Outlander Season 2, Episode 11
“Vengeance is Mine”
Posted by Kim
“This show is SAVAGE.” – a text from Sage upon finishing “Vengeance is Mine”. INDEED IT IS.
Given that this episode was written by Diana Gabaldon (her first time writing for the series), Outlander was at its Outlanderiest (yes, that’s a word because I say it is) with “Vengeance is Mine”. We got more politcial intrigue, swoony Jamie, Claire sacrificing herself for the greater good, a whole lot of answers about shit that went down in Paris, and OH YEAH the beheading of the Duke of Sandringham. WHAT. I knew we were in for it when the “previously on” segment at the top of the episode brought back Hugh Munro, Mary’s rape, Murtagh’s vow of vengeance, AND the ongoing movement of the Jacobite rebellion. It’s a LOT for one episode and yet the execution was so perfect that it never felt like it was too much. The pace of the episode was breathless yet it never felt like it was spinning out of control. (Sage wisely compared the episode to Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” and I HAVE to agree. It’s like the show went from 0 to 100 in one episode but Outlander had been dying to just SPRINT and we just didn’t know it and then the starting gun went off and the show was like WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.) All the pieces are in place and there is nothing left to do but hurtle towards the finale (me when they said they were going back to Inverness: HOE DON’T DO IT). The best we can do is just hold on and trust that the show will get us there. Let’s do this.
We pick up months after Prestonpans and the Jacobite army has made it all the way to Manchester. (MONTHS? Is Claire pregnant and doesn’t know it yet? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TIMELINE.) London is a mere 5 days march away but there are three armies standing between the Jacobites and their goal. So what comes next? You guessed it! A whole lotta arguing about what to do whilst the Prince looks on with his God-crazed eyes. Once again the massive generational gap in the Prince’s advisory board rears its ugly head: all the old guys are like “We can’t risk facing those armies” while Jamie urges that now is not the time to back down. The general is all “You’ve shown smarts before, youth, but remember your place.” Jamie shoots back that the chances of them meeting all three armies are slim and if they are smart, they may be able to get past them altogether. The old guys aren’t moved. They are too afraid that one confrontation will wipe out their entire brigade and they aren’t willing to take risks. They’d rather bury their heads in the sand and give up everything they’ve won rather than chance it. (275 years later, these guys’ descendants are going to vote LEAVE with Brexit, I guarantee it.) Jamie AKA Captain Scotland stands his ground and refuses to be cowed into this decision. “That war brings risk should come at no surprise. But if we turn back now, all hope that currently resides in the hearts of our supporters will be filled with doubt and fear.” Preach, Jamie, PREACH.
Charles again plays the Divine Purpose card. “This precious chance of victory, if we spurn His divine gift, there is no guarantee that it will be offered again. So is there no one among you still willing to stand by your prince, your rightful king, and your God?” One person draws their sword and pledges to stand with the prince. GUESS WHO? Yep. Jamie is the ONLY one and eventually he storms out of the meeting, furious. The army is turning around…and even though they don’t know it, they are heading to a certain doom. Claire comforts Jamie saying that even if they had made it to London, there was no guarantee that they would hold it. “But if we had marched on London, then things would be different to what you said happened in your history books. It would mean that just maybe history could be changed, but now…” Destiny is one determined bitch, y’all. Jamie and Claire have been thwarted in every attempt to change its course. Now all they can do is try to protect the ones that matter most. When his men approach him about turning back, Jamie swears that he will see all of them safe back to Lallybroch. “And you, Sassenach, I’ll see you safe, no matter what happens.” STOP INFERRING TO GETTING CLAIRE BACK THROUGH THE STONES I CAN’T DEAL.
The horrible thing about all of this is that Jamie is constantly aware of the promise he made Claire make back in Paris. It’s like he’s just WAITING for that moment to come and every day he’s grateful that he’s had one more day with her. I want to die. That night, Jamie watches Claire sleep and prays over her in Gaelic. “God, shield my beloved, my white dove. And the child that she may one day bear. Preserve her from violence, and from harm. In this place and every place. On this night and on every night.” He does this shirtless because the show never misses an opportunity to remind the audience that Sam Heughan is carved out of marble. Honestly. Let me live in peace. When Claire stirs and asks Jamie what he was saying, he brushes it off. “There’s no’ much I can say waking without it sounding daft and foolish, Sassenach. I can say things while you sleep. Your dreams will ken the truth of them.” (That’s almost a direct quote from Dragonfly in Amber, Diana is no fool when it comes to keeping in her most swoon-worthy stuff.) Jamie’s never been one to mince words when it comes to his affection for Claire, so I really think he’s trying to protect her from how scared he is of losing her by not telling her the whole truth here. I also think Claire probably hears this prayer in her dreams after she goes back through the stones. I know, I know. I ground MYSELF for saying that.
The next morning, Jamie finds out just what happens to the noisy person
who wants to stay in the EU who questions the judgement of the good ole boy generals. Jamie, Dougal, and their men are ordered to proceed to Inverness ahead of the army. (NOT INVERNESS NO.) The generals, being very aware of the influence Jamie has over the Prince, decided that the only thing they can do is get rid of him so they came up with a means of doing so under the guise of him “preparing the way for the army”. It’s a sham and they all know it. Jamie can’t even argue the orders to the Prince because he was taken away at dawn. To add insult to injury, the Prince even took Jamie’s horse because “he knew he wouldn’t mind”. Thanks for nothing, Charles.
Of course, not too long after Jamie and his men settle in a camp on their way to Inverness, they find themselves being fired on by Redcoats. It’s all VERY season one as they scatter to the wind trying to evade them. (I also love how the FIRST thing Claire does is shield Fergus, she’s such a mom.) Rupert takes a bullet TO THE EYE and somehow manages to not die immediately though he’s dangling from his horse. Dougal goes all “NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH” as he refuses to lose another of his kinsmen and literally jumps onto Rupert’s horse with him, pulling Rupert up with a “I’m with ye, lad. I’m with ye.” The one advantage Jamie and company have over the Redcoats is that they are essentially on home turf now. They manage to evade them long enough to take refuge at a chapel (me: SANCTUARY!!!) so Claire can tend to Rupert’s wounds. It’s in this moment that I missed Angus so much it hurts cause you KNOW he would have made a Fred and George Weasley style joke about Rupert’s new eyepatch. (“I’m holey.” “Save your strength.”) I would tell you more about Claire digging in Rupert’s eye socket to remove the bullet but I was too busy screaming.
Eventually, the Redcoats find the church and they order Jamie to surrender or they will burn the church to the ground. They are TRULY trapped with no option to fight back. Jamie immediately goes into hero mode, offering to sacrifice himself in exchange for freedom for Claire and the rest of his men. Dougal and the men know that Jamie would really just be surrendering himself to be killed so they argue that they should all just take their chances and fight. Forever the quick thinker, Claire starts screaming that she’s a British Subject and their prisoner. Jamie’s all DA FUQ U DOIN but Claire’s reasoning is solid. She’s been a bargaining chip before, the Redcoats clearly get off on the whole damsel in distress bit, so why NOT use her instead? It’s highly unlikely that the soldiers will hurt her, Dougal reasons. (Excuse you, sir, allow me to queue up all the episodes where Redcoats attempted to do just that. I’ll wait here while you watch them.) They’ll escort her to somewhere safe and then let her go. Sounds like a plan.
Jamie digs his heels in (“I will not give you up!”) and Claire snaps and it’s GLORIOUS. “Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these men not my responsibility too?” Remember when Claire was so desperate to get away with the Redcoats so she could get back to the stones. Yeah, me too. Look how far we’ve come. Claire knows it’s of the utmost importance that Jamie stay alive for his clan. These are Claire’s people too now. She feels the same loyalty and responsibility that her husband does. What I love about Claire is that she refuses to be a passive observer in this story. It would have been so easy for her to sit back and watch history unfold before her eyes, but she’s in this too deep now. These are her people and she’s going to do what it takes to save them.
Dougal strikes a deal with the Redcoats: Claire, their weapons, and their horses in exchange for letting the rest of them go. He says that “Mistress Beauchamp” is a widow whose been under their protection (again, are we in Season One?) and while the Redcoat scoffs at the idea of Highlander protection, he agrees to the terms. Fergus suggests that Claire faints as so that they don’t question her right away. Dougal says they’ll likely take her to Hazelmere, the nearest British outpost, and leave her there, as they won’t want to be weighed down with her presence longer than they need to. They will make their way to get her back there. While Jamie makes the move to take her out there himself, Dougal warns that the whole thing will probably go to shit if they realize they have actually cornered Red Jamie, so it’s time to say goodbye. “We will find each other,” Claire promises her husband. “Trust in that.” Her faith in him and in their love is unshakable. She knows Jamie will move heaven and earth (and time????) to get her back and that’s ALL she needs to know.
The exchange goes off without a hitch (save for Dougal getting one last dig in about being a loyal subject once the true King is back on the throne. Claire does her best “OH I AM SO RELIEVED” once she “comes to and realizes she’s no longer with the terrible Highlanders” and the Redcoats totally buy it. Meanwhile, Jamie orders Murtagh and Dougal to head north with the men. Both Murtagh and Dougal are like “You can’t do this alone and you’re not the boss of me, so we’re coming deal with it”. BROS TILL THE END. After a brief round of “who is REALLY Jamie’s best friend?” they agree that Murtagh will go with Jamie and Dougal will lead the men. “Bring our lass back safe,” Dougal orders.
Token Lecherous Soldier aside (“You look like you could use some warming up…” God, creepy pick-up lines really have existed since the dawn of time), all is good with Claire and the Redcoats until she learns that she is being escorted to Belmont rather than Hazelmere thanks to the soldiers being diverted to Keswick. (God, what would I ever do without transcripts of this show?) Belmont is a large estate owned by a “Rich Englishman” who will give Claire refuge. Right away, that’s ominous. First things first though, Claire’s somehow got to get word to Jamie that she’s not going to be where he thinks she is. Luckily, she spots Jamie’s buddy Munro and passes along the info under the guise of giving him a handout. She’s so smart. “I don’t know WHY we’re going to Belmont instead of Hazelmere,” she questions with extra emphasis, just to get the point across. Seriously. This woman is a hero, I would be so screwed without my cellphone in this sort of situation.
“OH FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK” = my response when the rich Englishman at Bellmont turned out to be the Duke of Sandringham. OF COURSE IT WAS. He’s such a fucking snake. His barely constrained glee upon seeing Claire Fraser in his parlor made me sick to my stomach. They both played dumb in front of Claire’s escort but Sandringham was practically salivating over this turn of events as he made Claire feel as uncomfortable as possible without giving it away. Once they are alone, she questions as to WHY he didn’t give her away and of course it all comes back to how Sandringham plays all sides. Sandringham is essentially under house arrest, having just been freed from the Tower of London because he was a suspected Jacobite. He informs Claire that the house is totally surrounded by soldiers and that the house is being watched. “I assume your dashing husband must being intent on rescuing you even as we speak,” the Duke sneers. When Claire says that’s a safe assumption, the Duke is all “Great, I’m coming with you, so I couldn’t give away your name.” HA. I’d like to see him try. Claire says as much and acts equally smug when the Duke says that there’s no way that Jamie could actually know where she is without him. Jamie could be riding through the front gates right now for all the Duke knows. And the thing is…I feel like the Duke already KNOWS that Jamie knows where Claire is? Cause his whole “then he would certainly be riding into a trap” felt a little too Lost season two Henry Gale/Benjamin Linus to me. Nevertheless, Claire gets to work on a letter for Jamie for the Duke’s man to get to Munro…and she writes in Gaelic because she knows that the Duke can’t read it. I am losing track of who may be double-crossing who here.
The only good thing about this whole situation is that Claire is reunited with Mary Hawkins. Turns out that she is the Duke’s god-daughter (how was THAT kept on the DL?) and she is staying with him in anticipation of her upcoming marriage to another random old merchant who just wants to be attached to nobility so he doesn’t care that he’s marrying damaged goods. The random merchant is also a loyalist so she is also being used in the Sandringham’s loyalty game. Please tell me that we’ll find out how in the HELL this girls ends up married to Blackjack soon because right now I don’t see how it’s gonna happen. (Except don’t tell me, you know how I feel about book spoilers.)
Things quickly start to go to shit when Claire goes to the Duke to try to talk him out of Mary’s marriage. He dismisses that prospect quickly and then breezily (“I’M BREEZY”) that he sent all the guards away so Jamie would be able to get through to her. Then Claire notices a port wine stain on the Duke’s Valet Danton’s hand and things suddenly click into place. She’s seen a birthmark like that before. She tries to play it cool, asking how long this man has been in his employ, but her face gives it all away. This was one of the men who attacked her and Mary under the guise of Les Disciples. “She recognizes you!” the Duke sputters, throwing all pretense aside. “You put them up to it,” Claire realizes in horror. “Your own god-daughter?” The Duke essentially goes “Whoopsie” before going on to say it could have been much worse. The Comte wanted Claire dead, after all. “I owed him a rather large sum of money, you see, and I had no immediate means of payment, but I was horrified by the notion of disposing of such a delightful woman. Such a waste. So I managed to persuade Monsieur le Comte that simply having you raped was sufficient revenge for the loss of his goods. You should really be very grateful to me.”
You. Should. Be GRATEFUL. To. Me. Yep. He actually said that. Claire and Mary should be GRATEFUL that only rape was on the table. What’s a little sexual assault when you could be dead? The NERVE. I thought I actually saw steam coming out of Claire’s ears when she warned The Duke that he was going to be REAL sorry he’d sent the guards away cause Jamie’s gonna MURDER him. But THEN the Duke drops the hammer on her. “When I told the captain that I was expecting Red Jamie, he made himself a bit less conspicuous to help lure your husband into my trap. Proving myself loyal to the crown by turning over Red Jamie and his traitorous English wife offers a much more permanent way of correcting misperception of my motives than going on the run. You could be hanged side by side. So romantic.” And THEN Sandringham locks Claire in her room like he’s Cinderella’s stepmother.
Mary finds Claire trying to escape so she can get to Jamie. Mary begs Claire to take her with her (errybody wants to be on the run with the Frasers) and Claire tries to rope Mary into the plan. She asks Mary to go out into the garden to find Munro so he can warn Jamie to not get near the house. Mary balks at this, saying she couldn’t possibly go meet a beggar. EYEROLL. “PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES MARY OR DON’T COME.” – Claire, probably. Claire attempts to sneak out through the kitchen but she is waylaid by the Duke who is always ten steps ahead of her. Or craving a late night snack. Probably both. He wants Claire to tell him all the gossip on how she managed to off the comte but Claire is all “A witch never reveals her secrets.” Mary joins them in the kitchen but is dismissed quickly by her godfather. I like to think that’s what FINALLY made her find her spine because Mary promptly goes out the front door to find Munro. She manages to warn him just before Danton (aka the Man that raped her but Mary has NO IDEA) grabs her and pulls her back into the house. “Where are you going, little mouse?” Vomit. Gross. Get out.
Danton storms into the kitchen, dragging Mary, much to the Duke’s disgust. Mary exchanges a glance with Claire and then launches into a rant about how she was running away because she just can’t get married. The Duke looks at her like she’s a cockroach that he just can’t manage to kill. “JUST GO TO BED!” The more the Duke dismissed Mary, the further I sat on the edge of my couch just waiting for Mary to LOSE IT. I felt it coming in my BONES.
A lot of shit happens in rapid succession. Red Jamie and Murtagh burst into the room ready to kick some ass. Danton grabs Claire and puts a knife to her throat. And Sandringham furiously puts his wig back on because god forbid he not be properly attired in the presence of James Fraser. They try to get Jamie to lay down his weapons but Claire shouts that this the man who attacked them in Paris and if they thought Jamie was seeing red BEFORE. HA. The Duke tries to weasel his way out of it saying that he was FORCED to do it and that it could have been so much worse and that he would never condone such a thing as rape but the only thing Jamie can hear is the blood boiling between his ears. “That’s a LIE,” Claire screams. “Rape was YOUR idea.” In the corner, no one notices meek little Mary Hawkins getting more and more interested in the knife on the table. (Except me on the couch screaming “DO IT MARY!!!!!” that is.) “You’ll say whatever to whoever to save your own skin,” Jamie hurls at the Duke and the Duke is all “You’re totally right but that ends today, I swear.”
I don’t know what finally made Mary grab that knife. Perhaps it was finally seeing her attacker in person. Perhaps it was learning that she had been unknowingly sharing a house with the man who shattered her life. Perhaps it was hearing that her rape was not a random attack but something purposefully plotted by someone who was supposed to be looking out for her. Perhaps it was an entire lifetime of being overlooked and made to feel like she’s nothing more than property. Maybe it was a combination of all of it. Whatever it was, she grabbed that knife with a sense of purpose and the strength of someone who had decided “NEVER AGAIN” and she plunged it into Danton’s side without even blinking. And the BEST part is that she didn’t fall apart and cry as soon as it happened. Welcome to the world, Mary Hawkins. We’re so glad to have you.
Mary wasn’t the only one who had some vengeance to claim. Murtagh really beat himself up after Claire and Mary’s attack, feeling that he had failed in his sworn duty to protect them. He had promised them vengeance for what happened or he would be damned. So as soon as Danton fell, Murtagh whipped out his fucking AXE and took a swing right at the Duke of Sandringham’s NECK. And then he just kept chopping until his head came clean off. It’s so fitting. Mary got to end the man who did the physical act of rape and Murtagh got to murder the man who orchestrated it all. He picks up Sandringham’s head and falls to his knees before Mary and Claire, offering them the head as if he were a cat bringing a dead mouse to his master. “I kept my word,” he says simply and you can tell that he means this SO PURELY. “I lay your vengeance at your feet.”
Soooooooo, they’ve killed a freaking DUKE, now what? “I think we’d better go.” COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF, MARY.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment of the Week
IDK guys, Red Jamie really does it for me.
Did Ye Ken That?
- I love that Claire was just pulling teeth at the top of the episode like she was the town Dentist.
- I love that Rupert continues to keep Angus’ memory alive by relating every story back to how Angus would have done it. He misses his so much it hurts.
- CLAIRE’S SASSFACE. “Bitch, you KNOW how long it’s been since I’ve been to Inverness.”
- Claire telling Rupert what a pirate looks like was precious.
- Diana REALLY brought the wit for this episode. The sass level made me miss the days of rating Sleepy Hollow‘s sass.
- I live for Jamie and Murtagh trying to decipher Claire’s Gaelic. “She’s even misspelled help!”
- “Would you rather live with one of these guys?” “No.”
Was Mary and Murtagh’s vengeance satisfying for you? Let us know in the comments.