TV REVIEW: Outlander, S1, E6: The Garrison Commander

Right off the bat I have to say, this was a rough episode of Outlander for me (and probably most people) to watch. The level of graphic violence has been minimal – glimpses and moments but nothing quite like this. Upon my second viewing, I had to mute parts because I couldn’t take the sound. The sound department had their work cut out for them and delivered. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – there are a couple of shining moments of comedy, including the line “We must protect the claret!”. Priorities, folks.

Everyone does a great job but the shining medal of awesomeness and major props go to Tobias Menzies, who has done an incredible job playing both Randall’s, especially tonight. I’ve hated Black Jack for awhile being a book reader but I’ve got to hand it to Menzies, he knows how to fiddle with your emotions! While you might still hate Black Jack – there might be a little niggle of feeling bad for the man.

Last week, we were left with a cliffhanger – would Claire turn in the men she’s been trying to escape (but now feels a sense of loyalty to) or lie through her teeth? It’s the latter but that doesn’t stop Lieutenant Foster from “asking” them if they’d meet with his superior. For better or worse, Claire agrees to go but Dougal won’t let her leave without him. For once, I agree with him! As they trudge along to the inn at Brockton, she states that she feels a bit safer among her own people – and the soldiers themselves. But her naiveté is rearing its ugly head again and driving me a little bananas. Just because you think you know someone, doesn’t mean you actually do and this is a very tough lesson she’s going to learn.

We meet the loosy goosy Brigadier General Sir Oliver Lord Thomas, who (like all the other men there) hasn’t seen an Englishwoman in quite some time so they’re all too happy to fawn over Claire and listen to her story. However, Dougal gets a taste of his own medicine and is treated fairly poorly before excusing himself to the pub downstairs.  Last week, I wanted to kick Dougal but this week, I feel a bit bad for him. He’s called a “creature” for goodness sakes – the Englishmen are more than a bit rude and obnoxious. I’d like to kick them this week!

After regaling the soldiers with her story (and hoping for a ride back to Inverness), Claire does the one thing that she probably she know not to do by now and that’s get tipsy on the aforementioned claret. Nothing good comes of Claire drinking and you’d think she’d realize it by now! Oi. The peaceable environment is shattered with Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall bursts in. Both he and Claire obviously recognize each other but play it off.

Her immense dislike (at this point) of Randall coupled with her tipsy state of mind do not a good pair make as the combination helps to reveal her sympathies for the Scots as she argues with Black Jack and begins to sow seeds of doubt in the others. Thinking she can play at the same game as Jack, a long, tense and highly emotional scene between the two begin. But it doesn’t get graphic until she mentions Jamie and you see Randall’s eyes light up and you realize just how sadistic this man really is.

As Black Jack describes how he came to encounter the young Scot, be prepared – it gets very ugly, very quickly. There is so much blood that Jaime cannot stay upright and even then, the skin is practically flayed off his back. My disgust at the display is not only because of the gore but because of how much Randall enjoys what he describes at “art”. Then a moment of hope – you realize that war has mentally changed – no – destroyed this man and he expresses regret.

But not enough regret to change back to being a “good” man. Claire thinks she’s helped him exorcise his demons but oh honey, you’ve just let one out of the bag. He begins to beat the everliving crap out of the woman and this was harder for me to watch than Jamie’s whipping. Before he can get to into it, a young soldier interrupts and to his horror (and hesitation), is told to kick Claire several times. Dougal’s spidey sense must’ve tingled because he barges in and is able to get himself and Claire away from the castle. How she is remaining upright after that is beyond me, I’d need to be carried, that’s for damn sure!

Dougal leads Claire to a hidden spring and has her drink from it, with his dirk behind his back. What the what? After all that, he still wants to kill her? Apparently, it was a test, if she tried to lie after drinking the water, she’d burn up from it. Ah, Scottish myths! But what’s going to burn worse is his next suggestion – the law states that they cannot compel a Scottish subject from clan lands without permission from the clans laird’s. Scottish. That means she’s gotta get hitched or go to an English prison! I’d be pissed too but it’s not Dougal she’s got to marry but Jamie! She doesn’t look revealed but I have to admit (if you haven’t realized this already) that I’d be pretty darn happy with that setup!

Talked with her groom-to-be, the second humorous moment comes when Claire states that she’s not a virgin, but he confirms that he is: “I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.” Haha! I love the reverse on traditional roles with these two. Claire’s answer is all but said aloud when she takes a bottle of whisky and stomps off. Guess we’re going to a wedding, folks!

What did you think? We’re getting closer to the moment that many fans have been waiting to see on screen for over 20 years – Claire and Jamie’s wedding day (and night! My eyebrows are waggling, just so you know.). But then after that, there’s only 1 more episode before the winter hiatus and the second half of the series.

If you haven’t been listening to Ron D. Moore’s behind-the-scenes podcasts, what are you waiting for? They give great insight into choices made while filming the episode and only serve to add enjoyment to the series. Check out the ones currently out below:

BTS Episode 101 | BTS Episode 102 | BTS Episode 103 | BTS Episode 104 | BTS Episode 105 | BTS Episode 106

Rating: 5/5
Author: Sharlene Mousfar

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