Outlander Episode 106
THE GARRISON COMMANDER
STARZ Airdate September 13, 2013
This is a recap and by definition contains spoiler.
THE GARRISON COMMANDER
My personal comments are underlined and Claire’s “asides,” her internal dialogue, diary or whatever, is marked with “Aside” and then italicized. Speech is marked, sometimes in quotes and others with the speaker’s name and a colon. I went for clarity and not necessarily consistency.
After the opening credits and theme song, we see a British “red coat” uniform, a hearth, and shaving utensils and a wristwatch (20th c.) in special visual lead in to the episode.
Last week on the Dougal and Claire show, Dougal found Claire at the river and admonishes her for “sowing dissent.” We heard, “Madame” The British Lieutenant who tried to assist her at a village earlier has appeared and is questioning as to whether she is there of her own choice. She thinks (And what is she thinking about really? tell him I came from the future, I’m an indentured medic, I want to have Black Jack Randall’s babies?) for a moment and then tells him she appreciates his concern but that she is a guest of the Clan MacKenzie.
He accepts this but he is certain that his commander, in residence at the inn in Brockton would wish to speak with her. It is spoken as an invitation, but is clearly a demand. Dougal says that where she goes he does as well and so they leave. They do not bring the rest of their party.
Aside – Even though she isn’t going by her own choice she feels a heaviness lift as, for the first time, she finds herself surrounded by her own people; an army she had been part of. Even though it is removed in time and called Red Coat instead of Tommies it feels liberating to be to be with her own people in
Liberating to be looked on with sympathy and respect versus hostility and suspicion
She feels sympathy with Dougal because even though Brockton is in a Scottish Village on MacKenzie land he is in enemy territory and he is the Outlander here.
They arrive at the inn and dismount. Lieutenant Foster says something about not trusting the horses to the locals and escorts Clare and Dougal upstairs to where the officers are dining.
Lt. Foster introduces her to the commander; but he is not introduced back to her. They have been aware of her coming for the General says the lieutenant says she has quite the story to tell. And there is a spot for her at the table. She tells him she is grateful he is willing to listen. He replies as to how much he loves stories. He lauds the Scottish venison and the cheese, but tells her the claret is his own.
Lt. Foster introduces Dougal as the War Chief of the Clan and brother to its Laird
And tells Dougal he is meeting Brigadier General Sir Oliver Lord Thomas, Knight of the Bath and Commander of the Northern British Army. (fictitious personage)
“War Chief, eh,” the Gen’l says, “You look the part.”
Another officer pipes in that he is a fine specimen.
The General asks what he is to call Dougal. Dougal says they can call him MacKenzie or if he is being formal Chief MacKenzie — then continues on that something War something leaves us something to war, dinna ya ken.
The General says something so rudely – that he didn’t understand a word “The Creature” said. (Me either!)
An officer pipes in that he believes that Dougal said “Chief MacKenzie “would be acceptable.
“Really,” the General says “Someone ought to teach these people the King’s English.” He continues rudely about the accent being offensive to the ear.
Claire defends the Scots by saying that she would “remind his lordship that there are areas in England, Newcastle comes to mind, where the local accent is unintelligible to our ears.” Her point is agreed upon, with a portly officer saying the world would make more sense if everyone spoke like Londoners.
Dougal suggests they should have stayed in London if that is the accent they wish to hear.
The General says he would be happy to oblige if “you” behaved like loyal British subjects you are supposed to be, then his troops and he, could return to a more civilized environs.
Then the general behaves like an utter ass and says he likes being in the field –If only his servants moved as quickly as his soldiers. If he stays long enough he could become a laird.
Imitating a Scot (or a child saying “Look ma! No hands!”) he says, Lairrrrd Thomas. But then, he proclaims, he would have to wear one of those woolen skiri (he stops short of adding “Thingies”). He understands it is a grave insults to ask what is under the kilt.
Dougal asks if he is purposefully trying to embarrass the lass or if he is a right wee smirt? (score!)
The other officers speak up against Dougal (but not for the General). Foster (I like young Foster — he seems truly honorable) approachies Dougal with is hand on his sword. Dougal is more amused than he is threatened or even wary. Dougal says if Foster pulls “that needle” they will see who pricks who. Foster ‘s steel slides with a sharp sound.
“Dougal, Lieutenant,!” Claire interjects, “Enough! You’re both behaving like children.”
The general rushes forward saying, of course, of course, “The lady’s sense of propriety puts us all to shame. The question of the kilt will remain an enigma.” With astonishment, he addresses Claire, “My word madame if I were brave enough I would commission you a colonel in one of my regiments. You do know how to order men about.”
Is he turned on, a submissive?
Dougal, with admiration says, “ Aye she does that.”
Sensing a rival for Claire’s attention, maybe, the General goes on that it has “been a delight meeting you but the venison is losing its heat. I would ask you to join us but as you can see,” he continues with patently false remorse and a moue, “no room. Beastly sorry.” (Neener neener)
Dougal tells him he can “keep his scraps, they are still serving good Scottish ale in the tap room.” Turning to Claire he tells her in a rather fatherly way,” I’ll be downstairs.” (Back at you a$$hat)
She nods, but I think she feels the loss of his honest manner, rather than the false politesse of the General.
Throughout the episode, Dougal seems to treat Claire kindly, almost paternally or avuncularly. She passes a few tests herein.
When the door closes, the General asks how they are ever supposed to make peace with such an ill-mannered people.
Foster takes the last seat, next to Claire who turns to put a napkin on her lap. Then it seems they fast forward through a long meal . There is a strange and obvious repetition of a part that is briefly ahead.
Picking his teeth the General says, “I must say Mrs. Beechum, You’ve had the most mesmerizing adventure.”
The general’s accent and voice are not quite effeminate, but he speaks in a very affected and posh manner.
Claire: Yes indeed. But having been brought here, and having met all you charming gentlemen, I do hope that my adventure is now over.
But when the General says she must have had enough of Scotland, she tells him she found the countryside beautiful and the stay not unpleasant. But her greatest wish now is to be reunited with her family.
The general asks Foster if there will be any difficulty in escorting Claire to Inverness from where she can book passage to wherever she would like to go. Foster says it is no difficulty at all. She proclaims her gratitude and he tells her it is a trifle madame – and gives his word. In that case she proclaims she will have a bit more wine.
Alcohol is forever her downfall.
As the meal continues Claire thinks: Inverness then a brief journey to the stones and a chance to return to her own time.
Interrupting her thoughts (record scratching sound)
“To homeward journeys”, the General toasts, smiling wistfully. “May they be uneventful.”
Capt. Jack Randall enters suddenly, asking if he is aware that,…
Covering his wine, the General exclaims , “My word, are under attack?”
“We are not,” says Randall.
“You’re putting the claret at risk, I suggest you step outside and rid yourself of half a league of dust.”
By all means, Randall agrees sarcastically, we must protect the claret. Turning to leave he notices Claire with recognition.
The General asks if they know each other. Both claim they thought they had met but were both mistaken. He made a face that contains a glimmer of hatred.
They are introduced and exchange brief niceties as he leaves to obviously and noisily brushes the dust and dirt from his uniform.
Returning he says he trusts he is presentable. The General is distracted and asks someone to pour him a glass.
The general asks him to explain his purpose in bursting in. Randall tells him Dougal is downstairs.
The General says that is not news, Dougal brought Claire to them.
Was it indeed. Randall snorts scoffingly,
Do you propose to admonish me?
No, of course he meant no offense. But now that you mention it An English lady and Scottish war chief? Can’t for the life of him piece that one together.
Of it is a fascinating tale, full of robbery and murder. He tells him it is unfortunate you missed it. Mischeviously he says Randall should bring Claire to Inverness. She can regale him with her story – the time would fly by.
Randall, “Mrs. Beechum among the savages.”
Foster says the lady wouldn’t refer to it thusly, she claimed to be well-treated by her Scottish friends.
Randall says he wasn’t aware that the English had Scottish friends. Randall brings up the story of McGreavy . The General says he should not bring up that sasd subject. Claire proclaimes she doesn’t swoon easily. Randall shares the story of a young man who wandered from patrol and was found in a pose of thought, but cradling his severed head.
Claire says then it was a sad day when McGreavy when he got stationed in Scotland.”
She brings up the two crucified highlanders they found. Her friends ascribed it to English soldiers. Andn older officer proclaims it was English justice.
Claire,: A rough justice, it would seem.
Another Officer: Undoubtedly traitors, to a man.
Claire: Yeah, so said the letters carved into their chest, But I doubt they were given a trial to prove it.
Randall: Well you can be sure that Private McGreavy’s sentence was admisnistered without benefit of trial.
Claire: So both sides have committed depedations they should both be ashamed of.
Older Officer: Dog me, that is a woman’s view for you if ever I heard one; that is why I make it a point never to discuss politics with a lady.
Claire: Well I was under the impression we were discussing morality, not politics.
Randall, removed from the discussion and looking out the window: And I am forced to question whether the woman’s morality is any clearer than her politics.
General, indignantly: What are you implying sir?
Randall: All this time, living with savages; I have to wonder if Dougal MacKenzie has shared more than bread and shelter with the lady. Perhaps he has also shared his bed.
Claire, Enraged and indignant: How dare you? That is a scurrilous charge.
General to Randall: You cross a line, sir.
The music mounts tensely…
Randall.: If I am wrong then I apologize. What other reason would the lady have to choose these barbarians over her own people. These aggressors who wantonly shed English blood.
Claire: The Scots just want the same freedoms we enjoy; freedoms we take for granted. They are not the aggressors captain, we are. It is their land and we are occupying it.
Randall pulls away from the window, looking satisfied. Claire has walked straight into his trap.
The general and al the seated officers now eye Claire differently. Gone is the friendliness, and acceptance.
The general says he believes it is the King’s land. “I must say madame, I find your sympathies extraordinarily puzzling,”
there are murmurs of agreement from another officer.
Claire: I can assure you Lord Thomas, my loyalties lie with the King.
Randall: No doubt your time here has muddied your proper English thinking, My lord, I think the lady has lived among the savages too long.
General: She must be returned to the bosom of her family as soon as possible.
Gulping, Claire reports she can return to Inverness today if he will allow it.
An officer bursts in with news that men have been fired upon. One is below in a bad way. Claire goes to help saying she told them she has medical experience
At the base of the stairs leading to the tap room, she speaks with Dougal who is worried because he saw that bastard Randall go upstairs. She tells him she is okay and asks if it was his men who had attacked the patrol. Dougal says it wasn’t, and it is Randall she has to look out for. They will look for someone to blame and she advises him to make himself scarce.
She starts to act and treat the soldier, when the surgeon enters. He accepts her help and they amputate arm
Reminiscent of the first episode when a blood and gore covered Clair was wiping the blood off herself, a bloodied Claire goes back to the room where they had had dinner to find the General gone and Randall being shaved by his valet.
Randall: Nurse Beechum, back from saving lives.
She asks after the General, Lord Thomas and is told he is off hunting rebels. Not that he will find any, and having seen him on a horse, he’ll be lucky to stay in the saddle.
His Valet asks him to try not to speak, his barbering skills aren’t up to a moving target.
Claire flashes back to shaving Frank with the same razor being used by Randall. Frank remarks on her pampering him. And relates that the razor has been in his family for a long time.
Clair remembers shaving Frank as he goes
The valet nicks Randall and he makes the makes the valet sit and frightens him. He tells him you controls your nerves, your nerves do not control you. Then he stops and tells the valet to take his things to his lodgings and return to make sure they are not disturbed..
Randall rinses his face,
She wants to see Foster and is told that Foster is gone with the General.
She says she supposes someone else will have to take her to Inverness. When the time comes, Randall agrees.
She tells him that Lord Thomas assured her she would be leaving today as Randall lifts and smells the claret, withdrawing from the aroma. Claire continues she wouldn’t touch the Lord’s claret.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but Lord Thomas is an utter ass.
Walking to the window with the claret, Randall pours it out saying Lord Thomas agreed to that before she made troubling statements that even Lord Thomas realizes put her loyalty in a questionable light.
Black Jack Randall (BJR) eyes her predatorily as he drops the bottle out the window.
BJR: Madame, ever since our first encounter, I have been in a state of extreme discomfort.
Claire: I’m not sure what you mean, sir. Nor am I sure I want to.
BJR: Allow me to put your fears to rest. I wish to apologize. That awful day in the woods (replay of scene where he chases her in the woods) – the mere memory of it leaves me shamed.
Claire: Your apology pleases me more than you know. I’dhate to think a King’s officer would behave in such an ungentlemanly manner.
BJR: Looking sincere: I’m not a casual person with women. I look forward to the opportunity to reveal my true nature to you. And I can only hope that honesty will be met with honesty.
Claire is buying it: My honesty will match yours captain.
His smile is almost right, but I see a sneer.
He gestures for her to sit and as they do he clears his throat and his demeanor changes.
BJR: “Let us begin,” he says plummily with the look of a cat who is about to eat the canary and anticipates the pleasure of killing and disemboweling his prey, “with telling me who you are and why you are here in Scotland. “
Claire: I originally come from Oxfordshire and,…
BJR: No, we pledged honesty madame, there are no Beechums in Oxfordshire that he knows of.
She says he would hardly be an expert with his family coming from Sussex. Correctly suspicious, he asks how she would know that (because he was her husband’s ancestor). She returns his accent, which he ten says would disappoint his tutors and parents who had paid someone to coach it out of him. He asks in French if she speaks French. She replies yes, quite well and what difference does it make? He rudely says in French she doesn’t have to look of a woman who would rouge her nipples.
Well, for that at least she thanks him.
He scoffs biting his lip.
He asks her maiden name and she back peddles, admitting she made some ill advised comments in support of her Scottish acquaintances, But her imprudence shouldn’t be mistaken for treason. Nor prevent her from continuing on her journey, having been delayed far too long already.
He smiles smugly, but not unpleasantly. And tells her she doesn’t help her case with her dismissive attitude.
She says she has not case to help and makes not claims on him, the garrison or the MacKenzies for that matter. Her only desire is to resume her journey a=in peace and she sees no reason why he should object to it.
She snorts Don’t you, well allow me to enlighten you and perhaps my objections will become clearer:
Wandering in undergarments and trying to “rescue” her is struck unconscious by a member of a band of Scottish rebels he learns is led by her, companion, Dougal. The facts paint her as an empty headed trollop, or an agent in league with the King’s enemies.
She asks if those are her only two choices.
He asks if there is another don’t keep it to herself.
Claire says he forces her to reveal things no woman should have to. She spins a story of falling in love with an infantry officer, and following him when he was stationed in Scotland she followed him and learned he was a licentious man, a rake and whoremonger who dd not love her but lusted. When she refused him he attacked and she fled dressed only in her shift. She can only hope BJR proves the gentleman and doesn’t pry any further.
BJR wipes his eye – looking more like he has a migraine than a tear in his eye. and then gets a knife and sharpens a pencil with which he begins sketching on a napkin. He asks for the man’s name but she refuses to sink to her attacker’s level not wanting to ruin his career or reputation.
BJR finishes sketch and asks for her opinion. Warily she stands and goes to his position. Claire: Captain. My likeness.
Paraphrasing: BJR: You think so? I’m glad. I shall call it Beautiful Lies.
You wish to get to Inverness, very well. I know Dougal Mackenzie is raising funds for Jacobite cause. I merely lack the necessary proof to take him into custody. You will furnish me with that proof.
Claire: Jacobite cause, she shakes her head, I’ve no idea…
He tells her not to pretend she hasn’t heard the MacKenzies support the failure James and his witless offspring Charles.
She says the Mackenzies would have to be witless to discuss treason in front of an Englishwoman.
BJR: Unless that Englishwoman was sympathetic to his cause.
Claire: I am not that woman.
BJR tells her to prove it and asks, “Have you seen him or his companions raising money for the Jacobite cause? ”
“No, I have not heard a single MacKenzie supoort the Jacobite Cause.” When she asks how many times she has to say it,
He says he would not believe her if she said night was dark, and day is bright.
She asks if she is under arrest because if not she refuses to submit further to the interrogation. She’ll wait for the general and if BJR wishes to place her under guard she will not protest, She sits down.
Standing behind her he tells her she will not leave the room until he is convinced she is as innocent as he claims. She must cooperate or he will be forced to use methods less pleasant than talk.
She says she has heard about his methods. He looks puzzled – she doesn’t see. What would he do, lay her back open to the bone. She understands flogging is a sport to him.
On the contrary he tells her, he takes it seriously. She says he has earned a reputation. Giving 100 on 100 lashes to a boy. He says he was a wanted thief and nurdereder. They flash back to Jamie’s flogging. Dougal was there (apparently Diana said on FB, Brian, Jamie’s father was too)
BJR says in his first flogging Jamie did not make a sound and Jack thought it a bad example so he would administer the punishment himself. He goes on to relate the story and it is brutally and graphically shown. It is very horrible; and hard to watch. It is also very, very well done, and except for the part where BJR nearly kills Jamie is riveting. The part where Jamie is flogged is like a Kurosawa film.
Jamie’s back is a bloody mess when he is brought to the whipping post. Randall sees that Jamie was shaking asks if he is cold. Jamie says he is afraid he’ll freeze stiff before Randall is done talking.
He tells Claire how Jamie refused to cry out or ask for mercy. Manacled, Jamie struggles to keep his feet. His blood flows freely ont the platform, pooling. At his feet. BJR slips in it and the crowd barks its laughter at it so he decides to bare him to the bone.
The other officers are appalled and people in the crowd look away. Randall beats Jamie until he is unconscious and blood pours from his mouth, ‘
All they could see was the horror but BJR says he could see the beauty. He saw the truth that Jamie and he were creating an exquisite, bloody masterpiece. Truth carries a weight no lie can counterfeit
He promised to reveal himself to her and he had
She agrees that he did.
He says she must think he is a monster and she replies that him caring what she thinks proves there is hope,
He draws her in with his talk of remorse.
He knows he is not the man he was on coming to Scotland but when he arrived he found that he was to be the watchman of an ignorant and superstitious people. He found darkness and hatred growing until he no longer recognizes himself.
She tells him he is not the first soldier to be changed by his experience but that his admission is a hopeful sign that buried within him is a decent man who can choose to do right or wrong.
It’s pretty to think so he replies.
She tells him he cannot do the things he has done but it is not too late to bring his humanity back.
Does she think he might be able to gaze on himself without self loathing?
You could make a fortune betting against his rehabilitation. Perhaps he should start by having her escorted to Inverness
That makes her happy and she says yes. It’s a beginning perhaps.
He calls in his valet, Corporal Hawkins and then, without warning or any prior indication punches her in the gut, knocking her to the ground in pain.
I dwell in darkness and darkness is where I belong. Black Jack Randall
As she lies there writhing, and stunned, he tells her: I dwell in darkness and darkness is where I belong.
He will get the truth out of her, He forces the corporal to kick her saying they are so soft (women).
Dougal breaks into the room and picks her up. Guards enter after him, Dougal says he has no right to do this to her, He was asked to bring her under on pretense and by right she must be returned. |
The guards menace them, but Dougal asks if he wants to start a war there, by attacking the MacKenzie war chief on Mackenzie land.
Reluctantly, BJR releases her saying Dougal must bring her to Fort William buy Sundown the next day or else… Smugly saying he looks forward to their next meeting, BJR allows them to leave
They ride out at a gallop
Aside: With her body still reeling the last thing she wants is a gallop is a through the highlands. Just as she was about to faint he calls the to a halt.
Dougal takes her to a stream for water when they stop, The have to climb down to it which distance she mentions. It smells sulfurous. He says it stinks but it will wet your trapple (?) sure enough
As she bends down to drink he silently pulls out a knife as he stands above her a few paces away. He is not immediately threatening her.
When she finishes her drink he asks if she is a spy for the English or the French. Angrily she asks how many times she has to answer that? He says he promises it is the last time he’ll ever ask it of her.
After watching this scene several times, I felt Dougal was forgetting his lines a lot. In parts the timing felt off and like a rehearsal.
“I am not a spy!” she tells him emotionally, “I am plain Claire Beechum and nothing more. There, can we finally be done with it.? “
“Well?” She asks as he stares at her.
“Aye,” he responds putting his knife away, “done it is.” He starts to walk away, and she grabs his arm turning him. Did you plan on using that on me.
D: I wouldn’t have liked it you’re a handsome woman but if you proved false I would have had no choice. I ken now you’re telling the truth. She asks what convinced him and he tells her the spring is the Ninian Spring, some call it “the liars spring” and if you drink from it and lie it burns your gizzard out.
C: A magic spring? (As in, WTF, you judged my truthfulness on a magic effing spring?!)
D: You’re a healer, surely you believe in the powers of magic.
C: Well, I doubt Capt. Randall will be so easily convinced.
D: Aye well. You won’t need to see him again. Not if you do what I tell you.
C: Don’t you need to bring me to Fort William tomorrow.
D: An English officer cannot compel a Scottish person unless there is proof a crime has been commited and even so cannot force a Scottish subject from Clan lands without permission from the laird concerned.
C: You’ve been talking to Ned Gowan?
D: Aye, I have. I thought it might come to this. | I can only legally refuse to hand you back to Randall If I change you from an Englishwoman to a Scot.
C: Into a Scot?
D: Aye, the only way I can do that is for you to marry one.
C: No! Absolutely not, I cannot do that!
D: Would you rather go to an English prison? (Claire considers his statement – marriage for a woman then could be another kind of prison.)
C: So, I’m to marry you?
D, snickering: “Well, I admit the idea of grinding your corn does tickle me but it would not be myself I’d be nominating.”
C: Then Who?
(Of course WE know who, but she’s thinking Rupert or Angus, right?)
Next scene, Claire sits on a rock or log with cut off gloves, we see her wedding ring and a document titled “Contract of Marriage.”
Jamie comes up to her, as he sits down beside her she says Dougal wants us to be married and he replies that he knows as he hands her a flask and a horn mug.
She is surprised he is willing, and he says she has mended his wounds and what kind of friend would he be leaving her to BJR?
She asks whether he is interested in another woman and he replies he is not promised to another.
She is puzzled as to why a young man like himself (by which I thinks she means a hot, thoughtful, kind, hot, smart, strong, handsome, hot man like himself) he says he has nothing but a price on his head and a soldier’s pay; he’s not good husband material.
So, Claire says, brusquely, as far as your concerned we’ll start the honeymoon tomorrow?
“Aye,” he responds as he stands up, “Whatever suits you.” I think here he’s rightfully pissed off a little. After all, it wasn’t his idea, he’s helping her out, and if anyone has less than he does it is her.
Famously, in a favorite passage from the book, she asks if it “Doesn’t bother him that she is not a virgin.” To which he equally famously replies not as long as it doesn’t bother her that he is. He reckons one of them should ken what they’re doing.
She continues her drink after he leaves and then gets up and returns to the clearing where Jamie stands with the other men. She grabs the bottle from Dougal and walks on.
Parts of this episode were very, very, very hard to watch. Not just Jamie’s horrible flogging but the cat and mouse game BJR plays with Claire. She doesn’t even realize she is the mouse. And when he hits her and forces the valet to kick her over and over it was a double sort of brutality. It is almost as if she doesn’t believe someone can be that evil; even after living through WWII.
The bit at the end, wherein we get an idea that Jamie will be taking on more importance in the show, as much as in the book, is a “wee balm” on the mental images of Jamie being beaten unconscious from pain and blood loss.
From the book, we know that Claire is worried about being adulterous, whereas that has not yet been described as the problem in the show. It just seems she feels forced and backed into a corner to make a marriage with a man she hardly knows and doesn’t love.