OUTLANDER on Starz
Episode 115: WENTWORTH PRISON
Original Airdate 5/16/15
Much has been made of this episode and much made of the section of the book. It is a seriously horrible thing to read; at least as horrible to watch. I felt the worst aspect of what I saw last night was the psychological; Jack Randall’s absolute twistedness, his sadism, his ability to manipulate.
At one point Randall says to Jamie why do you make me treat you so terribly, I’m here to help you. That character made the flesh want to crawl off my body He is so cold and cruel and has such sangfroid.
I estimate the adherence to the book is about 80% for literal translation and about 95% to the interpretation of the story.
There are no jokes that can be made in regards to this episode. And if you suffer(ed) abuse you may wish to skip it.
It is very well acted. Catriona Balfe’s character, Claire, has the least emotional range required of her. She mostly acts upset and pissed off, and should get an Emmy for the best ugly cry. It’s a good performance; especially when she perceives she has actually gotten Jamie into a worse situation than he had been and feels she is saying goodbye to him for the last time. Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan should also get awards. But the real star actor of the piece is Tobias Menzies.
Jamie has been condemned to hang.
We’re brought to the courtyard of Wentworth Prison. One prisoner after another is being hung. The Redcoat guards and the jailers find it all rather boring.
Jamie and MacQuarrie stand together sharing their ideas – MacQuarrie: Says he takes comfort that one gets an erection and ejaculates.
Jamie says he has heard that you just shit yourself.
Jamie suggests they try to escape and at least get shot like men instead of hanging. McQuarrie asks if it is the rope he fears, Jamie says no, more that his wife will not
McQuarrie says he’s not looking forward to it. The guard calls MacQuarrie and after saying he wish he had been a patriot and not just a thief, they hang him on “God Bless King ,…” He struggles and convulses until they pull his legs. Jamie crosses himself.
They call Jamie’s name and in very tense moments he tries to kill the guards who subdue him and take him to the gibbet. They put the rope around his neck.
As they prepare to drop him we hear galloping and Stop the executions and Capt. Jack Randall comes in and orders a stay. They remove the rope and take Jamie t a dungeon cell.. The hangings go on as Jamie is taken by Randall in slo mo.
The expressions that cross Randall’s face are remarkable: fear he was too late, relief, anticipation.
Cut to the cells. Jamie knows nothing good can come of Randall being there and is trying to pull his chains out. Derisively, they bring him a meal and some water.
Meanwhile, Claire is seeing Sir Fletcher, the governor of the prison, downplaying her connection to Jamie.
He reports the prisoner has been granted a temporary stay of execution.
She tells Sir Fletcher that although the connection is distant, felt that it was a kind gesture to visit. Fletcher is dubious; seeing his bible she says it was, her Christian duty. This softens him toward her.
She asks to see him but he cannot allow it. If something were to happen couldn’t forgive himself.
How sad that a young man of a family of good people should die estranged from his family. If Jamie wished to write a letter of reconciliation she would take it to his mother. Sir Fletcher can’t do that but brings her Jamie’s effects to give to his family.
She leaves the prison sobbing and as she gets out starts to vomit.
Murtagh comes to her aid and carries her away.
Cut to a tavern Rupert and Angus dice and drink, laughing their asses off as Jamie, Claire and Willie are sitting soberly; they are pissed off.
Willie reminds her that they got her out of Ft. Williams.
That was easier, Murtagh says because the Fort is designed only to keep people out not in.
Angus and Ruoert reveal they lost all, but to two men who worked at Wentworth Prison. They learned that Sir Fletcher dines alone and afterward reading the bible for 25 minutes.
This means Sir Fletcher is away from his office a full hour every day. This is a flaw in prison security ¾ a kink in the chain.
Claire finally has some hope.
Back at the prison Jamie has bloodied himself trying to escape.
Capt. Randall comes in and seeing Jamie attempting to pull the pin from the wall, quotes the inscription Merlin put on the sword in the stone, paraphrased – He who shall pull this sword from this stone is the rightful King….
He brings with him a brute, Marley, not a great intellect but a surprisingly brutal hulk.
Randall jibes that Jamie couldn’t keep out of prison long enough to see if his pardon granted. Randall has the petition and had charmed it away from the Duke of Sandringham. It is a complete blackening of his character – it might be him on the gibbet instead of Jamie. Hope dies on Jamie’s face as Randall puts it to the flame.
Outside the prison, Claire and Murtagh get back into the prison saying Sir Fletcher was expecting him.
Murtaagh reminds the man he is speaking to a lady – he apologizes and tells her she can wait but cannot go wandering.
He looks dubious and she offers to have him suit with her.
Are you trying to get me discharged he has duty. She says be at ease – she won’t go wandering and has Murtagh, her manservant to protect her.
He leaves and they search for keys and a map.
Back in the cells, Randall sits and asks Jamie if he can call him by his given name.
He tells him cares not, but will not beg for his life.
Randall says he could not save him even if he wanted to.
Jamie says he prefers the noose.
Why, do I make you uncomfortable? He speaks of how Jamie must think of him even when he is lying with Claire.
Wants Jamie to admit his fear of Randall and will give Jamie a final gift.
The noose is such an ignoble ending; if Jamie will admit his terror, Randall will give him the death he deserves.
Clean and of his own choosing.
Jamie considers it as Randall keeps talking.
“How will I ever choose?” Jamie says wryly.
He must have Jamie’s surrender – he will have it before he leaves this world
In Sir Fletcher’s office, Claire and Murtagh have the keys but no map.
The jailer comes in and Murtagh knocks him out.
Claire tells him to tie the jailer up. She’ll go and if caught will say Murtagh got in a fight with the Jailer and she is seeking help, and Murtagh can leave saying she sent him for a gift for Sir Fletcher. They will meet in the woods. But, Murtagh admonishes Claire that she has less than an hour.
Claire sneaks through a cold, dark, dank castle filled with guards and cells full of prisoners. She hides as guards walk through. A prisoner directs her to the cells downstairs.
In Jamie’s cell Randall stares at a pensive Jamie.
All right, Jamie tells Randall, but I won’t surrender to you or anyone
Randall says he had to admit he would be crestfallen if he did
That everyman can be broken – nothing to be ashamed of.
Asks to see his back.
Jamie says he can if says if it will stop his talking
The music builds and as Randall approaches, saying May I?
As Randall pulls the shirt from Jamie’s waist, Jamie turns and chokes Randall saying it is he who sees Jamie’s face.
Unfortunately Marley gets the upper hand and starts to choke him until Randall kicks him off Jamie, saying ,“ Idiot, you could have killed him!”
Randall orders Marley to get Jamie up and they flatten out his hand on the table. They hold his hand out flat and then Randall hits it with a mallet many times and Jamie screams as Claire continues sneaking to the prison. She hears the screams.
Randall asks why Jamie forces him to treat Jamie so terribly.
Jamie is barely conscious.
Randall orders Jamie to look at him. Jamie tries to fight him again but is weakened, Randall subdues him and forces him to feel his erection, almost coming.
He threatens that he could take him, but saying he will not give in to coarse passion, throws Jamie down so that he lands on his injured hand.
Randall says if he wouldn’t resist he could make this so much easier. He tells Jamie he is there to help him. You can see where he would be a very good interrogator, spy and such. He is trying to be both the good and the bad cop.
Claire finds a door and opening it leaves it unlocked. Walking by the open door of Jamie’s cell, she sees him unconscious on the floor
He wakens enough to see her and tells her she must leave, Randall will be coming back soon.
She is surprised to hear he is there. She tries to rouse him and then tries to break the chain.
Randall arrives and surprises Claire by saying she truly has a gift for showing up at the most unexpected times
You beast, you fucking sadistic piece of shit, She yells attacking him saying she should have slit his throat.
He says she’ll come to regret that, and that she is not a coward – a fit match for her husband; a high compliment.
Foot soldiers arrive and say Claire is a suspect in a plot to help prisoners escape. He doesn’t allow them to take her saying she is in a plot against the king and he is interrogating her.
Marley searches her in a violating way. He smells his fingers and Randall offers Claire to Marley.
She asks if he wouldn’t want to watch. Randall says he may have unnatural tasted but has some aesthetic tastes
She attacks Randall trying to choke him with a chain and as Marley tries to attack her Jamie rouses to kill him.
Randall goes to kill or rape Claire while choking her and Jamie begs him to stop making the infamous bargain to not struggle. It is a matter of trust; His word for Jamie’s with a test. He orders Jamie to put his ruined hand flat on the table, which Jamie does with great pain. Claire cries no and they are allowed to embrace as Randall says he hasn’t even begun, then presses a nail into the hand and then pounds it in. Claire watches sobbing. We will remember this moment for the rest of our lives.
Take her away, Jamie tells Randall.
He lets her say goodbye and sobbing Jamie tells her he loves her.
Randall drags Claire into the hall saying he will return shortly.
Walk, he tells her, and then tells her he heard of the trial where she was accused of being a witch.
“Yes,” she says, “Witch I am and I curse you with knowledge Jack Randall. I give you the hour of your death ¾ Jonathan Wolverton Randall, born September 3, 1705, dies, … she whispers this into his seemingly disbelieving ear.
He pushes her into a trapdoor; a ten foot drop where her fall is cushioned by landing on a pile of corpses. She crawls out of the pit and wanders in shock.
How bad does a place have to smell for a charnel pit not to make it so much worse?
In his cell Randall goes to Jamie.
“She ‘s away safe?” Jamie asks.
“Yes, you have my word,” Randall lies.
He then rips and cut most of Jamie’s shirt off.
Jamie is in shock, pain and terror.
His eyes are wide and full of fear ¾ more at what Randall will do to him than he had for being hanged. It reminded me of a Renaissance painting I cannot locate.
Randall touches his scars and says it’s a masterpiece. He kisses his scars. How does it feel to be alive, he asks Jamie, and wear so much dead flesh on your body. Shall ewe begin? he asks.
Outside Claire calls for Murtagh or anybody.
Wolves call in the background
Angus startles her when he grabs her and tells her to shut her gob.
In a warm house, Claire is drinking.
She says we must go back for him
A man walks in complaining about idlers
Murtagh introduces Claire to MacRannoch, a long time ally of the MacKenzie’s.
She asks for help and he refuses because he can’t put his family in jeopardy.
She says she can pay him – she hands him the pearls Jamie gave to her on their wedding night, his mother’s Ellen’s pearls.
MacRannoch is surprised, obviously recognizing the pearls asks where she got them.
She says her husband gave them to him.
Fraser? Ellen’s son?… I gave these pearls to Ellen as a wedding gift.
Murtagh answers, Aye.
He tells Claire they were Ellen’s and now they were hers and she should wear them in good health.
He would do a bit for Ellen’s lad ¾ but what she asks is a bit much.
Standing, Willie says, that just leaves the five of us.
She tells their small group that she left a door open.
An open door is nae a plan, MacRannoch tells her.
The laird’s drover comes back with just nineteen out of forty missing cows. Murtagh hears this and laughs.
A bit ticked off MacRannoch asks what is so funny about 21 missing cattle.
Looking hopeful, and a little mischievous, Murtagh says he knows how he can save young Jamie.