OUTLANDER Both Sides Now: If I Had a Skean Dhu….

OUTLANDER: Both Sides Now – Mid-season Finale

Episode 108

Air Date 9/27/2014 on Starz
SPOILERS: because it is a recap

As long as we’re using folk songs references,….

This story is about 40% untrue to the book in word but not in spirit as it explores Frank’s side of the disappearing Claire issue.

The producer talks about breaking away from the books to show Frank’s side of the story. He talks about seeing how Claire loves Frank but is just coming to love Jamie. And he says he loves how Mrs. Graham explains the stones to Frank. Of course, Frank knew about the stones, but apparently not enough.

I just love the opening song, it never gets old. I swear they make subtle changes in the opening video sequence.

After the first sequence we are shown an old fashioned map of Scotland alongside a more modern one with a teacup and a fountain pen resting on it.

We open to a phone ringing which puts us quite obviously in the 20th century. We need a marker like a telephone because we’ll be unable to tell the difference between the 18th and the 20th centuries.

20th Century
The telephone is at the police station and is answered and then a plainclothes officer, a captain or a detective type comes in – I don’t know which but he is in plainclothes and here, in the US that is the sign for “detective.”.

As he goes to an inner office a sergeant tells the detective, “He’s back.”
The detective says “Today’s the day.”
They don’t explain what it is the day for although you get the idea that the cops don’t really think Claire is abducted or hurt, but the sergeant gives him a bottle of whiskey he pours into a teacup.


The Detective and Frank argue about whether the cops have done anything. Frank says that when this began he had low expectations and the police department met every one. The detective says the police have searched a hundred miles? Acres? And conducted 175 interviews.

And what do the police have to show for it, Frank asks. He asks what has happened to Claire.
The officer lays out what they found: No body, no sign of struggle and Frank said he saw a man starting at the window of the inn.They have a flyer of Claire and another sketch of a man looking like Jamie.
The cop tells Frank the man is her lover and they have run off. Frank yells that his wife is not with another man.


18th Century

There’s no telephone ringing.
Jamie and Claire are on a cliff eating; they are apparently still on the rent-collecting trip.
Speaking to Claire, Jamie tells her that while he doesn’t mean to imply she has a vas\

knowledge of men (ie., is a total slut in 18th century terms), is it usual what they have between them; when he touches her and she lies with him? Is it always so between a man and a woman?


She tells him often it is but then no, this is unusual, different.

Jamie smiles at her, reassured.

So really, if the relationships were always like this everyone would be thrilled about their marriages and would be fighting to get married. This is a sign to us that they are really hot for each other.

Suddenly an arrow lands near them. Jamie pushes Claire down and checks the arrow. He knows it is from a friend, Hugh Munroe. Hugh is a bear of a man, long golden blond hair, he saw the horses and thought Jamie must be there.

Hugh has Gaberlunzies, or small metal medallions that serve as parish begging licenses. Jamie explains that Hugh cannot speak because his tongue was cut out and he had boiling oil poured over them when he was kidnapped by the Turks, held as a slave and forced to convert. Jamie introduces Claire as his wife and Hugh presents them with a gift of a large piece of amber with a dragonfly encased in it. Claire proclaims it lovely. It gives the next book its title.

Hugh has news but insists drink first, which they do.

Then using a mixture of signs and tongue-less speech he tells Jamie about a Redcoat deserter called Horrocks who knows who killed the soldier Jamie is accused of killing. He will talk for money. They set up a meeting and with an affectionate kiss on the cheek from Claire, Hugh is off. Jamie explains to Claire that there is a chance to get the price off of his head. They embrace and over his shoulder she looks at both her ring and her wedding ring from Frank.


20th Century
Frank and Reverend Wakefield are at the parsonage.

Trying to be helpful, the Reverend postulates that Claire fell into the swift river and with her army survival skills is taking shelter in a cave.


The Reverend’s adopted son, Roger and his housekeeper (and tea leaf reader) Mrs. Graham bring in biscuits (British English for cookies) and Tea. After Roger has finessed another biscuit out of the reverend, Mrs. Graham offers Frank a cup of tea. Saying he thinks he needs something stronger he leaves.
In a bar, Frank is drinking. A girl comes in and sits at the bar and greets Frank by name. She has the flyer of Jamie. And she tells him he can call her Sally but that is not her real name. She tells him she can bring him to the man in the picture.

She tells him to meet her at a place at half past 12 and to bring the reward.


18th Century

Rupert is sitting by the fire with the traveling rent collecting group telling the story of the Waterhorse’s wife. (This is from the book).


Claire and Jamie are sitting apart from the rest. He says it will be Yuletide by the time they get to Leoch. Discussing hanging stockings by the fire Claire asks if they hang stockings by the fire. Jamie asks if she means to dry them?
Suddenly Jamie is alert. Using their magical Mackenzie/Frazer abilities the men silently communicate to each other. Jamie tells Claire that whne he tells her to run she should run to a tree and he givers her what looks like a short sword.

A bunch of men, the Grants, attack. They fight, Dougal is injured slightly and Ned shoots his assailant. One horse and two bags of grain were stolen. The men protected the rent carts.


Claire stands, announcing she is all right.

Ned is excited that he hit something at 20 paces and his exclamation breaks the post fight tension.
20th Century
In a driving rainstorm, Sally greets Frank with an exclamation that he is finally there – she had thought he wasn’t coming. When he replies he is just on time, she says she thought he might be early.

She takes him to a door and them pulls back as the men who are obviously her accomplices attack Frank. But, Frank was apparently expecting this and drives them off, nearly beating one to death. Sally pulls him off and Frank assaults her, getting her to admit there is no Highlander to meet. He has nearly been strangling her and is shocked at his own violence.
Scene change but still 20th century.

With a split lip Frank and the Revered discuss good and evil. The Reverend refers to it as a well from which Frank has had but a glass, but hat he should refrain from imbibing further. The Reverend advises Frank to return to Oxford and start over,

He tells him to “Let Claire go, as she has let you go.”

Carrying laundry, Mrs. Graham over hears and walks away
The reverend asks Frank if he has read Sherlock Holmes citing the adage that when you eliminate the impossible what ever remains must be the truth.

18th Century

Back at the scene of the fight with the Grants, they are searching for the knife Jamie gave Claire.

Ned recommends that someone should teach Claire how to defend herself, especially being married to a Frazer.

The knife he gave her is too big and heavy.

Dougal says she needs a Skian dhu, a hidden dagger. Ned presents her with his. She gets a lesson from Angus in how to attack with an underhand from the front for the heart, avoiding the breastbone, and from the back, you have to go under the bottom rib in to the kidney. She practices on Willy, and proclaims she has “got it.”


20th century
FRANK in a bedroom with a library and a roaring fire. I think he is now staying at the Reverend’s house. He is packing up and sees Claire’s suitcase. He opens it to find her gloves and a leather framed picture of their wedding


18th Century

Jamie and Claire having a very passionate, sexy interlude in the woods. Kissing her everywhere, and hungrily, He asks, “Does it ever stop? The wanting you?”

 Kilts are verra, verra handy articles of clothing for these impromptu interludes, as is Claire’s absence of underthings, or slitted underthings. Note to self: buy husband kilt and get different underwear.

She sighs with pleasure as he enters her. He says, “Now I know why the church calls it a sacrament.” Giggling and kissing, she asks, “Why?”

“Because I feel like God himself when I am inside you.” She laughs more, and he asks what, was that a foolish thing to say? Are you laughing at meShe replies that she is, and keeps laughing. Then you’ll get what you deserve he says as he drives harder into her. but then a pistol cocking is heard.
Get up, rutting bastard.

They are attacked by two Redcoats who mean to kill Jamie and rape and kill her. They think to make Jamie watch.
It is time for Claire to use her lesson of how to defend herself. As them one Redcoat begins his sexual assault the other holds his gun on Jamie’s head. From here everything happens in blurry and alternating slow and then sped up camerawork.

I am uncertain of whenter she is penetrated, but she manages to get her knife out with a look of determination and with a squelching sound, she stabs the rapist twice. Seeing this distracts the soldier holing Jamie and his gun goes off as Jamie lifts his arm up. At the same time Jamie grabs his own sword or knife and slits the redcoat’s throat hard.

Jamie, sees Claire lying with the other man on her and he lifts her away and takes her up a rise to be away from the scene.
20th Century
We come in on Mrs. Graham folding laundry arguing with the minister about holding her tongue for weeks now and will be silent no longer. The Reverend says “You cannot tell him this fantasy of yours.”
She says “I know what I know and I won’t pretend that I don’t.”
He says she knows dribble drabble and nonsense and he will not have it paraded about as fact.
He has a right to hear it and make up his own mind.
He doesn’t want her to hold out false hope to Frank (the poor man) when he is just he is finally coming to accept,… The Reverend is interrupted by Frank’s entry.
By way of explanation for his interruption he says, “It’s an old house. (the minister mumbles.” Is there something you wish to tell me Mrs. Graham.”

There is, she says stepping forward, past the minister, Even if it should cost me my position. I feel I must tell you the truth (The minister tries to interrupt) The truth as I know it, she turns and eyes the minister, then tells Frank. There is an other explanation for what happened to your wife.”

They sit she tells him about the stones.
“The stories are old, some say as old as the stones themselves. Passed down from generation to generation through ballads and songs. I first heard them from my grandmother and she from hers. The songs tell stories about people who,…, travel through the stones.”
Frank: “Travel through stone? I’m not sure I take your meaning.”
Mrs G.: “Not literally through the stone itself. You see, the circle at Craigh na Duhn marks a place on the earth where the powers of nature come together.”

In the background the Reverent is puttering back and forth. “Superstition and Twiddle twaddle! He exclaims.
Frank: “Go On.”

Mrs Graham: “The stones gather the power and give it focus. Like a glass, ya ken? And for certain people, on certain days, it allows them to pierce the veil of ,…, time.”

Mr. Randall, you know your wife went up that hill the day she vanished. I believe she didn’t come back down that hill, at least not in 1945. I believe she traveled to,…, some other time.”
Franks sort of nods, and then looking pissed off asks, “Where, or when would that be.”
Mrs. G: “I don’t know; every traveler is different. They must make their own journey on their own path. But the songs do say that the travelers often return.”
Frank sort of nods, and then with the same pinched look says, “I see.” He stands and walks around the table past Mrs. G. He rubs his forehead as if he has the headache and turns back to the Reverend Wakefield and Mrs. Graham saying, “I will leave for Oxford this afternoon.”
Mrs. G says, “Did you no hear me?” Rev. W interrupts with, “Mrs. Graham,”but she continues, “They often return.”
Franks says, “I did hear you, I simply do not share your beliefs. Forgive me.”
The Reverend squeezes her shoulder.

He turns to leave and young Roger is standing there, looking up at him. Frank makes a noise and an almost smile and walks away with everyone looking after him.


18th century

Jamie and Claire are shaking in shock, Jaime hugs her wooden body, saying, “I’m sorry,” something Gaelic, “I’m so sorry.”
“Calmly she replies, “It’s all right, we’re all right.”
My fault! He exclaims. To bring you here without taking proper heed and to let you be,…I could not stop him!” he looks down toward the bloody scene.”
Claire: ““It’s all right.”
He takes her hands startled at how cold she is , like ice. He rubs them and brings them to his mouth.
She says, “I’m going into shock.”

We hear Dougal calling “Jamie, are you all right, we heard a shot, Jamie!”
Jamie tells her to stay there, and attends to Dougal’s shouting.
Looking at her bloody hands, she repeats that she is going into shock. But it’s all right.
Aside: My mind jumped and danced from thought to thought, like a stone skipping across a pond.

My parents, men I’d seen die, the smell of Deland(?) cigarettes, Errol Flynn swinging on a rope, the feeling of my dagger tip puncturing the kidney, (from below, Jamie looks up from cleaning his short sword) I knew he was worried about me. Knew he wanted to talk about,… what had happened.
She stands, her bodice open and closes her eyes., muttering about shock.
But I knew if I did, If I started giving rein to my feelings, things would pour out of me that I wanted to keep locked away forever.

Willy is keeping an eye on Claire.

Below the rise Jamie has taken Claire to, Dougal goes through the men’s pockets. Dougal says, “Deserters.”
Murtagh: Their tracks lead back over the ridge, no horses.”
Dougal stands and to Jamie says, “Good, Your man, Horrocks.” “Your man said he’s a deserter like these.”
Dougal, takes Jamie’s arms and says he will not deny that Hugh Munro is a good man, but he points to the deserters as an example of what happens when a man breaks his oath to king and country. If Jamie goes to meet him alone he will be walking into a trap.
Murtagh agrees. He understands Jamie has to meet him but wants them all to go with him with their swords.
Jamie nods his agreement.
Come on, Dougal tells Jamie, and they turn to move.


20th Century, Franks leaves his room with his own suitcase but leaves Claire’s on the bed. He gives it one last look as he goes, but shuts the door.

18th century

The Rent collecting party is on horses and traveling through the woods.
Claire, Aside; I don’t remember getting on my horse, I don’t remember riding away or even how long we rode. All I can remember of that pivotal moment of my life is that I was angry and I didn’t know why.”
Jamie pulls up and they stop. Claire asks why they are stopping.
Jamie wants her to stay there with Willy. “What?” She cries
“Dougal was right, “Jamie tells her, “Now this man Horrocks may be setting a rap, and I’ll not risk you again. You’ll be safer here with Willy to look out for you.”
“I don’t need an explanation,” she says dismissively, “You can take Willy with you, I can look after myself, I think I’ve proven that earlier.”
Ooh low blow. Jamie takes it though, realizing she is effed up.
“You needn’t prove it again.”

Jamie tells Willy, “There’s Redcoats about though, they’ll likely come from the south.”
Willy: “I’ll keep and eye out. “
Jamie tells Claire, “You stay here. I’ll be back, I promise.”
Miss Pissy Claire: “You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Jamie stares intently: “This one I will keep, Claire. Now you promise me you’ll stay put.”
Dougal calls “Jamie.”

Jamie, responding to the call, “Sha, coming!” Back to Claire
“Promise me Claire, swear you’ll be here when I get back.”
Reluctantly Claire responds with a pouty face,“Fine, I promise.”
“Good!” Jamie says and with a tchtchk to his horse he rides off.
Claire continues her aside: “In that moment the reason for my bitterness became clear to me. I wasn’t angry at Jamie, or the Redcoat deserters, I was angry at myself for forgetting about my plans to make my way back to the stones at Craig Na Dunh. My plan to return to my own time.
To my husband, Frank.”
Slight overlap of Claire’s aside and:
20th century
Segue to Frank driving in his convertible, away, we presume from Inverness. The radio is announcing the death of General Patton from injuries sustained in a car accident.
Frank sees the sign for Craig Na Dun and drives on, but shortly after comes to a stop. He sits a moment and is passed by a motorcycle. Looking at his ring he makes a decision and then backs up and takes the turn.
18th century

Claire is standing and leaning against a tree. Willy, tells her he has to go take care of some personal business. Unnecessarily rude and disgusted, she tells him to go at least fifty yards away and down wind.
She walks around and looks into the woods wandering without thinking, and then she resumes her aside, saying she tried to avoid thinking of the incident in the meadow but her mind kept returning to it. Picking at a festering sore.
“And then suddenly, there it was. Craig Na Dunh. My mind had been so clouded and confused I had not recognized the road when we rode back in. There was no mistaking it, I was back to the place where it had all begun.

(she stares at it in the distance, down the hill she is on and up one on the other side)

So much had happened, so much had changed, last time I was here I was Calire Randall, then Claire Beauchamp, then Claire Frazer, (in slow mo she looks behind her, getting ready to make a break). The question was, who did I want to be?

She starts to run, and we switch to the 20th Century with Frank parking the car and beginning his walk up the hill.
On the other side in the 18th C. she is running full tilt for the stones. In the 20th C. Frank starts running too. It’s as if they are running to meet each other. She has farther to run. The hill is misty.

He gets there and walks around the circle. He is perplexed and doesn’t really know what he is looking for, or what he expects to find. The visuals go back and forth between Frank’s time and Claire’s.
He begins to cry, “Claire,” he says at first quietly, then louder, shouting it and on the other side she hears him.
She yells back to him, “Frank! Wait for me!” He hears her a bit but cannot see her. She gets to the stones and touching the big one where her discarded shawl still lies, screams “Frank,” all goes black and we come back to her screaming as she is dragged off by three red coats.
20th Century
Franks looks all around him in a circle. Now more perplexed than ever. Claire, he says quietly, collecting himself he walks back to his car.

18th Century Claire is being dragged off by the soldiers.

In the cart where she sits tied up she continues her aside. She knows she is being taken to Fort William. Still the province of BJR, he would have no knowledge of his capture and no chance to plan his interrogation but she did. It was her one advantage and she prayed it would be enough.

We see a carafe of wine and lit candles. A smug BJR offers her sarcastic feliecitations and congratulations on her marriage. He doesn’t particularly care if she considers herself an Englishwoman or a Scot. And apparently neither does she he says noting she wears her old wedding ring. She tells him it is a sentimental attachment. He says he doubts she has a sentimental bone in her body. He gives her a glass of wine.
He says the important question is why Dougal thinks her of such value that he would make her one of his own instead of allowing her to question him.
She professes a complete lack of knowledge of what he is talking about.
He toasts to the king, as does she.

“Glad to hear you still consider him your sovereign.”
“We MacKenzies are all loyal subjects.” she says. He laughs saying it is the single most amusing thing he has heard all week.

She remarks that he must not have been amusing himself by flogging some innocent prisoner.
He says her remark is an odd thing to say since she knows he takes flogging very seriously.
He walks away grabs a chair and drags it over to sit behind her. She has a desk or table to her front. And now he has wedged her in behind him. Sitting forward, he leans on the back of her chair and tells her
Madame you need to understand your position. In this hour, our third encounter, I fully intend, by any means necessary to discover both your true nature and the secrets that you hold.

She has begun smiling where before she sat stone-faced. She lifts her wine glass and starts to speak as he drinks from his own.
Perhaps you should ask the Duke of Sandringham.
He coughs and his wine comes out, falling on his cravat.
Oh dear me, she smirks, I do hope that won’t stain.
He rises to change to wash up and we get an Aside with flashback as Claire breathes hard, as if she is preparing to swim a long distance underwater.. “A dangerous gambit to be sure, but his reaction told me that Frank and the reverend had been right in their speculation.. Black Jack was able to commit his various crimes in the highlands because he was being protected by a powerful man, and the cost of such protection was always silence and fideliety.”
Angrily ripping off his cravat or stock (?) and daubing at it with water, he asks what Claire knows of the Duke.

To glibly she replies, “Really captain, must you be so obtuse, is it not clear by now that you and I are both in the employ of the same great and powerful man?”

BJR: “That is impossible for he would have told me. “

Claire, laughing, says, “Because he tells you all his secrets? You must,” She stands and walks over to him, “be a very special officer indeed.”

He turns, is he a bit surprised to find her so close?
“Madame, I will simply send a message to Sandrinham, asking him.”
She takes his semi-clean cravat in hand he grabs her hand and with a look from her removes it. She begins to retie it, “Excellent idea, I’m sure he’ll be impressed with your skill and acumen at uncovering my identity. Or. Perhaps your disruption of the Duke’s carefully laid plans will not be rewarded. Perhaps he will be displeased and take measures to terminate your special relationship; withdraw the special protection to which you’ve become accustomed and thus leave you to the mercy of your superior officers and local authorities.”
He looks beaten, falsely – it is his skill and finesse as an intelligencer

TOO FAR – here she has given him a reason to be suspicious: if she is legit she has no reason to care; to warn him about losing his privileges
. He stares at her She continues, “No, the wisest course of action would be to allow me to continue my mission, and give the Duke no indication of how close you came to disrupting his efforts on behalf of the king.”
She turns and picks up her cloak to leave. He does the head and hand thinking stance and says, “You mean of course, his wife’s efforts?”
C:“His wife?”

BJR:“The Duchess?”

“You’ve met her””
C: “I’ve never had the pleasure.”
BJR: “Really an agent of the Duke is and agent of the Duchess.”

“C: Well we have been in communication.”
BJR: “Communication by letter?”
C: “A messenger, yes.”

BJR: “With the Ducchess?”
C: “That’s who we’re talking about isn’t it?”

BJR: “Yes,” he leans down and pulls a length of rope from the drawer (mirroring the book here) “The Duke has never been married.”
Claire is at the door nearly, she opens it to leave but it is the corporal he made kick her a week ago.
“Corporal,…” BJR warns
The Corporal sheepishly apologizes but then pushes a panicking Claire back into the room where BJR ties her up. Claire sobbingly asks, What kind of gentleman keeps a rope in his desk.

Smiling BJR says “A prepared one Madam .” Claire is entreating the Corporal with her eyes. He seems like a decent chap but under direct orders of this man who seems untouchable what is he to do?
The corporal is ordered to go and not come back no matter what he hears. BJR removes his jacket and theyn pulls a knife out of his desk. Claire screams for hep and backs away from the door. And ends up against the paneled wall.

“Now,” BJR says to a heaving and desperate Claire, “I think we should begin with your name, hmm?”
Walking towards her he continues, as he slides the knife under the laces of her bodice and begins cutting as she gasps for air,”Then you can tell me everything that you know about Dougal MacKenzie, his brother Collum and the Jacobite rebellion. And finally, the Duke of Sandringham.” He fisnishes ripping her bodice down and exposing her breasts.
Steeling herself she tells him, “You are going to regret this.”
Scoffing, he tells her he doubts it. And grabbing her by her hair drags her over to the desk whixch he sweeps the surface of all else and throws Clair on to it face down.
As she sobs in terror and distress he pulls up her skirts and finds her knife which he holds up to her face. “My my, What have we here, he says pulling her face up by her hair, The lady has claws.”
He ulls her up and holds the nife to her breast saying, “Are they sharp? Are they.” He start to push the knife into her breast just around her nipple when the shuttered window crashes open.
It is, of course, Jamie who says to a startled BJR, I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife.” As he holds a pistol on him.
BJR smiles, not the truly cold and evil smile we know, although I am sure it is equally cold and evil, as he holds the knife to Claire throat. He laughs in what looks like joy and says “Good God.”

The Fvcking End.
How did you feel about this episode and the start date for the rest of the “season,” April Fourrrrth?

I am reviewing the novel OUTLANDER on Wednesday and don’t want to mix up my thoughts on the book versus what I think about the series.