfection.
R: Murtagh is truly the guy that’s got your back. Though I couldn’t stand the beheading scene and watched through slightly closed fingers over my eyes, I loved that he dropped the head at Claire’s feet.
WD: I was not prepared for the beheading. But Murtagh, wow. My hero. I could not stop thinking about that scene the whole next day.
T: While I hated the visual of the beheading (All the blood! SO much blood!), I absolutely loved the significance of Murtagh being the one to do the killing and presenting the head to both Claire and Mary as repayment for what they had lived through in the Paris attack.
R: Jamie standing by, still as a statue, realizing and believing in the importance of this for Murtagh, the two women looking on in horror, but also appreciating the “gift”. So.Well.Done.
W: They did the last scene in the episode in a single take. They didn’t have any other choice — they couldn’t clean the blood off the costumes fast enough.
“I think we’d better go.”
All images courtesy of Starz, via Outlander Online