Outlander Recap: “The Garrison Commander” (S1E6) OR I’M CRYING ON THE INSIDE FOR ALL THE REASONS

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Heather:

So this week’s episode was head and shoulder’s above last week’s. The English were all horrible, but at least the show didn’t try to excuse it. They were just awful people. And Frank’s ancestor dude was basically just the worst. Like, he’s the worst human being in this story. Those last five minutes, though, were like the best in this series so far. Claire’s conversation with Jaime was freaking hilarious. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So yeah, back to the beginning of the episode…

Pro:

The English were all sufficiently horrible enough that I’m quite firmly siding with the Scottish now, even with all of Dougal’s assholishness. I mean, none of those English soldiers have any redeeming qualities. I feel like this show really needs the English to be the clear enemy so that we’ve got someone to root against.

Also, shout out to Newcastle and the Geordie accent! Why aye, man!

Con:

I really wanted Claire to some something to them about their prejudice earlier than she did. She just kind of sat their quietly while the menz ran their mouths off, then she came in like a mother all, ‘Okay kids, settle down.’ For once I’d like to see a woman character verbally spar with the menz and not be immediately punished for it, y’know? Claire does a bit more than most women characters, I’ll give you that. But still, she was far too silent at the table, except for the few times she spoke.

Athena:

See I feel really conflicted about that. On one hand, I love when Claire speaks out and holds her ground. She’s so bad ass and it’s wonderful to see a woman asserting herself. But on the other hand I’m like “OHMYGOD CHILL OUT THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SURVIVE IN YE OLDEN DAYS!!!!!” So…

Pro:

Claire weaving her tale and charming those stuffy, prejudice, and excessive (the wine) English soldiers like a pro. Here I felt the voice over was okay actually. It did a good job of reminding us not only that she was a little more at ease because they were English, but because she had spent the last 6 years among the British army in WWII.

Also Pro:

Even though it was awful to see the way the English treated Dougal (and by proxy all Scots), it also gave us a very vivid reminder that the English occupation was fresh at this time and also brutal. The scene was very well done. So tense!

Con:

STILL HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN THAT DOUGAL IS AN ATTEMPTED RAPIST. This episode did a lot to make him seem more human and less villain. But I certainly don’t just forgive and forget rape on television (FUCK YOU GAME OF THRONES).

Pro:

CAPTAIN JACK “HORRIFIC MONSTER” RANDALL WALKS IN AND FUCKS SHIT UP IN THE WORST WAYS. God he is one of the most terrifying characters on TV. The actor is brilliant at portraying both him and Frank. I had this feeling of dread as soon as he showed up, and did it ever get worse as the episode continued.

I LOVED the part where he stood in the doorway loudly stomping and brushing dust off himself. This stubborn little tantrum towards his superiors demonstrated he has no fear, which means he’s capable of anything really. Which we’ll see a lot more of later.

And then he not so subtly interrogates Claire in front of everyone…

Side Note:

Did you notice how all the English dudes started laughing when the general said Claire’s story is full of robbery and murder? SHE IS RIGHT THERE. SHE JUST SHARED HER TRAUMATIZING STORY WITH YOU AND YOU’RE LAUGHING!?!?!? The bloody English!!

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Heather:

I agree, the voice over this episode wasn’t too bad. It actually made a lot of sense, especially considering how often she’d be sitting at the table saying nothing.

Con:

I KNOW RIGHT! I absolutely hate it when shows have a character who attempts to rape someone, then they try to redeem them WITHOUT ADDRESSING THE FACT THAT HE TRIED TO RAPE SOMEONE. It’s like, okay, if they really want us to start thinking of Dougal as a legitimately good person, they really need to have him acknowledge what he did to Claire. Except, oh yeah, he was drunk so he probably forgot and it’s fine anyway because drunk=excuse. AHHHHHH.

Pro:

Yeah, the dude playing Captain Jack and Frank is wicked good. The moment Captain Jack popped up I was like, “Oh shit. She’s never making it to Inverness now.” He’s so horrible. And the part at the end where he pretends to actually give a shit I was just yelling at my screen, “No Claire! Don’t fall for it!” Like, the dude’s pure evil.

As to your side note: I was just thinking about how Jack is so horrible because he enjoys causing pain in others. But the rest of the English are horrible because they lack empathy. I mean, that’s they’re defining characteristic, the inability to consider another person’s perspective. It’s why they call the Scottish folks “savages” and why they laugh at Claire’s story.

My own side note and con:

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? I mean, I get that Claire was meant to be a lone woman in a man’s world in this episode, but damn! There is a lot I’m liking about this show, but I’m a bit weary of shows about women surrounded by men. Unless, of course, those men were all there to provide her with sexual services…then I’d watch that show. Claire travels through time, pops up among a group of Scottish men, and charms them all into serving her sexual needs…

Okay, back to this show…

Con:

Not a lot really happened this episode. I mean, I enjoyed it, but it was mostly Claire and the English sitting around a table talking. And then Captain Jack had that poor young soldier dude kick Claire for fun. That was just horrible to watch. I kind of felt it was unnecessary, too. Like, we already know Jack’s horrible; we’ve heard about the shit he’s done.

Athena:

Right!?!? I want more Claire and ladies and pee songs! This episode was a weird flip from the last one. The only strength of episode 5 was the women, who were all conspicuously absent. But I have a suspicion that was intentional, to heighten the stakes for Claire. All the men surrounding her like a bunch of powdered wig wearing sharks  made me suuuuuuuuuper anxious for her. So much so that when Jack manipulated her into expressing her empathy for Scotland in front of everyone I was yelling at my TV. I was really on the edge of my seat for most of this episode.

Pro:

Actually the violence in this episode was a pro for me. Of course I have a particular leaning as devoted fan to the horror genre in all its forms. But I found the episode used the right amount of violence in the right places to have a jarring effect without being gratuitous. Like Jack’s monologue paired with the flashback of the extreme sadism he inflicted on Jamie was unreal.For me the impact wouldn’t have been as intense without it. Also the making the confused soldier kick Claire added another layer of terror. Jack Randall will down down in TV history as a brilliantly awful villain for this episode.

Also I liked the slow pacing. I’m actually a huge fan of episodes/series/films where ‘nothing’ happens. Like a lot of people didn’t like Sophia Coppola’s movies Lost In Translation and Marie Antoinette because ‘nothing happened’. But that is so my jam. I think this is my favourite episode to date, tied with the first because there’s always such a thrill when starting a new and quality series.

I think both these things, the violence and the pacing, potentially come down to a matter of taste? Compared to the hot mess that was “Rent”.

But now let’s get to the (somewhat) more light-hearted stuff: Dougal’s weird superstition and Jamie’s PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT yet so brief time in the spotlight.

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Heather:

I actually really like a lot of shows/movies where nothing happens, but they’ve got to be interesting to me in other ways. Like, I really loved Marie Antoinette and one of my favourite movies right now is Weekend. But I guess it just seemed kind of out of place in this particular show. And I think the singular setting was frustrating; just about everything took place in the one room. We went from Scottish Highlands and castles and what-not to sitting in a room.

I do agree with you about the scenes of Captain Jack whipping Jaime. That violence and Captain Jack’s description of it hit just the right note of the horrific.

Dougal’s hilarious superstition about the River of Truth, or whatever it’s called, was great. Though, why didn’t he just take her to the river in the first place when he first suspected she might be a spy? Could have saved everyone a lot of wasted time and effort. But then I guess there’d have been no suspense in the first few episodes.

And Jaime, dear Jaime. I totally assumed he’d gotten in on with that one young woman we saw him making out with earlier. Turns out, no, what we saw him do is basically everything he did; make out with her. So now I understand why my Tumblr exploded into happiness when it became clear the next episode will have the wedding. It’s a nice turning on it’s head of the trope of an inexperienced woman and experienced man. Now we’ve got the experienced woman and inexperienced man, only without the usual Mrs. Robinson nonsense attached to it.

Oh and that line, ‘well you’ve tended my wounds a few times,’ in response to Claire asking Jaime if he wants to marry her. (I can’t remember the quote exactly). But, that had me in stitches, seriously.

Athena:

In retrospect you’re right about not a lot going it. It didn’t occur to me until realizing we are at the end of the recap and haven’t really discussed all that much. This is an episode to watch for sure, rather than recap and pick apart.

Pro:

Dougal and the sulfur-y River of Truth! I loved that scene. I love the ridiculousness of his superstition juxtaposed of the scary casualness with which he drew his dagger. Still a douche, totally ready to kill Claire (well, only if she turned out to be a spy). But I loved that the high and mighty Dougal put his faith in myth. It’s always a little treat for the lit/history nerd sides of me when they include something like that.

And OF COURSE Dougal has a way to save Claire from English interrogation. Of course it involves her becoming a Scot through marriage to Jamie. OF COURSE. It’s obviously the only way things could have played out. Made me swallow some of my frustration at her for shouting pro-Scottish views at the English.

Pro:

I DON’Y CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE ANYMORE I AM SO READY FOR THE WEDDING. I like screamed in joy at the novel when I saw Gabaldon totally flipped that gender stereotype on its head. JAMIE FUCKING NOT-MACTAVISH IS A VIRGIN. Praise ye olden Scottish ideas of modesty, we are in for a treat.

Final thought: When Claire stormed passed everyone and grabbed the bottle of liquor like “Well fuck I’m in for a long day” I cheered on the inside. Yes, that is exactly how to handle that situation.

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We didn’t talk about them at all but this picture is hella cute

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